Friday, 30 August 2013

Cake for our little Angel

Our little angel.
August 27th is kind of a hard day for me and my family.  Three years ago on August 27th, my son Ethan passed away.  I was 8 months pregnant, and after not feeling him move for a day or so, I went to the hospital just to get things checked out.  At the hospital they were unable to find a heartbeat, and didn't see any movement on the ultrasounds.  I guess I don't need to give you all the details, but it goes without saying that that was the hardest day of my and my husbands life.

Everyone has their own beliefs about life after death, and the eternal nature of family relationships.  But we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so we believe that familial relationships can continue beyond the grave.  I have always believed this, and it was this knowledge that helped us get through such an extremely difficult time.

Just because we don't get to raise our son right now, does not make him any less our son.  He is our son, and he will be our son forever.  This is what we celebrate each year on August 27th: the eternal nature of our family.

Even angel's need birthday cakes, so each year on Ethan's birthday I make Angel Food Cake for our family to enjoy.  It's just a simple and special way to remember our son.

The angel food cake recipe that I use is so wonderful!  So good in fact, that I just HAD to share it.  I don't really bake, so I went to to find a good recipe.  And I gotta tell ya, I kinda struck gold with this one!  I tried to find the original link to the recipe, but I printed it off a couple years ago, so I wasn't able to locate the original link.  Sorry.  I still have the hard copy I printed (thank goodness), so here is the recipe that I used:



10 large eggs (or enough for 1 1/2 cups egg whites)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (I used just under 1/2 tsp. for lighter flavor)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar

- Separate eggs into a measuring cup until the you reach 1 1/2 cups egg whites.
- Transfer to mixing bowl and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes (they fluff up faster when at room temp :)
- Meanwhile, stir together flour and powdered sugar with a fork (or sift together).  Set aside.
- Add cream of tarter, extracts and salt to the egg whites: beat on high speed.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form
- Fold in flour mixture about a 1/4 cup at a time
- Gently spoon into an un-greased tube pan (or a bundt pan in my case)
- Cut through batter with a knife to remove any air pockets
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched
- When baking is complete remove from oven and immediately invert pan.
- Cool completely before removing from pan.
- And of course the most important step... Enjoy!

We ate ours with fresh peaches and cream, but this would be equally (if not more) delicious with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.  Just sayin'.

Curious about what I believe?  I would love to answer your questions!  Watch this short video and visit to learn more.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Easy Cauliflower Soup with Homemade Wheat Bread

I have been feeling all sorts of domestic lately.  Maybe it's the rainy weather that brings the inner domestic diva out, I don't know.  For example, just the other day I cleaned the entire house, washed the dog, did all the laundry, cooked dinner, spent lots of time with my daughter and husband, and I even fit in a workout.  I mean, who does that all in one day?!  This weather must be doing weird stuff to me.

Anyway, back to the original purpose of this post...

I wanted to share some recipes with you that I used during one of my days of domestic-ness:  Homemade wheat bread, and Cauliflower soup.  Yummm!

The rainy weather has really made me crave soup.  Yes, it is still in the mid 90's outside even with the rain, but for some reason I think when it rains your are almost obligated to eat some kind of soup.  My poor husband is so patient with all of my crazy food ideas.  I guess this recipe will be perfect for the fall temperatures that should be coming soon...

Easy Cauliflower Soup

1 large head of cauliflower (broken into pieces)
1 large onion (chopped)
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

-  Put the cauliflower, onion, and chicken broth into a large stock pot and let simmer until cauliflower is soft (about 20-25 min).
-  Blend everything until smooth using a stick (immersion) blender or by transferring the contents of the pot to a regular blender.  (I'm not fancy enough to have an immersion blender, so I just used my cheapo regular plastic blender.  It worked great!!)
-  Return contents to pot, and season with salt and pepper.
Yup, that's it!  So easy.  We garnished our soup with some sharp cheddar cheese, and it was oh-so-delicious!!!  Easy, healthy, and delicious!

No soup is complete without some warm fresh bread.  And this soup paired perfectly with a whole wheat bread recipe I found by Kristin at Big Box Detox.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Personalized Family Subway Art Printable

I just recently had a friend move into a brand new home, and I wanted to create a special design for her and her family.  I am kind of a sucker for printables just because they are so dang easy to print and can easily be made into a special and personalized gift.  That's probably why I make so many of them.  It's a surprise that I don't have my house covered from wall to wall with printables...  I just love em'!

Everything about this design is customizable.  And, let's be totally honest, pretty much everything at Puddle Designs is customizable.  I am very easy going, so if you see a design you like, but there is something about it that you would like changed, all you have to do is ask, and presto!

Anywho, back to this printable.  The colors can be changed, the fonts can be changed, even the words can be changed to better fit your family's personality.  A photo of your family could even be used as a backdrop to the subway art if you like.  So many options!


Like it?  You can find it at Puddle Design on Etsy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

DIY Vintage Crates

I have been wanting some vintage looking crates that I could use for photography props.  I looked and looked everywhere online, and I couldn't find anything that was in my price range ($10-$20).  I am a cheapskate, so I HATE spending money.  I wasn't willing to fork over $40 for a crate, just because it said "Coca-Cola" on the side.  So lame!  So, what was a girl like me to do?  Create my own!

I found these really cute and simple crates at a couple of local craft stores.  Thanks to coupons, I was able to get them for screaming deals!  The smaller one I got at Michael's with my 40% off coupon for $4.59 (after coupon).  The larger one I got at Joanne's with a 50% off coupon for $6.54 (after coupon).  That's just over $11 for two wooden crates!!  Saaweeeett!!  Good news for a frugal girl like me.

Now to the problem of staining them.  I was afraid that if I used real wood stain that the finish would not look as vintage as I wanted.  Plus I didn't want to buy a large can of it, if I was only going to be using it to stain two small crates (I am such a cheap-o).  I had heard of people using coffee grounds to stain wood, so I thought I would give that a try...

Here are the ingredients for the do-it-yourself-homemade-all natural-wood-stain:  vinegar, coffee grounds, and steel wool.  Surprised?  I sure was.  Honestly, I was a little skeptical going into this, but thought in my head "coffee is dark, so I guess I could see why that might work."  You should have seen the look on the hubs face when I told him what I was doing.  Priceless!  He thought I was crazy.

Two of the ingredients were easy to come by in my house: vinegar and steel wool.  But for a non-coffee drinker like myself, where was I going to get some coffee grounds?  Well, what's the first place you think of when you think of a good ol' cup a joe?  Yup.  Starbucks!!!  So away I went.  I think that the ladies behind the counter thought that I was crazy when I asked them for their used coffee grounds.  A few years ago I would have been so embarrassed, but now I just think its funny.  Think what you want, people!  (Maybe I am slightly crazy...)

 I mixed up about a quarter cup of coffee grounds, an apple cider/regular vinegar combination, and the steel wool pad (cut in half) in a regular sized mason jar.  After about 10 hours of letting it rest, my patience ran out and I decided it was time to stain (leaving it overnight might have been better...)

 Here is what the crate looked like after only one coat of the stain.  The crate on the left is the original wood, and the one on the right has the stain.  I was a little worried at this point.  How many coats was I going to need to put on in order for it to be as dark as I wanted?

Here is the same crate after a second coat.  Not tons darker, but getting there.  After this, I decided to stop and just see if they got any darker as they dried.  

 Here's a helpful hint: you can use the steel wool as a paintbrush, and just rub the stain on with that.  It worked great!  Unfortunately, I don't think my brain was properly attached, and I didn't wear cloves.  If you ever decide to stain wood this way, I have a couple words of advice:  WEAR GLOVES!!  My hands were stained like this for days.

I let the crates sit outside overnight to dry, and the next morning, to my surprise the crates had darkened up considerably!  I had to do a little patch work over some spots that I missed the first time around, but in the end they turned out beautifully!!  Don't you think? 

 It helps that there is the cutest toddler in the world playing Vanna White for me :)

The grand total for this project (drum role please...):  $11.13!!!!  Awesome!
Who knew that coffee, vinegar, and steel wool could create these beauties!  I am so excited to use them! 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Dinosaur Printables

Here are some more printables coming your way!

The inspiration behind this design is my cute little nephew Landon (if that wasn't obvious by the name included in the design :) ).  He is now the proud brother of not one, but two little brothers!  I can't believe it!

I know that he has to share a room with one of his brothers now, so I designed these with the idea that he could have his name on one dinosaur, and younger bro could have his name on another.  Plus, what 5 year old little boy does not love dinosaurs.  Am I right?

I hope you like these as much as I do!

The colors of each dinosaur are totally interchangeable.  You can have a pink T-Rex if you wanted!  You also don't need to include any birth information.  You could put a quote there, or stats of the dinosaur, or nothing at all.  The sky's the limit!
Love 'em?  Find them at Puddle Design on Etsy.

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