Weekend Highlights

It’s almost Christmas and I can’t wait! Just one more weekend! I better hurry and finish getting my last few gifts this week. I only have one picture from this weekend. Sorry, I know I need to be better but I can tell you what I did.

Saturday, I went to a cookie exchange party for one of my friends from work. I wasn’t able to stay the whole time but she does it annually and you get to walk away with a yummy variety of cookies. I ran some errands on the way home and then I attempted to watch Home Alone with Adam but I fell asleep pretty quickly. I realized I am behind on watching Christmas movies this year and I brought my stack out to try and watch them between now and Christmas. I’ll have to try again with Home Alone.

When I woke up, Adam took me to dinner and then we had to run to Lowe’s and check out our possible next house project. I’ll keep you updated on what we decide.

First thing Sunday morning, we went grocery shopping because I wanted to buy everything we could need until after Christmas to hopefully avoid the business. I already realized I forgot the supplies for the treat Adam gets every Christmas morning he works so I’ll be going back. As soon as I got home, I started making banana bread.

Last year, I wanted to do banana bread for my neighbor gifts but had a hard time getting the bread to cook all the way through and not be dry. Well, I finally have a recipe that I am successful at. Here is the recipe! It’s from A Bountiful Kitchen and it’s so easy. My bread always takes quite a bit longer than she says to cook and I’ve learned that the toothpick method of checking to see if it’s cooked does not work for me. I put a thermometer in the bread and cook it until it’s about 190 degrees. Halfway through cooking, I put tin foil on top as well so the top doesn’t get too crispy.

Here is my finished product!

I actually still need to make a couple more loaves but I ran out of ripe bananas so I should be able to finish this week. Adam is going to deliver these to our neighbors tomorrow while I’m at work. I bought the cellophane from Home Goods about a month ago and the ribbon I stocked up on months ago at Michael’s when it was on clearance. Of course, I ran out of it. Always buy more than you think you need!

After I was done baking, Adam and I went and saw the new Grinch. Have you seen it? What did you think? I was torn because I thought it was cute but I love the Jim Carrey Grinch and his personality.

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What did you do this weekend??

Xoxo, Steph

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

My sister’s birthday was this week and I offered to make her a birthday treat of her choice. She said she wanted a chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

I went to Cake by Courtney’s website to see if there was one of her cakes I could try. She didn’t have that exact cake so I used her high altitude chocolate cake recipe. I’ve used this one before but this was my best attempt yet at it. For the raspberry filling, I found another recipe that had a berry compote and followed that using raspberries. For the frosting, I used her chocolate buttercream frosting from her yellow cake with chocolate buttercream recipe.

I am still definitely working on my frosting skills to get that smooth buttercream finish but it is not as easy as it looks. Courtney suggests using these plastic discs on top of the cake to get that nice edge and I think I need to buy those to see if it helps.

I was pretty pleased with the insides because my other cakes have been pretty crumbly when I cut into them and this one held up really well and it tasted good! You can find all of Courtney’s other delicious cake recipes here.

Hobbies

I think I’ve talked a little bit before about how Adam is always telling me to get hobbies that don’t involve watching Netflix and I hate to admit it but he’s right. Adam is all about hobbies. He loves projects and always needs something to do. His most recent thing he’s picked up is picking locks. I’m not sure where that came from but he’s been learning and practicing on clear locks you can buy on Amazon to see how the lock works. One day maybe it will come in handy when we lock ourselves out of something.

My recent hobby has been baking and frosting cakes. I feel like I can’t be making cakes all the time. I want an occasion to make it for. Definitely still working on that one.

I really have been enjoying any type of baking. I keep bringing pumpkin treats to work and I’m not even sorry about it.

One of my old hobbies from a few years ago that I would love to pick up again one day is sewing. There’s something kind of calming about cutting and sewing squares. One year for Christmas, I made Adam a quilt to keep at work for his bed. I made it firefighter themed for him. Even though I just said sewing can be calming, it can also put me at a 10 and be really frustrating. My mom had to fix a few spots where it was getting uneven and not square anymore. But she showed me how to avoid that and manipulate the fabric with pins when you sew it and now I can do a lot better but it’s all about learning. I started another quilt and it’s close to being done but I don’t own my own machine and no longer live with my mom to borrow hers. One day, I will get one and finish the quilt.

My newest hobby I want to try is sugar cookies with royal icing. I really enjoy eating these cookies but I kept seeing videos on Instagram of people icing the cookies and it is so intriguing. One of the ladies I started following suggested this cookbook. I just got it last night and I can tell it’s already so great! It is full of tips and very detailed instructions. Perfect for someone like me who knows nothing about doing this.

Later this week, I’m going to try and buy a few of the tools it suggested and try a batch of cookies this weekend. My sister-in-law is having a baby in the spring and I would love to be able to have some cookies for her shower. So I better start practicing and I’ll give an update of how it’s going, whether it’s good or bad.

I think having a couple hobbies and things that you’re interested in doing are great for your mental health. It gets me off the couch and not sitting with my thoughts. Adam and I have a relationship where we like to spend time together but not every second together. So it’s good for us to each have our own thing we can go off and do. I think it’s still good to have hobbies you can do together as well. We’ve talked about trying skiing this winter but that’s a more expensive hobby so we’ll see. He says he needs a new winter hobby…;)

What are some of your hobbies? Anything I need to try?

Xoxo, Steph

Cake by Courtney

My husband, Adam, is always telling me I need to get more hobbies besides watching Netflix and taking naps. He is a man of many hobbies and always has some sort of project going on. When I came across Cake by Courtney on Instagram, I thought her cakes looked fun. I followed her for a while before I started looking for an excuse to try a cake. My opportunity came up when my sister said she was going to have a little party for my nephew so I asked her if I could try making a cake. The party got a little bigger so I was able to try out two cakes!

My sister said she wanted a chocolate cake and so I did a trial run just to make sure I could make something worth eating. It turned out OK but I thought it was a little bit dry so I think I overcooked it. When I made it for real a few weeks later, I think it turned out better.

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Chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting.

You can see that my frosting skills still have a long way to go but it looks alright and I’m happy with that as long as the cake tastes good. I ended up buying some tools to help make the process a little easier like pre-cut parchment paper, the spinning cake stand and the frosting scraper. I would still like to buy the plastic discs you can put on top of the cake while you frost. Courtney talks all about it on her website. Her recipes are actually really easy to follow especially for someone like me who is at the very beginner stage. She gives lots of tips and tricks. This cake is the high altitude friendly chocolate cake with the chocolate buttercream frosting.

For my niece’s cake, my brother kind of gave me the free reign to pick what I wanted. I knew as soon as Courtney posted about her Golden Grahams Cake that I wanted to try that one. I read the recipe and it looked like one I could try. I tried to bake the cake a few days before the party and this is how it turned out.

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it was an epic fail! The edges that did get cooked tasted really good though.

I thought it was cooked and it looked cooked but when I went to take it off the rack from cooling, it had literally dripped batter out of the cake. Not cooked at all! I was really glad I had started the process early.

Luckily when I tried it again the night before the party, things went a lot better. I made sure to cook them longer and it went pretty great. I did the cake the night before and then assembled and frosted the cake in the morning.

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For some reason, I had a harder time with the buttercream on this cake than I did with the chocolate. I just couldn’t seem to get it very smooth but I know that I just need to practice more.

Overall, I was really happy with the cakes because they tasted great. You would never think of making a cake based on cereal but it was so good! I got a lot of compliments on it too. They may not be perfectly frosted but I had a lot of fun doing it and I think that’s what counts. Now I’m just looking for another reason to try a new cake! Courtney has so many fun looking cakes on her website so you need to check it out and let me know if you try any!

Weekend Highlights

Michelle and I had such a fun and busy weekend. We’ll each talk about what we did on our own down below but first, we want to tell you about the Shania Twain concert we went to with some friends on Saturday night. It was so much fun! Concerts never seem to be long enough and I could’ve stayed all night listening to her songs. Shania is so pretty and I swear she hasn’t aged and sounds so good live.

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From left to right: Annette (Michelle’s sister), Michelle, our cute friend Camille, and Steph

We had so so much fun! We almost forgot how many hits Shania had (I’m not sure how because the woman is brilliant). We were missing our friend Ally, who got super sick the day of and couldn’t make it. We were so bummed out she couldn’t come.

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Steph

Friday night I spent relaxing and trying to feel better from having a nasty cold all week. I think Friday was my worst day of it. I did have to get up for a little bit to bake the cakes for the birthday party I had the next day. I tried to make one of them earlier in the week but it was a fail. That’s a post for another day though.

Saturday, I woke up feeling a million times better. Thank you to cold meds and to humidifiers. I had to hurry and frost the cakes and then take them over to a birthday party at the pool for my nieces and nephew. Both cakes had buttercream frosting and I didn’t even think about it when I made them that it’s really hot outside and buttercream will kind of melt in the heat. So we had to eat the cakes pretty quickly after we got there.

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We sat my nephew down in front of his cake and he stuck his hand right into it. Then he didn’t know what to do and wanted the frosting off his hand. It was pretty funny.

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My little niece loved her cake and she was so excited to turn three. They would barely sit long enough for us to sing before they wanted to get back in the pool.

After we played in the pool for a while, I went home and showered real fast and then got ready to go to the Shania Twain concert.

Sunday was spent recovering from the concert and cleaning my house back up. Things got let go with getting the cold this week and I needed to feel organized again.

Michelle

On Friday night, my friends and I went to Wendover to get our gambling on and it was so much fun! We took the fun bus down there with 11 of us and we had a blast. I didn’t get any pictures that night because I was too busy winning money! I made $80 alone at a blackjack table and was so proud of myself considering I had only learned how to play the day before. The bus leaves super late though so we didn’t get home until about 4 AM.

On Saturday, my sister and I slept in all morning, hung out around the house and then got ready for the concert.

Sunday was pretty eventful for my family. My mom accidentally slipped down the stairs when she was on the last three steps and she broke a couple of her toes! It was so sad. We took her to the hospital to get her foot x-rayed because at first, we thought it was just a sprain. While we were waiting for the doctor to come back to the room, we decided to play a few rounds of blackjack and that was fun.

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My cute mom bummed out because of her new boot!

After the hospital, we were all starving so we went to Olive Garden and then hung out at my house when my aunt & cousins came over.

We were all grateful it wasn’t worse but definitely happy the day was over!

What did you guys do this weekend?