Jul 11, 2009

Eric Clapton Concert, June 23

What a great concert!!! Not many pictures obviously, but a great memory for sure. Steve managed to get us good tickets to the concert, they were in the 'nose-bleed' section, but so close to the stage that we felt like we were on top of EC and Stevie Winwood. Jesse (Steve's son) flew in on Saturday for the concert on Tuesday. Was great to see someone who's been such a big part of our musical lives for so long and it was so nice meeting such a great kid and being able to spend some quality time with him before he headed back to NY and completely different weather for sure! Funny thing...he actually enjoyed the warmer weather while he was here and seemed just a little sad to leave our 'warm' Texas weather and return to the cooler temps of Syracuse, NY.

Dinosaur State Park, Cleburne, TX

Steve and I spent the day with his son, Jesse, at Dinosaur State Park in mid-June. It was hot, hot, hot but we had a great day, did a lot of hiking, climbing up and down the rocks and even discovered our very own dinosaur track.

Fairy Toadstool Cake

Ashley and I made this cake this morning at our cake club meeting, Cake Divas. Rather than doing 2 separate cakes which is usually what we do, we created this one together...2 creative minds, 2 sets of busy hands and the completed project produced a really cute and whimsical cake. The inside is pound cake and the outside is covered in Fond-X (a fondant that is delightfully easy to work with and tastes great). We had a great time working together on this cake and are already looking forward to next month's project.

Dec 19, 2008


I need to do some real catching up here cuz there are few events worth posting. Gonna have to stretch and dig thru the memory bank to remember as far back as the last time I posted, but gonna give it a try (thank goodness I keep a calendar of events, etc).
Biggest event in October was Lexi's b'day. Ashley and I created another cake for her based on her requests. She turned 14 this year and although she's had a tough one, she still struggles on and continues to surprise us with how smart and special she is.
We also made some some pumpkin cupcakes and a pumpkin layer cake for Halloween events. Both recipes were found online and both were enjoyed by all. Will post those recipes later.
We also had our first 'demo' meeting of our newly established Cake Divas club. Our first meeting consisted of discussing some business issues as well as demonstrating how to apply rolled buttercream to cookies and decorate. We also tested out several different types of fondant. Regina's husband took pictures and they should be on the Cake Divas blog soon (http://cakedivas.wordpress.com/).

Sep 28, 2008

Ashley & Blake's New Home & Open House

I'm behind obviously, so let me attempt to catch up a little.
September 27...
The day Ashley, Blake and I prepared & planned for finally arrived yesterday. The event was the Open House to show their new home to family and friends. We'd designed and sent the invites, they'd worked on getting their house ready, we planned a menu that would last the day and feed plenty, we'd bought groceries and prepared food. It was a long but great day. They had lots of visitors, from both families and friends. Everybody loved their new house, had a good time and ate lots (glad for that as there weren't many leftovers!). Here's the link where you can visit Ashley's new home and ck out the menu too (http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=3ct7ivar.cmhhfz2r&x=0&y=d6yiry&localeid=en_US).
It was a great day. BTW - my truck in front of her house.

1st Birthday Cake

A little pair of 'First' birthday cakes for the young lady next door. Her mom asked me to make these cakes for her daughter's birthday and since Ashley and I've made cakes for some of her other children, of course it was a pleasure to make this one as well. She said she wanted a cherry chip cake shaped as a #1 as well as a 'smash' cake. Both are covered in buttercream icing flavored with a little bit of cherry extract.

Sep 9, 2008

Oops! Why no posts lately?

So sorry that there haven't been any postings lately. Have been busy with helping Ashley & Blake get moved into their new house, making mine a little more homey, buying school supplies for the grand kids, dealing with a difficult job, learning about web pages, starting a cake club (called Cake Divas) and lots of other things to deal with recently. Haven't had any cakes to make lately or been to any fun places worth taking pictures of, but Ashley & Blake's housewarming is coming up soon (will post those pics) and who knows what will happen between now and then. I promise there is more to come...please stay tuned for lots more cakes, fun and who knows what! Hugs to all!

Aug 11, 2008

More cakes classes and completed projects

Okay, here it is...finally. I've been waiting to add this entry so that I could put all these pictures into one post. These are the completed class projects from another set of cake classes that Ashley and I decided to take as well as the 'homework' that we were asked to present giving 5 of the concepts that we'd learned in the previous 4 classes (the last class, #5, was about cookies). Prior to this series of classes, all of the cake decorating classes we'd taken were from one source and even though we had discussed that we were interested in taking some more advanced classes, we hadn't yet made the commitment to do so. While on vacation recently, I read some posts from a fellow blogger, Stephanie of Frosted Garden http://frostedgarden.blogspot.com/. Via her blog, I learned that she was planning to teach a series of cake decorating classes. We emailed back and forth for a bit and finally, Ashley and I decided to sign up for and take her classes. We were looking foward to getting additional perspectives on how others go about decorating cakes, cookies, etc and to learning something new. We did both. Stephanie is a remarkable young lady who has become very successful as a cake decorator (cupcakes and cookies, too) and is totally self taught which meant that she really was able to share a lot of information with Ashley and I about more than just technique; she was able to share a lot of the trials and tribulations that she'd experienced since beginning her career as a cake decorator. Stephanie's classes were very well attended and were a lot of work, for both her and her husband. And yes, her husband is much more than just an observer, he is a very big part of her completed projects. Rodney helped Stephanie with a couple of her classes by instructing us on how to do some of the things that he does when helping her design and make some of her beautiful cakes. I get the idea that he does a lot of the fondant work and I also hear that he can make some amazingly detailed cookie cutters (and sells them BTW). Stephanie (and Rodney) covered a lot of techniques in a short period of time and did it very well, especially given the time constraints. The end of each class found us all rushing to finish our project of the evening, but rest assured that each and every time we were able to take our completed project home to share with family and loved ones. Stephanie was great, Ashley and I both learned a lot and made a lot of new friends. Thank you Stephanie and Rodney.

Jul 28, 2008

Guitar Cake

Here's another Creme de la Creme http://www.cremedelacremecatering.com/ cake that Ashley decorated. She sent me these pictures with the comment, "Here's the latest cake that I did at work recently :-) This was one of my first BIG projects that I worked on by myself." I may be her mom, but I think it turned out really well. It looks pretty real and from the pictures she sent, I'd have to say, "If I didn't know it was a cake..." Wanna see more detail? Click on the individual pictures and you'll be able to see all the detail that went into this cake. I'm not sure about the flavor of this cake, but I do know it's buttercream icing with fondant & gum paste details.

Jul 12, 2008

Basketball & Wedding Cakes

First let me say, "I love making cakes! I love decorating cakes w/Ashley. And delivering cakes isn't so bad either when you get to participate!" We had another busy weekend. We made a 'basketball' cake for the boys who live next door to me. They both have birthdays on the 20th of the month, they are both on basketball teams and we needed to make a cake for our latest cake decorating class, so...it was a win/win situation. They totally loved the cake that we delivered to them and I had a picture of it but was unable to retrieve it at the time of this post. This particular cake is a 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 vanilla flavored cake with BC icing and fondant decorations.

We also delivered and set-up another cake for Creme de la Creme Bakery http://www.cremedelacremecatering.com/. It was a beautiful 3-tiered wedding cake that we delivered to Sky Creek Ranch Golf Course http://www.skycreekranch.com/ in Keller. The last cake we delivered, I mostly just stood around and observed, but today, Ashley let me help. As a matter of fact, she gave me the job of adding the hydrangeas to the cake because she said I was better than her at that type of detailing. I'm not so sure about that, but I was happy to do it anyway and we were both pleased with the results. What do you think?

Jul 6, 2008

New Grill/Big Challenge

When my old Char-Broil grill bit the dust from using it so often, I thought I'd be able to do without one, however, I've been missing my grill buddy ever since. So, this weekend I bought this little baby while on a shopping trip at Wal-Mart. My thinking is that this is the perfect way to determine if this little thing will do the the trick or do I actually grill enough to justify buying a bigger one. Once home, I opened the box up and OMG! there were a 'gillion' pieces! After my initial shock at seeing so many pieces, I began putting it together. Basically, the instructions stunk, but the pictures were fairly good and although I had to take a couple of things apart and then put them back together again after seeing the errors of my ways, I accomplished the task of being able to hook up the gas and am now grilling my first meal, using my Pampered Chef Grill Basket, on this little baby - a single turkey brat and veggies. She's little but she rocks!

Yum! HM Banana Bread

Dad would have loved this. I made homemade banana bread today. I found the recipe at http://www.allrecipes.com/ and used it since I was cooking away from home.
Banana Banana Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Recipe submitted by: Shelley Albeluhn

The Herds Retire!

We found this article while catching up some webnotes this morning and have spent the whole morning in mourning:


This article talks about the retirement of a couple of true legends, Claude & Orlene Herd, from one of the oldest hamburger stands in the state, Herd's Hamburgers. Herd's is located in Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas. This historic burger stand dates back to and has been owned by the same family since 1916 beginning with Claude's aunt, then his mother and father and of course, most recently, Claude & Orlene. This lovely couple have decided it's time to hand it over to the next generation and enjoy retirement. You can read more about Herd's Hamburgers and Claude & Orlene in this article.

Jul 5, 2008

Breakfast at Hicks Airfield

Woke up this morning with the thought that we should do something different for breakfast and the morning, so suggested that we go to the Rio Concho Cafe at Hicks Airfield http://www.hicksairport.com/index.htm and watch the planes take off and land. I thought that it might be the perfect weekend to go there given the weather and the fact that it is a holiday weekend. I was right as there was lots of activity including many take-offs, landings and the opportunity to check out a lot of interesting planes.

Per their website, "Hicks Airfield is located about 12 miles North of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Typical days at Hicks Airfield yield single and multi-engine aircraft, home-built planes and Warbirds. If you are interested in plane rides or flight training, they are both available through businesses located at Hicks Airport, or one could watch planes from the local restaurant if they so desired. Aviation with a neighborhood spirit is the main theme at Hicks Airfield!"
Honestly, the food at the cafe leaves a 'little to be desired', but the experience of being there and watching all the outside activity makes it worth the experience. As we sat in the little cafe, waiting and then eating our breakfast, we were witness to no less than 20 small aircraft taking off, landing, fueling up, etc. We've been here before, but never when there was so much activity in that there were lessons being conducted, multiple husband/wife flights, multiple fuelings, planes being 'pulled' from the fueling spot to their parking spots, an old 'warbird' taking off and then flying and more. You can also see that there are lots of hangers that have been converted to and are mult-purpose hangers, i.e., living quarters, offices, etc. It truly was a rare treat and one that we totally enjoyed.

Jul 3, 2008

Patriotic Trifle Dessert

I made this beautiful, and very patriotic dish to take to work on the Wednesday prior to the 4th...my way of celebrating the 4th of July a little early and with the office since we'll be closed that day. Nobody even realized that it was totally fat-free or sugar-free! It was gobbled up so fast that I didn't get a chance to get any myself! This recipe is courtesy of the Kraft Foods website and I made it in my Pampered Chef trifle dish, which by the way is the terrific party dish in so many ways! I topped this work of art with a sprig of mint right out of my herb garden.

1-1/2 cups cold fat-free milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Reduced Calorie Pudding & Pie Filling
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (13 oz.) angel food cake, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6-1/2 cups)
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup blueberries
POUR milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. Gently stir in 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping.
LAYER half each of the cake cubes, strawberries and blueberries in large serving bowl; cover with pudding mixture. Top with layers of the remaining cake cubes, fruit and whipped topping.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Choc/PB Cupcakes & Pink Princess Cake

Ashley did 2 projects on her own, for Treasured Cakes, while she was off work for the week. The first was cupcakes and are the result of a recipe she came up with using peanut butter cups in the middle and peanut butter buttercream frosting on top of chocolate cupcakes…and 'just for fun' she added a piece of a peanut butter cup on top. VERY rich and VERY good were the apparent responses from her softball team which she'd made these for.

The other Treasured Cakes project she worked on was a Pink Princess cake for a 1st b'day party. She was given a picture of what the customer wanted and was able to recreate it as a smaller cake. When presented to the b'day girl, the cake will have a princess tiara placed on top and a pink boa around the bottom of the cake. Ashley said she had a few challenges with this cake just as we always seem to do (fortunately we always manage to overcome those challenges and issues). She says she loved adding the edible pearls and some fondant details to this cake and personally, I think the bow was the perfect finishing touch.

Jun 28, 2008

A Trip to the Hill Country

We spent last week doing a little bit of sight seeing and a whole lot of kicking back and relaxing down in the Hill Country of Central Texas. We stayed in a very cute little place that we found at the last minute...literally - Country Sun B&B Cottages (http://www.country-sun.com/). We checked in on Sunday nite. We met Vera, one of the co-owners, on Monday morning. She did an exceptional job of taking care of us. She brought us a very nice 'European' style Continental breakfast every morning at precisely 8:30 a.m. (our request). It was always very well done w/the pastries warm and in a pretty basket, the OJ was poured into champagne glasses, it also included sliced meat/cheese, little boxes of cereal, assorted jellies and butter - more than enough to fill us up so we were always able to share with Abby of course. On Monday, we went into Wimberly and San Marcos and did a little bit of shopping. On Tuesday, we went into Gruene (http://www.gruenetexas.com/), toured historic Gruene Hall where we made it our job to sit in the bar and drink one of their Texas beers (a Shiner, of course), had lunch at the Gristmill (http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com/) and then more shopping before returning to the B&B. On Wednesday, we went to Shiner and toured the Shiner brewery (http://www.shiner.com/home.php). That was not only fun and very enlightening, but free! They also give out 4 tokens each for free tastings of their various brews. More shopping and free beer - who could ask for more? Our personal favorite was the Shiner Blonde. We weren't done yet though. On our trip back to the B&B, we drove thru Luling (http://www.lulingcc.org/4584868_37583.htm), once known as 'the toughest town in Texas', the home of not only some of the greatest BBQ I've ever eaten, the very best BBQ sauce I've ever eaten (which I plan to order lots of via their website), but also, the home of the big Watermelon Thump (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951471_37583.htm). Yes, you read that right - the Watermelon Thump. Apparently the biggest annual festival in Luling. They have a pageant where all the contestants post signs literally all over the town of Luling - and I do mean ALL OVER! They were setting up for the festival before and during our visit on Wednesday (the festival was to begin on Thursday - it's held the last weekend of June). During this 'big-time', much anticipated (for Luling) festival, this little south Texas town hosts local and not-so-local bigger name bands, beer gardens, a carnival, street dances, cook-offs, a giant parade, craft & food booths, and yes...watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and much, much more. While there, we ate at the previously mentioned BBQ joint, the Luling City Market (http://www.lulingcitymarket.com/) and it was as good as promised and better than anticipated. Very primitive, as their are no plates or utensils so to speak, but between the brown paper, the massive amounts of paper towels, we managed just fine. You get your meat (and pay for it BTW) directly from the smoker room in the back of this fine dining establishment and then move to the front of the restaurant where you can pick up the most awesome BBQ sauce I've ever tasted, any of their other menu items and a drink, directly out of an old cola box! After eating, we walk around town in an attempt to walk off some of the food we'd just eaten and took a few pictures. Before leaving, we discovered another set of unusual items that this 'sweet' town has to offer - their decorated oil well pump jacks, mostly located along and/or near the railroad tracks. You can see a few of these here (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951475_37583.htmcc.org/4951475_37583.htm.htm).

Jun 21, 2008

Baseball Glove Cake

This cake was the result of a request for a cake for an end of the season baseball party from a good friend of ours. The only real prerequisites were that the cake feed a whole lot of hungry young men and their families. We thought this one would fit the bill. It's a white 1/2 sheet cake topped with a chocolate baseball glove shaped cake that is probably about the size of a 10"-12" round cake. The icing is a chocolate butter cream that tasted totally decadent...like fudge but was the hardest thing to work with that we've found to date. I found the recipe online and as good as the reviews were, it was really hard to work with. It didn't smooth well, but it did pipe and decorate well and as I've said already it was absolutely delicious. It's a miracle that Ashley & I did so well at WW's weigh-in the next morning, because I think we did more than the usual 'tastings' due to the fact that it was so incredibly yummy. We delivered it on Saturday morning and hopefully it was a hit at the party.

Jun 16, 2008

Another Baby Shower Cake - Winnie & Eeyore

This was a very cool cake - our customer sent us a scan of the napkin she was using for the baby shower she was giving and I think we hit it dead on! This cake was a 2-tiered hexagon shaped cake (one of our favorite cake shapes thus far) with buttercream icing throughout (8" & 10" layers). We replicated everything all the way down to the butterflies and the caterpillars and in almost exactly the same colors as the napkin. It took a lot of time but was totally worth the effort! We loved it and so did our customer.

Jun 14, 2008

Graduation Time

Recently attended my nephew's High School graduation and it was way cool for a lot of reasons....1) to get the opportunity to once again see what an incredible young man my brother & SIL raised, 2) to get the opportunity to spend a little extra time with my beloved family members and 3) to have the opportunity to realize that even though there are much larger graduating classes, a small graduating class can add so much to the event and the nite. Each one of those young ladies and men had the opportunity to speak for 1 minute and they each did a very eloquent job of thanking their loved ones, which included family, friends and those that helped each one of them get where they are. Thank you to my brother, SIL & nephew for allowing me to be a part of that terrific event and I totally love being an aunt to an amazing young man - my idea for the perfect son!