Saturday, April 26, 2008

I want to get the Creative out!

On Friday, we met up with my sister and her family at Amazing Jakes. Before we went, I ran upstairs to grab my camera (to catch the all too precious moments that one is bound to have at Amazing Jakes) and ran out the door. Only to realize when we got there that my camera was completely out of batteries (does anyone know a good, not-too-expensive camera that has a rechargeable battery?) So, this post is going to be picture less :(

I have to say the idea of Amazing Jakes is ingenious! One of my favorite things about it, is that it has different themed rooms to sit in to eat. For example the kid(or movie) room, is just a big room, divided into 3 sections, showing 3 different movies. This comes in handy when you have a range of ages with you. We watched the Bee Movie, Mr Magorioums...., and Over the Hedge all at the same time( well not really, but technically I could have!) Chase & Sadie were ready to go do games the minute they were done eating. Of Course. Which leads me to the next reason why it is so ingenious......it is so expensive!(meaning, they are raking in the BIG bucks) And they know you'll pay it, because really what other choice is there. "Holly" you say "there are plenty of choices, go to chucky cheese, or peter piper and pay less" Well, that is what I thought. But, it seems, that once you have taken your child to Amazing Jakes, you have ruined them for all the other Pizza joints! but, we all had fun, so it was worth it.
This morning(Sat.), I was actually able to talk my husband into coming to the Spring Fling Boutique with me. Did I say 'talked' it might have been more like 'tricked', but he's done it to me with his 'real quick' trips to best buy or game stop or......so all is fair in love and war:)
It wasn't really a trick, I just mentioned that my sister & I were going to the boutique and then going thrift store & garage sale shopping. I believe it was the latter part that sparked his interest.
Anyway, so we went to the boutiques (mainly to see my friend Diana:) to check out all the goods. I was missing my camera again. There were so many cute ideas and things for sale.
D, had some very cute baby items(wipee cases, changing pads, bows) & also her friend Kaylene makes & sells some of the CUTEST dresses for little girls. I mean Adorable!
I got motivated. I started thinking, I'm going to pull out the sewing machine my mom got me for Christmas! And then I realized that the extent of my sewing expertise is scrunchies and patch quilts, and....that's about it. (my grandma Viv taught me how to sew one summer when I was about 12 or so......I happen to still be very proud of the patch work quilts i sewed & in fact still have one I need to finish up:)
The funny thing about these boutiques, is I get all pumped up to get creative. In the car I was saying to Adam "did you see that calender? I could make that." or " those one picture thingy's, I could totally make that. I need to pull out my scrap book stuff when i get home" or "did you see how cute that was, I wanna sew" and then here I am not 4 hours later sitting on the computer, not doing anything creative or cute......so I think I 'm going to head up to my studio and paint. That always makes me feel better! Also, I figure if I state on this blog that I am going to do something. There is more of a chance of me doing it. (y'know what I mean). So, my goals for this summertime, are to really get my creativity going. I'm going to learn to sew again (more than just scrunchies & blankets:). I'm going to pull my guitar out more often. I am going to finally get started on my wedding scrapbook or at least a family album. I am going to continue to paint and practice that as much as possible. So, it sounds like I have a busy summer coming! :)
I have to admit though, that my favorite part of going to the boutique (other than my spark of creativity) was being able to have some time with my sister and seeing some of my favorite people. (linds,diana, lori & nikki....it always makes my day to see you!)
Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Banana Cake!

This is my 'jimmy rigged' cake holder. I didn't have anything to keep it airtight, so I flipped a nice salad bowl over...it ended up working just fine.  I really like this cake, but next time I make it, I'll pull it out of the oven a few minutes early. (the next pic shows that the edges are a little well-done...some people like that. I, however, am not one of them.) Notice the pink scale in the background! I love it, my mom found it for me to match my pink & turquoise kitchen. (thanks mom!) 



Banana Cake ---from Better Homes & Gardens Limited Ed. Cook Book

2 Eggs
2  1/4 cups All purpose flour (I used cake flour.......after all it is a cake)
1  1/2 cups sugar
1  1/2 baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)...i used four
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening (i used coconut oil instead of shortening...it doesn't really effect the taste and is supposed to be healthier)  
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together Flour, Sugar, Baking powder and soda & salt. Add Bananas, buttermilk, shortening & vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add eggs, continue to beat on  med. for 2 minutes. When batter is all mixed pour into prepared pans (grease & lightly flour pans). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (I personally would say 20-25 min)

*Also I added a handful of semi-sweet chocolate & also peanut butter chips to the top layer. ( my hubby does not usually like these additions, Crazy man:) ! But this time, I would probably add a little more. It makes for a nice yummy surprise.

So when it came time to frost it..I was going crazy, would I choose plain old chocolate? Or should I try Cream cheese?Butter cream?  Then I thought, ooh a nice Caramel frosting would be sooo good, right? 
Well, my Caramel frosting did not turn out.......how do I say.....good at all!!! It was more of a glaze and it tasted like maple...weird, I know. By the time I realized it was not going to happen with the Caramel frosting, it was 10:00 on Tues. night, and I was tired. So, I turned to the good old store bought chocolate frosting. ( I know some people would look down on this, but I say if it tastes good, what is the big deal?) So I frosted the bottom layer in chocolate.......and promptly ran out chocolate frosting, before I could get to the top layer. By this point I was thinking "should I just toss this and cry over my ruined cake?"...... No!!!!!     I pulled out my jar of Nutella and finished frosting that dang cake!!! 
And let me tell you....it actually turned out! I thought it tasted pretty good. 
So, if you are a big fan of banana bread (as I am) this is a recipe you might want to try.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cookies and more

I know it has been a 'couple' (using this term loosly) days since my last post. It seems like life has been busier than usual...but it hasn't, just seems that way. So, i have become a bit obsessed with cooking(or should I say baking). I think it's all these food blogs I have been looking at or maybe that now we have a kitchen I can actually stand to be in for more than 10 min. (the kitchen in our apartment was a walk through, and entirely too small..in my opinion). Anyway I have been searching for good recipes and found one on Picky Palate for Chocolate Chip Cookies.....only NO BUTTER. She used Coconut Oil instead. My very first thought "I'm making these tonight!!" However, I did not have Coconut Oil on hand, as I had really never heard of it.....which led to multiple trips to multiple stores to find it. Silly me, I figured Oil, would be Oil....like Olive Oil or something, but as you can see from the pics, it is more crisco-like consistancy except Coconut Oil actually has health benefits. Yeah!!
So when we found the Cocunut Oil, I rushed home to make these wonderful cookies. The first batch(pictured) was cooked a little crisp around the edges. The second, however, were excellant. The only thing I was dissapointed about was the next day. I don't think I stored them right because they were very "crispy". I personally like a cookie that holds the softness for a couple of days.
Chase seemed to like them. Adam, however wasn't sure, he said he would rather me make a batch of my dad's famous chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies (which I have to say are absolutly AWESOME). So I made a batch of those (no pics...Adam & Chase keep looking at me like I'm crazy, every time I try to take a picture of the food I have just made.... I'm not sure why) and they were eaten in no time.
So, we had a cookie weekend. Then I had a day off last week. I needed to make some really good cupcakes and I noticed that I had 4 bannanas that were about to go south. So, I made a Banana cake to get rid of the bannanas(you'll have to wait for a pic on this one). And then in looking through some books I found my grandma's recipe book!!! (I was so excited to find this. I had been searching for it for about a year) I found her recipe for quick easy chocolate sheet cake(from scratch, is there any other way :) ...so I made it into cupcakes. They actually turned out pretty good and once they had frosting...they were Wonderfully Delicious! So I figured, since this is what I have been up to in my spare time I would copy all the other 'food blogs' and get some pics to show you.
I am still looking for 'the best' recipes. If anyone has one to pass along. I would love to check it out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tucson..and the Zoo!


I remember(a year or two ago) talking to a friend about my parents moving to Tucson. Their response was "Tucson??that is the armpit of Arizona!" First of all, Ewww! and Secondly,  you are wrong my friend! So, here are the pics to prove it. 

I love Tucson! It is always fun to go visit our  family there. The first five pictures are at my sister Heathers, where we did some fishing, swinging, and quad riding! The rest of the pics are from the Tucson Zoo, which in my opinion is THE best by far!! For 2 specific reasons. #1 You don't have to walk for miles and miles between animals (call me lazy, but I had heels on and was grateful we were not at the PHX Zoo) and #2 The animals are so close, with some of them (giraffes) it seems as if you could touch them. So enjoy the pics, and think about visiting Tucson. .....you might just be amazed at how awesome it is!