‘Pesto’ Chicken and Pasta

I’ve been on a BIT of a losing streak lately as far as cooking for The Boy goes.

And by lately, I mean, my all time record. And by a BIT I mean… I’m 0 for 3. First I strongly over spiced the brussel sprouts on our first dinner, then I made the very bland and not-so-tasty spinach squash lasagna (I know, I know, the name says it all),  followed by the pancake fail.

And in reality, it’s mainly just that I keep trying things out of my wheel house on him and they don’t turn up that great. Because now thinking about it, I’ve also made him Chicken Spectacular and some Italian Nachos (chips, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage, banana peppers… broil five minutes… you’re welcome) and those were both successful. So I’m really more 2 for 5. Which, is still not a passing percentage…

And I’m determined to change that. So my friend was telling me about this great recipe she made of HOMEMADE ‘pesto’, that she tossed in with some chicken and some noodles and ta-da! Dinner!

Well, an easy meal is my very favorite type, and friends, boy oh boy do I have a treat for you!

Things you’ll need:

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • Noodles (any size, any shape!) for Two
  • Chicken (I used shredded rotisserie – it’s just so darn easy!)
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes on Olive Oil
  • More Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • A Package of Fresh Basil
  • A Magic Bullet (Or a Blender I Suppose)

Ready for the steps?

  1. Boil noodles.
  2. While noodles are cooking, shred your chicken and throw all of the other ingredients into the magic bullet.
  3. Magic bullet the stuff. I guessed at how much to put in of everything and it worked perfectly.
  4. When the noodles are done, drain and then toss in chicken and ‘pesto’ and THEN EAT IT AND LOVE EVERY BITE.
Yup. It's just as good as it looks.

My amazing camera phone just can’t do the tastiness justice. But trust me. Your mouth and stomach will rejoice!

If you’re a Parmesan cheese person, I’d go ahead and top with that, you know, if you can remember, before you quickly devour the entire bowl. I mean, good luck with that.

And the best part?

A winning review by the boy! Which, brought me up to a 3 to 6 ratio. And then I introduced The Boy and his roommate to enchiladas last night. Hard recipe it is, just following the back of the can… But that got a glowing review as well… so I’m going to go ahead and call it a 4 to 7 ratio. Which means my at bat ratio here is 57%. Still not passing… but we’re strongly increasing!

And other great news? I officially have pancake mix in the cupboard now, so I’ll be prepared for any guests that come over for breakfast now.

Well… I’ll have mix. I still can’t promise meat, eggs, cheese or milk… but I’ll probably prepare for it if you let me know in advance…

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Pancake Fail.

A couple of weekends ago, I promised The Boy I’d make breakfast for him before church. I had grand ideas of pancakes and bacon and eggs and happiness and rainbows and sunshine.

Well, all of those things hinged on having the right ingredients in the fridge. And as I opened my fridge I realized I had two eggs.

That’s right. Two eggs. No milk, no bacon/ham/sausage. No toast. No pancake mix. No maple syrup. Nothing. Nada. Zlich.

But I’m not a quitter. No! Surely I could just make some pancakes with water and flour and a little oil and an egg… right?

And I remembered that my mother used to make amazing home made syrup with mapeline and sugar. But I didn’t have any mapleine. But I DID have vanilla extract! And vanilla syrup is probably amazing. Right?

Everything LOOKS normal!

Everything LOOKS normal!

Did you just laugh out loud to yourself about the idea of semi hard biscuit like pancakes covered in runny strongly vanilla tasting sugar water?

You should have. Because that is what happened.

However, if my secret strategy was to be taken out for breakfast… I will tell you that I accomplished my mission.

And for the future, I plan on keeping a box of pancake mix in the pantry. You know, because that’s probably a kitchen staple…

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What. The. Squash.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement:

Squash is the worst

Let me clarify… PREPARING Squash is the worst.

I was coming off of my Crockpot Taco Chicken Chili high and was thinking I was invincible. The poo. I could dominate and regulate any recipe I so desired. Because I could cook.

And then I read this recipe for Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna Rolls and I thought this would be the perfect simple dinner for a good after work meal.

Let me just tell you. That was cute. That idea you could just whip up some squash, boil noodles, make the insides and then ‘toss’ it all together. Oh, and did I mention? This is the first time I attempted to make anything lasagna. So yeah, using the word ‘underestimated’ – that’s an understatement. I was out of my league in a big way.

Let me just walk you through what really happened:

  1. I had approximately one hour before The Boy came over for dinner and the roommate would get home. I ran to the grocery store. Got the ingredients. Ran home. Took the squash out of the bag and then went to dice it… and it was hard. And there was a skin. Sigh.
  2. I called my BFF Niki (Young Life Leader, Amazing Person, Knower of ALL THINGS Crafty and Domestic) and asked her what you do with a squash. She laughed after asking if I had not already cooked it to make it tender (no? you have to do that?) and then told me to get a potato peeler out.
  3. I start peeling (potato peeler style) the squash and am also trying to thaw the spinach and grab the other one million ingredients I would need, while starting a LARGE pot full of water to boil on the stove (for the massive noodles).
  4. I throw the noodles in the pot. They don’t fit right (because, why would they). So… I just jam part of them in. While throwing my diced squash (WAIT there’s also seeds inside this squash? Seriously squash?! ::shakes fist::) in another pot to boil until tender (read: for one hundred minutes).
  5. I’m feeling defeated, and we’re on step two of like twenty, so I grab a wine glass, open a bottle, pour myself a glass and snack on some sesame seed sticks.

Which, is exactly how The Boy found me. Shoulders hunched, wine in hand, sheer terror in my eyes.

Luckily, The Boy is not only experienced in all things kitchen, but also has seemingly endless calming capabilities and enough patience to power the world. God bless him.

So, The Boy takes over, I’m running here and there to piece this part and that together… and he’s just moving on forward. He’s laughing through my kitchen storage, trying to find an inch of space on the counter and after he gets everything under control (read: puts me back on the right track), he goes on his merry way organizing all of the misplaced things in the kitchen.

Sigh.

Funny side tangent that has nearly nothing to do with this story but just sets the scene of night in a major way: My house is OLD AND COLD. And the fridge is in this very cold sun room off the kitchen (it’d be too easy to have the fridge in the kitchen). One morning, I had the genius idea to put up a curtain in the door way to stop the artic breeze from rolling in from the sunroom to the rest of the house. Which, I still provide is the smartest thing I’ve thought of this winter. It’s made a HUGE difference. However, somewhere in the midst of all of this scurry in the kitchen, I run into the sunroom for something out of the fridge, trip over the curtain, rip it from the wall and fall basically all the way to the ground tangled in the curtain. Which, should surprise exactly no one that has ever walked anywhere near me, or has had the responsibility of catching me as I fall (I’m looking at you Orlowski). But really surprised The Boy. Who laughed. And compared me to his mother. Which, I’m taking as a compliment. But you know, I would fall and destroy something as I’m also trying to look like a domestic goddess to my suitor and already failing at that miserably. When these moments happen, you know, the ones where things just aren’t going your way… and then you trip and fall. These are the moments I just laugh to myself and feel certain that God has an amazing sense of humor. And good news: The Boy witnesses all of this insanity and mess and disorganization and still thinks I’m great. Thank God.

Anywho, after this long process, the meal finally goes into the oven. I start prepping the salads. I make the garlic bread. And the lasagna rolls come out of the oven as my roommate walks in the door to eat with us. Everything is perfect. It looks incredible on the plate.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

Beautiful. JUST like the photo online. Betsy for the win.

And it tastes like nothing. Nada.

It’s just not awesome. Not even close to awesome. Some might not even call it good. Most would call it bland. You’re eating squash with fat free cheese a noodle and some spinach. I wanted to scrape off the squash and cover it with butter and brown sugar. That’s all I could think.

I had photos of every step of the process, I had notes for things you’d need to know when making it… but I didn’t want to share any single one of them with you, because it’s really just not worth your time to make.

How sad is that?

Lessons learned:

  1. Not all recipes are equal.
  2. Squash requires time and effort.
  3. Long noodles for lasagna need a large pan. And guess what, just sticking one end in… that’s not the solution because it means half of your noodles are cooked entirely differently than the other half.
  4. Even with not-so-great meals, The Boy will take two helpings just to make you feel better about your life.
  5. When something’s not great the first time, the leftovers are miserable.
  6. Grocery shop on the weekend. For goodness sake Betsy, aint nobody got time to go to the store and make a two hour meal on a weeknight.
  7. You should never attempt a new cooking endeavor without a bottle of wine nearby. You know, just in case.
  8. There’s always humor in the kitchen. Mistakes will be made, things will go south, you will inevitably have forgotten at least one ingredient… but hey, that’s just funny.

One year later… I’m getting better. I have some great safe meals under my belt that I could pull out at any point… and I’m not afraid to try new things.

And I’m always, always ready to laugh. Thank God for that.

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How to Win Friends and… Nope just Win Friends

Upon opening the Betsy Blog, you’d better believe I laughed (hard and out loud) when I realized my last post was November 15th. Here’s where I insert something generic about good intentions, blah blah blah.

But really?

I’ve been busy.

Yup. I said it. I. Have. Been. Busy.

With real life friends. Outside of the house.

Incredible right?

Not too long ago, I had a dear friend call me out. Hard. It was one of those best friend smack downs that only they can somehow make sound loving, but you know when receiving them that they are 100% correct… and they are telling you because they care enough about you to actually say something.

God bless best friends.

Anywho, while whining about this and that, she just simply told me to fix it. If having free time was killing me, she asked what I was doing to work to fill that time and I just sat silently staring. “Um… nothing.” “Then stop complaining” she says. Bam. Best friend smack down.

And guess what? She was right. I can’t complain about something that I’m not actively trying to fix (which, could be applied to SO many situations amiright?). So what was I going to do to about?

Answer: Put myself out there. Making friends as an adult is awkward. It’s like dating. Only it’s friend dating. And that’s WAY more difficult. Cause those girls really do notice what you’re wearing, you really do need to be prepared for conversation and then there’s that moment where you have to decide, do I ask to set a follow up friend outing or are you going to get dismissed right away? Friend dating = so much potential… to be uncomfortable. (If this paragraph made you say YES! then boy oh boy do I have the book for you here, seriously, go read it.)

So that’s quite honestly what I’ve been doing. Finding things in the town that I’m living in that I enjoy doing and connecting to people while doing those things. Which, has involved having to leave my sweatpants and flannel tops at home and leave the house. Sometimes, I even add a full face of makeup. I know, wild right? This stuff isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s real effort to walk into some random mingle/networking (good Lord I hate that word) event. But, so far, putting in a little effort has made things so much more awesome.

Case in point: Today I had an amazing lunch. With an amazing lady. We chatted. We laughed. We ate good food (thank you baby Jesus for grown up grilled cheese and tomato soup) and we just had an all around good time talking about whatever was on our mind. It didn’t feel like an uncomfortable first friend date. It felt like I was sitting down with a good friend. And that brought my heart joy and happiness. And makes putting yourself out there and asking someone to have lunch with you totally worthwhile.

Granted: I still maintain that organizing things, keeping a decently clean (errrrr um, mildly clean) house, learning to spend time by yourself, making the meal that you’re eating every once and awhile… those are important. But I think I’m reaching a much better equilibrium… because I thrive being connected. I’m better when I’m busy. And taking in all of the adventures that your town has in store for you… that’s crazy important too.

So on my night off tonight, I’m going clean. I’m going to do laundry (which, for the record, I STILL hate), I’m going to finish wrapping Christmas gifts, I’ll answer some emails that need tending to and I’ll write out another blog post or two (seriously, wait until you hear the squash disaster of 2013). But know, I so encourage you to do the thing that you’ve been putting off. Put yourself out there.

It’s just so stinking great.

The Runza… Meets Taco Salad

This is the story of how I realized I was a grown up.

Awhile ago on facebook, I saw a picture of a recipe. AND IT LOOKED DELICIOUS. And in my head I thought “I could probably make that.”

Which, wouldn’t seem like such a big deal… but it is… BECAUSE THERE WERE NOT DIRECTIONS TO FOLLOW. I just made it up.

Yes. You read that correctly… I, Betsy, the girl who one year ago had rarely used the oven to make anything harder than cake from a box… made it up.

I looked at it. Thought through what it probably needed. And then I just made it. And are you ready for this? It was incredible.

Which, is why I can call myself a grown up. Because, confession time, I’ve thought this to myself before and then it’s turned out terribly. And those things I don’t blog about, because it’d be embarrassing to confess that I combined rice, green beans, cream of mushroom soup and tuna and thought that it might end up the best new recipe of all times (news flash: that’s a terrible combination, do. not. try. that. at. home). So, I choose to keep most of those (clearly not that one) to myself.

But this time. I won. And since your life on the interwebs needs to look perfect… I am here to brag about how genius I am.

Kidding. I’m not that girl.

But I AM the girl who wants you to know about this because it’s freakishly easy and totally delicious. And you will thank me for it being like a taco salad combined with a Runza. Yeah, I said it. Go with me here, you won’t regret it.

Oh, what’s that? You want proof? Fair. I’ll show you the finished product before we go any further:

I've convinced you right? Yuuuuuuuuuum.

I’ve convinced you right? Yuuuuuuuuuum. Thanks Instagram for making my photos cooler than they really are.

Yeah. And the great news? It’s real easy.

Cool Bets you’ve been rambling for a while now, let’s get to the point shall we?

Here’s what you’ll need friends:

  • Two cans of crescent rolls. I used just one, but to really overlap the triangles more all while making it more carb-filled and delicious, I’ll use two going forward.
  • A pound of hamburger.
  • A packet of taco seasoning.
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream… or whatever else you’d use to top your taco salad!

Start by cooking your hamburger… add taco seasoning according to the directions. While the meat is cooking, arrange the crescent rolls as such on a baking sheet:

It's a star! Sort of... So, I'd use two cans and have them overlap more next time.

It’s a star! Sort of… So, I’d use two cans and have them overlap more next time.

When your meat is fully cooked, you’ll add that to the ring of triangles and then fold the flaps over…

Yum. And, this is the perfect example of how you need more rolls...

Yum. And, this is the perfect photographic evidence of why you need more rolls…

And then you cook according to the directions on the crescent roll container. When the rolls are nice and browned, take them out, fill the middle of your ring with salad fixings… and TADA! a quick, warm, family (or roommate) friendly meal.

And here’s what happened… As I was pulling out this quick dish from the oven, my roommate walked in and was so excited that dinner was on the table and ready to enjoy. And then got even MORE excited when she realized it was actually tasty dinner. Seconds? Yes please.

Meanwhile, I took a bite and thought “oh my gawd it’s a taco seasoned Runza!” Which, as you all know, just made my heart sing with joy… all while getting me to think through how I should maybe reach out to Runza and let them know that I have a BRILLIANT new product line for them… I’ll probably become a millionaire. I’ll keep you posted on my progress on that front (read: you’ll never hear about this again because the idea will flop).

Anywho, that friends, is the story of how I became a millionaire product inventor an adult. Wow. Only took 28 (nearly 29) years to get here!

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Geocaching.

Yes. You read the title of this post correctly friends. I have fallen in love with a new adventure. Which, is where I’ve been for the last month.

Geocaching.

Kidding. I promise I’m not THAT big of a nerd. I’ve only spent like half the month doing that… the other half I just spent making fairly boring meals, starting training for Kate (yes friends that have met my beast, I’m learning to be a better dog owner, I’m SURE there will be stories about this in your near future) and spending lots of time at work on a massive project we just finished.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand… Geocaching.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?!

LOOK! They are so stinking tiny! You'd never know!

LOOK! They are so stinking tiny! You’d never know!

It’s a log. It’s the cache. It means YOU’VE WON!

Geocaching is this crazy hobby involving a compass, GPS coordinates, and a hint… and then you go adventure seek to find the cache.

How adventurous you ask? Well, sometimes, you just have to climb INTO trees to find them.

Dedication. That's what this little hobby takes.

Dedication. That’s what this little hobby takes.

It was introduced to me by my lovely friend, and I’ve since passed the hobby along to another 5 people. True story.

And now, I want to pass it to all of you. It’s something to get you out of the house (cool move Bets, right before winter), something that you can do with a friend or two to fill your time with adventures and laughs and also to just make you aware of hidden treasure in your own backyard. Because sometimes… these caches are filled with TRINKETS! Seriously, just when you didn’t think life could get any more exciting!

So go to www.geocaching.com and I’ll let them teach you how it works (it’s simple and they make it simple). And then down load the App on your phone. Because as much as you’d like to think that you can handle it with a compass and an actual GPS, it’s a heck of a lot easier with just your phone (I mean, more power to you if you already own a GPS and a compass. You’re officially now my hero!). And then tell me about it. We can nerd out about the time we climbed into the tree like idiots together.

And know, if you come and visit me in the near distant future… I might kidnap you and take you on an adventure. So – be prepared for that.

Happy caching friends!

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You know those Yams in the plastic wrap?

The ones sold individually?

Did you know they were wrapped like that BECAUSE YOU JUST THROW THEM IN THE MICROWAVE? Plastic and all?

Five minutes. Cooked yam. WHO SAW THAT COMING?!

Five minutes. Cooked yam. WHO SAW THAT COMING?!

Yup. Learned that lesson last week. Had no idea. Which, made my roommate laugh as she was wondering why I kept buying them in the wrapper. I just thought that all individual ones came like that. Nope. Not true.

Noted. Will keep that in mind the next time I’m buying sweet potatoes.

And I’ll be in awe…

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The. Best. Recipe. Of. All. Times.

Everyone.

I have found… MY MOST FAVORITE RECIPE OF ALL TIMES!!! Or, more accurately, I feel like maybe I should call it “my most favorite FALL recipe of all times” as it’s warm and delicious and makes your house smell like happiness. But if it was a hot summer day and you have no air conditioning… it would be just more hot. You’d be hot. It’d make your house hot. Hot. Hot. Hot.

But that’s neither here nor there… because it’s getting cold and FALL HAS ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRIVED! It’s true. The Pumpkin Spice Latte told me so.

And you guys… This. Is. So. Amazingly. Easy.

Here’s what I’ve learned… there’s nothing like throwing some stuff in a crock pot and coming home later to a perfectly prepared meal with no work to do before being able to consume it.

This whole adventure started because I’d been craving soup (because that’s just what happens to me when winter is coming) and decided to go on the hunt for a soup recipe. First stop, the lovely SkinnyTaste blog. Why? Because this lady is not only genius, but loves the crockpot. And I love her for that. And after a few clicks, I found it. I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili.

I mean, doesn’t that just sound like a cozy meal? Answer: Yes.

There’s 10 servings. Which means, you can eat it night one when you come home from work and then 9 days straight… OR you can place it in ziplock bags and throw it in the freezer to take out and easily throw it in the microwave at a later date. Or heck, you could probably make it for a group… but I just didn’t think ahead like that. And after tasting it, I was reluctant to share. It was that good.

Enough talking Betsy – get to the goods.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz can black beans (I made the executive decision to drain them)
  • 1 16-oz can kidney beans (I made the executive decision to drain them)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • chili peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker.

No big deal. Just threw a whole bunch of stuff into a crock pot and stirred it. Done.

No big deal. Just threw a whole bunch of stuff into a crock pot and stirred it. Done.

Place chicken on top and cover.

Seriously. You just set it on top. No cutting. No dicing. Yeah, you want to try this right now don't you?!

Seriously. You just set it on top. No cutting. No dicing. Yeah, you want to try this right now don’t you?!

Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

You come back... to this. Perfectly cooked, absolutely delish chicken.

You come back… to this. Perfectly cooked, absolutely delish chicken.

Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

It just fell apart. Easily. With two forks. Perfectly. Cooked. Tender. Chicken.

It just fell apart. Easily. With two forks. Perfectly. Cooked. Tender. Chicken.

Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in  (I’m going to be perfectly honest here… I shred it. And then put it directly into my stomach. Ain’t nobody got patience to WAIT AROUND FOR FUN when the meal is ready… Just sayin’). 

If you're wondering if this is the point where I just dipped a cracker into the crock pot... you know... to just sample it... then you'd be wondering correctly...

If you’re wondering if this is the point where I just dipped a cracker into the crock pot… you know… to just sample it… then you’d be wondering correctly…

Top with fresh cilantro (Um… yeah… I skipped that). Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (Or high fat cheese. Or no cheese. Whatever strikes your fancy).

And are you ready to see the final product?!

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. Best meal I've ever made.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum. Best meal I’ve ever made.

I just put some on a plate. Added a little sour cream. A dabble of cheese and then scooped it up with crackers. She suggests rice or noodles as other alternatives (as in – put some rice at the bottom of the bowl and throw chili over it).

I will give you one quick PSA. I KNEW that when you opened cans you were supposed to be careful of the jagged edge. But this time, I really learned my lesson (scroll quick if blood makes you queasy!).

Ouch. Plain and simple.

Ouch. Plain and simple.

Here’s the trouble with hurting yourself in the kitchen. You’re working with food and suddenly you’re bleeding everywhere. It’s just a messy scenario. So don’t do it. Go ahead and just be careful with freshly opened cans and save yourself the frantic search for the Disney Princess bandaids. You’re welcome in advance!

It has honestly been my kitchen favorite and I can tell you right now, I’ll be using this often this winter. Group dinner? Check. Feeling cold because my windows leak cold air like it’s their job? Done. Feeling lazy and don’t want to make dinner every night for the week? Pray answered!

Got any great crock pot recipes I need to try on another cold day? I think this crock pot and I are going to have a very very happy fall together!

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My room. AKA Mary Poppins Closet.

 

I call it Mary Poppins closet, simply because there’s more in here than anyone could predict. In all actuality, I’m in awe it’s all in here. And that it fits.

But when The Roommate came to move in… I needed to combine two bedrooms of stuff… into one bedroom. Had you asked me if it was possible. I would have told you no.

But I would have been REALLY wrong. With the exception of my beautiful chalkboard desk (which, happens to fit nicely in The Roommates room – bless her), everything does fit.

I’ll just bet you’re wondering how? Right?

Great news… I took pictures.

We’ll call this before. Moving in a bookshelf, an ‘armoire,’ a full closet worth of clothes, half of bathroom worth of stuff… and all of the stuff one would store in an office.

IMG_3976

So. Much. Stuff!

We can call this the middle:

Attempting to fit everything in the place it's going to stay. Oh-so-full.

Attempting to fit everything in the place it’s going to stay. Oh-so-full.

And… for now… the end result:

 

Everything has a place!!

Everything has a place!!

I’ll just bet you’re thinking “Betsy, if you cram it all into the closet on the floor… it doesn’t count!”

Well kids, buckle your seat belt… because even the “closet” is in order!

 

Everything is in order... even the HATS have a place!

Everything is in order… even the HATS have a place!

Sure. Some of the extra linens went into the creepy cellar for storage… but other than that. Stuff is in place and organized. Huzzah!

And I owe you all sorts of stories of new furniture, hanging things in the wall ALL BY OURSELVES and a few recipes. Let’s be thankful that tomorrow’s Friday and I’ll have some time to play catch-up this weekend on the blog!

Happy Friday friends. Hope you all have a brilliantly wonderful weekend!

 

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That Time “Being a Cheerleader” Made Me The Best Baker Ever

This post has a whole lot of things in it. I’m just warning you now. And I’m sure that this title probably makes you think I’m overestimating myself.

But you guys, I’m totally not, because LOOK AT WHAT I DID!!

Yeah, I made this. In real life. And guess what? It was flipping delish.

Yeah, I made this. In real life. And guess what? It was flipping delish.

Now you’re curious aren’t you? I just bet you are. And guess what friends, I’m here to tell you THAT YOU CAN DO THIS! And it’s easy. And you’ll wow all your friends. And everyone will call you Martha Stewart. And then you will take over the world. Or go to jail. Tough call really.

Anywho, I was inspired by one lovely amazing Speedway Motors employee (thank you Carol!) who had brought this cake into the office and she promised me it was easy and gave me the frosting recipe and encouraged me and said other nice things that made me believe it was possible for this non baker to succeed at something so outlandishly out of my reach.

So I bought an icing kit thing-a-ma-jig (from IKEA – total win for frugality). And some cake pans. And I waited for the perfect opportunity to attempt such a feat.

And then it happened. My amazing new roommate moved into my house and that just seemed like the perfect occasion to bake a cake! I mean, if you moved in a house and your new roommate was all “Hey, welcome to the house, I baked you something amazing” – you’d just know the partnership was going to be an instant success right? Absolutely. And because I was concerned I was going to catch the house on fire burn the cake, I made sure that New Guy could come over to supervise me.

Step one: Bake Cake. Pick the flavor you want (I’m plain, so I went with white). You need two pans (same size) and one box of cake (lesson: you don’t need a box of cake for each pan… #oops). Follow directions on box. Yes, making the cake is actually that easy and then you end up with these guys…

Awe, this guy came out perfectly. It's twin brother didn't fare so well. Whoops. Cool news, you just cover these suckers with frosting... no one would ever know!

Awe, this guy came out perfectly. It’s twin brother didn’t fare so well. Whoops. Cool news, you just cover these suckers with frosting… no one will ever know!

While those guys are cooling… it’s time to make the frosting! The recipe comes straight off of Food.com and it’s White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened (no subs)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces white chocolate or 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled
  • 3 -5 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy.
  2. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add in more to achieve desired consistency).
  3. Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula.

Yes, it’s literally that easy. We made 1 1/2 times the amount… because we thought 3 and 1/2 cups may not be enough? And we were glad we did! So you end up with a whole amazing tub of this:

This $5 hand mixer is literally the best money I've spent. Maybe ever. But most definitely all of 2013.

This $5 hand mixer is literally the best money I’ve spent. Maybe ever. But most definitely all of 2013.

And then you cut the cake. Wait, what? Yes. Cut the cake. Before you frost it. It’s to make the top of the cake flat so that the second layer doesn’t slide off the first layer… Genius. And luckily, my genius roommate was at home to teach me how to use the handy tool that came with the frosting kit!

Get excited. I think you'll be seeing this girl on the blog rather often!

Get excited. I think you’ll be seeing this girl on the blog rather often!

Because really, if you saw this tool, would you have instinctively known that it was made to slice off the top of a cake? Let me just answer that for you. No. No you wouldn’t.

We can all take a moment here to appreciate how funny it is that THIS GIRL owns cake making supplies. Happy sigh.

We can all take a moment here to appreciate how funny it is that THIS GIRL owns cake making supplies. Happy sigh.

P.s. Happy note. Those little cake shavings are a really great way to test your cake. You know, just to make sure it’s not poisonous for when you serve it. It’s selfless of you to try it. You’re such a giver. Making sure everyone will enjoy it. High five you.

Once your cakes are nice and cooled and sliced and diced. You’re ready to start frosting. Take bottom cake, frost the whole thing, put second layer on and frost that whole puppy as well. Basically this step evens out any imperfections the cake has… and gives something for the piped frosting to sit and adhere to!

Bottom cake & top cake with a nice overlay of frosting!

Bottom cake & top cake with a nice overlay of frosting!

Aren’t you so excited? See, old Betsy would have thought “okay, the cake is done.” Because really, it looks sort of nice – and if you were using store-bought frosting, you’d be out. But NEW Betsy was super ready to make it look amazing. So out comes the piping bag. And here’s where being a cheerleader somewhere in my former life comes into play. Those hours and hours of making locker signs and swirls in puff paint and glitter… REALLY pays off. All you do with your piping bag is add this pattern over and over on the cake.

Why yes, I did design this in paint just for you all. I've got mad paint skills.

Why yes, I did design this in paint just for you all. I’ve got mad paint skills.

I’m sure there’s somewhere you’re supposed to start on the cake, but I just sort of went and it turned out just fine!

Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Swirl...

Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Swirl…

Did you want to see it one more time? Yes? Okay fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine I’ll show you the final product again!

This time with a fancy filter! I know, I know,  my pictures leave a little bit to be desired, someday I'll become Smitten Kitchen... until then, you'll have to settle for Instagram.

This time with a fancy filter! I know, I know, my pictures leave a little bit to be desired, someday I’ll become Smitten Kitchen… until then, you’ll have to settle for Instagram.

And let me tell you what, it wowed the pants off people. Because it was not only beautiful, but tasty delicious as well. Like eating a stick of butter… (or six)…

I adore this cake.

Other things I adore?

Having people in the kitchen with me to laugh through my absolute confusion on the little things and to encourage and guide me. And then laugh some more. I’m telling you, this new roommate is going to be awesome. We’re totally on the path to becoming best friends (too soon?!).

Last great thing? While The Roommate (should we call her that?) and I were laughing and bonding in the kitchen, New Guy set up my internet so it wasn’t the gobbly-gook that internet company guy set. I mean, really, who on earth needs a password with 16 letters and numbers in it? That’s just messy and hard. And without any input from us, he named our network this:

I died.

I died.

I mean, how well does he know me? And also, HOW FLIPPING GREAT IS THAT?! High five New Guy. Sets my internet up, offered to build me shelves (look forward to that in a later post) and although he’s deathly allergic to my dog, still comes over to hang out with me. All while putting up with my mediocre cooking efforts. We’ll keep him.

(Note: if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect, please go now and watch it. Right now. Okaygreatthanks.)

I’m more than happy to share the password with you if you come to visit. It’s clever too. And if you’re really lucky, maybe I’ll bake you an amazing cake too.

I’m feeling pretty daring and confident right now. Anything else there I should try? I’m accepting suggestions… you know, now that I’m a professional baker! Okay, okay, a mildly decent baker who has the ability to follow directions…

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