It’s All Love (Or Every Day Should be Valentine’s Day)

I know you’re thinking Valentine’s Day is so two weeks ago… but guys? It’s not. I’m all about love right now, and it started with this cake. 

Ombre frosting and gilded dino Valentine's Day Cake from Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is how dinosaurs show love. (They told me.)

I think Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap, but it’s probably because we let the whole thing get so out of control with candy and cards that we forget it’s actually about LOVE. When we shift the focus from love to the trappings of love, we make it a day filled with pressure and expectations for couples that also magnetizes the loneliness of the single people.

This year I wanted  everyone to feel included regardless of their relationship status, so I decided to make a Valentine’s Day cake for my coworkers. I wanted everyone to feel love — especially the people who were really feeling down about being single.

I believe there is more to love than sex, romance, and wedding bells. The Greeks had four words for it, and only one referred to the romantic kind. They recognized love comes in many forms, and I wanted to celebrate that.

Because I have a totally wacked sensibility, I thought the best way to celebrate my all-encompassing version of love was with a little ambiguous humor… hence the gilded fighting dinos. They’re so me. I mean, I love gold paint. Plus I can’t take ANYTHING too seriously. (Even cake.)

I used the Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcake recipe for the cake. Then I slathered homemade whipping cream and fresh strawberries between the layers.

Strawberry layer cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This is what strawberries look like on a cake. In case you didn’t know.

Then I did some ombre magic with the frosting.

Ombre frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor

The magic involved my freezer… for a few minutes on each layer.

Then I threw it all together and topped it off with toys I covered in gold paint. The dinos are such a secret metaphor with so many layers of meaning for me that I smile when I look at them, but you can interpret them anyway you wish. They can serve your story too, and that’s maybe why I like them so much. They’re not just my story; they can be yours too.

Valentine's Day Cake By Dogs Dishes and Decor

Making all this stuff? Made ME happy too.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I made this card with my Martha paints.

Valentine's Day Card on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Cake? Is for everyone. Have some.

And now I leave you with this. It’s the Supremes. They started the love train.

It’s time to get on board.

Pinterest Made Me Do It (Or I Covered Everything in Sprinkles and Glitter)

I threw a baby shower today and I feel like I should probably tell you about it. Well, actually I didn’t throw it so much as I showed up with bags of baked goods and a whole lotta glitter… but that kinda counts, right?

I think it does, so just go with me here.

I may be a total tomboy obsessed with sports, insects, and stirring my compost, but I can’t ignore my inner sorority girl. She secretly rejoices every time someone asks her to tie a ribbon on something.

And baby showers?

Are like the perfect excuse to go all girly. And that makes me happy… because I spend most of my waking hours working with a preponderance of men.

See, I sort of miss the days of staying up until 3 am decorating staircases for rush parties. Steve Jobs once said you can only connect the dots looking back and when I do… I realize I was always tying a ribbon on something. From hours spent locked in my room elaborately wrapping Christmas presents as a kid to serving on the Homecoming float committee like every year in high school, I have always been obsessed with making things pretty. I just didn’t really realize it.

So if I’m being honest with myself, I can’t even blame Pinterest for my recent gold-painted escapades, but I’m gonna try. 

Here’s how it all went down.

Black White and Gold Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #baby #blackandgold #star

Pinterest made me do this.

Baby Shower Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #sprinkles #cake

And this.

Baby Shower Treat on Dogs Dishes and Decor #star #chocolatedipped #ricekrispietreat #baby

I can’t blame Pinterest for this, though. I came up with this idea when my mind was wondering at work. #yesiwasdrinkingandbaking

Baby Shower Favors on Dogs Dishes and Decor #startheme #babyshower

We had 40 guests at the shower, so this was just the tip of the titanic treat iceberg.

Oh, and remember how I had a meltdown before my Peter Pan Party because I didn’t have anyone to do my floral arrangements? Well, I’m getting over my fear of arranging flowers….

I’m not saying it’s my life’s calling or anything, but I’m getting more comfortable.

Black and White Baby Shower Flowers on Dogs Dishes and Decor #babyshower #blackandwhite

I’m making up with flowers one party at a time.

And because that wasn’t enough bows, I went and put one on the baby gift too.

Baby Shower Gift on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’m broken for bows.

So, anyway, all of that happened. And then I went to GJelina in Venice for dinner with my long lost Melissa who was visiting from New York and absolutely stuffed my face with burrata, Brussels sprouts, and butterscotch pots de creme.

And later this week? I’m gearing up for a Valentine’s day project that just might involve a dinosaur.

More on that later.

Now it’s time for me to lie on the floor listening to the Kaskade remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and pretend I’m tired.

Here it is, just in case you’re like me and your idea of a lullaby involves a techno remix.

Just Sprinkle Some Truffle Salt On It (Or My Midnight Snack Supper Situation)

So remember when I used to write posts about meals that looked like this?

Easter Dinner on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Color coordinated ombre Easter fanciness for days.

Well, lately my dinners are looking more like this:

Overcooked burger with Brussels sprouts

#sosad

I did sprinkle the burger and Brussels sprouts with truffle salt in an attempt to salvage the situation, but it was ultimately about as grim as it looks. (Even truffle salt can’t fix ugly.)

Also?

That wasn’t nearly enough food to satisfy me, so I hit the bag of sea salt potato chips like a boss mere seconds after snapping that horrendous photo.

If you’re wondering why a former food blogger is making meals that aren’t even fit for a savage, it’s because this food blogger ate dinner at 11freakingpm tonight. That’s my life at the moment, guys. Gourmet goes out the window when you’re working so much that supper is more like a midnight snack.

It’s not all sad veggies and overcooked grass fed ground beef around here, though. I did try out a new cake recipe last weekend for a Super Bowl party.

See?

Triple berry vanilla bean cake with rose water buttercream frosting on Dogs Dishes and Decor #tripleberry #buttercream #babyshower

SO many layers.

Does that count for something?

I’m making some tweaks for the upcoming baby shower, so I’m not quite ready to post the recipe. I’ll hook you up when it’s more… me. This cake involved rose water buttercream frosting, and I found it cloyingly sweet, so I’m going in the whipped cream/cream cheese frosting direction for the shower….

More on that later.

Now, I leave you with my latest musical OBSESSION. It’s an epic mashup of Bon Iver’s “Wolves” with Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” WHOCOMESUPWITHTHIS?!? #idie

I know what Bo don’t know…

2014 and I Are Going to be Friends (Or Will You Still be My Blog Friend?)

I was reading through old posts this week and realized my credibility is pretty shaky here in the blogosphere. I promised not to be all philosophical and sad, I said I’d write a post about meyer lemon budino fluffiness, and I failed on both fronts. If I’m being really honest, I probably still owe you a proper wrap up from Finn’s baby shower… and the child is practically walking, faux hawk and all.

Dogs and Babies on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I mean look at him! He’s going to be hiking with Woodley soon.

It seems a little inauthentic to resurrect all that now.

SO… here’s what I’m gonna do instead:

I’m going to stop making promises I can’t keep. Seriously. I’m not going to promise posts I don’t really feel like writing, I’m going to say sorry for not publishing those half written drafts, and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m going to trust that those of you who have stuck by me through the highs and lows of the last year will do continue to do so, and those who really just want sprinkles, sparkles, and puff pastries have found all that glitters and oozes with butter somewhere else.

So this is Dogs Dishes and Decor these days. It’s the good with the bad. The highs with the lows. Life with a side of glitter.

Cool?

Cool. Now let’s talk about 2014. It started off pretty solid.

I mean, I found this on a rock while hiking with Albus on New Year’s Day.

New Year's Day Hike on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I’d love to know how this actually ended up on a rock in the Hollywood Hills, but I’m not asking questions. I’m just wearing my crown like a boss.

And now that the year is well underway, I’m helping Finnie’s mommy plan a baby shower for someone in our (now defunct) supper club, I’m prepping for a massive shoot at work, and I’m doing my best to navigate the new rules of nutrition outlined by my Ayurvedic doctor without stabbing someone on set because I haven’t had any pickled ginger or dark chocolate in days.

Here’s a preview of the baby shower brain child I’m creating.

100 Layer Cake Baby Shower Ideas on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Photo courtesy of 100 Layer Cake.

Baby Shower Cake from 100 Layer Cake on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Photo courtesy of 100 Layer Cake.

You can check out my Pinterest Board for the shower here.

And just for good measure, here’s the meyer lemon budino I made last spring when my long lost Gillian returned from producing DIVERGENT in Chicago.

Meyer Lemon Budino from Bon Appetit on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Bon Appetit knows what’s up with budino.

You can find the recipe here.

Happy 2014!

Let’s still be blog friends. K?

Blast the Billy Ocean and Create (Or Carrot Cupcakes for Noah)

Guys, it’s time for my Billy Ocean Pandora station. I can’t wallow anymore. I’m no good to anyone — particularly myself — if I’m wallowing.

Sure it’s important to feel your feelings. And yeah we need to acknowledge loss and embrace the sadness, but we also have to pick ourselves up and do our damn dishes… get off our couches and dance in our kitchens.

Tuesday and Wednesday seriously sucked. I’m not going to lie. I cried. So much. I still made myself go to yoga, church, business meetings and whatnot. But between those things? I cried. So much, in fact, that I could hardly wear my contacts because I screwed up the ph of my eyes. So I decided to start Thursday by hiking with my long lost Suzie who is finally back from Iran. Determined to stay in a good place, I’m now blasting Billy Ocean and blogging.

See, Billy Ocean makes me smile — and Suzie inspired me to create. Because she’s brilliant, she pointed out the importance of creating instead of consuming. (Creating has transformative potential for our souls and stuff.) So I’m doing that. I’m creating… this blog post.

Ta da!

And in this blog post? I’m giving you the inspiration to create carrot cupcakes. I made them for Noah’s memorial because my mom couldn’t find cupcakes she liked anywhere in East Lansing.

People loved them and stuff.

Carrot cupcakes from Dogs Dishes and Decor #carrot #cupcakes #fall

Oh, and for further inspiration, here’s the Billy Ocean song that’s making me smile today.

Crank it up and bake yourself some carrot cupcakes. Put frosting all over the pain and then give it all away. And by “all” I mean the pain and the baked goods; there’s no sense in getting fat because bad things are happening.

Just saying…

Noah’s Carrot Cupcakes

2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 C sugar
1 1/2 C vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 C crushed pineapple, drained
2 C finely grated carrots
1 C shredded coconut
1 C chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside. Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture. Fold in the pineapple, carrots, coconut, and walnuts. Stir in the vanilla.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely and top them with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 C confectioners’ sugar (or to desired consistency)

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.

The recipe makes about 24 cupcakes, so you’ll have a lot to give away.

It’s All About Ice Cream (Or How to Make Brown Butter Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches)

I have to admit something. I consider cupcakes to be wasted calories. Sure, I’ll eat them from time to time if they’re around, but I absolutely never crave them. In fact, I never wake up thinking about cake of any kind. Ever.

Ice cream and cookies on the other hand?

OMIGOD.

#theyaremylife

Every year for my birthday I make ice cream cookie sandwiches for my party. I use this recipe from Bon Appetit for the brown butter cookies. The recipe suggests dipping the ice cream sandwiches in chocolate, but I skip that business. (#wastedcalories)

Besides, my favorite ice cream flavors are strawberry and orange pineapple, neither of which pair well with chocolate, if you ask me. The recipe says you can use store bought ice cream. Which I do. Sometimes. When I’m busy. Or being lazy.

When I’m not being all busy or lazy, I use this recipe for the strawberry ice cream.

Here they are on the dessert table at the Elephant themed baby shower.

See?

Brown butter ice cream cookie sandwiches from Dogs Dishes and Decor #icecream #epicurious

Divine.

I’m probably going to make them for my birthday party this weekend to go along with this ice cream cookie business.

Just in case you were wondering….

Aaaaanyway, I’m off to the pool now with my mug o’ emergen-c.

Raspberry emergen-c in a Michigan Mug on Dogs Dishes and Decor

#breakfastofchampions

I’m thinking a little relaxation plus vitamins B and C could be the cure for my cold. #mustgethealthyforparty

Anna’s Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich (Or I Find My Birthday Cake)

This past weekend my friend Anna made my birthday super special. First she took me to brunch at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, which is one of our absolute favorite spots.

See?

Birthday Brunch at Cecconi's on Dogs Dishes and Decor

We ate simply scrumptious stuff. Plus we made new friends. They sang to me and bought us lemoncello. #iadorenewfriends

Then we went to Theory to return unnecessary purchases like responsible kids. And we ended the day with some ice cream and pool time.

Dogs Dishes and Decor

I seriously love So Cal sun.

Anna had foot surgery on Monday, so I made her a gigantic get well ice cream cookie sandwich.

And guys?

This thing is INSANE. Just look at it.

Ice cream cookie sandwich on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Words fail me.

I think I might be in love. I think I have to make it again. I think it needs to be my birthday cake next weekend.

The cookie part is almost cookie cake-y and it doesn’t freeze as rock solid as these did. You can find the recipe here. I skipped the butterscotch sauce because I thought it would be sweetness overkill.

Ice cream and cookies is enough, ya know?