Monday, December 28, 2015

Mom's Copycat: Magleby's Chocolate Cake

Last night my dad's side of the family came over for our annual Christmas party (aka: armasleddin'). The party was filled with wonderful food and high speed sledding down the mountains behind our house. Our tears of laughter froze to our cheeks because it was so cold, but we sure had fun! After our sledding adventure, we drank hot chocolate that thawed us from the inside. And for dessert we had this wonderful chocolate cake. Mom's copycat Magleby's chocolate cake had become a family and friend favorite from the second my mom started making it.

Mom's Copycat: Magleby's Chocolate Cake
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 325°  Fahrenheit.  Prepare a 9x9 square cake pan.  Grease, flour, and line with parchment paper. 
2. Melt butter and water in a medium saucepan, constantly stirring with a whisk. Add cocoa and bring to a boil. Take off stove and let cool. 
3. In a separate small bowl, stir together sour cream and baking soda, let bubble for about 5 minutes. 
4. Whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the cocoa mixture. 
5. Sift together salt and flour and whisk half of it into the cocoa mixture, then add the sour cream mixture and add the other half of the flour. 
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325°  for 40-45 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Freeze overnight (if possible), it makes the cake moist and dense. This is a great cake to leave in the freezer until you need it.
8. After thawed. Ice cake with chocolate icing (see recipes below).

Mom's Yogurt Buttercream Chocolate Icing
The icing recipe was a real struggle to get out of my mom. She doesn't really follow a specific recipe! So as you make this icing taste as you go. You may need to add cocoa if you want it darker, or you may need more powdered sugar, that's just how icing works! The yogurt helps the icing become smooth and keeps it from being too sweet. Keep in mind you don't need too much icing for this cake because it's just a flat square. You can also use your favorite buttercream chocolate icing. 

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 block cream cheese
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on consistency)
1 or 2 Tablespoons yogurt (Plain or Vanilla) 

In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, powdered sugar, and yogurt. Cream until smooth. 


My Favorite Stove-top Chocolate Glaze
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chops
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more if needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth (about 10 mins), add more sugar to achieve desired consistency. Cool slightly, pour/spread on cake while still warm. Let set and serve! Enjoy! 

Have fun baking!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

55 Gifts for Guys

Who is stuck without presents for the men in their lives? THAT WAS ME. I was seriously struggling with gift ideas for men. Like any boy that is older than the "I want legos" stage is so hard to buy for! So as a gift to all of you, I went around BYU campus and asked tons of men/boys (lol I have no idea what to call them), what they wanted for Christmas! The list turn out pretty good (if I say so myself)!

55 Gifts for Men

1. Socks- Literally EVERY guy said socks. No joke. I told them how lame I thought socks were, but they said that they are just so useful and the greatest thing to get as a gift. 

2. Whittling kit

3. Sleeping bag

4. Tent

5. Hammock

6. Guns

7. I phone and/or case

8. I pad and/or case

9. Apple Watch

10. Rock climbing rope

11. Rock climbing trip-going rock climbing with them would be awesome!

12. Candy/chocolate oranges

13. Shoes-everyone needs shoes, am I right? This was definitely a top gift from the boys on campus.

14. Clothes-shirt, jacket, sweater, jeans-EVERYBODY said clothes. I know you hear that boys don't want clothes. But they are actually a necessity (well, for most people, lol)

15. Books

16. A Yo yo

17. Skis

18. Ski gloves

19. A New Suit

20. Dress shirts-lets get rid of those nasty stained white shirts from their mission. 

21.A Pea coat-I didn't really think about this one until I saw some boys walking to church freezing to death. A nice coat that they can wear when dressing up is always a good idea. 

22. Snow boots

23. Video games

24. Clothes related to hobbies-running shoes, a swimsuit, soccer cleats, stuff like that! 

25. Flashlight

26. Gas money-who wouldn't want that! 

27. Gym pass

28. Dress shoes

29. Ties

30. A Backpack

31. A Water bottle

32. Food-they are boys, lets be honest here, any boy would love food as a gift. 

33. Next semesters books-genius. That's all I have to say about that. 

34. Tuition-I think he will love you forever if you pay for his tuition!

35. Hat-Whether its a beanie or a snap back, boys love hats.

36. Cool socks-I was informed that cool socks are different than regular, everyday socks. They specifically said Stance socks. 

37. A girlfriend-LOL this did happen. Multiple times (insert crying/laughing emoji).

38. Scarfs

39. Bluetooth speaker

40. Concert tickets

41. Ski pass

42. Sky diving-good luck with that. It sure would be awesome though!

43. Knit hat-my sister knitted her boyfriend (now husband) a hat. This works girls ;)

44. Go Pro

45. Popcorn maker

46. Tie rack

47. Exacto knife

48. Scissors

49. Duct tape

50. Screw driver/tools

51. School supplies

52. Sport supplies-like a football, a frisbee, or golf balls.

53. Gift cards

54. DVD's/Movies

55. Dates

There it is! What do you think? You know what the hard thing about buying gifts for guys? They don't even know what they want! Haha! I promise if you stick to these easy, yet awesome ideas, you will be successful in your gift giving. 

Happy Holidays my lovely friends! Good luck in your gift giving!  One last idea for you. I was surprised to find out how many guys said something like "going on a trip together" or "going skiing together" or ideas like that. Whether you're a mom or a girlfriend, guys really do want to spend time with you.  Give the gift of time. Memory making is more important than any materialistic gift you could give! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

5 Tips to Survive Finals Week

We are entering another dreaded finals week, (yayyyyyy-said no one ever). Finals week can be one of the most stressful times in a students life. Here are some quick tips to make your finals week a little bit better:

1. Start planning and studying now
Take advantage of reading (study) days. I know, I know. You really want to procrastinate all of your studying, but should you really? I totally understand. I swear if I am given three days to study you can guarantee I'm busy for at least one of them. And by busy I mean, "I should organize my closet," and "now I have to organize my whole room." Or how about the fact that I am writing this blog post instead of studying for all of my finals (I should take my own advice, hah!). Well, I promise you will thank yourself if you take the time to study before finals week starts, it really pays off in the end!

2. Eat right, but reward yourself
Finals week is not the time to eat only pop tarts and donuts. And it's also not the time to start a crash diet where you only eat spinach.  Be sure to eat good foods that fuel your mind (think fresh foods). And it is always good to reward yourself when you accomplish something grand.  When I finish all of my finals I love to go and get a treat to reward myself.

3. Exercise
It has been proven that your brain works better after exercising! Exercising will help you have more energy to study (and actually comprehend) all of the things you have to fit in your brain during finals week.  Exercise is really important to me. I exercise when I am happy or angry, hungry or way too full, stressed or relaxed, busy or bored.  And every time I finish my work out I always feel a lot better.  This doesn't mean you have to run 20 miles, just go for a jog or do cardio for 30 mins. I promise it will help you relieve stress and concentrate on your studying.

4. Study in sessions
I don't know about you, but when I study for longer than 30 minutes it becomes completely worthless. I can never remember anything if I study for too long! Don't forget to take study breaks to refresh your mind. Be sure to balance and organize your finals week so that you can concentrate on the right things at the right time.

5. Sleep
Sure it's the last week of school before the holidays, but you should really hold off on all of those ugly Christmas sweater parties that end at 3 in the morning. Getting enough sleep will help your brain function correctly while you take your million and a half finals. Try and get at least 7 hours every night.  Sometimes it is better to go to bed instead of studying for an extra hour. Although some people may disagree, sleep IS essential, and finals week is one of those times you should really try to get some sleep.

There are my five recommendations. I promise you can make it through finals week! Just imagine that glorious feeling you will have as you walk out of your last final, I can almost touch it! You can do this! I'm rooting for you!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DIY: Pine cone and Cranberry Garland

I am obsessed with this garland! I just love how it turned out! It is sooooo cute and festive, and so so easy. I literally went out and picked up pine cones that had fallen off our front tree, bought some cranberries, found my dad's fishing line, and boom!

I used a big quilting needle.  It is easiest to use a needle that is thick and has a big eye.  

The softer the pine cone, the easier it will be to thread. That is why is used this type of pine cone.

I threaded one pine cone and then one cranberry, but if you have big pine cones, you can put on more than one cranberry. The possibilities are endless!

Let me know if you have any questions!
Happy Holidays!