Sunday, July 13, 2014


You know how you can stay on Facebook all day long because you see something in your feed that someone else has liked and you click on that to see what it's about and then you end up sucked in? Yeah, that happens to me a lot. Most recently I saw something that my sister had liked and wondered what the hell Influenster I clicked it...and got sucked in when I saw people getting boxes of stuff for free.

In a nutshell, Influenster uses its legions of members to test out new products for free and those members, the Influensters, review the products on social media.  The products are themed and are sent out in boxes called "VoxBoxes." In order to qualify for the boxes you select your expert badges and complete reviews, and surveys.  And if you happen to qualify for an upcoming program, WOO HOO! Just sit back and wait for the goodies to come to you.

Somehow I got lucky and joined just in time to participate in one of Influenster's largest VoxBox promotions.  15,000 Surf's Up Vox Boxes went out.  Yes, 15,000!! And I got an email saying that I qualified for a box a week or two after joining.  Talk about lucky! After waiting for weeks to get my box (boxes are shipped out parcel post which means it takes the really, really, really slooowww route to Hawaii,) it finally arrived full of goodies that were supposed to make my summer better.

I'll review my first ever Vox Box in a bit.  I'm in the middle of making some breakfast pockets to stock the freezer since I'm starting a new job next week and am trying to plan ahead.  In the meantime, check out Influenster for yourself and sign up.  Free is normally always good. :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Mango season

I grew up in a plantation camp.  It was literally a lot of houses next to the highway, surrounded on every other side by sugar cane fields.  The roads were red dirt and so full of holes that you had to drive so slow that walking would get you there faster.  I think the road that I grew  up on was row 11, and it was all the way on the end with the big tamarind tree.

Growing up in a plantation camp isn't that awesome.  Friends hated going down there if they didn't live there themselves.  But there was one awesome thing - there were mango and lychee trees everywhere.  As kids we used to pick mango where ever we saw it and you could eat it so many ways!  If it was green you'd cut it up and soak it in some apple cider vinegar/shoyu.  My lord, we used to drink that when the mango was gone. Hello sodium high!  If you knew how, and if you had the patience, you could also pickle it.  If it was half-ripe we'd sprinkle salt and pepper over it.  And if it were ripe (and not a #9) we would cut that sucker up and go to town!  But don't forget to wash your mouth after or it would be soooo itchy!

I never paid for mango until I moved to another island.  Here, people call the police if they see you taking mango off of their trees.  Since I'd rather not go to jail over a mango and because it's ridiculously expensive I've done without mango for a lot of years.  But I've always been insanely jealous of the mango I see just sitting high up in trees just waiting for a homemade mango picker to come along.  Until this mango season, that is.

See, we moved a year ago and our back neighbor has a mango tree in the corner of their lot that hangs into our next door neighbor's lot. Does that even make sense? Regardless.  There is now free mango to be had!  $3/mango (farmer's market price!) be damned!  The drawback is that when the neighbor picks mango, they only pick the ripe ones and I"m the only one in the house that eats ripe mango!  Well, my monkey would but he was a little sensitive to mango when we first gave it to him so I'm still leery about giving him any.

After years of doing without, I now have mango coming out of my ears but here are a couple of recipes that are helping me use up what keeps appearing on my kitchen counter.

Magic mango bread:
This is better the second day (but still good on day 1!) but go ahead and skip the step about letting it sit for 20 minutes.  I forgot to do that the last time and it still came out yummy.  And skip the coconut.  People can be so weird about it.

Mango cookies:
I've still in the process of baking these and it's my first time.  Maybe it's better the second day as well.  Right now it's just okay.  I used dark chocolate chips and tossed in some mac nuts but I'm still on the fence.

I still have mango so I may try the DIY mango fruit roll-up that's on Pinterest as well.  And when all else fails, keep a couple of mango in the fridge so you can always have a nicely chilled treat.

Until then, have some bread...or a cookie.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Where has the time gone?

Oh geez.  A really big, big GEEZ.

Where has the time gone?  It's been a very, very, very long time since I'm even thought about this blog. So much has changed in my life since my last post.  I'm now the mommy of an opinionated, mostly independent 30 month old.  Not a toddler since he only goes at warp speed (and hasn't toddled in forever!) but not yet a preschooler although I know that is coming up quickly.

I don't bake much anymore so I don't even know what direction this poor neglected little blog will go in next. Maybe it will become a hodge podge of randomness.  Something to help me keep what's left of my sanity after the crazy couple of years I've had.  After all, since my days consist of "Don't jump off of that table!" and "No, golf clubs don't belong in the house," am I still considered sane?

Regardless of all of these changes - births, deaths, moves, jobs - one thing has never changed.  I still crave sugar.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Makeover time!

Sooooo, notice anything different around here? Yes, I did get a new hair-do and I lost some weight. Thank you so much for noticing! Unfortunately, it's just my header and blog that were the lucky recipients of a makeover courtesy of Jennifer at TrendyGirlDesigns. The real me is not feeling half as cute as my little chicky up there what with my rapidly expanding bump that is currently home to EB. In case you were wondering we are now heading down the homestretch and have entered the 3rd trimester. I've started another blog for my ramblings on that here.

I am so, so excited for this new look, you have no idea. I have wanted a new look for so long and tried to DIY it but there is just no way. I ended up messing it up even more. But thanks to a busy summer I bit the bullet and hired someone and I am so glad that I did! I want to blog more and more. *Sigh* Just wish I had the energy to do more projects. It's sad really. I have these great ideas in my head (well to me they're great anyway) and I turn the oven on but by the time the oven is ready to am my bed for a nap. LOL

There are a couple of projects coming up though and I'm excited for those. I have baby shower favors to do (for my own shower, YAY! Okay, so not exactly proper etiquette but so? I've had specific containers sitting in a box since May and this is exactly what I bought them for. I'll claim pregnancy hormones if I have too!) I also have some wedding favors to do which will be time consuming since the bride wants them hand painted. Did I mention those are due a month before EB? Yes, I'm a little crazy. Where I'm going to find the energy I just don't know but I couldn't pass it up.

Enjoy the new look! I'll be filling in some of the missing items later. Right now I have to tend to the cappuccino cheesecake I made earlier today. I hear it calling from some ganache and caramel drizzle....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1st birthday luau!

In Hawai`i we celebrate first birthdays like no one else. These tend to be huge affairs rivaling one's wedding with tons of food, entertainment for the kids, musicians for the adults, etc. Crazy, crazy. Let me tell you, I'm already worried about planning my little one's 1st birthday and I've still got about 3 1/2 months left before we even meet the little guy! Lucky for me, this has been a summer of toned down mainland 1st birthday parties so cookie orders were placed for 50 and below (with the exception of the order I'm working on now.)

The ladybugs were done at the same as some really cute Hawai`i themed cookies for a former Hawai`i local now living in Vegas (or what we locals call the "9th Island.") You may remember the baby block cookies that were done earlier this year, well these Hawai`i cookies were done for the hostess of that baby shower. Yay for me that she trusts me and after she said "slippers and coconut trees" she let me run with it. Now you know that I don't like the make cookies the same unless I have too. Like coconut trees. What can you really do to a coconut tree to make them different from one another? The answer? Not much so all of my trees were identical but to dress them up a bit I added an outline and sprinkled some sanding sugar on it.

The slippers were a bit more fun. I wanted to have a pair of slippers and didn't have time to order one (okay, I'm lying. I didn't order it because the one I wanted was copper and I couldn't justify the price. LOL) so once again I hand-cut the cookies and made each cookie a little different from one another.

Yes, people wear camo slippers. I actually have a pair from Michael Kors, believe it or not!

I also busted out that faithful #1 cookie cutter again (which will be getting another workout in a week) and had some fun with them.

My favorite of these has to be the honu (turtles) swimming.

Now that these cookies have been eaten I can share a secret. These cookies went out on the same day and when I packed them up I neglected to notate what order was what and the boxes were all the same. I was really, really worried that I was going to get a phone call/text/email/FB message asking me what the heck happened! Thank goodness the right cookies made it to right party!! I've learned my lesson, I swear! The next time multiple orders go out, I'll mark the boxes, I promise!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


In addition to Diego and monkeys, I also made ladybugs and Hawaiian themed cookies this summer for 1st birthday parties. First up were the ladybugs for the little lady in Arkansas. Such an adorable little girl! I'm branching out into making tags for cookies as well and it packs so much better than tying them with ribbon! For our little Southern cutie I did some giant ladybugs, okay, well not completely giant. They were 4" x 3.75" and gave them a little heart shaped mouth.

*Side note: In February I bought these teeny tiny mini heart sprinkles from Williams Sonoma. They are seriously the best decoration I could have bought. EVER. Remind me to post pictures of all of the cookies these sprinkles have been used for and I have barely made a dent in the bottle! I am not kidding. You can find these online everywhere. Pick some up. And angled tweezers to place the hears exactly where you want them.

Here are the ladies, all bagged, tagged, beribboned and ready to steal the show! At least until the birthday girl comes along! Just for fun, I added some 1 cookies decorated to match. Fun, right?

Hawaiian themed cookies are up next!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Camden's Circus Cake

Today I completed what will be my last cake for a while. It tired me out more than I expected - heck, you try rolling out enough fondant to cover a cake in between bouts of nausea! But apart from a few air bubbles, the cake actually didn't give me a lot of trouble.

The cake was a circus theme and apart from flavors, I was given free reign so I decided to make the cake a show ring and featured 3 acts - a Dumbo-type elephant, a tiger and seal. Honestly, I loved the little elephant and I so did not want to put him on the cake. I mean, look at him! He is obviously too young to be in the circus because he can't even do his act yet, the poor little guy! He's probably just nervous and he'll be better next time. The tiger and the seal were able to do their acts just fine - they're pros, you know.

For the cake itself I went with bright primary colors. Originally I thought about doing swags of red fondant but having never actually done swags I thought it might be a tad too ambitious and we definitely didn't want it to fall off of the cake so I went with crescent moons, green stars and some sugar animal lay-ons.

You see that big space in the front there? It's still missing a little something. What's a circus without some snacks?? I took a cupcake and piled on some white chocolate ganache and then added some popcorn that I had made out of fondant and then brushed with colored powder. I also made a cupcake wrapper and a popcorn know, just in case no one could figure it out.

After everything was put together I think it came out pretty cute. Of course I would have loved to do so much more like a smaller tier for a ring master and maybe some peanuts but I ran out of time and energy. Oh well, maybe I can give it another try later. Or not.

Well, it's time for the circus to head on out of town. They have to get ready for the next gig.