Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Basketball Cake Tutorial

Wow... 2 months. Has it really been that long since my last post?! Ay Caramba! Lots going on lately.
Check out my other blog for details --->
I actually have a ton of stuff to catch up on so I am going to just do really short posts. 
Let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer those and add them back into the posts.

These cakes turned out so cute! They were for my little brother's basketball championship game for his team. It was super simple. 

I made 8 inch round cakes and stacked them 2 high with frosting in between. I cut the cakes so they rounded off as much as I could on both the top and bottom (to try to make them look as round as possible without falling apart). This would also be really cute if you used a dome cake pan to truly make it round. I colored some buttercream orange (using water-based food gel) and covered the whole cake. Looking back I wish I had done the orange a little bit darker but I think I actually ran out of orange color and that's why. :)

Once you do that, take plain twizzler black licorice for the stripes and lay one across the middle of the cake. You will have to use more than 1 rope for each line. Try to connect them away from the bends because they tried to stick up on me and wouldn't stay bent how I wanted them to. 
Lay a rope perpendicular to the one you just laid (see pictures) and you can just start them right on each side of the first one (make sense?). 


Then take about 3 orange m&ms- you can get plain orange m&ms at certain party stores. I went to Zurchers- and lay them down (with the m&m brand facing down) starting at the corner of the licorice on each side (again see picture). Do about 2 rows. You want them to be as close as possible. It looks better. Laying the 3 m&ms down helps you measure where your outer licorice lines should go. Now lay down your last outside licorice lines. To get a bit of a rounder effect, curve the licorice at the bottom back towards your main middle line just a little bit (see picture- right licorice is curved in a little).

Voila! And there you have it. These are not difficult to make but do take a little bit of time and dexterity since you have to place each m&m.

I want to say I used about 12-16 oz of m&ms by weight to cover these 2 cakes and 1 package of black licorice (I think! I forgot to write it down so if it just doesn't seem right when you are buying the m&ms, go with your gut. Extra m&ms never hurt anyone. That was my philosophy). I bought way too many m&ms so now  extras are sitting in a dish on my desk waiting for on-lookers to come and eat them. They are sitting right next to the new Sherbert Oreos I had to get for my work people because they looked weird... yeah, they're pretty sweet (as in sugary... not awesome). Not my favorite. Other people liked them though..... tangent.
If you really want to know how many I used... you could count the m&ms on the cake. =D

Anyway, they were a big hit! So fun. Try them out for your next sports party!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Blog: Life with Sara Jane

Hello everyone!
I am in process of creating my new Blog called "Life with Sara Jane". It will contain all of my awesome ramblings and allow this blog to continue solely for desserts. Oh what joy!
They will both continue to be mine but will both have different content obviously. This is for all those who are interested in my desserts and don't want to sift through my other awesome non-sense (really?! Do these people exist?) So head on over real quick and please check it out! Subscribe to email over there if you want to continue getting all of my posts (not just desserts)!
I am in process of moving over most of my non-dessert related posts to this site so if you are looking for one here and can't find it... it probably moved over there!
{Here is the link}
I'll include the link in the nav bar above too!
Can't wait to start this new blog that will include so many awesome things to do, gifts to give, places to be and people to help! Come along with me on some new adventures!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Crossfit, Protein Shakes and German Chocolate Cake

Ok, so I'm not saying this is a good idea... 
it's just what I do to make my protein shake enjoyable so I thought I'd share.

I use this protein supplement to make 8 oz shakes. It gives you 25 gm soy protein. boom. deal.


It's also nasty.
I am no quitter though so I found a way to make it really tasty!
I've tried to add it to my fruit smoothies and it just makes them taste funky. It doesn't work. no bueno.
It was just missing something.... what was it?
Oh yeah, sugar.
So I found a great way to make it flavorful and tasty.

Caramel syrup. 
Just a small squirt will do (about 1 tablespoon).
Yep. For the pittance price of 50 calories and 10 gm of refined death sugar... I get to enjoy my shake. I'm cool with that right now. You might even be able to get away with less (but why?!). For you health crazies out there, you can probably even find a decent sugar free caramel syrup (however it's debatable if that's really healthier). ;)
Try also chocolate syrup. Mmmm....mmmm....
You get the picture. Try it! You will be surprised!

So, yeah. It makes you want 2 servings of your nasty health drink. :)


Crossfit Day 2:
Dear Diary, 
Crossfit kicked my but today. I wanted to cry. Not like an emotional, more like a physical stress induced cry.... it was weird. I've never felt that before. No, I did not cry. :)
I was so sore from the workout yesterday that I could hardly walk up stairs. I found the solution to this though with the help of Michelle.... just don't walk up stairs. deal. But want to know what's worse than walking up stairs? Walking down them... my legs keep giving out on me. I get a little weak in the knees, shake a bit, get a little hyper-extension going and stumble down the stairs like I just got double prosthetics. It's probably pretty awesome to watch... not so much to experience.
Here was today's workout:
Deadlift- 10 lbs
warm up
Working Sets
5 x 3

10 Hand Raise Push-ups
20 sit-ups
20 squats
40 mountain climbers (my shoes fell off with these)
Repeat.... 6 times!
Everyone else had to do 30 squats and 8 reps, suckers! Since I'm weak and sissy, Andrew modified it for me. Andrew is the owner and trainer. He's really great at explaining technique.
I did it in 27:12 but I finished!
I am 100% sure this is the hardest I have ever worked out in my life. To the point of physically being unable to do that last squat or last sit-up.
Oooouuuuch! I really thought I wasn't going to be able to finish the squats but I did. :) And I'm glad I did it!
I got a really good night's sleep last night after my first workout and woke up energized and ready for the day. I started to get sore around midday today.... I shudder when I think of what punishment tomorrow brings to my poor aching body. I'll be returning upon my recovery. I have to. I paid for March already. baaaahhh.
Well, that's about it for my crossfit adventure today.


On an awesomer note.
I made a cake!
First cake in months!
Here she be.

so pretty. It makes me happy looking at it.

It was really nice to be baking again. I even attempted writing on it! 
{I don't write on cakes... when I worked at a bakery, I was banned from writing on cakes}

What I love about this cake is that when I am finished, I feel like I have made a substantial cake, a big impact on the world. It's heavy and takes 4 hours and is amazing.
You might even recognize her from last year.
Here is the recipe I posted before.
It's really pretty awesome.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Sweet Ben Passed Away

My Sweet Ben passed away on February 6th, 2013.
I wanted to share his beautiful obituary.
His sister Aspen wrote the body and I just added a few things.
He had the most beautiful funeral ever yesterday. It was such a peaceful day. 
Ben was with me.

DECEMBER 12, 1980 - FEBRUARY 6, 2013

    Our beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and grandson, Ben Ridges, age 32, passed away on February 6, 2013 after a long battle with cancer.  It may have taken his body, but Ben's spirit was never taken.  He amazed and inspired us all with his patience, kindness and grace.  We will forever remember his example.
    Ben was born to J. Rand and Marla Campbell Ridges on December 12th, 1980 in Bountiful, Utah.  Ben was the second of four children, the only son, and the king of the castle.  He was sealed to his beautiful sweetheart, Sara Jane Falkner Ridges, on November 27, 2002 in the Salt Lake Temple.  Together they moved several times before settling in Centerville, Utah.  
    Ben loved all things mechanical.  He spent many hours with his dad working on engines and adding horsepower.  He loved big tires, loud engines, and "showing us what this baby can do".  Ben loved both the mountains of northern Utah and the red rock and sand of Southern Utah.  He loved off-roading and horseback riding; whatever could take him off the beaten path and do so with speed.
    Known as Uncle Teasy-Pants to his 8 nieces and 2 nephews, visits with him were always fun. During the last months of his life he often requested their visits to brighten his day and make him smile.  His home was plastered with drawings, pictures and cards sent by his earthly angels who prayed for and loved him.  He will be missed by them.  Eliana, Cadence, Joel and Jasec Hadley; Brielle, Claire, Addison and Molly Davis; and Brooklyn and Kennedy Phillips.
    Ben is survived by his loving wife, Sara; furry child (boxer), Izzy; parents, J. Rand and Marla Ridges; sisters, Aspen (Steven) Hadley, Camille (Marty) Davis and Emily (David) Phillips; grandparents, Roy and Maxine Campbell; parents-in-law, Trudi and Harold "Short-T" Goode, Dane R. Falkner and Mary Jo Ahlin; brothers-in-law Dane V. (Charlotte) Falkner and Nicholas Falkner along with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who loved him greatly.  
    Special thanks to doctors and staff at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Hospital for the professional and charitable care provided to Ben.  Also to the many friends and neighbors who served and loved Ben during the past two years.  We couldn't have done it without you!
    While he will be missed terribly, we imagine Ben joyfully casting off his mortal body.  We hope he will take big, deep breaths.  That he will run and jump and enjoy freedom from pain and suffering.  That he will increase the eternal joy and happiness of others on his eternal mission as he did in his earthly mission.
    A funeral service to honor and celebrate his life will be held on Monday, February 11th at 11:00 a.m.  at the Chase Lane LDS Building, 1125 N. 400 West in Centerville.  A viewing will be held Sunday, February 10, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 N. Main in Bountiful and on Monday morning prior to the funeral services from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the church.
    In lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so may donate to The Ben Ridges Charitable Fund at any America First Credit Union in order to assist with funeral costs.
    The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. The prize belongs to him or her who endures to the end.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I have so many things to post that I don't really want to post anything. Haha.
Ever feel that way?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New LDS Youth Curriculum~ LOVE IT!

I just have to give a proverbial shout out to the new LDS youth curriculum: Come, Follow Me.
Can I get a "Woot! Woot!"
I am so glad this has been initiated.
For those who aren't sure what I am talking about, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds a 3 hour church block in which the classes are split up according to different categories such as age, gender, priesthood status, etc to help guide discussion to appropriate topics. For both male and female youth, they attend each of the following for approximately 1 hour each: Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School and Young Men or Young Women.

This new curriculum focuses more on guiding youth lessons by recognizing promptings from the Holy Ghost and teaching the same way Christ taught his disciples, through a discussion like mode rather than a lecture format. Christ often asked questions to his disciples that he might understand their spiritual maturity and then answered them appropriately according to what they personally needed to hear. He often explained gospel doctrines through specific examples, also known as parables, that related to their life at that moment in time.

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26

Using this type of teaching style in our modern setting grants each member the tools needed to learn for themselves the truths of this gospel and gain greater intelligence. It allows each individual to convert themselves through diligent study, prayer and guidance by the Holy Ghost resulting in stronger testimonies and knowledge of Christ's church. It also has many other benefits including increased fellowship and confidence in their knowledge of the gospel , which helps nurture full-time and lifelong missionaries. Christ himself said "Feed my sheep."

I invite you to watch this quick 4 minute presentation that describes this new curriculum. I'm not going to lie, this curriculum is pretty cool and I am really excited to start using it with all the resources it provides. If you would like to watch other videos of how to do this click here.


"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19 

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Share the Love Project: The Road Home

Who knows about The Road Home and what their mission is?
Sometimes it's hard to know how to help if you don't know who needs the help, right?
Well I am going to introduce you to different organizations that need your help and the first one is:

A few simple words sum up why I really love The Road Home.
"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."

  They don't just provide a shelter for those in need but they help them re-establish permanent housing and a better life. This is critical to truly helping those without homes get back on their feet and keeping them off the streets. Housing is one of the first things you should have and they help you get it.

I first want you to watch this video.

If that doesn't bring a tear to your eye or make you want to help out then you should watch it again or go watch some of the other videos they have HERE. They are so good and eye-opening, I would encourage you to watch all of them. I'll be posting them all eventually, one at a time.

Did you know....

The Road Home is the largest shelter in Utah.


The Road Home provides emergency shelter and housing services to men, women and families in our community.


The Road Home has helped over 1,000 families move out of shelter through Rapid Rehousing.  


It only takes $9 to shelter one person for one night.


The Road Home is locate at 210 S. Rio Grande Street in Salt Lake City, UT
They also have a Community Winter Shelter at
529 West 7300 So in Midvale, UT


In 2011, The Road Home provided shelter to a total of 7,000 people, including:
•615 Families (including 1,063 children)
•4,387 Single men
•740 Single women


During the Winter Shelter months The Road Home expands from serving an average of 635 individuals per day, to serving 780 per day. This saves lives.


They never turn anyone away.

CLICK HERE for a more comprehensive showing of the services they provide to the community.


 "So, how can I help?"

Make a Donation. I have a "Donate" button on the right side of my blog to make it easy!
CLICK HERE to see a list of items that they do and do not accept as well as delivery sites. You may also drop donations off to me at any time if you are in the Centerville, UT area.
In winter the most needed items are:
Warm clothing, blankets and shoes!
So do a little New Year clean out and see what you could donate to them!
Consider sponsoring a Palmer Court Apartment Kit to help a chronically homeless family get re-established in permanent housing. These kits include essential home items. CLICK HERE for the different kit lists.
Attend One of Their Events such as the following one coming up! 

Join TD Gift Solutions and 120 local boutiques & retailers for a Valentine's Gift Show to benefit The Road Home.

Clothing Drive Needs:
Hygiene Items
Towels & Pillows
Blankets (all sizes)
Baby Items (diapers, wipes, bottles, ect.)

Raffle Tickets for donations!

Pampered Chef Cooking Demonstration
Photos with Cupid
Key Note Speaker: Leta Greene
Sponsored by: Utah Olympic Oval

Volunteer! Being the largest shelter in Utah, they are a very large facility and can use your help! They have great opportunities to help ALL ages. Through giving your time you can make a huge impact on individuals or families. You can also really help if you are bilingual! CLICK HERE for more volunteer information.

Do you have a group that wants to donate time? This is a great way to provide service in a ton of fun ways such as sorting and putting together kits from donated items or making a dinner and taking it to the shelter to serve to guests. If you are a local food business owner, wouldn't this be a great way to use the food that wasn't sold?! You can even design your own project to help them. This would be great for Young Women or Young Men activities!
CLICK HERE for group information.
You can also volunteer for activities with the Palmer Court Residents. I think this one sounds like a ton of fun: Teen Night Out! You get to plan and take them on activities such as movies, bowling, sports games, you name it! Go have fun! CLICK HERE for Palmer Court Volunteering.

Here is also a very unique and awesome project that was launched Dec 4, 2012 and will be occurring on Jan 30-Feb 2, 2013.
100,000 Homes: Salt Lake City
100,000 Homes: Salt Lake City supports a national movement of change agents working together to house 100,000 vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families by July 2014. Homeless service providers and local volunteers will take to the streets for Registry Week. The objective is to create a by-name registry of people living on our streets, so that we can prioritize those who have been homeless the longest and are the most vulnerable, and move them into housing. What we learn together during this week will help us reduce and ultimately end chronic homelessness in our community. Volunteering for this requires a training day so you need to sign up for it. You can also sponsor or volunteer goods if you are a business.
Check out their Facebook page HERE to read more about it and sign up to volunteer.
 This would be so incredibly rewarding and such a great experience. Take advantage of these awesome opportunities! 

The Road Home collaborates with a variety of organizations to ensure families and individuals have the tools they need to get back on their feet and stay there. Check out all the resources in this link. Community Resources

 I can personally say that I have learned a ton and have grown to love The Road Home as I investigated and created this next Share the Love Project. When I am able, I would like to coordinate volunteer activities to do, so when I do (or if I hear any of you are!) I will pass along the information!

Ya know, sometimes people just a need a little bit of help to get back up on their feet and be fine again. With your help, they can. Join me.

Share the Love

Friday, January 11, 2013

Homemade Hot Cocoa

I wasn't going to post today but I felt compelled to do so because of the weather outside here in sunny Centerville, Utah. 

 It's beautiful! All 18 inches of it!

I love huge snow storms (as long as I don't have to drive or the roads are clear).
So anyway, I had a really bad headache this morning and decided that Hot Cocoa would definitely make it go away. Funny thing.... it did. :)

Here is a fabulous and super quick hot cocoa recipe for those days when you find yourself lacking pre-made hot cocoa powder or just like to make things from scratch. There are lots of good hot cocoa mixes out there (Stephen's Dulce de Leche Hot Cocoa...drool), just make sure you use milk! That's what makes it creamy and rich, plus it gives you some nutrients too.
If you do make the hot cocoa from scratch it is a bunch cheaper.
Plus you can adjust it until it is your perfect flavor!
You like it sweet? No problem! Add a little more sugar.
You a chocoholic? Right on! Add more cocoa powder!
You can add hazelnut, caramel/ dulce de leche, peppermint sticks, you name it! You can have it your way!

So snuggle up in front of your fire with a warm blanket and a good book and sip away at your rich creamy hot cocoa. Enjoy the moment. Mmmm..... :)

Dang it. My headache is back. Better go make some more hot cocoa...
Homemade Hot Cocoa
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (or adjusted to your preferred taste)
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (or more!- I used Ghirardelli sweet ground chocolate and cocoa)
2 Tbsp water
1 cup milk
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract (or other flavoring)

Combine sugar, cocoa and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium until sugar is dissolved.  Stir regularly to prevent scorching. Add the milk and flavoring and whisk well until it reaches your desired temperature. Make sure not to get it too hot before serving so it doesn’t risk burning someone, especially children. If you need to keep it on the stove, just turn the heat down to the lowest setting to keep warm. I love hazelnut or caramel/dulce de leche flavored hot cocoas so adding a bit of that flavoring is next on my list! I'll add an addendum if I find other awesome additives! Apparently, doubling the cocoa powder is a fabulous idea! ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Perfect Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

I don't know what it is about winter, but it always makes me crave ice cream despite how cold it is outside. Maybe it's the heavy cream that tempts my senses into thinking it will eventually make me warmer.... at least around the hips. ;) That's my theory.
Anyway, I have the perfect recipe for fresh strawberry ice cream. It is amazingly creamy strawberrily delicious. Yep. I'm excited. =D
I love me a good strawberry ice cream.
Plus I found out it gets better as it ages in the freezer. Mmmmm.....


Today I made some fresh pasta for my niece's birthday and was thinking (as I was licking an empty spoon) that I should have made her ice cream! What kid wants fresh pasta over ice cream?! Silly Aunt Sara. ;)

The key to amazing strawberry ice cream is amazing strawberries. I've said this before and I'll say it again. You can't expect to get amazing strawberry flavor in your dessert from dull or tart strawberries. It denies all laws of food physics. Just don't try it. Get good sweet delicious strawberries.
Oh, and if you are needing to clean out your automatic ice maker in your freezer, this is surely the way to do it. I used exactly one full binful of ice. Perfect!

I am trying to say lots of interesting things because I got so many yummy pictures...



Ok. On with it already!

Perfect Strawberry Ice Cream

Serves 6...or just 1
1 pound fresh sweet strawberries, hulled and chopped into pretty small chunks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 big pinch salt

Combine chopped strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl, set aside in fridge for a couple hours (I did 2.5 hrs). In a large bowl, beat eggs for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Sprinkle in 3/4 cups sugar and mix well. Stir in the milk, vanilla and salt and mix well. Mash the strawberries pretty good so you don't have large chunks (keep the juice). You want pretty small chunks so they don't freeze and break your teeth. Add to the other mixture and mix well. Stir in whipping cream and refrigerate until chilled or overnight (I waited almost 24 hrs). I like to give it more time for the flavors to meld. I could definitely taste a difference after it had sat in the fridge overnight. Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. I have a good old fashioned (motor driven) ice cream maker and it churned for about 30 minutes. Then I took out the dasher and scraped it off, packed the ice cream down into the can, corked the lid and replaced it. I covered it with more ice and a little more salt (I used our water softener salt... it worked) and let it sit for about 3-4 hours to harden it. Dish out and enjoy quickly or store in freezer. (It melts fast) You'll want to eat it within about 5 days so it will be creamy and not crystalized. Enjoy!
{Original recipe I found on Food.com but I tweaked it a bit}