Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Treats: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake w/ Caramel Glaze

What happens when you don't have enough sugar to make a cake? But have brown sugar flowing out of the cupboards!? You make a brown sugar cake!

I wanted to make dessert tonight since my hubby and I have both been hankering for something sweet for like ever now. I was going to make cookies, but our oven is probably about half the size of normal ovens and our pans don't fit (apartment life for ya!) I bought a new bundt pan for my birthday and have yet to use it so what better time than now? :)

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
To start off, cream together the sugars and the butter. It should take awhile but just put your muscles into it (or if you are rich/have a mom who gave you hers, use a mixer to do so).

Then, add sour cream. Add your eggs one at a time, stirring in between each one and make sure they are well incorporated before putting another in.

Add the flour, salt, and vanilla to the batter. Stir really well :) You will then mix in the baking soda and finally the vinegar. It may sound odd to add vinegar but I promise this makes it taste super good! You can even try the batter if you don't trust me ;)

Spray your bundt pan with nonstick spray, or coat with shortening and lightly dust with flour. Be sure to remove all excess flour from the pan! Pour your batter into the pan and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, which takes about an hour and a half.

Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool :)

Next comes the caramel glaze!!
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Sorry I couldn't really take pictures of this, my stove doesn't have a light over it so the pictures were really dark! But first, mix the brown sugar, half-and-half, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until it gets thicker. Then, add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat, cool slightly and pour the sauce over the cake! Voila! 
And here is the finished product (It kinda looks like a donut here).

This cake is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And is great with a cup of coffee (I am guessing, I don't actually drink coffee)! I think you are going to love it :)


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The TMNT Wedding Video

Our photographer and our friend recording us cutting the cake!
Hello everyone :D I am, once again, posting about my wedding. My husband and I's one year anniversary is coming up, so obviously I am getting all giddy about it!

For this wedding video, we had one of our friends record it using our own camcorder that we actually received from our flower girls family as an early wedding gift. My grandmother was in the hospital and could not go to the wedding, so I really wanted her to still feel part of our special day and get to witness it. As a side note, we had some remarkable people involved in our wedding and are the luckiest people in the WORLD!

We have a Sony HDR-CX220 Handycam which is small and lightweight! Perfect for recording a wedding because it would not be getting in the way of the photographer or anyone else for that matter! So our lovely friend recorded the boys getting ready, some shots of the reception and ceremony venue, our entire ceremony, the speeches/toasts, cutting the cake, and our introductions. It was awesome to be able to look back on everything and see stuff that I missed. I really loved seeing the boys get ready because you can see how nervous my sweetie pie was :p

To edit this video, I used iMovie. iMovie is great, you can add in transitions, music, special effects, change the audio and visual settings, but I kept getting the spinning wheels of death while editing and would have to force quit and pray that all the changes I made had saved. It was a long process to do and man, I wonder what else might have been better software to do it with or if I should have just asked a pro to edit it. Although those minor things had happened, I posted my edited version for you all to see :)
You can see there was some issues with random green spots and sometimes you could hearing yelling children in the background (people were hiking during the ceremony and not realizing a wedding was going on, it was super funny) but there is beauty in imperfections, they say! Enjoy :D

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Deal with Not Finding A Coke With Your Name On It

 I understand many people's feelings when they try to find something with their name on it, spelled exactly the way your name is spelled, but you just can't find it.

When I was little, I used to spell my name "Sammy" which is the more common way of spelling the nickname for my legit name, Samantha. But then another girl in my class also liked to be called Sammy and spelled it the same way. I have always been a person who strives to be different. So obviously, I was not having that. I began experimenting.

"Hmm, Sami!" Well, jk because some girl a year older than me spelled her name that way too. So I decided on something I had not seen before. Samy.

Now, people write my name whichever way they want to know and I really don't care either way. But when I was younger (let's say fifth or sixth grade) I was very keen on being different. I wanted to be the ONLY Samy Tracy in the WORLD. Well, I'm sure that is not true nowadays but I liked to think so in my twelve-year-old mind.

It is difficult (especially in this generation) when other people always have different spellings in their name. Calvyn. Whitknee. Cady. Are a few I have come across myself.

In regards to this Coca Cola thing...just get one that says "family" or "friends"on it and call it good. Or if you are like me, get one with a name you have secretly wanted since you were like five.
What I am trying to get at, is to embrace your differences! It's easy to complain that Coca Cola does not have your name on a bottle and you demand justice, but why not just love your name and yourself for who you are and how God made you. Come to terms with the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross for you to have your name on a Diet Coke. We need more praises and less complaints, world!

Peace & Love

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Big TMNT Day

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I's wedding was Ninja Turtle themed. It started off as a joke by my then fiance. He posted a status asking people to like it for a TMNT themed wedding, and a bunch of people liked it and it eventually grew on me. I LOVE colors, I love to have fun, and I really wanted him to have a big part in planning the wedding. So I decided to create this post in case anyone else would like to create their own TMNT wedding :)
WHAT COLOR?!: Right off the bat, we decided to have four bridesmaids and groomsmen each so they could each be their own "ninja turtle." For the girls, it was pretty easy. I asked them out of each of the colors (blue, purple, orange, and red) what they wanted to wear. I had the most amazing bridesmaids and each one chose a different color so there was no argument :) With the groomsmen, it was a bit different. The Best Man was automatically blue since Leonardo is the leader of the group. The rest they just sorted out based on which personality fit better. Who knew boys could be so complicated! :) The girls and I went over to David's Bridal and chose the shade of colors that we wanted with our very helpful David's Bridal employee. We knew we wanted the same design of dress since they were going to be different colors, and if both were different then you couldn't tell who was the actual bridesmaids!

CAKE: Next came the cake. We had the same company arrange our flowers and make our cake so we only had to go in for one meeting to get this all sorted out. We decided to have cupcakes and each one would be a different ninja turtle of a different flavor. Since this was a fall wedding, we included fall flavors. Leonardo was maple walnut, Donatello was carrot cake, Michelangelo was pumpkin, and Raphael was red velvet. We also ordered a mini cake that was used as the cake that we cut which included mini ninja turtle faces around the sides and our initials on the top. As our cake topper, we just went to walmart and got a Leonardo and April O'Neil action figure doll and placed them at the top. And of course, they had weapons ;). 

FLOWERS:  We received the flowers from the same place as the tuxes and cake (vendors listed at the bottom of the post). After searching through books I fell in love with carnations! They look so great arranged together and were also cost effective! I decided to wear a baby's breath flower crown instead of a veil because it was much more natural to me, so we cupped the carnations with some baby's breath on the bouquets. We added little personal touches with fabric wrapped around the stems of the flowers, too!

 FAVORS: One of the most fun pieces of this wedding was creating the favors. We decided to make ninja turtle masks for the guests and decorate the reception with these colorful masks. It brightened up the space and added a little personal touch from us. We got blue, purple, orange, and red fabric from our local fabric store and cut little holes for eyes through them. It was as simple as that! I had a girls night with my bridesmaids and we made about half of the masks while my husband and I finished making the rest at a later date. We also created mini bags of skittles as favors that were the ninja turtle colors. But looking back, I feel like this was totally unnecessary and was actual a bit expensive! So ditch the skittles if you plan on doing a tmnt themed wedding too!

DECORATIONS: For random decorations throughout the reception, we found some ninja turtle posters, piggy bank, and shot glasses. The poster we found at Bull Moose Music which is a local entertainment store. We were in there to find a movie one night and the poster was sitting right by the counter. I would most certainly call that fate! We placed it at the gifts table and it is now hanging in our bedroom! We also wanted to help out a local homeless shelter that was starting up so when we found a ninja turtle piggy bank, it was perfect for some of our guests to place their donations in there. Since the wedding, we have used it for multiple fundraisers and it really gets people's attention! We found this at WalMart. The shot glasses were actually a gift from my husband's dad and we decided to decorate our sweetheart table with them and placed lit tealight candles in them. It was a cute little decoration that added a special touch to our table.

WEAPONS: So this last category is one that I did not even know about until after the ceremony. After the receiving line and taking a few shots of us freshly married, the groomsmen come barreling around the corner with weapons. They came up and asked me if it was alright if they had them and took pictures with them. Obviously, I said yes! It was so fun to include weapons (they weren't real) in our wedding pictures and pretend we were going to fight the boys while all they had were some flowers to protect them.

Here are some pictures of our venue! Saddleback Mountain is absolutely beautiful and we had such a wonderful experience working with the whole team!!

I hope you enjoyed learning about my super fun (but I believe it was also super beautiful) wedding! If you share our love of TMNT then we encourage you to do the same. Just make sure to send me some pictures :D

Photography: Fortier Photography
Ceremony,  Reception & Catering: Saddleback Mountain
Planners & Designers: JoAnne Taylor at Saddleback Mountain
Bridal Shop: House of Brides
Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal
Cakes, Tuxes, Flowers: Skowhegan Fleuriste & The Bankery
Hair & Makeup: A family friend, Tatiana Curtis
Officiant: Our Pastor, Ira Hall
DJ: The Bride's Cousin, Josh DeBoer

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Meaning Behind the Title

Many of you may wonder why I chose "Treats. Marriage. New Experiences. Trials" as the name of my blog. Well, TMNT is something that means a whole lot to me. My husband and I's wedding was Ninja Turtle themed (post to come later on that). Our children are most likely going to dress in ninja turtle costumes, we own a million (or it seems like it) tmnt trinkets, and have a new passion for the comics and television show...we won't talk about the Michael Bay movie though...

So here is why I have decided to title my blog:

TREATS: I hope to share with you all some yummy recipes I come across, or end up making since I am constantly creating and baking up something new. Baking is something I truly love doing and I think it is one of my natural gifts. I also want to share more of my "sweeter" moments in life. Ways in which Jesus has blessed me more than I could ever imagine or deserve.

MARRIAGE: My husband and I were recently married in October of 2013. So I guess technically we are still newlyweds for another couple of months. Marriage is difficult, it really tests you, but it is also the biggest blessing I have received! I expect to include many moments with my husband that are super special to me and also moments that I hope others can learn from.

NEW EXPERIENCES: I am only 22 years old. I just recently graduated from college, and I am (hopefully) going to teach in the fall. There are going to be so many first and new experiences for me that I know I will want to share. I can't predict what will happen but I know I have quite a few years of first experiences coming along.

TRIALS: Just like I am going to have new experiences, I am going to have trials. But they are always ways in which to glorify God and learn. I hope to share my testimony, and how God is building on that each and every day.

Although I have social media and such, I feel like I can't really truly express myself on there. I hope others can get to know my goofy, silly, Jesus-loving self and how I am continuing to grow as a person and in faith.