Monday, April 27, 2009
I must admit, when I was a kid, I wouldn't go near this cake. Pistachios? And the dang thing is green! But this is by far my favorite cake and has been since the first moment I got brave enough to try it. It reminds me of spring (probably because it was my grandmother's traditional Easter cake) and is light with a yummy, creamy frosting.
You will need:
2 boxes of pistachio instant pudding
1 box white cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of a carbonated lemon-lime beverage
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 envelopes of Dream Whip
1-1/4 cups milk
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine 1 package pudding, cake mix, oil, eggs, and lemon-lime drink and beat according to cake box directions.
Fold in Walnuts.
Bake in a greased 9x13 pan for 35 - 40 minutes.
Let cool thoroughly.
Beat together 2nd package pudding, Dream Whip, and milk until of spreading consistancy. Frost cake.
My grandmother was all about the sheet cake. I'm sure that if you wanted to, you could make this as a layer cake; refer to the cake package directions and adjust baking times accordingly.
Feast for the Eyes
Now, let's admire some beautiful cakes. All pictures are from Photobucket, the names below the pictures are the photographers.
I love robins. I love the fuzzy, huge hatchlings, the way they hop around looking for insects, their orange breasts, and their beautiful call. That is why I love this cake!
photo by katmin_album
I also love butterflies. I have plants all over my garden to attract them and am always adding more (perhaps I should write a blog about this - hmmmm . . .). These cupcakes make me happy.
photo by lovelyandfierce
Don't you admire bakers who can make beautiful sugar flowers? This cake is amazing and incredibly beautiful.
photo by Misha_Wolf
Wedding cakes. Us girls dream about them. We want ours to be beautiful and the best tasting cake that we ever had. I don't know what these taste like, but they sure are beautiful.
photo by mchper21
I love this cake. I really, really love it. Love it. Really.
photo by katmu_album (who must be an awesome baker)
This is so pretty. It makes me feel like a total girl.
This is our wedding cake. It's not the greatest picture (taken by a disposable left on one of the tables) but it was (really) the best tasting, most beautiful cake ever. Some advice: if you know anyone that is good at cake, have them bake it for you. We spent $100 on this cake baked by a lady who lives the next street over and used to cater. We bought the flowers and greenery at Kroger for $65. It was a Christmas wedding, thus the evergreens, and I had always wanted red roses on my wedding cake, so I bought 2 dozen and let Karen do her thing with them. I couldn't have been happier with this wonderful cake.
Pina Colada Cake
Who doesn't love a pina colada? O.K., I'm sure there are plenty of people, but I'm not one of them. Been drinking virgin coladas since I was a wee one. This cake that my grandmother often made always draws rave reviews. My family eats it up like there will never be another cake baked in the world again. And it is super easy. What more could you want from a cake?
You will need:
1 yellow cake mix
1 can Eagle Brand milk
Pina Colada mix (the same amount as the Eagle Brand milk)
8 oz. of Kool Whip
Coconut (enough to cover the cake
Bake cake in a 9x13 pan according to cake directions.
While still hot, punch full of holes with a fork.
Mix Eagle Brand milk and pina colada mix together and pour over the cake, making sure to cover the entire cake.
Frost with Kool Whip and sprinkle with coconut.
Eat a delicious piece keeping in mind that this cake is very rich; warn your friends before they take a monster piece.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
If you are in New Orleans and you are looking at this view of Jackson square...
...you may notice a heavenly, sugary smell in the air. Simply turn to the right, walk a few steps and you will come upon this institution:
Cafe du Monde originally opened as a coffee stand in 1862. Eventually, beignets were added to the menu. Today, the menu consists of chickory coffee, iced coffee, blended coffee, hot chocolate, milk, and beignets. The coffee is great, but everyone comes for the beignets, as close to heaven on earth as you are bound to get.
About a month ago, my mom showed up at our house with a sack of gourmet goodies from World Market. In addition to some tagliatelli and garlic olive oil were a can of Cafe Du Monde Chickory Coffee and Beignet mix. Immediately, Collin, who constantly watches the Food Channel and had heard of beignets kept bugging me about making them. At first, I had no powdered sugar. Then the time was never right to have a pot of 375 F cooking oil on the stove and a mountain of flour to clean up afterwards. The time finally came, and this morning, Collin helped me create heaven on earth.
This mix is fairly easy to find (I know that they carry it at Giant Eagle), but if you can't find it in your area, you can order it here. Anyhow, they were quite easy to make. 2 cups of mix, 7 ounces of water, mix it together, roll out onto a WELL floured surface (we needed to use LOTS of flour), then cut into 24 squares. Deep fry, cover with mounds of powdered sugar (a must), et voila, beignets.
Obviously beignets at Cafe du Monde. Mine weren't quite so square. But they were just as delicious!
As I said, Collin helped me make them, so I could say that they are so easy to make, a 10-year-old can do it. He did the mixing, I did the rolling, he did the cutting, he put the beignets in the oil, I did the turning and removing of the completed beignets, and he covered them with powdered sugar.
My sous chef. Notice the flour all over the hoodie.
The beignets were enjoyed by all with my husband making the "heaven on earth" face while eating them, my toddler giving a grand "Mmmmmm" with each bite, and the kids making sure that there was more mix so further beignets could be had in the future.
Afterwards came the clean up. There was flour all over the kitchen, and it sort of looked like someone had exploded a bag of powdered sugar in the living room, where Collin, the messiest eater ever, had his beignets.
A particularly sugary area.
Despite the sugar madness, I will be making these again. Did I mention that they are delicious? Which makes the clean up definately worth it.
My Photographic Genius
As I was going through my camera looking at pictures, I came across a series of photos taken when Will got his hands on the camera. They are pretty cool, so I thought I'd share.
I'm not sure how he took them or whose leg that is, but they are quite modern artsy, no? Now concludes the section where I brag about my baby.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Do you often look at the sweaters, accessories, etc. in some knitting magazines and think "Who in the world would wear something that shlumpy and unstylish and, well, ugly?" I do. This is why I am always happy when a new edition of Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting comes out because these are my tried and trues, the magazines that always have stylish, beautiful knits. So imagine my happiness when I happened upon the Vogue Knitting publication Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine and Verena Knitting!
Debbie Bliss Magazine is light, airy, and when you look at the pages you can almost feel springtime. The projects are sophisticated and stylish and you will wish that you had the time to knit all of the home accessories: the Garter Stitch Blanket on page 57 and the amazing cabled afghan (page 45) make me wish there was more time in the day. This magazine is well worth the $7.99 (I know - ouch!) as you could knit the projects for years to come.
Verena Knitting is apparently Europe's top knit magazine (I know because it says so on the cover). Stateside editions have been adapted for American use; you won't see tons of ads for British yarn stores and the like (which is kind of a bummer, I have such a good time reading British Country Living, one of my favorite magazines, and devouring the ads). The patterns, though! The Leafy Bower sweater is simply gorgeous, the cardigan Old-Fashioned Girl is sublime. I also particulary enjoyed the "Go For Glamour" feature as I would love to have any of the sweaters in my closet. Verena sells for $6.99.
Photobucket's anton168 submitted this pic of a knit from a past Verena magazine. Look at that lace! Can you stand it?
Fun Fugly Site
O.K. Before we begin, I suppose we should establish what the term "fugly" actually means. You know when you are reading People Magazine or The Enquirer (admit it, you read it) and you see pictures of celebrities wearing incredibly hideous outfits and you think to yourself, "A blind monkey could dress me better than that," but the outfits are supposed to be fabulous by virtue of the person wearing them? That's fugly fashion. Fabulously ugly fashion. Think top model Agyness Deyn or maybe , just maybe Paris Hilton. Go Fug Yourself is a blog that discusses all things fugly, repeated asks "um, what?", and really is fun to read. Plus it's full of a lot of fabulous people that obviously don't have blind pet monkeys to dress them.
She usually looks incredible, but sorry SJP, this is just fugly!
O.K. So I'm a little snarky. I'm sorry, SJP, I love you and want to be you. But... well... um... what?!? You would have done much better with the "Celebrity" on page 32 of Verena magazine.
Just as an update, I am about a quarter done with the back of my Michael Kors Cardigan. I love knitting this. It looks like it would be complicated, what with all the cables and the shawl collar and the like, but it's really been quite fun, I've only dropped 2 stitches (!!!!), and I will be so Vogue when I wear it! More pics when I'm a little further along.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I love Mexican food but I get tired of making tacos every time I have a craving or my family wants them. So I was quite pleased to find a recipe on the internet that I modified and made my own (you have to improvise when you don't have all of the ingredients, you know). My 10-year-old was impressed and my husband declared this recipe "a keeper." So here's how you do it!
You will need:
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 (16 ounce) bag of shredded cheese (I mixed Colby, Monterey Jack, and Mozzerella)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 jar of the salsa of your choice
1 (6 1/2 ounce) package of corn bread mix
2/3 cup milk
1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
2. Brown the meat in a large skillet.
3. While the meat is cooking prepare the corn bread: add one egg and 2/3 cup milk to the cornmeal mix and stir well.
4. When the meat is fully browned, add the corn (don't drain it), taco seasoning, and the entire jar of salsa and mix well.
5. Pour half of the corn bread mixture into a greased 9x 13 casserole. Layer half of the cheese on top. Then add your meat mixture. Cover the meat mixture entirely with the remaining corn bread mix. Top with the rest of the cheese.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until nicely browned.
7. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
8. Sigh with delight at the tasting of above casserole.
I don't take nice pictures of food; this one is courtesy of paltysma on photobucket.
More Websites to Visit
So what else? I have found a few new knitting sites that I think you may enjoy. See Eunny Knit is Eunny Jang's gorgeous blog about her amazing knitting. Check out this amazing Twisted Stitch Sweater. You will want to knit everything on her blog. Really.
I think I've mentioned Vogue Knitting here before. If I haven't, I have been remiss. A fellow Ravelry member left a post about this page of stitch patterns on Vogue Knitting's website. I love cables and am always happy to have a few more cable patterns to play around with.
I just found this great new e-zine Knotions. It seems to be competing with Knitty, but the thing I like about this site is that I came across quite a few plus-sized patterns that were actually cute! I'd like to knit the Oak Leaf Socks when I want a break from my current sweater project (which is going swimmingly, by the way). Anyhow, enjoy!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Kendall had a skating competition earlier this month (on the 14th, to be exact). She placed 4th out of 11 other girls in her level. I am such a proud mom. She is developing grace and poise and I am continually amazed by the new things that she is able to do on the ice (since I can't even stand up!). I have watched the video of her performance a thousand times in proud mother fashion. I tried to upload it for your enjoyment, but YouTube is not cooperating.
Gotta love this picture of my skating queen
I believe that my baby Will is beginning to take an interest in knitting! Again, so proud! When I knit around him, he must always have a pair of his own knitting needles, and he tries to help by poking his needles into what ever I'm knitting. Yes, it slows the progress, but if I can encourage a future knitter, so much the better!
Collin has ended his YMCA basketball season and is going to start his next basketball season next week. The boy is a basketball monster. Always dribbling a ball, pretending to make free-throws, playing one-on-one down at the courts at the park. It would be nice if there was any length of time where I am not ferrying about two kids to different sporting events while trying to chase a toddler around the sports complex. However, I don't think that day is coming anytime soon, and the kids are so good at their respective sports, so I suppose I should become used to being a taxi driver/cheerleader/nanny.