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?