Friday, September 28, 2012

How to Make an Ice Cream Cake

During college, I worked part time to keep from being a starving student.  Some part time jobs aren't so bad, and the ones I worked were actually pretty awesome.  I managed to avoid fast food, though not the food industry altogether.  For four and half years, my second home consisted of freshly made waffle cones, and all natural ice cream.  My roommates loved that I brought home leftover waffle cones, day old cookies and brownies, and often times even ice cream.  I became biased towards all other ice creams because no one had better tasting  ice cream then good ole Ben and Jerry's. 

In my years I did many tasks, including scooping ice cream, blending frozen drinks,  baking fresh waffle cones, and  making cakes.  So today, I thought I'd share a bit of that knowledge with you. 

Have you ever wished you could make an ice cream cake?  Ever wished you didn't have to spend so much money for an expensive one at the fancy ice cream stores?  Well, now you can do it yourself!

Ice Cream Cake Tutorial Picture

I warn you though, I never decorated cakes.   I just did the basics, and the cake decorator did the fancy stuff. 

Let's make an Ice Cream Cake!

What you'll need:
Ice cream (I used 4 pints for this cake)
2 circular cake pans
Cake layer ( brownies usually work the best, but you can use whatever you want)
Frosting (Buttercream or whipped  - we used to use Pastry Pride as a lighter option)
A flat knife
Fun decorating toppings

Plan for this to take at least 24 hours.
  • Let your ice cream soften a bit so that it's scoopable.
  • Fill  cake pan with ice cream ( you can do it all in one pan, and freeze between each layer, but I recommend using one pan for each layer to save time).
  • Spread the ice cream in the pan so it's flat.
  • Put layers in freezer  (you want to put the cake in the freezer between each step to help it keep it's shape, otherwise it becomes a goopy mess).

Making Ice Cream  Layer Steps

  • Bake ahead of time  brownies, cookies, or whatever you want to be your cake layer.
  • Cut thin slices of brownie and place on top of each ice cream layer.
  • Put layers in freezer to let the ice cream adhere to the brownie.

Cake Layer Picture

  • After it has COMPLETELY FROZEN   (usually overnight) , it is then time to take it out of the pan.
  • Flip your cake upside down and hold one hand underneath it. 
  • Run cold water over the top of the pan.
  • With your other hand gently twist and loosen the pan from the ice cream.
  • As soon as you start to feel it start to come loose, remove from under water.
  • Be ready with your plate, still keep your hand underneath,  and as the cake slides out of the pan,  quickly place on cake plate.

How to loosen cake from pan picture

  • Repeat with second layer. 
  • Each layer should be pretty solid, so you can adjust each layer's placement if need be.
  • Place cake in freezer to reharden.

Picture of Ice cream cake with one and two layers

  • Next, it is time to frost your cake.
  •  Using a flat knife to spread your frosting, start with the sides first.
  • Then move to the top, and spread frosting on top, smoothing out the edges.
  • If at any point in this process, you feel like the cake is starting to loose shape, put in freezer.  Once it begins to harden again, you can then continue to frost. 

Frosting ice cream cake with flat knife

  • Put in freezer to let the base frosting set before decorating. 
  • Decorate!  Have fun with it... even if you aren't a cake decorator, you can use things like brownies, cookies, sprinkles, or candy to fancy it up.
  •  DO NOT let cake soften before serving.  Instead take a knife and dip in hot water before slicing. 

Decorated Ice Cream Cake


I'd love to see what you guys come up with!  Post your masterpieces in the  Creations from Alisha Rose and Friends Flickr Group .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Upcycle: Baby Leggings

Since I recently rediscovered my love for sewing, I needed to refresh my skills.  One of the first things I made were these baby leggings.    I took out one of my gazillion old work t-shirts. I traced around a pair of leggings that I knew fit well and began cutting.

One thing I learned was to measure repeatedly before cutting.   I looked at the pants I had cut out and thought that it looked way too big so just hacked a few inches off the top.  Big mistake!   When I tried it on my girl, it only covered half of her butt.  Oops!   So then I had to fix my error.  I cut the collar off  the shirt and used it as my waistband.  I had to make a dart on each side to make it fit. I cut a little slit in the back of the collar and threaded elastic through it, and then hand sewed the hole closed. Using the collar as the waistband worked great and even gave the pants a tag so I knew which side was the back.  In the end, the extra line gave the pants some character, so it all worked out.  

The other problem I had with these pants is that the front had a little pouch which looked a little funny. I'm not sure exactly how that happened.  Anyone have any tips on how to avoid the "front butt"?

I used the bottom of the t-shirt for my hem.  Using the hem that was already there gave it a nice finished look and saved time too.  As an added touch I cut out a heart from another shirt and appliqued it on.

If you want to make your own baby leggings, check out this tutorial.
 Super Simple Baby Leggings by Make it and Love it
Just be a little more careful then I was.  :)

Even though they didn't turn out perfect, I did learn a lot, and they make comfy play pants.  I think that's what upcycling is all about. It gives you a chance to practice without feeling bad about wasting expensive fabric if you mess up.   I was able to take an unusable t-shirt and was able to create a cute little pair of leggings.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snack Time: Kale Chips

Not to long ago, my little bro came out to stay with us for a week at the end of his summer vacation. We hung out, he played a lot of video games and just relaxed.  Fun times.  I  also helped him learn the basics of C programming.  He, in turn, wanted to teach me something.  He recently learned how to make Kale Chips and was excited to share his knowledge.  I was a bit skeptical, but I was a good sport, and off to the grocery store we went. 

We ripped up the Kale into chip size pieces and filled up a  big bowl.  We then covered them in oil and seasoning.

Kale in a bowl

Spread them out on a pan and popped them in the oven. 

Kale on a pan

When they were ready, I hesitantly tried one.  To my surprise they were quite tasty.  The texture  took a bit getting used to because they aren't exactly like chips.  They actually kind of melt in your mouth. Overall, they were pretty good.   My little baby girl even tried a couple, which is amazing because she hates anything that hints of a vegetable. 

Thanks to my brother for introducing us to a new healthy snack!  The video above is where he got the recipe from.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crafty Time: Pinatas - Angry Birds

We celebrated my nephew's fifth birthday this weekend.  His mom was going to be out of town the week before the party, so I offered to help. My nephew wanted an Angry Birds party.  We explored different ideas and agreed that I would make a pinata. I remember saying these words, " Sure, I'll make a pinata.  It looks really easy. "   Easy.... HA HA HA... little did I know what I was in for!

I looked at a bunch of sites online and they all said about the same thing.   Start with a balloon, then make paper mache, cover balloon with paper mache, let dry, cover with more paper mache.... etc, decorate... and tada, you now have a wonderful pinata for your child's party.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, maybe it is easy, but not when everything goes wrong.  This post is not a "how to" post, this is a "what not to do" post.

Tips and Tricks for Pinata Making: What not to do

I bought this really cool ( and expensive) balloon at Michael's called a "Giant Balloon".  And it WAS giant... I had to use my air mattress pump just to blow it up.  However, when I blew it up, it had a tiny hole in it and since I only had one balloon and it cost a lot, I thought I could still use it.

Tip 1:  If you blow up your balloon and there is a hole in it,... don't tape the hole and expect it to hold.   

I did tape the hole, and while it held for the first layer, the second layer appeared to have been too much for it.  The below picture is what happened. :(  It went from a pretty big, cool looking balloon to a crumpled mess.

At this point I was starting to stress a little bit.  Each layer has to have 24 hours to dry and I had now wasted almost two days.  I rushed to the Dollar Tree and found punch balloons.  The package had 3 balloons and I thought that would be enough.

Tip 2:   Don't skimp on how many balloons you have. Better to have too many then too few.

We then blew up two... one for me and one for my little girl to play with.  A few minutes went by and BAM!, they both popped.

Tip 3:  Don't overfill your balloon. Even though you want a really big pinata, resist the urge to blow it bigger then they recommend.  

I still had one balloon left. I thought I'd be fine... Nope, that one had a hole in it too.  See Tip 2.
I quickly called my husband's little sister who was on her way over and asked her to pick up some more.  I blew one up,  put paper mache on it, and put it out to dry.

Tip 4:  Don't think it'll dry outside during the night... the cold air will only make it wet and soggy.

After that first night, I remembered to bring it in at bedtime.

Tip 5: Don't let it dry where the temperature  fluctuates a lot.  

I let it dry outside where it got really cold and it made the balloon shrink.   The picture below shows you the comparison of how much it shrunk.  The paper mache balloon WAS the size of the yellow balloon.
I did read this instruction on one of the sites I looked at and didn't pay much attention because it didn't seem to be that important.  Apparently, I was wrong.

With the way things had been going, I decided to make a back up plan.  Even though the balloon was happily drying ( before I knew it had shrunk), I decided that I would try making a different shape out of something other then a balloon.  I looked around my house for what I could use.  I found a green bean box, a tomato sauce box and a brownie box.  I taped them together with masking tape to make a  triangle.  I figured I could make it look like the yellow bird, if the balloon didn't work out.

We paper mached the yellow bird the next day.  I figured it didn't need as many layers of paper mache due to the fact it was already made out of cardboard.  Boy, was I glad that we did that.  It turned out great!

Since I already had started the shrunken balloon, I decided to finish it and we could always just use it as decoration.

I left a little hole with a flap  in the yellow bird so that we could put the candy in later.  I also wrapped it like a Christmas present with the twine sticking out the top and then paper mached over the twine.  This worked great for holding it.
The red bird, I left figuring out how to hang it until last and we had to cut a hole and duct tape it so that it would hang.  It worked, but wasn't quite as cool.

Tip 6:  Attach your string before you paper mache.  Do not wait until after it's all done to figure out how to hang it.  Or if you are going to use another method, at least attach it before you decorate it, so you can cover any cuts with your paint or tissue paper.

I painted them, and we then had two angry birds for the party.

Tip 7:  Paint the shape white until you can't see the newspaper anymore, then paint it the color you want it.  
Don't think you can paint it  just one or two coats of a light color, because you'll still be able to see the newspaper.  

We ended up using both of them for pinatas and the yellow bird turned out much better.  The red bird didn't even allow the entire line of kids to go through before it fell apart.

The yellow bird was definitely sturdy.  It allowed about 10 kids to each get about 3 turns of 3 hits each.  You could see it starting to crack as they hit it.  It wasn't too frustrating, but not too easy either.  Just right!

In the future, I would give myself about 2 weeks ahead of time to start it. That way if things went wrong, I wouldn't be stressed.

The other thing I would do differently was if I tried a round shape again, I would maybe just use a beach ball or cheap bouncy ball as my base shape.  Another tip I saw was to wrap a balloon in newspaper and tape it with masking tape to hold it's shape that way you aren't putting paper mache directly onto the balloon.  Not sure if that would work but it might be worth a shot.

Here are the websites I used to make my pinata:
Angry Bird Pinata by Simply Styled Home
Pinata Tutorial by Whimsy Love
Learn How to Make a Pinata by coolest kid birthday parties. com

In the end,  I sure learned a lot, and my nephew loved his pinata.  Despite everything that went wrong, it was a huge success after all!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meatless Dish: Spicy Thai Noodles

Another new yummy meatless dish is this Spicy Thai Noodle dish.  It is supposed to be served cold but we liked it hot.  It felt more like a pasta salad when it was cold.  It has flexiblity that way,  serve it for whichever mood you're in.

Be careful when following the recipe because the pictures show some steps that the recipe card leaves out. 

The recipe calls for sesame oil, and I wasn't sure exactly what they meant.  I had sesame SEED oil on hand which is great for adding flavor to asian food.  I ended up using 1/4 seasame seed oil and 1/4 olive oil instead of what the recipe called for and we thought it was just perfect. 

It suggests 1-2 TBS of red chilli flakes. One was enough if you are going to serve it hot.  If you're going to serve it cold, you could get away with a little bit more because the heat kind of mellows once it's been cooled in the refrigerator.

Here's the link to the recipe:
Spicy Thai Noodles by A Small Snippet

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Baby Girl Gift Set: Flower Applique and Two Tiered Skirt

My entry into Shwin&Shwin's Link Party sponsored by Appliances Online

Another one of my friends is having a little girl in the fall.  I've been trying to be creative for each person and give something a little bit different.  I also try to use the material I have to come up with a cute outfit.  I take days pairing different fabrics until I get something I'm happy with. 

Onesie with Flower Applique:

 To make this, I took the fabric from the bib and made a photo copy.  I then cut out a single flower and then enlarged it until I was satisfied with the size.  I then used Pellon Wonder Under to iron it on.  I appliqued around the edges very slowly.  The curves were a little challenging, but it worked out.  I lastly added a button in the middle.  I was a bit concerned that a baby would try pulling it off and choke on, so I sewed it on extra secure.  Even though I love the look of the button, the next time I might just applique on a coordinating color in the middle to avoid the whole button issue.

Two Tiered Circle skirt:

I started with the Circle Skirt from MADE for my base, but then chopped and added until I got the below result.  I was going to do a tutorial, but it'll have to wait because I started taking pictures of the process but then had to rip out and redo because my original idea didn't work out as planned. I had put piping in between the two tiers, but it made it stick out horribly.  It looked like a big square dancing skirt... I think it would be great if I was making something with a petticoat, but alas, I was not, so out it came.  I ended  up putting the lace to cover the seam and add some character. Thankfully, I loved how it looked.  Whew!  I sure was happy that it came out because the baby shower crept up on me and I had a lot less time then I wanted.

Here is the finished onesie and skirt set.  The set is size 6 - 9 months.  Since her baby will be around that size in the winter, I think it'll be a cute outfit paired with a button up sweater and baby leggings. 

Below is the entire gift with coordinating bib to match.

I can't wait for the months to go by so that I can finally meet my friend's baby girl!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chevron and Circles Boy Baby Shower: Free Printables

I recently was able to help decorate for a baby shower.  Two of my friends from my mommy's group were having their second babies, both boys.  We threw them a mini baby shower - or as I've heard it called, - a baby sprinkle.  They don't need to be showered with all the big gifts and don't need all the basics that a first baby does, but they still need to be sprinkled with love and support to welcome in a new life.

I was asked to make a banner, and here it is.  I got the chevron digital images from Melstampz .  She has all sorts of colors.  I absolutly love her site, she has LOTS of free digital images.  I don't have any cool editing software as of yet, so I just used Paint.  It wasn't that hard, but I wanted Paint to do more things then it was actually capable of.  So this is what I was able to come up with.  The letters are in more ovals rather then perfect circles, but I think it turned out rather cute. 

Download the free printable banner here: Chevron and Cars: It's A Boy Banner
Cut out the circles and punch out holes in the top so that you can put a string or a ribbon through to hang it.

I decided to do a little extra at the last minute, and the night before I searched the internet for cute ideas to decorate that would be easy but make it look extra special.   I found a pic of hanging circles sewn together and thought "I could do that!"  It was so easy and sooo worth it.

Here's how:
 I used cardstock that I had on hand, and traced out some circles with a measuring cup.  I cut through two pages at once to make it quicker and only used 6 pieces of paper to make 8 strands with 12 circles each.  I had never sewed paper before and was a bit nervous but it was no problem. 

The one trick was to sew on the first circle and then slowly guide it through.  Your needle will be sewing nothing for a bit but it's okay as long as you put the next circle in right before the current circle moves from under your sewing foot.  This keeps the tension correct and doesn't let the thread get tangled. When you're finished, be sure to leave a length of extra thread so you can hang it. 

The shapes weren't exact circles, but that was okay with me.  If you don't sew or want different shapes or precise circles, I did spot an etsy shop or two that will do it for you and will save you the time and energy. 

I also made a couple signs for the party. 
Download the sign here: Planes, Trucks and Toys Sign

I created a blank sign for you to fill in your own information. 
Download it here: Blank Boy Sign 
I used Lucida Handwriting font, size 30 if you want to match with the Planes, Trucks, and Trains sign.

There were also blue, green and yellow balloons, and a coordinating paper chain.  One of my friends also made the cutest cake which she tied a blue ribbon around.   It was a fun little get together and I can't wait to meet their new little boys!
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