Wednesday, December 29, 2010

best carrot cake I've ever had

I got this recipe from a friend (after she made it and I had some!!!) and Pete and I made it for the Jacks' side Christmas gathering.


For cake:

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan

• 2 teaspoons baking soda

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 4 large eggs

• 2 cups sugar

• 3/4 cup vegetable oil

• 3/4 cup buttermilk

• 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/3 cup fresh pineapple, crushed (I used canned!!!)

• 2 cups carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

• 1 1/3 cups loosely packed shredded, sweetened coconut

• 2 cups finely chopped walnuts

For buttermilk glaze:

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup buttermilk

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For frosting:

• 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

• 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

• 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Recipe continues below ↓



For cake:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Generously butter two 9-inch round cake pans, each about 1 1/2 inches deep. Dust each cake pan with about 1 tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Add the sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and thoroughly incorporate.

Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and 1 cup of the walnuts and mix well, then add the flour and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

For buttermilk glaze:
While the cake is baking, mix together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup and baking soda until well blended in a small saucepan.

Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until heated through and the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Remove the cakes from the oven and put them, still in the pans, on wire racks sitting on baking sheets. Using a toothpick, poke about 20 holes in the top crust of each cake layer.

Do not poke holes deeper than halfway through the cakes.

Whisk the glaze and pour it evenly over the cake layers.

Let the cakes cool completely and then cover them, still in the pans, with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours, or until completely chilled.

For frosting:
In the bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium speed or with a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes or until fluffy.

Add the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Mix slowly so that the sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed and beat for about 1 minute or until the frosting is smooth.

For assembly:
Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator and invert them on a work surface. You might need to run a kitchen knife around the edges to loosen the layers. Put 1 layer on a platter, glazed-side down.

Put about 1 1/2 cups (a third) of the frosting on the center of the cake layer and spread it evenly over the cake. There should be a layer of frosting about 1/2-inch thick.

If the frosting is soft, return the cake to the refrigerator to stiffen it up. Put the other layer on top of the cake, glazed-side down, and frost the top of the cake with about 1 1/2 cups (a third) of the frosting. With the remainder of the frosting, cover the sides of the cakes with a thin layer. With the tip of the spatula, press lightly into the top layer of frosting and pull it up to form little spikes. Repeat over the entire top of the cake.

Lightly sprinkle top of the cake with about 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Press the remaining walnuts onto the sides of the cake. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

flourless cake

I made two of these cakes for a Christmas event. I only used about half of the poppy seeds called for because I just didn't buy enough. I did not use glaze on it as I thought it was sweet enough by itself, though it was not very sweet. I also baked them in a 9" round cake pan as that is what I own.

I give this gluten-free recipe a 2 thumbs up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

the sweater dress

There were a couple of online tutorials that helped me along with this idea... and I am not sure where those links are right now. here is my finished product!

This is made from a woman's sweater. It is the original neckline hem but I sewed it so the neckline was smaller. I wanted to get the bottom of the sweater in the dress (the closer together stripes) so I had to cut the sweater to get the right length for Averi. That left me with an unsightly seam so I thought the belt was a must. I was trying to sew on a belt made of some thicker cotton jean-ish material but had a very rough time sewing that with the ribbing of the sweater. Thankfully months ago I had picked up some random elastic at SAS and happened upon this thick blue elastic that I thought worked just fine for the belt!

Monday, November 15, 2010


1 Christmas or birthday present for Averi... finished!

here's the tutorial. I filled mine with lentils because I had them on hand.

Friday, October 8, 2010

night time listening

My mom gave us this CD before Averi was born. At the time I found it difficult/unappealing to listen to but I guess once I was listening to it with Averi (outside the womb!) it totally changed it for me. We now listen to these CDs very often while Averi is playing before bed or having her pre-bed meal.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

3rd shift house-wife?

Yep, that was me.

Pete started working 3rd shift right after we got married. I did not want to be on an opposite schedule of my new husband so I tried to stay on his sleep schedule as much as possible. I am SO grateful I got to do that when I could (aka, pre-baby) and glad Pete was on board with me doing that too. I felt like I could keep myself fairly busy but I definitely did have some extra time on my hands at times. Here is one project I worked on a lot in the wee hours while I listened to books on tape, sermons, old time radio shows, etc.

I "finished" it a couple days ago. There is supposed to be more (a background...) but I don't know that I would have put in the many more hours it would have taken to finish it "completely". It was one of those projects that I would work on a lot sometimes then not work on it for days/weeks/months etc...

Now to get it framed!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

re-purposing bug

I had a couple uncovered pillows and a couch without pillows on it. I made these pillow covers out of 2 men's shirts. It is not quite the formal sitting room look but I had the shirts on hand (thanks to my mom!) and the colors match our wall colors pretty well.

Tonight I sewed this shirt that I was going to make into something like this but in my excitement of thinking how I could use the buttons to make cool straps I must have cut up the pieces for the skirt. Wow, it's really not that late... I do rather like the straps though. Anyways, this was a woman's button up shirt. I wanted Averi to be able to wear the shirt/skirt combo tomorrow for church but hopefully she can wear the shirt and her corduroy skirt. That is, if it fits!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

homemade pita chips

I made some ww pita bread that turned out rather poorly. I was making this for a party we were attending so pita chips were a possibility anyways but after I saw the pitas they were a must (= For one, I used my bread machine for the dough (which is probably more trouble than it's worth anyways with pita bread) and was not happy with how sticky the dough was after it had already risen (because I was not hand kneading it to know that it needed more flour!). So, I ended up adding more flour which, combined with not following rising times well, turned out a less than beautiful product. Thankfully I have this sweet cookbook and a useful recipe:


4 8-inch whole wheat (or regular) pita breads, cut into wedges

1/4 c olive oil

1 tsp salt

1. Using a kitchen shears, cut around the outside of each pita bread to separate it into two rounds*. Brush the rough (inside) side of each pita with oil and sprinkle with salt. Stack up all the pita rounds and cut the stack into six pieces. (Sixths)

2. Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle and lower-middle position and heat oven to 350. Spread pita triangles smooth-side down over 2 rimmed baking sheets.

3. Bake the chips until they begin to crisp and brown lightly, about 6 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven and flip the chips so their smooth side is up. Return the baking sheets to the oven, reversing their positions from top to bottom, and continue to bake until the chips are fully toasted, about 6 minutes longer. Remove baking sheets from oven and cool the chips before serving.

*I didn't have to cut many of them because most of my pita bread was very flat to begin with.

I thought they were delicious!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a dress

I unwisely did not follow the directions of making it 1 inch wider at the top for a less than 12 month old and/or non-stretchy fabric (both of which apply to this dress) so it is definitely a tight squeeze to get Averi in to. Once she's in it, it fits well! (= I made another one with different fabric that is bigger and stretchier but haven't tried it on her yet.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

a dress at first, a shirt at last

another easy, use-fabric-I-have sewing project

It was going to be a dress till I ripped it (oops) to right about this length. In hindsight, I think it may have been a happy accident. Averi usually wears onesies or shirts unless it's Sunday anyways.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Liberty Ball"

easy patterns/tutorials, that's what I like
I have been given scraps of fabric from here and there. I sewed some together to form this patriotic specimen.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

baby food making

I made one batch and froze most of it in a silicone ice tray. In my opinion, the consistency after freezing/thawing was equally as good, if not better, than the first day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Averi's room

Averi's giraffe room is finally feeling finished
the little sign on the door was from Averi's bassinet at the hospital

the giraffe theme was inspired by the picture above which I saw and liked before we were pregnant. here it is more clearly

I liked "gender neutral" giraffes for our gender surprise baby...

... and the nursery letters, changing pad cover, etc. help make the room more pink for our Averi girl

my favorite part of the room (=

Friday, June 4, 2010


I was recently sharing my feelings of silliness for wanting to share recipes because sometimes I so loosely follow them. This is a great example. I make "it" pretty often and/or have some in the freezer. The only thing is I don't really measure much, use like a #10 of tomatoes from Sam's club that I puree (sans juice), don't use lemons, dump in some-odd packets of peppers from a pizza place, don't use that much EVOO...
it's a great recipe. (=

These next suckers are my, "I want chocolate in the form of bread but don't want to eat 'real brownies'" satisfy-er.
After making them multiple times slightly differently, I liked the outcome of my last batch:



          1. 1

    Combine sugar/salt and wet ingredients, add cocoa, add flour

          1. 2

    Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. (though I went for a double recipe/bigger pan)

I like frozen/cold desserts so I cut them and wrapped them individually in saran and stuck them in the freezer.

Applesauce: so easy and so so yummy
my mom got a killer deal here on apples so we ended spending about $2 for about 30 cups of applesauce

and it's so easy!
I looked at this for guidance but we did not use exact measurements, it didn't need sugar, and we waited for the cinnamon till we topped off our individually servings.

Friday, May 14, 2010

baby carriers

This carrier (by Heather) was so nice for Averi to fall asleep in when she was smaller and we were on the road. I got such comments from strangers as, "She looks like an Anne Geddes baby" as well as, "Is that a baby in there?". I need to hone my skills in using it now that Averi is bigger

I liked the bjorn pretty well until I got to use the next one....

the mei tei (also by Heather) is easy to put on, easier on the back, and feels cozy too!

I like carrying Averi around! (=

Saturday, April 17, 2010

tasty tropical treat

Our wonderful neighbors took us out to Vietnamese food the other month and ordered us something similar to this for one of our desserts. Beans for dessert you may ask? Yep. Different but good. Honestly though the beans were not the highlight for me. It was the coconut milk. Deliciously creamy, icy cold.... I want some more.

While at Trader Joe's I spotted this:

I purchased it.

I like about 1 T. of white sugar per cup of coconut milk served over Sonic ice. The whole can is about 250calories (excluding the sugar) and is rich enough to share with at least one person (that is enough sharing for me).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

chicken noodle soup for the sick (soul)

I was sick
my wonderful husband made me this
I took some pictures and ate

it was very good though extra salt was added while we ate

he did not add the flour at the end (per my request)

it was also very good to be so nicely taken care of (=