Monday, November 24, 2014

3rd Anniversary Photo Shoot


I FINALLY GOT A CHANCE TO POST THIS AMAZING PHOTOSHOOT THAT OUR WONDERFULLY TALENTED FRIEND, LEE PFEIL, TOOK OF OUR 3RD ANNIVERSARY! WE STARTED A TRADITION FOR OUR 1ST ANNIVERSARY WHERE WE CAME UP WITH A THEMED PHOTOSHOOT BASED ON THE TRADITIONAL ANNIVERSARY GIFTS WHICH ARE LISTED IN THE PICTURE BELOW.  
SO LET ME EXPLAIN. THE 1ST YEAR ANNIVERSARY GIFT IS PAPER SO WE DECIDED TO MAKE A PAPER KITE AND HAVE A PHOTOSHOOT OF TRYING TO FLY IT. YOU CAN VIEW THOSE PHOTOS HERE. THE 2ND ANNIVERSARY GIFT IS COTTON SO WE HAD A PILLOW FIGHT! YOU CAN VIEW THOSE PHOTOS HERE.

SO THEN THAT BRINGS US TO THIS YEAR. THE 3RD ANNIVERSARY GIFT IS LEATHER. SO THE FIRST THING I THOUGHT OF WHEN I THOUGHT OF LEATHER WAS BOOTS WHICH THEN MADE ME THINK OF COWBOYS AND THEN THAT MADE ME THINK OF INDIANS (I KNOW TOTALLY NOT PC) HOWEVER, AS I WAS THINKING OF NATIVE AMERICANS, HAHA, I STARTED TO THINK OF LEATHER MOCCASINS, AND HOW THEIR TEEPEES WERE ORIGINALLY MADE WITH ANIMAL SKINS AND LEATHER. AS I CONTINUED EXPLORING THIS IDEA, I REALIZED HOW CUTE OF A THEME IT COULD BE. AND THEN I FOUND THE PERFECT DRESS WITH TRIBAL ART DETAILING ON THE FRONT AND KNEW EXACTLY THIS WAS THE THEME FOR US! SO IN THE PICTURES YOU CAN SEE ALL THE DIFFERENT THINGS WE MADE WITH LEATHER. I FIRST MADE A NUMBER 3 FOR OUR 3RD ANNIVERSARY OUT OF STICKS AND LEATHER CORD. AND THEN MY BROTHER IN LAW, DENNIS SO GRACIOUSLY HELPED ME MAKE A BEAUTIFUL DREAMCATCHER OUT OF LEATHER. (I WAS STRUGGLING WITH THE WEB, HAHA) I ALSO MADE A LEATHER HEAD BAND, HAD LEATHER SANDALS, RYAN HAD LEATHER MOCCASINS, AND THEN WE TIED OUR HOMEMADE TEEPEE WITH LEATHER CORD. SO WE DEFINITELY INCORPORATED LEATHER AND I THINK IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS. 

WE HAD SO MUCH FUN SHOOTING IN THE WOODS BEHIND MY PARENTS HOUSE. MY AMAZING HUSBAND LOVED ME ENOUGH TO CARRY A WHOLE TEEPEE ON A 10 MINUTE HIKE TO THE PERFECT SPOT IN THE WOODS! HAHA. HE TOTALLY WAS NOT LIKING THE SITUATION BUT STILL DID IT FOR ME <3 THAT'S TRUE LOVE. :P MY NEPHEW, CALEB AND NIECE, JULIA ALSO HELPED US CARRY OUR PROPS THROUGH THE WOODS WHICH WAS TOTALLY HELPFUL AND FUN! SO ENJOY THE PHOTOS AND HOPEFULLY THIS GIVES YOU SOME GOOD IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT PHOTOSHOOT! I AM ALREADY PLANNING NEXT YEAR'S SHOOT WHICH WILL BE BASED ON FRUIT AND I BET YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO =) YOU WILL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE!  









Friday, October 17, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Crepe Cake




HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE! THIS COMING SUNDAY IS MY BIRTHDAY WHICH MEANS I WILL BE CELEBRATING THE WHOLE WEEKEND! =) FUNNY THING IS THAT I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING FOR IT ALL! THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS! ONE THING I DO KNOW IS THAT I WANT TO EAT CAKE! SO I DECIDED TO POST AN AMAZING CREPE CAKE RECIPE FROM MY SISTER'S BRIDAL SHOWER ON THIS LOVELY FRIDAY. 

SEVERAL GUESTS FROM THE BERRY THEMED BRIDAL SHOWER BRUNCH HAVE ASKED ME FOR THE RECIPE BUT FIRST I NEED TO BE REAL WITH EVERYONE ABOUT IT. IT'S A LITTLE LABOR INTENSIVE AND IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT FOR A PARTY WHERE YOU WANT IT TO LOOK PRETTY; YOU MUST FOLLOW ALL OF THE STEPS. I MADE A TRIAL CAKE AND IT WAS A SERIOUS FLOP SO I HAD MY AMAZING BROTHER IN LAW'S BROTHER COME TO MY RESCUE WHEN I COULDN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT LOOK BEAUTIFUL LIKE ALL THE OTHER CREPE CAKES I HAVE SEEN ON PINTEREST.

SO WHEN I DECIDED TO MAKE A CREPE CAKE, I NEEDED TO FIND A RECIPE TO FOLLOW. THE TYPICAL FIRST PLACE I GO TO FIND A RECIPE IS OBVIOUSLY THE AMAZING MARTHA STEWART. SURE ENOUGH, SHE HAD A RECIPE FOR A  MEYER LEMON CREPE CAKE THAT LOOKED DELICIOUS. I FOLLOWED THE RECIPE (KIND OF) BUT CHANGED IT UP A BIT TO MAKE IT EASIER WHICH ENDED UP NOT BEING EASIER, HAHA. BUT THROUGH SOME HELP, I FOUND THE BEST AND EASIEST WAY TO MAKE THIS BEAUTIFUL CAKE SO KEEP READING =)


FIRST THINGS FIRST: CREPES
I HAVE NEVER MADE CREPES BEFORE SO I KNEW I NEEDED TO FIND SOMEONE TO TEACH ME. THANKFULLY A REALLY GREAT FAMILY FRIEND, WHO I CALL AUNT FRAN, HAS MADE THEM A TON OF TIMES AND WAS SO KIND TO TEACH ME HER WAYS.

I MADE THE CREPE BATTER ACCORDING TO MARTHA STEWART'S RECIPE BUT FOUND WHEN I WAS ACTUALLY FRYING THE CREPES THAT THEY WORK AND LOOK A LOT BETTER WHEN YOU USE MORE FLOUR THAN SUGGESTED. SO I DID ALMOST EQUAL PARTS OF MILK AND FLOUR. INGREDIENTS AND MEASUREMENTS LISTED BELOW

I WATCHED MARTHA'S VIDEO ON HOW TO FLIP A CREPE AND YEAH- THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. SO AUNT FRAN TAUGHT ME AN EASIER WAY. ALL YOU REALLY HAVE TO DO IS POUR ABOUT 1/4 CUP OF CREPE MIXTURE INTO A HEATED AND BUTTERED PAN. NEXT YOU SWIRL AROUND IN THE PAN BY ACTUALLY MOVING AND TILTING THE PAN. YOU ONLY HAVE TO WAIT A MINUTE OR SO UNTIL YOU NEED TO FLIP IT. THIS IS THE HARD PART BUT YOU DO GET USE TO IT. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! SO AUNT FRAN SHOWED ME THAT THE EASIEST WAY TO FLIP A CREPE IS TO TAKE A  RUBBER SPATULA AND STICK IT UNDER THE CREPE ON ALL SIDES TO LOOSEN IT UP THEN YOU PUT THE SPATULA UNDER THE WHOLE CREPE AND FLIP. YOU PROBABLY WILL HAVE TO ADJUST THE CREPE WITH YOUR HANDS TO MAKE SURE IT IS PERFECTLY FLAT IN THE PAN AGAIN.

WE MADE 3 DIFFERENT SIZED CREPES BECAUSE WE WANTED 3 TIERS. IN ORDER TO DO THIS YOU NEED 3 DIFFERENT SIZED SKILLETS. THERE ARE 15 CREPES PER TIER. SO THE CAKE IN THE PICTURE ABOVE HAS A TOTAL OF 45 CREPES. 15 LARGE, 15 MEDIUM AND 15 SMALL. ONCE ALL OF THESE WERE MADE WE HAD TO MAKE SURE THEY COOLED OFF. WE STORED THEM IN THE FRIDGE WITH A PIECE OF WAX PAPER IN BETWEEN EACH CREPE TO MAKE SURE THEY WOULDN'T STICK TOGETHER. I AM VERY THANKFUL I DID THIS, SO DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP!

LEMON CURD MOUSSE:
SO MARTHA HAD A WHOLE LONG PROCESS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS LEMON CURD MOUSSE BUT I DIDN'T HAVE MUCH TIME OR ENERGY. I KNOW THAT LEMON CURD IS SOLD IN MOST GROCERY STORES SO I DECIDED TO JUST BUY IT AND THEN TO MAKE IT MOUSSY- I BOUGHT SOME HEAVY CREAM AND WHIPPED IT IN WITH THE CURD. HOWEVER THIS IS WHERE I STARTED TO ROYALLY MESS UP. GO FIGURE, WHEN I THINK I AM ABOUT TO MAKE SOMETHING EASIER, I MAKE IT TEN TIMES HARDER.

ASSEMBLING (THE NIGHTMARE)
A WEEK BEFORE THE SHOWER I DID A TRIAL RUN CAKE WITH AUNT FRAN. WE WERE PRESSED FOR TIME SO AFTER MAKING THE 15 CREPES WE INSTANTLY TOOK OUR LEMON CURD MOUSSE AND STARTED ASSEMBLING WHILE THE CREPES WERE STILL WARM. BIG MISTAKE. AS WE WERE ASSEMBLING, THE CAKE STARTED TO SHIFT AND MOVE AROUND, IT LOOKED AWFUL. WE TRIED PUTTING IT IN THE FREEZER BUT IT DIDN'T HELP. AFTER LETTING IT CHILL WE STILL WANTED TO TRY IT SO WE KNEW WHAT IT WOULD TASTE LIKE AND LET ME TELL YOU- IT WAS HEAVENLY. IT LOOKED AWFUL BUT WAS HEAVENLY.

SO WHAT I TOOK AWAY FROM THE TRIAL RUN WAS TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE WHEN THE CREPES HAVE BEEN CHILLED FOR A LONG WHILE AND I THOUGHT EVERYTHING WOULD BE OKAY. I WAS SORELY WRONG. THE MORNING OF THE SHOWER AT 6AM I START MAKING THE LEMON CURD MOUSSE (CREPES HAD ALREADY BEEN MADE AND WERE IN THE FRIDGE) I STARTED TO ASSEMBLE AND EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE GOING FINE TILL THE MOUSSE STARTED TO WARM UP. THE CAKE STARTED MOVING BY MY 10TH LAYER AND THINGS STARTED TO GET UGLY. I FINISHED THE CAKE AND PUT IT INSTANTLY IN THE FREEZER THINKING IT WOULD BE OKAY AND AFTER 15 MIN I CHECKED ON IT AND IT HAD ALL SLID APART.

MY CAKE SAVIOR
I CALLED MY SISTER IN A PANIC AND SHE TOLD ME SHE WOULD GET A HOLD OF HER BROTHER IN LAW WHO IS A PROFESSIONAL CAKE MAKER. WHY THE HECK I NEVER CALLED HIM THE FIRST TIME DURING THE TRIAL RUN BEWILDERS ME! LIVE AND LEARN I GUESS. WELL HE SHOWED UP THAT MORNING AND ASSESSED THE SITUATION AND REALIZED WHAT I HAD DONE WRONG. APPARENTLY I OVER BEATED THE LEMON CURD MOUUSE AND IN MY OWN MADE UP RECIPE THERE WASN'T ENOUGH GELATIN IN IT TO KEEP IT FROM SLIDING. PLUS FREEZING WHIPPED HEAVY CREAM IS NEVER A GREAT IDEA BECAUSE ONCE YOU TAKE IT OUT OF THE FREEZER THE CREAM GETS WATERY. 

SO HERE IS THE TRICK THAT HE DID WHICH MAY HAVE CHANGED THE FLAVOR A TINY BIT BUT REALLY ONLY MADE IT BETTER IF ANYTHING. HE WENT TO THE STORE AND GRABBED THE INSTANT JELLO NO BAKE CHEESECAKE MIX AND ADDED IT TO MY MOUSSE AND LET IT SIT AND THICKEN FOR 15 MIN. IF YOU ACTUALLY FOLLOWED MARTHA STEWART'S FULL RECIPE LIKE I SHOULD HAVE- YOU PROBABLY DON'T NEED TO DO THIS BUT MAKING THE MOUSSE THIS WAY CERTAINLY IS A LOT EASIER THAN HER WAY PLUS HOW CAN YOU GO WRONG WITH CHEESECAKE? =)

THE NEXT THING HE DID WAS HE WENT HOME AND GRABBED ALL HIS ROUND CAKE PANS THAT WERE STRAIGHT SIDED IN ALL DIFFERENT SIZES. THIS IS WHERE I SAW HIS TRUE BRILLIANCE. HE THEN TOOK MY DIFFERENT SIZED CREPES AND MATCHED EACH CAKE TIER UP WITH THE CORRESPONDING CAKE PAN. HE PUT A LARGE PIECE OF PLASTIC WRAP IN EACH PAN SO IT OVERLAPPED THE SIDES QUITE A BIT. NEXT HE STARTED TO ASSEMBLE EACH CAKE TIER INSIDE THE CORRESPONDING PAN SO IT WAS PRE FORMED AND WOULDN'T MOVE AROUND AS HE WOULD SPREAD THE MOUSSE IN BETWEEN EACH CREPE! BRILLIANT! SO ONCE HE DID ALL 15 CREPES WITH MOUSSE IN BETWEEN EACH, HE THEN TOOK THE EDGES OF THE PLASTIC WRAP AND WRAPPED IT OVER THE TOP OF THE CAKE. AT THIS POINT HE TOOK THE CAKE PAN AND FLIPPED IT OVER SO IT WAS ON THE PLATE AND IT LOOKED PERFECT. HE DID THIS WITH ALL THREE TIERS.

ONCE ALL THREE TIERS WERE ASSEMBLED AND READY, HE FLASH FREEZED THEM FOR ABOUT A HALF HOUR (WE WERE PRESSED FOR TIME- NORMALLY YOU COULD JUST PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE) IT WAS OKAY TO FREEZE THEM NOW SINCE THE CHEESECAKE MIX WAS IN THE MOUSSE AND THICKENED UP THE HEAVY CREAM. 

AT THIS POINT HE STARTED TO ASSEMBLE THE WHOLE CAKE WHICH ALSO WAS BRILLIANTLY DONE. IN THE BOTTOM LAYER OF THE CAKE HE STUCK ABOUT 5 PLASTIC STRAWS IN THE CENTER IN A CIRCLE SLIGHTLY SMALLER IN DIAMETER TO THE MIDDLE LAYER TIER. THE STRAWS WERE CUT SO THEY WOULD ONLY BE STICKING OUT OF THE CAKE BY A CENTIMETER. THEN HE TOOK A ROUND CARDBOARD CUTOUT THAT WAS WRAPPED IN FOIL WHICH WAS SLIGHTLY SMALLER THAN THE MIDDLE TIER AND PLACED THE MIDDLE TIER ON TOP OF THE CARDBOARD AND THEN PLACE THAT ON TOP OF THE CIRCLE OF STRAWS. THIS WAY THE MIDDLE TIER WAS RESTING ON THE STRAWS INSTEAD OF THE BOTTOM LAYER OF CREPES. HE REPEATED THIS FOR THE 3RD TIER. 

AFTER THAT ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS DECORATE WITH BLUEBERRIES AND PUT OUR CUTE LITTLE TISSUE PAPER TASSEL GARLAND THAT MY AUNT MADE RIGHT ON TOP AND IT WAS PERFECT! SO THAT'S THE STORY OF HOW MY GOOD FRIEND, DAVID KROPP SAVED MY LIFE THAT SUNDAY MORNING, HAHA.

BELOW IS THE RECIPE FOR THE CAKE. MAKING ONLY ONE TIER WOULD DEFINITELY BE MUCH EASIER AND LESS TIME CONSUMING AND WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT CAKE FOR ANY CELEBRATION ESPECIALLY FOR A BRIDAL SHOWER BRUNCH!







LEMON BLUEBERRY CREPE CAKE RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS

CREPE BATTER:
1 1/4 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1/2 CUP SUGAR
1 1/4 CUPS MILK
3 LARGE EGGS
1/2 TABLESPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
6 TABLESPOONS BUTTER, PLUS MORE FOR MELTING IN THE PAN

LEMON CURD MOUSSE:
LEMON CURD - 10 OZ JAR
PINT OF HEAVY CREAM, WHIPPED
JELL-O NO BAKE DESSERT, REAL CHEESECAKE (YOU ONLY NEED THE CHEESECAKE POWDER AND THIS IS OPTIONAL ONLY IF YOU WANT YOUR CAKE TO LOOK PRETTY. READ ABOVE TO KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT, HAHA)

STEP 1) 
WHISK TOGETHER FLOUR, SUGAR AND SALT. WHISK TOGETHER MILK, EGGS, AND VANILLA. GRADUALLY POUR MILK MIXTURE INTO FLOUR MIXTURE, WHISKING UNTIL SMOOTH. WHISK IN BUTTER. POUR THROUGH A FINE SIEVE INTO AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST 2 HOUR TO OVERNIGHT. YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE TO REFRIGERATE IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME- IT HONESTLY DIDN'T SEEM TO MATTER BUT MARTHA SAYS TO DO IT SO IF YOU HAVE THE TIME I SUGGEST YOU DO IT =)

STEP 2) 
LIGHTLY COAT A 6 INCH CREPE PAN OR NON STICK SKILLET WITH BUTTER. HEAT OVER MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL JUST STARTING TO SMOKE. REMOVE FROM HEAT; POUR A LITTLE LESS THAN 1/4 CUP OF BATTER INTO THE CENTER. TILT PAN TO SWIRL THE BATTER AROUND SO IT COVERS THE WHOLE BOTTOM OF THE PAN. COOK UNTIL EDGES ARE GOLDEN AND CENTER IS DRY ABOUT 1 MINUTE PER SIDE. (SEE ABOVE COMMENTS FOR MORE DETAILS)

STEP 3) SLIDE CREPE ONTO A PLATE. REPEAT WITH REMAINING BATTER, COATING PAN WITH BUTTER AS NEEDED AND STACKING CREPES. LET COOL.

STEP 4) WHIP HEAVY CREAM WITH A HAND MIXER TILL IT'S ONLY SLIGHTLY SHOWING PEAKS. YOU DO NOT WANT TO WHIP IT TILL IT HAS STIFF PEAKS JUST YET. ADD LEMON CURD AND CONTINUE TO MIX TILL YOU ALMOST HAVE STIFF PEAKS. FOLD IN THE CHEESECAKE MIX. PLACE IN REFRIGERATOR FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES TO LET THICKEN. 

STEP 4) TAKE A ROUND STRAIGHT SIDED CAKE PAN THAT IS THE SAME DIAMETER OF YOUR CREPES AND LINE IT WITH PLASTIC WRAP AND MAKE SURE IT IS OVERLAPPING. PUT YOUR FIRST CREPE IN THE BOTTOM NOTE: THIS WILL BE THE TOP OF YOUR CAKE. SPREAD ABOUT 1/4 CUP OF THE LEMON CURD MOUSSE ONTO CREPE. TOP WITH 1 CREPE. CONTINUE LAYERING CREPES AND MOUSSE. (USE 15 CREPES, ENDING WITH A CREPE ON TOP.) REFRIGERATE UNTIL FIRM, ABOUT 1 HOUR.

STEP 5) TAKE PAN OUT OF REFRIGERATOR AND FLIP OVER ONTO A CAKE PLATE. (FOR LAYERING TIERS SEE COMMENTS ABOVE)

5) GARNISH WITH EXTRA WHIPPED CREAM AND BLUEBERRIES AND ENJOY!!