Chuy’s Tres Leches Cake

chuys

I want to extend a thank you to weshampton.com for the photo and recipe!

Oh I hate Chuy’s.  I just found it today and I can honestly say, I hate it!  Chuy’s is a Tex Mex chain that by all accounts is very authentic.  The food was wonderful.  The best dish I had was the dessert.  We shared a piece of Tres Leches Cake.  IT WAS AMAZING!  So, I went on a hunt for the recipe.  I found it.  Here is the recipe for Chuy’s Tres Leches Cake.

 Chuy’s Tres Leches Cake
12 Eggs
¼ tablespoon Salt

3 cups Sugar
3 cups Flour
1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla
1 ½ cups Whole Milk
1 ½ tablespoons Margarine

3-12 oz. cans Evaporated Milk
1 ½ – 14 oz. cans Condensed Milk
3 cups Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Vanilla

Cream Fraiche
4 cups (1 quart) Heavy Cream
½ cup Buttermilk
1 ½ cups Sugar
2 tablespoons Vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Crack open the eggs and separate the whites from yolks. Hold whites in the fridge for later.
3. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat with the hand mixer until smooth.
4. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla and milk and mix well.
5. In a new bowl whip the egg whites and salt until they form peaks.
6. With a rubber spatula GENTLY fold egg whites into cake batter.
7. Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with the margarine.
8. Pour cake batter in prepared pan and bake at 350° for approximately 30 min. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake and seeing if it comes out clean.
9. After taking cake out of the oven, poke holes every 1” with a straw or make small slits with a butter knife throughout the cake.
10. Combine all remaining ingredients and mix well.
11. Pour the milk mixture over the cake.
12. Cut cake into 12 pieces and cool.

Cream Fraiche Directions
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl. Whip with hand mixer or in stand mixer for 30 seconds.

Plate Assembly
Put a layer of Cream Fraiche on the plate, drizzle caramel sauce on top of it, then top with a slice of cake with sliced strawberries on top.

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Geoffrey Zakarian method to cook hard boiled easy to peel eggs from The Kitchen

Here is the method Geoffrey Zakarian described for cooking perfectly hard boiled easy to peel eggs in the April Favorites episodes of The Kitchen.

  1. Bring your eggs to egg temperature – VERY IMPORTANT
  2. Get a pot of boiling water
  3. Drop eggs into boiling water with a spoon 6 to 8 at a time
  4. Boil for exactly 12 minutes, not a second longer or shorter
  5. Strain water out
  6. Put cold water in just to the bottom edge of the middle of the egg
  7. Jiggle the pot, do not do this too hard or the egg will fall apartThe eggs will the sides, crack the shell, water will get inside, making them easy to peel

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Powder Room Update

Finally, the Powder Room is ready for the big reveal.  What did we do during this update:

1. Painted the walls

2. Put up a new mirror (Lowes)

3. Installed new lights (Lowes)

4. Refinished bathroom cabinet

5. Refinished over the toilet wicker cabinet

Before and After:

Image

Sorry for the funky photos.  The powder room is so tiny that you have to try to take the photos from outside the room and walk around to try to get both cabinets.

I love our house, I truly do.  The only thing I hate about our house is the builders grade, press-board with a very thin veneer, crappy, yellow, oak-ish cabinets.  Do you get the impression, I really don’t like them!?!  Unfortunately, these same cabinets adorn our kitchen, powder room, master bath, and second bath!  ARGH!

We really can’t afford to replace them, and they are in pretty good condition.  So, I set out to find a way to make them look better.  Paint?  Well, I am from the old school of if you have exhausted all other options, then paint.  I knew with the cabinets not being real wood, once I paint them, there is no going back to a wood look.

Stain, that would have worked on the wood veneer, but the sides of the cabinets are just basically a big sticker.  Stain would not work there.

I tried Minwax Gel Stain several years ago, it had a very glossy finish and two years later was chipping like crazy.

I kept seeing General Finishes Java Gel Stain on Pinterest.  Always one to check reviews, I could not find one bad one!  Sounded like a plan to me.  I figured I’d try to refinish the powder room cabinet since that is the smallest one and would be the easiest to replace if it didn’t look nice.

This has to be the easiest stain I have ever worked with!  Here are the steps I followed:

Buy your supplies:

  1. some old white socks (raid your drawers)
  2. Good rubber gloves 
  3. 320 grit sandpaper
  4. Tack Cloth
  5. Throw away sponge brushes
  6. Painter’s pyramids
  7. GeneralFinishes Gel Stain – Java
  8. General Finishes Gel Topcoat in Satin Finish
  9. 002 (4)

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Prepare to stain the cabinet doors:

  1. Remove the doors from the cabinet
  2. Clean the cabinet doors (I could not use anything too strong or watery, so I used my favorite all purpose cleaner “Awesome Cleaner” from the Dollar Tree.  It truly is Awesome and works on everything.  Best $1 I spend on the house!
  3. Lightly sand the cabinet doors and frame.  Make sure you sand very lightly since it is just a crappy veneer.  Make sure you sand with the grain of the wood.  I did this outside.
  4. Rub the cabinet door and frame with the tack cloth to pick up any dust that is on there.
  5. Rub the cabinet door and frame with the tack cloth again.
  6. Prepare your area for finishing.  I taped two layers of garbage bags to my countertop.  I used masking tape and made sure I had two layers everywhere.001 (4)
  7. Put your cabinet doors on top of your painters pyramids (they allow the cabinet door to get up off from the surface so you can get the sides easily.  They also allow you to do both sides of the cabinet doors without letting the first side completely dry.
  8. Open the can of gel stain.
  9. Put your cabinet door on the painters pyramids.
  10. Use the sponge brush to stain any decorative trim on your cabinet doors.
  11. Put on your rubber gloves, then put the white socks on your hands.
  12. Get a generous amount of stain on your sock.  Put the stain on the door.
    1. You don’t want to go to thick.  It is better to do several coats.
    2. Don’t overwork it!  Once you have it on, leave it alone.  This exceptional Stain is self leveling so don’t worry that you don’t have it completely smooth, it will smooth out, trust me!
  13. This is important: Wait for 24 hours between coats.   Sand lightly and use your trusty tack cloth between each coat.  This helps the gel stain grab on to the previous coat.

How does each coat look?

Lightly sanded door (that took the yellow off!)

Lightly sanded door (that took the yellow off!)

First Coat

First Coat

Second Coat

Second Coat

Third Coat

Third Coat

Fourth Coat

Fourth Coat

The cabinet came out so well, that I decided to use the General Finishes Gel Stain on the horrible wicker cabinet above the toilet.  I was not sure it would work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I was amazed at how well it came out!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

How did the cabinet over the toilet come out?

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It is going to live to see another day! I could not believe the General Finishes Gel Stain worked on the wicker too!

How does the Powder room look now?  Well, it is so hard to photograph cause it is so small, but here it goes!

after only

008 (3)

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Welcome End of School Year Sleepover (aka sleepover 2.0)

Yes, we decided to do another sleepover.  The girls (ages 10 and 12) were really begging to do an End of School Year Sleepover.  We agreed to it.  However, we did feel there were lessons learned from the first one.  The first one went well, but we felt we could improve on it and save some of our sanity.  Lessons we learned:

1. Have activities planned

During the first version, I had activities planned, but the girls just wanted to hang out.  Ok, I thought.  Maybe they are too old for planned activities.  The only planned thing we did was have them decorate the sleepover cake.

The kids acted like they were not at all interested in the activities I planned for Sleepover 2.0, but trust me, they all were really excited once we got going with the plans and all had a great time!

2. Wear them out!!!

I can’t stress this enough.  You want to wear their little butts out with something active.

3.  Buy throwaway utensils, plates, bowls, cups.

It is so much easier to just go through with a garbage bag and clean up.  No dishes to wash, no fuss, no muss.  JUST LIKE A SLACKER MOM LIKES IT!!!

4. Get tons of great ideas for invitations, activities, and food from PINTEREST!

Invitations from Hoot Designs

Invitations from Hoot Designs

I used several of them.

5. Last but definitely not least, do not set up the air mattress until it is bedtime!!

I can’t stress this one enough!  The temptation for it to be a giant trampoline is just too much for 10-12 year old girls.

We sent out invitations for our End of School Year Sleepover.  I got the idea for the invitations from Hoot Designs!  It only took my girls and I about 20 minutes to make.  They came out exactly like the photo! We had so many positive comments on the invitations from the moms!

So, let me tell you about the party!

The girls arrived (each of my daughters had two guests).  We immediately headed out to the pool in our community.  REMEMBER I SAID WEAR THEM OUT!!  We spent 2 1/2 hours at the pool.  We had Papa John’s Pizza delivered at the pool and took a cooler full of drinks with us.  Everyone had a

Spin the bottle (of nail polish that is!)

Spin the bottle (of nail polish that is!)

great time, especially since the community just put in a new slide at the pool.

When the pool closed, yes we milked it for everything it was worth, we went back to the house and the girls got into their pajamas.  They played Spin the Bottle.  Don’t be alarmed!  It was spin the NAIL POLISH bottle.  We bought an assortment of wild colored nail polish.  We even found a pack of glow in the dark nail polish to make it more fun at night!

To start, I picked a funky color nail polish and spun the bottle.  Whomever the bottle pointed at, had to paint one fingernail or toenail with that color.  Then they got to pick the next color and spin the bottle.  We continued this until everyone had their nails painted.

Then we did American Idol.  We have a microphone that you can hook up your Ipod to so you can sing to the music.  Then I used the app for Song Freaks that shows the lyrics to a song as your Ipod is playing them.  We cut two people out of the first round.  Then, we had the people who were voted out, vote for the winner.  My husband and I played the judges making positive comments about each performance.

We had a ice cream sundae bar.  I bought the cutest little sundae glasses from CVS.  They were 4 for $5.99.  Each girl got to take one home as a souvenir.  We bought lots of different toppings and let them make their own.

Worn out puppies!

Worn out puppies!

We had the girls brush their teeth and get their sleeping bags ready.  We set up the air mattress and rented a movie for them to watch.  We stayed up until 1:00 am and most of the girls were asleep.  A couple of them stayed up, but they were quiet.  One of the girls was a super sound sleeper and ended up with a smiley face drawn on her foot with a marker.  I guess if that is the only mischief they got into, we were all good!  Thank goodness, her father got a kick out of it!

In the morning, they got dressed and put away their sleeping bags.  We had them pack up so they would be ready to go when their parents arrived.

We had a breakfast bar set up for them.  We bought the little individual boxes of cereal.  I put donut holes on skewers (with the tips cut off). We had cantaloupe slices and bunches of grapes for them to chow on.  We had an assortment of juices and milk for them to choose from.

When the parents arrived, their little princesses were ready to go.  They each took their sundae glass and their belongings and left with big smiles on their faces.  I heard from a couple of the Moms later in the day saying their daughters had a great time!  What more could you ask for!

Version 2.0 was even better than 1.0.  Thank you Pinterest!

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Graduated from elementary school… check

So proud of her certificate!

So proud of her certificate!

The Ceremony

Our youngest daughter had her elementary school graduation today. I thought I would cry, but surprised myself. I was not sad at all. I was just proud of all her accomplishments in school. She walked up to get her diploma with the lady-like fashion of a runway model!

One proud Daddy!

One proud Daddy!

Her accomplishments were many. I wish I had that kind of moxie in elementary school! She was the Weather Girl for her school’s television station, student council representative for her class, had her artwork displayed in the School Board office, was in a Math Club and chorus. I could not be prouder of her for her accomplishments!

The Celebration!

Photos with friends!

Photos with friends!

After the ceremony, we went back to her classroom for celebration.

They had cake, punch, and water.  The kids were given their actual certificates.  They were given time to get photos with their friends and teachers.

Flowers from Daddy!

Flowers from Daddy!

Daddy’s Surprise!

When we got back to the house, Daddy surprised her with a beautiful bunch of flowers.  She was so excited and Daddy was just beaming that he brought that joy to her face.  (I have to be honest, he got each of us a bunch of flowers, but hers were the flashiest)

Girlie Time!

After that, we had some girlie time.  Her older sister came home from school, she is going into 7th grade!  My youngest’s big gift was getting her ears pierced.  She was really brave… until they started marking her ears.  You can see the change in her expressions as the time got closer for the actual piercing to take place.  She did shed a few tears, but within 15 minutes, she was telling me, “Mom, it doesn’t hurt anymore!”

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I am so excited! Is it going to hurt?
Only like a pinch, honey…

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How bad is it going to hurt, Mom? Do I really want to do this? Yes, I do, but I am scared!

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Mom, that REALLY HURT! Why didn’t you tell me it was going to be like a really hard pinch? It was like getting a shot in the ears!

It doesn't hurt anymore!

Our happy little graduate
with beautiful,
sparkly,
pink hearts in her ears!

So, it was a big day for our family.  I am so proud!

Go honey, always follow your heart and follow your passions in life!

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Exciting weekend with my daughter’s 12th birthday party sleepover

This weekend is my eldest daughter’s 12th birthday! She wanted to celebrate by having a sleepover.  We had three of her closest friends over.  So, with my daughters, there were five.  They stayed up nearly all night.  My DH and I finally went up to bed at about 1:30am.  He fell asleep at 3am and they were still talking downstairs.  The girls said they finally went to sleep at 5am!  OMGosh!!

My daughter wanted me to make a sleepover cake like one we saw on Pinterest.  Here is our version:

Sleepover Birthday Party Cake from wordpress.com/dustbunniesandfingerprints

Sleepover Birthday Party Cake from wordpress.com/dustbunniesandfingerprints


Yes, Pinterest, my latest obsession, comes in handy once again!  I am sharing my Pinterest addiction with my daughter! 

We made most of the cake ahead of time.  Here are the instructions for making this deceptively easy cake:
1. Make a regular oblong cake. 
2. Frost the top of the cake in the color that will be the “sheets” of the bed.
3. Put the icing in a decorator bag and use a ribbon type tip to make the dustruffle. You can use a different color that the sheets, but we used the same color.
4. Lay either Tastycakes Butterscotch Krimpets or Little Debbie Swiss Rolls for the bodies of the girls. 
5. Add icing to the top of the snack cakes so the fondant comforter will stick to them.
6. Add a layer of fondant for the comforter.
7. Make balls of fondant for the heads. You can pinch a bit of the circle to make the noses (my 12 year old’s idea and it worked perfectly).
8. Use frosting to make the eyes, mouth, hair, names, and decorate the comforter.
9. Cut rectangles of fondant for the blankets that each girl decorated with icing.

My youngest made her blanket look like her favorite blanket: She is 10 and I was amazed at how great it came out!

Blanket decorated by my 10 year old daughter for the sleepover birthday cake

Blanket decorated by my 10 year old daughter for the sleepover birthday cake

This week back to working on the powder room, but I must say, this was a nice break.  My daughter was so happy!! It was awesome to see her her thrilled! Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!! I love you!!!

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The Perfect Bathroom Mirror!

I ran to Lowes after work to get some more ceiling paint (I have lost my knack at cutting in the paint free-handed – I found out the hard way),  I have to touch up the ceiling.  I was also looking for the perfect mirror to replace the one that got broken last night.  I found one already framed for a little less than $100!  Yeah!  Buy that puppy!  And buy it I did.  I left the store and it was pouring down rain.  Not to be deterred, I took the flat-bed cart with my purchases out to my car.  I had to lower the back seats to get the mirror in my tiny little Prius.  But, it fit fine.  Now I am soaking wet. LOL

So, I get home and we very carefully unpack it and remove all the staples.  I let out a sigh of relief as I found the mirror arrived to my home in tact!  We took the mirror into the powder room to see how it was going to look.  It was the perfect dimension for the wall and looked AMAZING.  Well, all except for one thing.  When the shades are on the light fixture, the shade touches the polystyrene frame (IE plastic).  The melting point of polystyrene is 360 degrees.  An incandescent light bulb can heat up to 500 degrees!  OH NO!!! That is not going to work.  The frame is very dimensional and sticks out pretty far from the wall, which by the way is why it looked so incredible!

So, we are now looking for LED lights that go into a standard socket since they do not burn hot.  The other alternative is to install the new mirror in our master bathroom (which will mean we will have to buy two of them).  Also, I am not sure they are going to go with what I have in mind for the master bathroom.  Currently, the master bath is white on white.  I want to changed to wall color to grey.  I would paint the trim and cabinets bright white and leave the white tiles.  I was also planning on doing an accent wall with metallic silver and gold horizontal stripes.  Yes, I am already planning the next bathroom.  I know, I know, you think I am a glutton for punishment.

But, let’s not forget… the only reason I finally did the powder room, which I have been thinking about for a couple of years, is because the toilet would not stop running!

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