Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Opening Day, Hall of Fame,… And A Master Bedroom Make-over!

Opening Day, Hall of Fame, And A Master Bedroom Make-over!

Have you ever went to bed so excited about an upcoming event(s) that you couldn’t sleep?

I did that last night….and for sooo many reasons. 

I feel like a little kid as I have waited in anticipation for April 3rd.

You see it is Baseball OPENING DAY!

 

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Are You A Romantic? Master Bedroom Makeover!

Ok, if you have followed me for a while….you know that I am a Romantic.

I confess!

Tis True!

A Hopeless Romantic.

I know…you are probably thinking I have been reading too many romantic novels or watched too many chick flicks and you would be right.

I can’t help it.

 

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Coastal Florida Seafood Boil And Tablescape!

Coastal Florida Seafood Boil And Tablescape!

Whoopee!!!

Today is the first day of Spring and a time of the year full of rebirth and new growth. I have always loved Spring and living in SW Florida our coastal climate for me is like a delicious frosting on a perfectly made cake. 

Living on the coast also means lots of fresh seafood, which has always been a favorite of mine….and it is the season of the stone crab which means fishermen are checking traps and bringing in all kinds of fresh seafood to our markets and restaurants.  

 

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5 Layer Spring Cake!

Ready For Spring Cake!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I am sure many of you are ready for Spring and who wouldn’t want a Ready For a five layer Spring Cake to brighten up the lingering winter doldrums?

Last year, I made this 5 layer cake and was almost pleased with the results….by almost, I mean I did not like the lavender layer on the bottom of the cake. 

In person, the lavender layer was just ok, but when photographed….it was in my opinion, ugly.  So I have been experimenting with cake colors and coloring to achieve that soft, pretty lavender.  I will post the results and the formula that I have come up with…in a few days.  Meanwhile, I am re-visiting this post because we can all use a little Spring right about now.

OK, my dear readers….a couple days ago I showed you a five layer chocolate ganache cake that I made with these cute little Wilton cake pans I found at a craft store.  At the time that I bought them…very inexpensive I might add…the box had the most beautiful pastel colored little cakes with a white buttercream frosting displayed on the front.  So I cut out the pastels to remind me to bake these pretty little concoction only to stash everything away.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Until that is, just before I made the chocolate ganache cake. I commented in that post that I had yet to make the pastel layers that perhaps I would wait until Spring.

 

 

 

Well, folks….it is Spring here in Florida and so I decided if I didn’t do this while I had the little pans out.  You see, they might get shoved back into that abyss of previously written but never finished posts, that many bloggers have stuck in our drafts. Yes, my confession today is that sometimes, I get all excited about a post or recipe and I make and take pics and I start the post and then…..well, then another recipe or decorating tip or a bird flies by or…you get the picture, the draft entries gain a new friend!

Now to the little cakes….

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I prepared the pans with baking spray, parchment paper and and sprayed again with baking spray and a bit of flour for dusting.

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I made the Living Southern White Cake….see recipe below or you can use a white cake mix.

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I scooped a cup of white cake batter into 5 small bowls and mixed in food coloring from the little liquid bottles, I didn’t drag out the pastes….altho, after baking, I do believe the colors might have been a bit brighter had I used my paste or gel coloring. Also, I noted the “Neon” food coloring at the Supermarket has an actual purple color…but I didn’t have those.  Good note for next time.

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And baked for about 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven.  You can see the “lavender” layer looks a bit “muddied”. (upper right corner)  AND when I cut into the cake…it was really not one of the Springy colors I was looking for.  So if you are wanting a lavender layer….experiment a bit with the red and blue food coloring or just buy the “Neon” colors that I mentioned above.

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Lets talk cake now.  I have heard many bakers complain about making a white cake…it really is not that difficult if you follow the directions and be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. The Living Southern White Cake recipe is below in printable form.

However, if you don’t want to venture into making a white cake from scratch….use a white cake mix.  

Then we come to the vanilla buttercream frosting.  Folks this recipe is from my almost 50 years old Betty Crocker cookbook.  It is easy and I am sure you have the 4 ingredients in your pantry as we speak.  Powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla…clear vanilla, if you have it so that the frosting remains as white as snow, but pure vanilla works just fine.  I personally always use butter, but the original recipe says “or margarine” ….so take your pick and the printable Buttercream recipe is below the cake recipe.

OR….you can also buy a mix to make buttercream,  you add butter and water… but if you do that, you might as well make it from scratch. I have also seen buttercream already made up in little containers in the bakery department.

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And there you have it….a Spring Cake with Spring colors….except for the lavender layer! Back to the drawing board on that one.  I think a pale blue might have been pretty too.  You know, I could have kept baking cakes until I found the right shade…but I like “keeping it real”…no filter photography…just an ugly shade of purple. 🙂

Have a great week mu dear readers!

Hugs always.

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Living Southern White Cake
This is an excellent white cake recipe that I found many years ago in Southern Living magazine. The recipe is easy but here are a few tips: If you’re using shiny metal pans, the temp needs to be 350 degrees. Don’t overbeat your butter and sugar… again, you risk too much air. Don’t underbeat your egg whites. Don’t overbeat them, either. Simple huh?
 
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (use clear/white vanilla for the whitest-white cake if you have it.)
  3. 1 cup butter, softened
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 3 cups cake flour, sifted (NOT all purpose flour)
  6. 1 tablespoon baking powder (do not us baking soda)
  7. 5 egg whites
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, and grease and flour paper and allow all ingredients to come to room temperature before starting this cake.
  2. Stir together milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift together flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  4. Beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form; gently FOLD into batter, do not stir into the batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake at *350° for 20 to 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes, then remove from pans to wire racks (remove the parchment paper)
  6. Cool completely (about 40 minutes).
  7. Ice cake with your choice of icing….I like to use Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. It will take about a cup of icing per layer plus the top and sides.
Notes
  1. This cake makes a three layer cake, but you can use two 9 inch pans or you can use a 9X13 baking pan.
  2. *If you are using dark pans or non stick pans, lower the temperature of your oven to 325.
  3. Use a heavy-duty electric stand mixer for best results. Also, lining the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper ensures that the layers come out of the pans with ease.

 
Vanilla Butter(cream) Frosting
Buttercream Frosting is really very easy to make….and there are many recipes that take a little time to make, but this one is a recipe from my old Betty Crocker cookbook and a frosting my Mother made many times. When I started making cakes at a very young age, I made this frosting just like Mom made it and I have never had a complaint
 
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups powdered sugar
  2. 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  4. 1-2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.
  2. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.
  3. Frosts 13×9-inch cake generously, or fills and frosts an 8- or 9-inch two-layer cake.
Notes
  1. This recipe came from my Betty Crocker Cookbook and was called Vanilla Butter Frosting….over the years, the name “butter” was changed to “buttercream”…still the same frosting.
  2. My Betty Crocker cookbook was given to me almost 50 years ago and I have used it so many times, the spine has fallen off. Many of the pages are stained with ingredient spills…but it AND my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook which is almost 60 years old…hold special spots on my cookbooks shelves. No matter how contemporary we become with recipes…the ones from these books are the best and are still used today.
By Betty Crocker Cookbook

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Easy To Make Cozy Flannel Throw….

As I have said before, the Captain and I spend lots of time in the Secret Garden, and on our Lanai. We now spend time in the front foyer, now that we have two rocking chairs… and a cozy flannel throw is great for those nights when it can get a little cool from the ocean breezes off the gulf of Mexico. A lightweight flannel throw is perfect! 

Also, we have been known to make a fire in the outdoor fireplace in the Secret Garden during the colder weather.  We have roasted marshmallows and hot dogs which is so enjoyable until one has to take the blankets or throws back in the house, permeated with smoke.

Not good!

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Mexican Flan

Mexican Flan is a delicious custard with a creamy caramel topping. 

I love Flan! And I love fried ice cream and churros!

The custard is made by baking in a bain-marie…. which is simply a water bath surrounding the custard dish in the oven.

You just put the smaller custard baking dish in a larger baking dish and add hot water to the bigger dish.  This aids in a nice smooth, soft custard.

If you would prefer to use smaller individual baking dishes for your Flan, this recipe adapts easily.

The caramel topping probably tastes more like butterscotch as I find the caramel and butterscotch to be similar.

Be sure to let the flan stand for about ten minutes before running a knife around the edge. then when you invert onto a deep plate, you will have more of the sauce to spoon over the flan.

You can garnish with a dollop of whipping cream, which is always nice.

Family members tell me it tastes more like caramel. 🙂

Please make this and tell me your thoughts.

Have a great day!

thanks and enjoy!

Me

 

Mexican Flan
Serves 8
A creamy caramel custard flan that is simply delicious.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
50 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  3. 5 eggs
  4. 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir sugar over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 15 minutes.
  2. Quickly pour into an ungreased 2-qt. round baking or souffle dish, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, (using a mixer) beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients mixing thoroughly.
  5. Pour over the caramelized sugar.
  6. Place the dish in a larger baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into larger pan to a depth of 1 inch.
  7. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle like jello).
  8. Remove dish from a larger pan to a wire rack; cool for 1 hour.
  9. Refrigerate overnight.
  10. To unmold, run a knife around edges and invert onto a platter with a bit of a rim...my cake plate has such a rim and it holds the sauce so it doesn't run over the edge of the plate.
  11. Cut into wedges or spoon onto dessert plates; spoon sauce over each serving.
Notes
  1. Be sure to let the flan stand for about ten minutes before running a knife around the edge. then when you invert onto a deep plate, you will have more of the sauce to spoon over the flan.
  2. This dish requires a bit of planning as it has to be refrigerated overnight. But it is well worth the effort.
  3. When I prepare a bain-marie which is simply custard sitting in a hot water bath....I wait to fill the water pan after I have set it in the oven. It prevents water from getting into the custard.
  4. Don't ask me how I know this....:)
  5. Ok...I have spilled water into the custard, plus I have spilled the water bath all across the kitchen to the oven.
  6. Just trust me on this one 🙂
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
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