Living The Sweet Life: 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hawaiian Angel Cake

I love this cake.  It's healthy, tasty and super fast and easy to make.  It's so good that after I have it I feel like I should be guilty, but really there is no need.  You can serve it with a bit of sweetened whipping cream if you like but when I have this at my Mom's it's always plain.  It's Angel Food Cake and pineapple, that's it.  Enjoy this fresh healthy dessert.


Ingredients:

Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix
One 19 ounce can of Dole Crushed Pineapple (or measure 19 oz. from two smaller cans)
Coconut Extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

1.  Pour the cake mix into the mixer.  (This recipe will not work with an Angel Food cake mix that comes with two bags in the mix.  Betty Crocker is the one to get.



2.  Pour the 19 oz. can of crushed pineapple with it's juice into the mixer with the cake mix.  Sometimes I can't find the 19 ounce can, so I will buy two of the 14 ounce ones and measure the extra 5 ounces out of the second can.  You can also add the one teaspoon of coconut extract.


3.  Mix the cake mix and the pineapple on a low speed for thirty seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4.  Now, mix for an additional one minute on medium.


5.  Pour the batter into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.


6.  Bake the cake for 35 minutes until golden and it bounces back when touched lightly in the middle.  Cool in the pan on a rack.


7.  Whip up some whipping cream and sweeten with icing sugar.


Fast, easy and healthy.  Try it, I know you'll love it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Starbucks Refills

I came across an interesting blog about Starbucks.  If you love coffee as I do you'll want to check it out.  The blog is called Starbuckmelody  she is the "ultimate" Starbucks fan and reviews different stores and keeps upto date on anything Starbucks.  She clarified some points about the Starbucks "refill" policy. 

Who knew?  This is the reply from the Starbucks Customer Care at Starbucks.com about getting a refill of coffee, iced coffee or even an ice tea - no matter what handcrafted beverage you purchase.  (So long as you have a registered card and it's the same visit.) 


Starbucks Reply posted July 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

Here is the original  long thread at Starbucks Customer Care - Discounted Refills on Coffee - even if you buy a different drink.
Starbucks gave the final word on the last post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taylor's Favourite Rhubarb Cake

Taylor's 26th birthday was last week and he wanted me to bake a cake that he loved and remembered from when he was little.  I haven't made this cake in years and years, but apparetly it was one of his favourites.  So out came the stacks of cook books and papers to try to find the recipe.  Thank goodness I found it!  Taylor wrote the recipe out on a Labours of Love note pad.  The cake was awesome!
The precious little recipe hand printed by Tay,
look at the spelling, "rubarb" and "suger."


Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees

5 cups of Rhubarb
1 cup of Sugar
1 small package of Strawberry Jello
3 cups of Minature Marshmallows
1 Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1.  Put the rhubarb in the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan.
2.  Sprinkle the rhubarb with the sugar.
3.  Next sprinkle on the jello powder.
4.  Next sprinkle the mini marshmallows on top.

This is how it will look so far.

5.  Make the Betty Crocker (not Duncan Hinds) French Vanilla cake mix according to the instructions on the box, and pour over top of the marshmallows, sugars and rhubarb.

Tap the pan just a little bit on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Pop it into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

This is what it will look like.  Just let it cool on a rack. 
You can serve it warm or cool, but you definitly serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Love Letter

The perfect gift. (2010)
Spencer used the word "Love" fifteen times.

I remember when Taylor (my oldest) was just a little boy and would bring me a bouquet of dandelions home after school.  One day I realized that, there hadn't been a bouquet in a long long time.  My thought was, "Wow if I had known that last bouquet would be my last, I would have enjoyed it more."

Because "my boys" are ten years apart, I was thrilled when Spencer showed up one day after school with a hand full of dandelions.  It's such a sweet, sweet gesture, that little kids (especially little boys) do for their Mom.  But I knew that one day it would stop.  So I was savored every little dandelion that came my way - every time.

I'm getting that same feeling with the love letters.  I've loved getting all sorts of little notes from my boys, but as they get older I know they too will stop.  So this one from Spencer is especially sweet, I can still see the little boy who gave me dandelions in this one, but I know what's coming.

Part of being a Mom to boys is teaching them to be sweet, while you are, the only woman in their life.  Taylor gave me a Valentines card a few years back that said, "You were my first Valentine".  I loved it, and in reading those words I could see the proud little boy with a fist full of dandelions.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Button Sugar Cookies


Sewing themed sugar cookies, this is right up my alley.  Since I've learned how to make cookie cutters I've really been into making sugar cookies.  Spencer had a project for Math class on "PI", so we decided to make sugar cookies in that shape, outline them, and then "flood" them with green icing.  They turned out super cute.

Here's Spencer "flooding" his cookies.
Just for the record he got 90% on the project.
So needless to say I've been spending a fair amount of time searching the internet for cute sugar cookies.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw these!
Button Sugar Cookies - I can't wait to make them!

I found them over at the Sugar & Meringue Blog.
Emily even has the cards to print out and sew the cookies onto.
Thank-you Emily for sharing such a great idea.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25

Audrey Hepburn and her Speedy 25 (I love her.)

The Speedy marks one of the single most important turning points in Louis Vuitton’s history. In 1932, LV was still a luxury luggage house, with such a reputation that the brand’s designs were starting to spill over into haute couture. After the Keepall travel bag became such a icon, Georges Vuitton was urged to create a smaller carry on for short trips. The Speedy 30 was the very first crossover—both luggage and a purse, and Louis Vuitton’s very first true handbag. By 1965, the bag was a worldwide icon, inspiring Audrey Hepburn to personally ask for an even smaller version to be created. And so, the Speedy 25 was born—Audrey was never again seen without one, and the history of Louis Vuitton was forever linked to the Speedy.

(More from this article here)

Thirteen Things To Know About Louis Vuitton

1. A very high percentage of “Vuittons” in the world are fake.  Someone with a real LV can spot a fake - it's all about the "honey" colour of the leather and perfect "cut" of the patterns.

2.  Louis Vuitton craftsmen rarely cut thorough the "LV" logo on the monogram canvas.  Designs are created around this tradition.  Look close at the pictures, you'll see what I mean.  If you go to the Louis Vuitton web site, there are only a few bags where the "LV's" are cut to accommodate a more complicated design but it's very rare.  Two bags that break this rule are the Galliera PM and the Galliera GM.

3.  Louis Vuitton carefully centers the pattern to be symmetiecal, and cuts out the material to perfectly match and line up at seamlines.  You will never see a Louis Vuitton handbag where the pattern doesn't line up at the side seams.

4. Louis Vuitton celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004.

5. Louis Vuitton opened his first store in 1854, he began making handbags after the 1892 world’s fair.

6. The world’s first flat top trunk was created by Louis Vuitton in 1858.

7. Each and every Louis Vuitton has a hidden tag stamped with a serial number, more specifically a date code that tells where and when the item was made.  Wallets will be stamped right on the item, tucked close to a seam, usually hard to find - you have to know what you're looking for but it's there.

8. Though it’s been around since 1930, the Speedy didn't gain a massive following until it was redesigned for Audrey Hepburn in the 60s. (see above)

9. Vuitton HQ is in Florence, Italy.

10. Louis Vuitton was born in Jura, France in 1821.

11. The “LV” monogram was originally meant to foil counterfeiting attempts. It didn't work.
12. When the Louis Vuitton Building opened on the Champs-Elysees it was the largest travel-goods store in the world.

13.  Louis Vuitton handbags are only sold in Louis Vuitton boutiques (some boutiques are in high end department stores) and on line at their official web site.  They don't go on sale or get discounted ever.  Never, ever, ever.  They are not sold wholesale to boutiques or sold on the street or at purse partys.

My Speedy 25 got damaged somehow (see the nick in the piping).  I took it to the Louis Vuitton Store in Vancouver to have it repaired and they replaced it on the spot explaining that the piping was not installed correctly.  As happy as I was that the problem was solved,  it was like giving up my best friend, I hated to see her go.  The leather on this one was just getting to that nice shade of honey.

My original speedy, with her little "nick".

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

This is my dream costume the Cupcake Pin Up Girl. It wouldn't even have to be Halloween, it's just so so cute!  These days all I'm thinking about is cupcakes and Easter.  Yellow cupcakes with a nest and three little speckled eggs tucked inside to be precise. I came across some really cute ideas of cupcakes that I wanted to share, and keep a record of for future baking.  Future as in, the next couple of days.  Whatever I decide to do I'll post some pictures for you to see as soon as they're done.

These get me excited!

Adorable, just like outside the Mad Hatter's House at Disneyland.

Springtime!

So simple, but so pretty, and lots of icing.

I saved the best for last, the perfect Easter cupcake.
I decided this would b e the perfect time to show you my new cupcake fabic.

I have absolutely no idea what I'll do with it.

Mango Porcupine

You have to go a long way to find something that tastes better then a ripe mago.  I love them.  I've gotten some friends into them and I've promised to do a quick video on how to cut them into porcupines so that they're easy to eat as a snack.  I buy a big box of nine mangos from Costco and pull them out of the fridge one by one, or two by two if I have to share them, and let the ripen for the day on the window sill.  They will be slightly soft when they're ready to cut and eat.  When I was in Hawaii, they made Mango Bread, it's thier more tropical version of our Bananna Bread.  It was wonderful!  There is a very popular highly rated recipe for Mango Bread at All Recipes.  Give it a try, I know you'll love it!

So here's the "how-to" on cutting one just right.


My next video will be on how to sharpen knives.
Enjoy your tasty, healthy, low calorie Mangos.