Archive | March, 2013

Kale chips!

30 Mar

I made Kale chips, and it was delicious!  Even the kids loved them!

It tastes like bok choy when it is deep fried.

The process was easy.  I had 2 enthusiastic helpers, so it was a fun activity all around.

1. Pre heat the oven to 300 degrees (F)

2. Wash the kale leaves.  Cut off the inner stem, and rip the leaves in medium sizes.  I had the kids use paper towel to eliminate water from the leaves.  (make sure the leaves are dry.)

Kids drying the leaves

Kids drying the leaves

 

Washed Kale chips

Washed Kale leaves

3. Spread the kale leaves on a baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil.  Mix them and coat them well and spread them on the baking sheet in an equal layer.

Kale leaves drizzled with olive oil

Kale leaves drizzled with olive oil

 

Kale leaves ready to go in the oven

Kale leaves ready to go in the oven

4. Put in the oven.  Roast about 30 – 40 min until the leaves are crisp.  Check on them so that they crisp evenly (turn the leaves when you see parts crisp more than others.)

Roasted kale chips

Roasted kale chips

5. Sprinkle sea salt and enjoy!

We love kale chips!

We love kale chips!

Since I was in a veggie-chip-making kind of a mood, I also roasted shredded carrots.  They did not crisp like the kale, but it was still yummy.

Yummy! Yummy! Happy! Happy!!!

Halo Birthday Cake – Noa’s 7th

29 Mar

This year, I was planning to make a Batman cake for my son’s 7th birthday.  However, he insisted he wants a “Halo 4” cake 2 days before the party.  So, I had to restructure my plan completely.  I researched on the web for a cool “Halo 4” cake, and the only thing “awesome” was the cake that shaped like the Halo helmet.  I would’ve loved to have presented a group of boys with that cake…I would definitely be a hero…my son would be focus of envy…  Ugh, but it just was not possible for me to dedicate the whole time I have left to accomplish this task.  I would need to do in-depth research on the Halo helmet, and to assemble the actual cake is a daunting task… Besides, it’s a cake – it gets carved and eaten and destroyed in minutes…forget it.  I really didn’t have more time to waste, and I just need a cake.  So, here’s what I did:

1. Bake the cake.

I used my favorite cake recipe, which is the “Butter Cake” recipe on Wilton.com. ( http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Butter-Cake ) The only change I made is to put 1 cup less sugar than what the recipe calls for.  (1 1/2 cups rather than 2 1/2 cups.)  Also I eliminated the Almond extract (I don’t like the flavor.)  For this cake, I’m using a 16 inch pan, so I made 2x the recipe.  The mistake I made here is that I baked the whole double batch to make one thick 16 inch cake.  It didn’t bake evenly, and I have to keep it longer in the oven.  Next time I would bake one batch at a time, and stack the 2 cakes.

Ingredients - 2x the amount called for on the recipe

Ingredients – 2x the amount called for on the recipe

2 batches of batter

2 batches of batter

I mixes the 2 batches together at the end

I mixes the 2 batches together at the end

Batter in the 16 inch pan

Batter in the 16 inch pan

Cake is Baked!

Cake is Baked!

2. Make the icing.

I used the Buttercream icing recipe on Wilton.com ( http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Buttercream-Icing )

Ingredients for the Icing

Ingredients for the Icing

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream Icing

3. Make the fondant.

I use the rolled fondant from Wilton.  I first cut out the “Halo” lettering in white.  I wrap it in plastic and set it aside.

Wilton Rolled Fondant

Wilton Rolled Fondant

Template for the Halo logo

Template for the Halo logo

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Then I made the colored fondant that would cover the whole surface of the cake.  I used the Wilton white fondant as a base and made my color.  I used the black / Royal Blue icing color from Wilton to make a blue-grayish color.  I use the “Roll-N-Cut Mat” to roll out my fondant.  When rolling out the fondant, make sure you roll out large enough to cover the whole 16 inch surface AND the depth of the cake PLUS a little extra to tuck under.

Black and Royal Blue icing color

Black and Royal Blue icing color

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Add colors to the fondant using a toothpick

Roll out the fondant

Roll out the fondant

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Roll out large enough to cover the cake top and side surface

4. Cover the cake with icing.

Icing covered cake

Icing covered cake

5. Cover the cake with fondant.

Drape the fondant over the cake

Drape the fondant over the cake

Tuck the fondant under the cake

Tuck the fondant under the cake

6. Decorate the cake.

I used the pre made sugar letters for the lettering.  This was my first time using this, and I don’t think I will use it again.  The letters were very hard to pop out, and most of the letters did not come out nicely.  It is very fragile, and they crumble or rip very easily.

Pre made fondant letters

Pre made sugar lettersIMG_9194

Letters done

Letters done

Decorations done
Decorations done

I ended up getting the little Halo Lego pieces for the cake toppers.  My son was happy with the cake, so mission accomplished!

Hello Kitty Royal Icing Cookies for Mia’s 4th!

27 Mar

I love baking cookies.  I usually bake simple ones, which are my favorites.  I never use icing, because I don’t like the extra sugar.  However, for my baby girl’s birthday, I am attempting for the first time, a royal icing decorated cookies.  I’ve seen so many pretty ones online, and I wanted to give it a try.

Here’s how it went…

1. Bake the cookies.  I used a “sugar cookie” recipe I found on Wilton.com.  It says it does not need to be refrigerated, but I put my dough to chill because it was way too soft for the cut out.  I used my Hello Kitty cookie cutters for the shapes.  The cookie cutter has details that may require a few tries.  (I had to redo several times.) Bake according to the direction.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Butter and Sugar mixture

Butter and Sugar mixture

Add Eggs one at a time

Add Eggs one at a time

Add Pure Vanilla extract

Add Pure Vanilla extract

Add Flour

Add Flour

Roll out the dough

Roll out the dough

Baked cookies

Baked cookies !

2. Prepare the royal icing.  I used the recipe on Wilton.com for a simple royal icing recipe.   http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Royal-Icing

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Icing Mixture

Icing Mixture

3. Time to decorate!  I put aside appropriate amounts of icing in several different bowls, so I can prepare different color icing.  I left majority of the icing for the face (white,) then prepared black, red, and yellow  (yellow being the smallest amount needed for the Hello Kitty’s nose.)  ALWAYS keep the icing covered!  Once it has a hardened surface, it is not usable.

White Icing done!

White Icing done!

Yellow icing

Yellow icing

4. Do the face.  I used the #3 tip.  I attempted the piping around for the outline, and then fill in with more diluted icing to cover the inside, but  that didn’t come out the way I wanted.  It came out just as nice without the outline, so that’s how I finished the rest.  The diluted icing was much more easy to work with.  Let it dry.

White icing phase

White icing phase

5. Do the nose.  I always work on lighter colors first.

6. Do the Bow.  I used the red color for that.

Almost there!

Almost there!

7. Do the eyes and whiskers.  I used the black for that.

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8. The colors dry up darker than what the icing looks in liquid form.  I don’t know why the “white” turned a little yellowish.  I will have to do some research on that next time.  Overall, I really enjoyed the whole process, and although it’s not perfect, I am really happy how it turned out.  The Birthday girl was thrilled about it, so I’m good.

The white icing turned yellowish in some parts...

The white icing turned yellowish in some parts…

Ready for the party!
Ready for the party!

Ta Da!
Ta Da!

Happy Birthday Girl!
Happy Birthday Girl!

Yum!
Yum!

All that effort...
All that effort…