Tag Archives: Kat from Tenaciously Yours

OKMH – The Spring Edition

One Kitchen Many Hearts – a small, close-knit community of bloggers from all across the country sharing boxes of love, laughs and local goodies every other month. This month’s theme was Spring Fling, and my box came from Madelyn of La Petite Pancake from the southern regions of Cal-eye-FOR-nigh-aye. Here’s what she sent:

OKMH - April 2013 - Mmm, Candy

Leftover Easter candy for the win! I love coconut & chocolate, so Mads was definitely on a roll here. And the dark chocolate chili by Lindt is a favorite. Our friends Kaki & Donny introduced us to it with the recommendation that it pairs beautifully with red wine… which we just happen to have in the pantry. How convenient! It’s like she was reading my mind. Sometimes you feel like a nut.

OKMH - April 2013 - Flower Spatula

Y’all, it’s a flower spatula! As a lover of all things Kitchen Gadgety, this was awesome. It’s long enough to flip things on the grill. I can’t wait to make The Complete Package use it for burgers! We’ll have to see if he can channel his inner diva enough to take it outside where other male neighbors might see him. If not, it’s also perfect for pancakes and cookies. So springy!

OKMH - April 2013 - Manicure Goodies

Next up, Mitts & Paws – because nothing says “I’m ready to take off my flannel PJ’s and get outside” like a mani/pedi. I love this vibrant hot pink. And it came with foam spacers (for accident free piggies) and a sparkly glitter nail file. How spectacularly girly, Mads!

OKMH - April 2013 - Polish Close-Up

In case you’re curious, that shade is called Folly. If that doesn’t snap you out of your winter funk, I don’t know what will. Am I right, ladies? And when your mitts & paws are perfectly painted, it’s time for this:

OKMH - April 2013 - Olive Body Butter

After a few months of running the heater in Houston, my skin is crying “yessss!” Madelyn says she hoards this body butter and now I know why. Haven’t tried it yet? You need to. Your hands will thank you. Your shins will thank you. Your crusty elbows will thank you. Your significant other will thank you.

Lastly, Mads included something that said in the most gentle of ways “You’ve scarred me for life.” It made me laugh out loud (the items, not the scarring).

OKMH - April 2013 - Mads' Mouse Supplies

It’s a bag of leftover craft supplies from The Mouse Project when my OKMH buddies crafted 50 felt mice to celebrate my 50th birthday. It was a hoot for me because it was based on my felt mouse tutorial, but mildly traumatic for those who, in their own words, were not born to craft. To see their glorious creations, you can click here. It was Madelyn’s note that made me laugh out loud.

OKMH - April 2013 - Mads' Craft Memo

Those feathers! They are too much. And the glittery sunglasses – so fun! Yes, Mads. I will put it all to good use. There’s no telling whose OKMH box they may make it into next. So many potential victims, so little time.

OKMH Collage 2013

Speaking of victims, my April Spring Fling box went to Kat at Tenaciously Yours. To see what I sent, CLICK HERE. To be honest, I love getting these boxes but I love giving them even more. I think most if not all of the girls in our group feel the same way. We have so much fun collecting the perfect items to send in each box, hoarding cute things like squirrels until it’s time to ship. Or canning homemade goodies. Or tackling handmade crafts. There’s so much squee-ing.

Lots of love goes into every box. To see the rest of this month’s boxes, visit:

Rebeka @ Kvetchin’ Kitchen
Madelyn @ La Petite Pancake
Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic
Megan @ Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Allison @ Decadent Philistines Save the World

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The Mouse Project

You guys… I thought the 50th birthday shenanigans ended on Thursday when my blogging besties threw me a virtual birthday party, but no. They upped the ante with what has been known on Twitter as #TMPWatch2013. When it first popped up in my Twitter feed, I admit – I ignored it. I have goofy friends and there’s always some kind of ‘watch of the week’ going on. But when they started mentioning crafts, injuries, cat-tastrophes and swearing, it got my attention. Eventually, I wailed “I WANT IN!” Bet that got a laugh.

Kat stepped up and explained that it was a craft project. A “stitch & bitch” of sorts. She even produced a photo of an apron she was working on. There was embroidery of cilantro. (Yes, cilantro.) But she was a deceiver because that apron was distraction bait. They were scheming behind my back. My suspicions were confirmed when six boxes arrived, all with the same taunt written across the outside – “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL ALL PACKAGES ARRIVE”.

Three days I waited. There was a lot of tweeting back & forth. I kept saying “I can’t stand it!” and they kept saying “Don’t you dare touch them until they’re all there!” When the final box arrived last night, it was on like Donkey Kong. I did my best to live tweet as each box was opened, but I couldn’t help but wish they were all perched in my living room drinking margaritas with me.

Side Note: Now I know why my Felt Mouse Tutorial got so many hits last month.

Here’s a photo line-up of The Mouse Project. I still can’t stopped laughing.

Collage - Kirsten
So many wonderful things in Kirsten’s box. The mice are hilarious. Old MouseDonald comes with a pig that oinks (and the eyes light up). The Ranger Mouse was a joint project with her oldest son. He sent a book to go along with it. There’s Laverne & Squirrely, a travel mouse, a pie baker, Jeanne Cash (dressed in black & an inside joke with TCP), and an adorable garden gnome mouse complete with shears. Bonus swag: Danish chocolate & girly bling. Hey, Kirsten… I think this birthday brought both Freaked Out and peeing my pants a little.

Collage - Allison
Allison’s mice are a perfect blend of sweet, touching and hilarious. Examples:
Duchess Emouska – who look a little like Cruella DeVille; she rocks zebra print
Mousy Gras – raise your hand if you know how she got all those beads
Dr. Pellet – the mousetroenterologist reminding us to help prevent colon cancer
Havarti Marti – she’s here for the party; we’re gonna get along fine

Allison always keeps me in stitches. Even her card made me laugh out loud.

Collage - Carrie
I don’t know who to feel sorrier for – Carrie or her Vlad the Impaler mouse. She had the week from hell and yet still made time to make these mice. There’s a lady mouse in pearls, a gentleman mouse in a bowtie, Little Willie who sings Texas classics on his guitar, and the mouse that was obviously the last straw. Yes – those are real sewing needles protruding from his body, and yes – she shipped it that way. I’d love to know what her post office thought. Not just for the voodoo-like use of needles, but for the toddler meltdown that went with shipping it. Despite it all, her mice are testimony to her perseverance. Thank you for hanging in there, Carrie. I am completely charmed.

Collage - Megan
Sweet Megan. She writes the blog Country Cleaver. In her blog archives, you’ll find the story about how she chose the name for her blog. It involved a photo shoot in which she did her best June Cleaver impersonation. She channeled her Country Cleaver persona into this sweet little mouse, complete with a stylish apron and pearls. I’m guessing she loves Nutella and salmon, although not at the same time. I’m also pretty sure she’s addicted to Downton Abbey and all things Royal. Her dream man can wield an ax and wear flannel like a boss. She’s lovely and has her act together, just like Megan.

Collage - Monica
Meet Leilani. She is the Spirit of Aloha, and she traveled the furthest to be here. She is sporting the latest in swimwear from the great state of Hawaii and bears the traditional greeting of a lei. This cutie is the creation of Monica, the Grommom, who shares her life homeschooling four adorable surfer dudes (groms) without seeming to rub our noses in the fact that she lives in paradise. Her tropical flair brings sunshine into our lives and her iPhone shots of sunsets and beaches inspire us. Monica is a doll, and so is her sweet mouse.

Collage - Beka
Beka of Kvetchin’ Kitchen is many things – smart, funny, strong – but I had no idea she was a crafter. She is responsible for most uses of the hashtag #AllTheSwears on Twitter while #TMP2013 was being chatted about. Girlfriend has hidden talents, and felt mice is one of them. Who knew? Beka made five mice, but one got ripped to shreds by her cats. Such a shame. We could have created a killer Walking Dead diorama for him. But let’s celebrate the survivors – a mustached gentleman with an engagement ring at the ready, a sweetie holding a pink rose who I suspect is about to say “Yes!”, a Mouscasso portrait (very creative) and The Birthday Queen, complete with royal crown & scepter.

Collage - Katie
I think it takes a fellow Texan to understand why a tie-dyed “Keep Austin Weird” mouse named Leslie would make me furiously happy, and Katie from The Hill Country Cook is just that Texan. Her mice are so reflective of her personality – fun & fabulous. There is a polka dot “Surprise!” mouse, a little sweetie hugging a birthday candle, and a trademarked Peace, Love & Baking mouse. Those symbols on the bottom of the blue mouse are a peace sign, a heart and a whisk. Peace, Love & Baking is how Katie ends each blog post, so it’s only fitting that one of her mice bears her emblem. Also stashed in Katie’s box – a mylar birthday banner & a party horn. Party on, Katie!

Collage - Madeline
I think it’s safe to say that Madeline surprised us all. We had no idea she was a closet crafter. Check out her mice. There is a sweet gray mouse in an apron with buttons, a daring hot pink lady bringing the bling, a sweetheart of a purple mouse embellished with red heart buttons (five hearts representing the fact that we both come from families with five girls), and the most adorable little aviator mouse complete with flight wings and a tiny toy airplane. Wow. Just wow.

Collage - Kat
Of course Kat, our resident fashionista, would go full-on glamorpuss. She created not one but SIX fearless females she calls the “Cougar Cocktail Conga Mice”. Here it is in Kat’s own words: “They’re all named Tammy. Naturally, they’ll paint your nails, tease your hair and cover you in rhinestones. It’s just how they operate.” Only Kat would send All The Tammys. It’s like ZsaZsa Gabor had a box of mice babies, and they are priceless! All is forgiven for the great Cilantro Apron Deception, Kat. All is forgiven. PS – they came with hooch!

Collage - Mads
Next up was Mads’ two mouse besties – Mildred & Sophie. They’re the Thelma & Louise of mice. Mildred just turned 50, and just like me she likes to stir up mischief and enjoys a good Bloody Mary. Her BFF Sophie is more inclined to pink fruity cocktails and riding in convertibles. Together, they are unstoppable and despite a few incidents involving glue they still look marvelous. Must be all that sunshine and beautiful weather on the California coast. Real Mousewives?

Collage - Anne
Anne of From My Sweet Heart blog is known for her beautiful desserts. Each of her sweet creations is a masterpiece and each will have you licking your computer screen. It should be no surprise then that she would channel that same artistic ability into felt mice, but we were still surprised. Just look at her beautiful works of art – there is a sweet berry-laden Flour Power mouse, a pie maker wielding a spatula, a cookie baker complete with cookie jar and slotted spatula, a rolling pin baker who loves her job, a sweet pink donut mouse (a girl after my own heart), a hot pink party mouse, and a sweet cotton candy confection that is as sweet as her treat. From My Sweet Heart in mouse form. Bravo, Anne. Bravo!

So much love. So much fun. So much anticipation followed by so much squeeing. And so many back stories – both for the mice and for all the secrecy, the glue gun & sewing needle injuries, and the swearing. Apparently there was a LOT of swearing. Beka’s two cats even brought violence and drama to the mix. RIP Unknown Soldier. You will not be forgotten.

To all the ladies who helped make my 50th birthday one for the record books, thank you a MILLION times over. Words can’t express not only how much I feel loved, but how much I love each of them in return. Some day we’ll all get together, and when we do it will look like one of those rugby tussles where all the sweaty men tackle each other and roll around on the ground. Except that we’ll be laughing instead of sweating. Everyone knows women don’t sweat – they mist.

PS – Special thanks to Kirsten, whom I suspect was the ringleader in all of this, but who is too modest to take the credit. Blame. No, credit. It was ALL amazing. I never saw any of this coming, so either she is a Super Sneak, or I am a mullet. Please refrain from voting out loud. Thank you.

PPS – I have no idea how I’m going to display all these mice, but rest assured that they will not be hidden away and forgotten. If I have to ask The Complete Package build a wall of shelves in my sewing room, so be it. (Right, honey? Right pookie bear? Right snoogie oogums? Right sugar booger? Honey? Hello?)

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Salad Week: Toughie’s Apple Salad

It’s Salad Week! What a glorious way to celebrate Spring. Once again, my blogging partners in crime and I are co-oping a food themed week and this time salads are the stars. And honestly after a big sugar-filled holiday weekend, who couldn’t use a few new salad recipes, am I right?

In our salad week discussions, the topic of retro salads came up as well as salads made with unconventional ingredients. Examples: Twinkie Salad and aspic. Does anyone even know what aspic is anymore? The retro salads of potlucks past struck a chord with me, so today I’m featuring one of my mother-in-law’s fruit salads from the 1950’s. It has a few unexpected ingredients, but they all come together beautifully to make an old-fashioned potluck favorite.

For the record, my mother-in-law is a gem. She’s spunky and funny and I love her very much. Her nickname is Toughie, and this is Toughie’s Apple Salad.

Toughie’s Apple Salad:
4 crisp apples, peeled & chopped
1 small can of crushed pineapple
1 small can of pineapple tidbits
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
the juice of one fresh lemon
the juice from both cans of pineapple
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To start, peel and dice the apples and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Open the cans of pineapple and drain the juice, reserving it for the custard dressing; toss the drained pineapple into the bowl with the apples.

In a saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, mustard, lemon juice and the juice from both cans of pineapple. Cook over medium heat, whisking often to prevent lumps, until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. If you’re in a hurry, pour the custard into a bowl and pop it into the fridge to chill.

Once the custard is cool, pour it over the fruit and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into your serving dish, then sprinkle the coconut and cheese over the top. Serve cold as a dessert salad.

My thoughts: Yes, it’s weird to put a little yellow mustard in a fruit custard, but the surprising thing is you don’t taste mustard in the finished product. It gives it a bright little tang like lemon zest would. So while it sounds weird, don’t leave it out. It really adds a zing. Cheese also throws some people off when they see this fruit salad. Is it necessary? Probably not. There’s really not enough of it to have a strong impact. What it does do is give you a nice contrast between the sweet of the fruit and the sharp cheddar when you take a bite. And speaking of sweet, this custard is very sweet. I was a good girl this time and stuck to the recipe as Toughie intended it, but the next time I make it I’ll be cutting the sugar down to a 1/2 cup or maybe even a 1/4 cup. If you prefer less sugar and more natural sweetness in your fruit salad, I recommend you do the same.

Now, on to the rest of Salad Week. Don’t forget to visit my lovely friends throughout the week as they share a few introductory salads to whet your appetite. Then on Saturday April 14th, we’ll all be posting salads in a big Salad Week Extravaganza – much like the grand finale of a fireworks display. In addition, there will be a linky party over at Allison’s place so you can not only see all of our salads from the week, but you can add your own favorites, as well.

Salad Week bloggers include:
Allison – Decadent Philistines Save the World
Jeanne – Inside NanaBread’s Head (hey, that’s me!)
Lauren – Climbing Grier Mountain
Kat – Tenaciously Yours
Kirsten – Comfortably Domestic
Megan – Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Madelyn – La Petite Pancake
Monica – The Grommom
Carrie – Bakeaholic Mama

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I put the Ice Cream in Cake Week

Wahoo! It’s Cake Week! I love these collaborative cooking weeks. I get borderline giddy with anticipation to see what my friends will be making. Those girls never fail to impress. For my contribution to Cake Week, I chose the ice cream cake category. Why? Because I like to shake things up, and because I promised myself that I would keep trying new things as my carry-over mantra from 2011. Hence, I give you my very first ice cream cake. Or cakes. I made them individual serving size, and here’s how it all went down.

Ice cream wrapped in a chocolate cake hug & smothered in more chocolate.

What you’ll need to pull this off:
1 cake mix + the oil, eggs & water to go with it
2 pints of your favorite ice cream (I chose two flavors)
2 bottles of Magic Shell chocolate ice cream coating
Candy melts, nonpareils, or other decorative touches
Heart-shaped cookie cutter (or round, square or other)
Parchment paper & various baking pans

1. Starting with a dark chocolate fudge cake mix (yes, a cake mix), I mixed it according to the package directions except for one small thing. I substituted 1/4 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup for 1/4 cup of the water. Because nothing compliments chocolate like more chocolate.

2. I covered a sheet cake pan with parchment paper and spread the cake batter in a thin layer (about 1/4″). That sounds thin, but the batter puffs to about 1/2″ when it’s done. I baked it at 350F until the cake was slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick came out clean. Once out of the oven, I let it cool to room temperature, then slid the entire sheet pan into the freezer for at least one hour so the cake would be firm enough to cut without falling apart.

3. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, I cut the cake into 8 hearts (each about 4″ wide) and placed them back in the freezer while I prepared the ice cream. Note: to make 4 individual-size ice cream cakes, you’ll need 8 cake cutouts and 4 ice cream cutouts in whichever shape you choose.

4. For the ice cream layer, I selected a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. I softened both in the microwave for 30-40 seconds, stirred to loosen them up, then poured each pint into a parchment-lined pan. I spread the ice cream into a 1/2″ thick layer and placed both pans back into the freezer to firm up.

I 'heart' cake and ice cream.

5. Once the ice cream was firm, I used the same cookie cutter to cut the ice cream into heart shapes. I then stacked an ice cream slice onto 4 hearts and topped them with another cake heart. I pressed ever so lightly to set the layers together, but not so hard as to cause the ice cream to squish out. I popped it all back into the freezer to firm up again. As you can see, these take very little work, but a bit of time as each stage goes back into the freezer to set up.

6. Once the ice cream cakes were good and cold, I removed them one at a time and covered them in Magic Shell. Ever used Magic Shell? It’s liquid chocolate in a bottle that sets up into a hard chocolate shell when it hits cold ice cream and it makes a lovely, smooth coating for ice cream cakes. Again, they go back into the freezer for 10 minutes, or until the Magic Shell is firm.

7. To decorate, I melted pink candy melts over a double boiler, then scraped it into a baggie, snipped off the corner of the bag, and quickly piped decorative touches on the cakes. Some got crisscrossed hash marks (as seen above) and some got piped pink hearts. The hearts got a liberal sprinkling of pink nonpareils because they look so pretty. And what girl doesn’t love pastel nonpareils?

Pink candy melts and nonpareils make everything prettier.

8. Once they’re done, store your ice cream cakes in an air-tight container in your freezer. To serve, simply plate about 5 minutes before serving. Well, I say 5 minutes because I live in Houston and it’s always warm down here. If you live in a colder climate, set them out about 10 minutes before serving.

The great thing about this simple version of ice cream cake is that it’s limited only by your imagination and the selection of cake mixes and ice cream sold at your neighborhood store. Pick your favorite ice cream, then pair it with a complimentary cake mix, and you’ll be off to the races. Strawberry cake with banana split ice cream? Why not? Fudge cake with coffee ice cream? Sounds divine! Butter cake with pecan praline? When should I come over? Now go forth and bake, my minions. Bake and slather cake layers in ice cream. You’ll be surprised at how easy these are to make.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s posts from my fellow bloggers:

MondayFilled Cupcakes from Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic
TuesdayMolten Lava Cake from Mads at La Petite Pancake
Wednesday – Ice Cream Cakelettes from NanaBread (hey, that’s me!)
ThursdayPetite Bundt Cakes by Kat at Tenaciously Yours
FridayPupcakes from Allison at Decadent Philistines Save the World
Saturday – Ombre Rose Cake from Megan at Wanna Be A Country Cleaver

Now for the really fun part. Kirsten, our fearless leader, is celebrating Cake Week with a linky party. If you have a favorite cake recipe you’ve blogged about, click here to link up and join the fun. If you’re more of a cake lover than cake blogger, drop by! It’s a great way to add new recipes to your repertoire. Just click any link photo to open the blog page and view the recipe. It’s like finding a collection of cake recipe cards, but more fun and with better photos!

Now if you’ll excuse me, this girl’s got a date with an ice cream cake.

If you need me, I'll be hiding in a closet so I don't have to share. Sorry, honey.

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