Monday, February 04, 2008

Through showers and snow

I spent the weekend in my hometown of Visalia. Yesterday I attended the baby shower for Shelby's sister, Megan. She's due on Feb. 18, having a little girl named Olivia. (Super cute, huh?) And as previously mentioned, Shelby is also having a baby, which they recently learned is a BOY!

I made some sweet treats to bring to the shower. I made justJENN's super-easy-yet-super-cute Burger Bites. They were a huge hit, as always.

I also tried a new recipe, courtesy of Bakerella. They're called Red Velvet Cake Balls, but I've been referring to them as Red Velvet Cake Bites instead because I'm this many. [holding up four fingers]

The recipe, as you'll see in the link above, is relatively easy. In a nutshell, you bake a red velvet cake mix as directed, which was probably the hardest part as I had to go to three grocery stores to find it. (Finally found some at Ralph's. I bought three boxes to keep some on stock for next time.) After it's baked and cooled, you mix in a can of cream cheese frosting.
Scene of the crime

Then you shape the mushy cake into little circles. I used my new mini-cookie dough scooper, which worked out nicely.
Red Velvet Balls

Then you chill them for a few hours. You can speed it up a little bit by putting them in the freezer.

This is where the photos end because I had some issues working with the melted chocolate to cover the little round balls of goodness. Ya see, I can make cupcakes, frosting, cookies, etc., but I haven't really dealt with a lot of melted chocolate. I started with some baker's chocolate that comes in a microwaveable cup. That was ok, but it didn't go very far. Then I melted a bag of mini Tollhouse Morsels, but again, it didn't go very far and was not easy to work with.

I was running out of time so I just wrapped up the frozen balls and hit the road to my mom's house. I stopped at Michael's craft supply and picked up some Wilton chocolate candy melts, along with a special dipping spoon and fork. At my mom's I melted the chocolate, which was the easiest of the three kinds I tried. I even drizzled some along the top for an added touch. They didn't turn out quite as pretty as Bakerella's, so you can just drool over her photos. I look forward to making them again, especially now that I've had some practice. And my first attempt received nothing but compliments at the shower.

I was so excited to see Shelby. I already miss her oodles and oodles, but now that she and Rob are starting a family, I'm super sad that we don't live closer. Oh, and Shelby doesn't look pregnant at all. Everyone was amazed that she's nearly halfway through her pregnancy! Although she didn't look pregnant, I was able to feel her little boy moving around. I don't think I've ever felt a baby in a belly before! It was really COOL!

So, while Shelby didn't look pregnant at all, her sister? Well, she's just a little thing who looks as though she's ready to POP!
Shelby and Megan

I did spend some time with my mom and my nephew, who is still as cute as ever, but I spent most of the weekend visiting with Shelby and her family. And really, why does Iowa have to be sooo far away?
Shelby and I

I drove back to LA this afternoon. On my way to Visalia on Saturday, I saw just a little bit of snow on the top of the Grapevine, the foothills I have to drive over. There were a few rare patches of snow around the freeway level, but not much at all. On the way back I drove through some scattered showers and was stunned to see that the Grapevine had turned to this in just two days:
Snow on The Grapevine

I know that they closed the Grapevine due to heavy snow a few weeks ago, but I was still surprised to see so much of it. In fact, it SNOWED while I made my way over the foothills. I don't think I've ever driven in falling snow before. The one other time I've seen it snow on the Grapevine, Brent was driving.

Hey, don't laugh too hard -- this is a big deal for someone who lives blocks from the sandy beach. This doesn't mean I'll be braving the Iowa freezing temps anytime soon, though. I'm waiting for nicer weather, which Shelby assures me that they do get eventually.

"What the hell is a diaper genie?" - Samantha
"I don't know...someone you hire to change a kid's diaper?" - Carrie, Sex and the City

31 comments:

  1. Awesome. I love showers. Yay for babies!

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  2. yay for babies! plus, don't come to the midwest now. you'll never come back. definitely it gets nice. there's nothing like a minnesota summer day.

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  3. I'm in the minority - I hate baby showers. But only because I'm not a baby-centric person.

    But how cute are those red velvet cake balls?! I can't handle melted chocolate (seriously - it gets everywhere!) so I generally abandon those types of recipes. Sorry it didn't work out.

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  4. Those Red Velvet Cake Balls are the coolest thing ever!!! They remind me of petit fours!

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  5. Ooh! Thanks for that recipe. I want to try it. Of course I'm also four, so I'll call them shweaty balls or something.

    I love showers except for the harrassment. People tend to ask things like, "So when are you having a baby? When are you having another baby? When are you getting married?" to everyone there.

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  6. Those red velvet cake balls are so on for Valentine's day! They are so cute. And I, too have had some serious mishaps with melted chocolate, its such a pain to master.

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  7. As always, I am amazed by your baking prowess. And inspired.

    When your were making the Red Velvet Cake Balls, did it look like a murder had occurred in your kitchen? Because I'm kind of messy and I want to plan for any disasters involving the cat. ;)

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  8. Snow!!

    Cute balls :)

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  9. I hate driving in snow, but my experience is with a lot sticking to the road and me hitting ice patches and flying off the road. One time it even involved spinning and hitting a stone barn. Ugh. I LOVE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!!!!!!

    Glad you had a great time with friends and family.

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  10. I've been wanting to make those ever since I saw them on her blog. How many did you end up with though? They sound so yummy!

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  11. Those red velvet bites look fantastic, yumm. And yay for baby showers and snow, so fun! :)

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  12. Amy Maghee11:23 AM

    Hey, you know I live on the border of Iowa and we're about to get 14 inches of snow today. Why don't you hop on over here and not only DRIVE in it but help us shovel it too!!!

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  13. i was eyeing that recipe too, but have yet to find the cake mix locally (aside from the sprinkles stuff, and i refuse to spend the cash on that again).

    any chance of bringing some of these lovely BALLS (i'm that many, too) to winnie's shindig?? please?? :)

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  14. YUM! Those look amazing!!! I MUST try them! :) aww, congrats to Shelby and her sister on their pregnancies! So cute!

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  15. Awesome! I'm glad you had fun. I think I will have fun trying out the Red Velvet Cake Balls this weekend. haha...balls

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  16. Those sound so good, I have been tempted to buy either strawberry or red velvet cake every time I'm at the grocery store! Maybe this will motivate me.

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  17. OMG, I'm so glad you like them. And I love how determined you were…stopping at Michael's on the way. It is difficult working with the chocolate at first, but I'm glad you found the right kind. Chocolate bark works really good, too. Next time, you can also try rolling the balls to make them more compact instead of the scooper, that may help when you dip as well. Or refrigerate the dough some before you start using the scooper. The smoother, the ball is when dipped, the easier the chocolate glides over.

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  18. The cake bites sound awesome!

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  19. agghhhh, the grapevine being closed. Sadface. You drove right by my house!

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  20. I'm going to try and make these bites ...one day.

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  21. Those little treats look so good! So glad you got to see your BFF. :)

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  22. YUM those red velvet cake bites look amazing!!

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  23. omg i LOVE that satc quote at the end of your post. and yes, i did chuckle when reading about the snow chronicles you encountered! :)

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  24. Ooh, I love red velvet cake. I will definitely have to try that recipe!

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  25. yummy, red bites. are your hands still red?

    whee for snow driving!

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  26. I have Fond Memories of driving to high school in The Snow. Well, Skidding is more like it. Or Sliding. Skating. Whichever -- just be Glad it was just A Coating Of Snow and not, like, A Whole Foot or something.

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  27. Red velvet cake is my favorite - I actually had that for one tier of my wedding cake! I am definitely going to try these out, they would be perfect for Valentine's Day. Thanks for sharing the recipes and your tips on the chocolate!

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  28. totally cracking up at why you're calling them "bites"! hehehehe ;)

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  29. Here in Louisiana you can get Red Velvet Cake mix in a convenience store! I'll have to try that recipe.

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  30. Those red velvet cake "bites" look amazing! I'm sitting at work thinking I'd rather be at home making those (even with the melted chocolate difficulties!).

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