Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Backyard "Camping"

We spent our Memorial Day evening "camping" in the backyard. We didn't actually spend the night outside, hence "camping" versus camping. Frankly, Mark and I didn't think the kids would make it all night and he had to go to work today. The only one disappointed in not sleeping outside was Garrett so I think he and Mark will be trying that next weekend. However, we had fun at our pseudo-campsite, the kids:

Played in the tent...

Chilled in the camp chair...

Ran around with their own flashlights...

Cooked (turkey) hot dogs over the fire...

And ate outside.

We also toasted marshmallows to make s'mores. I think we all had a blast. What can be better than junk food, getting dirty and spending time together?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meatloaf Cupcakes and Spaghetti Cake

My kids are strange....they love meatloaf. Okay, they are not that strange because they love my meatloaf and my meatloaf is awesome. Knowing how much they love meatloaf, I decided to shake things up a bit and try my hand at meatloaf cupcakes. The cupcakes are super easy to make, if not a little time consuming. Simply mix your favorite meatloaf recipe and fill a muffin pan with it ( TIP: either use liners or spray the pan first). Bake until done, about 45 minutes for regular muffins, 30 minutes for minis at 350 degrees F. After you take them out of the oven, let them cool. Then frost with mashed potatoes.

Mini Meatloaf Cupcakes

Meatloaf Cupcake

And what would be the fun of having meatloaf cupcakes without a funky dessert? In keeping with the spirit of incognito food, I decided to make another spaghetti cake. Also, since I have been asked for directions on how to make one I decided to do it step-by-step here.

Spaghetti Cake

1. Bake your cake. I like to use chocolate, but just about any will work. I also use a box mix--my talent lies in the decorating.
2. Get your frosting. I do make my own using 16 oz cream cheese, 1 stick butter (both at room temp) and confectioner's sugar to taste. I add a little ivory and yellow food coloring to get the "cooked spaghetti" color.
3. Assemble what else you will need: strawberry jam, almond bark, cheese grater, big round chocolates, pastry bag, #5 Wilton tip, and the attachment thingy-ma-jig whose name I can't remember.
If using a chocolate cake, spread a little icing on first so the dark color doesn't show through.
Attach the #5 tip to the pastry bag, fill it with the icing and go to town.
Take care to fill in all the gaps. Purposefully get some on the sides to make it look more authentic.
Pour the jam into a bowl and stir to get it smooth.
If you want, add a little yellow food coloring to get a deeper color.
Plop some jam on top of the cake.
Gently spread the jam around. Be careful not to squish too much "spaghetti" in the process.
Add the chocolate balls/truffles/whatever to the top and grate some almond bark for Parmesan cheese.
Then you'll have a finished Spaghetti Cake!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Charleston Pics

Last week, we had to go to Charleston for an appointment (more about that at a later date). We went down early enough to spend a little bit of time at the beach. I do not have photos from there. Last time I took a camera to the beach, it stopped working. I decided not to risk my very cool camera this time around. However, I took some good shots of what we could see from the van:

I also attempted, once again, to get a good photo of all the kids together. I must truly be the the eternal optimist as this was the best I got:

Sorry this post is so short on words. Maybe next time there will be more.