Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Do you ever find that one special recipe that is just so darn good you wanna call your mom up and thank her for teaching you how to use an oven?  And in the same breath reach through the phone and smack her all at the same time because now that you KNOW how to bake the best cake like EVER, your butt continues to grow because you can not work-out hard enough to stop the effects of a slowing metabolism (due to age...not that I'm old) and your lack of self-control to NOT eat half of the cake with a fork straight out of the skillet you cooked it in?


Well then, you haven't made this cake yet.

This cake is the perfect blend of spicy and sweet...and its totally healthy too. 

It has pineapples in it!  How can that not be healthy? 

Don't ruin it for me...were gonna call it healthy and leave it at that, Em' Kay Pumpkin?

Em' Kay!

This is by far the BEST pineapple upside down cake recipe that I have ever come across. 

My husband asks for it every year for his birthday...and then at least once a month for the next 6 months after his birthday because the half eaten one cake isn't enough for him.

Yup, its just THAT good!

So forget that bikini season is just around the corner, go work-out super hard this week and then bake yourself this cake.

I promise that you won't be dissappointed.

Oh, and mom, don't answer the phone when I call you.  I'm just sayin :)

Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake

by Angi McCarthy (adapted from Taste of Home)
Keywords: pineapple cake

  • 1-1/3 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, drained
  • 10 to 12 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
In a saucepan, melt 2/3 cup of butter; stir in brown sugar. Spread in the bottom of an ungreased heavy 12-in skillet or a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Arrange pineapple in a single layer over sugar mixture; place a cherry in the center of each slice.

Sprinkle with pecans and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add alternately to batter with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

Carefully pour over the pineapple. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes in an iron skillet skillet (50-60 minutes for baking pan) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream!
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So what is the ONE recipe that you can not seem to make enough of?  I'd love to try it out!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh Happy Day!!

Taking Pleasure in the Simple Pleasures of Life!!

Every year for Mother's Day all my men get up early to make me breakfast.  I am usually asleep while all the action takes place only to awaken to a fresh poured cup of coffee and my favorite breakfast sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me.

This year; however, I was a wake before all the action began.  Some little birdy told me that I needed to be apart of it all this time around.

And so I was. 

While I was not "allowed" to lift a finger to help cook or set the table, I was given permission to pull out my camera and snap a few shots.

Our Aussie was stuck on the other side of the kitchen...wishing he could come in...cause he just KNOWS the kids are gonna drop something that he can "help" clean up!

My youngest was inspired a few weeks ago by The Pioneer Woman.  We all curl up on the couch and watch her TV series every Sunday morning. 

He saw her making some fried eggs inside toast and decided that he HAD to make me those...and he doesn't even like eggs OR toast :) 

I love that kid!

My breakfast was Magnificent!  There was chit-chat and laughter all around the table.

I didn't even have to clean up the mess when they were done!

For a brief period in time, I actually felt like royalty.

I was quickly smacked back into reality when my boys started wrestling each other over who was going to give me my Mother's Day gift.

Ahhh...the joys of Motherhood!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Passage of Time...

Finding Joy in All Things
It’s not always easy but it is always worth it

You won’t mind if I shamelessly posts picture of my adorable son building something for me as I ramble on will you?  No?  Good!

I don’t know if any of you follow Sasha over at Lemonade Makin Mama or not (but you totally should because she is amazing).  Personally, I find that I am drawn to her blog when I need to feel inspired.  She writes from the heart and truly makes you feel close to her through her words, for me, its similar to the feeling of a puppy curling up on my lap as it drifts to sleep.  Just a sweet, comforted, warm and relaxed feeling comes over me each time I read her posts.  Sometimes, I can feel her tears in her words and am moved to tears myself.  To say that she has a way with words is an underestimation of her talents as a writer.

Recently she put up this post about what has been taking place in her life and her struggles over the last couple of years and her decision to finally give “it” ALL over to God.  Her struggles seem to mirror my own so closely…I guess that is why I am drawn to her time and again.

But then again, we all struggle with that to a degree don’t we?  There are times that we truly believe that we have given it all to Him to handle only to find that there is still that little “something” that we feel the need to control ourselves that keeps us from completely surrendering to Him.

Several months ago, I too decided to hand over to God all of a situation in my life.  I prayed on it…and by prayed I mean got down on my hands and knees and blubbered like an idiot begging Him to help me with the situation in my life that felt a bit like an out of control merry-go-round.  I prayed for the voice to say the things that needed to be said and to let go of all the rest but more than that, the courage to accept the outcome…whatever it may be.

I prayed that when the time was right to have my voice heard, that He would let me know. And I patiently waited.  Over that time several things started to take place.

My anger over this situation subsided but I found that it was replaced by hurt.  That gut wrenching type of hurt that can only be caused by someone that you love.  It was a raw emotion that left me without words.  The hurt was so deep that I wanted nothing to do with it.  I ignored it and only wanted it to stop but I didn’t know how to make it.  So I prayed further and harder and asked that God show me how.  And I listened while he softly spoke to me through this message…

“Joy is the flag that flies above the castle of our hearts indicating that the King reigns within.” If that is true, then why are so many women living lives with little or no joy? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy, allowing him to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams and unrealized goals are some of his favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him to use. It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain, we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, joy is buried under a mountain of self. Joy is not the result of outward circumstances. Joy is an inside job, a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control..." Mary Southerland

Um YEA!  That is totally how I am feeling!  So I struggled to come to terms with the root of the hurt and what was causing it:  The feeling that I was being judged for past mistakes and current circumstances that were beyond my control.  It’s hard being judged for that which I can not change… things that helped to make me who I am today but aren’t who I am and wishing that the one passing judgment would realize that it is the future that isn’t yet written in stone.

Time passes…things change…people change.

And then I felt Him nudge me.  And I said my peace.  And nothing changed.


My searching led me to something amazing that I'd never seen before.  I was lead to the book of Jeremiah and there's a very well known verse all about God knowing the plans He has for you, yada, yada, yada, and to be honest, I was putting off getting to that part because of where I was at emotionally. As Sasha explains in words I can understand, “Basically, God kept trying to get the Israelites to quit worshiping idols, etc, and he gave them warning, after warning to no avail.  He was finally like "Okay guys, if you insist on crossing every line, I'm gonna have to let the Babylonians carry you off into slavery to get your attention, but I'll only keep you there for seventy years."  God spoke up; "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,' declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 29: 10-14a.

So in laymen terms…my misery has a time limit!  Halleluiah!  Just that in itself comforts me greatly.

I feel like we’re finally living the life that God has willed us to do and we are so close to seeing the end of this, but you know the saying, "Close only counts in horseshoes." 

Somehow, in all of this, I realized that I was meant to suffer this heartache…though I do not know why yet.  Maybe there is a lesson for me to learn…that all actions both good and bad carry consequences.  That I should not judge less I want to be judged. 
In the mean-time, I'm going to seek Him with my whole heart and I'm going to choose the knowledge that God is firmly in control.  And I'm taking back my joy!!  How about you?  Can you relate to this place at all?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine!

Morning Glory Muffins
How to have your cake and eat it too!

As a mom, I am always trying to figure out new and creative ways to “sneak” healthy foods into my kid’s treats. 

As a wife, I am always trying to figure out how to get my husbands daily intake of the healthy stuff into him any way I can.

As a woman…I’m always trying to figure out how I can have my cake and eat it too! 

Are you feeling me here?

Seriously, if it were up to me to write the Food Pyramid (and I really think it should be), the largest block would be chocolate...all else would follow!

Whose with me?

One of my favorite treats to make for my family are these Morning Glory Muffins. 

They are the perfect blend of sweet AND healthy!

These little beauties are cram packed with all things healthy...and just enough of the unhealthy stuff to make them DELISH!

If your feeling really adventurous, you can top them with a little cream cheese frosting and have them for dessert!


Morning Glory Muffins
by Angi McCarthy
Keywords: breakfast muffin

Ingredients (1 dozen large muffins)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup crushed pineapples, drained
  • 1 -1/2 cup King Arthur White Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until smooth.
Add eggs and sour cream; beat well.
Stir in carrots, coconut crushed pineapple and raisins.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture just until moistened.
Fold in nuts.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups 3/4 full.
Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Serve warm and enjoy!
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You may find this post partying in the following places:

Friday:  Dwell on Joy- Finding Fabulous - Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Fingerprints on the Fridge - Shabby Nest - WhipperberryMiss Mustard Seed - French Country Cottage - Sweet Tooth Friday (Alli-n-son), I'm Lovin' it Fridays (TidyMom), Friday Favorites (Simply Sweet Home), Latest & Greatest Friday (Days of Chalk and Chocolate), Bacon Time, Fusion Friday (Jane Deere Blog).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Persistance is key...

It's as Simple as Black & White
or is it white and black...

I started this project what seems like forever ago.  (You can read all about that here).  In all actuality it was about 2 months ago.  When I first brought this piece home, I was overjoyed to be working on a furniture project.  I had great ambition to have it all finished and ready to return to its owner within 2 weeks.

Then life happened…as it always seems to.

One weekend I found the time to sand the cabinet to rough it up a bit.  Then it sat for several weeks until I found the time to prime it.

And that was a nightmare.

The primer wouldn’t stick…it would just peel right off.  UGH!  To say that this was frustrating is so much of an understatement.  SO MUCH!  But I pushed through and sanded and primed again…and again.

And then I let it sit for a week to be absolutely certain that the primer was going to stick.

I checked a few areas here and there to make sure that it was good and primed and no peeling was going to occur.  All seemed good…you know where I am going with this don’t you?

Well, I busted out the sprayer and sprayed the cabinet with two light coats of Martha Stewart Latex paint in Silhouette.  Then used a very fine grit paper to smooth it out.  Everything was going good so I sprayed a final coat of black to the cabinet…then a realized that I forgot to paint the doors.

So I sprayed a few light coats on the doors and let them sit for a few days.

I really liked the way this project was going…it all seemed to be clicking into place.  The cabinet looked awesome!  Its owner was impressed…it’s all good.

And then the nightmare began…again.

I went to sand the doors before putting the final coat of paint on and it all began peeling off.  I don’t just mean a few areas…I mean in big looonnnnggg strips of paint.  In my haste to get the doors painted (after forgetting them) I FORGOT to check to make sure that the primer had stuck.  GASP!  It hadn’t.  Insert long stream of bad words here…no, seriously, longer than that.  I said a lot of not so nice things.  I seriously think my neighbors are afraid of me now.  I may have even thrown a few things around and slammed doors.  I call it painters rage.  I’m just saying.

I suddenly hated this project that I had so much adoration for in the beginning.

I loathed looking at this piece…and yet I left it sitting in my view for ANOTHER two weeks.  I seriously believe that I was secretly punishing myself for taking this project on to begin with…I mean as if I don’t have enough to do with my time.

Once I was certain that the paint was there to stay, I lightly distressed all the edges using a sanding block.  I wiped it all down with a tack cloth then wiped on a coat of Minwax Stain in my all time favorite color…Special Walnut.  I did not remove the excess stain.  Instead, I let it sit for several days to soak in.

After that process was complete, using a cheese cloth, I rubbed on a thin coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax…waited 24 hours then applied a second coat….waited 24 more hours and buffed it with a soft cloth to achieve a low sheen. 

In the end, it turned out magnificently!  In fact, so much better than I had envisioned.  And totally worth all the frustration when I returned it to my mom knowing how much she appreciated it and LOVED the new look!  Pottery Barn watch out!  There's a new paint brush in town!

Have you had any nightmare projects like this that have turned out WONDERFULLY in the end?  If so, I'd love to hear about them and how you over came your obstacles.

You may find this post partying in the following places:

Friday:  Dwell on Joy- Finding Fabulous - Chic on a Shoestring Decorating - Fingerprints on the Fridge - Shabby Nest - WhipperberryMiss Mustard Seed - French Country Cottage - Sweet Tooth Friday (Alli-n-son), I'm Lovin' it Fridays (TidyMom), Friday Favorites (Simply Sweet Home), Latest & Greatest Friday (Days of Chalk and Chocolate), Bacon Time, Fusion Friday (Jane Deere Blog


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