surprise cake

For her fifth birthday, my daughter requested a strawberry cake with purple frosting and a candy surprise inside. The candy surprise inside the cake was something she had seen on one of her favorite shows, Creative Galaxy. The surprise cake was actually not much harder to make than a regular cake, but way more fun to cut open and serve!

 

After assembling the layers of the cake, I just cut a hole in the middle of the cake, dumped colorful candy in to fill most of the hole, and covered the top of the hole with a small piece of the cake. With frosting covering the top of the cake, the surprise was well concealed until the cake was cut open for serving!

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rocky road ice cream

This is probably the most decadent ice cream I’ve ever made.

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I adapted the recipe from this one as follows:

Mix the ingredients below together, then transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker.

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

After the mixture has thickened in the ice cream maker, add 3/4 cup vegan mini marshmallows (I cut most of them in half) and 1/4 cup sliced almonds. Turn the ice cream maker back on until the marshmallows and almonds are mixed in well. Garnish with more marshmallows and almonds as desired.

There was a little bit of ice cream left over, so I used it to make popsicles, which were also amazing!

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cache la poudre river

I snapped a few photos of the Cache la Poudre River flowing through Bellvue while I was there for a work retreat in early May.

moonrise over a flowering plum tree

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st. vrain state park

We went to St. Vrain State Park on a sunny morning in mid-April. The Pelican Pond Nature Trail loop was a perfect low-key walk for our group. The beautiful old trees were just beginning to get their leaves, and we enjoyed the panoramic views of the mountains, and some bird watching.

This park seems to be immensely popular for RV camping and fishing as well.

sheep cupcakes

I made these adorable sheep cupcakes for Easter, based on these directions.

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I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (German chocolate cake from the Babycakes Covers the Classics cookbook), and store-bought frosting to save a little time.

mint chocolate fudge pie

I love any recipe that is both super yummy and super quick and easy to make. Plus this chocolate mint pie has an extra bonus going for it: one of the main ingredients is tofu, so I can justify eating a slice at any time of the day.

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I followed this recipe, and because I don’t enjoy making pie crust, I used a store-bought gluten-free crust.

horsetooth falls

Horsetooth Falls is one of my favorite hikes in Fort Collins. I hoped to finally see the waterfall flowing at more than a trickle on this March morning hike, but as you can see, I’ll have to try again.

maple donuts

I made these delicious maple donuts on a snowy day in January, using the Babycakes Covers the Classics plain cake donut recipe with a little tweak. I added one teaspoon of maple extract into the 1/4 cup vanilla, giving the donuts a slight maple flavor. For a stronger maple flavor, two teaspoons of maple extract would probably do the job.

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trolls party

To ease us through the doldrums of January, we hosted a Trolls themed party for eight four-year-olds. The highlights of the party were a make-your-own troll hair headband craft, strawberry cupcakes, and dancing to music from the Trolls movie.

For the troll hair headbands, I mostly followed the instructions I found here. I figured it would be more fun – and less work for me – for the kids to make their own headband (with help from a parent) during the party. So I just did a little preparation by cutting lots of strips of the tulle (roughly 5″x22″) in advance. Then I laid out the tulle, headbands, ribbon, and decorations on a table so everyone could make their troll hair headbands whenever they wanted to.  Pretty soon there were a lot of Poppy-inspired trolls running around our house, and a few more unique trolls as well!

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For party snacks, we had strawberry cupcakes (I based them off of Erin McKenna’s blueberry muffin recipe), hummus and pretzels, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and Trolls cereal.

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We also printed out some Trolls coloring sheets to provide another party activity for the kids, and handed out Trolls goody bags as the guests headed home.