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Friday’s Fave Five – August 2, 2019

Since I broke my shoulder seven weeks ago. I find that I need to make myself look for the good in daily life. With all the pain and hard work it takes to heal, it is too easy for me to stay self-centered all day. One way to look for the good, is to participate in the weekly meme, Friday’s Fave Five. Write your own post and link up at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

ONE. Blood draw. I had to get blood drawn on Monday. It is usually an ordeal because I have small veins. It frequently requires multiple tries and a different person has to take over. BUT – this time, the phlebotomist got my vein on the first stick. And there wasn’t even a bruise.

TWO. Community Breakfast. This is my church’s 2nd annual breakfast in a nearby parking lot. Besides food, we had two bounce houses, games for kiddos, and face painting – all free. Despite the heat, we had a decent turnout. I like that we gave back to the community on Sunday.

THREE. Two Movies. Our senior group from church watches a movie on the months that have a 5th Tuesday. Last Tuesday we watched the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” It is about a master sushi chef who has a restaurant in Tokyo. His restaurant gets 3 stars on the Michelin rating system despite the fact that this restaurant only has one sitting of 8 people per night. It is about dedication to your craft.

Since it was a shorter movie, we then watched the mockumentary “Juan Likes Chicken and Rice.” Juan is also dedicated to his craft. This 2nd movie had us in STITCHES. Both movies are streamed on Netflix. Go spend two hours on these movies. You won’t be sorry.

FOUR. Pool Exercises. Man, it is uncomfortable to do my exercises. At least it is on land. I’ve discovered that if I do them in the pool, it is easier; I can work harder and longer; and it is fun. I am a water baby. I do them in the pool 2-3 times a day. And I’ve seen great strides in my range-of-motion. (However, no new skills this week.)

FIVE. Watermelon. Sydney cut the watermelon we served at the Community Breakfast, She cut it in a different way. It was less messy eating it this way. I love learning new things.

That’s my five for the week. Thanks for reading.

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Friday’s Fave Five – July 12, 2019

Four weeks ago, this past Wednesday, I tripped while running in the Philadelphia airport to catch a connecting flight to SFO.

Long story short, I missed my flight to SFO; instead, an ambulance took me to the Jefferson Methodist Emergency room.

I have to make a side note here, I really appreciated the paramedics that attended me. I wish I had the presence of mind to thank them for their attention, professionalism, and care.

Five hours, one x-ray, and one CT scan later, a cab deposited me back at the Philly airport. My daughter met me at SFO (about 9pm) and drove me home even though she’d been up since 3 o’clock that morning.

Edited to add: I  chipped a triangular piece of bone off my lesser tubercle (on the right humerus bone under the ball and joint) and there was a fracture at that point also.

This is what my arm looked like one week after the accident. … My arm bruise is now only about the size of a small apple and is not in vivid colour anymore. Sorry, no photo as I cannot manage that action by myself – yet!

More of my healing details are in my FFF list.

Here are my faves this week – and in TRUTH, it would be easy to list more than five things just related to my shoulder.

  1. I saw the surgeon on Monday and she was pleased with the bone regrowth so far. Therefore, I can start physical therapy on Thursday, July 18. It’ll probably be at least four more weeks before I can drive.
  2. The pain is managed with Tylenol and Motrin, usually needed only at night. Ice, heat, and arnica gel have also helped a lot.
  3. As of this week, I am more mobile: I can now dress myself, feed myself with my right hand, and put on my own seatbelt in the car.
  4. I worked a full work week from my office.
  5. After a meeting yesterday, a friend took me to the store to drop off donations at the Goodwill and get supplies for a breakfast we are having at church on Sunday. She also helped me figure out a meal to take to someone who had surgery this week. The assigned person couldn’t do it at the last minute.

All-in-all, a great week.

Leave a comment. Write your own gratitude post. Link it up with Susanne here.

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5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: Love People Better

Some of our attitudes/actions can put chains around our heart. What can we do to gain freedom from these unhealthy behaviours?

LOVE PEOPLE BETTER. I think that most of us have some variation of this aspiration on our own resolution’s list. Because frankly, people are hard to like and love at times. WE are hard to like and love at times. And too many times we are faulty in our ability and desire to love, forgive, and heal (to our detriment).

Related Internet Articles 

So is loving people better achievable? The answer to that question is, “Yes.” What are your suggestions?

Below is a list of my suggestions. They are in no particular order . . . 

  • Cultivate loving actions and words. Decide what you’ll do and when. And then follow through. Need ideas? Check out this post on some actions you could do.
  • Practice forgiveness. When we don’t have an ongoing practice of forgiveness, we lug around bitterness and blame.  Need help? Try one/some of the following: counseling, read appropriate books, journal, group therapy, talk with a wise friend or spiritual leader.
  • Memorize I Corinthians 13. But do more than memorize it. Put the words into action. I especially like this version. I memorized this Scripture with a friend. The accountability, for memorization and action, was life-changing. The truth in these words helped me to love others better.
  • Pray Regularly. Pray for mercy and love to fill your heart. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes us. Read this post to see 5 ways prayer impacts us. 
  • Boundaries are a must. Set appropriate boundaries. I answered this question about boundaries here.
  • Know their story. Know it until compassion fills your heart. Be compassionate like God. It will move you to love others better.
  • Take time to know others. Put them on your schedule. Make some history with them. As we make history with others, as we get to know their story, we will feel bonded to them. And this will lead to better loving.
  • Drop unrealistic expectations. Read my post on There Can Be No Trust When Perfection is Your Goal.
  • Do something kind. Do something kind again and again until kind becomes habitual. I wrote about kindness here and also here and another here.
  • Do one thing that would make a difference to someone else. Do something that doesn’t require you being “paid” back. This type of selfless attitude/action grows love in us for others.

I LOVE the idea of bucket lists. I want my bucket list to be a force for good and cause growth in me and others.Therefore I have five things on my Life Bucket List.

  1. Introduction
  2. More Gratitude
  3. Love People Better
  4. Love God Better
  5. Love Myself Better
  6. Love My Enemy.

As the post goes live, I will hot-link the title.

Your Turn . . . What is your best tip for loving people better? . . .  What will you do this week to show your love?

Related Fruitful Words posts . . . 

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7 Decorating Ideas to Use on Easter Cakes

Since I started baking birthday cakes for Cake4Kids, I have been learning new decorating techniques. These ideas are not just for birthday cakes, either. What I am learning can be transferred to any holiday cake.

Look below to see how the various techniques can be used for this year’s Easter cake. And once you’ve made an Easter cake, you are ready to employ the technique on your next birthday cake.

The ideas shown are fondant, unicorn-style, multi-colored layers with sprinkles, naked cake, make your own shape cake, watercolor, drip, and ombre.

Easter Mini Log Cake (by Tracey Lau).

It would be easy to transform a round cake into this textured log. Add some buttercream flowers and a fondant bunny and butterfly. Oh, so cute and easy to do.

Bunny Easter Cake (by Dulce Gourmet). This bunny cake is reminiscent of the ever-so-popular unicorn cake. You could add flowers to this sweetie, if you want more color. And you can go to this post (ideas to decorate a unicorn cake) to get ideas for your bunny cake.

Easter Layer Cake (by The Gunny Sack). Each layer is a different spring color. Top with sprinkles and, TA DA, you are done. For another look, you could “naked frost the sides and the lovely cake colors would show.

Naked Carrot Cake (by The Little Epicurean). Carrot cake is always a good choice for an Easter or spring celebration. This baker used real carrots on top. With a little work, you could fashion fondant or modeling chocolate carrots to adorn your cake.

Cutest Easter Bunny Cake (by Food and Wine).  Bake two rounds and cut them according to the directions. Ice and then top with coconut. Use candy to make eyes, a nose, and whiskers. Sprinkles make a lovely bow-tie. This is sure to delight any child.

Easter Bunny Watercolour Cake (by Wilton). Have you tried the watercolor icing technique yet? It is easy and fast. Check out this video. The way the decorator made the bunny on the side of the cake is clever.

 

Mini Egg Drip Cake (by Jane’s Patisserie). Here is an Easter example of a drip cake. Pipe on some buttercream nests and top with Easter candies. This link also gives you the details on how to make the cake.

Modern Ombre Easter Cake (by Think. Make. Share). You’d never guess this “messy” first photo would end up with something so lovely. Learn this technique on an Easter cake and then use it for other themes, too.

Your Turn . . .

  • What technique will you try for your Easter cake? Next cake?
  • What have you already tried? Any tips?

Related Posts . . . 

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Today is National Unicorn Day & Here’s A Cake To Go With It

Today is National Unicorn Day. You’ve probably seen that unicorn cakes are in. Cake4Kids (C4K) volunteers have made these. Look at some of their ideas and ideas from Pinterest to get you started.
Most of the cakes I initially saw, had lots of flowers in lots of colors for the mane, and a gold horn with black, eyelash eyes on the side.

One of the cakes that exemplify this style. Cake made by a C4K volunteer.

Monochromatic flowers. Some bakers stuck to a monochromatic theme like this one for a boy. A C4Kids volunteer decorated this one.

Note the purple eyelashes and silver horn. Nice.

Instead of Flat Stanley, make a Flat Unicorn on a round cake.

This cake also has a lovely paisley design going around the cake.

Or decorate a sheet cake with a unicorn.

Love the purple horn.

Of course, sprinkles always make a great decorative accent.

A C4K volunteer made this birthday cake.

Horn ideas. You can make the horns out of fondant, Jello, modeling chocolate, a giant twist lollipop. or an ice cream cone. You can leave the cone plain or decorate it by frosting it and twirling it in sprinkles. EDITED to ADD – You can make a horn out of caramels, candy melts, and pretzel rods

These eyes are different than the norm and so cute.

Ear ideas. The ears can be made out of fondant, modeling chocolate, or marshmallows. You can also use marshmallows to make unicorn marshmallow pops.

This C4K cake has blue ears, horn, and eyelashes.

Cupcakes. Decorate each one as a unicorn with a gold candle for the horn and tiny flowers for hair. Or make a cupcake pull apart unicorn.

This pull apart has 21 cupcakes. It would be easy to add a few more to get to the usually required 2 dozen cupcakes.

And don’t forget about the board. It can look festive, as well.

This cake is baked and plated by a C4K volunteer.

There is a Cake4Kids sister duo that has made 6 unicorn cakes. Yep, 6. They now feel they have that technique down.
Like the idea of baking such a beauty, check out this video by Nerdy Nummies.
Feel too intimidated? Sacramento peeps, check out Jaynee Cakes. She has a class where you can learn how to make 3 types of unicorn cakes.
Your Turn . . . 
  • Show us photos of your unicorn cakes.
  • Share your tips or links, as well. 
  • Which cake from above is your fave? Will you be baking it?
  • If you live in CA and want more information about C4K, let me know.
Related Posts . . .

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4 Experiments with Veganizing Boxed Cake Mixes

Here are three of the four cakes. The 4th cake is IN the trash. It was awful. Read the post to see which one was the worst tasting experiment.

Have you cooked a vegan cake before? If not, is it because it seems too difficult? Or that you need too many ingredients you are not familiar with?

Gillian and I are part of a group that bakes birthday cakes for at risk and foster kiddos. Our demographic is asked to provide a lot of vegan cakes. So we decided to see how to veganize boxed cake mixes with only one “alternative” ingredient per recipe.

We experimented with two boxed cake mixes (a chocolate and a vanilla). In the end, would the changes we made add up to a tasty cake?

This brand is sold at Bel Air. It might be sold other places, too. It was on sale for about $5 a box.

First, we divided each box mix into halves. That way we could run two experiments on each box mix.

VANILLA CAKE MIX. It requires egg, butter, and milk. We made the following changes.

Experiment 1 – Use half box of vanilla cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Butter – replaced by 2 Tbsp Melt (a vegan butter substitute)
  • Milk – replaced by ¼ cup almond milk
  • Added ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Put clip on this pan so we knew which recipe is which

Experiment 2 – Use half box of vanilla cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Butter – replaced by 2 Tbsp oil
  • Milk – replaced by ¼ cup almond milk

We put each of these into a parchment-lined, 8-inch pan. Be sure to use vegan spread or vegan baking spray to coat the pans. We cooked the cakes for about 25 minutes.

Taste Results. Neither cake was exceptionally good nor did they rise. They were dense, sticky and overly sweet.

However, the one made with the oil (instead of Melt) was noticeably better tasting, although still not great. It appears the baking powder did not make a difference as both rose the same. Gillian and I decided we would not make either cake again. We considered both tweeks to be a FAIL.

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CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX. It requires egg, oil, and water. We made the following changes.

Experiment 3 – half box of chocolate cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ½ cup of applesauce
  • Oil – stayed with 1/3 cup oil
  • Water – stayed with 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • Added ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Put clip on this pan so we knew which recipe is which.

Experiment 4 – half box of chocolate cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ½ cup of applesauce
  • Oil – stayed with 1/3 cup oil
  • Water – replaced by 1/3 Cup almond milk

We put each of these into a parchment-lined, 8-inch pan. Be sure to use vegan spread or vegan baking spray to coat the pans.. We cooked the cakes for about 25 minutes.

Taste Results. Both cakes rose well, were moist, had a good crumb, and were tasty. We would make either one again. It appears the baking powder did not make a difference as both rose the same.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

We used unsweetened applesauce. The cake didn’t take on the flavour of the apples.

Replacing eggs. Sources say to use ¼ cup of applesauce for each egg. So we made a “mistake” by doubling the amount for the chocolate cake recipes. However, the end result was a tasty cake. Perhaps the vanilla cake would have turned out better had we used 1/2 cup for each experiment.

Applesauce tip. We don’t normally eat applesauce in our home. So I bought a four pack of individuals serving applesauce. Each individual serving is ½ cup. It is easy to keep this on hand to make up a vegan cake.

Baking powder. Sources say to add 1/4 tsp for each one egg replacement. We won’t do this again as it didn’t seem to make any difference at all in how the cakes rose.

Cake mix brand. We used an organic cake mix called Organics. If you do these same experiments with a different brand, let us know your results.

8″ versus 9″ rounds. Each box mix made up two 8” round cakes. If you want to make 9” round cakes, we suggest you use two boxes. One box per pan.

You got this. The next time you have to make a vegan cake, grab a box of chocolate Organics cake mix, oil and some applesauce. If you don’t have a dairy-free milk, use water. It won’t affect the taste.

Your Turn . . . Try this experiment and report back. . . . What additional tips do you have to veganize a boxed cake mix?

Related Posts . . . 

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Cake Baking Resolutions 2019

This is one of my practice cakes when I was working on ruffles.

In 2018 I became a part of Cake4Kids. It is a non-profit organization that bakes birthday cakes for at risk kiddos. Baking cakes is something I am comfortable with. My children are now in their mid-thirties and so I’ve made a lot of birthday cakes. I thought baking for Cake4Kids would be easy.

Turns out, it is harder than I expected.

  1. I am worried about how my cake will look. I want the recipient to be pleased with the cake and I am not sure they will be.
  2. A lot of the requests have been for vegan cakes. I am not a vegan cake baker. So I have been worried about how the cake will taste.

Benjamin Franklin has an idea I can follow, though.

He said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

I can plan and act my way into not being so intimidated by the look and taste of vegan and non-vegan cakes.

I won’t fail in my baking attempts in 2019, instead, I’ll make baking resolutions. I signed up for an online school, Bluprint. I’ve gone through their course list. I have four things I want to try over the next three months.

  • Two decorating ideas. Sprinkle cake and a Rosette cake. These look fancy and yet I think they will be easy techniques to master. I will use a box mix when I make these practice cakes since a box mix is so inexpensive. And I have a couple of places these cakes will be delivered to so that all this cake is not at my home.
  • Two vegan cakes. Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Cinnamon Swirl Cake. The idea of baking a vegan cake has been intimidating. So when I saw that Bluprint has 5 vegan cake recipes, I was thrilled. I have a couple of vegan friends who will gladly be my taste-testers.

I will make all of the above until I become an expert or ditch the recipe because it failed to deliver. Or I failed to master them. Then I will pick two more decorating techniques and two more vegan cakes to try.

Related Posts . . . Kindness is Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

Your Turn . . . Please share your baking resolutions for 2019. , , , Also share any tips you have for me.

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