Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Photo Every Day #26 (April 15) Marathon Monday

What an awful day this turned out to be for America, especially my beloved city of Boston. The horror at the Boston Marathon finish line makes me sick to my stomach, and sick in my heart. A good friend of mine was there with her family, cheering on her husband, who thankfully was lightning fast, and had finished long before the explosions. When I heard what had happened, I was SO relieved to check in with her and hear that their family was safely far from that area in a local hotel.

I continue to pray for all the families affected, especially for those who lost a loved one in such a terrible way. I am a beginner and amateur runner myself, but I will continue to run and keep those people in my thoughts when I do. Having walked the Boston Marathon in the past to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, I will continue to do so, and I will keep those families in my heart as I cross that finish line again, year after year. I will not let this act of terror (whether or not law enforcement classifies it as such or not) stop me from pursuing any of those freedoms.

I debated whether to post a photo for this day or not, but in the spirit of celebrating life, I decided I should. I spent that day at home with my kids, mainly running errands, and helping Roni make her penant for her first skating show as a full Commonwealth Figure Skating Club member. She’s excited to be more involved in the show (she’ll be in 3 numbers this year, including one with me – eek!), and she’s excited to have this penant be displayed in the rink that day.

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So if this moment becomes one of those “Where were you when…?” moments, I’m glad I also got to experience joy on this day, and not ONLY sadness and dismay. For that reason, I’m going to share 2 photos today. The 2nd is after we heard the news of what had happened at the Marathon, and to keep them occupied, after dinner, I brought the kids outside to make Pine Cone bird feeders. They loved it!

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Photo Every Day (Easter Sunday) #11 (Mar. 31)

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Sabrina’s haul at the annual Easter Egg hunt.  Eggs full of candy & tiny toys.  And her dress would have been a handy transportation tool, if the eggs hadn’t kept falling out.  She had a great time though, and it was a pretty beautiful Easter Sunday for all of us.

Photo Every Day #10 (Mar. 30)

IMG_2334Happy Easter Cake.  With bunny Peeps (yum!) and dark chocolate pastel m&m’s (double yum!).  Chocolate cake inside, and vanilla frosting.  I made the cake & frosting, and the chicklets helped place the candy for decoration.  I’m almost tempted to skip the ham and go straight to dessert this year.  😉

Prettier than a parking lot puddle too.  Don’t you think so?

Recipe Time: Cinnamon Pecan Pound Cake

So, I’ve barely blogged this year, but here’s what happened Monday.  I went to make a recipe, and I couldn’t find my paper copy of it.  And I was just too lazy to go out to the car to get my work computer because I had *just* e-mailed it to someone earlier that day.  So I decided to wait, get the recipe at work, and make it Tuesday.  Except on Tuesday, after dinner when the chicklets went to bed, I was so tired, I fell asleep about 10 minutes later.  D’oh!

So here it is the night before Thanksgiving, and I’m giving it another shot.  Both the baking and the blogging, because my life would have been a lot easier this week if I’d done this last year.  So, here’s the first of 3 recipes I’m making for Thanksgiving this year.  I’m bringing this one to my nephew’s HS football game tomorrow morning.  It’s technically a dessert, but it’s great for breakfast too, and makes phenomenal french toast.

The recipe is Cinnamon Pecan Pound Cake from Cooking Pleasures Magazine (click the link for the recipe itself, since I assume it’s copyrighted protected.  The following pictures are mine though, from start to delicious finish.

The first thing to note is that it makes TWO loaves.  The first step is to grease & flour the pans.  I use butter and flour, but you can use a shortcut cooking spray with flour already in it, and that should work just as well.

Greased & Floured Loaf Pans

Then, here are the ingredients you’ll need to have on hand, plus all-purpose (I prefer unbleached) flour (which I just keep in a large airtight container, so not very photogenic).  Please do not use cake flour, bread flour, or any other kind of specialty flour.  And you can probably substitute whole wheat flour, but I don’t know if you’d use the same amount or not.  Feel free to experiment with this as you wish, but if you change it, please let me know how it does.  I’d love any excuse to rationalize calling this recipe “healthy.”  Thanks!

When the batter is ready, here’s how it should look in the pans before you bake it:

Prepared Batter (before baking)

Then, when your timer goes off, you’ll want to use a clean (duh!) toothpick inserted deep into the center of each loaf to see if it’s done.  If the toothpick comes out clean, then your loaf is done.  Let it cool enough to flip it out of the pan, and serve warm or cool.  If the toothpick comes out gooey or with any batter stuck to it, your loaf needs more time in the oven.  Put it back in until the toothpick comes out clean.  I usually go in 5-10 minute increments when I need to add time to a recipe.  Also, I know glass v. metal can come into play, but I can never remember which one cooks faster.  For me, the glass one cooks faster, but it’s slightly smaller too, so that could be why.

Also, if (like me), you don’t have 2 identical loaf pans, one loaf will very likely cook faster than the other.  That’s OK.  You just have to roll with it.  Your patience and diligence will be duly rewarded when they’re both done and look like this:

Yum!

Feeling crafty today

With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, I took advantage of a relatively quiet Sunday to make some goodies for the girls to bring to school on Tuesday.

For Veronica’s class, I made my first attempt at Bakerella‘s cake balls (http://www.bakerella.com/category/pops-bites/cake-balls/).  They’re very weird to make, so I hope they come out good.  I made them with strawberry cake, vanilla icing mixed in, and I’m going to dip them in pink melting chocolate.

The recipe I made for Sabrina’s class is just as cute, doesn’t have a weird name, and was VERY easy.  Like, so easy, I could hardly believe they came out to be both tasty and adorable.  Here’s a link to the recipe, and a picture of how they actually came out when I was done with them:  http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/conversation-heart-fudge-683686/

Happy Halloween!

For Veronica’s class this year, they’re not allowed to wear costumes to school (don’t get me started, I think that’s ridiculous!), but they are allowed to bring in treats to share with the class.

So, instead of just buying a bag of candy, I seized an opportunity to make a recipe I saw in a magazine for this creation called “Candy Corn Fudge” and I hope it’ll be a big hit.  The recipe couldn’t have been easier, either!  The only hard part was cutting it after it had set, b/c the knife kept getting stuck in the cold candy corn.

 

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it.  I came from Woman’s Day October 2011 issue (page 114):

Ingredients:  8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature), 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 3 cups white chocolate chips (approx. 18 oz.).

Optional:  2 cups mini pretzels (or broken pretel pieces), 1 cup cried cherries, 1 cup candy corn

Preparation:  Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides.   Mix the cream cheese & sugar in an electric mixer until smooth (approx. 2 min.), then add the vanilla & mix until smooth.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave according to package directions (for me, it was 2 minutes @ 70% power).  Add the chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth again.  Fold in the pretzels & cherries (if used), and transfer to the prepared pan.  Top with candy corn & refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours, and up to 2 days).  Use the edges of the parchment paper to transfer the fudge to a cutting board and cut into 1″ pieces.

The magazine suggests serving each square in a mini cupcake liner, but as you can see, I just stacked them up in a disposable Gladware bowl, which I then covered in foil.

Yum!

Trying out a new look…

What do you think?

No, really?  Do you think it’s too much?

It’s obviously for a special occasion, but I do hope it’s obvious that the special occasion is Halloween.  Does it give away what my costume will be?

For those who I haven’t told, what do you think my costume will be?

And last but not least, should I go to work like this on Monday?  😉