Tuesday, April 22, 2014

coconut bundt cake

ryan and i were in charge of making dessert for easter this weekend.  it's a tradition to have carrot cake on easter sunday, so we made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  they are always so yummy!  in addition, we also made a coconut cake.

this past christmas one of the things on ryan's wish list was this awesome nordic ware bundt pan.  ryan's parents bought it for him as a christmas gift, and we have been waiting for a chance to use it ever since.  it has the coolest shape.  when we decided to make a coconut cake for easter, we just knew we had to make it in ryan's new bundt pan.

this coconut bunt cake is so good.  the outside edges of the cake are perfectly crisp while the inside is light and fluffy.  it has a great coconut flavor.  the glaze on the top of it just adds the right amount of pizzaz too.

if you are a coconut lover, you have to give this cake a try!

coconut bundt cake
prep time: 10-15 minutes
baking time: 40-45 minutes
yields: 1 bundt cake
adapted from style at home

cake ingredients:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

glaze ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes.  add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  stir in the vanilla.  in a large bowl, sift together both flours and the baking powder.  add one third of the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and beat until just combined.  mix in half of the milk.  repeat with another third of the dry ingredients and the second half of the milk.  then add the remaining third of the dry ingredients.  beat until combined.  fold the shredded coconut into the batter.

spread the batter evenly into a greased bundt pan.  bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire cooling rack.

to make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.  whisk in the lemon juice and the water.  drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled bundt cake.  the glaze will harden.  top with additional shredded coconut if desired.

love, laurie

Monday, April 21, 2014

easter sunday

we had a wonderful time celebrating easter with our families yesterday!  in the morning, we woke up and led leko on a mini easter egg hunt around the house.  he was really thrilled to find that we hid some of his favorite kitty food in the easter eggs.  then we headed down to my parents' house for easter brunch.  everything was so yummy, my mom is such an amazing cook!  after brunch, we went on a easter present hunt that my parents put together for us.  it has been a tradition for years, and we love doing it.

we spent some time playing with my parents' three kitties, and then ryan's family joined us for easter dinner.  (i can't believe i forgot to take pictures at dinner, but i did manage to remember to take pictures of what ryan and i made for dessert!)

it was so nice to visit with our family yesterday.  there's nothing better than celebrating holidays with family!  after we came home last night, we gave leko his easter basket from my parents.  he really enjoyed playing with the little catnip squirrel that he got and he can't wait to try is new kitty food too!

^my festive nails for easter^
^leko's easter egg hunt^
^brunch at my parents' house^
^my parents' kitties playing with their easter dinosaur toys^
^carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe here)^
^coconut bunt cake (i'll share the recipe soon)^
 ^my mom and dad in their backyard^
^pretty daffodils^
^leko playing with his easter basket from grandma and grandpa^

. . . 

hope everyone had a lovely easter!
love, laurie

Friday, April 18, 2014

happy easter weekend!

have a lovely easter weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 17, 2014

fun links

ryan's excited because it's that time of the year for pastel colored pretzel m&m's and speckled egg-shaped peanut butter m&m's.  i can hardly believe that easter is just a few days away!  time sure is flying.

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

how to turn your boring dinner rolls into cute bunnies for easter.

naturally dyed easter eggs.  such a better alternative to regular dyes.

the coolest (and most colorful) kitchen clock d.i.y. project.

i love this idea for keeping track of your travels.

espresso pudding?  count me in!  yum!

i can't wait to make homemade tofu out of chickpeas!

how to pet a kitty . . . this really made us laugh.

have a great day!
love, laurie

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

yay, it's spring . . . nope, it's still winter.

two days ago the weather was absolutely beautiful.  it was 80 degrees and sunny outside, and it felt like we skipped over spring and went right into summer.  then yesterday the temperature dropped down to 30 degrees and it snowed!

these two pictures of our yard were taken just 24 hours apart.  what is going on around here?  this weather is absolutely crazy!  i have no idea how to dress myself in the morning anymore.

forget spring, i'm ready for summer.
love, laurie

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

leko's ladybug

the weather has been getting nicer, and it is finally starting to feel like spring.  along with the warm weather came a cute little lady bug who has taken up residence in our bathroom.  the ladybug has been hanging out in our house for several days, and leko has had a glorious time investigating, hunting, and watching the poor little lady bug which is now leko's "pet."

the ladybug is pretty safe so long as it stays up high on the walls.  however, as soon as it comes down to leko's level, we have to keep it far away from leko's "kisses."  poor little lady bug.

silly kitten!
love, laurie

Monday, April 14, 2014

set building

wow, this weekend was a whirlwind.  our whole weekend was consumed by theatre.  we juggled performances, rehearsals, tech work, scenic painting, and a load-out for three different shows . . . three!  needless to say, we are exhausted.

even with all of that going on, we had to carve out some time this weekend to build a set for one of those shows.  we had so much fun building the set.  even though it was a lot of hard work, we got to do it together.  it was actually peaceful to spend time, just the two of us, in the garage doing something productive.  plus, the weather was absolutely gorgeous outside too!

the set isn't totally done yet, but it's getting there!  we hope to complete it within the next few days.  i can't wait to share pictures of the final product once it's finished!

^this guy loves his power tools!^

love, laurie

Friday, April 11, 2014

sleeping baby

whenever ryan sits in bed to watch tv, leko loves to curl up in a little nest between ryan's legs.  it's so cute.  the other day, ryan sat down for a few minutes and leko decided to make himself comfortable.  he must have been tired, because he was totally sacked out.  he sure gets into some of the funniest positions when he sleeps.  at one point he had his tail covering his face.  it was just too cute!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips

i've mentioned before that i teach college courses at a local university.  last week i had to keep my grad students late after class since we had a ton of presentations to get through in our very large over-enrolled class.  i felt bad for them for having to stay so late, so i baked a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies and took them into class for my students.  they went wild over the cookies, and absolutely loved them.

one of my undergrad classes happened to hear that i baked cookies for my grad class, and they were jealous.  so, to keep the peace, i baked a batch of cookies and took them into class for my undergrad students.  instead of making chocolate chip cookies again, i made oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.

oh my goodness, these cookies were so incredibly good!  ryan came home as the cookies were cooling on the kitchen counter and of course he had to dive right into them.  the combination of the oats, coconut, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips was awesome!

somehow class is just so much more fun with a batch of cookies!  (i hope they don't expect me to bring cookies to every class now!)

oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 20-22 minutes
yields: 20 large cookies
adapted from our best bites

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips

preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until combined.  add the egg and egg yolk and beat well.  mix in the vanilla.  in a separate bow, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  add half of the sifted flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined.  add the remaining flour mixture and beat.  mix in the oats and the coconut.  fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 3 tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the cookie sheet for large cookies (be sure to space apart the cookie dough balls since they will spread as they bake.)  bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.  once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

love, laurie

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

coffee pancakes

i think we are turning into pancake fanatics.  send help . . . or maple syrup.  we are so religious about eating cereal for breakfast during the weekdays, so we love making fun things like pancakes on weekend mornings.

when we were flipping through adrianna adarme's pancakes cookbook this past weekend, we found a recipe for coffee pancakes.  since we are both coffee lovers, we were really intrigued to try them.  these pancakes are delicious.  the coffee flavor is subtle, and they are so yummy.  such a nice spin on traditional pancakes!

coffee pancakes
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted

in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, instant coffee, and melted butter.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain.

heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 1 tablespoon of batter onto the griddle for small pancakes.  cook for 3 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 2 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  once cooked, transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancake batter.  serve warm with maple syrup.

love, laurie