Thursday, April 23, 2009

They go together like peas & carrots.

Brian and Phil have been attached at the hip for longer than I can remember. They are obsessed with grilling rib-eye steaks, target practice with their bow & arrows and reminiscing about the years-gone-by when they were roommates. They both stood by each others’ side on their wedding days and they share common goals in life.

This year on Phil’s 28th birthday, we celebrated with friends at a local restaurant. I made Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert. The cakes were light and fluffy, not like a typical carrot cake, which can be very dense.
As with any gathering that includes the Egner family, there was not a crumb left in sight. Here is a picture of the birthday boy with Brian and Kenny. (notice my lovely cupcakes on the table in front of them!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You've got to know when to hold em'

Have you ever woken up on a lazy Saturday morning and felt the desire to bake? If you answered "yes," then welcome to my world. Some days, all I want to do is stand in my kitchen and whisk things. The word "obsession" doesn't even begin to describe it.

On Saturday, my husband invited the guys over for a game of poker. Always looking for an opportunity to test a new recipe, I wandered out of bed into the kitchen to try my hand at Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies... and I knew the guys would help me eat them. These cookies are moist and flavorful. Best of all, you don't have to jump off the healthy train to enjoy them.

I set out a platter of the cookies and went to spend the evening with Lauren, Raigan and Harrison. When I got home later that night, the pile of cookies had disappeared, leaving only a trace of crumbs in its place. Well, in my world an empty cookie platter only means one thing... SUCCESS!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

May I borrow your can opener?

Being a newlywed is exciting. You learn that a dining room table isn't a necessity, borrowing a couch from friends makes a house feel like a home, and that Wusthof Blackwood Knife set from Williams Sonoma isn't the key to happiness.

One of the first dinners that I made for Brian after the wedding was chicken tortilla soup, which called for a can of tomatoes. The soup was on the stove and almost done... and that's when I realized we didn't own a can opener! Luckily, Aunt Nancy down the street let us borrow hers. Well, the same thing happened the other day while I was making Classic Banana Bread. Realizing that we don't own a loaf pan, I decided to bake the bread in a bundt pan!

The bread turned out delicious and the bundt pan worked great. My recipe has brown sugar and sour cream, two ingredients not typically found in banana bread. Next time I make it, I will try adding pecans or walnuts to add some crunch.

I guess it is time that we use all of those Williams Sonoma gift cards we got at the wedding to buy a loaf pan and a can opener!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Easter Bunny Likes Carrots.

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. And not for the obvious reasons of sugar consumption and chocolate bunnies. I love what the day represents and the time that we get to spend with family.

Brian and I had Easter dinner at Grandma & Grandpa Sellers' house and I made a fresh Carrot Cake to complete the traditional meal. This cake has a full pound of grated carrots, chopped pecans, and lots of homemade cream cheese frosting on top. Eating vegetables should always taste this yummy!

While I was baking, Brian asked me why I decided to make carrot cake. [He always asks me weird questions.] So I told him that the Easter bunny likes to eat carrots. He responded by saying "You're wrong. The Easter bunny likes Easter eggs." Yes, my husband is twisted. At least the cake had eggs in it... that made him happy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretty In Pink

Birthdays are momentous. I think they are so important, they deserve an entire week of celebration. To put it lightly, I LOVE birthdays.

Today is Mandi's 26th birthday and we are all a little tired from the super-fun-filled weekend we just had! Mandi is more than amazing. She has such a good heart and understands the true meaning of friendship. She has an obsession with Gatorade, loves watching re-runs of Newlyweds, has more white shirts than anyone I know, adores her niece & nephew, and believes in the power of prayer. Best of all, she has a contagious laugh that I always catch. My husband says when I am with Mandi I act like a "goofball." Need I say more?

What is a birthday celebration without cake? For Mandi, I made a 4-layer Fluffy Lemon Cake with lemon curd filling and pink lemonade frosting. She was so surprised when we brought out the cake and all of the colors came together so perfectly... it looked like a celebrity birthday bash!

Friday, April 3, 2009

This Cake is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Brian and I eat alot of bananas. In fact, my grocery cart seems to magnetically attract bananas everytime I am in the store. I guess I'm afraid there will be a banana shortage or something.

I rejoice on those rare occasions when several bananas don't get eaten and begin to turn brown. Over-ripe bananas don't last long in my kitchen... they quickly turn into quickbread or these amazingly wonderful cupcakes.

One of my best friends, Lauren, just celebrated her 29th birthday and I wanted to make her a sweet treat. I took the same recipe that I used to make her daughter's first birthday cake back in 2007 and made these delicious Banana Cupcakes. The cakes are light and fluffy with intense banana flavor. I topped them off with cream cheese-peanut butter frosting to satisfy her sweet tooth.

When I delivered them to Lauren's house, Raigan (her daughter) instantly licked the frosting off of one and wouldn't even share with mommy! That is a good sign...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Love You Blue

Will Farrell said it best in the movie Old School when he expressed his love for the old man named Blue. Well, I am in love with Blue too... blue-berries, that is. Earlier this week, Brian and I joined the Moser family for dinner and I made a fresh Blueberry Streusel Cake for dessert. I feel so blessed to have many different families that love us and make us feel at home. The Moser's are no exception. I have always been inspired by Cheryl's passion for baking. In fact, everytime we visit their house, I catch up on several months' of Taste of Home magazine!

The term "streusel" is a German word that means something scattered or sprinkled. The crumb topping on this cake has cinnamon and nutmeg, two of my favorite baking spices. The topping becomes crisp after the cake cools and adds a nice contrast to the lemony cake underneath.

While eating his second slice, Blake asked me if chocolate would be good in this cake. I am a firm believer that chocolate makes everything taste better, so I will definately try adding a drizzle of chocolate on top next time I make this cake!

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