I make cakes.

The real reason for not blogging isn’t my usual list of excuses: doing the dishes, chasing the kids or even incessantly sweeping the floor.

I’ve been making cakes.

Do you ever get to a point in your life where you’re like, how did this happen?  I’m not trying to get deep here by any means; after all we’re talking about cake.  Chocolate cake.

I just mean to foreshadow with a moment a few weeks ago when I was up until midnight making cakes. How did that happen?  When did I become a cake maker?

Let me tell you how.

When our oldest was one (just over two and a half years ago), I was pretty adamant that I wanted to make and decorate her cake.  I saw an infomercial for a massive cupcake.

You’ve seen it. The Big Top Cupcake.

And for the record it is no way 25 times bigger than a regular cupcake. They have worse measuring skills than I do.

Anyway, with the help of my mom I went at my first, pitiful attempt to decorate a cake. I hated every moment of it. You see, I have little patience for anything I can’t ram. And when decorating a cake, you just.can’t.ram.  I figured it wasn’t the best looking first birthday cake ever made, but she loved it. And again, it was chocolate.

The first cake I ever made. Not bad, but not great.

So, fast forward a year and our then two-year old wanted a bumblebee party with a ‘bumblecake.’

My mom (what would I do without her!?) ordered me a bumblebee cake pan mold and passed onto me her ‘tackle box’ of icing tools as if she was passing on a family heirloom. I was ready to do better.

And this was the moment, when I looked back on my work and said yes, I can make cakes.

The ‘Bumblecake.’ This was a bumblebee cake pan. The wings were heart cookies I made and the tail was a sugar cone.

And so it began my quest to outdo myself at every cake attempt.  And last fall when our oldest turned three she, the requester of all requesters, asked for a blue flower birthday party.

Not the most difficult cake to make, but it sure did look like some flowers. And it sure was blue.

I made three flowers out of cupcakes because she was turning three. And blue is her favorite color!

Just six short months later I find myself exhausted, sticky from homemade frosting and facing a disaster of a kitchen.

Two cakes in one night did a number on my kitchen.

I volunteered to make two cakes in back-to-back days.

Cake 1: Thomas the Train Cake for our beloved nephew.

I bought a small Thomas the Train and then focused mostly on the scenery. I like to challenge myself, but there was no way I was going to actually assemble a Thomas out of cake.

Cake 2: Nerf Gun cake for my brother and his fiance’s bridal shower. (Why the hay a Nerf Gun cake?  Good question.  You can read their blog to find out.)

I made two cakes in sheet pans, and put chocolate ganache in between and then cut out another square cake out to raise up the Nerf Guns. It was my hubby’s idea to use the two Nerf Guns pointing at each other. Be warned: black icing is a mess!

And then only one quick week after that I found myself face-to-face with the Big Top Cupcake mold that is TWENTY-FIVE TIMES BIGGER…I mean four times bigger…than a regular cupcake. Our youngest was turning one. It was time for redemption.

Mama Burde, you can do this.

With a purple dream cupcake theme, I made it happen.  I was so pleased with a sweet little purple cupcake cake for our sweet little baby boo.  And of course, she loved it.  And of course, it was chocolate.

Finally, redemption from the Big Top Cupcake!

Our little boo loved her cake!

I still like to ram when I make my cakes; there is so much that always needs to be done. My husband has even joined the Burde Bakery for clean-up duty.

So if you need a cake…think about contacting Mama Burde.  By looking at the pictures on my blog of course and make it your dang self!  I have dishes to do!  But really mamas, if this Mama can do it, so can you!

Here are the recipes I use (if you’re at all interested):

Cake

I firmly believe there is only one type of cake to make: chocolate.  No really, you can use whatever, but I have only used chocolate.

Make a regular box of cake mix, but add additional: 1T vanilla, 4T vegetable oil and 1 egg.  Make as directed, then put in freezer immediately after pulling it out of the oven.  I have kept my cakes in the freezer for a week before and they stay so moist! Decorate them right out of the freezer.

Dream Whip Frosting

1 and 1/2 cups shortening (Crisco)

1 envelope Dream Whip

1 T vanilla

1 T almond extract

dash salt

2 lbs powered sugar

2/3 cups cold water

Mix Crisco and Dream Whip then add vanilla, almond, salt (beat together) then add water (beat again) then add powered sugar.

Super easy!

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Martha, Sit your Butt Down!

Well, this is the longest I have gone between blog posts. I’ve been busy. Busy doing an assortment of things that keep me busy from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep.

I just finished the very important job of organizing my purse. The assortment of suckers, chap sticks, pens, gift cards and of course teething rings were taking their toll on me. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something as silly as an unorganized purse was driving me crazy.

I know after only one kid outing it will all be unorganized again.

That’s the thing with most of the things I obsess about; they keep happening. Over and over again.

Take the dishes, for example. I do them at least five times a day. Funny thing is we only eat three meals a day and we have a dishwasher. But, if there is a dish in the sink I do it.

I was at a work party for my husband about a month ago, chatting with a couple other moms with young children. We laughed about how we rush to get dinner on the table, ram food in our mouths and try to finish before everyone else so we can start the dishes before the kids get done. So much for an enjoyable family dinner.

My husband had the idea a few weeks ago that we would save the dishes until after the kids go to bed, that way we could enjoy some family time after dinner and I wouldn’t be rushing around like a fool.

You mean, leave the dishes in the sink? I got the shakes.

So, I have been reminded, more times than I would like to admit, about the story of sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Picture this…both sisters were extremely excited about Jesus’ visit to their home. However, their mutual excitement yielded two completely different reactions.

Martha (AKA Mama Burde), rammed around in the garden, picking veggies and herbs for dinner, cleaned, cooked, set the table and expected the house to be in tip top shape for this glorious guest. I can just see her running around in circles going just about crazy to have everything perfect. Good intentions of course.

Mary instead sat at Jesus’ feet and hung on his every word, not worrying about the house, food or anything other than the One thing that got her excited in the first place.

Oh, if I could be like Mary.

I have tried…a little…to take some extra moments to enjoy dinner, look past dirt on the floor and try and let the laundry pile up a little before it’s done so I can enjoy the moment and not always be thinking in the back of my mind about what has to be done.

But honestly, it’s hard. I have been Martha for so long I really have to constantly think and be intentional about well…sitting my butt down!

Jesus actually said to Martha (Luke 1-:41-42 The Message), ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it.’

Oh yea I heard that. I get far too worked up on a daily basis about absolutely nothing.

So, this is where tips and feedback are more than welcome. How can I become more like Mary? With so much to be done and so little time sans kids to do it, how can I maintain a nice, clean home (which I think is important) and finish all my tasks, but enjoy the moment? It does always get done after all.  And frankly, I think I’m ready to stop getting worked up over nothing and enjoy only what is essential.

This Martha heard it loud and clear!

Let’s Give Credit Where Credit is Due

They call me the casserole queen. Well, not really. No one has ever called me that. It’s actually the first time I have ever used that term.

My point?

I make a lot of casseroles.

‘And, why do you make a lot of casseroles Mama Burde?’

Thanks for asking…

Before we had baby Burde #2 I went through a phase where I never mixed our foods for dinner. Example of a Burde nest’s dinner about a year or so ago: chicken, corn, potatoes and probably a salad. (The salads have stuck because that is one vegetable I can always count on the hubs eating.)

Example of a Burde nest’s dinner for about the last six months: chicken, corn, pasta, all mixed together in some sort of concoction that allows me to call it a casserole. (I am also known unlovingly as the Cream of Chicken queen.)

The major reason I make casseroles (in or out of a crock pot) is because the hour or so before dinner is probably one of the busiest times for me. The girls are getting up from a nap with energy and I’m trying to keep them entertained while I get dinner made. It used to be very easy with our handy-helper toddler, but the babe just isn’t quite ready for the apron yet.

So I have this saying: if isn’t in a casserole or a crock pot, it’s not going to get done.

So who are we giving credit to? Me? The infamous casserole queen?

Ahhhhhh…no. My husband.

I provide a limited variety for dinner each night, especially when it comes to meat. As Chris Farley would say in one of the best movies of all time, Tommy Boy, ‘Chicken or chicken?’ I choose chicken. Every.single.night.

My husband sits down blind for dinner almost every night.  And, he eats whatever I cook.  He likes meat. I like veggies. If I am to eat meat it’s going to be chicken. I can’t remember the last time I have cooked a steak. I am confident in saying I have never cooked a steak (or ordered one at a restaurant).

I am afraid of steak. There, I said it.

I am afraid because I don’t know how in the world I would cook it. Chicken is easy. And I have mastered it. My BFF Bobby Flay told me not to flip it a bunch of times while cooking it and my husband told me to sear it first to keep it juicy. It’s works!

If I went to the store to buy steak to cook, one of two things would happen:

  1. I would buy the worst cut of red meat ever produced and present it to my hopeful husband as a delicious steak.
  2. I would buy THE most expensive steak known to man and cook the living heck out if it until it resembled my husband’s shoe.

So what will I do? Continue to cook chicken until my family goes on chicken strike and forces me to cook something else? No, I will face my fears and cook a steak – make that two. One for my husband and…one for my husband to have as leftovers…not really, I will-I will try to eat it.

My goal is to cook the poor man a steak by the end of the year. And since it’s December 16 I’d better get going!  (This is where you rescue a helpless burde by posting some of your easy and delicious steak recipes).

Won’t you Buy My New Cookbook?

The first blog is probably supposed to be an intro to your life…what this blog will be about, etc., etc.  Without wasting any time doing that, this story tells you what life is like as this ‘Mama Burde.’

My new recipe to make hard boiled eggs…

Ram some eggs into a pot and set on the stove to boil while both kids are actually napping at the same time.

Leave the kitchen saying to yourself, ‘you won’t forget about these,’ even though you have the worst memory in the history of the world second only to your mother.

Dash into your office and frantically try and get work done since your nanny quit and husband is out of town for the week.

Sit in your office and say to yourself, ‘what is that sound?’

Yell at the dog (who has snuck on your bed) for making a strange noise, but never let it occur to you that it might be something boiling on the stove.

Continue to say (at least five times), ‘what the heck is that noise?’

Look out your office window.

Go stare at the dog.

Check and see if someone turned the heat on.

Continue to wonder.

When your baby wakes up, walk out of your office down the hall and add to the list of questions, ‘what is that smell?’

Go into the kitchen to plug the monitor back in and FINALLY realize it is the eggs you put into the pot 50 minutes earlier.

Make sure all the water has completely boiled away and the eggs are literally frying in their own shells.

Call yourself an idiot.

Put them in cold water in the fridge and hope for the best.

Remarkably…perhaps miraculously, these will be the best hard boiled eggs you’ve ever made; so perfect your egg-crackin’ toddler peels them all herself.

Watch for these recipes and others in my new cookbook, ‘Multitask Cooking – How to Somehow Scrape a Meal Together While Doing at Least 10 Other Things.’