Round 2 day 3

Today we had fun, hot chocolate for breakfast, a few errands, like a few decorations for Finn's fishbowl, a trip to the library, and plenty of time for our new obsession, wii Lego games.

Day 2 Round 2

My favorite table at one of my favorite places, with some of my favorite people.

Day 1 round 2

My very wise 7 year old told me that because your heart does not have eyes it can't always see all the good things happening around it.

She has a point. Sometimes what we feel isn't really what's happening in real life. So, we're going to make sure to document all the good that surrounds us.

First up, a great day with friends. Mini golf, hamburgers, Dance Moms premiere and yummy pink grapefruit cocktails. Delicious.

I need this cake. It looks soooo good.

CARROT CAKE with Cream Cheese Pecan Frosting:
Sep 16 2012

 Oh gee….
Would you like a slice of Cake?

Saturday morning, right before I turned on the vacuum,
I turned on the t.v.
Somehow, it magically tuned into the Food Network.
That cute Pioneer Woman .  . . Ree was dressed up & baking.
It just happened to be this beautiful Carrot Cake.
Her Cake probably looked better, but that’s beside the point.

We have lots of Carrots in our garden . . . that garden won’t die!
I’m not complaining, but I am looking forward to the first frost.  Just don’t tell my husband I said that.
Last week:
I made 6 batches of Salsa . . . from Mild to Hot!
I made Plum Fruit Leather.
I made Plum Huckleberry freezer jam
I bottled green beans and also froze some.

so . . . the way I see it, I need a slice of CAKE.
This Carrot Cake is Ree’s favorite and so I figured that it must be darn good.
It is darn good!
It was really good the first day, but the second day it was even better.

I also added chopped walnuts to the batter, as well as a few golden raisins.
Lots of chopped pecans are in the Cream Cheese Frosting.
I like the flavor that the chopped walnuts add to the baked cake and Pecans for the frosting.
Usually one bite is enough . . . but it wasn’t.
I had five
Big Bites with extra frosting!

Since it’s just the two of us in this big house, I was forced to cut the cake in half.
I ran one half to my sweet neighbor who is busily canning as well.
I figured she also deserved a slice of cake!
If you deserve a delicious slice of cake . . . make this cake . . . put extra frosting on your bites.
You can get up and run early in the morning!!!

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adapted from:  Pioneer Woman



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • Butter, for greasing
  • Optional:  add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts to the batter
  • Optional:  add 1/2 cup of golden raisins


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped finely


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the granulated sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and combine. Then add the carrots and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake until done, about 50 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, for the icing: In a larger bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and blend. Then mix in the pecans. Spread the icing on the cooled carrot cake.
Eat. Faint. Repeat as needed.

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Pie-Making 101: How I Overcame My Fear Of Crumbling Crust : The Salt : NPR

I love pie.

Pie-Making 101: How I Overcame My Fear Of Crumbling Crust : The Salt : NPR:
[7 min 47 sec]
CIA Instructor George Higgins checks the slices of pie made by students.
Allison Aubrey/NPR
CIA Instructor George Higgins checks the slices of pie made by students.

If you listen to my story on Morning Edition, you'll understand the generational divide that has led to my fear of making a pie crust.
So when I decided to overcome my fear, I did it the right way. I hopped on a train to the Culinary Institute of America, the nation's premier cooking school, in Hyde Park, N.Y. There I learned the foolproof pie crust formula that chef George Higgins teaches his students. "It starts with 3, 2, 1," he explains.
That's 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat (butter), 1 part liquid. We've laid it out for you in pictures here, to make it easy. And we also share his family's impossible-to-resist blueberry pie recipe that is made with a flaky crust.
But it takes just a bit more than that.
Higgins says a successful baker likes precision. So be sure to measure accurately. Then, of course, there's the technique.
The biggest mistake I made — and this is a pitfall for lots of newbies — was overworking the dough. Chef Higgins made me toss out my first attempt and start over! Less is more. Higgins taught me to handle it just enough to form the dough into a ball. (Kneading is for bread, not pie crust!) It's supposed to look like it's barely holding together.
Here are some other pastry chefs' tips to avoid disaster:
Would-be chefs take notes as CIA Instructor George Higgins demonstrates perfect pie crust.
Allison Aubrey/NPR
Would-be chefs take notes as CIA Instructor George Higgins demonstrates perfect pie crust.

Your butter should be firm, cold and chunky. Ryan Westover, the pastry chef at Poste in Washington, D.C., explains that the chunks of cold butter will slowly release steam as the pie bakes. And this is important: "By releasing steam incrementally, you give the starches and gluten time to form a lattice, or a sort of balloon," he says. And this holds the steam in.
This is how a good pie crust develops its rich, delicate layers of wonderful texture and flavor, Westover says.
Additional temperature tips come from Theresa Souther, a pastry chef and head of the Professional Pastry Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine, a culinary school in Bethesda, Md.
She recommends putting ingredients, including the flour, in the fridge or freezer for 30 to 60 minutes before you begin.
And be sure to use ice water to mix the dough. "Cold temperatures help minimize gluten development," she explains. And if you have too much gluten, you end up with a chewy, rubbery crust.
Also, she says, let the dough rest in the fridge after you mix it and before you try to roll it and shape the pie. Cold dough is usually easier to roll and handle.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at Five Filters recommends: Donate to Wikileaks.

Not sure if this would be better or worse than playing with the bleach pens.

I grew up eating homemade Taffy.
My great grandmother Harriet was a pro.
She had a amazing way of “testing” the candy  to see if it was ready to pull off the heat.
She would simply dip and swirl two fingers in that hot, boiling syrup!
No Cold Water test or Thermometer needed.
If enough of that hot candy stuck to her fingers . . . she knew it was done.
It’s true.
Yikes . . . I don’t do it that way!

 I wanted Soft Salt Water Taffy . . . like the Trolley Square kind of Taffy.
Those of you who live near SLC, know what I mean.
They have many flavors and colors, but our favorite is the Vanilla Nut & the Chocolate.
This recipe is pretty darn close!

I didn’t rely on my fingers for testing purposes.
I mostly rely on the “Cold Water Test,” but also stuck my candy thermometer in for good measure.
FYI:  I pulled my candy off the heat at about 248 degrees.  While stirring it, it seemed too thick to cook all the way to 254 degrees.  I did a cold water test, and sure enough . . . it rolled into a firm ball and stayed that way.  Off!  Off now!  I do believe that I need a new candy thermometer.

This is optional of course, but I added very finely chopped walnuts and stirred well.
I doubled the recipe below and added about 1/2 cup of fine nuts and 2 teaspoons of good vanilla.
You can add color as well as any oil flavorings you would like.
Remember:  You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!

Pour the hot candy into a dish that has been very generously buttered.
Let it cool down until you can hold it comfortably in the palm of your buttered hands.
Now is a great time to clean up all the mess you’ve made.

If you make a single recipe, you can stretch, pull and re-butter all by yourself.
If you double the recipe . . . enlist a less than enthusiastic helper . . . like I did.
Oh look how lovely my husband stretches taffy!

Have a long piece of wax paper ready and willing to hold all your stretched taffy.
Look closely at the long ropes.
See how the back rope is tighter & also whiter in color.
It has been pulled a bit longer than the front rope & cut pieces.
We did this on purpose, to see which we would like better.
The next day, both were good . . . but the softer taffy WON.
Stretch it until it’s lighter in color, but the longer you stretch the firmer the taffy will be.

Cut your Taffy in the length you desire.
We did about 1″ to 1 1/4″ pieces.
My hubbie was the snipper – and he wasn’t as precise as I had hoped.
Laughing . . . I hope he doesn’t read this post!
Cut wax paper and get to wrapping . . . it’s the worst part of the job.
My helper suddenly disappeared and didn’t come back.
Keep your taffy in a zip-loc bag and it will should stay soft & chewy.

Next time I make this, I’m going to make Chocolate Salt Water Taffy.
I’ve watched my Grandma’s do it.
They simply melt a couple squares of Unsweetened Baking Chocolate in the hot candy.
I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day Weekend.
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Makes 24 Pieces


1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup white corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
few drops food coloring
1/2 teaspoon flavoring extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, peppermint, etc.)


  1. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in corn syrup, butter, water and salt.
  3. Cook over a moderate heat until mixture reaches 254 degrees or until a few drops tested in cold water form a ball which holds its shape.
  4. Remove from heat, add a few drops of food coloring and flavoring extract, and pour into a buttered platter. Cool until it can be handled comfortably.
  5. Butter your hands and pull the taffy until it is light in color and firm enough to hold a shape.
  6. Stretch into a roll about 1 inch in diameter and snip off bits with kitchen shears.
  7. Wrap each piece in small squares of waxed paper.
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I really want to try this project with my girls.

DIY Bleach Pen T Shirt Refashion:

 I seem to have an endless supply of thrift store t shirts hanging around just begging for a refashion. 

With hot weather, hopefully around the corner, this yellow shirt seemed just right for trying a new technique.

Bleach pen drawing.....

And it worked.......

It was so easy and fun, I thought I'd share a "how to" at Chic Envelopements.

Day 2

For our 1st official day of summer, we slept in, watched cartoons, and then couldn't decide what to do next, so we...

rode bikes
went to the library
signed up for the summer reading program
made a picnic lunch
rode bikes to the park
had a picnic
played at the park
rode bikes home
and went swimming.