Thursday, February 2, 2012

MIA

I know it has been months since my last entry...but I have ventured back here to let you all know that I am still alive and that I do intend to continue this blog (...I hope). It has been almost a year since I posted, and the reason for that is I have been extremely busy! I left my job teaching 2nd grade to pursue a masters degree in teaching English as a second language full time. I have also been a kindergarten aide at a public school since September. So with work, school, and general life things, I have really not had the time or desire to update this blog. But the desire to ramble on and have people listen (...if anyone actually reads this) led me back here...oh, and the desire to share my love of food and cooking...

So for now, I am back. I hope to at least update this blog weekly, but we shall see how that goes...no promises are being made.

Super Bowl Sunday is just 2 days away and in my next post, I will showcase the yummy foods I will be making to take with me to my best friend's party. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Carrot Cake

I love making carrot cakes! I found a recipe a few years ago, and since then I have modified it. The recipe I use now is one that I have changed and made my own.

I consider myself a carrot-cake-converter...if you have never heard of such a person, let me explain...I convert people to lovers of carrot cakes. A lot of people I have met say that they do not like carrot cakes. I am not sure if this is because they have had bad carrot cakes in the past or maybe the thought of actual carrots in a baked good weirds them out....who knows....

...I do know that once these people try my cake, their minds are changed! I convert them! Hence the name: Carrot-Cake-Converter.

Here goes the recipe:

Begin by putting peeled, washed, and chopped carrots into a food processor. (Back when I first began making this cake, I used to grate the carrots by hand! I would not recommend that unless you want orange fingers, little cuts from the grater, and a sore hand. But, if you do not own a food processor, you will have to use a grater.) 

You want 2 cups of carrots. This usually takes about 4-5 large carrots. Again, I am the worst at measuring so you will have to try it and see. 



 The carrots should look like this after they are processed. 

 Next, add half a can of crushed pineapple (without the juice) and 1 individual cup of cinnamon apple sauce to the food processer. Process this until mixed well. 

One way to lessen the calories in baked goods is to use apple sauce in place of oil. I do not completely cut out the oil from this cake, but I use less. I also find that apple sauce adds moisture. 

When using apple sauce, it is easiest to use individual cups, because 1 of these cups is equal to 1/2 a cup of oil. 

I also use the cinnamon kind, because I am a cinnamon fanatic. If you are not too keen on cinnamon, use the normal kind. 

 Once you have processed the apple sauce and the pineapple, add it to carrots. Next add 4 eggs. 

 After you mix in the eggs, add 1 cup of vegetable oil. 
Next add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (I told you I was a cinnamon fanatic!) Again, if you do not like cinnamon as much as I do, add less. 

 Next add 2 cups of sugar. 

 Lastly add the dry ingredients. 
In a seperate bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. 

Add the dry ingredients and use a hand mixer to thoroughly combine. 

Once mixed, pour half the batter into a round pan (that has already been thoroughly greased and dusted with flour). You wil need two round pans that are the same size for this recipe. If you do not have two of the same pans, you will have to bake one cake and then the other using the same pan. 

Half the batter will be used in one cake and half in the other. You want to end up with two identical cakes that will be stacked on top of each other. 

Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are set and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Once the cakes are done, run a knife along the edges. Then let stand until completely cool. 

After the cakes are cooled, place one cake on a platter. Spread cream cheese frosting generously on the top. Then top with the second cake. Ice the entire cake with cream cheese frosting. Last, cover the sides with chopped walnuts. 


Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 individual cup cinnamon apple sauce
4 eggs
1/2 can of diced pineapple
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cinnamon 
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps baking soda
Chopped walnuts


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Teacup Cake

You read in my last post that we were celebrating my Mumma's (I call my mom that) 50th birthday. In honor of that I made her a cake from scratch. I love to bake and I am pretty well-known for my carrot cake.  My mom requested a carrot cake so that is what I made. But I did not make the cake the classic way, I made it into a teacup shape! Mumma and I love drinking tea, and we visit my Auntie Donna once a week to have tea with her. My Auntie Donna and I threw the party together so I thought the teacup was very fitting.

In this post, I will give the recipe for buttercream frosting, which I used on the cake. I will also feature photos of the cake. In a later post, I will feature the carrot cake recipe with the classic look.

To make the buttercream, I used the Wilton's recipe, which can be found online on their website.


I got to use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this! I was in heaven!! If any of you want to buy me one, I will love you forever!! Okay now to the recipe! 
Begin by beating 1 cup of vegetable shortening. If you do not have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will work as well.


Next, add 1 cup of butter (2 sticks). Mix until smooth. 


Next add in 4 tablespoons of milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. 


Next, add in the powdered sugar. I am doubling the recipe in this post, so you need to add 8 cups of powdered sugar. Add it in 1 cup at a time! 

Watch this video to find out why! 
video

 The icing should look like this when it is done. It should be smooth with no lumps!







Next I took part of the buttercream and dyed it with royal blue dye. Add a bit at a time and mix.





After it was all mixed, it was this color. Remember: if you add a lot of dye to make a dark color, the people who eat it may have their mouths dyed that color!





The other half of the buttercream I dyed sky blue.
Here is the finished product:

 I bought sugar pearls and put them on one by one with tweezers. It was a process, but alhamdulillah, in the end my mom loved the cake! It was worth it! 

Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mumma

Today, I am throwing a 50th birthday party for my mother. This post is dedicated to her. 

                              

My mother is my best friend. Ever since I was a little kid, I remember being close to my mom. My siblings and I used to fight over who would sit next to my mother on the couch. We had to develop a schedule so no one could accuse the others of being unfair. If I didn't see my mom is the house, I would call her name until she responded. I never had anything to say to her, I just needed to know that she was there. I wrote my college essay about how I developed my sense of hard work, my strength, and my moral character from my mom. (I got into every college I applied to, so it must have been good!)


Since becoming an adult, I feel even closer to my mom. I appreciate everything she has done for my siblings and me, and she is a role model as a mom and as a teacher for me.
My mom and I are almost the same person. I remember when I was about 19, I was staying with my aunt in Florida and in the middle of something I was saying, she just looked at me and said: "You look just like your mother, the way you talk and move, I feel like I just saw her." By looking at the pictures on this post, you can see that we don't particularly resemble each other physically. But we are almost identical in our mannerisms. I talk the way she does, gesture the way she does, and even catch myself saying things she always says. For example, a few weeks ago I was watching my second graders run around at recess. One of them came up to me and said "Omar is chasing me!" I looked at her and simply said: "If you don't run, he can't chase you." My mom said that exact same thing to me every time I complained that my brother was chasing me as a child! And I hated it, because my response was always "If I don't run, he will get me!"  I am even saying things that I didn't like my mom saying to me as a child!
My mom and I finish each other's sentences. I can tell exactly what she is thinking by looking at her face. I can even anticipate what she is going to say before she even says it. 

I love my mom more than words can express and I am so thankful for her. I hope inshaAllah that I can be as great a mom as she is someday. 

Happy Birthday Mumma!



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Requests please!!

I started this blog for a number of reasons...ranging from me wanting to share my passion with the world (or whoever actually reads this), to wanting a place to write whatever I wanted about whatever I wanted, to wanting to help people add spice (no pun intended) to their culinary lives, to wanting to challenge myself to refine my culinary skills, take chances, and add new dishes to my repertoire.

This post is dedicated to my faithful followers and aimed at helping you add spice to your lives. There are a number of dishes I am known for...these are the dishes people ask me to make for events or expect as standard at all my parties. I hope to eventually upload recipes for all these dishes, but I want to know which ones you all would most like to know how to make! If there is something you have had that I have made and you want to know how to do it, add a comment and I will try to get to the dishes as soon as I can!

I love to bring others joy in the form of food, and this way I will be helping you spread the joy around! So comment please and let me know what to post next!