Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer through a toddlers eyes, and a few changes

Happy Thursday everyone! We are almost through another work week. Yet, as happy as I am to see the weekend get here quickly I'm also a little sad.

While I was driving home from work tonight I found myself thinking about how I wish I could make time slow down, just a teeny bit. This summer by far has been the best I have ever had thanks to my little family. There is NOTHING like watching a 2 year old explore all that summer has to offer. So I wanted to share a few pictures of my smiley little girl enjoying everything that the past 2 months has thrown at her! After the pictures be sure to scroll all the way down to read about some fun changes coming your way too.

Nothing better than a day at the beach!
Riding the Vroom Vroom with her Uncle
Stick ponies are so much fun
Such a big girl swimming in the pool by herself
Sunset races on the slides with Dada
Dancing whenever the mood strikes!
Summer. The way it should be.
As for the few changes heading your way...

I wanted to let you know that in the process of expanding PHDL I will be adding some things to the blog! Starting at the end of August I will be holding my first GIVEAWAY! Are you excited???? I am, I can hardly contain myself :) Ill give you more info on what it will be, how you can enter and when I will hold it as we get closer and I have the final details ironed out. Wahoo!!

Also, Tuesdays (starting this coming week) are going to become Two Year Old Tuesdays. This means that each and every Tuesday I will be blogging about living life with a two year old. The trials and tribulations, the good, the bad, the ugly and the utterly disturbing! I can't wait! My little Punkin helped to get me into the blog world, so its about time she had a day devoted to her.

I have a few other ideas as well but am trying to pace myself since summer is my busy season at work. Overwhelming myself wouldn't be a good thing - us gingers don't do well under stress. Just read my hubby's blog, Livin' With Gingers, he'll tell you...

"See" you all soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Melted Ice Cream Upside Down Cake

The thick, creamy goodness of ice cream, baked into a cake. What could be better? I topped it off with fresh peaches and raspberries for an OH. MY. GOODNESS. out of this world taste!

And did I mention EASY?

You will need:

1 Box Pillsbury White or Gold cake mix (I used white)
2 cups (pint) of melted ice cream - I used french vanilla, feel free to use the flavor of your choice.
  **Use a premium ice cream! The cheaper brands add too much air to "thicken" them.
3 eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh peach
about 15 peeled peach slices
1/4 cup raspberries
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Grease a bundt pan with shortening, making sure you have a thick layer all the way around.
2. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of sugar over shortening, to coat generously.
3. Arrange the peach slices and raspberries in bottom of pan (make the design pretty since this will be the top of your cake!)

4.In a large bowl mix together cake mix, melted ice cream, minced peach and eggs. Beat with a mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Your batter should be smooth (minus the small bits of peach) and thick.
5. Carefully pour batter into pan, being careful not to disrupt the design you made with the fruit.

6. Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes, when cake springs back nicely, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, its done! I do tend to bake mine for a few extra minutes, just so the sugar crisps up nicely on the top.
7. Immediately flip over onto a plate to remove the cake from the pan. Let cool completely.
8. Frost if desired, or leave plain and drizzle with a sauce of your choice.

I served mine slightly warm with a drizzle of raspberry sauce, for more of a pound cake feel. And of course more vanilla ice cream. You can find the recipe for the raspberry sauce here.


Linking Up At:

Raspberry Sauce

Since you control the thickness of this it makes it quite versatile!
Great on ice cream, cake, toast, or mixed into a beverage.

You will need:
1 pint of fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons of orange juice (or lemon or lime juice if you want a more tart flavor)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup ice cold water

1. In a sauce pan combine raspberries, juice and sugar.

2. Whisk together cornstarch and cold water in a bowl.
3. Turn stove onto med-high heat and slowly stir in the corn starch mixture. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring and mashing the berries.

4. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to stir.
5. The sauce will begin to thicken, remove from heat when you reach desired thickness. It will thicken slightly upon cooling.

6. You can use it like this (which I do) or transfer (once it has cooled a bit) to a blender/food processor and process for 30 seconds.
7. Pour through a small sieve to strain the seeds.

Chill. Or be impatient like me and immediately pour it over something and gobble it up!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fresh Summer Salsa

  Easy, delicious salsa recipe! Great by itself on tortilla chips with a little sour cream, spooned over a towering plate of nachos, or baked on chicken with cheese.

Time: 20 minutes

15-20 fresh plum tomatoes (any type works, these are my favorite)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 anaheim (green chile) peppers, chopped
1/2 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro
1 - 2 cloves garlic minced
juice of one large lime
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste if needed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Needed an excuse to take a picture of the fish I bought on vacation. Love him!
1. Peel and chop tomatoes.
To peel fresh tomatoes easily: Wash and twist off the stem. Slice a small "x" on the bottom of the tomato, not deep just to pierce the skin. Bring a pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil set aside a large bowl of ice water. Place tomatoes into boiling water for no longer than 30 seconds, you dont want them to cook! Once you notice the skin starting to peel take them out and place them in the ice water bath. The ice bath stops the tomato from starting to cook, so let it cool for about 5 minutes in the cold water. Remove tomatoes from ice water and peel. The skin should peel off easily, if not use a small knife to help you out. You can now chop your tomatoes into quarters.

Cilantro, fresh from the garden. Deliciousness!
All chopped and ready to mix!
2. Place all ingredients into a large food processor. If using a blender or smaller processor you may have to work in batches like I did. Easy enough to process the tomatoes and toss in a bowl, then process the remainder of the ingredients and mix into the tomatoes.
Note: Pulse about 10 times for a chunkier salsa, or 20 times or more for a less chunky and more pureed type salsa.

3. Taste! I usually end up adding more of something at this point depending on the flavor of the peppers and tomatoes I used. Cilantro is something you can never go wrong with, so try adding more of that first then add whatever else your taste buds are craving!

4. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. This will last about 1 week in the refrigerator.


**No fresh tomatoes? Use 1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes
** Not in the mood to chop anaheim peppers? Use 2 cans of Ro-Tel tomatoes and chilis
**For a more mild salsa omit some of "guts" from the jalapeno. I use only half the ribs and seeds to make a medium salsa which seems to please everyone.
**Bell peppers, and other veggies can be added for a more "garden" salsa flavor

Have you ever seen the petite little flowers from a cilantro plant? It may have a robust, spicy taste but the flowers are dainty and delicate - just perfect for a sophisticated little bud vase!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm BACK! And here with me is....

The New and Improved Punkin' Heads and Dooda Loo's!

Thanks so much to Tara of PIP Designs not only for creating a fabulous design, but for putting up with me (not always an easy task!). She was great to work with, quick to respond to all my questions, and quite timely with getting things done. I couldn't be happier with the way things came out. So if any of you need any design work done, I highly recommend you contact her!

Another new feature...the blog now has a facebook page! See that cute little grey facebook button to the right of this post? Click it! I literally just set it up tonight, and its pretty boring right now, but I'm hoping you guys will help me fill that plain wall with some good material :) Pretty please?

I'm hoping to use it to post ideas on recipes, crafts and links to alot of the coupons that many of you are always asking me for. And feel free to post ideas or questions you may have as well.

So, now that I have a pretty, pink, new blog to work around, I suppose I should start using it. Over the next few days I will be editing the pages and moving things around a bit. Please bear with me while I torture myself with this process!! And hopefully by mid-week Ill have a new post up.  Its been awhile, between work, vacation, and plain old life getting in the way I put the blog on the back burner. I know, excuses, excuses. Suppose I should just shut up and get to work already!

In the meantime, how do you like the new design and layout?

Care to Share?