Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carrot Cake Deliciousness!


Mom had her birthday in January and my sister and I got our babies together and celebrated with her. I used Martha Stewart's Carrot Cake, and holy mackerel it was good! That icing was to die for. Enjoy!













  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting

Directions

  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
  4. Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas lateness


I didn't think I would have time today to do 2 posts in one day, but evidently I do! So, here are the pics of our house and some decorations from Christmas. I would have pictures from the actual "Christmas morning" but I couldn't find my camera and we were crazy rushed, so I couldn't go looking for it.... bummer :(


These are pretty little (shatterproof) reindeer ornaments that I picked up from Hobby Lobby. There were so many of them in the container that I thought it looked a little tacky with them ALL thrown on my tree. So, I grabbed some of them and spaced them out over my mantel and looooved them!
I also added a little string of light and these little Moravian candles that were favors from Phillip's cousin's wedding. It all just came together so nicely, but there's really no picture to show it all!



This is one of my favorite decorations for Christmas. It's a garland of Santa's clothes all hung up (underwear, mittens, long-johns, and EVERYTHING!) like they are drying. I have one for Mrs. Clause and an elf also. I bought them years ago from Avon and have loved them ever since!

(P.S... Can you see that little white thing on the wall next to the fire place? That's Gizzy's stocking! Hee hee!)

I found this pattern for Christmas Tree Ornaments (from "The Small Object Steno Pad") and sewed them up. I really like how they turned out. It's the same 4 pieces of fabric all stacked differently for each ornament. The pattern was pretty simple, it made a lot, and i looooove that they are "Shatter-proof"!





Phillip's aunt decided to purge all of her Christmas decorations, including her tree, wreaths, and ornaments, and gave them to all to us. I had all these wreaths and didn't know what to do with them. So, I tied a pretty little bow on them and hung them in the windows. Simplicity is the way to go! (yes, that is Carter's "Dragon Wagon" still decorated from Halloween outside!)



I was very impressed with our tree this year. I really loved it. There's something about whites lights that are warm and "regal" to me. This was our Christmas tree all done up with un-breakable ornaments. I thought that it would be good and that it wouldn't be so bad with Carter, but he still wanted to pull ALL of them off the tree and play with them, which, in the end, still gave me a panic attack because I kept thinking he was going to pull down the tree!


I bought the most B-E-A-UUUTIFUL ornaments last year at K-Mart from the Martha Stewart line (after Christmas 75% off sale of course!!!). They were all warm tones and COMPLETELY glittery! They are the pretty little balls in red, greens, and golds. This picture doesn't do it justice, but when the light hit them it was gorgeous!

Needless to say, by the time Christmas actually rolled around all the ornaments were on the top half of the tree so Carter wouldn't be tempted!

First play in the snow!

We had a lot going on over the holiday break and during the weeks surrounding Christmas that I'm hoping I can cover it all. I'm just gonna give you the pics of the snow today. Here is the snow we got right before Christmas. It was so beautiful. I freaked out the day it started and we got about 2 inches, so I came home from work early and got Carter from school. It was nice snuggling at home with hot chocolate when I was actually supposed to be slaving away at the office. Then, the snow realllly came during the night and we got to play in it the next day. Little man was too funny playing in it. He wasn't really sure what to do! His first snow was actually in October of last year, in the mountains, but he couldn't play in it because he was only 2 weeks old. So this is the first snow he's ever really seen or played in!


This was the house right before the big snow fall
(Let me go ahead and apologize for the garland that is missing on the left side railing of our porch! I know you home decorators may see it and have some shoulder spasms, so I want to apologize ahead of time.)

I found these snowflake "garland" things at the Dollar Store, loved them, but didn't know what to do with them. I think they look adorable on my front porch though!



I love going with burgandy colors during the holiday season instead of the traditional bright red!


This wreath was sooo wonderful and gave the house such a great smell as you opened the door!

Ziplocs tied around the socks! Mom always did this to us as kids and it totally worked with Carter! He was crawling around so much and the snow didn't get into his socks at all!




We tried to take him out in the wagon, but the snow was so deep that we couldn't pull it.

We had a little more luck with his car and he just loved every minute of it!

My sweet lil' man with his Harry Potter scar.


He couldn't seem to keep his balance in the snow (with all the layers)
So, there was lots of this:

and this....
...and this.

I bet he kept the hat and gloves on about 20 minutes before he was totally over it all.

Carter tried to eat the snow....

But it didn't taste anything like his beloved Goldfish!
A lil' slave labor never hurt anyone....



And here is a video for you to watch of my happy boy. Sorry it's filmed sideways and I can't rotate it, so you're just gonna have to tilt your pretty little head to see my lil' man enjoying his ride in the snow!

video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy 2010

I've been wanting to post the pics from our Christmas decorations, the holiday, the crap load of snow we got, and everything else in between but I'm just beat. I'm dead tired and there's so much going on. Just know that Christmas was a bust with Carter throwing up and not eating (CERTAINLY NOT LIKE MY BOY!), and New Years was a bust with me throwing up and other stomach issues circulating the house. I did get to spend New Years with my mom and dad again this year, which was nice, but not as nice as the plans to visit the mountains that were supposed to happen. Phillip took down the Christmas decorations 3 days after Christmas and that really bummed me out. I'm focusing my efforts on Valentine's Day now. Hoping that will make me feel better.
As I've stated in recent posts I currently work for the state. They have decided to downsize and save a little money by closing my office, and they are relocating us. This means that I will have an hour and a half to drive just to get to my office, and then 45 minutes or more to do my home visits and evaluations, just to drive 45 minutes back to my office, then drive an hour and a half back home. I'm absolutely in a whirlwind over this and I'm really not sure what to do with myself. I cannot, and REFUSE to be that far from Carter. Please pray for us and this new situation. I'm certainly glad I still have a job, but this is really stressing me out. Hope to come back soon with pictures and happier posts.
-Sara