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What’s for Dinner: Basketball Cake

On May 30th my cousin, Sabih, graduated from college and yesterday we celebrated!

He loves basketball – and when I came across a similar idea a very long time ago, I had immediately thought at that time that I have to make this for Sabih! Fortunately, I remembered last week and decided to try it out this week.

Here’s the end product:

I made a homemade yellow cake as the base [that was absolutely delicious]. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups of [all-purpose] flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of [unsalted] butter, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of [1%] milk

The no oil part in this cake? Love it!

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a [non-stick] 9-inch spring-form pan with non-stick cooking spray for extra precaution.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together your flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Next, cream your softened butter and sugar together until they are nicely incorporated together. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until completely combines.
  4. Combine your wet and dry ingredients together into one bowl. Add in the milk. Beat your mixture together until the batter is mixed together and smooth.
  5. Transfer into your baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes back clean.

For the frosting? I used store-bought [milk] chocolate frosting today. From the [Oreo] Buttercream Frosting from this post back in April I learned my lesson the hard way: no more homemade frosting UNTIL I get a stand mixer. Why are they so darn expensive?! Would make my life so much easier!

Tip: Make sure to let the cake cool completely before you attempt to frost. Makes a world of a difference, I’m telling you.

After I frosted the cake, I separated the orange and brown candies from a bag of Reese’s Pieces to use to decorate the top of the cake.

  1. Using the brown candies, I first used them to draw a line straight down the middle.
  2. Turn the cake 90 degrees, and do the same. You should now have the cake divided in 4 sections and a visible “+” sign.
  3. Next, again using the brown candies, I drew two half circles on either end.
  4. Finally, fill in all of the areas where the frosting is still visible with the orange colored candies.
Tip: I can’t emphasize enough how much laying pieces of parchment paper underneath makes a difference in the end result.
I thought about doing this cake with M&Ms originally, but a) who wants to separate all the oranges and blacks from I don’t even know how many bags of M&Ms I would need b) I’ve already made a cake with M&Ms before and c) half the fun is experimenting!

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

A Quick Recap of the Weekend

I HATE when everyone leaves at the same time, and that is exactly what happened this past Sunday. We had family arriving last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for various family gatherings, but they all left Sunday.

On Friday night, our aunt and uncle (Chotti Anna and Javed Chachoo) hosted a BBQ, and it turned out to be a graduation party for all the graduates in our immediate family (six of us from NJ and one from Canada) and a house-warming party for them at the same time. Saturday, we had a brunch at our house and that night was Shahbaz’s Graduation Party.

Not only did all my aunts and uncles and their families leave, but so did Faraz!

If I said it didn’t seem weird, I would be lying.

I guess it will take some getting used to. Even though Faraz has lived away in Hoboken for five years, we still saw him a couple of time a month. We’re planning on going to Canada at the end of the month though, so we’ll see him then.

Sunday night, after all of our relatives had left, we went to see the fireworks at Piscataway High School and then yesterday went to NYC for a few hours in a the evening. It’s funny that we have lived here for so many years (ten to be exact) and haven’t really seen many of the tourist spots.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Graduation Party

I LOVE barbecues and I love family gatherings, so a joint barbecue for nearby relatives and some friends for Faraz’s and my graduation party yesterday was definitely my kind of day. It was also kind of a farewell party for Faraz. I can’t believe that Faraz will be leaving next week for Canada!

Thank you all for coming! We had a great time and hope you did too.

The whole day turned out to the be a lot of fun. We got back from the park around 7:30ish and a lot of our family came straight from the park to our house. From there, later that night, Aamir Mamma, Sony Mammi, Sohaib Bhai, Ayaz, Faraz, Saad, Sabih, Daniyal, and I went to Dave and Busters in Manhattan which was a lot of fun too. I’ve never been there and it was great. We got home around 3 A.M. and I went straight to bed – what an exhausting but FUN day!

By the way, would you believe I’m still making trips to the dentist? I’ve already been four times and tomorrow I go back for the fifth time since June 4th! Apparently my mouth is small and the root is curved which as a combination is making this procedure take forever! Lucky me. Being the wimp I am, of course this would happen to me.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Congratulations Graduate!

Congratulations Faraz on your graduation! I’m writing this up now instead of after the ceremony tomorrow morning because I know the next few days will be just as busy as the last few weeks and I won’t have any time to do so.

I’m so proud of you and hopefully this is just the beginning of a lot of successes to come your way in the future. Always give everything your best effort, as that is all you can do – no matter what the end result is. And never give up!

Actually, this month we have had four graduations (Shazia, then me, and now Faraz and Sheeraz later today) amongst us cousins from college alone just in New Jersey – and we have two graduating from high school next month (Samia and Shahbaz). And a few more elsewhere too.

This month has been insane with exams, then graduations, and then this Friday is Maria Baji’s wedding, so the last few weeks have been insanely busy but a lot of fun at the same time!

I’m definitely ready for some down time though ;).

Congratulations all around!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Goodbye, Rutgers

I am a college graduate and it feels absolutely AMAZING, yet odd!

My graduation ceremony was earlier this afternoon. The funny thing is my older brother, Faraz, graduates on the 27th, so I am the first one of the cousins from my dad’s side to graduate!

I’d like to especially thank my family for putting up with everything they have these past four years with my nervousness/agony/stress/freaking out EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER – especially during the exam periods where I would feel stressed. I feel like describing it as being stressed out/freaking out don’t even do it justice – but i’m sure my brothers will have a better way to describe it! While it seemed like EVERY SINGLE SEMESTER started off with some sort of annoyance or issues (from registration to everything else possible), and things only stressed me out even more as the semester progressed, my family was always there to calm me down as best as they could – and find the humor in it. And thanks Ayaz, for driving me to class all the time 🙂
It hasn’t been the easiest few years, and the road to getting here has not been easy, by any means. But looking back, I can say – it has all been worth it. Rutgers has challenged me in ways I could not have even imagined, but with every accomplishment came a sense of victory. While each individual semester has seemed to drag on and has challenged me tremendously, I feel quite blessed to have received a pretty decent education from Rutgers. The stress, nervousness, and the many challenges that each semester has brought on, has without a doubt made me a stronger person.

and now, I can finally say … i’m finally DONE (undergraduate, at least)!

As another chapter in my life closes, i’m excited to see what the next one brings for me and the challenges that come with it.

Thank you EVERYONE for your continuing support and encouragement.

Goodbye, Rutgers. Thank for a great (challenging, frustrating, stressful, etc.) four years!

Today is…

… graduation day!

Not sure if I’m more excited or sad yet.

I’ve been up since 3 A.M. after going to sleep after 1:30 AM!!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Four Years

Just days before my college graduation, as I was just now looking through old stuff, I came across my high school graduation cap and gown from four years ago for the first time since I graduated.

My tassel was still in tact on the cap. Gotta admit, it was a pretty weird feeling coming across it – so I had to take a picture.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Cap and Gown = Graduation Day is Approaching

So last Thursday I bought my cap and gown, which kind of made it official for me that I graduate in thirty-four short days! How unreal! There are just two and a half weeks of classes left (and I only have EIGHT actual days left of classes!!)

I gotta admit, it didn’t really hit me when I bought my own cap and gown, but as I was helping someone else with their cap and gown stuff yesterday (I work at the bookstore on campus)… it hit me then! Everyone who knows me, knows how emotional of a person I am so it won’t come as a surprise to many that it made me teary!

I just can’t believe how fast the past four years have flown by! It feels like orientation was just some time ago, and yet here is graduation day approaching rapidly.

Not to mention the fact that I HATE changes!

As much as there has been things that have annoyed me like crazy, there are so many things I would not have done or got the opportunity to do otherwise. To name a few off the top of my head:

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts: Registration, RU Football, LSATs

It’s so unbelievable, but i registered this past Monday (November 9th) for my last semester as an undergraduate at Rutgers University! I can’t believe it! It doesn’t feel like I have been here for so long (three and a half years at this point!) and now am just months away from graduating in May. While each individual semester has seemed to drag on forever, it has in general flew by pretty fast. It hasn’t been the easiest few years by any means, but i can honestly say it has been worth it. The roller coaster ride with the combination of the stress, challenges, agony, and the feelings of accomplishments have been nothing short of interesting, to say the very least.

I can’t believe how fast time is flying by! I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on my mom’s hospital stay/surgery from the beginning of October (over a month ago!), and i just can’t seem to get some free time together. Hopefully in the next few days i will since i finally finished my midterms, papers, and projects this past week. Besides a few papers and a project, I don’t have much extra school work due until the final exams period which is about a month away.

I also got my LSATs score back near the end of October, and i didn’t do nearly as well as i would have liked or as well as i thought i would have done with all the studying time i put it. Needless to say, i was (and still am) quite frustrated and flushed. For the first few weeks, i was pretty upset (quite an understatement). I’m going to retake the LSATs in February and see how i do. People have been telling me not to let it get to me, but after all the studying, how can i not let it to get to me? It’s something i’ve been thinking about and aspiring towards since the eighth grade! I know if it’s meant to be, it’ll work out… and if it’s not… that’s alright too… but i CAN’T just not give it another try. i guess i’ll re-evaluate once i get my scores back from the LSATs from February and see what i want to do. I’ve been in the law school frame of mind for so long, that the thought that it may not be for me is quite upsetting. I’ll be off for about three weeks in between the fall and spring semester that starts mid January so i’ll have to get some hard core studying done then to prepare for the February LSATs.

On a quite different note, this past Thursday i also went to another Rutgers Football game – RU vs USF. Unfortunately with everything going on, it  was only the second game i have been able to attend this season (i went to the RU vs. Howard really early in the season). I was hoping i would be able to attend more considering it’s my last year as a RU student, but oh well. Hopefully, i’ll at least be able to go to the last home game of the season against West Virginia. RU vs. USF was an amazing game, and i had a great time – so even if it is the last game i attend as the student, it was great. The final score was RU – 31 and USF – 0. I was hoping for a great game with a huge win, but i didn’t think the ranked USF team would end up not scoring at all!

Week in Review

It’s been a little over a week of summer vacation and i am LOVING the down time. It’s nice not having too constantly stress over deadlines… and these past few days have been a lot of fun especially.

This past thursday was shazia’s and zehra’s graduation. because they graduated from different colleges within Rutgers and the timing overlapped, i went to shazia’s graduation. it was a pretty long ceremony (and about 2,675 graduates), and it was pretty hot, but still a lot of fun. Later that night, we went to zehra’s for a BBQ dinner to celebrate (and the food was delicious – i LOVE bihari kakab and bbq chicken!)

then on friday, the girls went out to dinner at red lobster to celebrate shazia’s graduation. afterwards, we went to finally see the movie Angels and Demons… and my goodness was it gruesome! It was good overall, just not my type of movie.

sunday, we had another one of our monthly game nights (at imran’s) and then a couple of my cousins and i ended up sleeping over there. monday (yesterday) morning was another crazy morning as we got everything ready for zehra’s surprise graduation picnic party. the weather was HOT but it was a lot of fun and i’m SO glad the surprise wasn’t ruined!

i have had next to no sleep these past six days and so it has been very tiring BUT so much fun! i definitely want to enjoy this summer as much as a possibly can. All the planning and craziness for the parties paid off, alhumduillah and everything was a lot of fun.

Congratulations once again to Shazia and Zehra (and all the other graduates)! I’m so proud of you and your accomplishments!

this past friday i also FINALLY registered for the LSATs for the upcoming september, which means i REALLY have to start studying now! I can’t believe I’m graduating next year!

On a completely different note, i woke up this morning to realize that Obama has chosen federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be nominated to be a Supreme Court Justice. She’s a women obviously and i knew he was going to pick a women (he better had). And many speculated it would be a hispanic… and with Sotomayor, Obama chose the first hispanic and she’s still a woman. The last few days have been so busy, that i haven’t even read the news lately – so i didn’t even realize Obama was about to announce his nomination. Oh well.