Guitar-Shaped Cake

03/10/2010

A rockin’ baby party needs a rockin’ guitar cake, right? I drove home from Michaels with this guitar shaped cake pan wondering how in the world I was going to do this – bake the cake, get it out of the pan and onto a plate in one piece, and decorate it. I was afraid it would stick in the pan and be a crumbly mess. I wished I could have called Granny. She used to make all sorts of fancy cakes after taking cake decorating classes back in the 70’s.

Thankfully it came with detailed instructions to grease the pan with shortening and sprinkle with flour to make sure no shiny spots show through. It took some retouching on the tuning pegs but I eventually had it thoroughly greased and floured.

Granny used to always gently drop the cake pan onto the oven rack a few times. I’m not sure why … maybe to get rid of air pockets? I do it sometimes just because she did.

One regular cake mix completely filled the pan. I made funfetti cake.

After it cooled a few minutes, I cut off the rounded top … and ate most of it. Because why waste perfectly good cake?

The instructions said to flip the cake onto a wire rack, then, once cooled, flip it onto the serving plate. I had no interest in flipping the cake twice so it went straight onto the serving plate. It didn’t come right out. I ended up sliding a knife along the edges to make sure everything was loose and then tried again.

Success!!! Thank you Jesus! Look at that bridge and sound hole and those frets. How funny! Do you really think they’ll be visible after I frost it?

Nope. But I suppose maybe the purpose is just a template for decorating. Considering I’m an ill-equiped*, inexperienced cake decorator, I think it turned out OK. Colored sugars certainly help.

*I used a butter knife and a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

I used Martha Stewart’s vanilla frosting recipe. (By the way, I recently discovered the wonder of homemade frosting. Why have I been buying it out of a can all these years?!) It was very sugary sweet but thankfully the cake was not so it was a nice balance.

I’m looking forward to many more guitar cakes in the future!


Eating Out: Zumi Sushi

03/09/2010

Introducing … a new blog column called Eating Out: modern dining with a mid-century budget! Jason and I love a good date night, however we don’t like to spend a lot of money on such things. The idea of Eating Out is to report on a new-to-us or trusted favorite Nashville restaurants and share how we made it fit a budget that would make our grandparents proud.

Zumi Sushi
2119 Belcourt Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

Dinner for two: $21.30 + tip

Cuisine: 2 waters with lemon, 2 house salads, 2 miso soups, a Black & Gold Roll, and a Pacific Queen Roll.

Impression: I was pleasantly surprised after reading a mediocre review several months ago. Order at the counter and wait at your table with a number a la Pei Wei or Jason’s Deli. The servers were friendly and checked on us frequently, taking away dishes as soon as we finished our soups and salads. The rolls were quite delicious. We especially like the Black and Gold (named for Vanderbilt U. I’m assuming?) which was a white tuna roll lightly fried in tempura (so it’s warm) topped with crab salad that—despite looking exactly like fancy shredded cheddar—was delightful! The Pacific Queen was a very interesting pairing of yellow fin tuna, avocado, mango and cucumber. We didn’t care too much for the sweet poke´ sauce but it was lovely with soy sauce. Each roll came with 8 hearty pieces. Soup and salad were both inexpensive and generous portions. Presentation was beautiful!

Cost Saving Tips: Drinking water saved us $4 right off the bat. If you’re buying alcohol when you go out, there’s an obvious money sucker. Don’t be a sucker. Part of our reason for checking out Zumi was a bogo (buy one get one) coupon from a fundraiser book I purchased last fall. The book cost $20 and we’ve already saved at least $60 using it.

Come again? We’ll definitely be back for more of that Black & Gold roll.


Bathroom Renovation Stage 10

03/08/2010

My husband is amazing! (But you knew that already if you’ve been following my blog.) We’ve both been quite busy lately which is nothing but a blessing when you’re self-employed (Jason) or do freelance in addition to your day job (me). And our weekends have been filled up with fun, work and social obligations lately. Also a blessing.

However, the bathroom renovation had almost come to a complete standstill since we (mostly) finished the shower. We’ve both be itching to get the renovation wrapped up but most of the remaining things I have no idea how to do and/or I’d rather trust Jason to do. This past week he has been working hard to find time through the night or during a gap in his daytime work.

Here are some things that have happened (though not very interesting by photograph):

The shower fan & light was installed in the shower. (More adventures of being wedged into a tiny space in the attic. But we do love our low-slung roof.)


Electricity has been run to the shower light, shower  fan, and the light above the vanity. Check out this sweet 3 switches in 1 thing. (What’s it called again!?) Saved us (Jason) from having to cut out a bigger hole in the wall for a new electrical work box.

Electricity has been run to a light in the laundry room (I still can’t believe I have a laundry ROOM!), an outlet in the laundry room and an outlet by the sink in the bathroom.

Lights installed … almost. The ceiling light that was formerly in the bathroom, which was once a bedroom, is now dangling a foot from the ceiling in the laundry room. So helpful when I’m doing laundry at night! Also, there is a light in the bathroom now, above the vanity, but it’s essentially just a light bulb hanging out of the wall. Better than the floor lamp we’ve been using!



Holes in the ceiling have been patched up. Moving lights around and taking down walls created several big holes in the ceiling. Jason’s been patching and matching the lovely (not) spiky texture.


Ahhh … progress feels good! Next up we’ll be installing the second shower head and setting up the plumbing for when it will be connected to the water lines (later…) and finishing up the drywall. Once that is done and all patched up (all Jason here again) we can prime and paint. THEN tile the floors. (Not decided on or purchased yet.) THEN install the vanity. THEN install a sink. (Not decided on or purchased yet.)

Again, MY HUSBAND IS AMAZING! We haven’t had to hire help for any step of the process so far. He’s quite the electrician! Soon we’ll find out how much of a plumber he is!


Background Reading:

Catch up with our bathroom renovation progress:

Bathroom Renovation Stage 1

Bathroom Renovation Stage 2

Bathroom Renovation Stage 3

Bathroom Renovation Stage 4

Bathroom Renovation: Tiling!

Bathroom Renovation Stage 5

Bathroom Renovation Stage 6

Bathroom Renovation Stage 7

Bathroom Renovation Stage 8

Concrete Shower Pan Goes Down Smooth

Bathroom Renovation Stage 9


Phone Photo Friday

03/05/2010

I ripped my pants. 😦  Can I get new jeans now?


Rockin’ Baby Party

03/03/2010

The theme of the baby shower my sister-in-law and I threw on Sunday was a Rockin’ Baby Party. BR, the mama we were showering, used to play bass in Jason’s band and her hubby is a musician too. (How rare in Nashville, I know …) I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Excited parents.

Soon to be big brother (on the right) got some presents, too.

Adorable little girl helped BR open some presents.

I’d really like to get a better camera. I blame my bad photographs mostly on my camera.


A Weekend Recap

03/02/2010

“Some weekends are so busy, I can’t wait for the week to start.” – Jason

We kicked of the weekend by having some friends over for a late dinner. Jason grilled some chicken (I love being able to grill year-round!) and I made PW’s baked lemon pasta. It was a delicious hit. Late dinner led to late night chattin it up with good friends.

Saturday morning I kissed Jason goodbye and headed off to a PJ breakfast baby shower. Brilliant! (Was that your idea, Jenna?) So fun to sit around with a bunch of my favorite ladies in our comfies eating waffles and quiches and watching our friend unwrap lots of adorable little girly outfits.

I spent Saturday afternoon preparing for baby shower #2. Making a bunting banner. Baking a guitar-shaped cake. Cleaning the house. Arranging the table and furniture.

Saturday I had a girls night with my sister-in-law and our good friend while our husbands were all out on the road.  It was fun to watch a chick flick – He’s Just Not That into You. I have to say, it’s kind of a depressing picture of marriage and dating these days, though. Definitely makes me appreciate my marriage!

Jason got home sometime in the middle of the night Saturday and was up and gone to set up at church before I woke up Sunday morning. I was a couple minutes late but the service was great. Something is about to explode. It’s so exciting! People are so hungry for more of God’s presence that no one wants to leave.

I did eventually scurry out so I could get back home to finished prepping for the Rockin’ Baby Party. Bake artichoke dip. Tie balloons to the mail box. Give directions over the phone. Set out chips, salsa, guacamole, hummus, crackers, pita, sushi, guitar cake, punch. The party was a hit and I hope our friends were blessed. I didn’t think to count but I’m pretty sure that’s the most people we’ve ever had in our house; definitely the most kids we’ve had running around at one time. Lucy was a great vacuum gobbling up all of the cake and crunched chips that the kiddos left behind.

Fun weekend but we were pooped! We were both asleep by 10pm on Sunday night which is extremely rare in this house. Phew!


Wise Words

03/01/2010

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill