Cincinnati Dates: 4th of July

 As far as holiday events, the Northside 4th of July parade and its following Carnival seems to be a pretty popular and happening place to be. The sidewalks were lined with people. 

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I’ve never been and actually probably wouldn’t have gone if it weren’t for my brother inviting the family since he was in it with his fellow Ohio Ghostbuster Network friends. Although it was lengthy,hot, and my pasty whiteness got burnt…it was a pretty cool, crazy, and colorful time.

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Cincinnati Red’s Game vs. The Brewers- Free tickets (thanks to one of my really awesome managers…you can also get $12 tickets for most games as well), a winning game for the Red’s, firework Friday, and dinner afterwords at the Moerlein Lager House….I’d say this was a great date!IMG_0245 IMG_0248

Events: A Shower For A Baby Boy

 My older sister and my brother-in-law are getting close to having their first baby, so naturally my mom and I (grandma and aunt) had to throw a shower! Since the nursery is sea themed with hints of “Yellow Submarine” sewn throughout we went for the same sort of theme, diaper cake and all! Our greatest masterpiece of the event was the 75 diaper, 80 rubber band, 3 receiving blanket, ribbon, cut-out creature, 3 cake plated, and 1 yellow submarine masterpiece shown below!

 

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IMG_1192 IMG_1197Everything turned out spectacular!IMG_1194

Cincinnati Dates: Picnic in Ault Park

We’ve hit summer time and it’s already a scorcher, but we’ve also been hitting little bursts of cooler weather that makes Sunday afternoon dates more ideal.

We stopped at Whole Foods Rookwood and browsed through their “to-go” sections, built our own salads (they also have hot items, soups, sandwiches, and more) , grabbed some olives, rolls, cheese, and two waters and ventured over to Ault Park for a nice little picnic in the park.

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A simple and inexpensive way to spend a nice summer day.

http://www.aultparkac.org/

Piece of Cake to Bake a Pretty Cake: Joanne and Tony’s Wedding

It’s been a while, a pretty darn long while since I’ve been “hired” to bake a large amount of items for a wedding, birthday, or party. I’ve pushed my bakery dreams on the back burner since I’ve taken a different route in the hospitality world, but it’s okay with me because I still get great opportunities to make things for family and friends like my most recent “job”.

So I set off to make 300 cupcakes of 3 different flavors, a small vanilla cake, and deliver everything to the Cincinnati zoo in one piece. Here’s how it went….

Phase one started on Thursday with weighing ingredients and making the actual batter and frosting. Red velvet, lemon, vanilla, and chocolate batters and cream cheese, vanilla, and chocolate frostings were tucked away for phase two the following afternoon.

Phase two on Friday consisted of baking…and finding places to set the cupcakes while they cooled. Phase two actually led me to freak out mode since the oven got too hot and things began to burn. Holy hell, stopping time.

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Phase three was for baking completion, as well as frosting and decorating…a lot of frosting and decorating with chocolate, cream cheese, and vanilla frosting and homemade cupcake wrappers made up of doilies and scrapbook paper.

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Phase four…delivery. With help from my sister and brother-in-law everything made it over the hills of Cincinnati and to the zoo completely safe and sound. For the actual delivery we got to drive through the zoo to the reception location… we got eyeballed like we were the newest exhibit.

Set-up was quick and painless thanks to my sister’s help….the small space of the table though definitely reminded me of how in need I am to make a cupcake stand.

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A pretty cool thing about having a wedding at the zoo is that they will offer to bring some of the animals around for guest viewings, some guests even have the opportunity to meet the elephants. You also get to experience the usual suspects pecking around like the gorgeous peacock, walking around like nobody’s business.
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All in all…mission accomplished.

Red Velvet Cake
makes between 20-24

Adapted from Kiss My Bundt Bakery

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp lemon juice
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Buttermilk (or 1 cup 2% with 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice)
2 Tbsp red food coloring

  • Set the oven to 350F
  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and 1 cup of the sugar, set aside. In another medium sized bowl, combine the melted butter, 2 eggs, and 3/4 cup sugar. Whisk well. Next, add the vanilla extract, and lemon juice and mix.
  • Add the dry mixture and the buttermilk into the batter in thirds, mixing just until everything is incorporated before adding the next portion. When complete, add in the red food coloring until well incorporated and distributed.
  • Portion into baking liners and pans. Place into the pre-heated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you can touch the cupcake and it lightly springs back. Pull out and allow to cool for at least an hour before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb (2 8oz packages) cream cheese, soft
1 stick unsalted butter, soft
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Cups + Powdered Sugar

  • Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and whip until combined, add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one half cup at a time and whip well after each addition. Add up to 4 cups to get it the the consistency you would like it. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk and then mix.

Product Love: Build a Better Lunch Box

Lately I’ve been drowning deep in school work and actual professional career work with little time to actually have something I’m pretty sure other people in this world call a “life”. So my dear friends, I apologize for the long bursts of time that go between post and post. Here is a little product love to fill in those gaps.

How do you build your lunch up? Do you tote around the same style brown paper bag filled with Ziploc baggies and single portion items that you did throughout school or  are you one to often buy lunch for yourself not needing a bag, box, or containers? Or maybe you’re eco, budget, and health-conscious and bring your own lunch to work in reusable containers and a fancy little tote bag.

If you fit into the last option or are trying to move into that last option, this is a post for you with some of the best and maybe not so best products that I use to build my lunch box every day.

LUNCHBOXES:
LUNCHBOX

CONTAINERS:
Container 1 container 2

UTENSILS:

UTENSILS

 

Extra Lunch Add-ins:
Sabra Hummus Single Serves
Annie’s
Snyders Pretzels
Sargento Cheese Sticks
Fruit
Peanut Butter and Company/Almond Butter packs

How do you build up your lunch box? What are some of your favorite or best tested products? Share in the comments or tweet at me on twitter @smallgirlreport.  

 

 

****I am not being compensated or even provided with these products, all my own reviews based on experience and everyday use. However, I do consider testing out products provided by companies. All photos have been copied from the companies’ promotional product pages on their corporate websites or resale websites.****