Thursday, April 30, 2009

Easy Pineapple Coconut Cake

I have had a full Tupperware of freshly cut pineapples sitting in the fridge for a week. Nobody seemed to bother touching them. So here comes this pineapple cake.

I combined a couple recipes to make my own. Generally speaking, I believe that American's palate is born for sweetness and richness, I mean really sweet. In this regard, I prefer the European standard of sweetness.

Anyhow, here is my recipe:






Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup coconut flakes
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups of coarsely blended fresh pineapples
For glaze, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar and 2~3 Tbsp water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9X13 baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut flakes and baking soda. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, vanilla and blended pineapple with the juice. Mix well to blend.
3. Bake for 40~45 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
4. To make the glaze: in a measuring cup, combine cocoa powder, confectioners sugar and water. Mix till smooth. Spread on warm cake and let it cool down.

In my opinion, this is not the best cake I have ever baked, however, it is still tasty. Next time when I bake it, I will blend the pineapple gently, leaving a lot of big chunks for texture; I will cut down coconut flakes to 1/2 cup and blend them into really fine pieces. The coconut flakes in my cake sort of overwhelmed the pineapple flavor and the cake texture as well; Certainly, I can cut down even more sugar and add about 1/2 ~1 cup of pineapples. Will try these modifications and update this post, hopefully, soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Audrey依然宝宝开始背诗了!


这几天,我鼓励依然和我一起背诗。 从最最简单的开始。

骆宾王的“鹅”:

鹅,鹅,鹅,
曲颈向天歌,
白毛浮绿水,
红掌拨轻波。

我的策略是,一句诗,我背前面的几个字,让她接最后一个。两个晚上临睡前的读书时间,她竟然知道去接我的诗句。

X,X,X, 鹅,
X X X X...歌,
X X X X...水,
X X X X...波。






(这几只天鹅是当年我婚礼景点的成员。摄影师眼力不错,技术也不错。)


Spring, I Love You!

Looking at the colors in the yard that Spring has brought about, I wish I can keep them for ever. The red tulips, bright yellow forsythias, whitish or pinkish Magnolias, purple azalea and tender yellow daffodils make a perfect yard. Even those ground covers (vinca minor) are contributing to the beauty with the small blue flowers. I love you all, flowers!




These ferns are full of strength!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Two Toddlers, Double Loads of Fun.

Saturday, we had some friends over. They have a toddler girl, who is just one week older than Audrey. They two were like two miniature comedians together, double loads of fun!

"Let's see how big your mouth should be to eat this gigantic apple" "Thiiis biiiig"


Watching really tentatively:


"You are the respected guest, do you want one of my broken chalks?"


"What is growing on the back of your head?"


Let see what Papas are playing in the yard:


They have weapons, I'd better watch from the distance:


Finally, it is romantic dusk. Let's kiss!



"It is getting cold outside, shall we sit in front of our fireplace?"


They had a great time together. Audrey was pointing to the yard while saying Anna the next day when I took her downstairs.


video

Audrey Enjoys Summer!

Last Friday, the temperature went up to mid 80's F from just 50F the day before. Finally, I could strip Audrey down to T-shirt and shorts. On the way home, she suddenly looked so small in the car seat, without being wrapped in the down jacket for the entire cold and long winter. The moment I took her out the car, she struggled to run outside. She was on the run the whole time we were out. Such an energetic toddler!

Taking off like an airplane:


Learning driving at young age:


Seeking comfort in Mama's arm for a long second:


Balancing the ball in little hands:


Learning how to work against the gravity:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Dinner-2009

Entree: Leg of lamb

Hubby is the grilling Master. He certainly was in charge of this dish. Probably, I need to learn how to use the grill in the future, at least, I should know how to ignite it.

Perfectly done - medium rare:



Before grilling:

Appetizer: Homemade Guacamole (tasty, but ruined my appetite for the main course)


Side dishes: Roasted beets & sweet potatoes and Grilled asparagus


Dessert: The missing blueberry cobbler


The Missing Blueberry Cobbler on the Easter Sunday Dinner Table



On Easter Sunday, the dessert was chopped off from the Easter dinner menu because of my upset stomach (Guacamole is pleasing to my mouth, but doing nothing good to my stomach). We have planned on Blueberry cobbler for the dessert. For that, Hubby especially bought a bag of high quality frozen wild blueberries. Thus the whole week, I was thinking about those potential delicious berries. Unfortunately, I hardly have time to prepare for dinner, not to mention making dessert during the week. However, my desire to have the blueberry cobbler is getting stronger and stronger with the week passing by. Yesterday I happened to see a blueberry upside down cake posted on OregonRain's blog. It looked very inviting. TGIF, I can afford to have late dinner, Audrey can sleep in tomorrow if she goes to bed a bit late tonight. All these thoughts set me into making the blueberry cobbler tonight.

While Hubby was grilling fish, I made this cobbler. While we were eating our dinner, the cobbler was being baking in the oven. It worked out perfectly. After dinner, I even drove to get the famous frozen custard from Abbott. What a yummy and beautiful dessert. It is worthy all the anticipation since last Sunday.

Blueberry Cobbler Recipe
(based on http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Ever-Blueberry-Cobbler/Detail.aspx, which seems rather heavy on butter)

Ingredients:
3 cups frozen wild blueberries
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon or orange juice (optional)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a 8X8 baking dish, spread blueberries, sprinkle lemon/orange juice (if use), then sprinkle brown sugar on the top, set aside.



3, In a measuring cup, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. In the Kitchen Aid Artisan mixing bowl, cream butter and white sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix till just combined.
5. Drop batter using a tablespoon over the blueberries layer.



6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or till topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Done!



It is absolutely DELICIOUS to eat this cobbler with pistachio pineapple custard. Of course, the classic vanilla custard is indispensable as well.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

MaMa and Baby

"Baby-Love-MaMa" is a sentence that Hubby currently tries to teach Audrey to speak. The reason is too obvious to mention. Baby clings to MaMa and shows love to Mama whenever possible. Thanks for PaPa, who recorded those moments just in time.

Monkey see, Monkey do:


MaMa style of Airplane flying:


video

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Audrey Loves Easter-2009

This year, our little Audrey started enjoying the Easter.

Easter Bunnie:

Watching MaMa dyeing eggs:


Dyeing eggs with beet's skins:


Egg hunting in the backyard:


Enjoying (or rather destructing) the harvests:


Having fun with MaMa and PaPa after Easter Dinner:

Dyeing Easter Eggs-2009


Hubby forwarded me a recipe the other day on how to dye Easter eggs. After reading it, I was totally obsessed by this intriguing idea. It is called Silk dyed eggs. The original link is http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/03/silk-dyed-eggs.html

What we specially need for this recipe is 100% silk fabrics, preferably old silk ties. The rest are easily available in every household.

The city we live in does not have many thrifty stores. Hubby's silk ties are too good to be chopped up. In the end, I got only one scarf at the Power's farm market, which had no label. From the texture, it felt silky. So I took the chance of using it to try this idea out on Easter day.

The Scarf:

Eggs were wrapped with the "silk scarf":


Another layer of light cloth:


In the pot:

Done:
Loaded in the basket:


They turned out great for us! We loved the patterns. I figured out the scarf I used is not made of 100% silk since the pattern was not transferred onto the egg shells very concisely. However, the resultant pattern is even better!

I dyed 6 eggs. However, we had only 4 intact ones left 2 minutes after I untied them. Little Audrey excitedly played them, knocked them against each other as she does to her balls, so that 2 of them were cracked :-(.

"My Eggs, more, more"

4 survived the ball-bouncing in the end:


I will collect silk ties through the year and definitely try this again next Easter.