May 29, 2014

My Pretty Picture of Pears

Cudjoe recently painted a picture for me for the kitchen.  I claimed it to be a mother's day gift from him (even though I'm not his mother .  . .  but still).  He painted a picture of pears some time ago.  It graced the walls of our family room for a few years, and then I moved it to the master bedroom, and at some point, I took it down and stored it with other paintings he has done through the years.  We then gave it to his daughter, and she has it hanging in her living room.  It looks great there!

I love, love this painting.  I think the colors are awesome!

It has already proven to be a conversation piece, which I think was his intention.  Isn't it beautiful?


May 27, 2014

Banana Bread

I made banana bread for home and some to take to work.  It was delicious.  I like to heat a slice up in the microwave oven and add a bit of butter.   Awesome.

I made these in oven safe loaf pans.  So cute to give as gifts.  I found these on Amazon.   Of course, these are the ones I took to work.

I love to bake.  It is truly a passion of mine; however,  I can't keep these things around the house, or Cudjoe and I will be tempted to eat - it - all.   I think it is a great way to show my appreciation for my co-workers by bringing them home-baked treats.

If you have someone you'd like to show appreciation for, you might bake them some banana bread.  

Here's how I did it . . .

Banana Bread

1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.   Prepare a 9 x 5 x 3 inch pan by spraying with Canola Oil.  
Cream sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mash bananas with a fork in a small bowl.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add mashed bananas and sour cream to the sugar, butter, and egg mixture and stir until combined.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour butter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool.  Remove from pan.

Serve to family and friends!

(I doubled this recipe for my purposes.) 


May 25, 2014

Sweet Pea Purple Baby Blanket

Tah dah . . .

A friend is having her first grandchild, and the due date is in early August.  The baby shower is next month.   I knitted this sweet little baby blanket with a purple crochet border.

It was fun to knit and great for doing while watching television or listening to a book on audio.  Sort of mindless knitting.  It is stockinette stitch.  Knit one row, purl the next.

I had seen a similar baby blanket on Pinterest and went from there.  I didn't have a pattern.  I just knitted it in stockinette stitch to make it approximately a 42-inch square.

I knit it in 100 percent cotton yarn - I Love this Cotton from the Hobby Lobby.   It is super soft.

I hand washed this in the bathtub with Johnson's baby wash.  And then a good rinse.  I wrapped it in a towel and stepped on it to squeeze the excess water out of it.  Here it is laying on the bed to let it dry. 

And here's a preview of it hanging over the end of the baby bed we have in our guest bedroom for our  sweet baby guests.  This one was fun to make, and baby blankets are gratifying because they are fast, and the recipients are such little sweet peas!


May 18, 2014

White Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This is the best white cake I have ever made or tasted.  I ate so much of it, I went to bed sick - seriously.   Have you ever eaten so much of one thing that you can't even think about eating it the next day?  

I don't usually make cakes "from scratch".    But this, dear friends, was delicious and well worth the extra effort.

This cake is more yellow in appearance and not white because I used whole eggs instead of egg whites.

This is how I made it:

White Cake:

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups 2% milk, at room temperature (Why 2%  milk?  Because that's what I had  on hand)

Strawberry Buttercream:

2 boxes of powdered sugar
2 sticks of butter
strawberry puree
heavy whipping cream

Strawberry Puree:

Fresh Strawberries

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour the bottom and sides of three six-inch round cake pans.  

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and combine.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the mixer in small batches.  Beat on high speed for three minutes, scraping down sides of mixing bowl, as necessary.

Divide the cake batter evenly into three pans.

Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of cakes comes out clean. 

Let the cakes cool.  Remove from pans.

To make the strawberry puree:

Top four to six large strawberries and slice.  Pulse in a food processor with a tablespoon or so of sugar.

To make strawberry buttercream:

Cream butter in mixing bowl.  Add powdered sugar, in batches.  Add in the strawberry puree and heavy whipping cream until desired consistency.  (I used more of the puree than the heavy cream).

To assemble the cake, you will have to cut the dome off of each cake.  Frost in between each layer, stacking them as you go, and then frost entire cake with strawberry buttercream frosting.

Serve to family and friends. 


May 12, 2014

Welcome, Madame Spring!

You're a sight for sore eyes!