USA USA USA!

How about that game, right? Best loss ever? While we didn’t win, according to my sources we made it to the next round. So, Go USA!

I have no problem admitting to be a bandwagon soccer fan for this month along with MOST everyone else. I have been chanting, OOing and AHing at every play, and constantly asking my boyfriend questions. What’s a goal differential? Why did that guy do that? So what has to happen for us to go through to the next round? What happened to Landon Donovan? What happens if you get a red card? Are you allowed to bite people? Is that a thing?

In my mind the only biting during the world cup should involve delicious game time snacks. Enter, mom.  As I was having a few beers with my friends watching the big game in a packed bar in St. Mark’s Place, my mom was texting me pictures of her World Cup inspired treats. 

USA Score

1st Half: Cheezeballs de Brazil

World Cup Brazilian Cheese Rolls

Mom came across these amazing cheese rolls at ourbestbites.com -Original link here

Her modified recipe:

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup tapioca flour/ starch- according to ourbestbites, no substitutions
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C grated shredded cheese (Mom used mexican cheese because she had  to finish off a bag, but cheddar works too!)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Optional:  Mom added some rosemary on the top.

Mom followed ourbestbites’ recipe pretty closely. First preheating oven to 400 degrees.  Blending egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender.  Adding cheeses and pulsing twice.Then she sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top along with some rosemary.

She baked for 15-20 minutes until golden, and served em fresh out the oven just in time for kickoff!

These made about 16 rolls, but she used 7 to plate in the form of a soccer ball. The soccer ball string is green pepper slivers, USA is sweet ‘lil red peppers (they happened to be in just the right shapes to cut the way she did), the SCORE is cut from All American cheese (those letters are cookie cutouts she has), the soccer net is Snyder butter pretzels.  The original recipe suggests to eat the cheese balls in one sitting because they don’t keep well, but Mom will take a soccer ball to the face, before throwing food away. The woman doesn’t do it. She figures out a way to reuse every leftover. In this case she reheated the leftover cheese rolls in the toaster oven with some american cheese toasted on top.  To each their own!

And now for a little something sweet for the 2nd half…

USA

Second Half: Amerikabobs

…How about some Patriotic Fruit Kebobs ? These are a treat she made last year, but I figured they were very apropos given the particular patriotic World Cup vibes we’re all feeling right about now.  This one is so easy, even I could do it! All you need is some fresh blue berries, raspberries, marshmallows, and kebob sticks. 

Happy Snacking and GO USA!

Mom in Rare Form for Father’s Day

I live more than 900 miles away from my family. I Googled it. That said, I understandably get severe FOMO on fun family events I cannot attend. FOMO= Fear of Missing Out, and it is something that has plagued me my entire life. I am going to take this a step further. With my family living so far away, and being so awesome at cooking/baking it is not uncommon for me to suffer from a form of FOMO I just invented called FOMOOF, or Fear of Missing Out on Food.  To give you a few examples: Co-workers get sushi without me? FOMOOF. Roommates get fro-yo and no invite? FOMOOF. Family makes delicious Father’s Day feast while I’m not living in the same state? Major FOMOOF.

Cuz Dad totally rox

Cuz Dad totally rox

As sad as I was to be missing out on Father’s Day celebrations and FOOD, it made me so happy to hear how everyone contributed. My little brother made his card on the computer, because, let’s face it, Hallmark is trying to bleed us all dry holiday by holiday. Mom was in charge of not just the cake, but the shrimp stuffed shiitake mushrooms and bacon mashed potatoes. According to my little brother, once you go bacon, you never go back, so apparently bacon mashed potatoes will be the only kind in our household from now on. No complaints here! And while Dad spent the afternoon in his domain grilling his favorite, ribeyes, Mom was inspired to create a steak of her own. In other words, a steak cake. Yes, a cake shaped like a steak.

“For a Rare Dad! Happy Father’s Day!”

Obviously she used red velvet, since Dad likes his stake medium rare (or as he says “still moo-ing.”) She had some frosting in a can in the fridge already, so she added some cream cheese to it, because as we all know, you can’t have red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting. She melted some chocolate chips and marbled it into the frosting to give it its steak-like color. She also mixed in a bit of red icing for some added pinkish tone. She cooled the steak portion of the cake on a broiler pan to give it some grill marks and used a toothpick to accentuate the lines. The bone is made of a rice crispie treat and the marrow is crushed up peanut butter Oreos. She also crushed up some some oreos and pecans for the salt and pepper seasoning. She used green Dots as parsley for the garnish. Dad was sure to take the finished product  out to the grill to get a picture of the cake in its natural setting.

Medium Rare

Medium Rare

After the feast it was gift time.

My Dad is not tough to shop for. There are 3 important questions I ask myself when I’m picking out a gift for Dad:

1. Does this gift have anything to do with Florida Gator Football?

2. Does this gift relate to beer or the act of drinking beer in any way?

3. Is this gift a Webber grill?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then I am good to go. Gift purchased, no more questions asked. To give you an idea, Dad’s ultimate gift would probably be some sort of fusion between a Webber grill and a Kegorator that played the UF fight song every time you opened it. (Patent Pending?) Maybe next year Dad…For this year part 1 of his gift was a pair of brand new Birkenstocks. Birkenstocks are his go to shoe, and I can’t blame him. They’re comfy and they match just about everything. Dad is also one of those really classy guys that tends to accessorize his Berks with white tube socks- a real treat for the eyes.

Look out ladies! Here he comes!

Look out ladies! Here he comes!

However, the highlight of the night had to be part 2 of his gift which were ZZ Top tickets for him and the little bro. As he opened his card and the tickets fell out he attempted to read them sans bifocals, which caused some initial confusion. The only font big enough for him to see was the Lady Gaga advertisement on the bottom of the ticket, so for 30 seconds he was slightly worried. To his relief, my brother explained to him that they were not going to be seeing Mother Monster, but rather they were going to see ZZ Top.  He was VERY excited. Success. When I asked Dad why he would’ve been so disappointed in Lady Gaga tickets, he replied, “Well she’s no Gwen Stefani.” Duly noted, Dad. Duly noted.  

You can't tell in this picture, but they too are wearing their Birkenstocks with sandals.

You can’t tell in this picture, but they too are wearing their Birkenstocks with sandals.

steak cake 2

“Grilled to Confection” -the caption Mom suggested for this one.

I created this blog mostly to display my Mom’s cakes, but partly to suppress the family FOMO that creeps up on me sometimes. Whether or not you got to spend this Father’s Day with your families, I hope everyone had a happy one. And if anybody is craving some steak cake, head over to Mom and Dad’s. They assured me they had leftovers! 🙂

Like Mother, Sort of like Daughter: My Short-lived Pastry Chef Career

A few years ago on this very day, the fam and I threw Mom a luau for her SURPRISE 50th “30th” birthday party. It was pretty incredible. Everyone pitched in. The Aunts decorated, Grandma hosted, Dad cooked, and the family partied. Oh and did I mention? I was in charge of the…CAKE. I know what you’re thinking, I had a big apron to fill.  Apart from the cake it was my job to keep Mom busy on the big day while the whole family prepared for her arrival. I envisioned the classic surprise scenario where I walk Mom up to the front door, and when we open it family and friends jump out of their hiding place screaming SURPRISE!!! Classic, right? To my dismay, my dad could not  multitask. It was too much for him to coordinate the whole everyone hides their car situation while he was also getting his BBQ on. I was  LIVID. What is the point of a surprise party if there is no big surprise reveal moment?!?! Whilst Mom was very concerned about her laundry, completely unaware of the looming birthday bash, I called/texted dear old Dad to have a little chat.  It went something along the lines of, “Sure fine, no one needs to hide you know with it being a SURPRISE PARTY and all.” Textbook passive aggression. (Like Mother, Like Daughter.)This passive aggressive chat soon turned aggressive, and I am not proud of the crazy party planner lady I had somehow transformed into at that moment.

Surprise5

Kebab Master Extraordinaire

I should really have more faith in my family. Dad, here is your apology not only in writing, but on the internet no less! I’m sorry. My beautiful family ended up turning the traditional surprise method upside down. They completely embraced the summer block party vibe. The line of cars surrounding Grandma’s house, instead of ruining the surprise, made it way better. The family made huge poster boards with decorations, everyone was wearing leis and flowers, and Dad was right out front manning the grill like Bobby Flay. When we drove onto the scene mom saw the crowd and pumped the brakes in shock at the sight of what was essentially her own parade. Everyone was screaming SURPRISE and HAPPY BIRTHDAY and YOU BROUGHT THE BEER, RIGHT?!  That last one liner had to be from one of my Grandpas, I’m sure with a beer already in hand. They’re hilarious. Surprise4 Anyhoo,  I wholeheartedly recommend this approach as an alternative to the traditional surprise method. Especially if hiding 15 cars in a driveway is nigh impossible. It knocked my initial vision out of the park, and my mom was genuinely floored. Word to the wise, though: if the individual you’re surprising is prone to violence, arm yourself with padding. I think I still have a bruise from my mom’s punch (yes…punch.) for tricking her. Surprise1

Surprise2

Oh,  and in case you missed it, I was in charge of the CAKE! I opted for a strawberry flavored Duncan Hines mix (Mom swears by Duncan, sorry Betty!) with homemade vanilla frosting. This cake made me realize how much hard work my mom puts into these things. Good Lord, I spent about 3 hours at Grandma’s just frosting this bad boy. In lieu of the theme, I made a hula girl cake. Publix Bakery offers a service where they will turn any photo into an edible photo. My mom is camera shy, so it was pretty tough to find a head on glamour shot. I ended up opting for her senior high school yearbook pic because it was the only one I could find and it made me LOL.

homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, sprees, airheads, nerds, twizzler straws

homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, sprees, airheads, nerds, twizzler straws

I then created a hula girl using frosting (a mix of yellow and red food coloring gave her that lovely golden skin tone you see there.) I used nerds for her lei and dots for her bathing suit top. The hula skirt was made out of a giant green Twizzlers creation I found on the candy aisle. I lined the side of the cake with sprees for some color and did my best attempt at a wavelike texture with the icing. The surfboard and flowers are made of air heads flattened and cut out with scissors.

Mom (left) Aunt Cris with her cupcakes (right)-please note coconut bra.

Mom (left) Aunt Cris with her cupcakes (right)-please note coconut bra.

Like mother like daughter? Eh, not quite. I know Mom would’ve been a bit more patient than I was, making sure every line was straight and every detail was perfect. She probably would have also found a way to avoid her arms resembling a yellow mutant, but hey, I tried, ok? The problem was, my eye was on the prize, and when the prize is cake, it can be pretty tough to focus on the intricacies of pastry art.   The point is we had a blast, and everyone enjoyed the cake and the memories that came with it. Happy Birthday Mom, and here’s to many more Luaus! 😉

 

 

Cakes My Mom Makes

Two things you should know about me: 1. I love my mom. 2. I love my mom’s cakes. She’s not exactly like the fancy pants pastry chefs on the Food Network or TLC, but she’s better! (In my humble unbiased opinion, of course.) She’s a special kind of mom who uses ingredients any mom has at her disposal to create amazing goodies. Every birthday, holiday, event, and celebration includes one of her unique creations.
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While she is amazing at creating these cakes, she is not the best historian. In fact, she could be the worst cake historian of all time. Pictures upon pictures of these cakes sit in shoe boxes and on memory sticks just collecting dust in our house. Growing up, I, like many other jerk kids, took for granted all she does as a mom. So basically,  I’ve decided to dub myself “Family Cake Historian,” official title and all. Fair warning to family, friends, and anyone else who stops by: No one in our family is a professional photographer (I’m talking to you Dad!)…or blogger for that matter. That’s not what this project is about.
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It is about thanking my mom for being my mom-the kinda gal who goes homemade or goes home! Hopefully this can help to officially document some of our favorite cakes and creations. I would love this project to make anyone who sees it feel that they can create lasting memories out of homemade cakes. They don’t have to be the biggest, or the prettiest, or the neatest cakes in the world. They just have to be baked with love for the ones you love. All you need are the right ingredients… and a little wine never hurts either. 😉
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