Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome, Lucy Paige...

A dear friend welcomed her 4th child on Saturday, July 21...MY Birthday!
I was able to meet Miss Lucy on Wednesday, at 4 days old.  As soon as I heard the good news of her birth, I made arrangements with  my friend to meet Lucy and bring some goodies and a meal, especially since her husbands first day back to work was on Wednesday.  I have to say, my friend is such a pro at this baby thing...she doesn't get excited or overly react with three older children, with the next to youngest little princess only 18 months of age.  And dad is just as equally calm....they are great parents, whom you can tell love and enjoy their little blessings:)
I could sit and hold Lucy all day long.... 

Monday, July 23, 2012

 With the month of July comes another year older....the best part is I get to share with my Bestie, Kathy:))  If your a frequent follower, you have read my mentioning Kathy is my Best friend.  We have so much in common it's almost freighting sometimes...

Here is a  picture of Kathy and I exchanging our gifts the day of my birthday, to which was also a large gathering at my home for a clam bake later that day.  The clam bake just happened to be on my bday.  When planning a bake such as a clam bake, you have to have it when the clams are plentiful and at a good price.  This seems to be the week around our birthdays.  Kathy and her family actually were at a clam bake the night before ours, there is a short window of time when planning to have a bake during the summer months.  The early weeks of Fall is also a good time for clam bakes and fresh steamed crabs....gotta get em when the price is right!

It's no secret how much I love chocolate!  I just love these prim boxes I was given as a I have an excuse to find a new prim shelf to purchase and display them on;))
 My good friend, Linda arrived later in the day with a HUGE Wilbur Dark Chocolate Bar for me.  Wilbur is the local chocolate factory in my hometown of Lititz, Pa and known for it's Wilbur Buds, in my opinion the chocolate is much richer than Hershey's and much more delectable..! I only eat a small block per day of the candy bar, due to it's rich flavor...

I gifted Kathy a Gift Set I hand chose from Olio,  a new business that recently opened in Lititz. I loved this shop of different Olive Oils for bread dipping and cooking with...I also gave her all the fixings for Baking Fresh Bread and serving it....I Even had 5 loafs of pre- made frozen bread for her to bake in a whim...

Disregard the stuff in my garage behind Kathy;)
Kathy and I have much of the same taste in decorating and just about everything, to which it makes life so easy when it comes to finding the right gift...
As the rest of the gang showed up later in the day, I was over whelmed with the thoughtfulness others showed me with Bday gifts.  My friends, Judy and Carrie gave me a basket of homemade Christmas and Easter Ornaments.  Shown above, Mamma Karen (Carrie's mother) gave me the beautiful Prim Fresh Flower Arrangement she made and my Cousin Linda surprised me with a bottle of White Wine and a ceramic crock for salsa or cheese.  
 Whats a Birthday and Gathering without a cake...!!?
I made this Chocolate Cake I Labeled, "Death By Chocolate"
I was planning to give myself a break from baking and purchase a similar cake from a very High End Bakery which sells their awesome sweets to Restaurants.  When I found out the cake was 70.00, I put baking a cake back on to the "to do list"... 

 I made a Chocolate Cake with Ganache in the middle, Chocolate Icing with another layer of Ganache on top and finished off with mini semi sweet morsels...! There was not a crumb left.  I didn't think I was going to have enough cake to go around...;)

We had such a fun time with the clam bake another gathering is already planned in August...this one will be a covered dish with lounging around and in the pool..
When your invited to my home, you make yourself at home!   

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Time Fun

July has been eventful on the home front.  And that is why I love the summer months!  
Here is a Trifle I made with homemade Pound Cake along with layers of freshly whipped cream, fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries for a gathering pool side during the July 4th Holiday.   The Pound Cake was a big winner!  

Pound Cake Recipe:

3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted cake flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
13 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) (185 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

**To make Cake Flour: For every one cup of AP flour, remove 2 Tbsp of flour and replace with 2 Tbsp of Cornstarch and sift flour, sift again...and again.....

Pound Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter or spray the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about one minute to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg and strengthen the cake's structure.  
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the cake browning too much as it bakes, cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a lightly buttered wire rack.
The Pound Cake can be covered and stored for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months.
Makes one 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf.

Everyone Loved this dessert....!!!  I hope you do also if you get a chance to make it, its worth the little extra work involved for a fresh yummmy tasting dessert....

Have a safe and fun week, my friends...
much love,



Monday, July 16, 2012

 I made this cake this past weekend for a dear lady I've know for over 20 years.  Her birthday was on Saturday and she was coming to the Salon that day for a service.  I surprised her with a cake I knew she would like...

I took a Pineapple Cake Recipe and added a few ingredients of my own...
I added 4 large containers of Stage 2 Baby Food Carrots
1 tsp of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp of Nutmeg
along with the original ingredients....

Since this was a new recipe for me, I did not have a chance to taste test before I gifted the cake.  I received a call on Sunday saying her and her family LOVED the cake..
Later in the day she brought me several pieces for me to try and share.
The cake is DELICIOUS..! 
It is so moist in texture with the spices being just the right amount,
I'm calling it my own version of a..

"Carrot Cake"

I actually got the idea to use baby food from a
 nursing colleague who is a client at the Salon,
she shared her Carrot Cake recipe with me which calls for the carrot baby food.
When I came across the Pineapple Cake Recipe, I liked that the recipe did not have alot of ingredients and thought I'll give it try  and add a few more ingredients of my own.
This cake is a winner and very easy to prepare...

You can prepare this cake in any pan or form.  
I opted to make a double layer since it was a birthday gift.

 2 cups AP flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
4 large containers of stage 2 baby food carrots
20 ounce can (about 2 cups) crushed pineapple, in juice, do not drain
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup nuts- Optional 

Mix all together until smooth. Pour into greased 9×13 inch baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

8 ounces cream cheese
4 T. butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup nuts- optional
Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add Vanilla. Slowly add sugar and blend after each addition. Fold in nuts if desired. Ice cake while still a bit warm. Serves many as this cake is rich and sweet, so cut the pieces small as you can always have seconds.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hello Friends....
It's been a few weeks since we chatted, it's been super busy in my small corner.  I hope all has been well for you and yours!  Here is a little of what I have been up to....
The 4th of July was celebrated with good friends, a cookout and pool time was the main event for the day.  I made a refreshing Trifle for dessert of fresh strawberries,  freshly whipped cream and homemade pound cake which Rocked! if I must say so myself :)   Later in the evening our neighbors set off their annual fireworks.  This year they really out did themselves..!  We had over an hour of "high" fireworks illuminating the night.  It was really spectacular....!  I must back up to the eve of the 4th and share the Birthday gift my son surprised me with....I was treated to Stevie Nicks in concert on the 3rd.  and tickets to another concert in August.  My son has grown up knowing his Mother loves her music and bands/groups from her era.  Funny thing is, when my son was very much into guitar and taking lessons and recording music, his mentor taught him from bands of my he has learned to appreciate "good" music.  Not this crappy stuff of today.  Alot of his music preferences are the same as mine, so when he hears of a favorite of mine on tour, the conversation is one we both can engage in with a little more of a few years between us, LLOL.  Stevie Nicks is not a favorite of his, but the venue in August is to which he also purchased a ticket for himself.  Going to concerts together is one of the best times we have being together and sharing the same like.  The Stevie Nicks concert was Phenomenal...!!  It was a great way to jump start the Holiday...
The weekend following the 4th was my Family Reunion in my hometown of Lititz in our beautiful park.   As always we had a fun time catching up with each other while we consumed all the great food prepared and shared.  I took over the planning and organizing the reunion 3 years ago, so after I finish with one event it's on to the next.  Also on the event schedule were cook outs and gathering invites from friends.  It has been a very busy and fun summer thus far.  This coming week,  I'll be preparing and baking for our Annual Clam Bake.  This is always a fun time with great friends and family.  And the fresh seafood and fixings of a clam bake is so worth the planning and hours of preparations that goes into it.  All this fun-playing during the summer months keeps me on my toes:)  and I'm loving every minute of it!!  Hopefully in August a trip to the beach will be planned, the beach is one of my favorite places.  So stay well, my friends and enjoy these long summer days!  

Until we chat again,  

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