Winnie the Pooh Cake

Last week was a very special day in the Hunter household, our sweet baby girl turned 2. I cannot even begin to tell you how much joy this little girl has brought to our lives. It is amazing how much your life changes when you have kids. I always knew I wanted to be a mum and to be honest it is even better then I could have imagined. It is hard, harder then anyone could have ever prepared me for but it is so worth it. I know she won’t remember much of these early years so we didn’t plan a big party but I still wanted to make a special cake.

Right now she is going through a Winnie the Pooh stage, she is obsessed. So what is a mum to do but try and make her daughter’s day and create a Winnie the Pooh cake. I didn’t want to buy a cake tin because something like that is not likely to be used again so it seems a bit of a waste. So why not do a 3D cake? You might be thinking I was a bit mad for taking on such a big task, and you would be right. I had no idea what I was doing, I tried to give some step-by-step photos of the process but I won’t lie I can’t guarentee even I could do it again the same again.

But I am so proud of this cake, it was a lot of work but so worth it.

Winnie the Pooh Cake

250g (1 1/2 c.) butter, at room temperature
250g (2/3 c. + 2 Tbsp) caster sugar
6 eggs
500g (4 c.) self-raising flour
90mL (1/3 c. + 2 tsp) milk
2 tsp vanilla
Royal Icing
Honey Icing
Raspberry Icing

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How to Survive the Holidays *Guest Post from Meredith Kimelblatt

How to Survive the Holidays
It happens every year – just as you’re adjusting to the transition from shorts and flip flops to sweaters and boots, the holiday season sneaks up on you. Once the ghost decorations and pumpkin lattes start popping up in every store and coffee shop, the holidays get into full swing and don’t seem to stop until around Easter.

This is not to say that the holidays aren’t great; whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day, the holidays are always filled with fun times, great company and lots of delicious food. The only problem with large amounts of company and food is that entertaining and feeding a crowd can get expensive and unhealthy quickly, not to mention stressful.

So is it possible to play the role of gracious hostess or good guest without breaking the bank or busting out of your pants this holiday season? The answer is, luckily, yes! The following tips will help you prepare for the holidays in a healthy and budget-friendly way that will save you unnecessary stress, calories and money:

• Plan ahead
If you’re hosting a dinner or get-together, don’t try and do everything the day of or start thinking about what to serve the night before. A week or two before the holiday, make a list of every dish you want to make and everything you’ll need to buy so you can get the ingredients together beforehand. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it; this way you won’t be crazed when your company arrives. Also, try to prepare as much as possible beforehand so that all you’ll really need to do during your event is pop dishes in the oven or on the stove to cook.

• Keep it simple
Generally, holiday dinners and big family dinners are not the best times to experiment with fancy new recipes or innovative cooking techniques that you’ve never tried before. During the holidays, people love getting treated to the traditional favorites they grew up with, and you certainly can’t go wrong with simple favorites! Don’t choose recipes with unusual or expensive ingredients that will cost more money or take time to locate, and instead pick recipes that use basic ingredients you already have on hand.

Additionally, more is not always better when it comes to holiday cooking. Holiday dinners tend to get out of control in terms of how much food is served, so cutting out a side or dessert you don’t really need will save you time in the kitchen and reduces the amount you’ll eat. I promise you’ll still have more than enough to go around!

• Clean as you go
Dirty dishes pile up quickly when you’re cooking for a crowd, so don’t save them all for the end of the night. Clean bowls and utensils as food cooks to keep your kitchen uncluttered and organized. Before you put food on platters or in serving bowls, spray the dishes with a little cooking spray so the leftovers will slide right off; it’ll save you lots of scrubbing at the sink! And after the meal, have your family and friends help wash plates so you’re not doing it alone after everyone leaves. Ultimately, you’ll have more time to spend enjoying your company and you won’t have to spend all evening stressing about cleanup.

• Set limits for yourself
Holiday foods are not known for being extraordinarily healthy, which is why they’re considered such treats. It’s completely acceptable to indulge in your favorite holiday goodies (it’s impossible to resist foods like sweet potato casserole and pie!), just be conscious about how much and what types of food you’re eating. Set limits for yourself in terms of how many servings you’ll let yourself have, along with how many desserts you can nibble on. Loading your plate up with vegetables before you take meats or other sides will also help keep down your calorie and fat intake, and keep you feeling good during the holidays.

These mini pumpkin cheesecakes are the perfect solution for a busy holiday gathering where you don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen. Spend 20 minutes doing the hands-on steps, then just chill them in the fridge until you’re ready for dessert! They’re perfect for feeding a crowd and at just 138 calories per serving, they won’t do any damage to your waistline. Happy baking!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes (from Reddi-Wip)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Serves: 18 (2 mini cheesecakes each)
Calories per Serving: 138
Ingredients
1 cup ground walnuts
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Fleischmann’s® Original-stick, melted
2 pkgs (8 oz each) 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1/2 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground cloves
Dash ground nutmeg
2 eggs
Reddi-wip® Original Dairy Whipped Topping
Ground cinnamon, optionalDirections

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Lemon Curd Pudding in 10 minutes

I have such a special treat for you today. Have you ever wanted a dessert but didn’t want to go to much effort? How about a dessert that from prep to table takes 10 minutes! I was given a fantastic present from my sister-in-law, a magazine called Feel Good Food. I am not much of a magazine person, even food magazines because they tend to just be full of advertisements with only one or two recipes. But this magazine has 101 recipes and ideas in every issue! And in my last magazine I came across this recipe that I am so excited to share. It was not only very simple but also so moist and lemony that my family was disappointed I only made one which meant they had to share. If you are like us and love lemons then this is a must try.

Lemon Curd Pudding

100g (1/2 c.) Caster sugar
100g (1/2) softened butter
100g (1 c.) self-raising flour
2 eggs
Zest of lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp lemon curd

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Gluten-Free Hazelnut Cake

I had the privilege of being a guest blogger for my old friend, Kimberly Schaub, a nutritionist and foodie who has an amazing blog called Peas on Moss. She writes nutrition articles for Livestrong, and has published an article about Chef Ethan Stowell’s Staple and Fancy Mercantile in the Washington Magazine, based in Spokane. Kimberly’s husband has celiac disease and they follow a Gluten-Free diet. I love reading her blog and hope that you enjoy it too. So take a look at my first guest blog where I share a recipe for a Hazelnut Cake that is Gluten-Free and delicious.