Weekend fun

I spent this past weekend in California for the Craft and Hobby Association show (CHA). I had an excellent time walking the show, observing industry trends, and catching up with old friends. It was a successful and super quick trip for me. Packed with inspiration and walking... in on Saturday morning, out Sunday night.  

Chris and the boys also packed their weekend with fun. They made Indian food (Andrew did most of the cooking and directing), attended baseball and soccer commitments, sledded (big cottonwood) and watched movies. Chris sent me pictures from their weekend and I was quickly jealous of their good time. I don't leave the kids very often anymore...

Hope you enjoyed some highlights from our weekend(s). More CHA pictures in a future post.





















Thanksgiving round up
























We had an excellent Thanksgiving holiday. We were blessed to have Chris' mom, sister and kids (Nina & Billy Jack) share this day with us. They are out west on a 10 day vacation and are visiting most of the national parks in southern Utah.

This is the first Thanksgiving I have exclusively cooked, from the appetizers, to turkey and sides, to pies. The consumers approved and said I did a great job.

I brined the turkey and used this amazing recipe. It worked great, really easy to do. 


















I made most if the sides the day before and got them all ready to cook.  You may recall the sweet potato recipe (here) from a few years ago. I also made quick dinner rolls. So easy. While we did have a few vegetables, I made a "salad", more like a pretzel dessert. But the recipe called it a salad, we are going with it.

We ate, relaxed and enjoyed our great company. We are very grateful for family. 

Happy belated Thanksgiving.

Sensational at 60! Happy Birthday Mom

It seems we have many 60th birthdays this year.  All of our parents are entering another decade.  So exciting. My mother turned 60 today!  I'm sure she loves me hyping up her big day but I think it's a huge and amazing milestone and I want it documented.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! WE LOVE YOU.

Sunday we had a small family party with the kids and grandkids that live locally.  Everyone was happy to celebrate and throw a party. Like a dummy I only got a few photos at the actual party... One of the grandkids - what a bunch of boys!
Nicholas helped me bake the cake and assemble some of the party decorations & packaging. Here is the card I made for her and some of the other trimmings.  I took some pictures of the decor at home before the party.









I searched our blog to see if I had documented the bundt cake I made for Nicholas' birthday party - it was amazing. Turns out I did not... so here is the link where I originally discovered this bundt cake recipe and my altered recipe for it below. YUM!  I did change it a bit and used homemade jam instead of pie filling and halved the frosting.


Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. white cake mix
  • 1 (5 oz-ish) pkg. instant white chocolate pudding (or vanilla pudding if you can't find white chocolate)
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1 1/2 c. white chocolate chips, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 1 c. strawberry jam
  • 1 (8 ounce) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 3-4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  • Grease and flour a bundt pan and preheat your oven to 350-degrees. Mix first six ingredients together with a beater. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  • Fill prepared bundt pan with half of the batter. Spoon half of the raspberry filling in separated spoonfuls over the batter (so it looks like separate clumps of filling over the top). Using a knife swirl the filling through the cake. Do not overdo it! Only swirl around 2-3 times.
  • Pour remaining batter in evenly and spoon in remaining pie filling, repeating the "swirling" process above.
  • Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. (do the "knife test" to determine doneness). If the knife does not come out clean, keep placing back in the oven for 3-5 min at a time until it does.
  • Remove from oven. Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan. (I think it tastes best if you put it on a serving plate, wrap it well in Saran Wrap, and let it sit overnight in the fridge before frosting and serving..)
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar (start with 2 cups then keep adding more until it is nice and thick).
  • Note: To get the frosting like in the picture. Fill a Ziplog bag with the frosting and cut off the bottom corner depending on how big you want the "frosting strips". Frost cake by squeezing out the frosting from the outside of the cake toward the middle.

P366.324 Lemon bars


Lemon Bars - sooo good.

Crust 
1 cup soft butter or margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
shake of salt
Combine and mix well.  Press into a 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Filling
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup lemon juice
Combine flour and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time then the lemon juice.

Pour into slightly cooled crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 additional minutes.
Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and let stand.

Oh... if you've noticed I'm off on my p366 numbers somehow - today should be 324 (not 320).  Four days are mis numbered. 

Pumpkin Bread

No photos - we ate it too fast.

Another great recipe - original found here.

Ultimate Pumpkin Bread

The best pumpkin bread you’ll ever taste.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, really soft, half melted really
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 16 oz can of pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.
  4. In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.
  5. Pour half of the batter into a one of the prepared pans. Fold the pecans into the remaining batter and then pour it into the other prepared pan. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden.
Notes
Yields 2 loaves.