Saturday, November 27, 2010

Farm Birthday Party

My adorable nephew celebrated his second birthday this weekend. The party was held at Zoomar's Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano. For those of you in the SoCal area, this is such a wonderful resource for hosting a kid's party or just taking the little ones for a visit to see the animals. The train even stops right across the street! My sister-in-law did an awesome job with all the details, and the kids had a blast. There were pony rides, train rides, they fed the bunnies and goats carrots, and played on the playground. By the time we got in the car everyone was fast asleep. Happy birthday precious Aaron!

The craft table and gift bags. The kids created their own farm scene.

Everyone got a cowboy hat and scarf, along with tokens for pony rides and the petting zoo!

Vintage Coca Cola cooler.

Roasting marshmallows by the fire.

How cute are these Toy Story pumpkins?

I baked a few chocolate cupcakes in red and blue gingham wrappers with fondant farm animal toppers.

My favorite was the piggy.

My sister-in-law requested some sugar cookies so I came up with this assorted farm animal cookie plate with a barn, pigs, chicks, ducks, cows, farm dogs and sheep.

Happy birthday big boy. We love you!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge: Doughnuts

Each month the Daring Bakers presents a baking challenge to its members in an attempt to stretch their culinary horizons -- previous challenges have included attempts at Baked Alaska, cheesecake pops and sugar cookies, to name a few. The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

For this month's task, I chose the yeast dough recipe from Alton Brown. I faced a few challenges off the bat, not the least of which was being out of town without my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer and supplies. But the process was easier than I thought, despite doing everything by hand. The end product was a sort of rustic, hybrid beignet -- this one tossed with granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar -- and cut roughly into squares with a knife. They were light, airy and addicting, and tomorrow's batch will be enjoyed with a cup of homemade hot cocoa (recipe to come!). I recommend giving it a try.

A sticky mess!

I was missing my mixer right about here!

This thing balloons to almost triple the size after about an hour.

Let em rest for 30 minutes then fry. I only used about a fourth of the dough. It's enough to feed an army.