Monday, 30 January 2012

Girly Goodness

I have 3 boys. I don't often get to enjoy the girly things. However this weekend gone we went to two girl's birthday parties. I had so much fun buying girly presents - one I got a bead set and a couple of little things, and the other I got a paint your own ceramic tea set. How cool do they sound?

Anyways, for one of the birthdays I told my friend I would bring a plate. So I made girly cupcakes. Oh I had so much fun! My pink and purple food colourings don't get used all too often, so out they came. I ended up making vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing. But the cupcakes were pink and purple stripes. They looked so cool. And I shall share with you my vanilla butter cake recipe too because it is a pretty awesome recipe. Nice and moist, not dry like some vanilla cakes can be. AND it can be made dairy free by using a dairy free spread in place of butter. Perfect :)

Vanilla Butter Cake

½ c butter
¾ c sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ c milk

  1. Preheat oven to 170Âșc
  2. Sift flour and baking powder in one bowl
  3. In another, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat.
  4. Combine milk and vanilla
  5. Add flour and milk alternately to beaten mixture, beating till combined
  6. Pour into a greased cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes

Now, obviously if making these as cupcakes the cooking time will be less. I don't really time them though, I just check on them periodically.

Now, to make the cupcakes all stripey, you take the raw cake batter and put half the mix in one bowl, the other half in the other bowl. Add your colours (I recommend using gel food colouring, need less to get an intense colour), and beat well. Then get a teaspoon and put a teaspoon of one colour into a muffin tin. Then directly on top in the middle of that drop, add the other colour. You can do as many colours as you want, you aren't limited to two - try a rainbow! Then keep repeating, adding a teaspoon of the next colour directly in the middle of the colour before. If you need to, use the spoon to flatten the mix down a bit to spread it towards the sides more, but carefully! You dont want the batters to mix. You can see the one I did first in the top left hand corner got a bit munted. Still look cool, just more marbled.

All baked!

Now time to ice them! I just used a pretty basic buttercream icing recipe, getting the ratios right is a bit of trial and error to get the right consistency.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Beat 125g of butter until white (if you have a kitchenaid type mixer, its good to just set it going, and come back later, the whiter your icing, the truer colour you will get if you are adding colours to it, especially if you want red icing!).
Add a cup of icing sugar and beat well again
Add 1 Tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and beat
Then add as much icing sugar as you need to get the right consistency. Start with about half cup, beat that in, then add more slowly till its the consistency you like. I like mine quite thick but not so thick it won't go through a piping bag. So probably a full 2nd cup there but I never do measure...

Oh yeah, add colouring if you want a coloured icing, or you could also change the essence to another you prefer - strawberry is a nice change

Then simply pipe the icing on, and I happened to have been given some girly cupcake toppers you can buy ready made at the supermarket that obviously I would never use on my own kids, so on they went to finish them off.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day - A product review

Recently I was asked to review some cereals. I agreed then promptly forgot about it. Then one day the courier arrived with this massive mystery package. It wasn't until I opened it that I realised what it was - I was not expecting 3 full sized boxes of cereal plus 2 boxes of trail bars! So over the past few weeks we have been slowly getting through the different cereals. These are my thoughts:

Be Natural Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin -

This one was my absolute favourite. I am partial to fruity cereals so it was right up my alley. Nutritionally it isn't too bad either, logging it into myfitnesspal wasn't a concern - this goes for all the cereals I'm writing about today. Just so full of flavour, loved it! It is definitely one I would buy again, so good! I was sad when the box ran out.

Be Natural Cashew, Almond, Hazelnut and Coconut

This one was my husband's favourite. He likes nutty (must be why he likes me haha), I prefer fruity (hmm, I'm not saying I like my husband because he is fruity! hehe). I quite liked this one too, the flavours all worked well together, just lacked the fruitiness I love.

Be Natural 5 Whole Grain Flakes

Ok, I have to say it. This one bored me. Nutritionally it was the healthiest - but that's because it doesn't contain all the yumminess the other 2 have. For a very plain cereal it was good, but it lacked something. It wasn't exciting. I love eating breakfast but I didn't look forward to eating this each morning. I added sliced up strawberries to it, couldn't eat it plain.

Now, the trail bars. I LOVED these. There were 2 flavours, Berry and Nut and Fruit. I especially loved the Berry one, Hubby especially loved the nut and fruit one. Do we see a trend here? I did like both, just preferred the Berry one. Oh, and the best thing is, the berry one is only 110calories per bar, and is quite a nice filling snack. They are on the shopping list!