Thursday, February 23, 2017

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake ♥

For you...


It's school vacation week here this week.  Rob and I, along with my parents, have been taking special days to spend with John.  The weather has been beautiful here this week!!! Today we reached 60 degrees! The sun is shining and all the snow is melting.  I can smell Spring sneaking up on us!

This vacation couldn't have come a more perfect time.  I am happy that John has a week off from homework and all the stresses that go along with school.  Back in my day (waaaaay back when) I don't remember 4th grade being so aggressive.  This year he has so much homework I can hardly believe it.  He's been working so hard and looking forward to this break for weeks.  It's been wonderful not having to worry about schoolwork for a bit.  He's been playing outside, watching movies, drawing, and just being 9 - which is all he should be ♥  Yesterday Rob took him to another art class at the library (which he loved!) and today they went indoor ice skating. Tomorrow he's spending the day at Nana and Grampy's. 

Life is good : )


One day I will miss tripping over these...


As for me, I did a little baking at the beginning of the week. I've been on a grapefruit kick lately.  Grapefruit is not normally a fruit I buy, but when I do I really, really enjoy it.  I sprinkle a little sugar on top and I'm in heaven. Something about that smell.....I take a deep breath in and suddenly I feel good. It's magic ♥ 

A while back I pinned a recipe for a Grapefruit Yogurt Cake.  I finally got around to making it the other day.  
This is one of those awesome cakes that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert....or both!  



Ruby Red ♥


This recipe comes courtesy of one of my favorite blogs Shutterbean.com
Tracy has the best recipes! ♥

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest (zest of one large grapefruit)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon greek yogurt
8 tablespoons grapefruit juice 
1/2 cup powdered sugar


I wish I had a rectangle plate for loaf cakes...:) 


Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8½x4½” loaf pan, preferably metal, with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the long sides, and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and ¾ tsp. salt in a medium bowl.

Using your fingers, work grapefruit zest into granulated sugar in a large bowl until sugar starts to clump and mixture is very fragrant, about 1 minute.  This was my favorite part!

Add eggs, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in half of dry ingredients, then mix in ¾ cup yogurt. Mix in remaining dry ingredients followed by 5 Tbsp. grapefruit juice. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Poke holes in top of cake and brush remaining 3 Tbsp. grapefruit juice over top. Let sit 15 minutes, then run a knife around sides to loosen and use parchment paper to lift cake out of pan and onto rack. Remove parchment and let cool completely.

Whisk powdered sugar, remaining 1 Tbsp. yogurt, 1 tsp. water, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth and drizzle over cake. (I needed a little more liquid so I added another few drops of grapefruit juice). Let sit until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.




 The batter was so fragrant I could not wait to taste this cake!

It's delicious!!!

It's only been in the house for two days and is almost gone.  I might have to make another one this weekend!


Yum...


Tracy suggested making this for Easter brunch.  I love that idea.  Ahhh Easter....you are right around the corner! 


love this view...


I took this picture from my parent's deck the other day.  Since then most of this snow has melted and all you can hear are birds chirping.  In a few more weeks you'll be able to see little green buds on the trees.  

Another season is upon us! ♥


Hi


I really don't want this wonderful week to end, but tomorrow is Friday and time moves on.  This weekend I'm taking John to a birthday party at the Y on Saturday.  It's a pool party! I'm glad it's him getting into a bathing suit and not me! : ) 


Pretty much....


Sunday night is Oscar night.  I'm planning a big family dinner and then I'll be watching the awards in my couture "bathrobe & fuzzy slippers".  It's the same outfit I wore last year but don't tell anybody! ♥   

xoxo 






Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day! ♥

Happy Valentines Day, Valentines!



 I was looking through some of my old blog posts and since today is the sweetest day of the year I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of my favorite special treats that I have posted over the years.







I'm not making anything "fancy" tonight.  Since it's a Tuesday night, we are having spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and salad.  Easy for a weeknight meal. 

I remember on Rob and I's first Valentines Day as a married couple I made a heart shaped meatloaf and pink mashed potatoes!  Those were the days long before blogging so I have no photographic evidence of this.  Oh, how I wished I had taken a picture of that meal! ♥

When scrolling though my recipes I realized that some of the ones I picked out for today I had originally posted for past Valentines Days!

 If you would like the recipes for any of the following just click the link below the picture and it will take you to the recipe :)









Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting





Baked lemon donuts with toasted coconut glaze





Chocolate chip Bisquick cake





Strawberry coffee cake




Chocolate fudge cake



I hope you enjoy the day with the ones you love!

I woke up to a French Vanilla coffee and a husband who was cleaning the house!

Now that's true love! :)


Happy Valentines Day!! ♥♥♥  xo


Monday, February 13, 2017

Oatmeal raison cookies (healthy version ♥ )

February may be the shortest month, but it's also won the award for being the snowiest! 
 
John had two snow days in a row last week.
 
You would have thought it was Christmas all over again!
 
So we nestled ourselves all cozy in our cocoon of movies, naps, snacks, and games. 
 
Winter is fun! Snow days are the BEST!
 
 
Right now we are living in a marshmallow world...♥
 
 
 
 
On Saturday John and I were able to get out for a few hours (in between storms).  He was signed up for a kids art class which meant that I was a free bird in the library for 2 glorious hours!
 
My happy place ♥
 
Wandering around the library is my favorite hobby!  It's so quiet and lovely.  Seriously, I would do it every day if I could. I once applied for a job at a library and was heartbroken when I didn't get it - but that's another story.  Anyway...I came home with this novel and 2 cookbooks. 
 
 
 
 
It would have been very easy to check out "Death by Chocolate" which feels like my life right now, but instead I wandered over to the "healthy cooking" section.  I'm trying to find some new lighter recipes that are tasty and easy. 
 
I picked up Everyday Food because back in the day I used to get this magazine and I really liked it.  I was sad when it became discontinued.  This book has beautiful pictures! So far I have bookmarked an Italian wedding soup, oven fried chicken, and a meat lasagna, all claiming to be a healthier version.  
 
 
 
 
 
But naturally me being me, I go straight for the dessert chapter  :)
 
Oatmeal raisin cookies sounded delicious.  This version is made without butter and significantly less sugar.  Hmmm.... (but will they taste like cardboard?)
 
After last weeks brownies....I am in need of something light.  Let's give it a try!
 
 
 
 
I am relieved to tell you that they are so goooood!   I had all the ingredients on hand and it only took a few minutes to mix up the batter. 
 
Trust me when I tell you I resisted every urge I had to put chocolate chips in this batter! Which would have been delicious, but would have defeated the purpose of the whole "light" thing. 
I get it :/
 
I followed the recipe step by step... ♥ 
 
 
 
 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup raisins
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (with oven racks in the upper and lower thirds).
 
In a medium bowl whisk together both flours and baking powder.  In a large bowl whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Add flour mixture and stir to combine.  Mix in oats and raisins.
 
Using about 2 tablespoons dough per cookie, roll into balls. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets. 
 
Bake until lightly browned, 15-17 minutes.  Rotate cookie sheets half way through. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.  Makes 18-20 cookies ♥
 
 
 
 
Even Rob was surprised at how good they were!  John ate two, never knowing they contain whole wheat flour! Score one for mom! ♥
 
The next page is a recipe for light chocolate chunk brownies.  Is that a joke? 
 
I may have to make them and find out!
 
 
 
 
 
Well, one thing's for certain.  Baking cookies (light or not) makes the kitchen smell amazing! 
 
 
 
 
I hope you are all having a wonderful Monday! 
 
 
Stay cozy and don't forget tomorrow is Valentine's Day! ♥♥♥
 
 
 
 
 
Byeeeee! xoxo

 
 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Little touches of February ♥

Hello Friends!
 
As I type this post we are in the middle of a snow storm!!  It's been coming down since about 9 this morning and not expected to stop any time soon.  The wind and snow are raging out there, but inside the heat is up and we just had hot chocolate.  John is watching Cars and last time I checked, Rob was taking a nap....zzzzzz  Yup, it's a snow day, alright!


 
 
On Monday I did my weekly cleaning and I put out a few Valentine decorations.  I love decorating for Valentines Day.  This time of the year can be a bit dreary and the little pops of red and pink really cheer things up!
 
 
 
 
Not to say that I'm completely over Christmas....because I'm not.  I kept these lights up in the kitchen.  They are so cozy in the darkness of the early mornings.  I just don't have the heart to take them down yet. 
 
 
 
 
And speaking of hearts (see what I did there?...) I have them all over the place....♥♥♥
 
 
 
 
My Valentine tree I got at Khols.  Love it so much!
 
 
 
 
And I treated myself to a pretty plant to cheer the place up.  It has me wishing for Spring!
 
 
 
 
I cut a few hearts out of some old scrapbook paper and scattered them around the house for decorations.
 
 
 
 
I got a few eye rolls for doing so, but I don't care.  That's the abuse you take when you live with all boys! ♥♥♥
 
 
 
 
Two years ago for my birthday my mom made me this beautiful crazy quilt!  It's framed and hanging in my living room.  The theme is Paris in the Spring. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's all about love and hearts and I think it's perfect for Valentine's day! If you look closely you can see my name.... ♥
 
 
 
 
 
It goes perfectly with these cute vintage valentines I got at Michaels. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
And what's Valentines Day without some chocolate in the house....so...brownies!
 

 
 
Which naturally transform into brownie sundaes! Soooo good!
 
 
 
 
Well, sounds like the movie is over and John has talked Rob into going outside to play in the snow.  Its about 21 degrees out there with high winds, but John has been asking ALL day!  I don't expect them to be out there too long! : )
 
 
 
 
Window view from beside my computer...
 
 
 
 
Time to fire up the kettle again. These guys are gonna need some TLC when they come in~
 
 
 
 
Before I go I wanted to share a quick tip with you.  I posted this picture of crispy chicken fingers last week and one of my instagram friends ♥ asked me the secret of keeping the breading on during frying.  Well, all I do is dip the tenders in milk and then drudge them in crushed corn flakes (as fine as you can get them - I use a rolling pin).  I fry them in canola oil and butter - a few minutes on each side until they are cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Then sprinkle them with garlic powder and dried parsley.  When flipping them, go very eaaasy and you shouldn't have a problem. They turn out crispy on the outside and moist and delicious on the inside!
 
Easy Peasy!
 
 

Enjoy!
 

Happy February! ♥ xo

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 ♥

It’s the last day of January.  Wow, that went by fast!  I really love the month of January for many reason, but mostly because after the rush and chaos of December it’s so nice to slow things down a bit.  We had many lazy weekends in January and loved every one of them.  Not running around from place to place or going to crowed shopping malls is bliss for me. (Did I ever mention how much I hate shopping?! It’s true : ) Curling up on the couch and catching up on TV shows or books that I didn’t have time to read over the Christmas holiday makes me happy.  Sometimes it snowed and other times it was just too cold to go outside.  Either way, January was a wonderful month of rest and reflection. 

 
 


Inspired by: Lately I’m inspired by Art.  John loves to paint and draw.  We’ve spent the last few weekends having art nights.  Basically that consists of him creating something lovely and me scribbling in a coloring book.  For Christmas my coworker Donna gave me one of those adult coloring books.  It’s beautiful and full of inspirational quotes! I love it!  I had no idea how therapeutic it could be. John and I talk about the colors and the patterns and give each other’s opinion on things. It’s so much fun! There is nothing I love more than doing things with John anyway but doing something we both love makes it even better. 


 
 
 
 

Watching:  Are you watching Victoria on PBS?  I’m only 2 episodes in and I’m completely hooked!  If you watched The Crown, then you will no doubt love Victoria.  After all this time I am still mourning the loss Downton Abbey and desperately seeing something to fill that void.  Speaking of…..I watched the SAG Awards Sunday night.  The Downton cast was nominated for best ensemble in a drama series.  They did not win but it made my heart sing to see the whole cast reunited once again! YAY! Its award season and I am an award show junkie! I drool over the gowns and cry at acceptance speeches.  Oh how I love a good acceptance speech!  I’m also watching Vikings on The History Channel.  It’s pretty good. I have to balance out my Real Housewives somehow! (that’s just real talk : )
 



Listening to: I’m a tried and true podcast listener.  I keep meaning to write a blog post about my favorite podcasts because I listen to them all day long at work.  My all time favorite is The History Chicks.  Every episode is a biography of a great woman (i.e. chick) in history.  It’s hosted by two friends – Beckett and Susan.  Their casual talk makes you feel like you are sitting with two of your best girlfriends, having a chat over coffee.  Each episode is so interesting and informative.  I’ve enjoy learning from these ladies!  Some of my favorite episodes have been the wives of Henry the VIII, Zelda Fitzgerald (who I found out shares my birthday), Julia Child, 1950’s Housewives, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, and many, many more.  Their most recent biography was on Lucille Ball!!! Anyone that knows me knows how much I adore Lucy so I couldn’t have been more excited to hear this two part episode.  It was fabulous!!!!  By end I was in tears (again..). So good!  I believe Lucy is episode 82 so if you are history nerd like I am check out their podcast.  You will not be disappointed!



 
Reading:  I always have a stack of books on my nightstand.  Sometimes the books are due back at the library before I’ve had a chance to even open them.  I’m trying to be better about that and make more time for reading.  Over Thanksgiving my mother in law (who is an avid reader) recommended The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago.  It was excellent!  Its a historical fiction novel that takes place during WWII.  I could not put it down!  The next book in my pile, which I have not started yet but hope to this week, is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.   I’m also very interested in the book that everyone seems to be talking about lately… The Little Book of Hygee –Danish Secrets to a Happy Life.  I’ve heard such amazing things about this book.  Have you read it? I’ve got it on hold at my library. 
 

 

Eating: Ok, this is an easy one…Everything!  Lazy January weekends mean eating comfort food.  We are making and eating pizza like it’s our job!  Saturday night has become homemade pizza night in our house.  Mainly because it’s quick and easy and everyone loves it.  I bought a basil plant at the beginning of January (to make it feel like spring in the kitchen…lol) so I’ve been adding fresh basil leaves to everything.  So good with chopped garlic on pizza.  Roasted chicken, turkey dinner, burgers, apple pie, blueberry muffins….you name it, we’ve eaten it!  This week I’ve really been craving banana bread so I definitely see that in our near future!   And tonight is Rob’s birthday, which means cake!!! 

I made this yesterday....




...and we’ve all been staring at it for 24 hours.  Tonight we get to dig in!  Birthday weeks always mean special treats.  Tonight we will celebrate at home just the three of us with a small dinner and cake.  Saturday night we are going to my parents for chicken parmesan and on Sunday we are going to my in laws for dinner.  It’s also the Super Bowl and people are going just a little bit crazy (a good crazy) that the Patriots are playing! If you're from where I'm from, that means a lot!
 I’ve never really been into football but I do enjoy a good nacho dip….so I’ll be watching! :)
 
 








Drinking:  I’m still drinking my lemon water in the morning.  I love it so much that I feel my body craving it.  It’s been a nice way to start cold January mornings.  I take my steaming cup of it back to bed and drink it while I sit under my covers looking out the window.  I say my prayers for the day and enjoy the peacefulness while it lasts. I follow it with coffee of course, but I feel better each day.   I’ve also discovered a new tea that I love.  It’s Bigelow Lemon & Ginger tea.  I have a cup every afternoon with lemon and a drop of honey.  It’s delicious.  I think it may have helped me fight a cold at the beginning of the month and I’ve been drinking it ever since.  I keep a box in my desk at work so when 3:00 rolls around….it’s tea time.  Yaaay!
 
 
 
 



 

Dreaming: a getaway weekend! Rob and I would like to take John on a mini vacation in late February/early March.  Just a long weekend somewhere to break up the monotony.  We were thinking about maybe going to Florida or someplace warm.  When we asked John about it he said he didn’t want to fly, but go on a road trip to a hotel with a pool.  We realized that he doesn’t care about where we go, just as long as we are together…in a hotel with a pool! Kids are very easy to please. We are thinking maybe New Hampshire or Vermont.  We’ve always loved road trips and it’s been awhile since we’ve been on one.  Time to pack the car with sandwiches and hit the road.  We are only in the planning stages but I’m excited.  It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.  Especially in the middle of winter!
 



 

That's me!

 
So there you have it: My January in a nutshell.  Tomorrow we turn the page to February.  The month of love.  The month where I get to decorate with pink hearts and none of the boys in my house can complain about it. 

 
 
 
Happy February first! ♥