Thursday, February 21, 2013

Photo Album: Toby Turns 4, and Our New Mixer

I don't have time for lots of words today, but since pictures are worth a thousand this should suffice. Last Saturday we celebrated Toby's 4th birthday. I'm really not one to encourage idolizing Disney movie characters, but with their images plastered all over everything sold to children, it's hard to avoid exposing children to them. You will notice a certain Disney movie theme in everything that had anything to do with Toby's birthday. It just happens.

He wanted Sally on his birthday cake. She is Lightning McQueen's girlfriend, for those of you who don't have a male child under age twelve in your household. I don't know why she is the car of the month in our house, but, as everything must be Sally-related right now, I did my best to create her from blackberries. This was tricky, and time consuming, but I'm pretty thrilled with the way it turned out. The frosting is whipped from melted sugar and egg whites since I'm not able to use powdered sugar (because it contains cornstarch) and the colors are just fresh strawberry slices and blackberry pieces, painstakingly placed with care. With a birthday cake like this, who needs food dyes?

He, of course, enjoyed tons of birthday presents featuring every kind of Lightning McQueen paraphernalia possible and a new GeoTrax set with a Sally car, which I think he liked.

In other news, our brand new Kitchenaid Pro 600 mixer arrived on Tuesday! I didn't get a chance to get it out, read the manual, wash the parts, clear my counters, and try it out until yesterday, but we had a lot of fun making cookies once we finally got it up and running. Rearranging my counters and drawers got me motivated to thoroughly reorganize my kitchen. I threw away or packed away the stuff I never use and got my drawers in a much more appealing state. Maybe my kitchen won't be such a bad place to spend my life after all.

I mixed a double batch of cookies in my mixer yesterday while Hannah copied my every move and mixed up her double batch in her bowl. All was well until she tried to stir her dough by hand and was still working hard long after I had whipped mine together and gotten them in the oven. Her melodramatic efforts were so humorous I decided she would make a good commercial for the Kitchenaid mixer, so we made one up, just for fun. It's in the two parts of video below.

Aren't we silly? Oh well, we had fun. And we're still having fun eating those cookies today!

I've been getting five gallon buckets from a local bakery for free. I use them to store the bulk flours that I bought. Yes, they're coated in nasty day-old frosting and doughnut glaze and require a good bath in the tub before use, but hey, at about a $6 value each, I've saved us $36 so far.  Some people like flower arranging. I enjoy flour arranging.

And when the bakery gets done with another four buckets I'll be adding brown rice flour, oats, rice, and dried beans to my stash. For now these are living in my freezer, which I haven't quite managed to fill with frozen meals yet, but I'm well on my way. I'm hoping to get some extra batches of cookies and pancakes in there today and tomorrow.

It feels good to be organized and equipped. Most days I feel prepared and on-top of things, and for those days when I'm not, at least I should have something in the freezer for back-up. Thanks again to all who have donated, prayed, and encouraged our family in the last few weeks. Hopefully food preparation won't have to dominate my thoughts now, and I can get back to just enjoying my kids and sharing them with you.


  1. The mixer looks perfect on your counter! Nothing like a new piece of equipment to energize our kitchens!! I have buckets just like yours in my garage ~ ours came from the local grocery store's bakery :) They are awesome for storage!!

    Haven't had much success with gf cookies ~ do you find your recipes online mostly?


  2. Yes, I find most recipes online just searching for key words. Our favorite cookie recipe I've modified quite a bit and exchanged the butter and shortening for canola oil and applesauce, and I've cut out a lot of the sugar. It is more of a snack bar that I can feel good about letting the kids snack on, not so much a sweet cookie, but the kids and I both like it. I can send you the recipe but I don't have your e-mail.

    There's a great cookbook called "Cookies for Everyone" by Leslie Hammond that is full of really great cookie and treat recipes that are free of the 8 common allergens. I like her sugar cookies a lot! We've only had time to try a few more of the recipes in that book, but I've liked them all so far.