Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Southern Style Strawberry Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Southern Strawberry Cake whole

I'm not a girly girl.

I'm not a tomboy either, but I'm not one of those women who paints her fingernails (I like my red toenails in the summer though), or takes a lot of time in the bathroom, or puts on a lot of makeup. I couldn't tell you the last time I applied lipstick. It's been years. I don't enjoy clothes shopping. I'm so short that everything has to be hemmed so it's a hassle.

I don't mess with my hair. It's just has a mind of it's own and I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I just need to let it do it's thing.

Some girly things I do like:

  • I do enjoy the occasional pedicure.
  • I do love to shoe shop.
  • Handbags - forget about it. I would have a closet full if I didn't stop myself.
  • Body Spray - I don't pour it on by the boatload but I do like to smell nice. Bath & Body Works Rice Flower and Shea is my favorite.

I'm not into the color pink. Maybe it's because I never had a little girl? Give me a deep purple, or dusty green and I'm happy.

Sometimes pink is called for and what more appropriate day to make something pink? Mother's Day.

I made a pink cake for my Mom.

It sure was pretty and it tasted good too. I had men eating pink cake and they liked it.

You will too.

Southern Strawberry Cake1

Southern Style Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Joy the Baker
1 (18.5 ounce) box white cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry Jell-o
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour (I didn’t have this, so I just threw a pinch of baking powder in and it worked just fine))
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced.

Preheat the oven to 350.

To make the cake, combine to cake mix, Jell-o, flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the water and strawberries and mix well. Divide the batter evenly into two 8 or 9inch round baking pans that have been greased and floured. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the layers pull away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer the layers from the oven to wire racks. Let them cool, still in their pans, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan, then unmold each layer onto the racks to cool completely.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 (1 pound) boxes powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
pink food coloring
strawberries for garnish

To make the frosting, in a bowl combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat until soft and pliable and no lumps remain. Add one box of the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. Add the second box of sugar and mix until incorporated. If you would like a smoother consistency, and a slash of milk. If you would like a thicker consistency, and a bit more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.

Put the coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle with two or three drops of pink die. Mix with hands to distribute the color and wash hands immediately. Once the cake is frosted, decorate the top of the cake with the shredded coconut and strawberries. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I've been keeping a little secret from you all...

Over the past 6 months or so I had been planning my parents surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary party.

It was so hard for me not to post about it or mention it on Facebook. My Mom reads the blog and is also on Facebook, so there was a lot of messaging going on.

It was so hard to keep things from my Mom. She's at my house 5 days a week for the boys so I could keep nothing at the house for the party. Everything was stored at my sister-in-laws or at my office at work.

This past Saturday the day finally arrived. We had a wonderful party for them at a local Italian restuarant (of course it had to be Italian). My parents were totally surprised and had a fantastic day. We had a video made of their life together. The music.....That's Amore by Dino of course! We saw relatives we haven't seen for years, one of her best friends flew in from Florida to attend, it was just amazing. I'm so glad I got to make that memory for them.

Here's a pic of my Mom and Dad at her Senior Prom:

Mom Dad Prom

And one of them on their wedding day May 19, 1962.

Mom Dad 1962

50 years of marriage!

So besides being busy with the party we have been busy in the yard and garden. That's why I've been a little scarse and probably will be for a bit.

When the sun is shining I just can't sit in the house in front of a computer screen, so you will all have to forgive me.

We've got some projects going on. New bench for the yard, new big birdhouse, decks to be stained, mulch to be put down. We are busy!

I do have some delicious recipes to post! I've made them and photographed them now I just have to find the time to write a post!

Soon..I promise!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Double Decker Peanut Butter Brownies

Double Decker Peanut Butter Brownies

As if the Double Decker Brownies weren't fantabulous enough, I went ahead and tweaked the sugar cookie based recipe and made Double Decker Peanut Butter Brownies.

That's right. I said it.

A delicious peanut butter cookie base topped with a mocha infused brownies toppped off with peanuts, chocolate chips and mini peanut butter cups!!

Even though I'm not a huge peanut butter fan, I know lots of people who are. We had guests over for dinner about a month ago and I knew they both loved peanut butter so I decided to give them a try.

Double Decker Peanut Butter Brownies 1

I think you can tell just by looking at the pictures that these were heaven for peanut butter lovers. I even had one the next day and they were damn good.

My guests went home with a doggie bag. They sure looked happy!

Double Decker Peanut Butter Brownies
1 (1lb, 1/5oz) pouch peanut butter cookie mix (made according to package directions).
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 – 19.5 package milk chocolate brownie mix
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup strong coffee or 1 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved into hot water
1/2 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups
handful chopped peanuts (if desired)

Oven to 350. Press the peanut butter cookie dough into the bottom of a 9x13 inch lightly greased pan. I pushed the dough up a little on the sides too.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, brownie mix, cooking oil and coffee mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread the batter over the sugar cookie dough. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until edges are set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Moose stopping to smell the flowers

Moose taking time to stop and smell the flowers!

Hi everyone!

Mother's Day weekend is fast approaching. I'm sure there are all kinds of Mother's Day posts in the works and delicious recipes that are being shared.

I'm taking a little break from the blog and spending my Mother's Day cooking for my Mom.

I'm baking up a terrific cake (and a few other goodies) which I will share with you all.

I'll be playing in the garden.

I'll be hanging with the Moose.

I'll be reading in the gazebo with my bare feet!

Hope you're doing just what you want to this Sunday.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Bites

Broccoli Cheese Bites 1

Spring has officially sprung here!

After a few months of unsettled weather, the skies are finally beginning to turn blue, the robins are nesting in the trees and birdhouse around the yard, and we have started our yard work.

Yesterday we drove to my brothers to collect large rocks to create a new border around one of our beds. There was a lot of heavy lifting going on, mostly by my husband, and there were a couple of sets of tired arms by the end of the day, not to mention really dirty hands.

At this time of the year I find that my time in the kitchen is replaced with time working in the yard and garden. There is lots of grilling going on and lots of quick and easy eats.

This recipe falls in the quick and easy category. Cheesy broccoli bites!

Broccoli Cheese Bites

Broccoli Cheese Bites
Adapted from a recipe at My Tasty

1 -16 ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli, thawed drained and re-chopped into smaller pieces (use can use fresh too!)
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (I used ½ Italian and ½ panko)

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Form small patties with your hands, and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, turning half way through at the 15 minute mark.

That's it. They are that easy to make...and to eat too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Asparagus Pizza

Asparagus Pizza 1

If I could only pick one vegetable to eat for the rest of my life it would be asparagus.

Not wait, that's not true, it would be a toss-up between asparagus and artichokes.

I can't pick a favorite between those two. I just can't.

I have been know to eat an entire pound all by myself.

Stinky green wee be damned! I love you asparagus!

I get so excited when it's back in season and on sale that I'll buy 3 and 4 ponds of it at a time.

My favorite way to eat it is to roast it in the oven with olive oil and spices, then splash on a little balsamic as soon as it comes out of the open.

Me and a plate of Gus (that's my nickname for it. We are that close) and all is right with the world.

Asparagus Pizza

I made this on a lazy day when the only ones home were me and my oldest son. Between the two of us we gobbled this whole pizza up.

So good.

Asparagus Pizza
Adapted from a recipe at Eating Well. Com
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1 pound asparagus
1 pound pizza dough
1 cup shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese
Salt & pepper

I let my dough rise overnight in a lightly greased bowl covered in plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place away from any drafts.

To roast the asparagus: Lay the asparagus on a parchment lined baking pan. Coat with about a tablespoon of oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast at 400 for about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Combine 3 tablespoons of oil and the minced garlic in a bowl. Set aside.

Position a pizza stone in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450 for at least 15 minutes.

Once the asparagus is cool enough to handle trim the spears to about 6 inches long. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about a 14 inch circle, or however big your pizza stone is.

Carefully remove the stone from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface. Place the dough on the stone and brush it with the garlic/olive oil mixture. Arrange the spears in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese, sprinkle with chives.

Remove stone to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until crispy and golden.

Asparagus Pizza 2