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Posted on Dec 15, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 13 comments

A Very Benny Birthday

Happy birthday, big brother!


Some things never change.

Yes, even though my family went out to celebrate Ben‘s birthday over the weekend, today is his actual birthday! Unlike last year, I will refrain from dedicating this entire post to my bro turning the big 2-8. I will, however, catch you on the rest of Saturday’s celebration.

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Most of which took place in the kitchen as I baked a cake of epic proportions (the dogs acted as crumb-catchers, natch.)

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I made a double-layer cake, with one layer of pumpkin cake and one layer of vanilla. Go big or go home, right?

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Now, the cakes may have been boxed, but they were smothered in 100% made-from-scratch cream cheese frosting.

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Plus frosting in-between the layers too, of course. I was super excited about icing the cake because it let me put to use my new frosting skillz that I picked up from that culinary school class I audited!

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My sister Jenny served as the official decorator, and we covered the cake in blue sugar (because it definitely needed MORE sugar) and tiny candy letters that we randomly found in a drawer at my parents’. We’re nothing if not classy.

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It turned out awesome! I didn’t do such a great job with leveling the cakes exactly, plus they were made from different mixes so they baked up in slightly different ways. So the layers weren’t exactly seamless, but considering the distinct lack of swiveling cake stands and offset spatulas, I’d say it’s not too shabby.

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The one thing I kind of forgot, though, is that when your cake is double-layered, you get double the cake in every slice. Which isn’t a BAD thing, it’s just something to be mindful of when cutting.

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SUGAR RUSH.

My cream cheese icing recipe, just in case you are interested, was:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 8 oz. package of low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Cream together the butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer (or with a hand mixer, but just be careful of the potential flyaway face-sugaring that might follow.) Then add in the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. Add in the vanilla extract at the end. Ta-da!

Just remember, this makes more than enough icing to frost TWO whole cakes, so adjust accordingly if you’re making a normal cake like a normal person.

If you got to pick any dessert, not just cake, to have for your birthday, what would it be? I actually would really like one year to get to have a birthday flan. It’s. Just. So. Good. (Also, can’t help but think of that episode of The Office where Creed asks for birthday cobbler, ahahahaha.)

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Posted on Feb 9, 2011 in Dear Diary | 1 comment

This feels like a two-post day

So I’ll try to keep this one short. I’m feeling much better today, for those of you who were worried about my ailing health. My sister thinks I had a mild case of food poisoning and it seems like a likely scenario, so we’ll go with that. I am feeling much, much better this morning however, and am ready to jump back into all the work that I missed and start up my 5k training up right.

I haven’t stepped foot on a treadmill since the cruise and I’m a little scared as to how my endurance has tanked. But I figure, I’ll start back small and work my way back up. Now that I know that I CAN run a 5k already I don’t envision it being that hard to get back to that place. Before, the furthest I had ever run was from the car to my front porch on especially cold days, haha.

Anyway, I think I’m feeling well enough stomach-wise to make it to the treadmill this afternoon, so I’ll let you all know literally how far I can get later on. In the meantime, because I think that every post should have at least one photo in it (plus, how else am I going to get something to pop into that super cool scrolly header bar thingy at the top?) here is a cool but totally irrelevant picture of me that Ben took of me a little while ago for his Project 365 Photo-A-Day self-challenge:

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