Friday, April 23, 2010

Calling all Strawberry Shortcake Lovers!

Photo courtesy of the Pioneer Woman

If you are a strawberry shortcake lover, like myself, you must bake this cake. It's the Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake and it is fabulous. It combines 3 things that I love: 1) Strawberry Shortcake, 2) Cream Cheese Icing, 3) Some of the best batter I have ever eaten (surely I am not the only bowl licker out there! The sponge cake batter from this recipe is really yummy. Seriously, I would mix it up just to eat the batter!). I had been wanting to make it and when I saw organic strawberries on sale at the grocery store the other day, it seemed like the perfect time. I promise that if you choose to make this, you will not regret it!

  • Cake
  • 1-½ cup Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 3 whole Large Eggs
  • ½ cups Sour Cream, Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • _____
  • Icing
  • ½ pounds Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1-½ pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound Strawberries
Preparation Instructions

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

I copied the recipe directly from the pioneer woman's website. I followed the recipe exactly except for one minor change: I didn't have a cake pan deeper than 2", so I used two 1 1/2 inch deep pans and it worked out fine. One change that I will make next time I make it is to not cook the cake as long as she says. I normally never cook anything as long as it says but my experience with the Pioneer Woman's recipes thus far have been pretty true to her word. This one is not. I was putting my sick (aka cranky) toddler to bed when this was in the oven so I wasn't watching it like I should have been. Mine cooked 45 minutes and was too done for my taste. Next time I will probably cook it 30-35 minutes. But other than that, this cake is fabulous!! We had it for dessert after a meal of grilled hot dogs, potato salad, and grilled corn on the cobb and it was the perfect addition to the summer meal. Scrumptious!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Written Update

As promised, here is a written update about what's been going on in our little family.

Cayden- He is 15 months and growing like crazy. He's now in 18 month clothes and some 24 month as well. He weighed 23 lbs, 10 oz (25-50th %) and is 31 inches tall (50th %) at his 15 month checkup. *The hubs just pointed out to me that I accidentally typed that Cayden weighed 24 lbs instead of 23 lbs so I just corrected it :)

He's talking up a storm, most of which makes no sense but he enjoys "talking". And he has the cutest little voice! Collin and I are frequently saying that he's going to have the sweetest little talking voice. He makes the funniest sounding words and uses a lot of intonation when speaking. His favorite words to say (that are actual words) start with the letter B (ball, book, balloon, bird, etc.). He's also very expressive and experimental with his faces. He's an animated little guy for sure!

He started taking steps around 14 months but has just recently decided that walking isn't all bad and will walk across the room without constant encouragement from us. He is VERY cautious and that coupled with his laid back personality has made him a "lazy walker". Ha!

We are in 'Operation drink milk out of a sippy cup' and it's not going terribly well. He does not like sippy cups so it's become a battle of wills. Both Collin and I are very stubborn so he comes by it honestly!

He had a cold a few weeks ago and the poor little asthmatic had to be on breathing treatments for about 2 weeks (we have to stay on the breathing treatments long after the cold is gone). The albuterol from the breathing treatments causes him to wake up in the night - sometimes for hours at a time. Not a fun time. And I was so excited a few nights ago when we finally got to the point where we could stop doing the treatments. And then he woke up Monday morning sick. So, we're back on breathing treatments :(. If I don't do them, then he coughs all night and I'm forced to get up and do them in the night anyway. I am praying this is something that he outgrows. For his sake and for ours!

Cayden has decided over the last few months that he dislikes the nursery at our church and really lets us know about it! It bothers me so much that I have trouble focusing on what's going on at church because I'm worried that he's screaming in his classroom, giving his teachers a hard time, and is just really upset, etc. I am trying to get some things set up to help get him around some other kids in situations where I'm not always going to be there. He's quite the little mama's boy (which a part of me honestly loves but I want to help him begin to adjust in situations where I'm not going to be there so that it's easier for him down the road. And now too because I hate having to peel him off of us screaming every Sunday!).

Us- Collin is "blowing & going" in his job. He was made the head of the insurance department after the first of the year and, praise Jesus, he's doing really well in the new role. We give the Lord all the praise and glory that not only does Collin have a good job during this season of hard financial times for our country, but he is flourishing in it as well.

I am still embracing my role as stay-at-home mommy. I feel so blessed that I am here to witness not only the big events in Cayden's life but the everyday mundane ones as well. I am looking forward to this summer when the heat kills off all the germs and we can do lots of stuff outside and really enjoy the fun age that Cayden is at without allergies wreaking havoc on us!

When we got home from our trip to Houston last weekend, we were greeted by a large amount of ants trying to invade our home. My parents were watching the house (and Ace) for us so they did their best to keep them at bay by spraying them and using bait but it was clear that we needed to take serious action when we got home. I called exterminators Monday morning and had a guy come out later that day. Whenever I think of exterminators, I think of that weird alien guy, Edgar, from Men in Black. Anyway. The ants were swarming the house from all around the perimeter. Any little crack in the foundation, creavis in the brick, they were trying their hardest to come in. And we'd found a few random ants in the house. And, I discovered just before the exterminator came that the ants had taken over the mailbox as well. Neat. I learned from Todd, our friendly contracted pest control man, who thankfully looked nor acted anything like Edgar, that the little black ants that we have are the hardest little things to get rid of and we have to do a special spray to kill the ants on top of the normal pest control spray. Great. More pesticides sprayed in my house and of course, it costs more. Oh, and apparently brick mailboxes are "breeding ground" for ants and it's difficult to rid a brick mailbox of the nasty pests. Who knew. Anyway. (So far the treatment that he did has worked on the mailbox so hopefully it will last.) So, after about 45 minutes, Todd was done and I headed off to meet my mom and Cayd at the park (where she graciously offered to take him while Todd was at our house doing his thang). Besides one major exception, it has worked beautifully. I discovered on Friday that there were ants covering the top of our computer desk. And then I noticed that they were in the windowsill...and on the wall...and starting to crawl through the carpet toward the center of the room. And I freaked out and annihilated them. And then I called Todd. And he agreed to come out and take care of the problem - he was at my house 2 hours later and actually - nicely - reprimanded me for using the "not very effective over-the-counter stuff". Whatever Todd - this mama wasn't going to let ants invade my house. So, the main reason that I'm telling this ridiculously long ant story is coming, I promise. So Todd sprays this stuff that he says doesn't kill them on contact, which I'm thinking to myself, "Why the heck not?!", but he then explains to me that you want the ants to get infected and then go back to their colony to infect all their friends. So, here's my main point, I have to leave the spray along with the dead ants in my windowsills for 5-6 weeks. I about passed out. I cannot even wipe the dead ants off!! Thankfully this happened in our study and there are double doors which shut the room off from the rest of the house. It drives me crazy and grosses me out so I am trying to go in there as little as possible.

Collin and some friends are going to start implementing working out every Wednesday evening, which they have cleverly decided to call "Workout Wednesdays". I think it will be a good excuse for us girls to get together and push the kids around the track. I have got to get back into shape - I am not ready for summer!

We are leaving next week for New Braunfels. Collin's Papaw (paternal grandpa) is generous and is renting out a house for 3 nights on the river for the Day side of the family. We're excited to get to spend quality time with some sweet 20+ family that we don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like.

Speaking of traveling, Collin and I are taking a vacation next month. Collin is going to Boston on business for a couple of days so we decided to leave the munchkin behind and make a trip out of it. We'll spend 3 nights in Boston and then we're taking a bus to New York City and will be spending 3 nights there with a friend who has graciously agreed to put us up. I have never been to New York but always wanted to go so I am really excited!! This will be the first real vacation the two of us have taken since our honeymoon (over 4 years ago) so it's long overdue. We're having a fun time trying to figure out how were going to do everything we want in 2 1/2 days! We are going to miss Cayden like crazy but he's at an age where I feel comfortable to leave him with my parents - and he loves them and is completely comfortable with them. I know he'll enjoy playing with his DeeDee everyday! And a huge shout out to my mom who is taking off work for 4 1/2 days to keep her 16 month old (at that time) grandson. Love you, DeeDee! You're wonderful and we appreciate you so much! I may not know what to do with myself not having a toddler around all day long!! One thing's for sure, we'll be REALLY eager to get home and see our sweet boy. And I'll also be excited to finally get to clean off all the dead ants in the windowsill of the study once we get home. But mostly, I'll be excited to see Cayd :)

Well, those are the main things we have going on right now so consider yourself updated!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update in pictures

We have had a busy several weeks around the Day household, thus my lack of blogging. March flew by and was jammed packed full of fun things and April is passing just as quickly! Here are a few of the highlights over the last several weeks...

I celebrated 4 years of wedded bliss with the love of my life on March 11th.

I helped host a shower for this sweet girl (Ashleigh Gaston) at my house on March 13th. She is getting married in June and we are so excited for her big day!!

Cayden has become fascinated with the piano. He's pretty gentle with the keys too and it's really sweet.

Cayden with some friends on St. Patrick's Day

Collin's sister and her family came to stay with us one weekend in March. Their daughter Eden is 8 months older than Cayden - aren't they sweet playing together?!

Isn't she beautiful?! She has the cutest little squeaky voice, too!

Cayden got his oh-so traumatic haircut towards the end of the month. I blogged quickly about that already but wanted to post another pic here. I love his cool guy big boy hair so much!

We did a little Easter egg hunt for Cayden in the backyard the day before Easter. His basket was almost too big for him this year!

He caught on really quickly to picking up the eggs but wanted to play with them instead of put them in his basket! I think next year the concept will be a little more fun for him but at least we made some sweet family memories this year!

Can you tell that he had recently woken up from a nap?! It takes the boy a good hour before the sleepy face is gone. Ha!

I love this photo - he was looking up at Collin :)

He looks like such a big boy putting the eggs in his basket! When did my little baby get so big?!?

Cayden with his best gal pal Maylee Easter morning. Don't you just want to squeeze them in their matching outfits?! Maylee was all smiles, Cayden...not so much. We were coming off a rough night and were all a little out of sorts that day. We're hoping to get their picture in these sweet clothes again soon.

This is all Cayden wanted to do...

After church we went home to take naps and then head over to DeeDee & PawPaw's for dinner. Cayden slept for 3 hours!!

And even at my parents house he looked/acted tired!

Checking out his Easter loot

I feel like this is a perfect representation of our Easter. Nothing went as planned and Cayden was cranky most of the day. We never got a really good picture of the three of us, either.

He at least semi-cooperated long enough for us to get this decent shot with my parents.

Then this past weekend (April 9-11) we went to Houston to visit Collin's side of the family. We made arrangements to have family pictures done in Bryan with a local photographer there on our drive through. Above is the teaser shot that he posted the day after. Cayden totally had a saggy diaper here but hey-what can I say?!? It's real life! We won't get to see the rest of them for a couple weeks.

Watching Mickey with Papa D on Saturday morning.

I love this sweet picture of Cayden with his GG.

Playing the piano at GG & Papa D's house. I love his little legs dangling!

Right before we left Houston on Sunday.

We stopped outside College Station for a potty break and to take some quick pics in the bluebonnets.

We have a lot going on that does not correspond with any pictures so I'll update about all that soon enough. It took me forever to get all these pictures in order!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to your family from ours!

As you can probably tell, Cayden was not quite the smiley happy baby that we were hoping for this Easter morning. This thumb sucking picture was the best that we could do. Thanks to good ol' albuterol, the poor boy was up until midnight and as a result, was not so happy this morning. He apparently cried the entire time in the nursery and wasn't very cooperative when it came picture taking time after church. Such is life, though. Things rarely seem to go the way I plan them these days, most people probably feel that way. I'm trying to get better about "rolling with the punches". As a perfectionist, that's not one of my strong suits! Anyway, our little fussypants has been napping for almost 3 hours now and as soon as he wakes up, we're headed over to my parents for Easter dinner. We hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the resurrection of our Living King!!

And I cannot help but post this picture from last Easter. My what a difference a year makes!