Outta’ This World

My oldest turned 4 a few weeks ago and we had a little get together with some of our family friends.  The kiddo picked space as the birthday theme which I loved.  I was truly surprised I did not have to do a car themed party. Hallelujah. I was thankful he picked something that I think is “cool”. The science teacher in me couldn’t help but plan a few activities to go with the theme. We made these rocket launchers which the kids decorated with stickers. They had a blast shooting them up into the air. The kiddo and I also made moon rocks from the moon dough he had been playing with all week.

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We hid bouncy balls inside. The kids got to then unearth the bouncy balls by using vinegar to make the moon rocks fizz apart.

The kids had a blast, however the best part of the party (for me at least) was the fact that I got to make this cake again. This is hands down the best cake I have made. Except for the fact that the kiddo wanted vanilla frosting, as the chocolate frosting is superior (I made that for my husband’s birthday a few months ago).

This cake is from Half Baked Harvest, an amazing cooking blog put together by Tieghan. She has decadent recipes and fabulous photos.

The thing about this cake is that is is SO moist, I mean ridiculous….and it did not dry out for the few days of its short existence. Every piece was amazing. The recipe uses not only buttermilk, which makes EVERYTHING better but also Greek yogurt. These two things help make the cake what it is. The frosting is a nice buttercream. How can you go wrong with butter and sugar?!

So in keeping with the space birthday theme I made it look like the moon, complete with craters and astronauts.

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Overall, space party success. Fun activities and yummy food with good friends.

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Granola

Wintertime drives me into the kitchen. I love to cook, but once it gets cold I can’t help but make more cookies, soups and sweets. Maybe it is something instinctual? Like, I need to put on an extra layer of fat for the winter?

I have been craving granola lately and finally made this recipe which is just too good not to share. I have worked as a baker and cook in the past and tried plenty of granola recipes. When I came across this one over at The Kitchn I knew I had to try it. The title is How To Make the Best Granola.

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Needless to say it did not disappoint. For awhile last year I even got in the habit of making a double batch regularly Sunday night and it would be gone before the weeks end.

The recipe comes from Megan Gordon who owns Marge Granola in Seattle. What I love about the recipe is that it gives you the basic framework for amounts, but you put in the things you like. I usually use whatever is in my cupboard. Oats (obviously!), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, coconut and crystallized ginger were what I had this time. The things that I think take this recipe up a notch are the maple syrup, cardamom and salt. So really, don’t waste your time with other recipes. Get over The Kitchn and cook yourself a batch of this amazing granola this weekend!

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If you are like me you’ll enjoy these oats over more oats! Steel cut oats, Maine blueberries, maple syrup, a splash of half and half and topped with granola. Yum!