Food

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake 2

Share

The last time I made a proper cake? Six and a half years ago. July 29th, 2008, to be exact.

Scott and I were celebrating our first wedding anniversary. Because we had been married in Washington State but were living in New York, shipping the top-tier of our wedding cake across the country so we might enjoy it after 365 days of wedded bliss just didn’t seem worth it. I deemed it best to take matters into my own hands.

I attempted to recreate–from scratch–the pineapple cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream frosting we had enjoyed on our wedding day as a surprise for Scott. As we celebrated at dinner, I insisted skipping the desert menu. “I’ve got a surprise back at home…” I hinted.

Please tell me you didn’t pay to have the top-tier of our wedding cake shipped all the way out here?” he pleaded.

“Of course not!” I scoffed. “Trust me…this is going to be way better than that.”

When we returned to our apartment, Scott’s reaction to my labor of love was somewhat disappointing.

“Katrina,” he snickered, “Why in the world did you bake us a redneck fourth of July cake?”

“Huh?” I responded with shock and embarrassment.

“I mean….I love Amurica as much as the next guy…but is this, like, a joke?”

As I stepped back and reassessed my baking handiwork, I realized Scott was right. The three-tiered confection was severely lopsided, and the haphazardly applied whipped cream frosting was…well…sweating. Profusely.

While I had planned on decorating my creation with fuchsia ribbons and hydrangeas–just like our original wedding cake–the strawberries and blueberries we had in the fridge seemed a little more economical. As I looked at the rapidly melting glob of icing decorated with a smattering of red and blue fruits, I realized I had mistakenly baked a very sad-looking American flag.

The worse part? My flag tasted even sadder than it looked.

Fortunately, Scott was able to salvage the evening. He suggested we put on our very best redneck attire and pose for some humorous photos with the cake and a giant pair of knives. Much to our dismay, the photos were lost in a tragic memory card accident, but I assure you–they were magnificent.

After Scott deemed our photo shoot sufficient we tossed out the cake and drove down the street for some ice cream.

I’m sure you can see why I’ve been too afraid to try my hand at cake baking ever since.

Sure — I’ve made several batches of box mix cupcakes. Even I have a hard time screwing up Duncan Hines Funfetti. But as Scott’s 31st birthday approached, I knew the time had come for cake baking redemption. This was going to be my year.

Every year, Scott requests a German Chocolate cake. The man loves him some coconut pecan frosting. There’s only one problem: Other than Scott, no one actually likes German Chocolate cake. Every year, I bake him a giant batch of his favorite cupcakes, and every year, approximately four of them get eaten. This leaves us taking home 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes that are inhaled by yours truly within a matter of days hours. Do I like German Chocolate? Not particularly. But if there is cake lying around the house, I will demolish it. It’s like…a law of science or something.

Last week, our neighbor was kind enough to bring us some extra carrots from his garden. I had planned on juicing them until in the middle of shampooing my hair one evening, it hit me like a ton of cream cheese frosting.

I was going to create a made-from-scratch carrot cake for Scott’s birthday!

Scott approved the idea, and I immediately got to work. After hours spent researching possible recipes, I decided on this cake and this frosting. I mean….a carrot cake with pecans, raisins coconut and pineapple? Scott was going to love me forever!

Early Saturday morning, I set out to pick up my ingredients. An hour later I spread everything across our kitchen counter, preheated the oven, and took a deep breath. This was my chance to annul the Amurica cake of 2008. 

I sifted flour, shred carrots, and boiled raisins in orange juice like it was my job. When Scott passed through my workspace tossing out condescending tips like “You know you have to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately, right?” or “You didn’t forget to grease and flour the pan, did you?” I resisted the urge to bite his head off and simply smiled. It was his birthday, after all.

It took me seven long hours. (Part of that was a three-hour nap…but still.) After an entire afternoon of slaving away over a hot stove, I was left with this.

martha stewart carrot cake

Fine. That’s not  my cake. It’s Martha Stewart’s. But it was my inspiration. My version ended up looking a little more like this.

carrot-cake

First, let me say that this is an extremely flattering photograph. In person the cake was lumpier, more lopsided (Scott absolutely insisted on three layers), and generally disheveled-looking. Thank goodness Instagram photos don’t just make your selfies look better — their magic airbrushing powers apply to cakes, too!

That being said, the cake was delicious. Delicious. Like…possibly the best thing I’ve ever baked. Most importantly, it was certainly enough to redeem me from the American Flag catastrophe. Scott’s reaction?

“Wow…this doesn’t taste messed up at all. I’m pleasantly surprised, Katrina.”

Underwhelming, but I suppose I’ll take it.

The only downside? I doubled the cream cheese frosting recipe, which turned out to be completely unnecessary. I’m now left with a giant Tupperware of icing in my fridge just begging to be spread over graham-crackers and eaten in secret. Having made the frosting myself, I know exactly what’s in it. This pretty much eliminates the possibility of any  ”Oh I’m sure it’s not that bad….”  ignorance that comes with eating store-bought icing out of the can with your fingers while watching an exercise infomercial.

Uh…not that I’ve ever done that or anything.

Share

Liked this? Then try these:

The Fab Five: October 2013

The Fab Five: October 2013 17

Share

I think I may be officially changing my favorite month of the year from July to October. Sure, July includes my birthday, anniversary, and lots of ice cream — but the past 9 days have been nothing short of spectacular. Also? I get to wear boots. Yup. I think October wins the title.

Here are five favorite things from my new favorite month:

1. Morning Walks

morning walks

 

I’m slowly starting to realize that in a month or so, it will be too cold, snowy and miserable to spend extended periods of time outdoors without cladding myself in snow boots and Gore-Tex.  In other words? I’ve decided to get my arse outside for some light jacket fall fun. For the past few weeks, I’ve been rising early to take the girls on a three-mile walk around our neighborhood before starting work. The fresh air is a great way to kick-start my morning, and the views are to die for. Sometimes I’ll bring my coffee with in a to-go cup, which totally makes me feel as if I’m strutting through an episode of Pretty Little Liars.

(Anyone else notice it’s always fall in Rosewood and that those girls drink an unreasonable amount of coffee by high school standards?)

 

2. Pumpkin Pie Yoplait

pumpkin pie yoplait yogurt

Is it as good as real pumpkin pie?

Of course not.

But is it only 60 calories and socially acceptable to consume as breakfast food?

Yes. Yes, it is.

 

3. Physician’s Formula Healthy Wear Tinted Moisturizer

physician's formula tinted moisturizer

I discovered this bottle of miracles sitting atop my sister’s bathroom counter last week. As it is my sisterly duty to utilize all of her belongings without permission, I slathered some on as I was getting ready for work.

At that moment, my life was forever changed.

Alright, I’m exaggerating a little…but this stuff is seriously awesome. It gives you a smooth, dewy glow that is light enough to look natural, but substantial enough to cover up all the gross stuff. As someone who has incredibly oily skin, I’ve always had to cover my foundation with a cakey layer of powder in order to avoid looking greasy. But not with this! Plus…it contains skin saving SPF 50.  I absolutely had to posses it.

When I asked my sister where she had located such a find, she informed me it was from a local grocery store that carried expired and discontinued items. Visits to three Seattle drugstores confirmed my fears…this stuff was no longer on the shelves.

Fortunately, we live in the world of Amazon. I ordered some immediately, and while it arrived in a dented package, appeared to have already been opened, and had a long, curly black hair stuck to its nozzle,  I used it anyway. So far, I haven’t broken out in leprosy…so the risk seems to have paid off.

I’ve since discovered its available via Drugstore.com, in case you don’t want to take your chances with a contaminated, hairy bottle. (You’re welcome.)

 

4. Maui

maui

Scott and I booked a trip to our third Hawaiian Island this week, and I couldn’t be more obsessed. Sure…the vacay isn’t until January, but you can bet your infinity scarves that the majority of my October will be spent trying on bikinis from the clearance section and experimenting with sunless tanner. Perhaps the most fun aspect of the planning process is choosing a rental property. Scott texted me an option this morning, and I think we may have just found a winner.

nude beach

Churches AND a nude beach within walking distance? SOLD.

(Here’s hoping this adventure goes a little more smoothly than our Mexican nude beach attempt…)

Side note: Any tips for what area of Maui to stay in? We’ve never been, and all the fabulous looking options are making our church goin’, nude beach loungin’ heads spin!

 

5. iOS 7

ios7

 

I know, I know…I’m like, the last person on the planet to upgrade. Truth be told, I wasn’t even the one who made the update. Scott — who steals my phone at least twice daily when his battery dies–downloaded the new operating system while I was asleep the other night.

While many people aren’t digging the new interface, I’m already a huge fan. The best part? Somehow, my iPhone now intercepts every single text messages Scott sends or receives. While initially confusing, this glitch in our synched devices has now become a daily source of entertainment. (Who knew a grown man could text links to so many cat videos?!)

*****

Want to check out some fab fives of yesteryear yestermonth? Knock yourself out!

  • September 2013 (A drunken stupor of pumpkin spice lattes caused last month’s fab five to slip my mind.)
  • August 2013
  • July 2013 (Too busy eating all that ice cream to post…whoops)
  • June 2013
Share

Liked this? Then try these:

Thank you for eating responsibly

Thank you for eating responsibly 4

Share

One of my family’s most defining characteristics is our love for the Olive Garden. Specifically their unlimited soup salad and breadsticks lunch or glorious never-ending pasta bowl. Infinite Italian(ish) food for under ten bucks a head? Sign us up.

There was one particular Sunday at the OG that will live on in Woldseth family infamy. We had invited some friends from church out after service, and soon found ourselves at a table for ten. Every last one of us ordered the never-ending pasta lunch combo.

Most impressive was my younger brother, who swallowed bowl after bowl of microwaved pasta as if it were his job. To be fair, he had just come out of wrestling season–after three long months of struggling to make weight, he was beyond ready to indulge in some simple carbohydrates. Our eyes grew in wonder as he ordered refill after refill. “Does he ever get full?” one of our friends asked politely.

After too many bowls to count, we had finally eaten our fill. Our swollen bellies waddled slowly towards my parent’s mini-van as we waved goodbye to our friends.

And then, just as their car passed us, it happened.

(And by “it” I mean my younger brother vomiting up roughly two hundred ounces of half-digested pasta all over the parking lot.)

Our friends looked on in horror. My sister and I shrieked in disgust, and possibly a bit of delight. My mother shamefully buried her head in her hands while my father–although I’m sure he’ll never admit it–felt a deep sense of pride that one of his own had taken such great advantage of an all-you-can-eat opportunity.

To this day, each time we go out to eat as a family, we thank my brother for eating responsibly after the meal.

(So long as he doesn’t upchuck in the parking lot, that is.)

The point of all this? The time has come for me to confess. Let’s just say that while in Chicago last week, Scott and I failed to eat responsibly.

Like…big time failed.

Let’s take a look at the evidence….

best food in chicago

1. Free wine was offered in the lobby of my hotel every evening from 5-6. Clearly, this was dangerous.

2.  My first deep dish experience went down at Giordano’s. This also documents the only serving of vegetables I consumed over the course of three days.

3. I finally got around to trying poutine. Obviously, I opted for the version drizzled with sour cream and bacon.

4. I dragged Scott to Garret’s popcorn against his will so we might experience their famous Chicago Mix. Despite having hands that were covered in neon orange cheese oil for the remainder of the day, he finally admitted he was glad I hadn’t backed down.

5. Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen. Easily the best food and best experience of the trip. Also? It’s Obama’s favorite. 13,000 calories in one sitting? Yes we can.

6. Classic Chicago Deep-dish at Lou Malnati’s. And yes, that is a deep dish cookie with whipped cream. Did you expect anything less?

7. Scallion infused corn cakes with roasted red pepper sauce at Wishbone. Washed down with hot coffee and a healthy dose of Pepto. (At this point, I was starting to feel the wrath of my food choices.)

8. My very own “Magnificent Mile”. AKA, me, riding through downtown Chicago after eating all that. In a dress.

Sometimes I even amaze myself.

******

Special thanks to all my Chicago readers who commented with food tips–you’re recommendations were spot-on! Oh…and I assure you we tried to make it to Pequod’s Pizza, but alas, our full bellies put up a pretty convincing protest.

On the bright side, no one threw up in the parking lot. I’m counting that as a very small victory.

Share

Liked this? Then try these:

PSL (Pumpkin Spice Letdown)

PSL (Pumpkin Spice Letdown) 5

Share

It’s no secret I have mixed emotions regarding the marketing phenomenon that is Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Yet no matter how much I pretend to despise the over glamorized #PSL, I couldn’t shake the fact that I desperately wanted one for dinner this evening.

And yes…a beverage that has 400+ calories and a dollop of whipped cream totally counts as a meal.

The good news? I’m staying at my sister’s place, which happens to be five minutes walking distance from a full-service Starbies. As I strolled through the misty Seattle air in search of everyone’s favorite latte disguised milkshake, I began mentally calculating the amount of jogging required to negate such a decadent beverage.

And then, I saw this.

psl10

I nearly burst into tears in the middle of the sidewalk. Could it actually be true? A Pumpkin Spice Latte that was only ten calories?!?  Praise be to the all-powerful creepy green mermaid!

And then I looked a little more closely. Turns out the PSL10 emblem was created to celebrate “a decade of pumpkin devotion”.

Really, Starbucks? Really? We’re expected to celebrate the birth of a latte? And a 400 calorie latte, at that? Maybe–just maybe–I could see the McDonald’s shamrock shake earning an honorary beverage anniversary, but the PSL? I mean…did Starbucks even invent the first one?

Clearly, my evening was ruined.

Moments later, my brother informed me that Justin Timberlake is the voice behind the McDonald’s ‘I’m lovin’ it’ jingle.

And just like that, my evening went from ‘ruined’ to ‘abolished beyond repair’. I mean…finding out Mr. Timberlake is the voice behind the golden arches is akin to realizing that Santa Clause isn’t real.

No. It’s worse than that. It’s like discovering–at the ripe old age of twelve–that Santa Clause is a skeezy old dude who’s been convicted of petty theft and is wearing a chinsy suit owned by the Tacoma Mall that has been urinated on approximately six times this Christmas.

Err…not that I would know what that feels like or anything.

On another note…I’m officially revoking my comment about a possible shamrock shake anniversary. Take that, JT.

Share

Liked this? Then try these: