Monday, September 29, 2008

Cake Love

Have I mentioned that when I grow up I want my own bakery? OK, only every other day, right? This is the cake I decided to bake for this weekend's dinner at our friend's house. It was a hit, thank you Paula Deen. The recipe for this coconut cake is in her "The Lady & Sons, Just Desserts" cookbook. If you don't have that one, go right out and pick it up. The strawberry shortcake recipe is devine, the peach cobbler to die for. You can probably get the recipe from Paula's website or the Food Network as well.

Step one, enlist the help of the best little sous chef in Texas, or Virginia Beach, or wherever your casa may be:

See why he likes being the bake-a-cake helper? Um-hum, Mama didn't raise no fool!

This cake has a filling that you pour over the warm layers, poke holes with the wrong end of a wooden spoon - you better behave yourself or mama might swat you with the right end of that spoon! Not that I have ever done such a thing....

Whenever I make a cake with more than two layers, I stabilize the layers by poking drinking straws, toothpicks or small dowels into the cake to keep it from shifting. All my peeps know to look out for the straws and it has become a tradition that getting the straw in your piece of cake is good luck.

The icing used here is called 7-minute frosting - because you beat the ingredients over boiling water with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, (well, duh). Watch that cord - if you don't have a double boiler, use a bowl over a sauce pan like I did here, don't let the water level touch the bowl, or your icing will be grainy.

Does that look like some fluffy goodness or what? 7-minute frosting is not as hardy as buttercream or royal icing, so it is best used when the cake will all be eaten that same day and when the weather is not too hot outside.

Look at that big, puffy, snowball of lovliness! Want a bite?

Friday, September 26, 2008

T.G.I.F., Military Balls and Pier 1

It's Friday! Yipee! We are going to a friend's house for dinner and I am in charge of dessert. So I am going to break out my Paula Dean cookbook and savor every page while coming to my delectable dessert decision.

Chief and I are going to the "Khaki Ball" tomorrow night and I am totally underwhelmed by the idea. The idea of chatting up people I've never met and being "sized up" ranks right up there with getting a lollipop stuck in my hair, no fun! I haven't had a mani or pedi in months, I have nothing to wear and I don't even want to get started on my hair root situation. Not working has put a serious dent in my beauty budget - and by serious dent, I mean there is no beauty budget. But as Tim Gunn would say, I'll "make it work".

I got a part time job at Peir 1 Imports for the holidays. I start on Monday. I am really happy about the store discount but when all is said and done I know I will end up owing them money rather making anything by working there.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tasteful Thursday: Pintos, Pico and Cornbread

Look at this bountiful harvest from my own back yard. My sweet sister-in-law, Jenny, makes the best pico-de-gallo. We had it this past weekend while watching the football games. The key to great pico is to use the freshest ingredients. Pico is great with chips and on tacos or nachos, but Chief and I also like to top our beans with it. SO delicious. So yesterday, I cooked up some pinto beans in the crockpot and we had pintos and rice topped with pico-de-gallo and some cornbread (Jenny taught me a secret on the corn bread - and I'll share that with you too.) SO for this super simple pico, here we go:

Dice one medium onion.

Add one or two diced jalapenos to taste - we like it hot!

Add a large diced tomato and some chopped cilantro.

Add salt to taste and the juice of one large lime.

Fiesta in your mouth, I'm telling you!!

Now the cornbread secret, to spruce up that Jiffy mix add one egg and replace the milk with a small container of sour cream. Bake as directed on package and you will get the most moist, smooth textured cornbread - it has a very cake-like consistency. Betcha won't be able to eat just one piece!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vote for Pedro, We Did!

With this political naughtiness going on, I thought we could lighten up the issue of voting a little. We promised Little Chief a pet when he started kindergarten. Well, this year he started 2nd grade, and still no pet. He will not let us forget that we still have not made good on that promise, trust me, he gives us daily reminders.

So when a classmate was giving away free kittens last week, Little Chief, could barely keep himself from exploding off the school bus after school. He came rushing off the bus with visions of kitty cats in his head. I promised we would go look at the kittys when Chief got home from work. Of course, Chief, pretended to have amnesia when reminded of his promise to procure a pet for our Sweet Angel Baby Boy. But finally we wore him down and he said we would look only with no promise to actually bring one home - of course, I knew that the kitty was a done deal at that point, because how is Daddy going to say no to that begging, pleading, face. Oh, and promises were flying like geese for the winter. LC promised that Daddy and Mommy would never even have to worry about food or water or cleaning the litter box, why we wouldn't even know the kitty was there.

Well, we arrived at the Cat House and there were kittys everywhere, big, little and tweeners too. The lady had a son fittingly named "Bam-Bam" who was nothing short of torturing those cats. His Mamma proceeded to tell us that Bam-Bam had an accident with one of the kittens and let's just say it involved a recliner - LC was horrified and we can't even mention the word recliner around here anymore for fear of another round of upset. So needless to say, we felt it was our duty to give one of those precious felines a warm, fuzzy, home. So we voted on which one, loaded him up and saved him from any further Bam-Bam abuse.

So meet Pedro, Pedro Rodriguez or P-Rod for short. He is precious and fluffy and smart and he sure made one little boy and a couple of grown folks real happy. Cheif pretended not to like him a first, but he was the one bathing him and guess who follows Chief around like a little puppy on a string? Yep, you guessed it, this cute little fella.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pumpkins on Parade

My SITSta Tiffany had a precious pumpkin idea to share with us last week and then she asked us all to share our pumpkins creations. It was fun to make these petite pumpkins and I'm still thinking of some great ways to display them.

To see and share your pumkin parade go visit Tiffany.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am no doubt about it a SITS girl. If you are not, honey, what are y'all waiting for? I have meet so many friends over there. Their cute little widget is in the side bar over yonder.

Anyway, those saucy girls are trying to go all "Martha Stewart" on us. I love me some Martha. She is one smart, savvy and well.....saucy lady. So hop on over to the SITS site and become bonafide and do something sweet for Heather and Tiff.

If you want to enter your own blog, go over to Miss Martha's here:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trying To Be Still

So....we are now moved to a new home, Chief is back to work and Little Chief back to school and I am unpacking and trying to settle in. I have been a "worker bee" all my life. I got my first job when I was 15 and have been at it ever since. I have had a multitude of jobs over the years; Everything from Karaoke DJ, to managing a retail store, to medical transcriptionist to my job for the last 5 or so years, a paralegal. Thanks to the military you never really get to stay in one place for long, so you take what you can get - job wise. Unfortunately, none of those jobs have been very fulfilling - they paid the bills though. This time I promised myself to try and find a job that I love rather than tolerate. I am finding that easier said than done though. I feel guilty about not contributing to our household income and in one way feel I should go ahead and bite the bullet and apply for another paralegal job and get some money in the house. But on the other hand I feel I should be true to my commitment to myself. I really want to open a cupcakery that sells specialty party favors and has a "party room" for showers and other events. I have wanted to do this for a long time. I have the talent, the creativity and the work ethic, but the economy and basically fear are holding me back. I mean let's face it - it is not the best time to open a small business these days and I do not have the one years worth of savings that is recommended when starting a new biz. BUT the entrepaneureal spirit is what this country is best known for and people start businesses all the time with little or no capital. So I am torn - compromise (again) or hold out and do what I really want to do.

Last night I was conflicted and worried and generally anxious about these decisions. When I laid my head down, I could not sleep for wondering what I am supposed to do. I don't consider myself a religious person, but I am a spiritual person. I felt a still small voice telling me to "Be Still". So I am going to sit here and try not to take control and be still for a little while, even if I am REALLY fidgeting!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Baaack

Hey Ya'll! Whew, it has been a while (about 2 months) since I blogged. I have been busy settling in to a new home and getting Little Chief settled into a new school. There are still an alarming amount of boxes to be unpacked. Moving is something, I tell ya! We do love our new diggs and have been so busy with painting, refinishing and all kinds of refurbishing. As soon as I can track down my cable, I will import some photos - that always makes blog entries so much more interesting. Well, I am hoping to catch up on some of your blogs - I have really missed my blog buddies. Have a great day!!