Monday, October 27, 2014

Rose Cake with Chocolate Letters

This weekend, I made a chocolate cake for a girl who loves pink.  It's kind of impossible to make pink chocolate frosting, at least it is if you're avoiding vats of chemicals.  I could make a chocolate cake and put pink roses on it, but then the roses wouldn't be made from chocolate frosting, and I don't really like it when there are two flavors of frosting on a cake.  My solution?  Pink chocolate letters!  I melted white chocolate and added some red chocolate coloring (which actually makes pink).  I piped the letters onto wax paper, let them chill in the fridge, and then carefully placed them on the frosted cake.

Isn't it beautiful?  It's so girly and fun, just like Claire!

And this rose design looks so complicated and stunningly beautiful, but is the easiest way to frost a cake!

Bonus: It also tastes delicious. :)

Love and Chocolate,
Leah Joy

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yet Again

To my dear, faithful readers (all 5 of you):

I realized over the weekend that I had no new projects to share with you this week.  No pictures, no progress, zip, zilch, nada.

There are several projects for which I have the supplies, have barely begun, or at least have thought about, but nothing to support a whole blog post.  I have a lot of big projects which I am about to undertake, but I want to do them right, and not rush them so that I can post here 3 times a week.

Also, I have a pretty big gardening overhaul in our front garden.  Sunshine is a necessity for this project (or at least not rain), so any day I get with decent weather, I'm dropping everything else (or more likely setting it down gently) for this project.

With that being said, I'll be taking at least this week off from posting, maybe more, until I can get this garden project done and/or get some more progress on my forty-two other projects.

In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of some of my upcoming projects:

Love and Rainbows,
Leah Joy

Friday, October 17, 2014

101 Things Update - Pretzel Bread

So, I technically could have added this to Wednesday's post, but this was such a good recipe, it needed its own post.  I give you, Pretzel Bread.

This recipe was easy, fairly uninvolved, and the only 'special' ingredient required is coarse salt, which I found at Meijer for under $2 (and I have plenty leftover to make this a few hundred more times, too).

This bread was so delicious.  I want to make it every day.  And then eat it all.  Chloe and I made grilled cheese on it for lunch.  And then ate another half a loaf plain.

The recipe makes two small loaves.

Like most homemade pretzel things, this is best fresh.  It's still good later, but the salt soaks in and the crust isn't as crispy.  I think I'm going to try making it into rolls next time.

Here's the original pin, with the recipe so you can also make this and be as fat and happy as we are. :)

Love and Salt,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

101 Things Update - October 15

If you check for changes on my 101 Things in 2014 - Completed Projects board on Pinterest (not that I really expect anyone to do so), you may have noticed that I have moved #54 (Embroidery Hoop Wall Pocket) to the finished projects list, but haven't posted any pictures of my project.  That's because while I technically made the project, I also apparently bought the cheapest embroidery hoop out there and it broke.  So once I fix it, I will share the photos of the finished product with you!  In the meantime:

82. Apple Cinnamon-Chip Bagels

These were amazing.  The recipe made 16 small bagels, and they lasted approximately 24 hours.

I used homemade cinnamon chips, which don't hold up well being mixed into a very thick (and warm) bagel dough, so they kind of melted and broke and smeared throughout the bagels.  This was nice, as there were some little pockets of cinnamon and a lot of smears of cinnamon, but not what the original recipe intended. :)  I'm sure both ways are fantastic!

98. Six-Berry Pie

Wild raspberries, wild black raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries went into this delicious pie.  I decorated it with a ninja fighting a dinosaur because it was for a Happy Birthday/going-away party for my brother-in-law, but then half the family got sick, so the party was postponed, and we had to eat this pie all by ourselves.  It was tasty torture. :)

(In case it wasn't obvious, this is the unbaked pie.  I hope that's obvious.)

Love and Sugar,
Leah Joy

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Birthday Cake

Learning to pipe frosting has been on my 101 Things list for a long time.  I was happy learning to make nice swirls on cupcakes, and I really don't have a desire to do anything super fancy, but I did want to learn to make buttercream roses.  I decided that once I could make a buttercream rose, I would have achieved my goal.

(Sorry, it's hard to get good pictures in my kitchen at 9:00 PM.)

I used these flowers to decorate my birthday cake!

My cake was basically one big experiment in techniques, so it's a bit of a mess, but it still tasted delicious. :)

The cake and frosting were both lemon, although the roses were made from leftover vanilla buttercream from another cake.

So, I can officially check that off my 101 Things list!

Love and #1M,
Leah Joy

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gardening: A Good Laugh

This summer got crazy.  I barely had time to clean my toilet, let alone tend my gardens.  I finally got out there a couple weeks ago to clear out the weeds and dig up any carrots and garlic that may have survived.  After doing one of the beds, I stepped back and couldn't help laughing.  I had to take a couple pictures to share with you.  Please note that before I started, both beds looked about the same.

And this, folks, is just one reason the self-sustaining lifestyle is probably not for me. :)

Love and Basil,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Apologies, Again

My apologies for my brief unintended hiatus.  I thought I had a post scheduled to go up Friday, but obviously not, and I got sick over the weekend so I didn't post Monday.  And then guess what happened.  That's right, insomnia!  Woohoo!  However, instead of getting all mopey and ranty on you, I thought I'd list some things for which to be grateful.

1. The work crew finally re-seeded our grass on Monday, which means they're probably done.  Hallelujah!

2. I started at the library 3.5 weeks ago (sorry I never told you!) and I LOVE my job!  I get to alphabetize books, movies, and CDs all day!  (Well, 20 hours a week.)  The people are nice, I have good hours, and I get to feed my habit of reading.  It's kind of like when I worked at Salvation Army and saw all the cute clothes, except now I don't have to spend money to indulge my addiction.  I'm also starting to go through the CD collection to expand my musical horizons.  I wasn't sure where to start, so I just started in the As (how alphabetical of me) and this week I brought home 4 Tori Amos CDs.

3. I can find clothes that fit me at Salvation Army.  My new job requires business casual clothing, which to me means dress pants, a nice plain t-shirt (the fitted style) or a polo, and a cardigan.  (Thankfully I'm allowed to wear clean tennis shoes.)  Before I started, I had 0 pairs of dress pants, 4 shirts I could wear, and 2 cardigans.  Now, thanks to our local thrift stores, I have 1 pair of dress pants, 6 shirts I can wear, and 3 cardigans.  All for about $25.  And if I can find a pair of dress pants that aren't black, then I can wear my 2 navy blue shirts. :)  Anyway, I'm really grateful that I can shop at thrift stores so that I can switch out my wardrobe easily when I need to.

4. Books. I love books so much.

5. Also, jelly beans.

That's all for today, but I do have a few pictures of some recent projects that I can hopefully get up soon.

Love and Dr. Pepper,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rainbow Scarf

You may or may  not remember when I shared this fantastic picture of the headband I made:

Well, I never told you about that fabric, and it's a great story.  I was a Salvation Army 5/$5 clothing sale and I found this huge rainbow floral skirt.  It said it was size small, but all the elastic had worn out, so the waistband was more like size extra-extra-extra-extra large.  But for $1, I knew I could do something awesome with that fabric.  I was wrong.  I could do LOTS of awesome somethings with that fabric!  In addition to some headbands, I also made 3 scarves like this:

One for me, one for my mom, and one for my sister!

And they're so pretty!

(And yes, that one is posing in my bathroom.  Where do your scarves pose?)

And I still have a little of the fabric left over....

Love and Soft Scrub,
Leah Joy