the hyphens that define my life

Snake Cake January 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking — multihyphenatedme @ 9:44 am
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snake in the grass cake

My 9 year old son is obsessed with reptiles. Our family includes a gecko and now a ball python.  His reptile themed birthday party requied a reptile cake.

Pinterest to the rescue!  Search for reptile cakes and snake cakes and be amazed by the crazy-talented cake decorators and cake sculptors out there! Thank you for providing insight and ideas!

Here is how I made my cake:

Two Bundt Cakes – “The Martha Stewart Cookbook” recipes for Devil’s Food (chocolate) and Whipped Cream (white) cakes to accomodate all attending the party (translation:  for the fools that don’t like chocolate cake!).

One 9″ Devil’s Food Cake – same recipe as above.  One recipe made enough for the bundt and round cakes.

Four pounds of C & H powdered sugar – Buttercream frosting recipe on the back is quadrupled to frost this cake.

Red sour punch candy for tongue.

Wilton’s icing colors:  Juniper Green, Black and Golden Yellow

8 oz. unsweetened coconut

After wrapping my extra large cutting board in parchment, I cut the head shape from the 9″ round, using approximatly half of the cake.  Half moon shapes were cut for the raised eyes.  My kids were gracious enough to eat the other half of the cake unfrosted as an after breakfast snack.

Both bundt cakes were cut and half and arranged on the board.  One half of each bundt was quartered and rotated to create the curvature of the snake.

Divide and color frosting.Green and white frosting will be used the most with a small amount of yellow and black.

Crumb frost with a thin layer of white butter cream. Position and adhere half moons for eyes during the crumb frost.

Using a spatula, cover the entire snake with Juniper Green frosting.

Let the frosting dry slightly then use a paper towel to smooth out lines and ridges.  This is another awesome pinterest trick!

Put white frosting on eyes. Let dry.  Use papertowel to smooth.  Add yellow frosting to eyes. Let dry.  Use papertowel to smooth.  Using a toothpick with small amount of black frosting, add black line down the center.

Foolishly I believed I possessed the artistic ability to create a diamondback snake pattern all over the snake.  For the record, I don’t.  I tried.  I failed.  I scraped the entire frosting off the cake, and started over.  Internet images to the rescue!


Using a #5 decorating tip, pipe white lines onto the snake at random intervals.  Let dry.  Using papertowl, flatten. Using #4 tip, pipe black around white. Let dry.  Flatten with papertowl.

Using #4 tip, pipe black to create line of mouth and outline eyes.

Using #61 tip, pipe yellow at base of snack to create yellow underbelly.  Let dry.  Press into snake with papertowel.

With leftover frosting (I had more green leftover than any other color), frost the base of the board.  Color coconut with light green food coloring and cover base of board to create grass.


Who can resist that face?


Pace Yourself January 3, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:48 am
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How many times will it take before I learn this lesson?

Countless times I am revved up and ready to go tackle the mountain I have placed before me only to fall flat, to finish with a whimper, to get off track and head down another path. All because I create ridiculous parameters that don’t work with my life.  Sigh.

Why then am I surprised that I set myself up for another epic fail?   Ok, not an epic fail. And this isn’t about my diet. I resolved to blog every day.  I blogged day 1 and then didn’t live up to the resolution and, though I thought about blogging on day 2, I let it pass.

Who cares!  I didn’t realize my error until I was tucked in bed ready to snooze.  I’m sure no one else caught it. Did you?

Resolution revision:  Blog whenever I feel like it.  Blog more often than the 9 times I eeked out last year. The purpose is to develop a habit of writing.

The morals of this story, the hand-banging-against-the wall lessons to be learned is to pace myself, yourself, oneself.  Set goals with realistic, fluid parameters.  Give yourself permission to fall off the horse, the wagon, the bike, pick a metaphor that works for you.  Each day is a new day to get back on track.

Don’t fret, the diet isn’t perfect either.  Next week, I’ll justify birthday cake.


Resolutions 2013 January 1, 2013

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 9:58 am
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Resolutions 2013

Life experience.  To experience more out of life.  To get off the hamster wheel of the daily grind.

Better me.  The goal is not to lose weight, to exercise more or fit into those elusive old awesome jeans in the back of my closet.  To better me, I want to personally improve.  To be in the moment, to do the right thing, to be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, a better recruiter,  to be as healthy as I can be, to learn and grow.  Whatever “better me” means to me on each day.  A fluid process, without strict rules to follow.  A change in focus.  Change is good.  And if I can fit into those jeans by year end, all the better.

Save more, spend less.  Reduce expenses.  Use more, waste less.  Spend smart.

Create.  I love folk art. My resolution is to create 12 pieces of folk art this year. One project is a borrowed idea from two friends that scrapbook the year as they go, instead of creating files and storage boxes, my first creation will be a 2013 family scrapbook.

Write.  I read somewhere last year that in order to be a better writer, you need to write every day and a blog was suggested.  I started the blog, but with 9 posts to my credit, that is hardly a daily exercise.  I promise I won’t go into minute detail of my day to day living.  The topic range will vary from poems to creative writing to memories to rants.  This is day 1.

Give.  With intention.  With purpose.  When in doubt. Give time, energy, money, talents.  Give.

Happy New Year!  I wish everyone the best life has to offer.