Friday, February 15, 2013

Banana Coffee Cake: It's What's For Breakfast

Last weekend I decided to make Banana Coffee Cake for breakfast.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get butter when I was at the grocery store.  So after a quick search on google I decided to try substituting the butter with applesauce. 

Not only did it work but L and the Girls informed me they liked it better.  So it looks like the change might be permanent.

Banana Coffee Cake
1 cup butter (can substitute 1 cup applesauce)
3 cups sugar (use 2 1/4 cups sugar if using applesauce substitute)
4 eggs
2 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups mashed bananas
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tbs baking soda
2 cups chopped pecans, optional
Cream butter (applesauce) and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Stir in bananas.  Add flour and baking soda to creamed mixture and mix until combined.  Fold in pecans.  Pour into well greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  

Optional frosting
3 tbs milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and pour over warm cake.

On another note, look what L brought home for me Monday night!  Yep, that's approximately two pounds of fudge...guess who wasn't out of butter!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Working Hard Or Hardly Working...

...sometimes it's sort of like the same thing.

Last month AM's and I gathered at M's house to work on preperations for MB's wedding.  Want to know what you get when you mix one mother-of-the-bride, one bride-to-be, one used-to-be wedding coordinator, one would-be wedding caterer, coffee and wine?

A really fun, and yet still very productive, good time.

I made cream cheese mints, rolled them into balls...

 and I played a little.

 I made sausage balls, M rolled them into balls...

and she played a little.

AM's and MB made wedding decorations...

and then AM's decorated herself.

I think we can all agree we partied worked hard...

most of the time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm Not A Vet...

but sometimes I play one in real life.

A couple of years ago our dog, Cricket, had a sore on her cheek that she refused to leave alone long enough for it to heal.  The Girls and I decided the solution to this problem was a "cone of shame".  So we purchased a plastic flower pot basket and made her one.

It worked great.  A week later the sore was completely healed so we removed the "cone of shame" and allowed her to begin putting the traumatic experience behind her.

A couple of months ago our cat, Smudge AKA The Hero, got a tick bite on his neck.  Unfortunately, what started out as a small tick bite quickly became a large sore when he refused to leave it alone.  I tried putting anti-itch cream on it but it didn't seem to help.  We tried making him leave it alone but he would just sneak off and scratch it anyway.  So finally I decided that desperate times called for desperate measures.

Since I couldn't put him in a "cone of shame" I had to come up with something else.  I grabbed one of L's old tube socks and some duct tape and created him what I'm certain he considered to be the "hat of humiliation".  The are no words to describe how excited (yea, that's the word I'm going with) he was when I put that hat on.  Can't you just see the happy radiating off of him?!?!

Can you see it?  I was only able to find camouflage duct tape at the house, but I assured him that was a good thing since it would practically blend in.  Right?  Right?   

I'm happy to report the sore completely healed without any complications, and Smudge can almost look us in the eye again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Let Me Introduce You To Kelly's Cakes!

Have you ever wondered who's responsible for the beautiful cake you see at a wedding reception?  Who is it that has the amazing talent and has invested the tremendous amount of time necessary to create that masterpiece the reception is centered around?

This particular piece of beauty was created by Ms. Kelly of Kelly's Cakes.

But don't be thinking it was just another pretty cake, it was so much more!

The bottom layer had a strawberry filling (with real strawberries)...

 the second layer was chocolate filled...

and the third layer was full of Bavarian cream.

We didn't cut the fourth layer, but rumor has it there was a chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries filling.  Yum!

Check out the calla lilies!  Aren't they beautiful?!?!  And they're edible.  Yep, made by Ms. Kelly herself.

In lieu of a groom's cake the couple decided to have a groom's cupcake tower instead.  And guess what?!?!  That's right!  Ms. Kelly does cupcakes!  Beautifully, I might add.

The finished products!

If you get the chance, go check out Ms. Kelly's Facebook page, Kelly's Cakes; and if you're in the market for a cake or cupcakes for any occasion consider giving her a call.  She makes wonderful products and offers great customer service.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I Don't Do Teeth...Ever!

As a mother you learn to handle anything and everything your kids can throw at you.  I would like to think over the last sixteen plus years I've done pretty well at rolling with the punches, but everyone has their limit.  Mine is teeth.  I don't do teeth...EVER!

I'll change wet or poopy diapers.  I'll hold your head and your hair while you're over the toilet. I do not fear the baby with the grumbly rumbly tummy.  I can get something out of your eye. I'll look at your infected whatever, or feel of your strange lump or bump. 

But do NOT spit your dentures in a cup and ask me to brush them or come to me with your mouth thrown open to assist with the pulling of your loose tooth.  I'm not your girl.  And in this one instance do not consider me your mother, daughter, wife, granddaughter, friend, helpful neighbor, concerned coworker, compassionate fellow church member, or any other such title that would leave you with the impression that I'm going to be of any use to you.

My children learned at a young age that Momma doesn't do teeth.  My idea of helping you pull a tooth is to give you a sugar daddy sucker and instructions to bite down hard.  You think you might swallow it?  It's a baby tooth, it's small, it'll be OK.  Yes, I know I'm putting my Mother of the Year Award in jeopardy...again.

So when one of the few baby teeth NG has left began to loosen she was thrilled, I went into denial.  Lalalalalalalala.....

And tonight when she finally loosened it enough to actually be pulled it was L that got a pair of pliers (that's right, I said pliers) and finished the job for her. 

Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  NG doesn't have to worry about accidentally swallowing that useless to her now 2 year molar, and I'm no longer being held hostage by loose tooth updates. 

A Pinterest Pin: Cream Cheese Mints

The vote for this one is FANTASTIC! 

While planning the menu for a wedding I recently catered (more on that later) I ran across a pin for Cream Cheese Mints.  They're relatively easy to make but they are somewhat time consuming.

I made an experimental batch for a potluck at work, because we all know my coworkers make great guinea pigs.  These mints got wonderful reviews, from EVERYONE!  But the best thing about them? They can be made weeks ahead of time, frozen, and served from a frozen state. That's right, just yank them out of the freezer and throw them on a serving plate.  So three weeks before the wedding we gathered up at M's house to do some major wedding food and decoration preparation.

I made a total of four batches; two batches of Butter Mint in Wilton Sky Blue, and two batches of Almond in Wilton Royal Blue.

You definitely need a mixer to make this recipe.  I used a hand mixer the first time (and provided you're not using a geriatric mixer that's hanging on by it's last grey beater) it works fine.  However, a Kitchen Aid mixer is great if you have it, and thankfully M did.  Just use caution when turning it on after adding the powdered sugar or you might end up looking like something from the Victorian era.  Don't worry to much about the mess though, by the time you're done the kitchen will look like it was the crime scene for a smurf mass murder anyway.

 I couldn't find a scoop small enough to make the balls so I just had to eyeball them.

Four batches yielded approximately 600 mints total.  That's a lot of little blue balls to roll in sugar and mash with a fork.

I got good at it...really good at it.  In fact, I was so good I could do it with my eyes closed (apparently).
Since we planned to freeze them for later use I placed them on cookie sheets and popped them in the freezer for approximately 45 minutes.  After that I stored them in large plastic containers with a piece of wax paper between each layer.  I didn't have any trouble with them becoming smashed or sticking together.  Notice what they're keeping company with?  Yep, we made sausage balls too.  Nine batches of sausage balls, that's approximately 700 balls for those of you that were wondering.

Cream Cheese Mints
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 bag (2 lbs) powdered sugar (you probably won't need all of it)
1/2 tsp. flavored extract of your choice; mint, butter/mint, almond, rum, etc. (I started with 1/2 tsp and then flavored to taste)
food coloring, optional (I used Wilton Icing Coloring and didn't have any problems with it dying teeth)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Beat the cream cheese until smooth and soft.  Add flavored extract and coloring, mix until well blended.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until a stiff mixture forms.  Form small balls, roll in granulated sugar and gently flatten with fork tines.  Store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I've Turned Coco Into Frankenphone!

Am I the only one that can't stand those little red notifications that pop up on the corner of iPhone apps?  I will do everything in my power to get rid of them.

Ever since the newest Apple ios 6 software update was released I've had one of those red notifications on the corner of my settings app, and ever since that little red dot popped up I've been trying to make it go away.  I simple can NOT get the new software to load. 

This week I decided to just bite the bullet.  In a last ditch effort to complete this task I performed an iCloud backup and reset my phone to factory settings hoping it would automatically update to the latest version of software. 

NOPE!  Not only did it not work but when I tried to restore Coco, my temperamental frienemy, to her previous glory I couldn't get that to work either.  The last backup available to me for a successful restore was from August of 2011.   Coco didn't come to live with me until December of 2011, but being the desperate iPhone addict that I was am I clicked the restore button anyway and hoped for the best.

Bless poor Coco's heart, she doesn't even know who she is anymore.  In my desperate attempt to upgrade her software to ios 6.0 I've downgraded her entire content to a 3GS.  It's like a smart phone version of Freaky Friday

To add insult to injury my music was wiped clean and I didn't have time to restore those files from iTunes immediately.  Since I cannot workout without some kind of music I reinstalled the Pandora app and seeded what I thought would be an upbeat station.  I was exactly wrong, but I spent the biggest portion of a 45 minute workout running to rap music.  I am not a fan.  However, I did learn some new vocabulary.  I can't think of a single ladylike, southern, polite, or appropriate setting  in which I might could or should use my newly acquired words; but if I ever find myself on the wrong side of a town, track, shipping dock, or some other Popeye meets Hells Angels vision inducing place and need to defend myself in a round of sudden-death curse word smack down...I think I might have a fighting chance.

My new plan is to take Coco to the nearest Starbucks, order a skinny latte IV drip, and set up a recovery station where I will either resolve the problem and restore her to her former splendor, or she will eventually implode.  If you happen to be in Starbucks and see a frustrated, strung out on low fat lattes woman sitting in the corner talking to a smart phone in the middle of an identity crisis stop on by and say hi!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Pinterest Pin: DIY Shaving Lotion

I'm going to give this one a fifty/ fifty vote.  While it's not quite as good as shaving cream, it does have some great quailities.

A couple of weeks ago, while getting my Pinterest fix, I came across a pin for DIY Shaving Lotion.  Being the mother of two teenage girls (girls that share my toiletries whether I want them to or not) this seemed like a great idea. 

It's definitely cheaper, easy to make, and you can pick the smell of your choice.  However, it is thinner than the store bought product and therefore seems to require more time in the shower.  Some of you might recall that too much time in the shower can bring about the morphing of mean mommy, so the Girls try to avoid letting this con lead to trouble.

The recipe is very simple:

1 cup of shampoo
1 cup of conditioner
5 tbs. baby oil
5 tbs. lotion

Mix all ingredients together.  I used a whisk, this seemed to blend the lotion in better than just stirring with a spoon. 

Let sit for 1 hour.  I got busy with another project and let mine sit for longer than that.

Place in a container. I bought cheap clear plastic soap dispensers. They're easy to fill, and you can see how much is left in them.

Now what I need is a recipe for DIY Hairspray!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Pinterest Pin: Cookies (Colored & Kissed)

The vote goes to fantastic!  X's two!!

While planning the menu for a wedding I catered last month (more on that later) I chose two cookie recipes from my trusty Pinterest account. 

I chose the first recipe because I wanted to make color themed cookies.  The original pin was to make Grinch Crinkled Christmas Cookies.  I adjusted it to make Color Themed Wedding Cookies, and later adjusted it again to make Lemon Drop Cookies.  All of the adjustments are listed in the recipe at the bottom of this page.

I used a cookie scoop instead of two spoons, it just seemed easier.

Since I used a cookie scoop I didn't have to roll them into balls after they were covered in powdered sugar. 

Be careful not to over bake them.
I chose the second recipe because I thought it would be a nice cookie for a wedding reception. I had originally thought I might use chocolate hearts but in the end just used the kisses. On another note, most kiss cookies are a peanut butter cookie base. I HATE peanut butter cookies and therefore refuse to make them. It took me a little while to find the recipe I wanted, but it was totally worth it. 
The original pin was also for Candy Cane Blossoms.  I adjusted the color out of this recipe, and then later replaced the kisses with peanut butter cups.  Don't judge, it really is different than a peanut butter cookie!
I used a cookie scoop for these as well.
I unwrapped all my candies before I baked my cookies.  There won't be time to unwrap them before your cookies cool if you wait.  If you happen to unwrap to many then you'll have to eat them, at least that's what Frugal Me insisted I do.

It will take a while for the chocolate to harden back up, so I don't recommend making these cookies if you don't have time to let them set.


Cake Mix Cookies
1 Box (18.25 oz.) Vanilla Cake Mix (cake flavor can be changed for different flavored cookies)
6 Tbs butter, melted
2 eggs
food coloring of your choice (I used Wilton Icing Colors)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch together, set aside.  Mix melted butter, cake mix, and eggs together until well blended.  The dough will be stiff.  Add in food color and stir until completely blended.
Use a cookie scoop to drop dough into powdered sugar mixture.  Completely coat with sugar and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 -10 minutes depending on how hot your oven gets.  I usually cook my for 9 minutes.  Do not over bake these cookies.  Place on cooling rack.
Kiss Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs milk (I used 1%, but I don't think it matters)
1 cup granulated sugar, place in shallow dish to coat dough before baking
chocolate kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, add egg and vanilla and mix slightly.  Add flour, soda, and salt to butter/ sugar mixture and blend.  Add milk and mix well. 
Use a cookie scoop to drop dough into sugar and coat.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake 8 -10 minutes, I usually cook mine for 9 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss into each cookie.  Transfer to a cooling rack.
On a side note, check out these measuring spoons!  I received these at a wedding a few years ago.  Aren't they cute?
The inscriptions read: a pinch of patience, a dash of kindness, a spoonful of laughter, and a heap of love.