We got back (after a VERY long drive) from our trip to Indiana last Friday. I was so tired and the boys seemed to be a lot more restless (Sam) than on our way there. I felt like I ate and munched all the way home (ahem, 9 hours!) to help me stay awake and alert driving. I mean, I wasn't so tired I was going to fall asleep at the wheel, but felt like I could have gotten that way if I hadn't kept my hands busy and my mouth munching! Anyway, we had a great time visiting my brother and his family. We loved going to the Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY. We also had a BLAST in Santa Claus, Indiana at Holiday World, an amusement/water park which boasts the world's highest water ride. It was SO fun. The boys loved it and even I loved all the rides I was able to go on (someone in the group always had to stay back with Sam and often Taylor and Hannah (my niece). There were a ton of different water slides, all kinds of rides and roller coasters. Unfortunately, we didn't take many pictures while we were at the park. I stupidly didn't buy (the ones the park takes on rides and sells for a lovely price) a great one of Scott on one of the roller coasters. He is lovin' it, as well were my nephew, Tristan and SIL, Monica. They were all screaming with joy, Monica even had her hands in the air as the camera shot them zooming down the rickety wooden coaster. But the BEST part of all was my big, grown up (younger than me) brother, Matt, hands clenched to the bars and teeth gritted tightly in amazing fear in the same photo. (Monica, I REALLY need a copy of that photo!) Anyway, here's to good times with family!
Shall I start with last week's TWD or this week? Hmmm. Let's go with the delicious Banana Bundt Cake which was chosen last week by Mary from The Food Librarian blog. Sometimes, I like to just look at really yummy food and Mary's blog is the place to go for that! Not to mention to get some great recipes! Thanks for picking something BANANA, Mary. I feel like I've said it many times, but banana is one of my favorite flavors! So week before last, I made half the recipe in Dorie's book, Baking From My Home to Yours, page 190 (you can get the recipe on Mary's blog). While I think this banana cake/bundt/bread is a definite splurge from my usual really low fat, healthy banana muffin recipe, I have to say it was so moist and delicious and I will definitely make it again. In fact, I made the recipe again while I was at my brother's house. I used half butter/half oil and half whole wheat flour for that one and it was good, but not as good as THIS---
Oh, I had fun with this one. With the half recipe, I made a lot!!! A small loaf of bread (with cream cheese frosting), a three layer three inch cake (with cream cheese frosting and walnuts!!!), three star shaped muffins/cupcakes (two with cream cheese frosting and walnuts and one with Nutella in the middle!), a little star cupcake top (okay, that one didn't come out of the pan all the way) and a banana/cream cheese frosting whoopie pie with the cut off tops of the cake--
Can you say, YUMMMMM!!! I do have to say that you can clearly see why I don't DO cake very much. I really stink at frosting layered cakes. Look at the lumpiness. Those little things were trying their best to slide all over the place. Nevertheless, it held up for some pictures and the boys helped scarf it down the night before we left on our trip.
Props to all you amazing cake people out there!
I know, I know, this was supposed to be just a simple bundt cake, but after tasting just the plain cake (Mr. Star muffin not coming out of the silicone pan in tact), I decided this needed to play with the "big boys" and went for cream cheese frosting. For the half recipe I made, here is the quick recipe for the frosting I made up as I went along. (There's a little leftover.)
Katrina's Simply Delicious Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese (1/3 less fat), softened
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half and half
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat well. Add the half and half a little at a time until desired consistency.
Thanks for the great pick, Mary, and for all who have stopped by. Now check out this week's Brownie Buttons.
Jayma from Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen chose Brownie Buttons for our recipe this week as we TWDers bake our way through Dorie's book.
I doubled the recipe after seeing that it didn't make very many buttons and knowing brownies get eaten really fast at our house. I used "my" version of bittersweet chocolate--Hershey's Special Dark. And I knew I should have left out the orange zest, but I included it anyway. Everyone wondered what it was making the brownies taste funny. I kind of liked it. Reminded me of those chocolate oranges mostly found at the holidays. And then, I only had one ounce of white chocolate left, which was just as well, because I don't really LOVE white chocolate all that much. I did a few, including some stars from one of my newer sale purchases--a silicone star shaped muffin pan.
(***Note to self--reminder--you have four boys. Only making three star shaped brownies will cause great angst with the one who didn't get one. Just saying that as a reminder for future brownie making. ;) ****
The good news was that they popped right out of the mold nicely.
These little square guys, however, did not--not sure why.
I find that silicone molds can be quite temperamental. Out of the 8 or so that I made with the square pan, only four survived enough to use. I smashed them down and froze them for later use---brownie ice cream sandwiches!
Most of the recipe I made regular little brownie buttons. But I think I overbaked them a little. They were still very edible and with a little poke from a sharp knife, they popped right out of the pan.
Good, but a little to plain for our house. It's all about sprinkles here!
If I made brownie buttons again, I would leave out the orange zest, but otherwise, these were good! Check out all the other (super creative, I'm sure) TWD Brownie Buttons on the Tuesday's With Dorie site. Thanks, Jayma.
And now, a moment of silence as we all gasp over what else I did while in Indiana---take a deep breath.
Bahhh! I chopped off my hair, big time. I'm still not sure about this. But it's a little late for that, now isn't it. Sigh. I'm okay. I know it will grow back. Besides, there just comes a time for me when I know something like this needed to be done when I put my hair back in a ponytail EVERYDAY, like from the moment I get out of the shower. At least now I'm forced to spend a whole five minutes drying and styling my hair. ;) And never before have I felt like I REALLY look like my mom than I do now.