Friday, March 5, 2010

Ready or Not, 30, here I come!!!

Well, the day finally arrived! I turned 30! But no gravestones or black balloons or me frollicking "over the hill". I looked to 30 as another beginning!

There was no deadline of "things I need to accomplish" before I turned 30. I find that my life is so full, there was nothing more that I really wanted to ask for, but to just love the things I have attained. Find contentment without complacency and continue to set goals.

There are so many things that I have learned to appreciate; just little things that brought me to where I am today. I've been able to experience so much. See places. And meet people that have entered my life and honor those that have chosen to stay there. Letting go of hurts and regrets. That's what it was all about for me. Oh, and to ensure I stay healthy so that I'll be around for the next 30!

Well, I was on the tail end of a bad reaction to some medicine I was taking when it was time to celebrate my day! Under my doctor's advice, I was trying to take it easy and rest. But you can't keep a good girl down. The weather was GORGEOUS! A touch cool with abundant sunshine! I spent some time with my 2 wonderful daughters, shopping and manicuring my makeover. A new wardrobe, a haircut and color! And I was treated to the theater to see Alice in Wonderland and lunch at my favorite little restaurant 3 blocks from our home, San Antonio Sam's! :)

Now, what was I going to eat? Well, the hostess seated us and presented us with the menu and then I spotted their new Vegan menu and was quite surprised at the many choices they offered. Well, now how do you watch your diet when someone else is making the yummies? Eating out+diet= NOT EASY

So, I chose the chicken taco salad with their fresh ingredients. Theirs is loaded with greens, carrots, radicchio, fresh tomatoes, shredded chicken and shredded cheeses. And I had a side of light sour cream and their homestyle salsa, not low on the sodium pole, but it was my birthday and I only had a small amount.

I couldn't wait to get home to start on my cake.

White chocolate Fantasy with Raspberry filling and Almond Buttercream Frosting!

It's a Flavor Marriage made in Heaven! My tips for making this cake a success. Be sure to grease and flour your pans. I don't flour pans very often, but this recipe definitely needs it in addition to spraying with Pam. Melt your white chocolate chips and then add them to the cake. Solid baked chips will make the cake very sugary and grainy. And use a quality filling that you would normally eat. Raspberry makes a perfect fill for this cake because it helps to balance the sweetness of the white chocolate and tart bitterness of the raspberries. I used a seedless preserve. I mean no one wants to pick seeds out of their teeth right? Also, the addition of the almond extract gives just another layer of flavor and ties into the frosting.

Well, we only each had a bite of this rich cake. Literally a bite. The rest? I took to work to share with my colleagues. And from their sighs, I believe they all enjoyed it! Oh, and a great office tip, homemade goodies are much better than anything storebought.

White chocolate Fantasy with Raspberry filling and Almond Buttercream Frosting!

1 French Vanilla cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. white chocolate pudding mix
1/2 c. applesauce
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups white chips (melted and cooled)

Mix first 7 ingredients together, then add the melted and cooled white chips.
Pour batter into your greased and floured pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. This recipe makes either 2 or 3 layers.

Almond Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 1/2 cups confectioners' Sugar

1 Tsp. Almond extract
6-7 Tb Milk

Cream butter until fluffy then slowly add confectioners sugar, extract. Add milk until you get a nice consistency.

*Allow your cakes to cool before frosting so your buttercream doesn't melt!

*A ziploc bag makes a great piping bag. I have a few odds and ends cake decorating pieces, so I used a tip, but a small hole in the corner of a ziploc does just as well.

Smooth a thin layer of frosting over the cake and pipe a small edge around the side of the cake, that way, when you add your preserve filling, it will not run onto the sides when you frost the outside layers. Then add a thin layer of raspberry preserves or jam. Top with next cake layer and repeat. Frost outside of the cake and garnish if you wish. I used some sliced almonds! But fresh raspberries would be beautiful too!

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