Wednesday, May 27, 2009

25 Ideas for Summer Fun!!!!

1. Kool Park Pool
2. Carolina Movie Matinee (just $2!)
3. Udderly Delicious Putt-putt and Ice Cream
4. Bowling at Pin Station, AMF, or Bo's
5. Hickory Dickory Dock
6. Camping in your own back yard
7. Day trip to Lake Hickory
8. Have a family game night
9. Eat dinner outside
10. Tye dye t-shirts
11. Have a Paint day! (tempura)
12. Catch fireflies
13. Bake cookies for the neighbors
14. Plant a garden
15. Have a "field day" with neighborhood kids
16. Have a water balloon fight
17. Go to a strawberry or blueberry farm
18. Wash the car together, then have a bike/trike wash too
19. Visit the Science Center/ Art museum/ Library
20. Picnic at the park & feed the ducks
21. Take a field trip to Discovery Place in Charlotte
22. Roast marshmallows and make s'mores
23. Let the kids play restaurant and cook for daddy
24. Field trip to a mountain stream and go tubing
25. Have a neighborhood game of kickball

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stole It From Martha....

Versatile Vanilla Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Whipped frosting

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath (see page 119). Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with Whipped Frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides. (Store unfrosted cakes at room temperature up to 1 day. Once frosted, serve within a few hours.)

Frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.


Chocolate variation: In step 1, reduce flour to 2 cups and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Top frosted cake with shaved dark chocolate.

Lemon variation: In step 1, add 1 tablespoon lemon zest to flour mixture. In step 2, omit vanilla extract and beat in 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice with buttermilk.

While cakes are baking, bring ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 thinly sliced and seeded lemon and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir ¼ cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. For frosting, substitute 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Any Girl Can Fake It...

Cori's Favorite Easy Lasagna

2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
8 oz. uncooked Mueller's lasagna
1 lb. Ricotta cheese
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 c. Parmesan cheese

Add sauce to hamburger. In 13 x 9 inch pan, spread sauce to cover bottom of pan. Arrange a layer of uncooked lasagna, top with sauce, half of Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. Repeat pressing lasagna into cheese mixture, pour remaining sauce over, making sure all lasagna pieces are covered with sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Do not be concerned with empty space at ends of pan, during baking it will expand and take up most of area.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly. Allow to stand for 15 minutes for better cutting. Cut into squares. Makes 8 big servings.

About Me

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This is our official family homepage. I hope to share pictures, thoughts, prayers, hopes, dreams, and maybe a few recipes too. I am married to my soulmate Shane, who is so good to me. We have two gorgeous, rambunctious, sweet, funny kiddos. Tyler is 8, and Sydney is 5. They keep us on our toes, and we are better in every way because of them! Life can be stressful and hectic at times, but we know that God has us exactly where He wants us to be- we are so blessed!