Thursday, March 28, 2013

Checkerboard Cake

When I discovered this checkerboard cake pan set, I knew that I had to pick it up!  It looked like so much fun!  I happened to have a coupon at the time I found it at Joann's so I grabbed it.  The cake pan sat there in the kitchen, mocking me for about a month until I finally had some free time to actually pull it out and use it!
When the day finally came to make the cake, I decided to let the boy help me out too.  He had a great time mixing up the cake batter and helping me pour it into each of the pans.  I let him pick the colors to do for the cake.  He picked one of the color combos that was shown on the box...yellow, pink and purple.  He wanted an easter cake!  I think it turned out pretty well for the first attempt at using it.  I definitely see it getting used quite a bit in the future.
It takes 3 boxes of cake mix, so it makes quite a bit.  I did each box in a separate bowl, so that I didn't need to divide it out for each of the colors after the fact.  One of these days, I'm going to find a recipe so I can make cakes from scratch.  Until then, boxed mixes work just fine for me!  To make each color, I used my icing colors...just a little bit goes a long way!  Food coloring will work in a pinch too, but that has a tendency to make the cake batter a lot thinner consistency.  In order to keep the batter from seeping under the ring divider, you want to keep it fairly thick.  The most challenging part was putting the batter in each section of the divider while it was in the pan.  I'd read reviews of people putting the batter in bags and piping it in, but pouring it slowly from the bowl worked pretty well for me too.  There was enough batter left to make a dozen cupcakes as well.  We certainly had our fill of cake in our house for a week or so!
I made a double batch of icing in order to have enough to put between each layer and cover the cake.  I've discovered that I prefer to make my own icing over buying the cans from the store.  It just tastes so much better!
For an experiment to see how to use the cake pan, I was pretty pleased with the end result.  I can't wait to make it again sometime (and for someone other than just my family to eat) and see the expressions on people's faces when they cut into the cake!  It's a lot of fun!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sloppy Joe Biscuits

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a TV commercial.  I saw a commercial for sloppy joes, and they showed putting the mix in refrigerator biscuits.  My first thoughts were "I've got to try that" and "Why the heck didn't I think of that?!".  We enjoy sloppy joes for dinner, but they're just so messy to eat!  I told hubby that I was going to make it for dinner one night and he thought it sounded good too.  The only thing I didn't have on hand were the biscuits, but that was an easy fix after going to the store.  A simple, 4-ingredient meal...perfect for a busy weeknight!

Make the sloppy joe stuff using the directions on the can (brown/drain 1lb ground beef), mix in sauce and warm through.
Flatten out the biscuits so they'll hold a couple spoonfuls of the sloppy joe mix.  Fill the biscuits with the sloppy joe mixture, and fold them over into a pocket.  Cook in the oven for the recommended time on the biscuit can.  I put cheese on top of the biscuits too (if I would have remembered to put cheese inside, there would have been cheese inside as well).

Enjoy a less-messy version of sloppy joes!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Superhero cape

Every boy needs a superhero cape! I decided a few weeks ago that the boy finally had one of his own. I perused pinterest and had a basic idea in mind of what I wanted to do. Last week, I loaded the boy up in the van and took him down to Joann's (trips that alway make hubby cringe!) to go pick out some fabric fornh7s superhero cape. The fabric pattern choices were all his! I tried to tell him that maybe the patterns he wanted wouldn't quite go together so well, but he wasn't to be swayed from his choices! A yard of each was more than sufficient, and made a cape that will last him for years to come!
This weekend, I had a couple hours to sit down at my sewing machine and I was able to get a pretty cool cape whipped out!  Even with my fairly basic sewing skills, I was pretty happy with how it turned out.
I started out by cutting out the "Super J" logo for the back of the cape.  I had some sheets of felt laying around, so I grabbed a couple of pieces that would go with the material.  I wasn't sure what shape originally to use as a shield, but ultimately decided on a circle because I had some paper plates that were the perfect size to fit on the felt!  I traced around the plate and cut out the circle in red.  Then, using the same plate, I drew a J and cut that out to trace onto the felt as well.  I traced the J backwards so when I cut it out, any marks that were on the felt would be on the back.

Next, I cut out a rough pattern of what the cape was going to look like.  I grabbed the boy and measured how long I wanted it to be by holding the material up to his neck and seeing how much I was going to have to cut off the edge.  Once I got the first piece cut, I laid it on top of the other piece and cut out the inside piece.

Yes, those are some BUSY patterns!  BUT, it was what the boy picked out!  I couldn't sway him into picking something solid that would go with the train print!

I then pinned/sewed the felt to the fabric that was going to be showing on the back of the cape.

Step number next was sewing the inside and outside pieces together.  With right sides facing, I sewed up 3 edges together, leaving the top open so I could turn it right-side out.  After trimming the seams back and turning the cape right-side out, I decided to add a finishing touch and top-stitched around the 3 sides, again leaving the top open.

The next step was figuring out how I was going to finish the top and still have a way for it to attach around his neck, with room for him to grow as he gets older.  I decided to fashion some bias tape out of some of what was left of the train fabric, since the train side was most likely going to be facing out most of the time.  I made it long enough to have a tie on each end of the neck.  The edges that weren't on the neck were just sewed together, and then I stitched the edges closed.

At that point, we were able to call the cape finished!

He didn't take it off for the rest of the night, and ran around the house, yelling "Super J to the rescue!".  I'd say that the superhero cape was a hit!  I made it big enough to fit him for many more years to come.  Heck, it even fits me!  When he was done saving the world, he told me to put it on (with the other side facing out, of course!) and instructed me that Super Momma was now to rescue him from peril!  I certainly hope that I can live up to the Super Momma title for a while longer!