Monday, May 11, 2009


First, Unlce Jim - I didn't clue in that you MIGHT be asking what kind of decaf we had :) It is super gourmet - from Safeway :) Seattle's Best decaf.

Glad everyone enjoyed the goodies - and thanks to Grandma Burton and Grandma Boyd for bringing the brownies and peanut butter bars - both were delicious! Just wanted to share the recipes for the cake and cupcakes :)

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
24 caramels
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Chocolate frosting
Additional walnuts, optional
Directions: Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions for cupcakes. Fill 24 paper-lined muffin cups one-third full; set remaining batter aside. Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes or until top of cupcake appears set. Gently press a caramel into each cupcake; sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts. Top with remaining batter. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle with additional nuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, undrained
4 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat whipped topping
Directions: In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, oranges, egg whites and applesauce on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. In a bowl, combine the pineapple and pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping just until blended. Spread over cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tyler's Birthday exTRAVAGANZA

exTRAVAganza continued...

NEXT - we were off to Hearst Castle

This place was amazing!

He collected a lot of catholic art - it was all over the part of the home we toured (there were three guest homes on the property)

our little tour guide lady was hilarious - she had to tame a group of like 6 french VERY LOUD children :)

They owned all we could see from where this house set.

THEN - the last part of our trip...

a drive up the coast to Carmel :) to spend some time by the ocean.

our lovely view from our room :)
and the garden at the hotel

Tyler had some fun at the beach...wish we could have stayed longer!

Tyler's third celebration of his 33rd birthday :)
we wrapped it up by having family over for desert...yummy :)
recipes to follow for those interested
we had a house full of kids...and it was so nice! we are so glad to have everyone over that was able to make it!

Blake eating a little candy (i think?!) that he wasn't too sure about :)

Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate Tyler's birthday!