Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shall We Bake Today?

My April calendar pic!

Just had a very loud thunder and lightening storm pass over us this dark and early a.m. You would have thought it was the 4th of July! Whew. Our spring showers have been massive this year, as it has been for a lot of our country. I am beginning to think this spring calendar picture does not say "hope", but, sort of looks like it says "nope"--not quite spring...ha! Maybe so.

This is one of my very most favorite reading, photography, and recipe books, all wrapped into one. I use it a lot and not just for cooking and baking. Sure I have made the refrigerator pickles, and covered supper beans and rice. And, can't forget the peach buckle and lemon sour cream pound cake. All delicious. But, what I really love about this book are the stories that accompany each and every recipe section.....and every recipe has a little background of it's own. The photography is magnificent. Don't you just love a good read that includes recipes and beautiful pictures?

Ohh...sorry! You can't click to look inside. That would have been nice.

So, this book is where I got the recipe for Jenna's birthday pound cake. It is so good and mails rather easily. The first few times I sent this to Jenna, I baked it in a bread pan. Worked out well. Then, I dabbled in making it into cupcakes and then this last time, a little pan cake for mailing.
Do give this a try. It is really a spring delight...the lemon and the butter makes this oh so good. The smell of it baking, is divine.
3 cups all -purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/2t salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

1 t vanilla extract

Grated zest of 2 lemons

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Ok...let's get started. Ready, set and GO!

Oven, 325. Butter and flour a bundt pan.

Let's get right to it and sift the flour and all dry ingredients. Set this aside.

Now, beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add eggs in one at a time, then, the vanilla and zest.

Flour mixture time. With mixer at lowest speed, slowly, slowly and slowly add in flour mixture, alternating with adding in portions of the sour cream. Beat until smooth. Getting so yummy!

Spread evenly into pan. Bake for approximately 1 and 1/4 hour.

This cake nearly melts in your mouth, on it's own, but, you have just got to make the Lemon Syrup.

Take 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup water and 2/3 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Cool.

Now here is a hint....if you adore very thick and tart lemon syrup, you are good to go. If you want it to be a little more sweet, up your sugar and a little more water and adjust to your liking.

Ok...almost done. The kitchen will be smelling more than wonderful at this point. So, when your cake is done, let it cool for 10 minutes. Pour 1/2 of the syrup over your cake. Then, invert onto a wire rack and brush with the remaining syrup.

Now, this recipe ends with ..."let cake cool completely". I dare you to let it cool completely..ha! It is so good hot and cold.

This cake is so fun. I have cut this recipe in half for a bread loaf size pan cake, and cupcake size pound cake. Very fun.

QUESTION... what is your favorite recipe book and why...would love to know and take a peek!

Happy baking to you all! xo

p.s. Now that the baking is done, sewing is next for me. Making a tie, and vest for my son to wear to Prom. Kids at our school are wearing more suits to Prom than tuxedo's these days...hmmm. Ok, we can do that! Show and tell, later gator.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Sunday!

A little reminder that spring and Easter have arrived. Precious new life.

Time for church and new, fresh, spring dresses.

After church, we will enjoy family and friends...visiting, celebrating and eating traditional and not so traditional Easter delights.

And maybe, just maybe, if our "April Showers, Bring May Flowers" holds off a little today...we will walk in the garden and continue to be amazed at the beauty of the earth.

And when Easter Sunday fades away, and everything is still and quiet, before jelly-beans begin to dance in our heads, we will smile as our eyelids gently close, thankful for our lives and the knowledge that Jesus Christ has risen.....

May all of you enjoy this Easter Sunday and the splendor of it all! xo

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'ts your.....BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!

Well, well, well! Somebody is having a birthday today!


I think we should take a little walk down memory lane, don't you? It was a lovely spring morning. It was 9 am to be exact, and a Sunday. My husband had just left to go to an early meeting. I heard the door close and within seconds, and I do mean seconds, I jumped up out of bed because my water broke. I remember the shock and surprise--ha! It was April due date was May 5th. So, a bit early. I of course, fetched my husband home.

Off to the hospital we went. I remember the happy and stunned feeling, that half smile on my was really happening. I waddled into the hospital and was very surprised at how rapid and "true to life" my contractions were. Maybe this baby will arrive fast as lightening?

Silly me.

I remember labor. I will always remember labor. There is no cushioning of the contractions when your water breaks. And why is it that back labor is so out of this world? I vividly remember a fleeting thought---maybe, just maybe if I get up and out of this hospital bed and RUN...RUN like crazy, I can leave these crazy contractions behind. Of course, it was about this time (4pm) that I received an epidural. Relief. And, it is worth noting that this would be the first, but not last time when I was having a baby, that I saw my hubby have to breath into a brown paper bag to regain himself...poor fellow, the epidural was all a bit much for him-ha!

More of the story...

Around 7pm, I remember chuckling to myself and wondering if anyone was aware I was having a baby. This thought came to me from my view from the bed. In front of me, my husband and Doctor were kicking back, drinking juice, having a snack and watching a basketball game on tv...ha! Hello? Remember me? Having a baby over here. Ha!

And, soon enough, at 9:38pm, on April 20th, our little baby girl arrived....all 6 pounds 7 ounces of her 18 1/2 inch long, self. Lots of dark hair and sweet as pie. Whew!

Our lives would never, ever be the same. We were definitely ok with that little fact, and so happy because we were now a family of three.

So, here's to you, Jenna! Oh, I mean here's a picture of Jenna's favorite lemon sour cream pound cake I sent to her. I sent it in cupcake form last year. Hmmm...I think I need to post this recipe, but later, cuz we are having a celebration right now.
So, thank-you, Jenna, for being such a wonderful daughter and forever friend. Through the years, you have made such a significant difference in our family. Being the oldest child, and first born grandchild on both sides of the family, comes with such HUGE responsibility. You have been so successful in this role. You are loved deeply, respected, and admired by all of us, because of how you have lived your life.

And, have a wee babe of your own. She is such a treasure and so blessed to have you, as her mama.

April 2oth, will always be your day (well, and Jared Nelson's--happy b-day, Jared) and the day that your dad and I will always remember...our hearts grew a little bit larger and a little bit softer, and our lives were changed...all because a little bit of heaven joined our family and made all the difference in the world.

Love you bigger than the sky................................

Monday, April 18, 2011

Classic Films for Springtime

I wish I was in Paris.
Those days seem so long ago..

Seeing as I'm in dry, dusty Vegas instead, it has befallen upon me to create a Parisian spring time in our little apartment. May I suggest one of these movies? (Feel free to substitute Sabrina with the later version with Harrison Ford. So good!)

Of course you must make crepes if you watch these in the morning. If you have time to yourself in the afternoon, be sure to have some eclairs or fruit tarts nearby.

Who says you have to go to Paris to have a Paris springtime!?

What other Paris/springtime films do you recommend?

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Dress the Working Man..

I'm hoping you can tell me.

Aaron is moving up the ranks at work this summer which means we can finally buy that boat we've wanted and a second house on the California coast. Just kidding. What is really means is the meager increase he'll get is going to go towards his new "important work man" wardrobe.

He is not the best dresser. And I'm ashamed to admit that I've let it go on too long. From baggy jeans (he's SKINNY) to socks with sporty loafers I've committed major fashion homicide and it's time for justice!

So what should every man have in their wardrobe?

He wears a suit to work everyday with colored shirts (no one wears white). Throw in a few business dinners or weekend events and our weekend dinners at Joe's Crab Shack or Chili's (I know, high class) and the casual day wear of course and that's everything I'm looking for.

French cuffs? Khakis, what do they pair well with? What pieces do you invest money in and which ones can you cheat with? What does your boyfriend, husband, father, secret lover from afar wear that you admire? What are must haves?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Our young women camp fundraiser

Yours truly is the Camp Director for 25 girls in our ward. I volunteered for the job thinking all I had to do was help the girls get ready for camp, then enjoy a week out in the woods shepherding them from activity to activity. Little did I know, that I would be the one planning those activities...buying food for our ward to eat...figuring out how to construct a full working kitchen for us to eat and make 44x36 bandannas for each and construct our flag..attend at least 2-3 meetings per week starting in February....find SUVs we can take the girls to our canoing and repelling activites...find priesthood..plan and execute a camp fundraiser. And many more things. This stake is serious about camp.

It's a big job but I'm actually really enjoying it. Most of the time. Our camp fundraiser was Friday night and it was a RESOUNDING success!!

A chili cookoff-live auction complete with a dessert bar and picture taking area:

Some of the auction items

This cake went for $70!

My little contribution quote tile

There was a group of little girls who herded and played with Madelyn. She was in HEAVEN!

Empty chili cookers!

At the beginning of the night, every family was given a "tab" sheet and paddle. When they were ready to leave Aaron "tabulated" their family donation, any money spent on cookies or special drinks and any acquired auction items. A quick and easy method for keeping track of money.

Eh this one's blurry but Madelyn learning to become an accountant. Yikes!


We only had about half our girls show up which is about right. These girls are so awesome and such strong individuals. We raised enough money for all 25 girls to go to camp. Pheew! What a night!

I'm taking a few days off...gotta catch up on all the house cleaning!

Monday, April 11, 2011


How was the weekend? Ours started out like this...or with this, I should say! Pineapple Upside Down Cake. That brown sugar, buttery, pineapple goodness with a homemade layer of cake....I would give this little delight an A plus. And, I love the cake layer. Not only does it taste very, very good, but, the name of this cake...... "Dinette Cake"----(sigh), just makes me smile. It is such a throw-back from days gone by. Reminds me of the great baking my mom did when I was growing-up.

And, hello to baby Clara. Here she is on her "Blessing Day", wearing the same dress her mama wore when she was blessed. A small group of family and friends celebrated Clara's special occasion. I was so surprised to see how tall my own son is getting...that or my husband and I are shrinking--ha! Maybe the shrinking has begun and we are not noticing it, yet....until now! Love this family. Will really miss them when they move to Georgia in a few months.
HA! Hard to tell in this picture, but, this little guy loves hanging around with my son. They are actually sitting in the same chair...yes, they are both skinny.
And, on a different note, has anyone started planting seeds? We decided to start with some seeds indoors, in that we really don't have the "go-ahead" to plant outside until around Memorial Day weekend. I have high hopes that what we have planted will actually grow. We are hopefully growing Mexican "ponytail" Grass, Moon Flowers, 4"o'clocks, squash, cucumbers, cantaloupe, etc. A little jump start until we can til our big garden spot and plant directly into the soil.
I guess I forgot to mention that we went from the low 50's on Saturday to 83 degree's on Sunday. Windows and doors were wide open in the house. I loved it so much. Had to take a spring walk around our property and discovered my little, tiny blue bulb flowers in full bloom, and a very large dead coyote...yes, a coyote...out close to our barn. I can often hear the yelps of little coyote pups in the night. Not sure what happened, but, spring brings surprises and odd things to the yard....I guess.
We all were hanging out on our back porch, at first...fascinated by the surprise and wonder of spring time extreme heat. My son was loving the warm weather...t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. As he basked in the sun he said, "If you close your eyes and feel the warm breeze, it is just like being at the beach." Amen!

Wish you could have heard all the birds singing and singing. Hubby and I enjoyed sitting on our front porch and reading and reading and reading, until......
...... the birds sang their evening serenade, and the sunset!
Dreamy day!

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