Monday, February 27, 2012

Cake in a Jar

Cake... in a jar.. :)

So its still wintery and cold and grey and miserable outside.. And what does that have to do with cake.. in a jar? Not a whole lot.. I was just commenting on the weather. :)

Anyhow, I made these shortly after making the truffle bottom cake which you can find here..

I needed something quick and easy for RadioSweet Tooth Man...

Now I must say, I have never heard of such a thing.. Cake... in a jar.... pfft. But its actually rather convenient and not to mention cute!  I got the idea here:

If you don't eat marinated artichokes or don't have a baby, or just don't know where to get little jars:
These little jars work great and you can use them for canning too! Just click the picture for more info.

I used left over chocolate and whipping cream and marshmallows from the truffle bottom cake mentioned earlier and crushed up some ginger snaps for my "crust."

Now, I don't really have a recipe ... per se... But like I said, the link to the filling is here..

Now I just melted my ingredients and mixed them all up and poured it all over the ginger snaps in the bottom of the jar.. Then I refrigerated them until I couldn't stand it any longer!

A little pouf of whip topping and some sliced strawberries... 

I capped the ones I (and RSTM) were not going to eat that night.. I used jars from marinated artichoke hearts but I think they are about the same size as baby food jars.. They make for really great single serving desserts!  Especially good for kids whose eyes can sometimes be bigger than their tummies!

Can I take a minute to talk about a pet peeve? 

Who's vs whose

This is one of those cases where it is important to remember that possessive pronouns never take apostrophes, even though possessive nouns do. (its/ it's) “Who’s” always and forever means only “who is,” as in “Who’s that guy with the droopy mustache?” or “who has,” as in “Who’s been eating my porridge?” "Whose” is the possessive form of “who” and is used as follows: “Whose dirty socks are these on the breakfast table?” 

That is all.

Ok, well, I hope you enjoyed my little cake jars and can find some inspiration in it.. If not, you didn't click the link.. :) There are tons of ideas (and that's alot because ideas don't weigh much!) and recipes for all kinds of foods in jars.. The link I gave previously is only a list of 15 yummy sweets.. But people have gone crazy with this idea and are cooking in jars as well! 

Happy Monday everyone! Oh! And by the way, That color looks amazing on you! :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Tractor

Today we had a field trip!


So the chickens' yard was looking a little bare after all the rains.. They had scratched and pecked for worms so much that they took the grass out with them.. I decided to let the chickies out to play in the big yard. But, I couldn't stay out and watch them all day... So I made a makeshift chicken tractor!

Its not pretty.. and its not built to last... But it was a quick fix for some bug and grass hungry chickens! I found 2 old fence pieces and zip tied them together to make the "roof" and sealed the ends with chicken wire. 

I plopped a blanket over one end for shade and put in a portable nest box for comfort along with food and water.. I had some happy chickens!

Why a chicken tractor? Why not let them free range? 


We have a hawk problem here..  :( 

Well, I.. have a hawk problem. A problem with hawks who eat chicken. 


So that's the reason for the nets as well.. Its super tacky.. But the chickens feel safe and can continue laying eggs and eating bugs and doing chicken type things!


So anyhow, everyone is happy today! What a wonderful day! Now go out and enjoy it! 

I heard somewhere that you can get your days worth of vitamin d by spending just 10 minutes in the sun.. Is this true? If it is... my cat should be having vitamin d overdose issues.. :) She lays in her sunny window for hours!

OK, for real this time.. ciao ciao!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yellow Spot Sun

Yellow Spot Sun
What does it mean?

I get asked all sorts of silly questions.. This isn't one of them.. 
So what does it all mean?! I have answers..

Well, not all the answers.. but I do know why my blog is called Yellow Spot Sun.. 

Let me tell you about a nerdy little girl in high school. Well, not nerdy as in tortoise shell glasses and crochet sweaters.... Nerdy as in one of the "art nerds" One of the art students that hang out in the art rooms and the halls just outside..

Yep.. That was me..

I would pull up to school about an hour early.. (habit from riding the bus) and I would bee line for the art buildings. I had 2 art teachers.. oh wait, 3 art teachers at this point..

 But the place to be was in front of Mrs. Fauchs room.. I don't think I'm spelling that right.. Anyhow, just next door was Mrs Liddell. These were/are? 2 of the greatest teachers I have ever had! I started taking art as an easy elective... (i know, I know.. sorry..) And my first teacher signed me up for AP (advanced placement) art.. where I met Fauchs and Liddell. And my world was turned upside down!

Messy art portfolio

These were teachers who could teach you.. or re-teach you how to see the world.. in color.. hundreds of colors you never knew existed. They taught me everything from how to hold a paintbrush to how to sculpt busts to jewelry making to print making to welding (yes welding!) among countless other things.. 

So how do you say thank you for something like that?

I said thank you my senior year of high school in my year book. I poured over famous quotes and came up with a few of my own.. but nothing really wrapped up my high school years like I had hoped.... until...

Pablo Picasso came around and said some stuff...  Actually this guy was kinda brilliant.. He said things like:

“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.” 
 “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” 
 “The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?”

He also said;  

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”


This is where I get Yellow Spot Sun.. 

Pablo Picasso

The quote in my year book says 


“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun. -Picasso  Thank you to my teachers for the wisdom to know the difference and the skill to create it."


So Yellow Spot Sun is sort of like a reminder for me.. 


A reminder of where I came from and who helped get me here. 


Its also sort of like my way of saying Namste`

 (The divine in me recognizes the divine in you) 




 Oh and BTW.. Sorry about the formatting.. Blogger hates me today.. and I've already spent an hour trying to fix it... You will live :)

Braided King Cake

So you wanna make braided bread, huh?

After having made the king cake on a previous post, I got requests for how to make a braided bread. I wont go into the ingredients and how to mix and how long to rest and yada yada yada... The recipe for this cake can be found on this post. For this batch, I split the recipe into 2 separate cakes.

Go ahead and make the dough just like in the recipe.. when you have finished letting the dough rest for 1 1/2 hours disregard the next few steps about making a canoe shape and rolling your dough. At this point, You are going to punch down your dough and knead it for a bit.. I think 8 minutes.. Now, separate your dough in 3 balls. 

Now its time to go back to kindergarten and make dough worms. 

Flatten your worms into long strips. This is optional... But I like to have the cinnamon (or sometimes pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg) woven throughout the whole cake.

Next sprinkle seasoning on one side of your smushed worms. (you can also make a cinnamon paste with butter to spread inside too!)

At this point,  its time to seal your worms back up with their new yummy innards! 

(I just wanted to say innards)

Just pinch all along the edges until you have made a closed seam down the length of your dough worm.

 Next, you need to secure the ends of the 3 strands of dough. Simply pinch a small bit of each worm at the top to connect. Now we braid! If you don;t know how to braid...

There is an instructable here on wikihow, that will explain the process with the help of some visual aid.. (pictures )

Left over, right over, left over, right over, left over,  right over..... etc... Once you have completed your braid, pinch the two ends together to form a ring.

Ta da! You are so awesome! Look what we have created together!!! Actually, these cakes are alot more impressive after having baked them..  So how do we get to that point?... 


Remeber those five egg yolks you used to make this thing? Now you can use the whites to make your bread pretty.. Just paint some egg white over your dough before popping it in the oven. 
Mama says use 1 egg white and 1 tsp milk. I say.. just use the egg white.. Your choice. Not a big enough difference to me to be able to tell the difference...

ees preety, no?

ok.. Now Ta Da!!

And now you can dust with powdered sugar or make the icing as in the previous post.. I made these for others so I went ahead with all the festivities.. Minus the plastic baby.. Those are hard to digest.. :)


Now go get off the interwebs and have a marvelous Mardi Gras!  You deserve it after all that baking!

Monday, February 13, 2012

King Cake Recipe

Mardi Gras is Tuesday February 21, 2012!

So, I thought a King Cake might be in order :)

First, a little history:
   Mardi Gras is the last day before Ash Wednesday, when Catholic/Christians receive ashes and begin 40 days of sacrifice in imitation of the Lord, ending at Easter when the resurrection is celebrated. Also known as Shrove Tuesday
As part of the Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night (January 6). This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings called "A King's Cake."  

 When is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras Day is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday). Still need some visual aid?  Here's a list of the next few Mardi Gras dates..

  • February 21, 2012  
  • February 12, 2013
  • March 4, 2014
  • February 17, 2015
  • February 9, 2016
  • February 28, 2017
  • February 13, 2018
  • March 5, 2019
  • February 25, 2020
 Fun Mardi Gras Facts:

By law, float riders must always have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for everyone else, and the elaborate masks that some wear add to the fun.

The tradition of float riders throwing trinkets to the crowds began in the 1870s, and still continues today. Typical throws include beads, cups, doubloons, and stuffed animal.

Rex selected the official Mardi Gras colors in 1872. The 1892 Rex Parade theme Symbolism of Colors gave meaning to the colors. 
Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith. And Gold Represents Power. (heh)

OK OK I know what you came for...

I got this recipe from my mama.. but it looks suspiciously like This one. So, I'm giving credit to  This recipe makes a wonderfully moist cake with just enough spice that can also be made as a breakfast bread!

King Cake Recipe 
This one was eaten before a proper picture could be taken :) yum!

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast (I only use 1.. :/
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups flour unsifted (plus up to 1 cup more)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon ( I just sprinkle until I have a layer{can also mix with butter to make a paste})

Sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into warm water and allow to rest for about 3 minutes. Then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in warm, draft free place for about 10 minutes or until the yeast mixture has doubled in size,

Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl.
 Pour in yeast mixture and milk in center of flour mixture. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture.
When mixture is smooth, knead in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to knead 2 minutes eventually making a nice little ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. (or use dough hooks and a mixer) While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter or baking spray and set aside.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down and make an almost canoe shape. Sprinkle cinnamon over the dough and roll it into a "worm" Twist your worm and pinch the ends together to complete your dough circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush top and sides of cake with some of those egg whites and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.
Es Preetie!

What's that? You want icing!?!

1/4 c. butter (butter)
1 tsp. vanilla (I used rum extract this time.. Yummy!)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. sifted powdered sugar
Cream butter, add vanilla, salt, sugar together. Add milk enough to make a smooth consistency that drips like slow syrup.

 And how about some fancy colored sugars? 

1 cup white sugar (light brown works too)

2 drops of any food color.

Place sugar in plastic bag or mason jars and add color drops. Shake sugar until color has evenly distributed. (about 1 minute) Add more color to darken sugar or mix colors.




Primary colors:

Red, Yellow, Blue

Red+ Yellow = Orange

Red+ Blue = Purple

Yellow + Blue= Green


For more on Mardi Gras: 

MardiGras 2012 

Parade Schedule 

Shrove Tuesday Wikipedia 


Friday, February 10, 2012

The Well Trained Mind

Need something to read? :)

I was going through my book shelves today, just looking for something to read while I had down time, and came across The Well Trained Mind. If you have children, are thinking of having children, or you, yourself know how to read, this is a book you don't want to miss!

Written by a homeschooling mother and one of her brilliant children, this book has the potential to change your life.


I learned so much about how children learn and learn to learn. I can now see many of the detrimental effects from lessons learned in my and any public school across America. Things that affected me and my life and helped to "shape" my life the way it is now. This book literally changed my life for the better.

Ever heard of the Great Conversation?
Here's a quick wiki to bring you up to speed
This book allowed me to become a part of that conversation.. A conversation that I never knew I wanted to be a part of. A conversation that was going on around me and in most cases "above my head" so to speak... A conversation that will slowly fade into background noise and cease altogether if more do not join in.

I invite you, personally, to change the history of the world. :0)

I am in no way affiliated with the authors or publishers of this book and I don't get paid to talk about it.. It just changed my life so I wanted to share it..

Just a quick quiz to illustrate my point.. 

Lets start with history.
1. What happened first? the Hundred Years war or the Spanish Civil war?
2. Who was here before the Egyptians?

3. In how many formats can a quadratic function be expressed?
4.   4+6*2=? (No, its not 20...)

5. Name the main themes in Pride and Prejudice.
6. What are a couple symbols used to represent abstract ideas or concepts in The Odyssey?

We'll stop there... These are things any high school student should be able to tell you,, Funny thing is, they won't be able to.. and many reading this wont either.. but its not your fault.. And you can learn. You can become a part of that conversation we spoke of previously..  However, with knowledge comes responsibility. The responsibility to speak only truth. and the wisdom to know when that is. That second part... thats the tough one.. I'll show you what I mean..

Here we have Joe. :0) 
and here we have Jane <:0) (jane wears a hat) 
and we have the company Joe works for. This company is dumping toxic waste everywhere and in a matter of 1 year, the earth will simply die if nothing is changed. hypothetically of course ;)

Joe learned about toxic waste from the company he works for. He went to workshops and meeting about toxic waste and how it is ok. Joe knows that toxic waste isnt so bad. And its ok to dump toxic waste anywhere, in any ecosystem, and it will be ok.. 
Jane listens to Joe talk about toxic waste and how wonderful it is and how lucky he is to be working for such a great company.
Jane researches toxic waste. She collects samples and sends them to a local lab. She reads about delicate eco systems and what keeps them sustainable. She reads quarterly investment reports published by the company Joe works for. She reads the OSHAA safety manual for dealing with such waste (as provided by Joe's company) and decides, based on first hand collected data as well as supplemented by publications and documents related to the subject, that toxic waste is bad and should not be supported. She tells Joe.

Joe goes through those stages... you know, DABDA

At some point in those stages, Joe does his own research and finds that Jane speaks the truth. Joe now has a choice.
Joe now has the truth. Joe knows that his co-workers are being fed a lie. Joe knows he has now unwittingly lied to anyone hes ever talked to about his job. Joe knows if he continues to work for this company, he is working for something he knows is detrimental to his health as well as everyone else.

Joe can stay and be part of the lie. He can work for the machine that systematically kills his planet. He can work for a corporation that buys allowances or credits with regards to pollution. Credits that are imaginary and don't mean anything to the earth. Joe's home.

Or he can leave the lie and speak the truth. He can change his world. Joe can take responsibility for himself and walk away from something he knows is wrong. (wrong for him)

This is what I mean..

The responsibility to speak only truth. and the wisdom to know when that is

Joe knows. He has the truth. Now what?  If Joe lives the lie, we all perish. Joe now has a responsibility to tell others about what he has learned. Even if the people Joe is trying to save are hostile and in the anger stage... It is the truth. It is the natural law.

A quick wiki about natural law.

Anyhow, that story is in no way affiliated with the book.. it was just my little story.. And I wandered away from my point.. oops..
We were talking about  kids and adults knowing "stuff". Well this book may help explain why. Why so many can't answer those simple questions without pulling out the google app on their I-phizzle...

Oh! those answers you may have wanted:
1. The hundred Years war came first in 1337 to 1453  the Spanish Civil war was July 17,1936 to April 1, 1939
2. There are far to many cultures to list... I promise! check them out for yourself. 
3. 3: standard,, factored, and vortex
4.  16 PEMDAS  remember?
5. Class, reputation, love etc
6. food (lack of discipline) and the wedding band (constancy of Penelope and Odysseus’s marriage duh. But the immovable bed is a fun metaphor for their unmovable love for each other.)

 I think maybe what I needed and what many need is a classical education.. one based on the trivium..

From Trivium :

General Grammar, Aristotelian Logic, and Classical Rhetoric comprise the first three rules-based subjects of the 7 Liberal Arts and Sciences. As these disciplines are learned and practiced together, they form the overarching, symbiotic system for establishing clarity and consistency of personal thought called the Trivium.

Basically, Learn the word.. the vocabulary. Fill your head with facts, Names and dates.. All that..
Next, learn about the what? when? and where? of all that stuff..
Now, you're ready for the why and how.. the more philosophical side to the triangle..

That is overly simplified... but you get the point, yes?

The trivium is a method of learning.. An incredibly effective one.. And, it's never to late to learn.. Its not like after the ages of 6 or 7 you can no longer learn a language.. It may take longer because you don't have time to devote to it.. that's all. And once your brain starts soaking up info again... It wont want to stop.. and you wont be able to help but to be well read and thinking critically for yourself.

So, let's at least read a book instead of watch the tv tonight..This book will explain why reading is far more beneficial to learning and retaining information rather than visual stimuli.. So let's all try it out? whatdayasay?
 :) Maybe I will start a reading list..That should be fun!

Have a wonderful day! Oh! and did I mention? Your hair looks amazing today!   *<:0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Decadent Truffle Bottom Chocolate Cream Pie

"Decadent Truffle Bottom Chocolate Creme Pie"

Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe

Yep, it's Tuesday.... and you know what that means!? It means....... Its random Junk food and sweets Day! Actually, I found this recipe on the back of the Hershey's Special Dark chips which you can find at the Special Dark page on the official Hersheys Site.

If you move your mouse over to the right side of the page, there is a small tab which will allow you to scroll through the pages horizontally. Took me a minute to realize it was there! Anyhow, on the subsequent pages, there are links to other recipes and baking ideas as well as nutritional information. 

Now, I know, I know! All of you healthy gluten free, lactose free, gmo free, msg free, soy free, etc.. people out there are cursing this post... Sorry! But I'm sure this will work with other chocolate too..  and to get you started... Heres a great list of dairy free chocolates at
as well as the mega list of gluten free "mainstream" products here (pdf)

I can't do anything about the fat content.. :) Besides, its almost Valentines Day and this baby is super easy to make. You get to use the microwave for crying out loud!

Okay, now on the good stuff... whadaya need?


■ 1 pie crust

■ 2 cups mini marshmallows or 20 large ones

■ 1/2 cup milk (soy/coconut/almond/whatever)

■ 2 cups chocolate chips

■ 1 cup heavy whipping cream

■ whip topping (optional)
■ strawberries (optional)

Now what?

1.)Prepare your pie crust.. did you get a frozen one? read the package... Did you make one? good job! Did you get a ready to bake one? super easy, you're ready.

2.) Place marshmallows and milk in a large microwave safe bowl (told ya about the microwave.. cool huh?) and nuke for 1 minute on MEDIUM (50%) then stir. 
If necessary, (probably will be.. several times) nuke for an additional 30 seconds at MEDIUM power and stir after each heating. 
Marshmallows will eventually become melted and smooth.

3.) Add chocolate chips. stir. If you need to, you can nuke this mixture again for 15 seconds at a time... but if you move quickly enough, you shouldn't have to. Chips should be melted.

4.) Spread 1 cup of chocolate mixture over the bottom of the prepared crust (this is the "truffle" part) and refrigerate. Allow the remaining mixture to cool to room temperature.

5.) Beat whipping cream until stiff and gradually blend into choco mixture. spread over the bottom layer in your crust.cover and refigerate for 4-6 hours and garnish.. 

I like to take a strawberry and slice sheets into it and fan them out. It makes a pretty little garnish. Yummy too! and a couple little puffs of whip cream.. :) enjoy..

I also thought about this pie for Valentines day... You know, If you take some red food coloring and mix it into choco syrup you could write a message on your pie.. 
Or, you could make chocolate dipped strawberries and make a pretty border around the edges.
Or, you could use that weird strawberry pie filling and fresh strawberries and do something fancy with that stuff.. 

Me? I'm making these in a jar next.. I'll show you how soon! 

Not sure about the difference in whip cream and whipping cream?

Here are some fun facts:

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Part 131:
    Half and half = 10.5-18% milkfat
    Light, coffee, or table cream = 18-30% milkfat
    Medium cream = 25% milkfat
    Whipping or light whipping cream = 30-36% milkfat
    Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream = 36% milkfat or more
    The unqualified name ''whipped cream'' should not be applied to any product other than one made by whipping the cream that complies with the standards of identity for whipping cream.
          Optional ingredients. The following safe and suitable optional ingredients may be used:
                      (1) Emulsifiers.
                      (2) Stabilizers.
                      (3) Nutritive sweeteners.
                     (4) Characterizing flavoring ingredients (with or without coloring)

So basically,
Whipping cream is the heavy cream before it is whipped. Remember how in the recipe, you were asked to beat the whipping cream until stiff? Thats what whipping cream is for.. whipping.. whip cream topping is usually some chemical composition very detrimental to your health... but traditionally, it was whipping cream that had been whipped. (or so is my understanding) but you can read more here!

Nom Nom Nom...

See you soon! And don't forget, You are just so gosh darn amazing! 

Happy Random Junk food day!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Little Inspiration.

:) I found a really great site with all kinds of pretty things and inspiration. I found this simple little picture and thought it said more than what the words say.. :)

Click it. It's safe. Just some fun quotes and backgrounds and pictures and whatnot.. :)

Now have a wonderful day! I will be back with a Traditional King Cake recipe in the pipeline, egg art, chicken updates, and the new garden blog... :) ... okay, One more! I love this...

I'm pretty sure that the point of life is to learn as much as you can. Just sayin' :)

Now have a magnificent day and remember,
you were given this life because you are strong enough to handle it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fun Super Bowl Snacks

Fun Super Bowl Snacks

The above pictured "snack food super bowl" can be found here

Yay! It's super bowl time! Time to get out all the biggest bowls and cover the furniture in plastic! Here are a few fun super bowl ideas I found that I wanted to remember to try.

 A fun one from the Food Network.. here

This looks like one heck of a party!

Yes Please!   More..

Happy Party Time! Go out and share your wonderfulness with the world :)