Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crochet Heirloom Baby Blanket

I've started a new heirloom baby blanket that I plan on donating to our dear friends who are trying to raise money to adopt three orphan siblings from the Ukraine. When it's finished it will be available on their silent auction.

I'm always surprised at how much I enjoy crochet when I return to it! It's so fast and satisfying!

I'm using a 100% mercerized sport weight cotton yarn by Jaeger called Siena that was in my stash. I'm adjusting this pattern, using the main motifs as a smaller center section, then I'll add a wide border to finish.

I woke up early this morning with my fingers itching to keep working on it. That's a good sign that this project will get done quickly!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tegu Magnetic Wood Blocks - Toy Tuesday

Have you seen these amazing blocks?? Made from sustainably harvested tropical hardwoods from a company committed to the economic development of artisans in Honduras, they magnetically connect together in endless variations.

Right now they are offering a chance for an educator or school classroom of your choice to win a complete Classroom Kit! They'll even send a free sample to your educator so that they can feel and sample the blocks. Go here to request the free sample and be entered in the giveaway.

If you want the set now, use the code TEGUSCHOOL in the shop to receive 20% off the Classroom Kit through Saturday, September 15th.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lemon Icebox Cake

 This is my new favorite dessert. Seriously.

Ridiculously easy? Check.
Deliciously yummy? Check.
Satisfies all sorts of cravings? Check.
Tastes like a lemon ice cream sandwich? Check.

Layer graham crackers with Light Lemon Curd and freeze 12 hours. Yeah. It's that simple. 

Baby {K} Turns 10

This sweet little thing turns 10 today. Happy birthday {K}!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hiking with Birthday Cake

Park City, UT overlook from Millcreek Canyon, Salt Lake City, UT
Turning 40 has been somewhat of a traumatic transition, so I made myself TWO birthday cakes. On the morning of my birthday I ate a piece of Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cake for breakfast, packed a piece of chocolate cake to eat for lunch on my hike, and ate another piece before the Mr. and I went out for Indian food for a dinner celebration. 

Did you know that Martha and I share the same birthday? Well. We do.

Eating chocolate cake on your birthday, on a hike, doesn't count for calories. Right?

Mountain meadow - Millcreek Canyon
The boys and I met my sister and her kids in Salt Lake City and we hiked up Millcreek Canyon to the Park City Overlook - which was so gorgeous! Being in the upper mountain meadow, breathing fresh mountain air, was tremendously cathartic and with every gentle breeze I felt the anxiety and fears of getting older and entering a new chapter in my life float away. It was a very clearing and calming experience. I LOVED being in the mountains on my birthday.

My sister Sarah and I on the hike.
A few days later for our monthly Sunday family dinner, I made a super yummy lemony lemon cake. I was so pleased with how it tasted and I'm now obsessing over lemony desserts! I adjusted this lemon buttermilk cupcake recipe and baked it into two 9" cake rounds. I then filled the inside layer with fresh lemon curd mixed with sweetened whipped cream and covered the cake with a yummy cream cheese lemon frosting. OH MY GOODNESS! It was yummy. Like super yummy. Like, wake up and eat lemon cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner when it's not your birthday anymore, yummy.

Please proceed with caution because you might end up eating this whole cake by yourself.

Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe
Preheat oven to 350°F. Makes approximately 7 cups of batter

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Butter two 9”x2” round cake pans. Put parchment circles in pans, butter parchment, then flour pans, tapping out excess flour. Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and lemon extract. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream butter. Slowly add sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat until the butter/sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg until incorporated before adding the next. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients, mixing on low and frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is nice and smooth with no lumps, without over mixing. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes before removing cakes to cool completely on wire racks. Double wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, or up to one week.

When you’re ready to frost the cake, remove layers from freezer. Place bottom layer on cake plate. Pipe a thick bead of Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting around edge. Fill the inside with Light Lemon Curd Filling. Carefully place second cake layer on top and cool 1/2 hour in refrigerator.

Remove cake from fridge. Crumb coat the two cake layers with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Return cake to refrigerator for 15 minutes. 

Finish frosting the cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Serve completely chilled.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 4 cups

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely shredded lemon zest
5 1/2 to 6 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest and two cups of powdered sugar. Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach a spreading consistency.  Frost tops and sides of two 8-inch or 9-inch cake layers.

Light Lemon Curd Filling
Makes about 2 cups

1 cup lemon curd (good quality store brand or home made)
1 cup prepared sweetened whipped cream

Carefully fold lemon curd into whipped cream. Use immediately.

Here's a link to an easy to print recipe:
Lemony Lemon Cake Recipe

Want to know what to do with the left over Light Lemon Curd Filling? Go here for the easiest and best dessert EVER!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Turning Forty

Today is my 40th birthday!

Chocolate cake for breakfast and great things for the next forty years or so. Huzzah!

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