Swamp Monster Birthday Cake

My absolute favorite man in the whole world had a birthday this month!  It may have taken him a while to decide on a birthday cake, but when it did it was one I never would have thought of: a healthy Swamp Monster Tres Leches cake!


The kids were super excited to give their daddy a remote control car.  Just check out that jumping action!



They even wrapped it all by themselves, though there may have been a little drama with some missing batteries that somehow fell out of the wrapped present!


The cake was really an exciting project.  Jon wanted a cake that Ryleigh could participate in (her super low sugar diet is a post in itself!), but he also wanted a swamp monster.  So, we used this no sugar no wheat tres leches cake recipe with a few modifications: I used ground cashews instead of cashew butter, doubled the vanilla, and used almond milk instead of coconut milk.  For the three "leches," I used almond milk, then whipping cream sweetened with 2 big pureed bananas, and finally, blue "swamp" whipped cream sweetened with pear juice and a little stevia.  It was a fabulous no sugar cake, and we are starting to get used to the difference in sweetness level.  :)  Unfortunately, I did have to use some sugar for the monster.  Basically, everything green is real sugar, so Ryleigh got blue pieces.  :)   I used normal frosting for the top of the monster head, and marshmallows for the eyes and fingers.


Look how happy she was to get the same party food as everyone else!  For only being 18 months old, she is very smart and gets very upset when we try to give her a dessert that's different than everyone else's.


Kaia and Harry put the candles in.  Lighting the cake was epic.


And, of course, Jon got a little help blowing out the candles.  Kids are awesome.


Tragically, Jon had to go to work after his evening party.  He had some clients he had to interview about 40 minutes north of our house, so as I tucked the kids in, he took off.  And, just to make sure this birthday was extra memorable, he managed to get in a fender-bender on his way out of town.  On a positive note, everyone involved was fine and our car should be better soon too!

On an even more positive note, I should just comment on how lucky I am to have this guy!  He is so supportive and happy and puts up with all of my strange ideas so nicely.  I wish we could celebrate him and his fabulous life every day!!  
xoxox




Monster Truck Birthday Party at Old MacDonald's Farm

Harry turned 4 at the beginning of the summer and wanted two things for his birthday: a Monster Truck Birthday Cake with the number four on it and a party at Old MacDonald's Farm.  Well, birthday boy...wishes granted!!






The wheels were definitely the most popular part of the cake...we had to split them so each kiddo could have half of one!











This was the first time I tried making a cake using fondant, and I felt a lot like a kid playing with play dough!  I learned a lot, and will try a few new things next time, but it sure made my cute 4-year old happy!




Now...where are the pictures of the kids riding horses, feeding deer, and petting goats?  I don't know, but when I find them, I'll be sure to add them!

For the record, Harry's current...

Favorite food: chips and salsa...and pizza and cheeseburgers.
Favorite show: Transformers Rescue Bots
Favorite transformers: Optimus Prime and Bumblebee
Favorite thing to do: play with friends (including Kaia!)
Favorite imaginary friend: Cocky Spell

We absolutely adore our Harry and are so thrilled to have him in our family!
He is full, full, full of energy, love, and excitement about everything he does...a natural reminder to enjoy life and let the little things go!

Garlic and Onion Biscuits Recipe

This is the first time I've cooked garlic and onion biscuits and they turned out so, so yummy that I had to post it so I could make it again!  (Random recipes on papers floating around my kitchen keep getting lost...)


I've been experimenting with breads that have no sugar in them.  Biscuits seemed like a safer place to start than other recipes, though I did use white flour to help with the texture.  Plus...these are perfect for biscuits and gravy!!

Ingredients:

4 cups flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 eggs
about 1 1/3 cup water
2 huge cloves of garlic, crushed (about 2 1/2 tablespoons)
1/2 large onion, chopped
about 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Mix all the ingredients together and knead a few times.  Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick and use the back of a butter knife to cut 24 "rolls."  Cook at 450 degrees for 9 minutes.  Like any baking powder biscuit, do not overcook!

This recipe was born from...
1- a need to make biscuits without sugar...the original recipe I used did not have the last three ingredients, used milk instead of water, and called for 1/4 cup sugar.  Our family has had some interesting sugar restrictions lately, so I needed to make some changes.  Normally, I'd use almond milk, but we ran out and I don't like running to the store for one thing.  :)

2- a love of garlic and onion flavored stuff!  Swapping the sweet for savory was a natural move!

So, let me know if you try it!!  We're serving ours with mashed potatoes and gravy...if I can get everyone to leave the biscuits alone for ten more minutes!!

Happy Birthday Ryleigh!

Sometimes everything lines up just how I want it and my blog captures so much of our daily adventures.  Other times...not so much.  This is one of those times.  I realized I have not blogged about birthdays at all this year...and we've already had three!  So, hopefully I can give each of them their own post very soon!  We'll start with Ryleigh...

Ryleigh turned one year old at the end of January!


We absolutely love this little lady!!  She can make dirt and mud so extremely adorable--it's amazing!!  Not only does she love playing outside, she also loves pretty things...especially tutus!  Unfortunately, my pictures from the beginning of the year are very disorganized...hopefully I can find more pictures of her birthday party and pretty clothes soon!


Some of Ryleigh's favorite things (both then and now!) include swinging and going for a run.  And it is no coincidence that they both happen outside!



On her actual birthday, Ryleigh was actually pretty sick.  She had been fighting a mean cold for two days, and still had one more day to go.  So, she had a super healthy carrot shaped carrot cake (with not-so-healthy frosting...I know!).  Kaia thought it would be awesome to have a carrot cake for her first birthday since her first food was mashed carrots.  :)  


Love, love, love this baby!!  And I love that almost six months later I know that cold only lasted a few days!  

Topaz Mountain

There is a fabulous place in Utah called Topaz Mountain.  Six or seven million years ago, a volcano erupted and formed a huge rhyolite deposit.  As the rock formed, topaz (a semi-precious gem) also grew.  We had a ton of fun with the kids and their aunts and uncles one day hunting for topaz.  You can break open rhyolite to find topaz or you can spot it in washes and dried riverbeds...especially after a good storm!  A big thanks to my mom for taking pictures after my phone died!


















And here's a link for more information about Topaz Mountain:  http://geology.utah.gov/utahgeo/rockmineral/collecting/topaz.htm


Happy Spring!!

We decided to take some Spring pictures of the kids last week.  I was going to make them all wear Sunday clothes, but Harry really wanted to be Superman.  It just fits him perfectly, so we went with it!  Then, of course, Kaia wanted to be a princess and Ryleigh wanted to wear a tutu.  It turned out to be a lot of fun...even if I ended up planting fruit snacks on Ryleigh's tongue to keep her happy.  :)