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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Another banner for outside my work cube-Summer Sailboat

I started this banner last year and decided I was sick of it laying around unfinished, so finally got it layered and quilted.  I did get the binding on it, but took it to work and finished hand sewing it down and then hung it up right away, so never did get a completely finished picture yet.  Anyway, I am going to post this one until I get one of the binding sewn down!  It's called Summer Sailing.  Looks nice and summery outside my cube.

Lillian's Lemon and Blueberry cake

My Director at work has a daughter named Lillian who loves to bake.  She, in fact, made a whole beautiful display of baked goods, cakes, bars, etc on pedestals for her own graduation party that looked like a caterer did it.  One of the cakes she made was this Lemon and Blueberry cake.  All of the cakes looked delicious, but she made it again recently and her mom shared the recipe for everyone.  I, of course, had to give it a try today.  This would be such a wonderful special occasion cake for anyone!  It's like a light sponge cake with the perfect lemon flavor, not overpowering, yet it's there and then throw in the blueberries with the light cream cheese frosting between the 3 layers and covering it and you have an absolutely gorgeous, delicious dessert.  I had to document it on here so I don't lose the recipe.  The creator was Sally's Baking Addiction.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature1
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (345g) sifted all-purpose flour, (spoon & leveled)2
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk3
  • zest + juice of 3 medium lemons4
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or frozen (do not thaw-- 275g)
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream6
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is completely combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
  6. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
  7. Make ahead tip: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.

Recipe Notes:

This batter will fit into a 9×13 pan. Fill 2/3 full. If there’s extra batter, you can make a few cupcakes. I’m unsure of the baking time since I only typically make it as a layer cake.
  1. Room temperature eggs preferred for even distribution among batter. Simply set into a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using or set out when you set out your cream cheese/butter for the recipe.
  2. Be very careful not to overmeasure your flour. This will result in a heavy, dense crumb. You want a precise 345g all-purpose flour. For a lighter crumb, you can use 3 + 1/4 cups (about 325g) sifted cake flour instead.
  3. Please use buttermilk in this recipe. See note in post about how to make a DIY version at home.
  4. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  5. Use brick-style cream cheese. Not cream cheese spread.
  6. Heavy cream with 30% or more milk fat preferred in frosting for creamiest texture. For a less creamy texture, milk would be fine.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fluffy Pillow Shams for Shellie's Bed

After I made my daughter, Shellie, the quilt for Christmas (previous post), she asked me to make her pillow shams, which I quickly said no to.  LOL.  Wasn't ready to take on another project quite yet and had a lot of other projects in the works.  Well, she looked online and in the stores and couldn't find what she wanted exactly, plus they were expensive, so I finally caved and made her them.  She found some yarn to use, but it isn't her first choice for color..they just didn't have the chenille bulky kind in a color she wanted to match her quilt.  First she wanted the blue in it, nothing close, then green, nothing close, and she didn't want brown because she thought it was just too much brown, so she ended up with red.  She also has some smaller throw pillows with more muted colors, so hopefully it will be nice with those and she will be happy with it all together.  It took me a while to design the size and what I was going to do for it to work out, but I think they fit well on her king pillows.  Hope you enjoy them Shellie!  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Chocolate Chip Date Cake

I know this may surprise some of you, but I was on Facebook this morning!  LOL.  I saw a posting that I decided I had to try today.  I happened to have dates in my cupboard (love date bars and so does my son so I keep them on hand).  The sister of my director from work, Susan Lightner, posted it per a request from someone, so I threw it together..didn't take long at all..and it's definitely a keeper.  One of those more old style cakes from a church cookbook that never fails.  It's much lighter than I expected and  yet moist and tasty.  It smells like heaven when you are baking it besides.  You don't even need to spend time making frosting as it's already built in, so less dishes and time before you can dive in..I added a dollop of cool whip, but real whipped cream would really take it over the top.  Here is exactly how she posted it.  I wanted to use her photo because it suits this cake so well!
and here is a picture of my finished cake!  I only added 1/4 cup of sugar on top and it was plenty to me..probably could even eliminate it if you wanted. *also Spry is shortening-there used to be a brand named that.  I used half butter and half shortening.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mini Quiche's

I made these about 10 years ago and decided it would be a good idea to make some again.  If you follow the recipe they are only 165 calories for two of them and they freeze well.  I thought I'd package them up with 2 in a pack and freeze them to grab for breakfast at work.  You can vary with different ingredients such as a little green pepper, mushrooms, 3 slices of cooked bacon diced up finely, sausage crumble, use all veggies, whatever you like.  I made them with swiss cheese and ham before and that was good too.  You can make a bunch of varieties ahead of time and reheat them for a family brunch.  They are cute and good.

MINI QUICHE:
spray a 12 place muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a medium bowl; add 9 eggs, salt and pepper and whip until thoroughly mixed.  (or you can substitute egg whites in a carton although they will be more bland tasting, or combine half eggs and half egg whites.  set aside.

Toss in whatever ingredients you want into the muffin cups.  (divided into each cup)  I used 2 slices of ham diced tiny, about 3 Tablespoons of chopped spinach (I buy the frozen in a bag and rinse and dry it-then just toss the rest back in the freezer), cherry tomatoes diced up-I used about 6 of them, a little bit of diced onion or green onion, and about 2 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese.  Then using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour the beaten eggs in each cup.   Put the muffin tin on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 20-15 minutes.  Voila, breakfast!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

My Supervisor, Kim, took a two week vacation to Italy recently and when she was there she stayed some of the time with her sister-in-law who would cook for them at times.  One of the last days she made this pasta dish and Kim posted it saying it was one of her favorites.  I asked for the recipe and her hostess was kind enough to share it so I made it tonight.  It was great!  I did a few changes that I will put in parentheses because I was scared of putting white wine in it (not much on wine in food) and I used half hamburger and half mild Italian sausage because I like Italian sausage a little but not a ton of it in my food either.  I couldn't find her cheese she used either, so just substituted a 3 cheese Italian blend instead.

Here is the recipe:

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI PASTA: (per her sister-in-law)
I just sautéed garlic in olive. I used about 2 minced garlic cloves and added a little finely diced onion. Then I added ground sausage. I used about half a lb each of hamburger and mild Italian sausage.  I let it cook through and added about a cup of wine. I used chicken stock. I cooked it till the wine evaporated half way. In the mean time I boiled water with salt added. Once it boiled I added fresh broccoli and let it cook till it was soft. I used a smaller bag of frozen chopped broccoli. Once soft, I scooped out broccoli and added it to the sausage mixture keeping the broccoli water in pot to then cook orecchiette pasta in.  I used about 8 ounces of pasta)  I smashed broccoli with a potato masher and let it cook some more in the pan with the sausage. I cooked the pasta as directed on the package. Then I mixed everything together and added a loooooot of pecorino cheese to it. I couldn't find this cheese, so used a small tub, maybe 1 cup,  of Italian 3 cheese blend.  Voila’!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Second set of washcloths for Yvonne's birthday

I finished my second sister's washcloths for her birthday today.  This set went way slower because life keeps taking up my time!  This set I am calling "Pretty in Pink" because Yvonne likes rose, mauve and pinks a lot.  I used the same pattern as the previous set because I really like the bumpy effect.  I chained 32 for this set, the last one I used 36, but really like the size of these.  I can't believe the original pattern called for 46!  They must have been huge!  I don't like really big cotton cloths, once they are wet they weigh a ton and are hard to manage, I think.  Anyway, one more set for my 3rd sister whose birthday is the 2nd of September, so I have some time.  Have a crochet project to make for my daughter Shellie some king-sized pillow shams for her bed first though.  She brought the yarn over for them about a month ago already..like I said..life keeps getting in the way!