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Willow Bird Weekly

Each week I bookmark tons of fascinating recipes, trek to interesting food-related places, find neat kitchen tricks, and make unique little dishes. Willow Bird Weekly is a miscellany of stuff I’ve collected throughout the week that I hope you’ll find entertaining.

Stuff I Can’t Wait to Make:

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pies on Bakers Royale
Banana Dream Cake on The Novice Chef (have I mentioned how much I love banana baked goods? Oh goodness.)
Oreo Brownies on My Baking Addiction
French Toasted Angel Food Cake by Sprinkle Bakes


French Toasted Angel Food Cake, photo by Heather

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies & Ice Cream Sandwiches by Buns In My Oven
Lemon Yogurt and Cherry Cake by The Boy Who Bakes
Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread by Confessions of a Foodie Bride


Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread, photo by Shawnda

Stuff I Already Made:

For Katie’s birthday, I made my first vegan chocolate cake. It looked awful, but I promise it tasted great.


Photo by Katie

I used this recipe for the cake, and about 10 minutes into baking, I put a whole dark chocolate bar on top to bake into the cake. That turned out to be a good move, because it created a layer of chocolate goo — yum!

I used this recipe for icing, which ended up way more soupy than I expected. I added more confectioners’ sugar and some shortening in an attempt to improve the texture, but it still flowed down the cake like flippin’ lava. I used the Post Punk Kitchen directions, which called for melting the Earth Balance, and I wouldn’t recommend that. Next time, I’ll just soften it and use it at room temperature. At least it tasted good — especially with tons of toasted coconut on top.

Places I Went and Stuff I Ate:

This week was full of fun. I went to Katie’s cupcakes and cocktails birthday party, where I ate her fantastic vegan, gluten-free cupcakes and drank lots of sparkly pink lemonade. Katie writes Sweet Tater Blog, which is comprised of lots of cat hilarity, awesome healthy food, and great writing — you should definitely go see.


Highlights: Cat-in-a bag and Cupcakes

This is a little sneak peek of another fun thing I did this week, but I’m going to keep you waiting another couple of days to hear about it:


Why do I think it’s cute to make that face? HAHA.

Other fun food times this week:


clockwise from top left: personal trifle with leftover vegan frosting + berries + frozen cake, strawberry and pistachio cakes from Cakes ‘N Flakes, takeout from my favorite Tex-Mex chain, On the Border, and a baby breakfast burrito from visiting the Roots Farm Food truck with Vanessa.

Stuff That Rocks:

I got two awesome emails this week from readers who made gorgeous WBB treats! Becky won 3rd place in a BBQ Dessert competition with her cheesecake, and Susan made a patriotic Strawberry Cream Pie for the 4th of July.



Becky’s cheesecake (top) and Susan’s Strawberry Cream Pie

Another thing that rocks is all of the organizing I’m doing around my apartment. Turns out that if you want to clean your house, watching Hoarders is excellent inspiration. Within hours of watching a few shows, I had a huge box ready to donate and several trash bags full of things to be thrown away.

One of my favorite organizing tricks is my new “spice rack.” I saw this idea somewhere and finally got around to trying it — and it cleared up so much space in my kitchen:


That’s a shoe organizer that I bought for $6!

I love that I can see all of the spices available instead of digging through jars in a dark cabinet (hopefully this means no more buying duplicates!), and they’re all readily accessible. In addition to organizing my spices, I bought a $13 bookshelf to organize my extra books and threw away a lot of stale and out-of-date food lurking in the back of my pantry.

Be sure to share your organization tips with me in the comments this week; I’m on a roll! I’m even contemplating cleaning out my vacuum cleaner. We’ll see . . .

What fantastic recipes have you discovered online this week? What fun food experiences have you had? And what organizing tricks do you use around your house?

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Willow Bird Weekly

Each week I bookmark tons of fascinating recipes, trek to interesting food-related places, find neat kitchen tricks, and make unique little dishes. Willow Bird Weekly is a miscellany of stuff I’ve collected throughout the week that I hope you’ll find entertaining.

Stuff I Can’t Wait to Make:

Red, White, and Blue Macaroni and Cheese on Taylor Takes a Taste
Sour Cream Custard Brioche (Gâteau à la Crème Fraîche) on Not Quite Nigella
Fourth of July Fruit Pops by Bakers Royale


Fourth of July Fruit Pops, photo by Naomi

Melted Ice Cream Cupcakes by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Bloomin’ Onion Bread by Buns In My Oven


Bloomin’ Onion Bread, photo by Karly

Places I Went and Stuff I Ate:

The Charlotte Food Bloggers had their first weeknight meeting this week at one of the 987,945,2532 local frozen yogurt (a.k.a. froyo) joints that now exist in Charlotte. We went to TCBY, which is pretty old school, but they’ve revitalized their restaurants to be hip and self-serve (with lotsa toppings) to match the new trend.

I was going to forgo the froyo because I usually try not to eat much sugar during the week, but I checked out the nutrition stats on the TCBY website and they were surprisingly reasonable. A half cup of their froyo generally has about 100-120 calories and 15-20 grams soluble carbohydrates. I got about 1/2 cup of no sugar added strawberry froyo topped with strawberries, raspberries, and mochi. It was tasty, and only $3.50.

The Food Blogsters and I had lots of fun talking about how awesome Tom Colicchio is, how not-awesome some other unnamed TV personalities are, and how one might go about getting a date with Cam Newton. Fun times!

Stuff That Rocks:

Barbara over at Barbara Bakes was craving hot dogs, so she did what any rational human being would do and made bacon-wrapped cheese hot dogs.


Bacon Wrapped Cheese Hot Dogs, photo by Barbara

I just have two words for you, Barbara, from me and everyone else heading into this summer holiday weekend: thank you.

You know what else rocks? MY TURTLE. My friend Erin pointed out that Byrd has shown up on WBB a few times now, but Squirt hasn’t made an appearance yet. Well, here’s Byrd’s handsome older brother, Squirt. He’s a 6-7 year old Red Eared Slider and he lives in a 140-gallon tank in my dining room. Love this little guy!


“I AM smiling.”

But also, Byrd is cute. And she loves flowers.

Another thing that rocks is that my lovely friend Jordan from Kitchen Karate just opened a new online shop, I’m With Cupcake! It has lots of adorable items, and from July 2 to 3, you can use the promo code willowbirdbaking to get 10% off a purchase of $30 or more before taxes and shipping. You can only use the promo code once per purchase and it can’t be combined with any other offer.

Congratulations on the grand opening, Jordan!


And Then There’s This:


What fantastic recipes have you discovered online this week? What fun food experiences have you had? What ridiculous ways do you procrastinate?

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Filed under news

Willow Bird Weekly

Each week I bookmark tons of fascinating recipes, trek to interesting food-related places, find neat kitchen tricks, and make unique little dishes. Willow Bird Weekly is a miscellany of stuff I’ve collected throughout the week that I hope you’ll find entertaining.

Stuff I Can’t Wait to Make:

Cheesy Puff Pull Apart Bread on How Sweet It Is
Cranberry Pistachio Butter Cups by Mommie Cooks (and just think of the possibilities: cashew butter! almond butter!)
Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches by Sophistimom (via Good Life Eats)


Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches, photo by Jaime

Strawberry Milk Whoopie Pies by Sprinkle Bakes
Oatmeal Brownie Milky Way Bars by i am baker
Peach Shortcake by Ezra Pound Cake


Peach Shortcake, photo by Rebecca

Places I Went and Stuff I Ate:

Today I grabbed my already-beloved copy of Hélène Dujardin’s Plate to Pixel (I know you’ve been hearing about it everywhere, and for good reason — what an amazing, all-encompassing resource for food photographers!) and headed down to the local French bakery for a book signing. Sweet Tartelette herself was there and is definitely even sweeter in person! It was wonderful to meet Hélène.

Thanks to Taylor Mathis for organizing the book signing, and to the lovely folks who showed up.

Speaking of people I love, I love this girl!


Ashley

I’ve mentioned Ashley on the blog before — she teaches Spanish at the school where I teach language arts and cooking. Ashley left Monday to spend her summer in her beloved España completing the first half of a masters program. Before she left, though, she and her parents threw a lovely fiesta with a delicious roasted pork tenderloin with rosemary, couscous, lots of fun appetizers and desserts, and my favorite part: what I like to call the flaming pineapple! I hear Ashley’s mom was responsible for the fantastic presentation of the grilled pineapple bites. Too fun, and what a good idea for folks who love to entertain:

Stuff That Rocks:

You may have heard about the total lunar eclipse that occurred recently, but I for one am more impressed by BraveTart’s Total Eclipse of the Tart. You have to go see it. You just have to. I hear in North America we have to wait until December to see the real total eclipse, anyhow!

Also, stacked pies. What?! Apparently people do this?! It’s pure insanity, and y’all know I like some to do some crazy stacking when I get the chance. Cannot wait to stack a pie or two or three!


Stacked Pies, photo by Karen

And finally, something that totally rocks and is news to me: geocaching! Has a worldwide scavenger hunt really been going on without my knowledge for ten years? Speaking as someone who never grew out of the thrill of an Easter egg hunt, I can tell I’m going to adore this. I love the idea of being able to leave messages and ideas for someone across time and space, to lead someone to important places and important conclusions, to weave webs between strangers.

What fantastic recipes have you discovered online this week? What fun food experiences have you had? Anyone out there participate in geocaching?

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