Thursday, April 13, 2017

Improvised Chocolate Fudge Cake

Some wonderful friends from church recently adopted four children from Latvia. They are truly amazing parents and people, and are wonderful examples to me of selfless love and service.

We surprised Valerie with an adoption shower a few weeks before she and her husband would travel to Latvia to bring their children home. I planned to make a chocolate cake with strawberry filling and to decorate it with red and turquoise flowers (since those are Valerie's favorite colors). 

It was a busy week, and I realized the night before that I wouldn't be able to bake and decorate a cake in time. I decided to get a chocolate fudge cake from Sam's Club and then decorate the top myself. I'd had it before and knew it was a delicious cake.

I scraped off the chocolate decoration from the middle and then smoothed out the top so that I could have a flat surface to pipe the message on. I made the flowers out of modeling chocolate and Sixlets candies. You can find Sixlets in most grocery stores (near the cake mixes and birthday candles). I love using Sixlets to decorate cakes! They look like pearls, and you can get them in almost any color.

This cake was a good reminder to me that it's okay to improvise when things don't go as planned. At first, I felt a little guilty for not actually baking the cake myself, but I shouldn't have. Valerie knows I care about her, and I heard so many people talk about how delicious the cake was, and someone even asked for the recipe later. 😊


Modeling Chocolate

Melt 10 ounces of chocolate chips (or candy melts in the color of your choice) in a microwave or in a double boiler. Stir in 2 ounces of light corn syrup. Stir for about a minute until well combined. Spread on waxed paper and allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours. When cool, break large chunks off and knead until soft. Store in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag for up to a month. Break off small pieces and knead when you are ready to make something with your modeling chocolate. Return to refrigerator for 10-15 minutes if it starts to get too warm and sticky from the heat of your hands.

Royal Icing

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Light the World Bulletin Board

We wanted to find a way for members of our ward (congregation) to share some of their acts of service. We came up with a bulletin board, where anyone (any age) can write their act of service on a silver star and tape it up. These will be anonymous, and I think it will be so neat to read what others are doing to light the world this Christmas season.

It's kind of hard to see, but in the bottom left corner is a sign that says, "Share the light you have shared or received." We tacked two small cardboard boxes underneath the sign.

Box 1: holds a stack of blank silver stars and tape
Box 2: holds fine-line permanent markers

It will be fun to watch the board fill up with stars all month long! I'm excited to see how full it is by Christmas!

Covering the bulletin board ended up being a much bigger project than I anticipated. Mostly because none of the letters, the manger scene, nor the hundreds of silver stars we needed were pre-cut. We drew them on poster board, then cut them out with scissors. I am so grateful to the missionaries and Trish for being good sports and helping me set everything up last night.

Sister Withers, Elder Gifford, Trish, Bishop Dotson, Elder Mitchell, Sister Young, and my little helper. :)

These people are seriously awesome, and I'm so grateful to have them in my life. They truly let their light shine!

Sister Withers, Sister Young, Trish, Elder Gifford, and Elder Mitchell

I'm also very grateful for my good friend Martilda, who went shopping with me and helped me pick out decorations for the board. She knows shopping is not my favorite thing, and I was so grateful to have her with me. She also has a great decorator's eye, and put together some beautiful colors and decorations.

Martilda and Me

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Light the World this Christmas!

I first heard about the Light the World initiative a couple of weeks ago, and I have been so excited about it! There are so many ways that we can serve and bring more light into each other's lives. The Savior is the light of the world and showed us the perfect example of how to love and how to serve.

December 1st (tomorrow) will be a worldwide day of service, and it kicks off the Light the World initiative where people across the globe will follow the Savior by serving others in 25 ways over 25 days. 

I am so excited about this! I know it will make this season even more meaningful as we focus on serving others in the way the Savior did. 

There are some really neat videos and service ideas to go along with each the 25 days of the Light the World initiative. We are going to watch one each night to go along with our family scripture study, and I think it will be a wonderful way to stay focused on the Savior and motivate us to serve.

Here's a link to the page with short, daily videos about Christlike service:

I will be posting service opportunities I can find in the Dayton, Ohio area throughout December. Let's fill the world with light!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Whitney and Joey's Wedding Truffles

Last August, I got to attend my beautiful sister's wedding in the Palmyra Temple.
I am so happy for Whitney and Joey, and grateful to have a new awesome brother-in-law!
They are so great together!

It started raining while they were having photos taken outside after their wedding…
But, those two wouldn't let a little rain spoil their special day!
They are the cutest couple and so happy!

I can't help thinking of a certain musical every time I see these photos.
Can you guess which one?
These lyrics might give you a hint...

The sun's in my heart...

...and I'm ready for love.

Did you guess it?


Singin' in the Rain!

Now that you've got that song stuck in your head, let's talk cake!

Whitney asked me to make their wedding cake, and her one request was that she wanted it filled with chocolate chip cookie dough filling. Unfortunately, there was no way I could transfer a wedding cake from two states away in the heat of the summer, so we decided I would make truffles instead.

Their last name begins with a "W," so I decorated the truffles with "W" drizzles.
...and tiny hearts. :o)

The white truffles were filled with a peanut butter Buckeye filling.
You might want to warn people beforehand that these things are addictive,
and they also come with a little kick...No, it isn't alcohol. :o)
The "kick" is cayenne pepper, and it's amazing. Trust me.

These chocolate ones are filled with the eggless chocolate chip cookie dough.
I will link to the recipe at the bottom. It's great as a cake filling, but if you want to be able to roll the dough into balls for dipping, you will need to eliminate the frosting base.

Congratulations, Whitney and Joey! And Happy 1st Anniversary!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling

Peanut Butter Buckeyes - with a kick!
(The cayenne is listed as an ingredient at the bottom, under "Variation."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pretty in Blue Cookies

My good friend Martilda is expecting her sweet baby boy next month. Of course we needed blue cookies for her baby shower! Blue is also Martilda's favorite color!

For the large cookie, I used a small salad plate as a guide to cut out a big circle of dough. I only added a couple of minutes to the baking time. The night before the baby shower, I used glacĂ© icing to flood the cookie with white. The next day, once the icing was set, I used royal icing to pipe the words and to make the brush embroidery flowers. 

I love the bright white of the royal icing against the soft white of the glacĂ© icing.

The polka dot cookies were decorated using the wet on wet technique with glacĂ© icing.

I decorated these cookies with tiny roses using a similar technique. I love using glacĂ© icing for cookies because it sets well, but doesn't get rock hard like royal icing.

Congratulations, Martilda! I can't wait to meet your sweet new baby!


No Fail Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

Glacé Icing

Royal Icing

Brush Embroidery Tutorial Video

"Wet on Wet" Tutorial Video

Sweet Ambs Tiny Flowers Tutorial Video