Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making a Disney Doc Hudson Cake

For my son's 4th birthday I decided to make him a cake of Doc Hudson from the movie Cars. It's a great way to have a themed party at a minimal cost. It takes some artistic ability, but with a little patience you will master the cake carving techniques. Ingredients: 2 cake mixes (any kind) and all the other ingredients on the back of the cake box, you know eggs, oil, and water 2 tubs icing, white Wilton's Disney Cars coloring paste (used for frosting) Confection sugar water 9"x7" glass casserole 5"x7" bread loaf pan

  1. First, mix the cakes together according to package directions

  2. Take a 5"x7" bread loaf pan and fill it half way with the batter

  3. Fill a 9"x7" glass casserole (or whatever you want the length of the base to be) with half of the batter. There will be a little batter left over, so make some strange shaped extra cupcakes for a treat.

  4. Bake the cakes according to the box directions

  5. While the cakes are baking, mix the white icing with the colored paste. Make sure they each have their own bowl color. Leave out a small amount of white that is not colored. Make mostly blue frosting, and a small amount of black, yellow, and red (for the detailed trim). Cover all the icing till the cake cools.

  6. When cake is finished, let it cool completely.

  7. Mix powered sugar and water to a consistency of watery glaze.

  8. When the cake is cooled, place the larger 9"x7" cake piece on the bottom and top with the 5"x7" piece of cake.

  9. This is where your artistic ability helps out. Look at a toy car (Disney's Doc Hudson is preferred) and carve the angles in the cake. I recommend a serrated knife.

  10. After the shape is pretty much carved, take a basting brush and glaze the cake with the confection sugar and water mixture. Let dry completely.

  11. Take the blue icing and cover the cake.

  12. Fill a pastry tube (with wide tip) to form tires with the black, white icing for the eyes and windows, red and yellow icing for the details. And goes with out saying, switch the bag out for each color.

  13. And voila! You have yourself a cake!
I know it seems like a long process, but my son does not really ask for toys. He really looks forward to the cake I make each year for him...because he gets to chose it. It takes some patience, but over the years I have really developed some, for food. Not to mention the reward of the happy smile at the end.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Cups

If you haven't figured out, you soon will...I love my muffin pan! It makes such cute little servings of many items. I found this recipe years ago in a magazine and then online at, but have modified it from the originally to add in some veggies and spices. I just love the fact that everything I make in it gives me an exact size that makes it easier to determine the serving size. You can mix it up with whatever type of veggies you like. And best of all it's

- 1 can of reduced fat biscuits (10 count)
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced
- 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
- 2/3 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of frozen mixed veggies (I use broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas...anything)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Separate biscuits and place each biscuit in a cup of a lightly greased 12-hole muffin pan, pressing dough up sides to edge of cup.
3. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, chicken soup, veggies, cheddar cheese, onion powder, parsley flakes, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
4. Evenly spoon chicken mixture into prepared biscuit cups.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Remove from oven. Place muffin pan on a wire rack and let set for 2-3 minutes. Serve at once.

The Skinny: Serves 10 biscuits @ 144 calories

I have had serveral people ask about the breakdown for nutrition, so here it is:

UPDATE: Homemade Low Calorie Biscuits
I have been playing around with a low calorie homemade biscuits. I finally perfected the following recipe! If you have the time, these biscuits are great and with the recipe below each cup (now serves 12) has 169 calories. A little more calories then above, the cook time is now 20 minutes, but it's nice to know you made your own biscuits!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light butter
2 tablespoons of cold water
1 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey

1. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl.
2. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter until butter clumps are small.
3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Put dough on lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 2 mintutes.
5. Roll out dough into 1/3 inch thickness and cut 12 squares or circle.
6. Place in muffin tin and fill with ingredients above. Bake at 4oo degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

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Making Time For Friends

When you get married, you take the vows to be with your spouse “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part”. Some of us really have taken our vows quite literally, well the ‘death do us part” part. I am not saying this is bad, I mean it is good for a marriage to spend time together. To enjoy each others company, laugh with each other, and really just connect with your husband. However, many times we women tend to take it too literally and barely make time for our friends, which can also be a strain on your marriage. Let’s face it ladies, men really don’t find our topic of conversations all that interesting ALL the time. My husband could care less about my new shirt I bought or whether the new nail polish color goes well with my feet. It’s healthy and good for us women to make that girl time and keep it.

I find that I am very guilty in keeping my vows of marriage too much. I LOVE being with my husband, we always have such a good time together, but he too understands how important it is for us to spend some time apart. He is very good about making his friend time, but I do have quite the hard time making time for my friends. Before I make plans with people I say that I need to check my husband’s schedule. I should say though, that my husband does not work a normal schedule. He works at a hospital which makes most of his work hours weekends and nights…which is opposite of my schedule, I work a 7:30-4:30 Monday through Friday schedule. That means our schedules are pretty much opposite, so when we do have time overlapping I tend to find myself choosing to spend time with my husband more than hanging out with my friends. I have missing baby showers, wedding showers, monthly girls night dinners, and just weekends away visiting a friend who only live 6 hours away (sorry Sarah).

So when my old roommates from when I was 19 wanted to plan a getaway, I thought this could be my perfect time to make more time for my friends. We planned a 5 day trip to Destin, FL. Hoping to catch some rays, relax, and just enjoy each other’s company. This was our first time we have ever planned a trip together and I was super excited. I mean, it’s been 10 years since we have lived with each other. The last time I saw them was our weddings, which were 3 years ago. I am so glad that I made the decision to go. Each of us have changed all so much since we were 19 year-olds living in our tiny, 90 degree heated, 4 bedroom apartment in Minnesota. We have all moved to different states, gotten married or engaged, graduated college, changed jobs, bought houses, and so much more.

Though the weather in Destin wasn’t what we expected, we still had a great time together! It was nice to sit down with a bottle of wine and just talk all about girly things that our significant others probably would rather gouged their ears out then hear. We broke into the pool in the condo, got kicked out of it and laughed the whole time doing it. We went fishing together, had our mani and pedi day, ate wonderful food, and really just enjoyed each other’s company. All in all, I got back totally exhausted, not in the best mood (flight was canceled), but it was totally worth it. For a person like me, who has moved every four years of her life, it is great to find such wonderful friends that I have had for 10 year now. I just hope the next time we do this, it won’t be a 20 year reunion!

Though I missed my husband, I think the time away was good for us. I came home to a husband that missed me considerably and even offered to go grocery shopping with me just to spend some extra time together. The moral of this story is: making time for your friends isn’t betraying your vows. It’s healthy to be apart from each other and make some good memories with your friends. It helps you grow more as a person and it reminds you how much your spouse really means to you. Besides, a little absence can really make the heart grow fonder!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Would You Try It?

I've decided to start a little series looking at current/upcoming trends, my subsequent opinion, and whether or not YOU will try it. Read on for further details...

Today's trends in question are taupe nail polish and chunky clogs.

Taupe Nail Polish

The latest Chanel color to create a frenzy is an almost mushroom colored nail shade called, "Particuliere." As many have been saying this is the perfect compliment to the whimsical, dreamy pale blues, pinks and neutrals that overwhelmed the spring/summer runways. So I like to take a few risks now and then and nail polish seems to be a reasonable risk to take! Not too expensive and just a little something different. So, I went for a cheaper version (no way am I paying that $22 price tag for some Chanel nail polish!!) and picked up OPI's Over the Taupe. I was really hesitant to buy it ("Am I really going to like this? I don't want this to be a waste of a purchase! Such a DIFFERENT color!"). But to my surprise I found the shade to be refreshing in that it was something completely different and out of the ordinary for me. Sometimes, I like doing that :) I actually received quite a few compliments as well and had a few people ask me if I had gotten a manicure. So all in all, I'm going to be rocking the taupe long in to summer.

Chunky Clogs

Yes, it's true, I like to try different fashion trends. Something new and different to spice up my classic look. But really? I am NOT diggin these. Honestly, perhaps if I were a very petite and short lady maybe I might want to rock these but I'm fairly tall (5'7"-ish) and these clogs are just TOO much shoe. Just too much. I love me some high heels but there's nothing about these that I find attractive. More importantly, they are just not "me."
Sorry, Karl Lagerfeld. This girl will have to pass on the clogs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Current Beauty Essentials (Non-Makeup)

Over the years I have tried tons and TONS of different beauty products. And to be realistic I will most likely keep trying new products. I'm always willing to see if a different product works a little better than my current fave. However, the following are my current essentials and I haven't been swayed away from them yet!

1. Matrix Sleek Look Shampoo, Conditioner, and Extreme Creme

Luci got me hooked on Sleek Look products when I was about 16 and I haven't looked back since! I have wavy/curly hair and the sleek look products, although designed for straight strands, leave my hair frizz free and well... sleek! I usually blow dry my hair and then run a curling iron through it. These products encourage my curls while keeping them in control.

2. Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover

I used to be a big fan of Clinique's eye makeup remover. Once college rolled around I started wearing eyeliner AND paying for my own toiletries. In short, I needed a cheaper alternative. Enter the answer to my makeup "prayers" Neutrogena Eye Makeup remover. This stuff works just as well as the Clinique brand but sells for half the price! Most importantly it removes every trace of my stubborn black mascara and doesn't leave an oily residue (ick). Miracle in a botttle.

3. L'Oreal Eye Defense Cream

It's obvious to me just how sensitive the skin is around your eyes and how important it is for you to treat this skin delicately. This eye cream is a little pricey ($10-$12) but it lasts me about 6-7 months. Just a little dab under each eye will do! It moisturizes well and doesn't leave the skin oily. I use it in the morning and at night and haven't found an eye cream I prefer to it (although Tyra Banks swears by Vaseline!)

4. OPI Products

Over the last few years I've developed a greater appreciation for manicured nails. They have the ability to complete an outfit or simply polish off your look. I'm unable to afford weekly manicures and often grow frustrated with my nails chipping and peeling after 1 or 2 days. Then I discovered OPI nail polish. I was very hesitant to buy any of it at first ("$8 for nail polish?!!"). But once I tried it I quickly realized that if I was going to spend any time and effort on my nails I wanted the manicure to last! OPI nail color seems to last much longer and go on much smoother than most brands. Not to mention the fantastic brush - it really helps the nail color go on evenly and moves with the natural contours of my nails. Due to the price I don't buy a lot of colors (and perhaps that's the downside) but I developed a nice collection. I'm particularly in love with Royal Rajah Ruby (pictured above) which is a nice, dark red color that is appropriate enough for the office.

5. Burt's Bees Lip Balm and Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme

I fell in love with Burt's Bees lip balm a few years ago simply due to the minty effect it has on your lips. Can't resist the tingles! Besides that it's all natural, super moisturizing, and a great base to your lipstick or lip gloss. I use it every morning and every night before bed. Burt's also has this great creme for your cuticles. My cuticles tend to get very dry during South Dakota winters so I keep a little jar of this at my desk. I swipe some around my cuticles once a day and have noticed a significant difference! An added bonus? It has a delicious lemony scent.

6. Kenra Volume Spray 25

Try this hairspray and you WILL NOT go back! I have converted several of my friends to this hairspray and it continues to be the secret to getting my hair just. how. I. want. it! It smooths fly aways, holds curl, and shapes flawlessly. I have tried switching to other hair sprays but after using this it is impossible to use an imposter. My two sisters, my mother and myself all swear by it; 4 women with amazing hair can't be wrong!

7. Cetaphil Facial Cleanser & Clean and Clear Morning Burst Shine Control Cleanser

I'm a fan of Cetaphil because it is incredibly gentle so it's great for people with sensitive skin like me. It leaves my face feeling clean and not stripped. I'm a big proponent of washing your face daily - never go to bed with makeup on! I've also taken a liking to Clean and Clear's Morning Burst Shine Control Cleanser. It's great for providing moisture while keeping my annoying t-zone in check. Now if only they would come out with the same moisturizer with some SPF 15. That's the only downside to this product!

What are your tried and true beauty essentials? Do you prefer to buy them in the stores or order them online? A lot of people utilize because let's face it, it's never out of stock! I find myself wondering if it would be smarter to buy this way (hello, free shipping). Up next, my makeup essentials.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remodeling Your Marriage

It's no secret that home remodeling can not only tear you life apart, but also become quite a strain on your marriage. The project can begin to take on a life of its own. It messes up your home, costs money (especially unplanned money) and overall disrupts everyday life.

The key to having your marriage survive a remodeling project is to communicate with each other! For my husband and me, these projects serve as bonding time. Each project is an opportunity to build more on our marriage. We team up to fight through the rough times (chiseling the floor in the bathroom) and the annoying times (not having a cooktop for three weeks now.) It has taught us to compromise our ideas and find the middle ground of what the finished product will be. In fact, I can honestly say some of my best memories of our relationship are times when we both have been covered in dirt and grime, working together.

All of our ventures have taught us to recognize each other’s strengths and know when just to let the other person handle tasks that we aren’t so good at. I have been lucky though, married to a man that has the patience of a saint so through all our remodeling projects he has been the rock. He is a genius when it comes to electrical work and really anything involving an electrical saw. He would say he is happy to have a wife that likes to paint and doesn’t mind spending all of her weekends off working on the project doing the tasks he really hates to do. Collectively we work towards an overall goal in mind, we might not always agree on the path to take to get there, but through all the blood, sweat, and dust we make it to the end. Each project we finish gets us one step closer to making this house our home and our relationship even stronger.


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