Tag Archives: birthday cake

Easter + Waste Management

2 Apr

I’m officially another year older – the big 2-9.  Needless to say, I see many more 29th birthdays in my future.  I plan on staying this age for…ever.  🙂  My birthday happened to fall on Easter this year, and since I share a birthday with my now 15 year old sister (eeeek!), we decided to get a little more creative than usual with the birthday cake:

Bunny Cake

I adore this cake.  It broke my heart a little to cut into it and end its cute streak, but it was so worth it.  My sister has an artistic streak, so sculpting the fondant was right up her alley.  She was assisted by her little friend (whom she now refers to as her boyfriend) and Brother (because Brother Bakes, duh!).  It was a low key holiday, which I appreciate.  We normally spend our holidays running between 2-3 different places, so it was relaxing just to go to one place and enjoy a meal and then go home!  Also, please take note of my trashtastic, unflattering birthday attire:

BirthdayGals

While this is un-birthday related, we bought a garbage disposal and she♥ is  installing it.  The timing is too good to pass up, so I am telling everyone I got a garbage disposal for my birthday!  Many people claim that garbage disposals have negative effects on the environment, so I did a little bit of research.

Garbagedisposal

There are pros and cons for garbage disposals, much like every other consumer choice and I believe that you should always do your research and make an informed decision.  That’s really what sustainability is all about – thinking about how each aspect of each choice affects systems.

Pros: 
Less garbage is trucked to landfills each year.
Rotting food waste at landfills creates methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas.  Diverting some of that waste can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most water treatment plants are equipped to handle small scraps.
Some wastewater treatment facilities are now equipped to capture biogases (like methane) for energy.
Garbage disposals raise the value of your home when its being appraised.
We purchased ours from Kitchen Aide, which claims to use around 7 kWh annually.
 
Cons:
Food waste was never meant to be released into our water systems.
Releasing nutrients from food waste en masse into the water system can cause eutrophic algae blooms in local waterways, which can destroy aquatic ecosystems.
People commonly pour grease into garbage disposals, which can cause serious damage to sewage systems and have serious implications on the environment. (This seems more like user error than the fault of the garbage disposal.)
 

The bottom line is this:  nothing will ever have less environmental impact than composting food waste.  Composting uses no energy, diverts waste from landfills, reduces greenhouse gases, improves soil quality and creates renewable, chemical-free fertilizer all while making soil more drought resistant, and composting improves public sanitation by diverting food waste from dumpster and garbage cans which attract insects and rodents.

These are all factors to take into consideration when you determine what is the right choice for your family.  We truly have very limited kitchen scraps.  I try to waste very little when I am cooking and many of the veg scraps get fed to the dogs.  They love all veggies, in fact Liberty even eats lettuce!  I’ve been really great at portioning things out for just two people and anything leftover normally gets eaten for lunch the next day.  Until I am able to figure out a way to compost without all three of my dogs breaking into the compost area and eating out of it – so disgusting – then we are going to use our garbage disposal sparingly and responsibly.

Do you have a garbage disposal?

Do you compost?

Do your pets eat veggies?  If so, what is their favorite? 

Supremely Supreme

4 Apr

So, I might have outdone myself tonight the last 2 days.  I’d love to act like Martha Stewart and act like I just “whipped something right up!”  I’m not that spontaneous.  I’m actually quite calculated, stressing for days in advance about a dish I want to make because I don’t want to mess it up.  Cooking isn’t like that, though.  You have to be accepting of failure.  And sometimes not even failure, just miscalculations or errors in judgment.  Inexperience.

I am slowly learning to get better at all this, but I still tend to plan things out.  Take your time to add things that seem little, but make all the difference.

So yesterday, I planned to make a Strawberry Supreme Cake for the MIL’s birthday (which is today!)

Let me tell ya…

It was the bomb.  I’ve got an 8″ white cake on top of a 9″ white cake.  In between I’ve got some strawberry puree, fresh cut strawberries and this amazing Cool Whip layer, which I mixed together the night before:

4 c. fresh strawberries, mashed
14 oz. can condensed milk
1/4 c. lemon juice
8 oz. tub of Cool Whip, defrosted
 

After mixing it, I lined another 9″ cake pan with tin foil and poured the mixture in.  Then, I wrapped the cakes in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight in the fridge.  You know what else I put in there?  In my Kitchen Aid’s mixing bowl and whisk, I put in my vanilla and my heavy whipping cream (still in the containers of course) and covered it with plastic wrap.

(If you want your cream to whip into nice, stiff peaks, it’s best to chill all the equipment/ingredients overnight!)

About 3 hours before we were going to head over to MIL’s house, I got my ingredients out and made the Strawberry Whipped Frosting for the outside of the cake:

2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 t. vanilla
4 T. granulated sugar
1 c. strawberry pureé
 

Basically, you just put everything in the stand mixer and set it to medium until your frosting holds its shape (aka stiff peaks).

I had to assemble the cake and get the frosting bag ready, so I put the frosting (still in the metal bowl from the mixer) in the fridge and covered it with plastic wrap.  I always push the plastic wrap against the frosting, so that it doesn’t lose its consistency.  Once everything was ready, I covered the entire thing with a layer of frosting:

(The lack of photos of individual steps is due to the fact that I was covered in frosting fairly early in this procedure.

Voila!  Obviously, this picture was taken while we were dishing it out, but it gives you a good idea of how I set the layers up.

In between the Cool Whip layer and the 8″ white cake, I put thin strawberry slices and strawberry pureé (throw 20 oz. strawberries in a food processor with 1/4 c. granulated sugar).

I had tons of the strawberry whipped icing left, so I piped little rosettes onto the cake and stuck some extra strawberries in.

Fancy pants.

♥♥Happy Birthday MIL♥♥

%d bloggers like this: