Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wish List Wednesday: Warcraft Plushies

I am a huge World of Warcraft fan.  I am also a big fan of plushies/stuffed animals.  Now that I am a mom, I have an excuse to continue collecting plushies. . . not that I really needed one.  Blizzard has a collection of Warcraft plush toys that I absolutely love.

Gryphon Hatchling with BONUS In-game Companion ($24.99)

World of Warcraft Baby Murloc Murky Plush Doll Blizzcon 2008 ($29.99)

Gurky Murloc Plushie ($15)

Blizzcon 2009 Lurky the Murloc World of Warcraft Plush Doll ($29.99)



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Newsong by Tacica




I really enjoy the song used for the 10th opening of Naruto Shippuden, but the video is what seals the deal.  Normally Mike and I skip the intros when we watch anime on Hulu or Netflix.  This is one of the very few that we watched every time.  I love when everyone breaks out in dance at the end.  What do you think?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Faux Kitchen Diva: Patriotic Strawberry Cake


Yummy Strawberry Cake,  Two ways to decorate.
  For the Fourth of July I made a lovely, and tasty, strawberry cake from semi-scratch.  The recipe started as one someone had posted on Facebook as Southern Style Strawberry Cake, but I ended up going rogue on a good chunk of the recipe.  It turned out fantastic.  In fact, there are only two things I would have done differently.  The first is less about the recipe and more about my equipment.  I really need a better hand mixer.  The second is more cream cheese and less butter for the icing, but I will get to that in a bit.

It helps to have everything measured in advance.
Ingredients List

Cake:
  • 1 box Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry Jell-O
  • 1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced.
  • Red food coloring

"Cream Cheese" Frosting:
  • 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • A splash of heavy whipping cream
  • Blue food coloring
  • 4 sliced strawberries (optional)

Directions

Cake:
  •  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Combine the cake mix, Jell-O, flour, and sugar in a large bowl.  If you were unable to find a 3 oz package of Strawberry Jell-O, then measure 8 tablespoons out of a 16 oz package.  Mix well.
 
  •  Add the oil and mix in.
  • Add each egg in one at a time.  Each egg should be completely mixed in before adding the next.  This is where a good hand mixer comes in.
  • Add the water and mix in completely.
  • Add red food coloring until you get the desired shade of red.
  • Fold in the diced strawberries.
  • Divide the the batter evenly to 3 well greased 8 inch or 9 inch pans.  (I used 9 inch)
 

  •  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  The 9 inch pans only needed 25 minutes for me because they are thinner layers than the 8 inch pans.  Keep pan size in mind.  You will know the cakes are done when the sides have separated from the pan, and a toothpick can inserted into the center and come out clean.
  • Transfer the layers from the oven to wire racks. Let them cool, still in their pans, for 10 minutes. 
  •  After 10 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan, then carefully remove each layer onto the racks to cool completely. (At this point I lost one of my 3 layers because I was not careful enough and had not greased the center of its pan completely.)
  Icing:

  • Combine the softened cream cheese and butter.  Beat until well blended and no lumps remain.  (I plan to double the cream cheese and half the butter the next time I make this icing.  Being that I have no experimented with this yet, try at your own risk.)
  • Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the pinch of salt, and the vanilla extract.  Beat until completely blended.
  • Add the next two cups of powdered sugar and the splash of heavy whipping cream.  Blend.
  • Put the coconut in a small bowl or container.
  • Add 3 drops of blue food coloring to the coconut and mix by hand.  (Use gloves if you can.)
  • If you did not use gloves, wash hands immediately!  (Seriously, it takes a day to really get the dye out.)
Decorating:

1. Completely cover the first layer with frosting.

2. For layers two and three, add a new layer and cover with frosting.

3. Decorate with your blue shredded coconut (and sliced strawberries).
Finished!
I only added the blue coconut to the one I took to the cookout I attended.
Turned the failed layer into a "test" cake to make sure it came out okay.  This one has the sliced strawberries, but the strawberries wilt quicker this way.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Name That Tune Tuesday: Same Love


A very beautiful song by Macklemore.  And very fitting considering the events of last week.