Sunday, December 15, 2013

Biscuit Cake! (Recipe)

I was talking to my grandmother and sister, working out the Christmas menu, and my sister said "I don't care what else you make, but I want biscuit cake." I've had several other people ask for the recipe, and I'm happy to oblige!  

The original recipe can be found here.  While this biscuit cake was still not exactly what we had on our trip to Bulgaria last October, it was the closest I could find, and adding Nutella to a recipe is never a bad thing, right?  I also modified the recipe to exclude the alcoholic Bailey's Irish Cream because, well, I was serving it to my kids and it's a no-bake recipe.  I also doubled the recipe to fill the trifle bowl. 

Trifle bowl
2 packages of biscuits (I used a specialty brand I found at Kroger, on the cookie aisle)
2 packages mascarpone cheese (with the specialty cheese)
8 oz. heavy whipping cream8 oz. milk4 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream-flavored coffee creamer1 3/4 c. confectioner's sugar1 tsp. pure vanilla extract1 jar NutellaChocolate (grated for garnish)
Chocolate roses (optional, added for Viktorya's birthday to represent Bulgaria)

1. Whip the heavy cream in a large bowl.  Add mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, and 1 c. of confectioner's sugar.  Mix well.

2. In another bowl, mix together the milk, Irish Creme-flavored creamer, and 3/4 c. sugar.  Dip cookies in the milk mixture, for 10-20 seconds, depending on the thickness of the cookies.  You don't want them to fall apart, but you do want them a little soft.

3. Place one layer of biscuits in the trifle bowl. Spread a layer of Nutella over them, followed by a layer of the mascarpone and cream mixture.

4. Repeat the steps until the biscuits and cream mixture are used up.  I had probably 4-5 layers. 

5. Garnish with shredded chocolate.

6. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.  Serve cool.

7. Enjoy!

Ayden's BIG Surprise!!!

It's no secret that Ayden has been incredibly selfless and helpful since our two newest kids came home.  She has really stepped up with what she does around the house, has taken some initiative with school work, chores, and anything else I might need done.

She's turning 10 next week, just a few days before Christmas, which can be difficult for planning purposes, since most of her friends' families are traveling to spend time with their families.  You only turn 10 once, so I wanted to make it a big celebration!

Her favorite animator is Hayao Miyazaki, who made some wonderful movies, like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service... the list goes on, and we own all but a couple of his films.

I began brainstorming on Pinterest months ago, and kept everything very hush-hush, and more than once had to quickly close an internet tab so she wouldn't see.  Here's a glimpse at the party, which was so much fun to plan and even more fun to see Ayden and her friends enjoy!

The cake was inspired by "My Neighbor Totoro"

In "Howl's Moving Castle" Sophie finds a scarecrow with his head stuck in the ground. He's nicknamed "Turnip Head."

Cotton candy "Clouds of Lapuda" from the movie "Castle in the Sky"

Oversized flowers, as well as plates that look like buttons, inspired by "The Secret World of Arietty"

The whole tablescape, with string lights to represent "Spirited Away" and glass tiles to represent the symbolism of water in every movie.

"Sushi" made from rice krispy treats, Swedish fish, and Fruit by the Foot.

I ordered konpeito, a Japanese candy similar to rock candy, and shown in "Spirited Away"

Goldfish to represent Ponyo and all her sisters.

Cake pops made to look like soot sprites, from "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro"

The birthday girl loved her cake!

I thought I had pictures of all the food, but I missed the "Ohm Eyes," which were cordial cherry M&Ms, to represent "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" and "Calcifers," which were the meatballs in the crock pot to represent "Howl's Moving Castle."

It was a great party, we played some fun games, like "Pop the Soot Sprites."  Ayden was genuinely surprised, and I'd consider it a huge success!  Happy (almost) 10th Birthday, Ayden!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Denny's New Chair

Denny has finally grown enough that he's exceeded the weight limit on his high chair.  I was checking out the new online pictures at my favorite local secondhand shop.  I saw a 50's chair/step stool that needed a little love, called the shop to put it on hold, and picked it up as soon as I could get kids loaded in the van.

That's a red crackled vinyl cover on the seat and back, with a nice tear on the top, accented by burnt orange steps.  I don't dislike the orange, but it doesn't go with my dining room, and anyone who knows me knows that just won't work.

I was taking the kids to play at a friend's house, and I was supposed to bring Christmas stocking fabric to work on while I was there.  I left the fabric sitting on the kitchen counter, so I carried the new chair inside instead.  Tonya is my "finisher."  If there's a project I need to work on, she's my girl.  If I've been putting off doing something, I tell her to hold me accountable, and she'll usually show up in her painting clothes to help me finish (because my projects almost always involve paint and she loves me that much).

Anyway, when she saw the chair and I told her what I wanted to do, she got out some fabrics, found a leather remnant, and we started taking the chair apart.  Within a couple of hours, we had all the old red covering off, the leather on, and I was on my way to the store for paint.

I took each painted metal piece off the chair, cleaned it, and spray painted it.  Spray painting is supposed to happen at or above 60*, but it's cold outside and I'm not patient enough to wait for spring.  Each piece went outside in a box, got a coat of paint, and came inside to dry in my living room.  After drying for a whole how-many-hours-did-the-can-say-? day, I put the chair back together.  Did I mention I'm not patient?

And here it is!  Denny's new step chair, which can also double as a step stool for reaching those hard-to-reach top shelves in my upper kitchen cabinets!