Monday, January 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Banana Cake

I have a confession... I am a stress baker. I don't consume all that I bake, and I honestly just admitted my condition to myself recently. I have found baking therapeutic, and have turned to baking when my nerves are on edge for any number of reasons versus dealing with things in an emotional way. I bake for enjoyment at least once a week, however the stress baking is beginning to take on a life of it's own.

Now that you know my issue with baking, this will explain the evening/day shots of this cake. I received a text message that sent me straight downstairs and into the kitchen at 9:30 p.m. and I forgot to take a shot of the cake sliced, I did that in the morning around 8:00 a.m. the following day. This cake is really yummy!

Old Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.
MIX bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar in bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add oil, eggs, sour cream. vanilla and orange zest. Mix until smooth.
STIR together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely.
SPREAD frosting thickly on top of cake and decorate with walnut halves. Slice and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (1/2 pound)

MIX cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don’t whip. Add sugar and mix until smooth. 

I had no idea when I purchased this recipe book, just how EASY everything is to make. 
I love this book!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Storage Closet Converted

I had my sights set on using the storage closet beneath the staircase for my sewing room. I think the fact that sewing is new to me, and the idea of not really wanting to put the machine out in the open really helped me justify the storage closet as my location. The fact of the matter is, the only real items being stored were a few extra comforters to be used when guests are on the sofa sleeper. I figured why not???

As I began sorting things out in the storage closet, I realized two things, I wasn't really using the space for much at all and I was really on to something by declaring the space my own.

Here is the sewing desk, a few pictures for inspiration and my machine all set it their proper spaces in my newly declared sewing room.

(I am not the best at taking pictures) 

these are adorable pictures (or at least I think so) I purchased them from Big Lots 

The storage closet is the perfect size for me to learn to sew and have some piece and quiet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3M Frame Works Loot Bag

I am usually not one to enter raffles or the lucky shot gambler when I go out with friends. I don't mind participating in fundraisers for children when there is a raffle, even then, I don't get my hopes up too high (so that I don't have a fit in public - LOL!)  Late last year, I entered a raffle at "Couple Speak" that required  facebook particpation. I was excited about the raffle because of the contents of the bag and to my delight... 
I WON!!!! 

I jumped around like a kid in a toy store when my husband brought the box in the house... I actually saved the box the package came in because it's a case style shipping box and has ample storage for the goody bag loot and other crafting things I had no place for.

Here's what I scored...
1~ Fine Grit, Gold Sandblaster Backing Sheet
1~ Medium Grit, Maroon Sandblaster Backing Sheet
1~ Coarse Grit, Green Sandblaster Backing Sheet
1~ 180 Grit, Fine, Gold Advanced Abrasive Dual Angle Sponge
1 ~100 Grit Medium Maroon Advanced Abrasive Dual Angle Sponge
1~ 60 Grit, Coarse Advanced Abrasive Dual Angle Sponge
3M LeadCheck Swabs
3M TEKK Protection Classics Series Safety Eyewear
3M TEKK Protection Paint Odor Valved Respirator
3M TEKK Protection Sanding and Fiberglass Valved Respirator
3M TEKK Protection Refinishing Gloves
ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Delicate Surfaces, Edge Lock

I am beyond excited, I hope my first major project completed with these supplies will be office furniture!

Thank you 3M and Chic Little House-

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lemony Buttermilk Cake

I love pound cake - What I don't like are all the calories, so I thought this cake may just do the trick, and since I had a bag of lemons to get rid of, I thought... 
why not give it a go?!? - 

I found this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens 2004 Annual Recipes Book

Lemony-Buttermilk Pecan Cake (I omitted pecans)
3 Cups Cake Flour (Sifted)
2 Cups Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2/3 Cup Buttermilk
1 cup Softened Butter
5 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
Lemon Oil- Optional (I used lemon zest)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Set pan aside.
2.In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3.In a large bowl beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the 2 cups granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon oil until fluffy and light, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 20 to 30 seconds after each addition.
4.Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition and starting and ending with flour. Beat just until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in lemon peel and the 1/2 cup juice. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
5.Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and the top springs back when touched lightly. Meanwhile, for glaze, in a small saucepan heat and stir the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice until sugar is dissolved.
6.Let cake stand for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire cooling rack set over a shallow baking pan. Poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Spoon glaze over cake. Cool completely. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

I added a simple confectioner's sugar glaze to the cake and it was delightful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake - I can never make enough of them ...

Do you bake as often as I do? 

Or do you want a simple, slam dunk cake to go to when you need to make something to satisfy a few guests that is not only hands down the easiest cake I have ever made but a tasty buttery treat that never lasts more than 3 hours...  Well here it is - 

I follow a blog "sewfantastic" and this recipe was right up my alley - I have made this cake 5 times since Thanksgiving weekend and yes... I literally mean 5 times, I have even had to make one to send to someone else's house LOL! This is the easiest, baking I have ever done.
Just dump, mix, fold the batter, then mix, and swirl the cinnamon, shove in the oven for 30 minutes, make a confectioner's sugar glaze and serve... I'm in L-O-V-E!

Give it a try - you will love it. And thanks Juilianne

3 c. flour, 1/4 tsp.salt, 1 c. sugar, 4 tsp. baking powder, 
1 1/2 c. milk,

2 eggs, 
2 tsp. vanilla,

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. butter, softened ,1 c. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.


2 c. powdered sugar, 5 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla
While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

p.s. "Jai" just asked me to make another one, they are so darn easy, who can refuse???
I am working up the nerve to make a Hummingbird Cake with a Caramel Frosting, please stay tuned for that, good or bad, I will post it... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Asian Orange Chicken and Fried Rice

Inspired by Mrs. Delightful's Orange Chicken post a couple months back, I decided I would try to make the recipe and it's absolutely delish - 

Asian Orange Chicken


  • Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Chicken:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  3. In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Fried Rice


  • 2 cups enriched white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup chopped baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • soy sauce to taste
  • sesame oil, to taste (optional)


  1. In a saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, boil carrots in water about 3 to 5 minutes. Drop peas into boiling water, and drain.
  3. Heat wok over high heat. Pour in oil, then stir in carrots and peas; cook about 30 seconds. Crack in eggs, stirring quickly to scramble eggs with vegetables. Stir in cooked rice. Shake in soy sauce, and toss rice to coat. Drizzle with sesame oil, and toss again.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let the Party Planning Begin

My daughter "Jai" will be 13 years old in September, since Asa is only going to be one year old this year - I decided he would have his Carnival themed party next year. I ran an idea by my lovely daughter and she is totally excited about having an "Indian Sari/Henna Party Soiree"

This chic birthday bash will boast bright colors, tasty treats, beautiful floral centerpieces, floating candles everywhere, soft music and I am even going to treat the guests with henna designs of their choice. I already have TONS of candles, votives, cylinder vases, frames for table numbers, white platters and much more from my wedding, the baby's shower and other weddings I have done for friends etc. I went online to start my search and I am sooo excited about what I found - take a look and let me know what you think...

I found both of these beautiful Saris online at - I can just see "Jai" all done up with her jewelry and tastefully made-up face. Since yellow is such a lovely color on my daughter, I thought maybe something in yellow would look amazing on her, pink is the color for the event however and I do love this white and pink floral combination.
White Color Full Net Saree

Yellow Shimmer Faux Georgette Lehenga Style SareeSJSVFS1117                              

I love the subtle progression in color on this cake-

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I will let Jai decide on the number of tiers- I simply must show her this cake, it      would be soo cute with "bling" all over the place.

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Something frosty to drink will be much appreciated in such warm weather -

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Totally smitten with this table and I have cylinders in all of these sizes and votives, I have the candles too - just need the flowers! (YAY!)

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An invitation similar to this style will go out to her guests
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I have apothecary jars just waiting to be used again, I cannot wait to recreate a sweets table like this for her.
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Mini everything possible will be served
I love mini's!

I'm sure the guests will enjoy this- so will I...
Pinned Image                                                              I am already having soo much fun planning out "Jai's" special day - The hard part is over, now to get to the fun part and plan - plan - plan. I will definitely keep you all posted. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken with Shallots

I decided to give this recipe a try - I have been making a lot of chicken lately, thank goodness there are soo many options to go with .

Chicken with Shallots
source: Barefoot Contessa "How Easy Is That" cookbook by Ina Garten

4 Boneless- Skinless Chicken Breasts (I bought bulk skinless breasts, so I am using those)
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
3 Tablespoons Vegetable or Canola Oil (I am using vegetable)
1/2 cup dry White Wine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter diced at room temperature
(I used 1 stick of butter and chopped the shallots for more texture and sauce because my chicken breasts are skinless and may dry out)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper
Heat oil for two minutes on medium high heat

Place chicken in skillet plump sides down and cook on each side for 5 -6 minutes without moving chicken (or until skin is golden brown)

Turn breasts plump side up and roast for 12-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through

 Meanwhile in a medium saute pan, combine:

Lemon Juice

White Wine

 Cook over a medium high heat until liquid has reduced to two tablespoons

Add cream

Add salt and pepper and bring to a full boil turn off burner and,
add in diced butter and swirl in pan until incorporated

sprinkle over chicken and serve 

How Easy Is That? 

This is truly an adult palette pleaser, the chicken is moist, the flavors are incorporated yet you can taste each component added to the dish independently. Please let me know if you try this recipe. I served the chicken with lightly seasoned smashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.