This past weekend I celebrated my birthday and I had decided I needed to bake an EPIC cake! I first came across this amazingness of a cake while on Facebook with a link to Shugary Sweets and just knew this was THE cake to bake!
The recipe is below for those of you who want to give this a try…
2 230 gram packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Carrot cake layers:
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups shredded carrots
Cream cheese icing:
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 230 gram package cream cheese (softened)
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 cups icing
1 cup chopped pecans
For the cheesecake layer:
Prepare the cheesecake layer first as you’ll need to put it in the fridge/freezer once done.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of water to the pan. Place it on the lower 2/3 of the oven and allow it to preheat in the oven. Prepare 23cm springform pan by wrapping the outside bottom part of the pan with double layer of foil. Line the inside bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and heavy cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared pan. Place pan in center of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter. When cooled, remove outside portion of the springform pan and place into the freezer for several hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, just refrigerate.
For the carrot cake layers:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour two 23cm cake pans and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Add in shredded carrots. Pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes and then remove from the pans and cool completely
For the icing:
In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and beat for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream and beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
To assemble the cake, place on layer of carrot cake then place the cheesecake on top and finally the second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the icing on the sides and top and decorate with leftover pecans. (I decided on a naked cake look and didn’t ice the sides.)
Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
I have been looking for the perfect item to help in organising my kitchen drawers for a while. My kitchen drawers are quite large and the items tend to roll and move around each time the drawers are opened and closed. I didn’t request any partitions when my kitchen was being installed as I wasn’t sure what I would need once everything was unpacked from the trillion boxes.
Then I came across these little Drawer Dividers from Yuppiechef! These must be one of my best buys yet!
The spring-loaded plastic dividers are able to expand to fit a drawer as narrow as 34.9cm or adjust/expand to fit 54.3cm.
I tackled two of my worst drawers – my baking/miscellaneous drawer, and my kitchen utensil drawer. It was better for your eyes (and my OCD) not to post the before pics of the kitchen utensil drawer…because…MESSY! This is the before of the baking/miscellaneous drawer.
And this is the after! The miscellaneous items (the I-don’t-know-where-to-put-this-stuff stuff) and the baking items are nicely sorted. I may look at getting a non-slip rubber mat to place loosely on the bottom to help things from shifting.
The cooking and serving utensils are sorted and now aren’t a big pile that needs to be dug through each time I’m looking for something specific.
If you need to bring some organisation to your kitchen (or other) drawers, then you should definitely get yourself some of these! (They come in a box of two.)
This weekend was a busy one, but a great one! And following on from a very busy week last week, I feel like today should have been granted as an honorary extra weekend day.
On Saturday I spotted this little guy building yet another nest right outside my lounge window while enjoying the perfect cup of coffee. He has built several nests over the past couple months but his lady was obviously not happy with the quality or the location because they were all torn down. You can just see the Weever beneath the nest. (I saw yesterday that he had started yet another nest close to this old-new one.)
Later in the morning that Saturday I went through to my dad’s retirement village to support their fundraising day. It was an afternoon spent buying raffle tickets, looking through the stalls, and supervising my niece and nephew with my sister while they played on the jungle gym, jumped on the jumping castle, and generally being littlies.
That evening we had booked to go the Cinema Under the Stars event and were meeting some friends there. The event was held in Kramerville and the movie screened was Cool Runnings (one of my favourites). It was quite a chilly evening so I was glad for the bean bags we lounged on, my thick winter jacket, and a warm blanket.
On Sunday we went through to the Wanderers Stadium for the South Africa VS Australia cricket match. It was a lovely day out spent with friends and even better that we won the match.
Last night was an early night after the busy-ness, but only after I had finished my latest book. 🙂
A couple months’ ago my dear DIY guy completed a built-in bookshelf in the downstairs lounge that we had been discussing for a while.
Many moons ago I am sure that other owners/tenants used the space to house those old-school box television sets as they would have fitted perfectly. The downstairs lounge isn’t our TV room so we wanted to keep this space for entertaining purposes and were trying to figure out the best use of the alcove. The first thought was a built-in bar but since Mr DIY had already built a bar unit on wheels, so this would have been overkill. We decided on a bookshelf after discovering how many books were still in storage…
Instead of using standard brackets, we used rectangular blocks of wood that were nailed directly to the wall and would provide the structure for the shelves.
Each shelf had to be measured separately because although the wall appears to be the same width all over, apparently no walls are ever built completely straight. So each plank of wood needed to be planed and shortened to fit in it’s specific position. It (looked like it) was a tough and irritating job but in the end they all fitted perfectly.
The after! I really am so pleased with how it has turned out! The weird space has been given a purpose and works so well. And the little white box on the floor? That’s my childhood toy box that now is now the official games box! It’s had wheels added to to back section so we can wheel it in and out of the alcove easily when needed.
To see what else we’ve been up to…
I recently posted about getting more active and have been using a FREE app called Seven, which is a full body workout in just seven minutes using nothing more than your own body weight, a chair, and a wall (and a yoga mat or towel if you have tiled floors). I started the workout towards the end of May and am so happy with the changes I have already seen.
The app comes with one workout unlocked which is to exercise the Full Body. There are 12 exercises that you do for 30 seconds with a 10 second rest in between each. The instructor verbally guides you through the exercises allowing you to focus on the exercise, and also counts down from 3 seconds which is awesome when you think you can’t last another moment longer.
When you first begin you are given three hearts or “lives”. If you skip a day and miss a workout, you lose a heart. And if you lose all three hearts in a month your progress resets to zero it’s “game over” and you have to start again. There is the option to purchase additional hearts but A) I’m a cheapskate; and B) I think that defeats the purpose of pushing you to workout every day.
For every second month you are active on the app, a random workout is unlocked. You can purchase these workouts to unlock them or purchase a monthly or yearly membership and unlock all 38 workouts (some aimed to lose weight, some to get beach ready, some to focus on specific areas). I do think though that the reward of staying active and unlocking these works is encouragement to continue (plus cheapskate-ness).
The app allows you to personalise it a bit by choosing from a list of instructors, adding reminders to exercise, as well as changing the amount of time per exercise or the rest period. The app has been based on scientific studies to provide the maximum benefit of working out regularly in the shortest time possible so they do recommend using the default interval timings (30 seconds exercise with 10 seconds rest between each set). If you do want more from your workout then just repeat the circuit once you’ve finished the 12 exercises.
When I began in May, I started with great intentions but then life got in the way with my mom visiting, family crises, work getting busy, etc and I lost all my hearts and my progress was reset. But I started again and challenged myself to unlock the achievement for working out 14 days in a row. <insert smug face> With that under my belt (and a much needed workout-day-off) I decided to up the ante and do two circuits of the full body workout each day. Soon I’ll have been using the app for 2 months and I’m hoping the Bikini Body workout gets unlocked next! Summer bodies are made in Winter after all…
Finding a suitable venue for any function is tricky. But finding a venue for a wedding can be difficult, especially when you are looking for something very particular. I have been on the look out for something out of the ordinary. Someplace that isn’t your traditional venue.
The first venue we had a look at was suggested to me by a friend of mine who owns Runaway Romance which is all about the non-traditional when it comes to weddings (she organises unique weddings as well as elopements). The venue is a working farm near The Cradle of Mankind and I instantly fell in love with the openness and rolling hills, the rustic barn setup and the surrounding areas that could be used for the ceremony and canapes, not to mention the unique photos we could get. There were a few concerns we had but we still kept this venue in the back of our minds as our number one as well as using it to measure up the other venues we saw.
The second venue we looked at shouldn’t even get a mention. <insert angry face>
Basically they didn’t get back to the first email I sent requesting a meeting to discuss our wedding and be guided through the venue. Then when they did get back to me we arranged for a meeting early one Sunday only to have me arrive and not be able to view anything because they had a christening taking place at the time of the meeting. Surely they knew about this in advance and could rather have requested I come through earlier/later?! Anyways…
The third venue we went to look at definitely fit the “different” requirement. Overall the ceremony and reception areas were not cohesive in their decor or design and would be difficult to tie together if we were to get married there. Not to mention it is super close to the airport so our “I Do’s” could totally be interrupted by some rude plane deafening us as it flew overhead.
After seeing these venues MrMan decided that he wanted to see a few more to get a feel for what else is out there and the costs involved, as well as to get some other ideas as to what we could do with number one choice (at this point).
The fourth venue we looked at was a little accidental as I had organised for us to go to a Farm to Table lunch in Lanseria. I had thought we were seeing a specific venue based on the lunch details and one that I had enquired with but was a little out of our budget. We ended up at a sister venue which had a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and which we thought could work until we took a proper walk around after our lunch. There was so much possibility but nothing would work perfectly for the ceremony area and it didn’t help that it is directly next door to a concrete factory so we had fantastic views of concrete mixers… Sooooo romantic!
After this we made a list of a few other venues that we liked the look of from the website. From these the list got shorter as one venue was no longer a wedding venue and another was not available for the dates we were looking at. By this stage we had kind of made our minds up about pursuing the first venue we saw. We had made arrangements to view another venue (the fifth venue) and we decided we would keep the appointment just to see what it was all about. And I am so glad we did because after one walk through we were in love…
The venue has so much charm and is everything we loved about the barn and then some! Now to get it booked for our big day and continue on with the planning! *excitement*
For the last few weeks I have managed to get into a good routine of exercising. Twice a week or so I go walking/jogging with a friend of mine, and then most days I do the Seven workout which is a full body workout in seven minutes using only a chair and your body weight.
The best part about making time in my day to get outside, not only for the fresh air and exercise, is taking in my surroundings and noticing things that I wouldn’t normally. Maybe this is because my unfit and tired body needs an excuse to stop for a second and catch a breath or two! 🙂
These are some of the images I have taken while on my exercise route…
As mentioned in a previous post, my mom is coming to stay with us on her return trip from overseas (which is this weekend) so we needed to get a move on with getting the spare room habitable. This is the story of finally getting the spare room ready for her arrival with some finishing touches, all thanks to our family and friends who spoiled us with generous gifts of cash and vouchers for our engagement.
Getting the headboard up was a mission! We first needed to find a way to attach the two separate pieces together, which we managed to do using a thin piece of plywood. Then we had to find a way to attach it to the wall without using deadbolts (so that it could easily be removed if/when we move). We walked around Builders Warehouse one day and found some L-shaped bolts and paired these with some U-shaped brackets. The bolts would be attached to the wall, while the brackets would be attached to the headboard, and this would allow the headboard to be hung on the wall securely. (This DIY thing is easy-peasy…)
After a LOT of drilling and even more mess, the headboard was finally up!
In an attempt to make the room look a little more “put together” in the interim, we included an old, spare pillow and then went to work on installing the curtain rail and putting up the curtains.
Using the colours of the duvet set we already had, I decided on decorating the room in burnt orange and hues of brown. The browns would keep the overall neutrality of my decor choices throughout the apartment, while the burnt orange would add that needed pop of colour. Luckily I went shopping recently which meant all the autumn colours were available including a lot of oranges!
I headed to Mr Price Home first and managed to find everything I needed, though I did have to go to two separate stores! First on the list was to find a chocolate brown fitted sheet and two matching pillowcases to complete the duvet set. Then I had a look through their decorative, scatter cushions and found some tan coloured cushions with a chocolate brown, white and orange circular design, as well as the perfect orange cushion to finish off the bed.
Next I needed to find some bedside lamps. My first thought was to get only one light and use the other bedside table to display some burnt orange vases and other orange coloured decor, but the promise of symmetry won! Then I fretted about the size of the lamps… MrMan really dislikes tall lamps, whilst I love taller lamps as I think they even out the spacing and create some height. I settled for silver, medium sized lamps with a neutral lampshade which I think work quite nicely with the overall look.
Now to move the rest of the boxes and the artwork and mirrors that I don’t yet know what to do with to the study area in the upstairs loft so that we’re ready for my mom’s arrival… Nothing like an imminent house guest to get the decorating done and dusted!