Wednesday, May 21, 2014

8 layers of adventure a la Maryland

Mikayla and I have had quite the adventure today.  It started by us realizing we were locked out of the house when we got back from dropping Noah off at the bus. (long story, Grant came, it was all good) Before Daddy made it home to rescue us we went on a lap around the neighborhood and smelled the lilacs, saw lots of squirrels, tried to determine all the different types of flowers we saw and saw our very first duck family of the year, complete with 8 baby ducklings!  It was almost worth getting locked out of the house for :)

But it couldn't be all fun and games this morning as we were girls on a mission and with a plan!  It was time to finally tackle the Smith Island Layer Cake - Maryland's state dessert!  You can read all about Smith Island cakes - but the short version that it's a whole lotta layers!  I had to borrow quite a few 9 inch round pans (thanks Suzanne, Tess, Amber and Julie!) in order to even consider tackling this one.  Mikayla was a huge help - I put her in charge of the frosting.  (By the way, I didn't use the frosting on the original recipe as the review on it was terrible. I used that cake but this frosting, fyi)  Anyway, we did it!  About the time that I pulled the last of pan out of the oven and removed the cake relatively unscathed, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Honestly, I could have cared less how it tasted at this point, as long as it looked like it was supposed to.  You'll have to check out the entire adventure below.  I'm so glad that I had the Bean to help me out with this one - I couldn't have done it without my favorite little chef assistant.  And as for how it did end up tasting, Mikayla's exact words were "Mom, I like this cake almost as much as I like Ariel!"  Wow - I consider that an overwhelming success!

She also helped me make tonight's dinner of Maryland Crab-Sweet Corn Chowder.  We've tried quite a few different chowders and everyone here gave this one a thumbs up.  I think its possible that they would have eaten just about anything to actually get to the cake tonight, though :p

After school the kiddos also tackled the "We've Been There" state.  We all got stickers for Maryland as we can all say we've been there - remember this and this?  We had a fabulous time in Maryland and are hoping to plan another trip here soon.

The rain never actually came and this afternoon and we were able to get out after dinner and take a family bike ride.  I'm loving that it has been warm enough for us to get out and play.  It's starting to make me itchy for school to be over  - bring on the summer.  Speaking of school being over - Mikayla's last day of school is tomorrow!  Grant and I will be there in the morning for the year-long video,  (totally bringing a whole box of kleenex) awards and party.  We're also going to have a Mikayla requested Aunt Kristina recipe for dinner, the kids will be hopefully coloring their map pages and with any bit of luck, there will be some cute crabs scuttling around here tomorrow night.  So until then...

Maryland Fun Fact of the Day:  Since May 30th, 1949 the United States flag has flown continuously over the monument marking the site of Francis Scott Key's birthplace. The flag flies at Terra Rubra Farm, Carroll County, Keymar, Maryland as mandated by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

This is my prototype for tomorrow's project.  Think the ones tomorrow will be a good deal shorter, but love 'em anyway!

Princess, chef, she's got it all covered

The Bean was officially in charge of the frosting which has to be made first for this cake

We had to take a break to send Papa this picture to cheer him up as he's dealing with a whole lot of rotten Cleveland fans right now...

(She honestly did do the frosting pretty much all by herself)

She is so my kid

So it took just a few pans to make this one

Cakes out of pans unscathed = HUGE success

In fact we were so excited we took a dance break

Let the frosting and layering begin!

She helped with this, too

We just kept building

And tasting

It was at this moment that we had yet another dance break

And then ate some more cake

Ta Da!

The reward for excellent cake making? Princess Old Maid

And some blue crab dip for lunch

Pouring through the Maryland tour guide book for the perfect letters

Hey, they've been there!

Maryland was way too long to fit, so we settled for the postal abbreviation and stickers for all four Gatchel's

Maryland Crab-Sweet Corn Chowder (pretty, huh?)

(I feel like there should be a chorus of angels humming or something with this picture)

Not perfect (I learned that room temperature at 80 degrees is not a good place to leave this, should have fridged it right away, oops) but I learned a couple of things along the way and thanks in large part to my mini chef loved doing this.  Oh and in case I failed to mention it, it was REALLY good.  There's actually only half a cake left in my fridge tonight after the four of us got ahold of it...)

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