Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Middle of the Week Wanderings- TGKBC April Update


Vanilla Ginger Cake

I've still been doing lots of baking as part of my self-induced "Great Keatley Baking Challenge". The biggest issue has been being busy doing other things and having to sometimes almost force myself to bake. A couple of Sundays ago I was in the mood for something sweet, so I made this Vanilla Ginger Cake. The flavor choice came from the ginger that was sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I had made candied ginger before, so I thought I'd do it again and use it for part of the flavor profile of this little cake. It may not look like it, but it was baked in two 6" pans. I made a full batch of frosting (and used the whole bowl) which is why it looks a bit "frosting heavy". 
Brian and I enjoyed it over a number of days as it was so rich (again, I am sure because of the amount of delicious frosting). Here's my recipe for a small Vanilla Ginger Cake:

VANILLA GINGER CAKE

For Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar (use vanilla sugar if you have it)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. candied ginger, cut into small pieces

For Frosting:
2 sticks butter, softened
16 oz box powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup candied ginger, cut into small pieces

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.  
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds or until softened. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk on medium-low speed just until mixed. Fold in candied ginger. Pour into two greased and floured 6-inch baking pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes on rack then turn out to continue cooling.

For the Frosting, beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Fold in candied ginger. Frost when cake is cooled completely. 

You can serve right away or store in the refrigerator. I stored mine, uncovered for 1 hour then covered with plastic wrap. I think it stayed nicer and longer in the refrigerator. 

Hope you enjoy this recipe!
~Mangia Mamma


Thursday, April 21, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Still Easter Edition

{pretty}
So I had great plans of posting all we did during Holy Week and the Octave of Easter. Well, as it didn't happen, I am so grateful for having 50 days to celebrate the Easter Season. This is why my {p, f, h, r} post today has a few look-back photos. 
I tried to make sure to have most of the Easter Day food made at least partially before the Triduum started. This year, I was actually able to accomplish it. I used both my Paul Hollywood and my Great British Bake-Off cookbooks for many of the recipes. The Hot Cross Buns (Great British Bake-Off) which we had on Good Friday were just right. Not too sweet and filling, it was definitely the best recipe I've come across. 
{a bit more pretty}
Easter was also a good friend's birthday, and our Easter Dinner hostess, Cristina, requested a cake to celebrate. The Irish Coffee Cake (Paul Hollywood) was simple, festive and tasted fantastic. I was able to do part of it Saturday morning, so it felt like it took hardly anytime for something that turned out just as I hoped.
{and still pretty}
I had seen this recipe for a Tarte De Soleil on the LMLD blog as Leila shared it with her readers here. It was another recipe that I started early and then through the whole thing together Sunday morning after Mass before we headed out. The best complement was from Lisa, who sat next to me, when she said it was so yummy, she had eaten half of it before she realized it had olives in it, and she doesn't like olives! Do check out the recipe and give it a try. I'm so looking forward to making it again this summer as it's a wonderful dish.

Adoration at St. Mary's Cathedral in Portland
{happy} Josh praying at Holy Rosary
One of my favorite parts of Holy Week and Eastertide was having Joshua home. Brian and I are starting to get used to being empty-nesters, but it felt {happy} to have one of the kids around. Being a seminarian in the Portland Archdiocese, Joshua has the opportunity to serve different Masses up at St. Mary's Cathedral in Portland. He invited me to go with him and a fellow seminarian to the Holy Thursday Mass and then do a seven church pilgrimage before heading home. We officially started out Altars of Repose journey at the Cathedral as soon as Mass was finished then we headed over for meatless pizza before visiting the other churches. Our second stop in Portland was St. Patrick's then we were off to St. Stephen's. Holy Rosary was next followed by St. Rose of Lima. We were going to go the Grotto, but when we arrived the gates were closed. We made it to Christ the King in Milwaukie and finally down to St. Patrick's in Canby. We were able to stay at each of the churches for anywhere between 10-20 minutes while we prayed and reflected. What a joy and how {happy} it was for me to hang out with these young men and journey with them on Maundy Thursday.

 always {happy} to see
my kids praying


Our Easter was also {happy}! Joshua and I went to Easter Vigil Mass up at Mt. Angel and then got up in time to attend Mass at St. Joseph's Sunday morning. We came home and had a yummy Easter breakfast which left me time to get the rest of the goodies ready to take to our annual Easter feast at The Fords. The {pretty} photos above are all from there.




Dingle Pie- {funny} name but good to eat!




So Josh had Spring Break during Easter week, and his one request was lots of baked goods from my two British cookbooks mentioned above. I ended up making all sort of baked goods with {funny} names including Dingle Pie, Chorley Cakes and Devonshire Splits.


{funny} Just {funny}




We also had Syrian food one night. I made Grandpa Aziz' Chicken Rice which is really lamb, onions, spices and rice- no chicken at all. I guess this would be why it fits into the {funny} category although those two in the photo are {funny} too! It was quite a meal as I even made pita from scratch that turned out really tasty.


Yep, it's a {real} one.

The Saturday after Easter found Brian taking Josh fishing as I was having the ladies from our St. Gregory's Pocket over for brunch. Josh hadn't been fishing since he was little, and he had never caught a fish. I had a wonderful brunch, and the guys had a nice time up at St. Louis Ponds. They came back and Josh was so happy because he had caught a nice {real} trout. He ended up taking it back to seminary on Sunday along with the fixing for some pan fried fish and potatoes. He said it was delicious and a {real} great way to start the rest of the semester at school.

I hope you are all still celebrating the Easter season at least a bit. I know we are trying to at least make our Sundays a bit more festive. For more {pretty, happy, funny, real} ideas, head on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter and see what all the bloggers are doing today.




{pretty, happy, funny,real} Spring Has Sprung edition

{pretty}
                                            

So the weather has been pretty wonderful here in the Mid-Valley over the last couple of weeks.  Of course, we're due for four days of rain starting tomorrow, but I just need to remember it's what keeps everything green.  While the sun's been shining, I took a little bit of time and popped some flowers into the two pots that sit on our front porch steps. I don't really know how long they'll last due my less-than green thumb, but they look so {pretty} at least for now.

{happy}
I made a really yummy low-sodium BBQ sauce today to pour over a small pork picnic I found on sale at Winco.  I've been trying to cook more for just the two of us as we have noticed that leftovers are good for a day or two but not a whole week. The smell of the sauce cooking has been making me {happy} as it has brought back memories of going to Chris & Pitt's BBQ with my grandparents when I was a little girl.
I adapted this recipe from The Daily Dish, and here it is for you to try (trust me, you'll never miss the salt)!

LOW SODIUM SMOKY BBQ SAUCE

2- 8 oz. cans no-salt-added tomato sauce (I use Hunts)
1/2 c. finely diced onion (half sm/med onion)
2 t. minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 T. unsulphered molasses
1 T. honey
1 t. liquid smoke
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground paprika
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a clean lidded jar or other airtight container. Refrigerate until use. 

{funny}

I've joined a Catholic women's pen pal group, and it's been so enjoyable.  I've also tried to write more letters to my kids and others who would hopefully like to receive a letter. While this endeavor may not seem to fit the {funny} part of this post, I realized this photo of my tea, vanilla ginger cake & letter writing fits it exactly.  I can't believe how much frosting I had put on that cake until comments like "lots of frosting, little cake" and others came up. All I know is that I didn't want leftovers, so I used the whole batch.  Of course, I think it was enough for a full size cake when this little one was only 6". At least it tasted delicious!

{real, oh so real}

Well, you can't get much more {real} than this.  A bunch of gals on Instagram have been posting photos of themselves with no make-up and no filters. I took this one yesterday, and I can't tell much of a difference. I thought of making this the {funny} part of the post, but I think it's just so {real}. I've tended to not worry about the physical things that come with getting older, and I'm glad about it. I've got too much other stuff to think about that is a while lot more important.  I hope you can focus today on what's truly important in your life as that's where we will be truly {real}.

Be sure to visit Like Mother, Like Daughter and check out the other bloggers who have {pretty, happy, funny, real} stuff to share.


                                               

Thursday, March 17, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Green Edition




Since today is the Feast Day of St. Patrick, I thought I'd do a "Green" edition of this week's {pretty, happy, funny, real} link up with Like Mother, Like Daughter. I'm not Irish, but part of my husband's family is from Donegal, Ireland. You can read more about St. Patrick's life here.

{pretty}

We've had so much rain in the Mid-Willamette Valley this winter that our whole yard is blooming including plants that most people think of as weeds. So much green everywhere! We have one space in the backyard where these yellow flowery plants grow. I'm sure they are weeds, but the green and yellow make for a very {pretty} area.

{happy}
I was very blessed to be invited to coffee with my dear friends, Annette and Cristina on Tuesday. I had been wanting to have a reason for making this green scarf, so I got up early and stitched it up. Annette graciously picked me up since I'm still not supposed to be driving. We had been going for just coffee, and Cristina ended up making us breakfast {happy}. We thought we'd be there for a short while and ended up finally leaving after 4 1/2 hours. What a {happy} time we had being able to talk and share our journeys as wives and moms.

{more happy}

My oldest son has had a great experience at Mt. Angel Seminary taking part in so many cultural celebrations/feast days since the students are so diverse. He's shared about how the only group that hasn't done anything special are the anglo community. After talking with some of his fellow seminarians and getting the okay from the staff, he decided to head up at St. Patrick's Celebration. I decided to make some {happy} cookies to help the party- Whole Wheat Celtic Knot Sugar Cookies & Green Sparkle Sugar Cookies. I love that he planned everything from talking to the chef about making Irish food to being part of an Irish Band. Even though I haven't gotten the chance to talk with him, I am sure it was a {happy} success!


{fuuny}

Last week I shared about our {funny} cats. This week the {funny} is about Solomon the cat. I think it might be due to not having kids at home. I refuse to believe it's because I'm turning into a crazy cat lady!
So this weeks {funny} cat photo is Solomon loving on my sewing machine. He enjoys coming upstairs to my sewing room and sitting on my desk to look at the birds and the green leaves outside. The other day, I realized that Solomon also likes to rub his face all over my sewing machine. He doesn't touch the thread, so I've decided I am okay with him taking a like to the machine. I've decided I want to make a little quilt for him to lay on next to the machine. I just hope this isn't another indication of the crazy cat lady thing.



{real}

Wednesday nights from 9-10 will find me at our parish, St. Joseph Catholic Church, for my hour of Adoration. During most of the year (Ordinary Time on the Liturgical Calendar), the chapel is fairly empty, but as soon as Advent or Lent starts, it can sometimes be even standing room only. I am always so grateful to see other people come and join my husband and I in adoring the {real} presence of Christ. It just doesn't get any more {real} than this. If you haven't been to Adoration lately, consider going as many times as you can during the upcoming Holy Week. I will be praying for all of us that we can be sure we are keeping it {real}. 

Check out other {pretty, happy, funny, real} blogposts 
by visiting the link-up at