Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hummingbird Cake

Serves: 16
Time: about an hour for the cake + bake time
Source: adapted from Southern Living Magazine

I often double this and bake it in two 9" pans and two 6" pans.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla/vanilla sugar
  • 1 8oz or 225g can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 3/4 cups mashed/pureed ripe bananas
  • cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
  • dried pineapple flowers (directions below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grease and flour 2 or 3 9-inch/23cm cake pans. Mash ripe bananas in a bowl with a fork and chop pecans into small, but not fine, pieces. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add eggs and oil until dry ingredients are just moistened. Add vanilla, pineapple, pecans and bananas, stirring until combined.
  3. Pour batter evenly into 2 or 3 round cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350F/175C for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack lined with baking paper.
  5. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers. Store in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting

 Makes: 3 1/4 cups or 7.5dl
  • 1/2 cup or 113g butter, room temperature
  • 8oz or 225g cream cheese, room temperature VERY IMPORTANT!
  • 16oz or 455g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (sprinkle between cake layers)
 Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth; stir in vanilla.  Do not overmix!

Pineapple Flowers

Makes: about 2 dozen

Time: about 3 hours - prepare 1-3 days in advance

1 large pineapple (about 1kg) (the recipe works best if the pineapples are not quite ripe).

1. Heat oven to 225F/110C. Line a couple baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

2. Peel pineapples with a serrated knife (Remove "eyes" using a very tiny melonballer, or paring knife if you don't plan to use a flower cookie cutter for shaping them.)  Cut crosswise into very thin slices. Take a small metal flower-shaped cookie cutter and press into pineapple slices.  Use a rolling pin on top of the cookie cutter to press firmly.  Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake until tops look dry, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.  Using tongs, flip slices over and continue to cook until reasonably dry, about an hour or so. Arrange on a wire rack and leave to cool and dry a bit more for a few hours. (note: A convection oven is an advantage for faster drying so use it if you have it.)

3. When the flowers are dry, but still a bit pliable, hold the center of the flower between your thumb and forefinger in one hand and pull the petals of the flower upwards with your other hand to give them a more realistic look.

4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pinterest Challenge 2011: Summer Edition

So is anyone else out there doing the Pinterest Challenge a la Young House Love, Bower Power, and many others?
The challenge was issued on Tuesday will results to be revealed next Tuesday.

I've already made one of the sewing projects for Micah's room that I had pinned and am over halfway done a pinned Ana White project for our front entry (and it will knock another off of the Thirty before Thirty list that I started awhile ago). The challenge was issued for home related projects, but I'm hoping to throw in some food and clothing ones too while I have the motivation... I have a skirt pattern mostly cut out that I should really finish up...

More on Tuesday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

26a) Run a Marathon Relay! - Missoula 07/10/11

Yesterday I ran the 9.8k leg of the Missoula Marathon. My friend that ran the Missoula Half Marathon with me last year and I decided that it would be fun to go this year and run it as a Relay.

Me, L, & S waiting for C to finish her race leg!

We convinced a friend that had been training for a triathlon to keep up her running and convinced another friend to start running. They both agreed and we had a team! I was supposed to run the first leg, which was 13.7k but due to an ankle injury I was graciously given a shorter leg. Unfortunately not the 6.3k leg, that was reserved for our novice runner/fast walker!!

S, Me, & C, waiting for L to finish her leg

I ran my just under 10k leg in 56 minutes, which is great because the 10k fun run I did in May I came in at 1:11 and last May I did my first 10k in 1:05.

Me & L at our relay transition... I'm taking off for my leg after switching the chip band.

Coming in to my exchange point!

Me & C after my race leg

I got my ankle taped up at the race expo and taped my right knee myself on the morning of the race. In hindsight I should have taped up both! My ankle was fine for the race and is in no extra pain as of today! My knees are a bit cranky due to their patella/IT Band issues, but nothing that physio can't help strengthen.

The nice thing about a relay (for everyone but the first runner) is that you don't have to start at 6am! Sure you don 't get fireworks and a cannon start but you get to "sleep in." The rest of us were still up at 5, and on the road by 6:20 so that we wouldn't be driving on the course when too many runners were on it. (Relay teams transport themselves around the course to the different exchange points!)

Me after the race at the expo with our race bib, my medal is peeking out from under it!

Same as last year, the race was well organized, the course was fantastic, the aid stations werewell-manned with enthusiastic volunteers, the police and traffic controllers were awesome! And the residents of Missoula were AMAZING again! Sprinklers, extra water, snacks, cheers and encouraging words & posters all along the race course!

Me, C, S & L in our official picture!

We're already talking about going back next year!!

15/26 #5026 0.6 (60%) BARBARA, L, C, S BC 4:50:17 11:05am

Thursday, June 2, 2011


So I was doing pretty good there... and then I had company (Hanna, then Jen, then my mom... one right after the other) and then my computer D.I.E.D! And then B wanted me to wait until he had worked a full set at HIS NEW JOB!! That's right! He passed all his classes and got a job @ Teck before school was finished :) And he got to spend just over a week at home with us after school ended! He started on Tuesday and will be home on Saturday. He'll be staying with my parents when he's working and then coming home on his off days (sets of 4).

So TOMORROW I'll either be heading down to Staples and buying a beautiful new 27.5" iMac or ordering one online from apple themselves. It all depends on which way is easier to get my educational discount taken off. Goodbye sucky stupid PCs, goodbye sucky stupid Vista & XP (why the eff don't you have DOS??)!

At lunch M knocked over my tea... onto my iPhone... it's chilling in a bowl of rice right now... perhaps Steve Jobs will announce a new phone at the WWDC on June 6th.

While Hanna was here we made these concrete garden globes following this tutorial. We used mortar because it was the only conretey thing we could find in town without rocks and under $30 a bag. They could be better but they seem to be holding up just fine. Eventually I'll give Hanna hers, but for now I'm enjoying having a cluster of them with my hostas that are finally coming up.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

15) Start my own business - besquare 06/26/10

I gotta thank Martha for the inspiration and Shim+Sons for showing me that it could actually work. I had made a pinboard for myself and had been asked by several friends to please, please make them one for their birthday. After numerous compliments and several requests I decided that mine were different enough and went ahead and decided to sell them at the Farmer's Market along with our yummy honey! I already had all the materials lying around and was already paying a table fee for the honey so there wasn't anything to lose!

photo credit: Len Knudsen

I sold one the very first day and all of my honey. And then it went in spurts. But always the compliments on how nice they were. And so pretty. And I want one, but I should think about it. Lots of the people who came and started at them week after week did eventually buy them. But Farmer's Markets are not where people buy pretty things. They come to buy things grown in dirt! Or that their children beg for (the tutu lady had a great summer!). But I did sell all but 2 of the ones I had made at the beginning of the summer. I wasn't frustrated or discouraged.

photo credit: Len Knudsen

photo credit: Len Knudsen

Hanna, Jen, Joel & I had all decided to do a craft fair together in Nelson in November. I made lots of bulletin boards because I had signed up for the Farmer's Market Winter Fair the following weekend too. I made extra pins. I made lots of fabric flowers (because they're pretty).

photo credit: Len Knudsen

In Nelson, I sold all but three bulletin boards. Our tables were crowded, and often I had too many people at the table to talk too. Wow. So much for making enough for the next weekend! So I spent the next week making more. And writing report cards. Nelson people appreciate handmade!

photo credit: Len Knudsen

The Farmer's Market Winter Market went good. Not gangbusters like Nelson, but still worth my while. I had honey with me and of course that sold out and made it worth my while. But I sold over half of what I brought down, so I'm glad I made more boards. And I was also relieved to have a few boards on hand for Christmas and birthday presents.

I'll still bring them to the market with me when I have honey. And I will definitely do the Nelson market again. I might even try to do one of their Market Fest evenings especially if Hanna or Jen want to set up with me. When I don't have honey and want a change of scenery I'll probably head over to Creston and see what I sell at their Farmer's Market.

I often wear the flowers I made in my hair to work. It has paid off! One of my co-workers wants me to bring some in because she'd like to buy a few!

I have to decided if I want to get into Etsy or not. I should probably throw a few things up there since I do have an empty Etsy store just sitting there...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2) Use my degree - 10/13/10 - present

One of the main reasons that I didn't move to Vancouver with Blair was because I had been quasi-promised a chance at a short-term teaching contract. The librarian that I had filled in extensively for last winter and spring had booked a trip to Australia for a month and asked for me to be her replacement. Nothing was confirmed but I knew that that much teaching time couldn't be passed up! So we decided that I would stay here at least until after our trip to Hawaii, work as a TTOC (substitute) and then we'd see how tough it was and make a new plan for 2011. Thankfully I did get the confirmation call and started the contract at the end of September.

A week into the contract, the principal told me to apply for the 0.4 French Immersion Kindergarten position that was opening up. The current teacher had found a full time contract closer to her home. This of course would change all of our plans, but having a consistent pay cheque no matter how small would help us out so much this year. So I applied. And was offered the position soley based on my resume and French letter of intent. No interview. Apparently I was the only qualified applicant. Unfortunately, I didn't feel qualified! But if the principal thought I was capable then maybe I was! He had witnessed me teaching many times in the past 8 months and knew my abilities in French.

So that's what I've been up to since mid-October. And I still got to go to Hawaii for 5 weeks. There are 2 months left in school year. We just planted some seeds, we have a mother's day field trip coming up, a trip to the Creston wildlife center and the local trout hatchery. Outside play time is finally optional. My students can respond to many basic questions in French and can even pose some of their own! They understand simple and some complex instructions. They are getting better at raising their hands and walking quietly in the hallway. We are playing more and having more fun now that the end is near and I feel more relaxed. We are still learning our French letter sounds and they can usually tell me which letter to write as we sound out words together. Math is math. Centers are awesome. Crafts are difficult because of the language barrier and the time limit but when we do them they are awesome! My kids make me smile.

I'm even going to apply for a job for next year. I may only apply for jobs at this school. I'm not on the recall list so I'm not sure what will happen. But I know that there will be 5 or 6 postings here. I want around a 0.4 again, but would sure prefer it to be 2 days instead of 4 mornings. The main reason I want a contract is because I need to qualify for maternity leave a second time around. Why not get paid to have a baby by the government!?!

So I finally used my degree in a concrete, real pay cheque way, and I haven't died!