Saturday, June 29, 2019

Lemon Ice Box Angel Cake...because it's hot out!

Hello Friends! Happy Saturday! It's been a hot week. We finally put our air conditioner on and I can't even believe we waited this long.  The important part is now it's icy cool in here even though it's we are reaching 90 today!  Summer in New England is no joke.  It gets hot. And if the heat doesn't bother you the humidity will, just ask my hair : )
As I type this post we are having a thunder storm. I love a good thunder storm, don't you? The best part is when it's over the air will feel so much better.  Like those Florida thunder showers we get every time we go to Disney.  They don't last long and once they're over the humidity has broke and it's wonderful. 
So now that we are in the thick of the heat & humidity I've been searching for recipes to try that are easy and refreshing.  I've been a little Pinterest obsessed these days, but I can't help it -  it's where all the good ideas live!!  I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago just waiting for the right time to try it.  It really felt like summer this week (and July 4th is quickly approaching!) so I gave it a whirl.  It was really good and just what we needed! ♥
Another requirement I have for summer recipes is make sure it's easy, has few ingredients, and that it doesn't take that long to make....this fit all my requirements : ) 

You start with an Angel Food Cake.  You can make your own or pick one up at the already baked at the  market.  I have to be careful with grocery store bakeries because of John's nut allergy so to be safe I baked my own.  I used box mix and it was very simple.  I just added water and whipped up the batter till it was fluffy.  It was kind of fun, actually!

Hands down the prettiest batter I've ever made.  So light too! It was like meringue!
If you've like me and have never baked an angel food cake before my only tip is to make sure you bake it exactly according to he box directions.  This includes making sure your pan is big enough.  The batter is going to RISE and it may spill over.  I put a cookie sheet under my pan just in case and let's just say it's a good thing I did. 

Apparently (according to the box) this is how you cool an angel cake.....hanging upside down on a bottle. 

I was so nervous the cake was going to be a nightmare to get out of the pan but surprisingly it wasn't. Once it was completely cooled I removed it from the bottle, ran a sharp knife around the edges, and it came right out. Whew!

The original recipe I pinned from Joyful Homemaking (click here) uses two 9" rounds for the recipe.  I decided to make a bundt cake and cut it in half.  Either way will work.
While your cake (or cakes) are cooling, make the filling. 

Simply stir together two 8oz containers of cool whip and one package of lemon Jello mix.

What you get is a light lemon-y dreamy filling! It's so good!!!
*note* the original recipe called for another container of Cool Whip and another half a box of Jello mix. l felt like I had plenty of the filling (because the bundt cake is obviously a bit smaller than if I used the 9' cakes) and I didn't need the extra.  Also I felt using one box of the Jello mix made it plenty lemon-y.  You can give it a taste and if you want to add more go for it*

Now frost away!  Some in the middle and with the rest cover the whole cake ♥

I think this would be delicious if you added fruit in the middle.  Strawberries, peaches, or blueberries! When I make it next time I'm going to try that! ♥

Now freeze!  Put the whole cake in freezer and leave it there for a few hours to set.  You don't have to cover it, just find a safe, level space in that freezer of yours ♥
And this is what you get!  It's light and fluffy and very cool & refreshing!  YUM!!!
I hope you all enjoy your weekend! It sounds like the rain has already stopped (yay!) and John and I are off to check off some summer bucket list items....stay tuned! 
Happy Saturday, friends!  Stay cool!  ♥

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Strawberry Sour Cream Pound Cake ♥

Hello Friends! 

Let me tell you a story of what happened to me yesterday.  Well, the day started out lovely.  I had no real plans which is my favorite kind of day.  Rob and John had gone out for a few hours and I had the house to myself. I used that time to do some housework.  The windows were open, my music was on, and things were getting done! 

I was in a very good mood and feeling extra house-wifey so after I cleaned the bathrooms and changed the beds I tried a new recipe for a Strawberry Sour Cream Pound Cake that I had seen on Pinterest.  It came out looking delicious and the house smelled amazing. 

I then decided because it was so nice out that I would get out for a bit and get some fresh air...this is where I should have quit while I was ahead.  I put my sneakers on thought it would be a good idea to get some exercise (mistake #1) and go for a long walk.  Which I did. 

It was all going so well until about 25 minutes in the sky opened up and started down pouring!!!  I'm talking like a MONSOON of epic proportion!

I had no coat, no umbrella, no where to take shelter.  So there I was walking in the rain.  At first I tried hiding under a tree but it was raining so hard it didn't help.  I had no choice but to embrace it and just walk in the rain.  I knew I had a 20 minute walk home so what could I do?  I was completely soaked.  Clothes drenched. Mascara running down my face. Hair stuck to my head.  I can only imagine what I looked like, but I'm sure it was not as sexy as it seems to be in the movies.  It didn't feel sexy.  It felt ridiculous. I walked and walked and as I turned onto my street the sun came out.  YUP that happened too.  

After I dried off and put on warm comfy pj's I made myself a cup of tea and had a slice of the pound cake I had made that morning.  It really hit the spot!  So the moral of this story is the next time I feel the urge to exercise maybe I'll just bake another pound cake : ) 

The recipe comes from The Bitter Side of Sweet   I made one small change, substituting vanilla extract in place of strawberry extract.  The recipe came out delicious and the strawberries gave the cake just enough strawberry flavor.  Thanks to the sour cream the cake was super moist and I also added a little sugar on top for a bit of extra sweetness!

1 stick butter, softened 
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup strawberries, diced 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray loaf pan with non stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. 

Beat in eggs one at a time.  Mix in vanilla. 

In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking soda.
*I always use a wire whisk to break up the lumps and it works perfectly!* 

Mix flour into butter mixture alternating with sour cream until all is incorporated. 

Stir in the berries. 

Leave some to sprinkle on top.

Pour batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle with extra strawberries. 

Bake 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.  

As soon as I took mine out of the oven I sprinkled with a little sugar on top.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing. 


So tell me, have you ever been caught in the rain? I think that might have been the first time that's ever happened to me.  Something that I will never forget, for sure! LOL

Have a great day, friends!  Don't forget your know, just in case!  


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Hello Summer! ♥

Hello Everyone! Summer is officially in full swing over here, well at least for John.  Friday was last day of sixth grade! EEK!  How this happened I do not know! Time has gone by in a blink of an eye and all of a sudden I’m the mom of a 7th grader! Whaaaaat? 

A very kind mom of one of John’s friends invited all the boys in the class over on the last day for a “goodbye middle school/hello Jr high” pool party.  To celebrate getting a new uniform next year (they’ve been in this one since first grade!) they all jumped into the pool with their uniforms on, which as you can see – they really enjoyed! : )   

All the girls in the class were invited to another pool to do the same thing! 

After the jump, they changed into their bathing suits and had a great time swimming, playing football, eating hot dogs, and kicking off the summer!  I feel very blessed that John goes to school with such nice boys!
They really are a great group of kids!  

 Summer 2019 has begun! 

Day 1: It was a beautiful day so John and I took a ride down to the beach to get a little breath of sea air.  It’s still too cold to swim in (for most of us : )  but just being near the water and smelling the salt air makes it feel like summer.  Later that night when Rob got home we went back to get some dinner.   

Toes in the sand + fish for dinner = summertime!

That plus a dentist appointment (which he was less thrilled and I think we got off to a nice start.  I've been lucky enough to switch to my summer work schedule which has me home one day a week and working fewer hours during the day, is a relief. I'm wishing for a very slow paced, old fashioned summer like the ones I used to have.  Not too much going on, but just enough to make it fun.  

I had that thought in mind when I finalized my summer bucket list.  I find that if I take the time to write things down, they actually get done!  I love seasonal bucket lists because they remind me to capture little moments or details that I sometimes would forget about.  My list in not necessarily big things, but simple memories I want to make or little things I want to do.  So many times I’ve looked back on a time and thought “I wish I had done this or that”.  Now if the opportunity strikes to have a root beer float or go see fireworks, I’m gonna do it!  Don't we all love the satisfaction of checking something off a list!

We only get one summer 2019, let’s make it a good one 

Here’s a sample of some of things on my summer bucket list:

Paint rocks for the yard
Have a picnic
Make smores around a fire
Make root beer floats
Have friends over for a game night
Try a new ice cream place
Binge Downton Abbey in preparation for the movie in September
See fireworks
Work on my watercolors (make something I can be proud of : )
Press flowers
Go to a museum or historical site
Sit outside at night and watch the stars
Go to the beach
Try a new hairstylist (nothing to do with summer but long overdue:)
Have a lobster dinner
Go to a farmers market
Go swimming
Try a new pie recipe  ♥

So tell me, what's on your summer bucket list? I would love to know!  

Enjoy your day, friends!  Happy Summer! 

Meet you at the beach! XO

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Garlic "monkey bread" Rolls ♥

Hello Friends!  

I have something special for you today.  I found this super easy recipe for garlic monkey bread rolls on Pinterest (where all the good ideas live : ).  I tried them last night for the first time and they were a big hit! 

The recipe starts with Pillsbury biscuit dough, which I love because all the hard work is done for me.  All I did was add a little of this and a LOT of that.  These rolls are delicious!   

So if you are a carb lover please read on.  Even better if you are a garlic lover.... 


Recipe slightly adapted from Eat Cake for Dinner

2 cans of refrigerator biscuits
6 tbls butter, melted
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbls dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tbls for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Combine melted butter, garlic, parsley, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Lay out the biscuits and cut into 4 pieces each.

Toss in the bowl with rest of ingredients and combine.  

I went in with my hands to be sure all the biscuit pieces were coated. 

It's a labor a love 

Use a greased 12 cup muffin tin and place 5-6 pieces in each cup.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top 

Now bake for 13-15 minutes.....

Oh. My. Gosh..... 

Serve them warm and ENJOY! 

Flakey, cheesy, very good! 

You know the rules.  As with anything made with garlic, make sure everyone has one (or two!). 
It's for everyone's safety. 

Also, that shouldn't be a problem!  

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Current Favorite Beauty Products ♥

Hello Friends! 

I haven't done a beauty post in a while so today I thought we could take a peek into my vanity and I'll share with you a few products that I'm currently loving.  

As I grow older I am more and more conscious of taking care of my skin.  Cleansing and moisturizing are as important to me as putting on lipstick and mascara - two things I have never gone a day without doing since 8th grade.  I enjoy pampering my skin because I know it's good for me.  The same way I make time to take a 10 minute walk during the day or practice a daily mediation. 

Self care is important. 

You are worth it! 

I picked out just a few things to show you.  Nothing is unique or expensive.

That's the beauty of it! 

There was a time in my life when I loathed washing my face at night.  I really hated it.  I would be half asleep and think to myself "I should really go wash my face". 99% of the time I would roll over and go to sleep, never making my way to the bathroom.  Nowadays I would never even consider skipping, no matter how tired I am.  I wear a full face of makeup every day and I love the feeling of taking it all off.  It's like kicking off your boots after a long day.  It feels so good.  Cleansing nightly allows your skin to breath and rejuvenate itself.  

My favorite makeup removing wipes are Aveeno Ultra Calming Wipes.  They take everything off.  Even the toughest mascara and eyeliner.  They are so soothing! After wiping off my makeup my skin feels like it's already moisturized.  I've used makeup wipes in the past that have dried out my skin.  These are the complete opposite.  When they say "ultra calming" they really mean it.  My skin feels clean, soft, and smooth.   

I just started using toner again last year after a long hiatus!  I think I stopped because I didn't want another step in my beauty routine. Until I came across this facial mist from Thayers.   I simply "mist" it on my bare face before I apply my moisturizer.  It only takes a few seconds for it to soak into my skin (no need for any cotton balls!).  It's so refreshing! Especially after I get out of the shower.  The formula has aloe vera in it which is very soothing and healing to the skin.  Toners give an extra boost to cleansing, balance PH levels, and control acne.  I also love this rose petal scent! 

Eye creams can be very expensive.  I always dread when I have to purchase a new one because I know it's gonna cost some dollars.  With that being said, eye cream is not something I would ever cut out of my routine.  My eye area is the bain of my existence!  I have been blessed (and I use that term loosely) with permanent dark circles.  I could sleep for 48 hours and feel like a million bucks....take a peek in the mirror and I would STILL have dark circles! Really?! Why?!  In addition to that "blessing" now that I'm getting older, the fine lines and wrinkles that I've heard about my whole life have come to the party!  Welcome! I've been expecting you! Have you met my crows feet? They're here too!  

Eye creams are essential in my world.  I've found that using eye creams religiously day and night really help keeping the party under control.  I have yet to find a miracle worker, but any little bit helps.  Lately I've been using Garnier Skin Active Ultra-Lift.  It's super moisturizing and soaks into the area very nicely.  I notice my concealer (also essential!) glides on easily and does not crease when I apply it over the eye cream.  This is my first experience with Garnier skin care  and so far I am very pleased.  I normally use Ponds or Oil of Olay - both of which I love too! 


And speaking of Garnier, another new product I've recently gotten into is this Garnier Fructis High Shine Finish for my hair. 

In case you don't already know I am a child of the 80's. Since then I've never been able to get away from having poofy hair and using too much hair spray!  As much as I've tried (so hard have I tried!! ) I just can't shake it.  I'll always have a poof and I'll always use hair spray.  When you use as much product as I do, your hair tends to get dull.  That and the fact that I color my hair, blow dry it, and use a curling iron daily.  No wonder it's dull and dry.  I'm literally frying it on a daily basis.  Something I really should do something about, but that's a topic for another day. 

Anyway, my hair has lost it's shine!  The only time it's shiny is right after I color it, and that shine only lasts about 2 weeks and then it starts to get dull and grayish looking.  Bheh.  My hairstylist suggested a few products for me to try out to "get my shine back".  The first one I'm trying is this one from Garnier Fructis.  I am LOVING it!! It has argon oil in it but does not leave my hair oily.  I mist it on dry hair and lightly smooth it over with my hands. I feel like it's bringing my dry, dull hair back to life!  It puts just the right amount of moisture back into my hair (the moisture that my hairdryer and curling iron have sucked out) and leaves me with a nice shine. Plus it smells like a salon and that's always nice!  

I can't go without mentioning my favorite make up product at the moment and that is the Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eyeliner. 

I. Love. This. 

I wear eyeliner on my top lid everyday and trust me I've tried all of them.  What I'm looking for is an eyeliner that glides on easily, is not runny, and has staying power.  This one has it all!  The tip is like a felt marker.  It glides on like butter and stays all day.  Literally, the best! 

Whenever Bath and Body Works has a sale on these mini 1 oz hand lotions I always take advantage of it and stock up on new scents.  It gives me the opportunity to try out different ones without having to invest in a whole bottle.  I figure if I don't like it I could always give it away to someone. 
Side note: that has never happened : ) 

My most recent purchase was Sparkling Limoncello!  Let's just say I'm in it for the whole bottle! I wish this were a drink so I could sip my life away! It's the sweetest lemon, sugary scent you have ever smelled!  So nice for spring and summer!  I strongly believe in aroma therapy and lemon is an invigorating scent.  I love putting this lotion on in the morning.  It gets me going and makes my day just a little bit sweeter.  Also it helps that B&BW lotions are super moisturizing!  I just bought a lemon hand soap for my bathroom as well.  I'm pretty much obsessed with everything they make : ) 

And those are my current favorite beauty products!  I hope you enjoyed!  If you have any favorites that you would like to share I would love to hear about them!  

Have a great day, friends! xoox