Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce

Yum, yum, yum- pretty much sums it up! Although the coffee cake is delicious on it's own, the caramel sauce takes it to another level!! :) When I make this again I'm going to try adding more rhubarb than the 1-1/2 c. the recipe calls for and see how it turns out; this had a great rhubarb flavor to it that wasn't overly strong but I like a definite rhubarb bite so I'll probably tweak it a smidge next time.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in rhubarb. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.
For topping, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
For sauce, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with warm coffee cake. Yield: 18 servings (1-2/3 cups sauce).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New 'do!

I was able to get all of Eileigh's hair up in pigtails for the first time a couple days ago (that's when these pictures were taken). Eileigh has also begun the upward climb- on everything- and was extremely proud of herself for getting up into the rocking chair all on her own. She took the opportunity to read a few of her favorite books... to herself.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pina Colada Zucchini Bread

I love this new, deliciously tropical version of zucchini bread. Originally I was going to forgo the coconut and rum extracts since I didn't have them on hand but luckily Mike was at the store when I realized it and he picked them up for me- and they definitely make the bread!! Even though this uses 3 c. shredded zucchini I still find I have an overabundance of zucchini from our garden so I know I will be making this recipe often and probably freezing some of the loaves (if they can make it to the freezer before being consumed!!) :)

Pina Colada Zucchini Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon each coconut, rum and vanilla extracts
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chopped pecans (I used pecans, yum!!)


Line the bottoms of three greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the zucchini, pineapple and walnuts.
Transfer to prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Gently remove waxed paper. Yield: 3 loaves (12 slices each).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Class of '99

I am pretty much unable to fully wrap my mind around the fact that I graduated from high school ten years ago. Yes, so much has happened and yes, it does feel like awhile ago- but not TEN years!! Four or five, maybe.. but at that point I was meeting and marrying Mike! More than amazing how fast time goes by. I can't think of what life will be like ten years into the future- I'll be 37 (so close to 40!!) :), Eileigh will be almost 12- so close to being a teenager, and who knows how many other little munchkins we'll have! By that point Eileigh will be closer to high school age than I will be- not that I'd ever wish to go back!! I much prefer enjoying the company of my high school alums as we are now as opposed to how we were then- way too much drama (myself not excepted). It was definitely good to see everyone, their families, and what they've been up to! I really enjoyed being able to see how similar some of the next generation kiddos are to their parents! Eileigh shifted into overdrive with the combination of park, swings, slides, kids, dogs, and lots of people. Mike and I traded off chasing her around and out of things (garbage, other people's purses, etc.) while simultaneously visiting, catching up and eating dinner. We headed home not too long after dinner and Eileigh didn't make a peep when we put her down for bed- I think she enjoyed the evening as much as anyone!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mowing the Lawn

I finally got a couple of pictures of the chore-that-thrills for Eileigh (and Mike too, I think). She rides around in 7th Heaven. :)

Escape to the Coast

After the celebration and wedding of my youngest sister on Sunday, we headed over to the coast that next day for some relaxation and extended family fun. Mike's parents had generously reserved rooms at a great little hotel, Pelican Shores- right on the beach with very close, easy access to get down to the beach (read: not too many steps to struggle up/down). The first day (Monday) was a bit overcast and not at all windy- I have NEVER been to the coast when it has been so calm and wind-less, which made the weather just the right amount of warm. Tuesday dawned bright and sunny and was the windy coast I am used to! We were able to fly a kite (something I haven't done since I was like... ten...) and Mike further amazed me with his mad kite-flying skills. Very impressive. I love it when I think I know most things about him and he surprises me with something I didn't have a clue about! He just kinda shrugged it off and acted like Of course, I should've just automatically assumed he'd be good at it. He is my husband, after all- I should know he'd be good at anything!! :) Crack me up. The rest of the day included pack-up and check-out and then we finished off the trip with a little shopping at the outlets (I got shoes!!) and a jaunt to Mo's for lunch. I behaved myself (for the most part)- no breadbowl with clamchowder this time... although I did manage to polish off a few clamstrips that were calling my name. All in all, a wonderful time!!

I took advantage of Grandma and Daddy playing in the sand with Eileigh and I snuggled into the warm sand and soaked up some clouded sun rays. Eileigh did not actually make those sand castles to the left of the picture. She did, however, destroy them.

My great mother-in-law (and me)

Eileigh's first time in the pool!! She did famously- total water baby. I'm not sure what she liked more, "swimming" in the water, playing around with Daddy, or watching all the other kids in the pool. Regardless I think she loved every minute of it and was rather offended when we took her out. Hopefully I can make plans for a swimming class for her soon!

Normally not a big fan of water in her eyes, splashing seemed to be okay.

The usual "Oooohhhhh"

I love those two.

Beautiful, romantic and wet!!

No words can adequately describe the beauty of this day- or the amazement at the sheer amount of weather that rained down almost constantly after beginning as a sprinkle at the start of the ceremony. However, no amount of inclement weather could dampen the spirits or the love of the happy, beautiful couple as quick adjustments were made not only to the length of the ceremony but also to the location of the reception (from lovely outdoor area to roof overhang and two rapidly-emptied garages). I thoroughly enjoyed the mingling, the food, and the light-hearted banter throughout a decidedly relaxed reception. The new Mr. and Mrs. B. drove off into the clouded sunset for the perfect ending to their beginning while my perfect ending to this extraordinary day came in the form of a hot, hot shower and warm jammies as I climbed early into bed. Congratulations Emi and David!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The hot weather convinced us to buy a little pool for Eileigh to play in!! The water was sufficiently warmed by the sun throughout the day and Boone and Eileigh enjoyed a dip in the evening after our 4th of July BBQ. Boone had a fabulous time splashing around and trying to dive into the water while Eileigh was very serious at first until she figured out how to stand and move around the pool- then the smiles came out.

Very serious at first

She loved to stand up and just walk around (since she isn't allowed to in the tub!)

Classic "Side-eye"

Bottle-cap in the mouth, always in the mouth

Figuring out how to get out..and in..and out...and in...

Cake and Coleslaw

Two new recipes have crossed my path that are potluck/BBQ-perfect and if I'm in charge of bringing the coleslaw/salad or a dessert there is a high probability that I will be bringing one of these delectable options. The cake is a patriotic red, white and blue(berry) cake and the macaroni coleslaw is crunchy and the perfect amount of creamy. (So shall we plan a BBQ- my place or yours??) :)

America's Birthday Cake
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup red food coloring (I used one bottle)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 Tbsp. vinegar plus milk to equal 1 c.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
For sauce, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice until smooth. Add the blueberries, nutmeg and salt; cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Cool.
In a small bowl, whip cream and confectioners' sugar until stiff peak forms. Serve cake with sauce and whipped cream. Yield: 15 servings.

Macaroni Coleslaw
  • 1 package (7 ounces) ring macaroni or ditalini (I used elbow macaroni)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) coleslaw mix
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (I only used one onion)
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 can (8 ounces) whole water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups reduced-fat salad dressing (I used Best Foods Light Mayo)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl; add the coleslaw mix, onions, celery, cucumber, green pepper and water chestnuts.
In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Yield: 16 servings.
**This is actually a "healthy" recipe- a 3/4 c. serving will run you 150 calories, 5 g fat (depending on the salad dressing used) and 2 g fiber


(They're cherries, by the way)