Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is a favorite of my sweet husband's. He doesn't have a huge sweet tooth like *ahem* someone I know, so when he puts in his opinion for a sweet treat, I'm sure to listen.

I needed a cake to send with him to work. We feed soldiers and he gives a devotional on Wednesdays. It's been a blessed time to break down the walls of uncomfortableness that some soldiers seem to have with their chaplain. It's a great way to win favor when you are new to the unit too!

I went to one of my favorite cookbooks for my carrot cake recipe.

My aunt gifted me this cookbook after her stay with me in Germany. It came complete with notes scratched in the margin. Beside the Pumpkin Carrot Cake Recipe, she wrote "Best Cake I have EVER Made!".  That's saying a lot from a woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup (about 3 medium) carrots, grated
  • 1 cup coconut, flaked
  • 1 1/4 cups nuts, chopped, divided
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch-round cake pans.


COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Combine milk and lemon juice in liquid measuring cup (mixture will appear curdled).


BEAT eggs, pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, pineapple, carrots and milk mixture in large mixer bowl; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Stir in coconut and 1 cup nuts. Pour into prepared cake pans.


BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.


FROST between layers, on sides and top of cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish with remaining nuts. Store in refrigerator.


FOR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
COMBINE
11 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup softened butter and 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon grated orange peel; beat until combined.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Fair

It had rained all weekend and the evening was chilly. We were driving home from worship service last Sunday night and she spotted it. In the past we have been very proud of ourselves, thinking ahead, taking a different route to avoid the attraction. But in our laziness Sunday night, we drove right in it's path.....

The fair. Ugh.

It's so germy. It sorta grosses me out just thinking about it. Even without thinking about the filth, the cost alone is enough to get my stomach turning.

But, it was a holiday weekend after all. And these weekends don't come soon enough. We have almost a year's lost time with daddy seeing he was gone for most of her "5's".  It's hard to look at those pleading big brown eyes and say no.

We knew what we had to do. We pulled the van over and checked around our pockets for cash and gave the "parent nod" to one another.

Oh the squeals that came from the back seat. I guess we had forgotten just how exciting a little roadside fair could be to a six year old.

We spent the evening watching our little girl ride the carousel of stationary cars, take a train ride around the fair grounds and get her stomach taken on a small roller coaster. 

Her favorite part of the night? A ferris wheel ride with her daddy. It was a full blown date in her book.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Ahhhh....I feel so refreshed after a weekend with my family unplugged and laid back. We needed some family time in between retreats, hosting and chaplain duties. We ate out a few times this past week so I'm ready to get back in the saddle again.


Sunday- Lunch: Cheeseburger Frittata with spinach salad and sliced apples
                
             Dinner: Swedish Meatballs over egg noodles and green beans (Just using the sauce from     this recipe, I have homemade meatballs I need to use from the freezer)

Monday- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with roasted potatoes and grilled veggie kebabs

Tuesday- Tamale Pie with salad with jalapeno lime vinaigrette

Wednesday- Small Group: Breakfast for dinner, making spinach and feta quiche and sausage, egg casserole

Thursday- Green Chili Enchiladas with chips and salsa



Head over to OrgJunkie.com for more yummy menu plans


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Bargain of a Ball

I love the challenge to be frugal. It's almost like a game at times. When I found out my husband's unit was celebrating the end of their work in Iraq, I was thrilled to think of about preparing for a ball.

I set the budget at $50 for my entire look for the night. I knew it would be tough to meet, but I gave it a shot.

The dress....
After seeking out thrift stores first, I stumbled upon this beautiful royal blue dress at Ross. It was the perfect color for the aviation core and fit just right. Total for the dress...
$29.99! I actually spent less than that because I had a gift card from returning a pair of shoes that I had purchased for our little girl. The gift card was for $11.00 and some change leaving me out of pocket only $20 or so.

The jewelry......
Because of the neckline of the dress, I knew all I would need were earrings. Score big time for my budget! I found some large earrings at a costume jewelry store for $6.99. Instead of choosing the earrings with silver and blue, I opted for the neutral ones so I can wear them again.

The shoes....
I was bummed out to find that my go to ball shoes no longer fit right. Who's foot grows in their late 20's?! Anyways, I went to our local mall and scanned the clearance sections for formal shoes. You won't believe the deal I got! I happened to find the perfect pair for $19.99. Only, when I got to the counter, they were non- refundable, marked down shoes and half off the lowest price. That's right, I only paid $10 for these beauties!

Because my total was not even $40 at that point, I threw in a clearance bag to go with the shoes too! at $9 even, the bag was mine!

I did my own hair, just putting it in rollers. So there you have it, a ball for less than $50.

Saving money can be done and you don't have to look like the goodwill to do it. I found that having an open mind and being willing to try stores, dresses and sizes that you might not normally try might result in finding the one perfect item you were looking for. I also prayed that the Lord would help me honor Him with my finances and help me make my husband proud of the way I look at the same time. He truly answered!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Some of our menu got switched around last week due to a crazy Army week. We had leftovers one night and ate a recipe for this week last week so some of our meals we are going to try again this week.

We ate out several times this week and I have to say that aside from an authentic Korean restaurant here in our town,  no meal has been worth the price it cost to eat there. I'm thinking that a lot of out to eat meals are microwaved now a days?!


                                         

Monday: Tostados with homemade refried beans, citrus fruit

Tuesday: Pan seared tilapia, pesto spaghetti squash, sauteed green beans

Wednesday: Small Group Grill out night- providing grilled chicken and brats and everyone brings a side

Thursday- Bourbon Chicken with brown rice and sitr fry veggies

Friday- Chicken Picatta (Lemon Chicken) with egg noddles and steamed broccoli

Saturday- Healthy-ish? Carrot Cake Pancakes with organic breakfast sausage

Sunday- Tacos, fruit salad



Find more menu plans at OrgJunkie.com

Thursday, February 2, 2012

We're Moving....{again!}

Here's a few clues about our new location.....


It has an annual average rainfall of 39 inches per year- that's more than Seattle.



This city was named after Christopher Columbus.



It is a very international city where we can eat food from different cultures every night.



This city has a grocery service where for a small fee, you can have them delivered to your doorstep!



It has been voted the most walkable city.



So have you guessed yet?!


Yep, it's our nation's capital, Washington DC! 

We are so excited and blessed to be on yet another adventure. How cool will it be to picnic on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and be in DC during such a historic election? We hope to learn about many different cultures and experience once in a lifetime things. Of course, we are excited to serve those that the Lord has called for us to serve.

As you can imagine, this is what brought our adoption abruptly to a halt in December. We are trying to get answers about moving while adopting and are still submitting on various sibling groups. If God brings us to mind, would you mind praying for us?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Classics

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about homeschooling is getting to chart our own course. While there are a lot of responsibilities that come with being in charge of my child's schooling, there are also tremendous privileges. This year, I am fulfilling my own secret desire of reading many classics.

I have the best mom that any child could have had. She is a reader! She would read anything we brought to her and she would do all the voices. The problem is that I was an unfocused child who lacked self discipline and I wasn't patient to endure an entire classic over a month or so. I feel out of place sometimes when people talk about classic story lines because I have simply never read most of them.

So this year, I've made a goal to read a classic to our daughter each month. We have celebrated with watching a movie version of it at the end. Even without the movie reward, our daughter has been so eager to read each page. She is clearly her father's child because she has such a long attention span.

What about you, have you read many classics? Any that you would recommend?