Archive | June, 2012

A Good Thing

27 Jun

A while back Summer wrote us about her glass jars here in this post, I recently found the “Easy” Button at Staples! When I read about these labels, from A Lot on Your Plate’s post, I was so excited! Christmas had come early!

I went to Staples on my lunch break and lost track of time! Martha Stewart did not disappoint! These labels are awesome and her other labels are great too! I used the chalk board labels on my white canisters from Ikea. I frequently change what I put in these canisters, these labels will help me remember what I put in them. Thanks Martha, these labels are a good thing!

A 75th Birthday!

26 Jun

Photo by: Caitlyn

Wow, so many big birthdays are ahead for my family.. my dad is going to be 50 this Friday, my brother turns 29 Saturday and next week I turn the big 3-0! I haven’t even mentioned that my Grandma, my mom and Summer’s two sweet girls have birthdays in June as well! Phew, I know that I am probably forgetting someone too!

I guess my grandfather’s 75th birthday, at the end of May, kicked started the festivities for me! The family went to dinner at Ports O’ Call in San Pedro. I’d say 75 is a pretty big birthday and I wanted to help make it special. I decided I would make the cake! I whipped up this chocolate cake in the morning, let it cool and frosted it before we left the house. This is the only photo I have of it since I was unable to locate a camera before we dug in!

We all had a great time! Afterward, we walked down where they had little carnival rides for the kids. When the weather is great, nothing beats hanging out at Ports O’ Call!

Lace Trimmed Shorts

25 Jun

I saw this idea on Pinterest the other day and it reminded me that I have a box full of lace trim that’s collecting dust! I love repurposing old jeans… remember this skirt? I took an old pair of jeans, grabbed the lace trim and went to work!

This pair of jeans have seen better days… I measured the length and cut!

Next, I matched up the sides and cut the other leg!

Lastly, pin and sew on the lace trim. I used a straight stitch on the top because of the ribbon trim. I used a zig zag stitch on the bottom that also helps with fraying.

I cut my shorts a little longer so that I can wear them to work. I guess that’s one of the perks of my job.

Easy Mango Ice Cream

22 Jun

We’re still on a fruity kick over here.  My 6-year-old son loves Mango anything so we whipped up this ice cream for dessert the other day.  It was simple and easy and will work for any number of frozen fruits.

1 12 oz. bag of your favorite frozen fruit
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar

Add sugar to heavy cream and mix until fully combined.  Place frozen fruit in a food processor and give it a rough chop.  Slowly pour in the heavy cream and process it until it is smooth.  Place it in a freezer safe container and pop it in the freezer until it is frozen, or as for as long as you can wait to eat it!

Perfect for a breezy summer night.

Oh Sweet Splenda

21 Jun

I have never baked with Splenda before, I thought I’d give it a shot. I am not a fan of sugar substitute… but these little treats were going to be a gift for my papa for Father’s day.

These little sweets are Pumpkin Spice “cookies”… I say “cookies” because they really are in between a cookie and a cake. These little bites have a sweet glaze made up of cooked down (until dissolved) Splenda (2-c), milk (1/4-c), molasses (1-tsp), butter (3- tbsp) and at the end…add a little vanilla extract (1-tsp). Keep warm!

Have you ever baked with Splenda?

S’more Summer Snacks

20 Jun

The inspiration for this post came from A Lot On Your Plate! Recently, I read Jess’s post on the “Twisted S’more” … (check it out here! ) and as soon as I saw Nutella I was sold! I happened to have all of these ingredients because I was the sucker that bought into my local supermarket’s display of graham crackers, chocolate and jumbo marshmallows! You win Ralph’s! Sheesh! Anyways, the kids and I have been having S’mores for dessert for a few nights and it was getting kind of old..until I read this post! Yay!!  We tried out one of the suggested “Twisted S’mores” and came up with a few of our own!

The Banana Nutella S’more….

I think I will never buy a Hershey bar again! Nutella is my “go to” for s’mores from now on! Nutella rocks!!

These were our versions of a Twisted S’more!!

The Elvis S’more….

Spread peanut butter on the graham cracker, add 2-3 slices of bananas and add 1- toasted marshmallow. Top with another honey graham cracker and enjoy!

This version had us shaking our hips Jail House Rock Style!! The great thing is that the peanut butter gets melted easily and mixes well with the toasted ‘mallow! I love toasted PB&J because melted peanut butter is heavenly!

The Date Night S’more…

Spread Nutella on the graham cracker, add 2-3 sliced bananas, 3-4 sliced strawberries, 1 toasted marshmallow… devour!

This version was going to be my Banana Split S’more until I actually ate it! This is a dream! The sweet bananas and strawberries are a perfect combination to the Nutella and marshmallow. These get so melted and delicious, you’ll be licking chocolate off your fingers! This is not your kid’s s’more, it’s sin-fully sweet!!

Summer Citrus

19 Jun

Following our Father’s Day gathering at Grandma’s house, as I always do, I came home with a ton of oranges.  They literally felt like they weighed a ton!  My Grandmother’s neighbors have a tree that must produce as many oranges as the state of Florida.  My Grandmother posts a sign at the door, instructing everyone to take oranges home with them when they leave.  That’s how many oranges she regularly has on hand.

I brought my oranges home and my 2-year-old and I juiced them to have with breakfast.

I keep my juice in a pretty (and plastic aka not breakable) pitcher from the seasonal line at Target (another score at only $6).

Later, I used our freshly squeezed orange juice in one of my favorite dinner recipes.

4 pork chops
olive oil
salt
pepper
1/2 yellow or red onion
1/2 orange juice
1 can of whole cranberry sauce

Heat your olive oil in a large skillet.  Slice your onion and cook in the skillet until just tender.  Season both sides of your pork chops with salt and pepper.  Place pork chops in skillet and cook a few minutes on each side on med-high heat.  You want a good crust on both sides.  Add orange juice and cranberry sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until pork chops are cooked all the way through.

I like to serve my pork chops with couscous.  This dish is always a big hit with the kids and adults alike.  Everyone asked for more!

Paradise Cake

18 Jun

For years my family has made the Kings Hawaiian Bakery’s Paradise Cake a go-to for any type of celebration.  The bakery is near by, its a crowd pleaser and just plain beautiful!  Now that I live in San Diego, 2 hours away from Kings Hawaiian Bakery, I’ve come to appreciate it that much more.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that this cake isn’t available everywhere.  This is probably because their breads are available in my local grocery store.

With warmer weather and nothing but sunny days ahead, I had a craving for a Paradise Cake.  Its three layers of fluffy chiffon cake with light whipped frosting.  The real treat is that the three layers of cake are made up of Guava, Passion Fruit, and Lime flavored cake.  Do I have your attention now?

I checked the interwebs and couldn’t locate a copycat recipe, so I came up with my own.  Please make note, however, that I am not a professional so some of this is eye-balled and guess-work…

1/2 cup water
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 eggs, separated
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup passion fruit juice
1/4 cup lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup of guava nectar
food coloring

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees and grease three 9 inch round pans.  Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Make a well in the center of your sifted dry ingredients.  In the well place the oil, water, egg yolks and lemon zest.  Beat with a whisk until it is smooth.  At this point, separate the batter evenly into three bowls.  Add passion fruit juice and a drop of red food coloring to one bowl, guava nectar and orange food coloring to another bowl, and finally the lime juice and zest with green food coloring to the last bowl of batter.  Stir until fully incorporated.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until they hold a stiff peak (**note this is vital…this part really  makes or breaks the cake**).  Add a dollop of the egg white mixture to each of the three bowls of flour mixture and gently stir each. Evenly divide the remaining egg white mixture into the three bowls and gently fold it into the batter.  Pour the three fully incorporated batters into their baking pans.  Try to resist the temptation to tap the side of the bowl as it will kill some of the air that you worked so hard to whip into those egg whites.   Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, or until the top springs back when you touch it.

The frosting I used for this cake is a whipped cream frosting, but its a little sturdier.  In other words, it won’t melt if you let it sit out on the counter for a little bit.  In fact this cake traveled with me to grandmother’s house (nearly an hour drive) and remaining completely in tact.

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before preparing the frosting.  Use an electric mixer to mix the vanilla, sugar and cream cheese.  Pour in the heavy whipping cream slowly and beat until it thickens up and holds a peak.

Frost and enjoy!

While this cake can make it on the counter for the duration of your party, it should definitely be stored in the frig since the frosting is dairy based.

I have to say mine wasn’t as good as the original, but its a fresh cake for a summer day!

Friday Love

15 Jun

Not only is it Friday, it’s officially the first day of summer vacation around these parts.  Woo Hoo!!

Some time ago I fell in love with Picnik for all my photo enhancing needs.  Well, it got bought up by Google.  So it is no longer.  If you managed to get on there before April, you had access to all its features, including the ones that typically cost money, for free.  Sadly, now its gone.

Fear not, friends!  I found a replacement!

PicMonkey is my new go-to for photo editing.  Its easy and doesn’t require a membership or downloading any software.  I used PicMonkey to take a photo I snapped at home of my newborn and turn it into something really interesting and nearly professional.

Sharing some Friday Love!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Short Stacks

14 Jun

Our baseball season ended over the weekend.  After our last game, our team had a potluck party at the field.  Unfortunately for all of us, our game was at 8am!  That meant that not only did we have to be up super early, we had to pull something together to bring to the field with us at 8am…and it had to be appropriate to eat at 10am.

I generally go straight for the sweets, but I’m weird when it comes to eating in the morning.  I just cannot skip breakfast foods.  My husband could easily eat a sandwich and a bag of chips at 9am, in fact I’ve seen him do it.  But I simply cannot eat a lunch food before I’ve had a breakfast food.  Breakfast for dinner, however, is one of my favs!

So, given the timing of our party, I had to bring a breakfast food.  What’s one of my favorite breakfast foods?!  Pancakes!

 

I got up a little early and whipped up your standard pancake batter.  I made about 80 silver dollar sized pancakes.  It sounds like a lot, but goes quick using a griddle.  I was able to get about 15 cooking at a time and they only take a few minutes.

Once cooked, I stacked them 4 high, topped each short stack with a quartered strawberry and skewered them with a bamboo appetizer fork.

I waited until we were about to dig in before drizzling syrup over them.

They were a big hit with both the kids and the parents.  I will definitely make these again.

They are a must have at your next brunch!  Look how pretty they are when they don’t have to travel to a dusty baseball field!

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