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Coming Home

 

She’s home! Its been a month since we brought our beautiful little Harlequin home from Kentucky. We obviously have been super busy, not just with the new puppy, but the three bears were here also. That was a very busy weekend! I picked the boys up from their father on Friday (I drove 4 hours to meet them halfway between their house and ours) and the very next day we all drove to Kentucky to meet my Friend with Southern Pride Boston Terriers to pick up our new baby.

Harleycominghome Slept the 7 hour trip home…..

Her official AKC name is Dunn’s Darling Harlequin. We just call her Harley. She is the sweetest little girl. she is also a priss about getting her paws wet, lol… she is doing pretty good at the potty training, unless it is raining. That little girl will put all her weight (less than 10 pounds!) into NOT walking in the yard for her potty break! Silly puppy 🙂

Checking out some of her new toys…..

The boys all enjoyed playing with the puppy and couldn’t get enough snuggles and puppy kisses. Harley, of course was all about playing with her new toys, nipping at little boy fingers and snuggling in her new blankets.

Look at that face! Such a cutie 🙂

After the bears were here for about 2 weeks, we all made a trip south to see the rest of the family for father’s day weekend. We did a lot of driving and visiting and Harley had a blast playing with my mom’s dog Lily. Lily wasn’t to sure about this little puppy coming into her house, but still being quite young herself she took to playing chase with Harley through the house, causing lots of laughter all around.

After a long weekend of visiting we headed home with the smallest of the three bears, who wanted to stay for another 2 weeks. We did some painting, played at the park, watched movies and played Monopoly…the stuff summers are made of, lol. My smallest bear went home this past weekend and now we are trying to get resettled back into our normal routine and also trying to get Goldilocks ready for School. My next post will be on some of the cooking/baking I have done recently. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the puppy pictures!

 

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Puppies and Pineapple Upside- Down Cake

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Isn’t that the absolute sweetest picture! That is my sweet little Harley. She is (in three more excruciatingly LONG weeks!) the newest member of my little family. My sweet friend in Kentucky (@southernpridebostonsterriers) is the breeder and her dogs are gorgeous. At just a little over 3 and a half pounds, my little girl is the smallest of the litter but from the pictures and videos I have been sent she is developing a sweet little personality and from what I am told and some of the pictures and videos I have seen she is going to be a snuggler. Anyway, I just wanted to share my happy news, and i just cant wait to get her home! Oh… and here are a few more cute pics:

Now I want to tell you about this cake. It is moist, a little on the dense side and sweet with a little tang to it. Are you ready?

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Pineapple Upside down Bundt cake! Yep, I said Bundt. It is so delicious! Now, I do not care for Maraschino Cherries, but if you do, you can totally add them in. I don’t so  I didn’t, LOL.

Anyhow, I had made the decision that I wanted to make this cake, so I did what I normally do and went to Pinterest to find a recipe. While there are lots of pinned recipes, which I discovered very quickly were pins and re-pins of the same 3 or 4 blog posts/ recipes, I couldn’t find a single recipe that didn’t start with a BOX CAKE MIX! Sacrilege! I only use box cake mix for one thing, and it ISN’T cake! But that is another recipe for another blog.

Because I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided I would have to create my own. Since all of the recipes call for a yellow cake mix, I knew to get the flavor I needed I would need to use my go to Butter cake recipe for a base. I also knew I would need to change up a few things. I did get the idea for using a bundt pan  instead of a regular cake pan from a pin. I thought it was a stellar idea. I liked the neatness of the pineapple in the pan…the OCD in my brain was very happy ;).

As you can see in the picture with the slices in the pan I also added little chunks of pineapple where some of you might like to put the cherries. But do you see how neat and lined up they are? It’s so PRETTY!  In this recipe you are using a 20 oz. can of pineapple slices and cutting them in half. You are also using all the juice that is in that can, so you need to drain it into a measuring cup for later. I drained the juice into a measuring cup and dumped the slices in a stack into another bowl then used a large knife to slice them in half. Once you have placed them into the cake pan, there will probably be more juice in the bowl. Pour that into the measuring cup too. the total amount of liquid you will have in the cup is 1 and 1/4 cup. This will be a combination of juice and milk. I also add the extracts I use to this measuring cup as well, just to streamline the mixing process. Ready for the recipe? Here we go!

Pineapple Upside-Down Bundt Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3 large eggs

1/4  cup REGULAR Mayonnaise (you can also use a 4th egg, I use mayo for the added moisture)

3 cups cake flour (you can also use All Purpose flour, but the cake will not be as tender)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp rum extract

3/4 to 1 cup pineapple juice (all the juice in the can)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk (remember the total liquid needs to be 1 1/4 cup total between the juice and milk)

20 oz can sliced pineapple

Maraschino cherries if desired

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare bundt pan by greasing and flouring making sure the pan is coated completely. Line the pan with the slices of pineapple (cut these in half). Also if you are using the cherries add them in between the slices. Set pan aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream butter till fluffy, if using mayo add in at this stage. Add sugar, cream together until fluffy. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl if you are using a stand mixer, to ensure even mixing. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in thoroughly. Add the milk  and extracts to the juice in the measuring cup and give a quick stir. Alternating dry and wet, add the flour mix and the juice mix to the bowl in 5 additions, making sure that the batter is mixed completely for the next addition. I use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl all the way to the bottom of the bowl to ensure complete mixing. Pour into the cake pan and smooth the top. Bake in 350F oven for 35-40 minutes or until tester come out with moist crumbs. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes before flipping cake onto a cooling rack and removing from pan. The cake will release from pan on its own if you allow the 10 minutes, Trust me! Serve warm or cool. You can also make a glaze of pineapple juice and powdered sugar for a more pineapple punch.

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This cake is so good! It is tender and moist and you need to go make it right now! You will thank me!  Your taste buds will thank you! LOL. I had a lot of fun creating this cake. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake and Delicious Chicken!

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I get bored with cooking. In reality, that was what started this blog over 4 years ago. There have been gaps in time where I did not blog at all, when life gets in the way and time passes without you even realizing it.

Anyway, when the boredom in the kitchen strikes, I scour Pinterest in hopes of something that looks good, has simple but delicious ingredients and is something I think my family will enjoy. Most of the time, I will find a recipe, read the recipe and make the changes i think need to be made to make it perfect for my Dear Husband and Goldilocks.

Now this dish I found on Pinterest and I liked the recipe, But I felt it needed a little something more. The recipe calls for fresh thyme. I didn’t have any fresh or dried (what? not even dried? Nope! Added to the grocery list! lol) In it’s place I used an Italian blend of spices. Mine came from Publix, but any brand Italian blend will work fine. I also added about a cup of heavy cream to the sauce after the wine reduced down for about 15 minutes and cooked it for another 10 minutes stirring the sauce around to blend the cream into everything else in the pan. chickeninpan

I used the biggest flat  bottom pan I had. After rubbing the paprika, salt and pepper into the chicken breast ( and make sure you rub it ALL over and into all the grooves and crevices.) Melt 1 tbsp of butter in pan with heat set at medium-high. Then cook chicken  on each side of the breast for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken starts to turn golden and crispy.

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Then add in the remainder of the butter and the minced garlic and cook, stirring the butter and garlic until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant. Be careful to not let the garlic burn! I then put in about 2-3 tbsp of the Italian spices in and then about 1 1/2 cups of white wine. Now I used a Pinot Grigio that I had on hand, but any white wine will do as long as it isn’t super sweet. A little sweetness is okay. I let this reduce for about 15 minutes.

chickenwithcream

After I reduced the wine, I added the heavy cream. You could probably use half and half, but I am not sure how using straight milk would do. After cooking the cream and wine together  for about 5 minutes, stirring to mix together, the sauce will thicken a bit. If you need to add more cream you can. I think I used about 1/2 more cream. This will just give you more sauce. If you don’t think you need more sauce, no need to add more cream.

After cooking the cream and wine sauce together, I added 2 big handfuls of baby spinach, covered the pan and let the spinach wilt. Once the spinach is wilted, stir to mix it into the sauce.paprikachickeninwhitewinecreamsauce

Now, as a serving suggestion, the recipe says to serve with GRAIN of your choice. I chose to use a veggie pasta (Barilla make 2 kinds of Pasta that are made of veggies instead all wheat or flour. Both are delicious.) I served  this dish with a side of steamed broccoli.

Dear Husband simply stated I could definitely make this again, lol. I thought it was a hit. Even Goldilocks enjoyed it! Score for Mom!

Now, in my house we like a little sweet after dinner. Since I love to bake, this is rarely an issue, lol. This next little slice of heaven fit the bill perfectly. I am sure that nearly everyone has heard of Pineapple Upside-down Cake, but there are so many delicious variations of Upside-down cake that are begging for a chance. This cake was so delicious, tender and moist. I made 2 changes to recipe linked above. I used cake flour instead of all purpose. I think i have stated before that I prefer cake flour to all purpose for these types of recipes because it make a more tender cake. Either works fine and really is up to you and what you have on hand/ prefer to use. Some cakes need to denser cake to hold things in place, such as a cake that has a lot of heavy chunks of fruit that need to be suspended throughout the cake. The other “change” I made was I added about a 1/4 tsp of cardamom. This spice adds a little more depth of flavor to the cake, especially when combined with cinnamon.

This cake is simple and quick and delicious. I was worried about the caramel in the cake pan sticking and not letting the cake release properly, but the was not the case. As the recipe states, coat the cake pan thoroughly with cooking spray. Do NOT coat the pan in flour at all. The caramel wont release because the flour on the pan will mix with the caramel and create a glue…not pretty! Anyway, after the cake is baked through, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes or more. Slide a knife around the edges to make sure the cake is released from the sides and flip onto your serving plate.

caramelappleupsidowncake

I love how the apples look on the top of this cake. It is so pretty! It can be served warm or completely cooled. It is a moist, lightly sweet, very tender cake that goes really well with coffee.

I hope you enjoyed everything today! If you try either of these recipes I would love to hear how they come out for you. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer! Happy Cooking!

Did I mention Spring is here?

More Flowers and a Delicious Cake

Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The daffodils are blooming… EVERYWHERE!! I have never seen so many in one place. They are such a happy flower.  It makes me want to sing the flower song from Alice in Wonderland

Anyway, I am really enjoying the warmer weather. I have been trying to get in a walk everyday with Goldilocks. there is a 3.1 mile paved trail that follows the river and the canal here. It is a beautiful walk and is a bit of a workout with the hills and such. Add in pushing a child in a stroller to ramp up calories burned… Whew….definitely better than a gym. But I digress….

What i really want to talk about is this Cake….

strawberry yogurt cake

It is Spring in a bite! So bright and delicious. It is full of diced strawberries and a bit of lemon zest. Let me tell you, this cake makes the house smell amazing! The original recipe is found here.

I wait all year for strawberries to be in season to make this cake. It takes 12 ounces or strawberries to make this cake the way it should be made.

ingrediants

That along with Greek yogurt, butter and a little lemon juice give this cake plenty of moisture. The flavors pop in this cake once it is completely cooled, and it has this wonderful lemony glaze drizzled all over…. just delicious. The wonderful thing about this cake is that it isn’t overly sweet. It goes really well with a cup of coffee in the morning for breakfast or in the afternoon with a glass of lemonade.

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Now, I did add a little vanilla to the recipe…Just a teaspoon or 2. It adds a little depth to the flavor and cuts the acidity a little bit.

If you decide to try it, please let me know how yours came out! I love hearing about other peoples baking adventures!

Happy Spring!

Girlie Birthdays and Cotton Candy

Happy 5th Birthday, Goldilocks!!!

A little Delayed, But you know how birthdays are 🙂

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I can’t believe that my Baby is 5 years old! Where does time go? You know those “On this Day” memories that come up on Facebook? Mine has been loaded these last few days with pictures of Goldilocks from birth on through. It is amazing how much they change in the early years. My sisters also posted these cute little picture collages on my wall of pictures they have of her and with her… It all made me a bit teary eyed….

Anyway… before I get weepy…

Since she is definitely old enough to have an opinion about her cake I asked her what flavor she would like to have. We went through all the usual choices, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry…. all flavors that we have had recently. So, I decided to be crazy. I opened up my Pinterest account, went to my cake board, and let her see all of the delicious confections I have pinned there. I have made a lot of what is there at some time or another but there were some new ones there too. She had fun swiping through them on my phone with me and found what she wanted. The cake she chose has to be the GIRLIEST cake I have every laid eyes on. This cake is Pink, Fluffy, has sprinkles… What more could a little girl ask for?

The original recipe and idea can be found here. While I loved the idea, I don’t care for White cake or almond extract and had decided when I pinned the recipe initially that I wouldn’t use the cake noted.

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I used my go to cake, a soft, light, moist Butter cake recipe. I added a little extra vanilla and half a cup of sprinkles and Voila! Confetti Cake!

I was really happy with the way the cake itself turned out. Light, fluffy and moist with wonderful pops of color from the sprinkle all through the cake.

Next up was the frosting. This frosting isn’t Buttercream. It is what is commonly known as Cloud Frosting. It’s a mixture of egg whites, sugar, a little light corn syrup, flavoring and, in this case, a little color. The first three ingredients are cooked to 160 degrees. This cooks the egg whites and kills any bacteria and also melts the sugars to a syrup. Then you whip that stuff like crazy!! it turns into this gorgeous fluffy, marshmallow-y meringue type frosting. It is sticky at first, but easy to spread and tastes delicious.

This is the frosting about halfway through the whipping process when I added in the pink color and the flavoring.

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Now the recipe in the tagged blog uses actual cotton candy Flossing sugar. I wanted so badly to try it with that and looked for a full day all over town trying to find it. I looked online to see if there were any stores that carried it in my area…. and of course… there was not. I didn’t have time to order it in so i decided to improvise. I made the basic Cloud frosting and added both Strawberry and vanilla flavor to it as it was whipping to get that nice glossy pink and the delicious flavor of pink cotton candy (which, if you didn’t know, is a mix of strawberry and vanilla). I think it came out perfect. I loved it!! and Even better, Goldilocks loved it too!! It is definitely a pretty cake.

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Here it is, in all its pink frosted glory. And yes the frosting is supposed to be rustic…to give the feeling of a cone of cotton candy. If you have a sweet tooth, this cake will satisfy.

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One last Picture, for those of you who like to see the slice! Full of Sprinkles and as my sister so eloquently put it “Holy Frosting!”

Just delicious 🙂

 

I will be posting the recipe I used on a separate post. Enjoy!!

 

 

It has been a VERY long time….

It has been nearly two years since the last time I posted. There have been a LOT of changes in my life. First things first, I still love to cook and bake like a crazy person and am currently putting together recipes and and doing a lot of thinking about a business plan for opening a bakery.

As for the changes, they are HUGE. I’m mean, life changing huge. First change, shortly after the last post I made, the hubs told me he wanted a divorce….yeah, super fun! Four kids and he wants a divorce. Ok, well….

Fast forward about 2 years. The 3 bears live with their father and goldilocks lives with me. That’s not the way it should be! Is probably what most people are thinking. It’s not ideal, but it is the only way that things would work for everyone involved. The boys wanted to love with their father, and honestly, even with the amount of child support I COULD have gotten, I would still have not been able to survive. Numbers is something that I am good at. Iran and re-ran numbers trying to get it so I didn’t have to separate my children, but it just wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted to make sure ALL of my babies were taken care of the way they should. 

Now, I am currently engaged to a wonderful man, I have a great new job, and am working towards completing some goals that could take my life in a wonderful direction. I will be able to do more for my babies and be successful too. Goldilocks is 3 now! She is talking up a storm, has an adorable personality and is simply beautiful. My oldest bear just turned 11! I feel like they are all growing up so fast, but I am thankful that they are all healthy and happy. That is my life goal, to make sure they stay healthy and happy and grow up the right way. I want to give them the life they deserve (doesn’t every parent?) and I am doing my best to do that. 

I will be adding more cooking and baking blogs soon, so stay tuned……..

It Finally Came!!!

It has been an exciting week (for me) here. I received my much desired Cornflower Blue KitchenAid stand mixer!! It was an early birthday gift from my Nana. She knew I wanted one, as we discussed it at my brother’s birthday earlier in the month. I had mentioned that they had been on sale the week before, so we checked to see if it still was (is wasn’t 😦 ); so she told me to keep an eye out for the next time it was on sale anywhere and she would give me a check for it then. I was soooo excited!! I have wanted this exact one since…I don’t know when, but I wanted it! With all the cooking and baking I do for the family, it was only going to make my life easier.

Well, over the last few weeks I had been religiously checking for this coveted item to be on sale. On Father’s Day I struck Gold! I found it on sale, with Free shipping! WooHooo!  We were going to lunch that day at Nana’s, so I could tell her about it then.

While we were preparing lunch for the Dad’s we started talking about cooking, which led to baking, which led to Nana asking if I had found my mixer on sale yet. I told her I had…and the rest is history, as they say. So, without further ado, here she is 🙂

I was waiting for the UPS truck like a child waits for Christmas morning! After ordering, it took less than four days to get to me.  I highly recommend EverythingKitchens.Com…They are expedient, and you don’t pay tax on your orders (unless you live in Missouri) and free shipping on most items…you really can’t beat that. Plus, there are often coupon codes available for $ off a certain amount (google it 🙂 )

Anyway, I had to try it out, and my Mom bought me a Simply Sweet magazine chock full of cupcake recipes. After some deliberation between my mom, sister and I,(and my mom had some really ripe bananas that needed to be used) we decided that I would make these:

The perfect combo of two delicious desserts!

Banana Pudding Cupcakes! (Recipe here) The perfect combination of two of my very favorite things! I have loved Banana pudding all of my life, and I am not talking the artificially flavored banana pudding, I am talking about the fresh ripe banana slices layered with Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding and whipped cream. Creamy goodness in a bowl. When I saw this recipe, I knew it had to be made. Everyone in my family loves banana pudding, so I knew they would go fast 🙂

While the recipe calls for the Store-bought Nilla wafers, I opted to find a recipe for them and make them fresh. This is why I LOVE Pinterest. It makes it so easy to find a recipe for something, and has fast become my go-to for ideas 🙂 I quickly found the recipe and whipped up the cookies and then set about making the cupcakes. FYI, after making them, I decided that making the filling first (after the cookies) would have been the best way to go about making all of the various pieces of this cake. It has to cool completely before using.

These cupcakes are delicious! They are everything I was hoping they would be. They smell divine while baking. The cake is something like banana bread but sweeter and more tender. With the addition of the banana curd filling and whipped cream topping and the cookie…OMG….I was in Heaven! Definitely a delightful twist on a classic dessert, and I think would be a hit at the next Summer barbecue 🙂 A word of warning….These are addicting…Friends will be asking for the recipe, asking for you to make more, even offering to buy the things needed to make more, just so they can shove their faces full again and again. Yeah…they are that good. Hint: these need to be refrigerated, and they are super this way as well as freshly made.

For more finger-licking deliciousness…Stay Tuned….