Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chocolate Cake from scratch

This is a great recipe Steven and I baked up just the other night. We made it in the form of a sheet cake, so it would be perfect as a take along dessert for a crowd. Steven wasn't so sure when adding the sour cream to the mixture, but it came out lightly sweet, and didn't last long on our kitchen counter!

1 cup water
2 sticks butter (softened)
3 TB Cocoa Powder (we use Penzey's)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 TB baking soda
8 oz sour cream
2 eggs
Your favorite frosting or powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350*
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter and cocoa powder. cook over medium heat until boiling. Set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream and eggs. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix well. Add the dry ingredients. Beat together until smooth. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. (Do not four the pan.) Bake at 350* for 25-30 mins. Let cool completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.
(We like to sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Mia

Today is a special day. One of our close friends, Mia, is 9 years old today. She and Steven have been friends since they were 3. As time has passed, and nature has taken over, she and Amanda Lily have become closer. Her Mom Heather is one of my dearest friends. Point being....we are "chosen" family. So, the family took a trip down to Vero Beach last week in honor of Mia's special day. We stayed at a fabulous resort Vero Beach Resort and Spa where we all enjoyed Pina Colata's and Strawberry Daiquiri's by the pool.(the kids were virgin, of course) The waves at the beach were awesome! We walked to dinner every evening, and just enjoyed hanging out. As far as gifts go, she is a girl after my own heart....SHE LOVES TO COOK! So, we did a cooking theme. Check out her face when she opened the Williams-Sonoma pie fill we got her. (keep in mind, she's 9) This girl is America's next Top Chef! Here are a couple of snaps. Happy Birthday Mia, we LOVE you!

                 Reading Williams Sonoma Cookbook
                            Beach Babies
                  Opening WS Pie Filling....LOL

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweet Sophie

My only niece, Sophie, had her first dance recital!  She is only 3, but it made all of our hearts proud to see her up on stage, dancing to the Bumble Bee song. My favorite part of the program was when they had the "Father/Daughter princess walk" They played the song "Cinderella" by Stephen Curtis Chapman and had the Dad's escort their daughter's on the stage while telling all about the girls favorite things. It made me cry to see Pete walk her across that stage. After the recital, we all returned to Pete and Heather's house to have a little snack and chat. It was a sweet day.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fun in the sun

These are some fun snaps I took at the beach. The kids have turned into such water babies! Amanda Lily's hair is getting a sun kissed blond look, and they are both blessed with their Dad's easy tan.
Steven hadn't been on a surf board in two years, so to see him up surfing made George happy. Surfing is definitely a family sport being passed down from father to son. I love summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lists of Summer Projects

So, I've made myself a list about a mile long of things I'd like to get done this summer. Craft projects, new recipes, lemonade stands, kids craft projects, etc. I've even cleaned of my cork board in my craft room to make space for ideas that catch my eye. I plan to tack them up there as my "inspiration board", then not take them down til they've each been done. I'll keep you all posted on how that strategy works out for me. (;
In the mean time, here's one project I've been putting off for some time. Repainting the bookshelf hubs constructed in our living room. It is showing almost 5 years of wear. They are a basic white, but the sun streaming through the over sized sliding glass doors gave them streaks of yellow. Also, they are just plain dirt-ay (dirty) Here are the before and after photos. It took about 3 hours from start to finish. I painted them the same shade of white, but it made a big difference. Anyone else gonna break out some paint this summer?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Classroom Brunch/ Baked Cheese Grits Recipe

This week is winding down our 2010-2011 school year. This year has been, well, an education! With it's ups and downs, I am honestly ready for this one to be put in the record books. Both kids worked hard in school this year, and we are so proud of their accomplishments. Amanda Lily brought home her first ever trophy. It is a "straight A" trophy! Yea! Steven's end of the year ceremonies are tomorrow, so I'll have to come back and tell you about his awards afterwards.
I put together an end of the school year classroom brunch in Steven's class. It went really well, and I appreciated all the help I got from the other Mom's with making it happen. The food was all delicious.  The kids really enjoyed the baked cheese grits I made, and several Mom's asked me for the recipe. It's an easy one, courtesy of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (you know, the huge red plaid one)  I thought I would share, since I haven't posted a recipe in a while......Enjoy!

Baked Cheese Grits
2 cups water
1/2 cup quick cooking grits
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese (i used 1/2 cup of each)
1 TBSP butter
pinch of sea salt

In a saucepan bring water to boiling. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the grits mixture into the egg. Return the egg mixture to saucepan and stir to combine. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir cheese and butter into grits mixture until melted. Spoon grits into a 1 quart casserole. Bake in a 325* oven for 25 to 30 mins. Let stand for 5 mins before serving.
You can prepare grits the night before, refrigerate overnight, pop them in the oven in the morning, and they will still turn out lite and fluffy.
                    ALL SMILES IN CLASS TODAY
                     AMANDA LILY'S FIRST TROPHY

Monday, June 6, 2011

American Girl Atlanta

We had a fun filled weekend at the American Girl Atlanta. Amanda Lily brought her birthday gift certificates, and allowance and tooth fairy money that she has been saving for months! She was in HEAVEN. We did lunch at the AG bistro, which was surprisingly yummy. I really enjoyed my spinach artichoke dip appetizer, and classic burger.

Aunt Jessica came along, and we did LOTS of shopping. The Atlanta outlets and malls are some awesome shopping!!!!! I picked up the pottery barn star wars sheets for Steven's bed at 40% off! I've had my eye on those things for years, but could never bring myself to pay full price for them. I was so happy. And, of course, he thinks they are "da bomb" LOL I also scored a pair of Restoration Hardware King sized pillow shams for $1.99 each (originally priced at $38 each) However, Jessica got the deal of the year with a Pottery Barn bathroom mirror/cabinet for $19.99 (Retail price $249) The mirror was cracked, but that's an easy fix!

We had dinner at Maggiano's, then let Amanda Lily swim in the pool where she made a friend from Central Florida. It was a fun girls weekend, that I can see being repeated in the near future!