Thursday, May 24, 2007
  Mmm, cake!
First, let me say that this thing rocks:

this is the best thing ever
Someone got it for someone for Christmas (Patty for Chris? Da Bo for Patty? Who knows?) and it is excellent. It's angled, so you don't have to squat down to view the measurement markers from the side when you're measuring out ingredients. Highly suggested - and inexpensive! - gift for your favorite cook.

Anyway, yesterday was Chris’s birthday! So I set out to make him a cake from a recipe I found online. A mango cake! From scratch! My first ever from-scratch cake!

mango cakes

The recipe, I discovered partway through, wasn’t detailed enough for a novice baker like me, but I figured it out - after a panicked phonecall to a co-worker who was the only person I could think of that may know how to bake a cake! And I wasn’t huge on the frosting, and there wasn’t enough of it, so I ran over to get some of the nice, pre-made Betty Crocker stuff. It’s times like this I’m happy that walking to Winn-Dixie is a less-than-3-minute endeavor.

I used my frosting, mixed with chopped-up mango and chopped-up raisins, in between the two layers of cake. I wasn’t too sure about using raisins, as called for in the recipe, but tasted them with the frosting and it was pretty good. In retrospect, I may have chosen chopped-up mangos and chopped-up dried mangos instead – you need a change of texture and taste, but I don’t know if the raisins were such a good addition or not. Also, I would suggest mango NECTAR instead of mango JUICE as the juice is just not mango-y enough.

It was all topped with cream-cheese frosting. 150 calories per 2 tablespoons. Whoa mama! I can’t imagine my homemade frosting was any more nutritious, considering the ingredient list was: 2 sticks butter, 1 cup sugar, 1.5 cups cream, 1 tablespoon kahlua. :)

mmm, mess
What a mess!

I got done and cleaned the kitchen JUST in time for Chris to get home from the airport. We ate leftover yummy, yummy Chinese brought from Houston and cake. The cake was pretty good! The first taste, I was not too convinced, but I think the fact I had been licking cake batter and frosting for the past two hours had put me into sugar overload. It was good when I tried it a bit later, though. And definitely a learning experience! Most importantly, Chris liked it - and I don't think he was just trying to be nice. :)

the finished product
Finished product! I was supposed to use a mango and cut it up to arrange like flower petals on the cake. Have you ever tried to cut mango bits into flower-petal shapes? Yeah, no. So instead I just did this craziness with the fresh fruit.

one of the birthday cards
The animals got Chris a card! They're so sweet! Elliot was the only one who wouldn't sign it. The cats didn't do so well, but amazingly they left perfect little paw prints on the kitchen floor after these messy ones in the card. :D
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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