Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Samoa Cookie Cake


I think we can all agree that when Girl Scout Cookie season comes around
we all do a little happy dance.
Except, anyone else notice that it's a bit hard to find them?
Maybe it's just me and where I live,
but I never get them knocking on my door
or setting up tables outside of grocery stores.
Therefore, I guess I'll have to try and
recreate one of my favorite cookies... but into a cake!

Well, that's exactly what I did yesterday and it turned out to be AMAZING!
Beware, this cake takes pretty much all day to make, but it is so worth it... trust me.

Samoa Cookie Cake 
via: BetsyLife

For the Brown Sugar Batter:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup of dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
 For the Chocolate Batter:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup + 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 T cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk **Or substitute canned dulce de leche
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 T vanilla extract
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup toasted coconut
For the Topping:
1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
1. First thing you'll want to do is make the dulce de leche out of the sweetened condensed milk. There are two ways you can do this. The first way to make dulce de leche is to submerge the can of sweetened condensed milk (unopened) into a pot of boiling and let boil continually for 4 hours (you'll need to keep adding water to make sure the can stays submerged. The second way is to place the whole, unopened can of condensed milk in your crock pot and submerge in at least 3 inches of water, then cook on medium for 10 hours or on high for 7.
2. Once you have done either method in making the dulce de leche, let it completely cool.
3. While the dulce de leche is cooling, make the brown sugar batter. 
4. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Add eggs, one a a time, beating well after each addition.
6. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
7. Alternate adding the flour mixture and whole milk to the butter mixture, one at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Set batter aside.
8. In a separate bowl, make the chocolate batter. 
9. Cream sugar and oil together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
10. Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.
11. In a medium bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
12. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until well combined.
13. Carefully stir in boiling water.

14. Grease and flour a bundt pan well and begin to pour the batter in. To get the marble effect of this cake, pour some of the brown sugar batter into the pan, then top it with some of the chocolate batter.
Alternate until both batter bowls are empty.
15. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. 

16. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool entirely.

17. While cake is cooling you can make the frosting. 
18. First step in making the frosting is to toast the coconut (toast both the frosting coconut and the topping coconut together to save time). Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven on the "broil" setting until desired color is reached (this literally only take about a minute). Set aside to completely cool.

19. Beat cooled dulce de leche, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and salt for 3 minutes. So that it's nice a fluffy. 

20. Add in 1 cup toasted coconut.
21. Chill for 1 hour.
22. Frost the cake with dulce de leche frosting.
23. Top the cake with the remaining toasted coconut.

24. Melt chocolate chips on the stove top, stirring frequently.
25. Drizzle melted chocolate onto the top of the cake, but beware not to drizzle too much or else it will melt the frosting.
26. Enjoy!

Monday, April 29, 2013

29 Week Update

How Far Along:
  29 Weeks

Size of the Baby:
She now weighs almost 3lbs and is about 15 inches long.

Maternity Clothes:
Remember the fabric I mentioned I bought last week
to make a maternity maxi skirt...
well, it didn't turn out so well.
I would show you pictures but I am WAY to embarrassed.
I realized that I lack a few very important qualities
when it come to sewing clothing...
1. Paitence
2. The desire to follow a pattern.
 Weight gain:
Baby Girl must be growing a lot... because I am now up 25lbs!

No change there.

Best Moment of the Week:
My Baby Shower!!
I was incredibly blessed this Saturday from friends and family
who threw me my very first baby shower,
came to show their love and excitement,
and sent gifts to celebrate Baby Girl!

 I swear she had the hiccups the other night.
That was a crazy feeling.

Food Cravings:
Still loving the Iced Vanilla Lattes,
but Root Beer has been pretty amazing lately as well.

Baby Girl.

Belly Button in or out:

Wedding ring on or off:

Anything making you queasy or sick:
Fried Eggs.
For about two months I was eating
a fried egg on toast with avocado a couple times a day, but now,
just the thought of eating that makes me a bit nauseous.

What I miss:
Micah has started prepping the garden for the summer
and watching him do that makes me realize
how much I am going to miss being able to
play around in my flower garden this year.
(But I will have something much more fun to do!!!)
What I am looking forward to:
We have our first birthing class this Wednesday.

I have been doing a ton of organizing since the baby shower.
Putting things away, finding spots for toys and clothes... it's been SO FUN!

Ways to Relax:
Thankfully the weather has warmed up and the sun decided to come out!
So I have been spending a ton of time relaxing on the lawn chairs outside,
watching Silas play and the chickens run around the yard.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Salt City Emporium

I've been realizing two major things recently...

1. Maternity clothes are overpriced.
2. Baby clothes are just as equally (if not more) overpriced.

But no matter how much I complain about these things,
especially baby clothes being way to expensive,
I just can't get over how cute they are!!!

Like these baby leggings from Salt City Emporium.
The cuteness scale on these are way off the charts.

Monday, April 22, 2013

28 Week Update

How Far Along:
  28 Weeks

Size of the Baby:
She is now the size of an Eggplant!

Maternity Clothes:
After having an incredibly uncomfortable day yesterday in my clothing,
I spent quite a bit of time at TJ Max and Target today
buying some MUCH NEEDED bigger clothing
that will hopefully stretch with me throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.
I also bought some stretchy fabric at JoAnn's to make a Maxi Skirt...
because Maxi Skirts and my yoga pants are pretty much the only bottoms I can wear now.

Weight gain:
Yeah... I've gained a total of 21 pounds now.

There has definitely been a turn of events with sleep.
I'm feeling the weight of this baby much more this week,
which means my comfort level throughout the day has drastically decreased.
By 2pm everyday I longingly look at the clock and say to myself:
"Is it bedtime yet?"
All I want to do is put on my PJ's, curl up into bed, and sleep.
Because at least when I'm sleeping,
I'm not feeling the discomfort as much as when I am awake.

Best Moment of the Week:
Nothing too special this week...
Does sleep count?

Yep, she's moving alright.
The other night it felt like baby girl decided to shift all of her weight
to one side of my belly and press really hard.
That was a crazy feeling.

Food Cravings:
Iced Decaf Vanilla Lattes are a bit like heaven right now.

Baby Girl.

Belly Button in or out:

Wedding ring on or off:
  It still fits (even though it is off in this picture).

Anything making you queasy or sick:
Eggs are starting to be unappetizing again
(unless I scramble them with lots of seasoning).

What I miss:
I miss my belly not CONSTANTLY itching!

What I am looking forward to:
My baby shower!!!!
It's in 5 days.

Nothing new since last week.

Ways to Relax:
I am almost done with the book Les Miserables!
I am seriously going to be so proud of myself
when I finish that monster of a book.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Theo Boutique

I love finding online shops and boutiques
that inspire the party-planning side of my life.
I am a firm believer that it is the little details and extra effort
that turn an average party into a beautiful event.
And with places like Theo Boutique,
you can find the most beautiful additions that do just that.

Here are a few of my favorites from the site,
plus a tablescape that I am simply dying over.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

27 Week Update

How Far Along:
  27 Weeks

Size of the Baby:
She is now about 14.5 inches.

Maternity Clothes:
I just noticed that Ross has a Maternity section... woohoo!

Weight gain:
Gained a pound over the last week, so now I'm up 19lbs.

Definitely feeling more tired throughout the day,
but I haven't noticed any changes in my sleeping in the past week.

Best Moment of the Week:
I found the cutest Aden+Anais Sleep Sac at TJ Max!
I just love that store.

I can almost put a pattern to her daily movement.
She seems to be most awake and active
 early in the mornings, around 3-4pm, and around 9pm at night.

Food Cravings:
Sunday morning I woke up and instantly wanted French Toast.
I could even taste the flavor in my mouth as I was lying in bed.
So naturally, I made Micah run to the grocery and buy the ingredients. :)

Baby Girl.

Belly Button in or out:
Even though the sweater I am wearing in the picture above
looks like my belly button has popped out..
My belly button is still in and has not popped out yet.

Wedding ring on or off:

Anything making you queasy or sick:

What I miss:
I miss being able to walk from the YWAM office to my house
or climbing up stairs (even when there are only 5 steps)
without being out of breath by the end.

What I am looking forward to:
#1 on my list of excitement is still looking forward to my baby shower!
Only 11 days away... which reminds me, I should start looking for a cute dress to wear.

Micah has started putting up some shelving that he has made for the nursery.
I can't wait to show you pictures of the final project.
Ways to Relax:
I am thinking of learning how to knit.
I find that the patterns are so much more beautiful and clean compared to crocheting.
So, I plan on teaching myself (hopefully) via youtube.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Cleaning...or um...decorating.

Orla Kiely

Spring-time is here and whenever Spring rolls around
I always get an itch to (no, not clean) but redecorate.
After the long Winter months of being couped up in the house,
I begin to over analyze every decorating decision I have made.
Thus, by the Spring, I am so ready for change
that I seriously have to hold myself back
from spending all my money on new and bright items.

For example, yesterday I stumbled upon the Orla Kiely website
and found so so so many things that would brighten up my home...

1. A bright and cheery throw rug that would match my sofa perfectly
(and brighten up the bad decision I made 5 years ago
when I decided that a RED sofa would be awesome.
5 years later = not so awesome). 

2. Also, a few pillows to brighten up... well, lets just call the sofa "big red".

3. I just love those canisters! So bright and spring-y...
and you can never have enough canisters in my opinion.

4. Pot holders to match too. You can never have enough of those either.

5. And don't forget the coffee mugs.
Drinking my morning (decaf) joe out of those
would definitely put a smile on my face. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Banana Cake with Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

When I first started blogging (in the pre-pinterest days),
I was addicted to Food Blogs.
Daily, I would stalk my favorite sites
to see what they were up to and what they were creating.
If I found something that looked or sounded good,
I would copy that recipe into a file
and save it on my computer for future meal inspiration.
This went on for a very VERY long time.
So long that I now literally have hundreds of recipes
just sitting on my computer waiting to be tried.
I guess you could have called me a recipe hoarder.
I had great intentions to try all of the recipes I saved, 
but year after year they remained untouched... until Monday.
This past Monday I was determined to get on my computer,
search my "Foods To Try" file and actually MAKE SOMETHING!
And boy am I happy I did, because this Banana Espresso Cake recipe it delicious.
Plus, there is not that much sugar in it (if you ignore the frosting).
Win Win in my opinion.

Banana Cake

2 eggs
4 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 very ripe banana
5 tbsp coconut oil (melted so that it's liquid)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp espresso (or strong coffee)
1 block of cream cheese
3 tsp espresso (or strong coffee)
4 tbsp honey
pinch of salt
1 cup powder sugar (this is an apx.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9' round baking dish and set aside.

2. Beat together the eggs, brown sugar, and banana for about 10 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3. Add the oil and beat another 2 minutes.

4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the batter then fold in using a spatula. Add the espresso gradually as you fold in the dry ingredients.

5. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for about 15-17 minutes.

6. Turn onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

7. To make the frosting, whip the cream cheese, espresso, honey, salt and powder sugar together until light and fluffy. A note about the powder sugar... I always add about 2 tbsp at a time when whipping the powder sugar into the frosting mix, stopping to taste the sweetness in between. That way I know when it is just sweet enough to my taste buds. Also, if you wanted to keep the sugar content down in this dessert, you could always just add more honey and less powder sugar.

8. Frost the cake and devour!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Emma Block Illustrations - Style Icons

Do you ever watch old films and think to yourself...
"these ladies really know how to put themselves together"
"man, I wish I had style like that"

I say that to myself every time.

Well, fear no more because today, I have the cutest style illustrations to show you.
These lovely portraits of classic beauties are created by  Emma Block
and I would just love to have one hanging in my house one day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

26 Week Update

Okay, first things first, I have changed my clothes since the last prego update (I swear!).
Secondly, I totally forgot to blog last weeks update.
I blame it on the pregnancy brain syndrome...
lets just go ahead and blame everything on pregnancy brain from this point on.
Phew, now that I got those off my little blogging chest, here's my update!

How Far Along:
  26 Weeks

Size of the Baby:
  Baby is about the size of a large zucchini and weighs apx 2lbs.

Maternity Clothes:
This week, I realized that stretchy Maxi skirts are the BEST THING EVER!
I even bought the cutest blue and white stripped maternity skirt at Target.
(see picture below)

Weight gain:
I'm now up a total of 18lbs.

I am beginning to wonder how both Micah and I
are going to fit on our queen bed in a few months.
I can tend to be a bit of a bed hog these days.

Best Moment of the Week:
My diaper bag came in the mail!!!
Both Micah and I are now definitely seeing (and feeling) our little girl move around in there.
It is the weirdest and most amazing thing to see my belly
move around and contort into odd shapes with every little kick and jab she makes.

Food Cravings:
Nothing out of the ordinary.

Baby Girl.

Belly Button in or out:

Wedding ring on or off:

Anything making you queasy or sick:

What I miss:
I miss not having to generously slather coconut oil all over my belly daily.
I do love the stuff, but at times I worry that I smell like coconut cooking oil. Ha!

What I am looking forward to:
My Baby Shower that is on the 27th of April!
I am so thankful to my friends here for throwing me a party.

I'm almost finished with my handmade crib mobile.
(I'll post pictures soon).

Ways to Relax:
After (finally) watching Les Miserables, I am bound and determined to finish reading the book.
I've completed 350 pages already, now just 350 more to go!