Monday, September 24, 2012

My Favorite Young Adult Books from the 90's

Today I met a woman in a store who was telling me about her two boys. One who rarely picks up a book, and one who devours them like he's starving. I don't know what makes the difference in people that love to read and people who avoid it, but I'm so glad I found my way into the fantasy world that books reveal to you. 

I know that kids today have so many choice from Harry Potter to A Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but when I was a kid these were a few of my favorites:

I've always loved a story with a girl who's got attitude! 

I had over 100 of these books when I was younger. I had a serious addiction, and I was originally planning to name my children Claudia, Stacy, Dawn, Kristy, and Mary Anne.

There's nothing better than an underdog that gives the snotty popular kid what's coming to him!

And who doesn't love a book of crazy that just gets crazier!

So if you were a fellow bookworm, what books kept you begging for more?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oven Roasted Salmon, Seriously Good!

So I've never been a big fish person, but I've been trying to cook it more because Tad likes it so much. I found this method for cooking it on the Pioneer Woman's Blog and I've gotta say that it was phenomenal! I used to just put the salmon in foil with butter and lemon slices, but I've gotta say that this was better! I got my salmon at Costco, and I did add some lemon slices on top of it as well. Here's what The Pioneer Woman had to say:

Grab a beautiful salmon…
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Put it in a cold oven, turn on the heat to 400 degrees. Twenty-five minutes later, the salmon will be absolutely perfect. Tender, moist, flaky. A no-fail method!

Even Tad agreed that this was the best salmon we've ever had! Even as a leftover it was terrific!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Which Super Villain Do You Love to Hate?

 The Joker
Batman's Menace 
Many amazing actors have played this role, but I'm partial to Heath Ledger. My little sister once told me that the thing that made the Joker such a good villain is that you never really figure out why he is the way he is. His madness has no reason to it, and because of that it's unpredictable. It definitely makes for an intriguing bad guy.

Lex Luthor
Superman's Foe
Lex has also been portrayed by many talented actors, and I've chosen Michael Rosenbaum from Smallville because I love the background this show gives on the villain. I loved seeing Lex before his dark side took over, and I loved the friendship that Lex and Clark cultivated over the first few seasons. There's something about your greatest enemy being someone who was once your greatest friend that's so tragic. They say you can never truly hate someone unless you've once loved them.
X-Men's Opponent 
 Magneto, played by Ian McKellen is another type of bad guy. He spent his youth being persecuted because of his mutant ability by 'normal people'. Once he grew up he turned his fear into anger and became determined to see mutants take control. His strained friendship with Professor Xavier gives you a small hope that perhaps there is still a chance for him, but it doesn't seem likely. 

The Kingpin
Daredevil & Spiderman's Villain
The Kingpin, played by Michael Clarke Duncan in Daredevil, is a bad guy who likes to have others do his dirty work for him. He's built a criminal empire along with a fortune that he uses with no mercy to control the people of New York City. To be honest I don't know much of his background, but it seems that power is what drives him. 

Harry Potter's Destined Enemy
Voldemort reminds me of a reincarnated Hitler. He came from 'mudblood' origins that he despised, and he spent years molding himself into something else. Something that was anything but human. He wants to rid the world of 'muggles and mudbloods', or at the very least make them serve him.

So, tell me, which Super Villain do you love to hate the most? 
I think I'd say Lex Luthor, but you tell me?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Sweet Slice on Cupcake Wars! Plus, Cakemaking Tips from Janell!

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll probably remember the post I did on my amazing cousin Janell and her cake business, One Sweet Slice. Well this week she's got something new for everyone!

Make sure to check your local TV listings for Cupcake Wars on the Food Network! Dish and DirecTV in Utah have it starting at 6 PM. Comcast, I believe is 9 PM. Check out her audition video HERE. I'm so excited to watch her fight to win, and I hope you check out both her store and Sunday's episode of CupCake Wars! 


I'm re-posting the interview and tips Janell gave us in case you missed it. Check out her One Sweet Slice Website, Facebook Page, and, of course, her new store!
Almost 6 years ago I got married to my incredibly funny & good looking husband. Now I was somewhat preoccupied with my wedding that day so I failed to recognize the beginning of something new for my cousin Janell. :) She had recently taken some cake decorating classes and volunteered to make my wedding cake, so I gladly turned my cake over to Janell. The only directions I had to give her were my wedding color (pink) and the kind of cake topper I wanted (a bride and groom figurine). She took my poor excuses for cake plans and turned them into a beautiful wedding cake I was in love with! I'm proud to say that mine was her first official wedding cake!
Over the last (almost) 6 years her hobby turned into a thriving business, One Sweet Slice that has gone from great, to amazing, to spectacular! I've personally watched her make several of her cakes and each time I'm amazed at how incredibly creative and gifted she is. I've seen her do things with frosting that I didn't know were possible. She has even been recruited to make specialty cakes for large events and parties (including a Twilight party). You'll also be glad to know that her cakes taste as good as they look! I stole her cupcake recipe after she brought a batch to my baby shower because they were so amazing. I get compliments every time I make them, although they can't compare to Janell's. Until now she's been running her business out of her home, but her success has grown so much that she is in the process of opening her own store in South Jordan, Utah!

Let me tell you a little bit more about her:
Janell is my beautiful and incredibly talented (so talented that your jaw drops to the floor after meeting her for 5 minutes) cousin. She has a very handsome husband, and 4 beautiful children (the youngest was just born a few weeks ago). I would put Janell in the category of the SuperMom! Her house looks like Martha Stewart herself decorated it, she runs a successful business, she's very active in the community and her church, and, let's face it, she's gorgeous! Not to mention that she's the nicest person you'll ever meet. So when I asked her to take time out of her crazy busy schedule to participate in this post she didn't hesitate to say yes.

So here is some great advice and inspiration from my amazing cousin!
How did you get started?

I was bored. I went from going to school and working fulltime to watching our first born sleep all day and needed something to keep me busy. I went into Roberts Arts and Crafts and saw a sign advertising cake decorating classes and decided to give it a try. The beginner class was held once a week for four weeks and I immediately loved it which led me to take 3 other decorating courses. After that I began making cakes for family and friends, my first wedding cake I made was for my lovely cousin Candice :). After that cake I received a lot of encouragement and
decided to participate in a Bridal Show at Southern Utah University which is were I booked my first non-family wedding cakes.....and that's when the craziness began. I have made a lot of cakes since then and for about five years I keep the business really small. The demand has been overwhelming and my husband and I decided to open a storefront in South Jordan! We will sell cake for weddings, birthdays, special events and cupcakes.

What were the best classes or learning experiences you went to that you would recommend to others?

Wilton was the best way to start, just to learn the basics with working on cake, fondant and icing. These classes also helped me know that I had a natural talent for cake design and that I enjoyed it. One of the best classes was from Carrie Biggers in Salt Lake City, she is amazing and is k
nown nationally since she has competed on a few TV programs. There are also annual cake decorating conventions that offer a lot of classes. I would also recommend joining a local ICES group (International Cake Exploration Sociate) which is where you meet with other cake decorators to learn and network. The last thing to recommend is joining a cake forum to learn tips and ideas, the best I have found is Cake Central.

If you're on a budget, what are the essential cake making/decorating tools to spend your money on?

A handless bench scraper to smooth the icing, a good rolling pin, sharp pizza cutter, 2 good fondant smoothers, a variety of cutters, a turn table that locks, basic round tips and spatulas.

What's your favorite cake you've done?

Honestly, every new cake becomes my favorite. They are individually designed which always brings new challenges and satisfactions. If I had to pick a cake to spotlight, I would pick three :). One is a topsy turvy cake that had a lot of bows and gum paste flowers. The second is a cake that was make for the Osmond wedding, I incorporated a crown into the design and was able to use new skills and the event was just amazing. The third would be a cake I made that was very traditional white on white cake, it turned out very cute and it was fun to make.

What's your worst nightmare experience with a cake you've done? I really answer this or should I just try to sound perfect! I would say it happened when I went to deliver a cake to a reception that was located at a house. When I knocked on the door a lady answered and told me the venue changed! and it was 25 minutes away. Of course I was in a rush and I had 5 other cakes to deliver. This event caused a chain reaction of other minor events and it was extremely stressful. Oh and on the same day, a bride picked up her cake and when she was driving to her reception, the cake tipped over! So on top of being late and stressed, I had to go fix a cake to make it look beautiful. In the end, everything ended just fine and all the brides were happy.

What are your best sellers?

In regards to cake flavors - Most of the time, brides come to a tasting and without knowing what cake flavors they'd like so I provide a few cake samples for a tasting. My most popular are Raspberry Swirl, Chocolate Chunk and Red Velvet. In regards to cake design - All of my cakes are individually designed so rarely do I make the same cake twice.

What kind of things will your new store offer?

Over the last five years I have built a strong clientele by selling wedding cakes. This will continue to be a focus but I will also offer birthday cakes, specialty cakes, cake bites, brownies, cake shakes and of course...cupcakes!

What tips would you give for mom's who don't want to do it professionally, but who'd like a few basic tips for making cuter family birthday cakes?

Make sure you have a good base to work with: a moist evenly baked cake, cool it, level it and then stack it correctly. Then ice the cake and make sure to use enough icing (with real butter) to get a smooth clean look. Then the fun begins, design the cake with the individual in mind and I'm sure they will love it. If you can't come up with something on your own, the Internet is full of creative cake ideas.

Store location - 1644 West 10600 South, South Jordan, Utah
Email address
Facebook fanpage ,!/pages/One-Sweet-Slice/272448060474
Everyone be sure to check out her website and facebook page. If you've got a wedding, birthday, shower, party, or even a girls night coming up give her a call!
And don't forget to get yourself a delicious treat from her new store when it opens up!

And a big thank you to Janell for all of the advice you shared with us! You're amazing!


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