Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Recipe for Coconut Pound Cake & Love Notes

My husband has been leaving me sweet little love notes under a clean coffee mug next to a pot of fresh brewed coffee each morning for about a week now. I find them after he has already left for his day before I start getting the kids ready for school. He has come such a long way! Girls, there is hope.
I remember years ago he used to tell me I had to make the coffee in the morning because he didn't know how to! I love the thoughtful little notes.
Today Sophia and I have been baking samples that I am bringing to a network business breakfast tomorrow morning. I threw a loaf of Pecan bread in the oven too because it's such a good treat for the morning and having something ready makes getting the kids to their bus stop on time that much easier.
I leave you with a recipe for Coconut Pound Cake-if you make this you won't be disappointed.
The grocery store I shop at had some delicious fresh strawberries on sale this week. Top the coconut pound cake with fresh strawberries- It's Simply Delicious!

Coconut Pound Cake:
Cake: 2 C. Sugar
1 stick butter flavored shortening
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded coconut, chopped

Glaze: 1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract

Heat oven to 350. Grease large bundt pan.
For cake, combine sugar and shortening in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in the extract. Combine flour, b. powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture, beat at low speed after each addition until well blended. Add coconut. Mix until blended. Spoon into greased pan.
Bake for 50 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool five minutes transfer to wire rack.
For Glaze, Combine sugar, water and coconut extract in small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Cool 15 minutes. Spoon over cake then let cool completely.
Slice fresh strawberries and use as a garnish to a slice.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hope & A Longing for Easter Meal

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

What does the endless immensity of the sea represent for you? For me, it's often writing, baking, friendship, mothering and creativity in general. I am most hopeful when I long for these endeavors. When I know I have connected with my children or I have completed a writing assignment I am filled with something that matters to me. There is a hope that gets reborn.
When I want to 'build a ship' so to speak I reach beyond the mundane of herding or collecting and head foward into the 'endless immensity'.

I always think of Easter as a hopeful time. Spring has sprung! I baked lemon cakes and cookies for our holiday desert today. I made an apple cider & brown sugar glaze for the ham, garlic mashed potatoes (whipped with garlic and butter) and fresh asparagus. Of course, there are warm rolls, fresh pineapple and tasty appetizers too. A good meal can bring hope in the simplest of ways.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mermaid Magic

These are how the mermaid's turned out. We baked from dinner until bed time last night. The kitchen was a mess but we had a lot of fun baking.
I like it when the girls bake with me. They can talk to me about their day-what is making them happy or what makes them feel disappointed.
It gives us a chance to work side by side, laugh, get on each other's nerves a little and of course eat our delicious creations. We decided not to frost them--quicker time from the oven into our belly's.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Snowfall & Sugar Cookies

The picture below shows the view from my writing desk. I took it because there is a snowfall this morning which you really can't see from the picture but trust me there is light snow falling on Cape Cod right now.
So much for my hopes that Old Man Winter had walked away for the season. I have been planning an Easter Egg Hunt in the yard this weekend. The crazy thing about Cape Cod weather is we may have 'just right' back yard weather by then.
The girls and I mixed up my favorite "Nana's No Fail Sugar Cookie Recipe" last night. It is chilling in the refrigerator. We've decided instead of cutting our cookies into bunnies and eggs this year we are cutting the dough into mermaids, starfish and daisies-a fresh way to welcome spring!
We'll still use the pastel colored sugar to coat them. But we wanted to be a little more creative this year. Besides, I couldn't locate my egg and bunny cookie cutters and decided not to drive all around town in search of new ones.

Friday, March 14, 2008

101st Blog Post & Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
~Erma Bombeck

For anyone counting (I am certain it would only be me) this is my 101st blog post. In my tiny spot of 'cyber' space I have shared recipes, photos of gorgeous cape cod, life with children and comments about baking in general. What I love about 'blogging' is it allows me a chance to look back at a record of my days. I hope at least the recipes have been helpful.

Bombeck's quote on family is so spot on. My two oldest often razz each other off the computer they share or out of the bathroom when the other one needs it. Recently while driving I pointed out to them while they were overly prodding each other that it was important they maintain their relationship because in the years to come they would most likely outlive their parents and they would appreciate having each other to reminisce about us. I wasn't being morbid just trying to point out one of those 'common threads that bound us all together'.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Baking Biscotti & Creativity in the Kitchen

The word biscotti means twice (bis) baked (cotto). Biscotti stores well, travels great and has a long shelf life.
There is evidence that the Romans made biscotti because they traveled often and a twice baked cookie was durable. The longer you cook something the drier it gets. The modern biscotti with all kinds of fruit, nuts and chocolate added were perfected by the Italians.
Last night was the final class for the winter semester of 'Fun & Fabulous' food. The course I have been teaching through Falmouth Night School. We made biscotti. We did chocolate almond biscotti with a bit of white chocolate drizzled on top.
We had a little end of semester party. I made a lemon cake. Another student brought her 'no-bake' chocolate cookies. They were a good group of bakers. I hope I have inspired them to continue being creative in their own kitchens.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Raising Children

"Govern a family as you would cook a small fish-very gently". - Chinese Proverb

My son informed me last night that he should be able to watch what I thought was a ridiculously inappropriate (especially for his age) television show on MTV2. I told him he could watch it when he was a teenager. He said, "Mom, I am a teenager".
Long Pause. Oh, ya! He sort of had me on that one.
I said, "You can watch it when your fifteen".
He said, "How about we compromise and I can watch it when I am fourteen"?
The years have flown by because it seems like just yesterday he was heading to Kindergarten and the little trick that 'you can do (fill in blank here) when you are a teenager' really isn't that effective anymore.