Monthly Archives: March 2014

The best pound cake EVER!!! My great grandma says so!

pound cake cover

So this is by far the BEST pound cake that you will ever have… if you make it correctly. I have no idea of the origins of this recipe except to say that it came from my great-grandmother and she was a Southern woman who knew her cooking!!  The pound cake got its origins when people did not write down their recipes and needed easy ratios to remember. The pound cake was one pound each of: butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Pretty simple.. only that much cake would take a regular size family forever to eat! So the recipe has been sized down to smaller portions and modern ingredients have been added (like baking powder) to make the cake lighter.

  • Preheat oven to 350, flour and grease a fluted pan, a bunt pan or two loaf pans. if you use a bundt pan you will probably have some extra batter. Be ready to put it into a small loaf pan or cupcake pans. Reduce bake time for smaller pans as necessary.
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • /2 cup crisco (or add an extra 1/2 cup butter)
  • 6 eggs, room temp, 1 cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2/ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cooking sherry)
  • Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes (80 mins) or until edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan

DSC_0004So lets get started! (First, before you preheat your oven, set your eggs and butter out on the counter so they can come up to room temp. It is SO much easier and makes a lighter cake when you can really cream the butter and sugar together and it is so much easier when they are room temp. When I know that I am making the cake that day, I usually set them out at breakfast time, eggs and butter are fine on the counter for hours! (look it up, general cons is is that eggs and butter are fine for 12 hours or longer so no need to worry about putting them out in the morning)

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Start off with the butter, crisco and sugar in the mixer. I use a stand mixer but a hand held one will do just fine. This picture of the butter and sugar is only mixed…

You need to beat them on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes to get them to where they are creamed, like here. Stop the mixer at least once to scrape the bowl with a spatula to get any forgotten clumps mixed in.

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While they are mixing, put your remaining dry ingredients (Flour, salt, baking powder) in a bowl and mix together, set aside. If you still have a few minutes left, grease and flour your baking pan. I like to use the wrappers from the butter to grease the pan. I’ll add a small pad of butter as necessary to cover the entire thing. then, sprinkle a table spoon or two of flour into the pan and shake it around to make sure all the butter is coated.

 

 

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After the butter and sugar is creamed, add the eggs, one at a time and make sure they are mixed well in-between each egg (about 30-45 seconds). For this recipe I used 7  medium eggs rather than 6 large ones, use your judgement, thats how my Nana did it!

 

 

 

Once all the eggs are mixed in, add a quarter of the dry flour mixture and allow it to mix, followed by a quarter of the milk and allow it to completely mix. continue adding until flour and milk is all mixed, I usually give it 30 seconds between additions. Stop and scrape the bowl again with a spatula.

DSC_0027As the you are mixing the batter one last time, add the vanilla.

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Allow it to incorporate for at least one minute. Scrape with a spatula one last time and now pour it into your greased, floured pan.

DSC_0041Bake at 350 for one hour, 20 minutes (80 minutes). I check mine after 70 minutes and adjust the time as necessary. When it is done, the cake will be golden brown on top and might have some cracks in the surface, it will be slightly pulling away from the edges of the pan.

DSC_0053

Here is the recipe with no pictures.

Preheat oven to 350, flour and grease a fluted pan, a bunt pan or two loaf pans. if you use a bundt pan you will probably have some extra batter. Be ready to put it into a small loaf pan or cupcake pans. Reduce bake time for smaller pans as necessary.

3 cups Sugar

1 cup butter

1/2 cup crisco (or add an extra 1/2 cup butter)

6 eggs, room temp

1 cup milk (I use whole milk)

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2/ tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cooking sherry)

Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes (80 mins) or until edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan

 

 

 

 

6 tips for taking your baby to the beach

6 tips baby beach LRG

So the whole beach+baby thing is not exactly new to me. I jumped that great hurdle of motherhood with a less than 2 month old little guy and felt like I has conquered the world… or at least the beaches of Puerto Rico.

DSC_0057 - 2012-12-25 at 13-08-55

Beach 184

Little did I know that the trips would get more and more difficult with each passing month. Suddenly they want to get up, and crawl around, and they don’t stay on that patchwork mess of beach towels that I put out!!! (Or maybe he was trying to escape all the pink on the towel, I changed to boy colors a little later that day)

With all that being said, here are a few tips for taking your baby to the beach. Some of these I have learned from experience and some from other blogs. I will do my best to link to those blogs but I’m still new at this so please don’t judge :)

  1. Lower your expectations… as I was pregnant imaging my new life when we moved to Puerto Rico, i had these visions in my head of these picture perfect days where my baby was happily relaxing/sleeping, I was sipping on an adult beverage of choice (never happened due to pumping issues…) and I was lounging in the sun at my pre-pregnancy size. NONE of this happened, and I was sorely disappointed.  Based on what beach you are going to (a remote beach in PR or a sugary white beach steps from your rented condo) you need to think realistically about how it will play out…. in real life… with a baby…
  2. Make sure to bring something for shade. With all the expectations stuff being said, nothing can take that a few steps beyond acceptable like sitting in the hot sun with a fussy baby all day, not to mention the inevitable sun burn you will both get. Do everyone a favor and bring an umbrella, an ez pop up tent or something to keep you out of the rays. We bought this tent at Costco here in PR but I could not find the link so here is the same tent on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Lightspeed-Outdoors-26795-BV-Quick-Cabana/dp/B005LGV2PA 
  3. Depending on the age of your baby, bring something where they are comfortable napping. Aiden was easy, for the first 9 months he would always nap easily in his infant car seat and it was really easy to bring that out to the beach. We also would bring a swing and hang it up in a tree. I know that on most beaches trees are not prevalent, but I thought I would throw it out there to keep your imagination going.
  4. Make sure they stay hydrated. Weather they are still nursing or taking formula or they have graduated on from that make sure you keep enough fluids in them. They get dehydrated SO quickly out in the heat. That goes for you too!! Especially if you are breast feeding.car seat beach
  5. I think this post goes with out saying… use sun block!! Check with your pediatrician on when you can use it but in any event make sure to keep them out of the sun weather by shade, clothes or sun block.
  6. Bring age appropriate entertainment. We always brought a swing which worked wonders on a fussy hot baby that didn’t want to sleep or be held. He LOVED the swing at the beach. As he got older we played in the sand with him and built sand castles.Jeff and Lea Visit D90 1867

 

 

 

 

A few other things that I found interesting but have not yet tried out are on this blog are taking a baby bath tub to the beach. The only reason that I have not tried it is because I didn’t have/use a baby bathtub, but if I had one I would try this! http://blessedservant.blogspot.com/2012/08/babyvacationbeachwhat-was-i-thinking.htm

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How we met

How we met – the eHarmoney story

 

We met on eHarmony!!! We emailed back and forth for about a month before we spoke on the phone and the only reason we spoke was to arrange a meeting in person. We met up at a Chipotle (I LOVE that place!!) on a Wednesday for lunch and we ended up spending that whole day together as well as all day Thursday and Friday. For me I “knew” that he was the one by the second day that we hung out, but there is a good bit more back story that plays into the whole thing. Lets back up about 2 months…

 

I was coming out of a 3+ year relationship. It was great while it lasted but I kind of know that things were coming to an end as we got to the summer so when my boss asked me if I wanted to move north a few hours to take over a larger region I took the opportunity. about 48 hours after that conversation with my boss my boyfriend said that “we needed to take a break”… I had been in that situation before and rather than begging him to stick thing out I told him that it was a good idea, I knew that he had felt that way and that I just told my boss I would accept the northern region and I would be moving 2 hours north next week. At the time he said that was a good thing so we parted our ways. I moved north and threw myself into my job in this new territory. A week or so after that my older sister who does not live in the area come down to FL to visit and we got to spend a few nights hanging out. As all good sisters do we shared we shared some good (cheap) wine and she talked me into signing up for eHarmony. So after a glass or two of wine I am ready for that and I sign up that night!

I start getting matched with people but more than anything I kept hitting the “archive” button for people. My thought with online dating is that if you are matched on SOOOOO many levels of compatibility and all these people meet your personality requirements, the only one that the computer cant match you on is the looks (maybe that is shallow of me but that was my perspective since I wasn’t really wanting a relationship at that moment anyway…)

With in about 3 weeks of singing up I got matched with Tavis, I was immediately attracted to him and started the “communication” process. It takes for-ev-er (or so it feels) but I would highly recommend going through the process and not rushing it, enjoy every last one of those silly messages that you send.  We completed the eHarmoney prescribed process and then began “open communication” and we emailed each other once or twice a day for about a week, it was wonderful. we got to ask questions about each others past, about the family that we grew up with and so on. There is no pressure to “say the right thing” or have the perfect comeback because you have hours to figure out just how you want to respond and give a detailed account, it was perfect! Then my ex-boyfriend stated calling, and texting, and calling some more, and I wasn’t sure if I should have moved on so quickly… So out of the blue (from Tavis’s perspective) I wrote him and told him that I need to stop emailing him and that it was probably too soon for me and that I should not have joined the dating site so quickly. But from that moment on I felt sick to my stomach, I knew that Tavis was something special and that I wanted to get to know him more. so day, after day, after day, after day, i had this pit in my stomach about Tavis and I really wanted to meet him in person. Because I knew that if I just met him, it would all be settled in my mind, one way or the other.

When I started emailing Tavis, one of the things in our emails that we shared was our past relationship history, so he already knew that I was fresh out of a long relationship. So after about 10 days of silence from me, i emailed him out of the blue and the email went something like this…

“I know Im crazy, my ex-boyfriend was coming around so that is why i cut things off with you. I cant put you out of my mind, and i am really confused right now. Having said all of that… I really want to meet you in person because I think that you are something really special and if I dont at least meet you I will live my life thinking “what if”…

When I wrote that I really meant it. My ex-boyfriend had met with my folks in the mean time and asked if he could marry me. He was going to buy a ring and purpose and i knew it was coming… I also know that after meeting Tavis, the bar had been raised and who I would have married a few months before was not going to cut it any more. I knew that I had to meet this guy who had captured my heart in his letters and find out if he was a real person.

So in my crazy letter to Tavis I asked him to take a risk and meet me because I could not marry a person when I was wondering if there was someone else out there that would have been better suited for me but I was too scared to follow through.