Wednesday, June 24, 2009

glutten for punishment

It's no wonder this michelin tire around my waist never seems to go away.  How could it when the only thing I know how to cook is DESSERT?!?!

Here are a few recent faves.  I thought I'd share because I love finding recipes on blogs.
Hope you enjoy!

Coconut Pecan Cake
* warning *  if you don't like coconut, don't attempt

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding (small)
1 1/3 C water
4 eggs
¼ C cooking oil (I use canola)
2 C grated coconut
1 C chopped pecans

Blend cake mix, pudding mix, water, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed approximately 4 minutes to ensure all ingredients are well blended. Stir in coconut and nuts and blend well. Pour cake batter into 3 greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out “clean.”

One 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
4 T butter
2 C toasted coconut (see below)
2 T milk
3 ½ C confectioners sugar, sifted
½ t vanilla

Melt 2 T butter in a skillet, add coconut, stir over low to medium heat until toasted. Spread coconut over absorbent paper (I use a brown paper grocery bag). Cream 2 T butter with cream cheese. Add milk, then beat in sugar. Blend in vanilla, then stir in 1 ¾ C of the toasted coconut. Frost cake with icing, then sprinkle/press remaining coconut on top of cake. Placing the cake in the refrigerator helps set up the icing for easier cutting.

Bakerella's Cookie Dough Brownies (so easy!)

Recipe go to bakerella's blog.

Banana Cake with Burnt Butter Frosting
This goes into the recipe box for LIFE!

Banana Cake:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (IMPORTANT - I used 1 cup white sugar and a 1/2 cup brown sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk
2 medium ripe bananas, smashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix everything together. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour into 9x13 pan (I used the Demarle sunflower mold). Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Burnt Butter Frosting:

1 cube butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
milk to consistency

Melt butter in pan on stove until foam cooks off and the color is a deep caramel. Pour butter over powdered sugar. Add vanilla and milk to the consistency you want. Beat for about one minute. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If I click my ruby slippers three times....

will I magically reunite with Toto?  

Toto, the toilet, that is.

Life on the cold, hard porcelain ring has not been the same.  Toto was always perfectly heated for my seated pleasure.   Toto did all the work for me.  Gentle spritzes of warm water followed by warm air dry.  Is that too much information?  My point is, I'm back to life.  Back to re-al-ity.

Our trip to Tahoe was a nice break from the day-to-day routine.

Not only were the accomodations OFF. THE. HOOK. (as the young kids are saying these days), 
but, we also got to be with family!

In my 6+ years of marriage with Troy, we have never had an official reunion on his side of the family.  We've had gatherings here and there, but never a planned reunion with all the kids present.  For the first try, we did pretty well, I think.  We were only short one family, but they have vowed to be there next time!  (right guys? You were missed!)

We only had 3 short days in Tahoe, but I think we made the most of it!  Here are some of the highlights.

Hike to Emerald Bay

Watermelon Eating Contest

and the winner is.....Grandpa Bruce!
winner in action

Honorable Mention goes to lucy bean.

Close runners-up!

Rock Jumping

Sand Harbor Beach Play


grandpa bruce & sue

Cousin Fun

Hot stuff Grandma! 
(Coco....are you going swimming?)

Good bye Tahoe.  we love you...

Friday, June 19, 2009

blue skies

We're back!  

Details on the DeGraff reunion to come....

Friday, June 12, 2009

he needed to know.

I guess my kids are brilliant.

Or at least smarter than Jayne's.

Because somehow she gets away with telling her little ones that ice cream trucks are "music trucks" that drive around our neighborhoods and grace us with annoying children's songs.

Not mine.

They know what's inside that truck.
They've seen their neighborhood friends walk away with sweet, drippy popsicles before. And I'll admit, I did spoil them with a frozen treat sometime last year.  I thought they'd forget.

They haven't forgotten.

In fact, by the time I heard the tinkling, tinny sounds of the truck intensify, Jack was already in the street waiting.  (in his underwear, mind you)

So I grabbed a handful of coins (not enough, because wouldn't you know those sugar and water treats will now run you about 2 bones a piece?!?) and ran out into the street.

But this time I didn't care about buying a popsicle.
I had a bone to pick with old Jawahar.

You see, lately he's been driving through the streets around, oh, 7:30 or 8ish PM!  Right around the time my kids have just been read to, prayed with, sung to, and tucked in for the night.
Then they hear a playful rendition of Frosty the Snowman (yeah...don't ask.) and their senses are awakened!

So you can see why I marched right out there with my ONE dollar in coins (not enough to buy and ice cream, just so you know) just to gently tell Jawahar that 3 in the afternoon is a PERFECT time to sell ice cream.  NOT 8!

Our work is done now.
Jawahar knows how the mom with the underdressed kids feels.

So we marched away triumphantly with our treats....4 dollars poorer and 4000 calories richer!


Jack and his endless collection of expressions. 

It was a sad 1st experience for lu bean.

Friday, June 5, 2009

it's early

i rolled out of bed, wiped the sleepies from my eyes and headed straight down to the laundry room to start on the daily (or every other day) task of laundry.  In my partly conscious state of being, I spot treated an entire load of darks with WINDEX.  You can see how I'd make this mistake, right?  They are both blue....

Now off to a shower.  Perhaps I'll try shaving cream for shampoo?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

against the grain

i wasn't raised on crustless sandwiches.

Quite the opposite, actually.

As a kid we never had such options. My dad was a culinary revolutionist, of sorts. He liked to dabble in unusual combinations of food. I once watched him BBQ Ritz crackers with peanut butter and jelly squishing out from the middle. I supposed he thought the hickory smoke of the BBQ would add to his elegant creation?

It was not uncommon for him to return home from work with all the fixins for homemade sushi rolls, or fried up frog's legs, or even rare breakfast cereals from the "grocery outlet" with Arabic writing on the box-front.

We were not given the option to deny these dishes.

Our typical school sack lunch would usually consist of:

* One PBJ on extra sourdough bread.  who eats pbj on sourdough?
* A plastic baggie filled with carrot salad. Oh...never heard of carrot salad, you say? It's shredded carrots mixed with mayonaise, sugar, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds and pineapple. delish. Oh, and we did not get utensils to eat this salad. We were taught to rip the corner off the baggie and SQUEEZE it into our mouths, because "that's how the astronauts eat". Nice one, dad.
* A paper cup with two tablespoons of powdered TANG, covered with saran wrap on the top and sealed with a rubberband. We were supposed to go fill it up at the drinking fountain. Just imagine the mockery we endured from our other ruthless classmates as they sipped from their fancy capri suns and sugary juice boxes.

And again, unless we brought our own money to school, we were given no choice but to eat what was given to us. Or mooch off all our friends, which we did all too often.

My point is, I have not followed in these footsteps.

Instead, I want to give my kids all the things I've been dreaming of since my childhood.

soft, airy wonderbread
sugary cereals
creamy peanut butter
capri suns
fruit roll-ups
brand name snacks
pop tarts

and gosh darnit....CRUSTLESS sandwiches.

So sorry dad. You really built our character by force feeding us your creations and subjecting us to embarrassing situations, but maybe Jack could build character by learning to share his awesome lunch with some dorky kid sucking carrot salad from a baggie? 

just a thought...