Madeira Cake Anyone…

Am I the only one that is late coming to The Great British Baking Show? I had been hearing people talk about it for about 6 months, but just didn’t take the time to check it out. Which is crazy in itself, because I love to bake, and this show is completely about baking. A few weeks ago, I went to Netflix, watched 1 episode and have been hooked. I’m not able to binge like most people because I live with people who liked to watch tv with me and unfortunately, they are not a fan of the show.

Anyway, watching this show has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and make somethings that I have not tried before. For example, I’m going to try my hand at making some homemade crackers, making ice cream out of coconut milk, Opera cake – had never heard of it, but saw it and now I gotta make it, and I’m going to go back to making Trifles in the spring and summer. All these types of cakes, pies, tortes, trifles, and such had me attempting something new last weekend. Madeira Cake. A Madeira cake is defined as a cake with a firm yet light texture. It is eaten with tea or (occasionally) for breakfast and is traditionally flavored with lemon. I love lemon, so this seemed like this would “pop my panties”.

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I remembered a few things from the episode of British Baking Show where the Madeira cake was made.

1) the cake should have a dome shape with a crack,

2) there should be candied fruit on the top that is crisp, and

3) the cake should be light, but dense

I made this cake based on a recipe that I found online, but decided to make mine a lemon poppy seed version, because I had sad earlier in the week that I was going to make a lemon poppy seed cake for the weekend.

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I took a page from the show and measured my dry ingredients.  One of the ingredients that the recipe called for was castor sugar.  Castor sugar is a superfine version of regular sugar  that does not go as far as confectioner’s (or powdered) sugar.  I decided to pulse my sugar in my mini chopper to get a finer grain for this cake.  Caster sugar is supposed to be easier to emulsify with the butter.

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I didn’t candy as many lemon slices as the recipe called for because I knew my family wouldn’t eat it.

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But I wanted to attempt candying my fruit, so I know how for a future food project to make sure that I can do it the way that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood said it needs to be done.

Did the final product have the three aforementioned requirements?

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It did have a slight dome and a crack on the top. My candied lemons were not super crisp, they had potential, but when I dropped them on a plate, they did not “clink”. The texture of the cake was dense, but light. I can’t explain that better than to say it was dense but light.

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The lemon flavor is very pronounced, but not in a tart way, it taste almost like P2110037the lemon smells. I wonder if that is because the syrup that was used to candy the lemon slices was brushed over the cake. I enjoyed the cake and will make it again. I want to branch out and make different flavors and also make the cake without the poppy seeds to see if the poppy seeds had anything to do with the denseness of the cake.

Have you made a Madeira cake? Have you tasted a Madeira cake? Comment below to tell me what about it.

Until next time,

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1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup castor sugar (225 g)

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 ½ cups flour (300 g)

2 ½ tsp baking powder

Zest and juice of 1 ½ lemons

3 tbsp poppy seeds

Candied lemon ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 lemons sliced ~1/8-inch thick

Preheat oven to 350o. Prepare loaf pan. Combine and whisk flour, poppy seeds, and baking powder and put to the side. Cream butter, lemon zest, and sugar on medium high until it is light and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of flour mixture after each egg addition. Fold in remaining flour and then lemon juice.

Transfer batter to pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick (cake tester) comes out clean. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and complete cooling process on wire rack.

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Combine sugar and water. Bring it to a boil, then add lemons in single layer. Cook for 15 minutes, flipping half-way through. Remove from simple syrup and place on parchment lined baking sheet to allow them to dry.

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Weekly Spread 2/11/19

This week is the week of LOVE!!!  I hope everyone is feeling it.  It doesn’t have to come from a significant other, it came come from a parent, sibling, pet, friend, or a child.  With that in mind, here is my spread for the week.

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See you soon,

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Weekly Spread

First I want to tell you that this post was written last week, and I was going to put it out there around Wednesday, but something happened with the SD card and it became difficult to get the pictures off.  I finally got everything fixed and decided to post it anyway even though it is days late.  I’ll add this weeks spread soon.  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  SO, without further ado…..

This week marks the beginning of February – the month of hearts and love.  I decided to go with the pink this week. 

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I have to share an experience that I had over the past weekend.  I had been admiring the Elle Oh Elle stickers that I had seen all over the place but could never find in the stores that I had been going to for my stickers – Michaels and Joann.  I finally got a chance to ask a friend where she purchased hers.  Hobby Lobby.  I had been meaning to go to Hobby Lobby, but they are not located really close to my home, so the trip to that store had to be planned, oh and they’re closed on Sundays.  I finally got there and found the Elle Oh Elle items on the endcap, and the only had one book of stickers left.  The seal had been broken and I’m not a fan of any item that has been compromised.  But it was the only one and I made this trip specifically for those stickers.  I had to get it.  Something made me look at the side of the sticker book and it looked like something off.  It was. 

Someone had taken out pages of the book!  I mean really….who does that.  The book was $9.99 and it was on sale for 50% off.  Just buy the book!

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I found an employee and asked if there were anymore in the back.  There wasn’t. I did get a raincheck for when the next delivery came in and the manager did give me 75% off the janky one. 

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Hopefully I can make the trip this weekend and there will be books that have not been molested.  Wish me luck readers. 

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Another Goal

Hello,
This post is about another goal that I have set for myself and how I’m going about doing it. I decided that I wanted to be better about being more organized. Not organized in that my life is all over the place and I’m constantly trying to find stuff. No…I have a issue with keeping things that I no longer use or need, thinking that I’m going to use it or I need it. I’m no where needing to being on Hoarders, but I want to be a little neater in a couple of important places in my home. The upstairs of my house still needs to have the “construction” done on it (flooring, some painting, master bath renovation) and that is something we plan on getting to this year – but we have a financial goal concerning our house before we complete that final step of construction.
The main area that I want to make neater is my office/craft room. I feel like I’m constantly working on this space and maybe one day I will finally get it perfect – probably just in time for us to move, but I’ll know what to do at the next house, right.

The more time I spend in that room, the messier it gets, and the more I realize what I need for things to flow properly.

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Like any crafter, my crafting stash continues to grow and finding a place to put it all has become a challenge. The things that I had purchased for storage has now become insufficient and I had to find something new to put the “extra” that I had acquired. Also, by doing that I would free up workspace on one of my work tables.

My vanity needed some work also. Somehow along the way, the screws to the drawer handles had become stripped and the fronts of a couple of drawers couldn’t be closed all the way because it would be difficult to open them.

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I had to really think about how I wanted things to flow in the room. I needed to define my “work stations”. I knew I wanted to have my sewing machine more readily accessible and having it on the floor in a corner was not making it readily accessible. I needed to get rid of stuff that wasn’t working, even if was fairly new.
One of the first things I did to get me to my path was deciding to sell two of my older sewing machines. I had purchased a new one for myself for Christmas; what did I need the other two for? I took pictures and put them on Letgo. I sold the first a few days before Christmas (yes, I knew even then that something needed to change) and the second one sold just last week. I also decided the stacked washi tape stands had to go, in an effort to free up desktop space.

The old washi tape stands that I will be giving to a fellow planner babe.

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I needed another cabinet to properly store some of the things that I was keeping on my work space. I had seen some different cases for storing washi while watching some YouTube channels, and Michaels was in the middle of a storage sale, I went out and bought some (initially 2 and later another when I saw I still had more washi).

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In addition, while looking at Michaels site, I found these really cool cabinets. I knew one would work for my vanity area, but I purchased two just in case I needed another for the paper crafting area and I wanted to make sure that I got the sale price (they were originally $99.99 with a sale price of $49.99).

I started working on the room on Martin Luther King weekend and really had to use the entire 3-day weekend to make some headway. This is how things have turned out so far.

My vanity area now that I have switched to a new cabinet.  I also took some of my makeup palettes and placed them in a converted toast rack to compensate for the lost drawer.

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Finally, a clean paper crafting and sewing desk to actually have enough space to work on without moving things out of the way.  My sewing machine is now right next to the desk and I don’t have to go to the corner to get it whenever I want to sew.

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I moved the drawer units down so that I could put the second cabinet that I purchased from Michaels that now holds my sewing machine.  I decided to actually label the drawers so that I don’t have to pull open each drawer when I’m looking for something. 

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I moved my chair in front of the window so that I could enjoy the light better and I wanted to keep my bookcases close together.

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I am going to work on my computer desk next. I didn’t go there when I was working on the rest, because I like to write things down. When I pay a bill online, I write the confirmation number down on a scrap piece of paper. If there is a book that I want to read, I write that down on a piece of scrap paper. There are recipes that I find interesting, I write them down on a piece of scrap paper. As a result, my desk is covered with pieces of scrap paper, that can’t possibly be thrown away…. I need them!

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It has taken me a couple of weeks to come up with a plan, but I’m excited to implement it.
The last area that I still need to challenge is the closet portion of my craft room. The closet houses all of my fabrics, gift giving/wrapping materials,

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ALL of the boxes to ALL of the small electronics that I currently have, and all things travel related.

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I have no idea where to begin with that space. I suppose I will spend some more time on YouTube and on the blog pages for inspiration. I would happily except any comments and suggestions that you have. See you guys next week.

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Baked Donuts anyone?

Because I’m on Weight Watchers, a lot of the time I forego pastries like donuts; but every-now-and-then I have a craving and I’ve stored up enough Fitpoints that I feel comfortable enough to have one.  The weather in the Midwest has been sketchy for the past few weekends and we haven’t been out unless absolutely necessary, and a donut run was not absolutely necessary.  But I do have flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, eggs, butter, and so on.  Oh, and I have donut pans. 

I wanted to keep it as healthy as possible, so I knew it had to be a baked donut and not one that is fried in a pot of oil.  So I got to searching the internet for a recipe for donuts that were baked and not fried.  I knew it would be a cake donut because it was going to be baked, so my search  on Google was “baked cake donuts”. After looking at several results, I found this recipe and decided to use it.  https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/baked-cinnamon-sugar-donuts/

I pulled out all of the ingredients, pulled out my donut pan

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and turned on the oven.

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I couldn’t find my round donut pan, so we were having heart-shaped donuts. 

The recipe gave the ingredient measurements in grams as well as “cups” and I had always wanted to weigh out ingredients instead of measure them.  I recently purchase this gem right here.

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I had been looking for a kitchen scale that was space friendly.  I have a lot of kitchen gadgets and a lot of them take up countertop space.  I don’t need anything else to take up space.  I had rejected several scales because I didn’t want another countertop hog.  I found this beauty at Williams Sonoma one day when I was purchasing seasonings.  Look how small it is.

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You can choose your measurement type, in this case I needed grams.  It opens up like this.

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One of the suggestions for getting the batter into the pan was to use a large food storage bag with the end snipped.  I keep large piping bags in my pantry, that I used in this instance.  I want to tell you a trick that I got years ago, I don’t remember who or where, on the best way to get batter/icing into a piping bag without making a mess.  Take a large cup or glass and place your bag inside, flip the edges over the rim of the cup.  Then put your batter/icing into the bag.  You can pull up the edges of the bag and there you go.

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You cut the tip off

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Begin to pip the batter into the pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 

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I felt that the batter looked a little thin, so I went back in and put another layer over some of the 1st ones I did.  I baked them until golden.

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But doubling up the batter caused the donuts to rise above the donut hole.

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The next batch I made, I used the regular amount.  These turned out with the “donut holes”.  They turned out great.

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The recipe stated that you should dunk the donuts into melted butter then toss them in cinnamon sugar.  The previous week I made cinnamon streusel muffins that ended up having too much sweet topping on them, so this week I decided to just brush the butter on one side then cover that side with the cinnamon sugar.  

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These donuts looked so good, I had to sample ‘em.

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I would suggest that you head over to Sallysbakingaddiction.com and check out this awesome donut recipe.  Comment below if you would like me to include recipes that I get from other websites.  If it is one of my recipes, I will include it in the post (unless it is a family recipe that I have been asked to keep on the downlow – there’s no hope for those wanting the bread pudding recipe.)  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you again next week.

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One of many goals….

Hello everyone,

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I had several goals that I would be working on this year; and that I would share what they are at a later date.  Well, the next few post (not including the weekly planner spreads) will discuss what they are and how I’m going to accomplish them.

This week I’m going to talk about my healthy body goal. 

In May of 2018, I joined Weight Watchers. 

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This happened after being a little frustrated with how my body was looking and what I wanted it to look like.  Let me first tell you that in my early 20’s I did some modeling – hence I was a little person.  Not little short, but little thin; I was 5’10.5” and weighed 126 lbs – I was little y’all.  I got married at 28 years old still 126 lbs.  I was super thin and honestly do not want to be that small again, but I want to be smaller than I am now.  I’m not huge, but I’m not at my idea size and not super toned.  I like to eat most healthy things, I’m not a huge snacker (because I’m too lazy most often to go get the snacks), and although I love to bake, I’m not a big sweet eater (because again I’m too lazy to go get the sweets once I’ve finally set down).  My problem folks is portion control.  You know how when you were young, your mother/father told you that you needed to eat everything on your plate?  I haven’t let that go.  So most often when I sit down to eat, I work really hard to finish everything on my plate, even though I’m full.  Weight Watchers was having a special at the perfect time – whatever I had on that day didn’t look as smooth as I wanted it to be and I knew it was because of my weight.  I signed up for the part of the program where I do not attend the meetings but I can still track what I eat and the points I’m assigned that will help me get to my goal weight.  It has really been an eye-opener.  Did you know that smoothies are not point friendly?  All of those “healthy” smoothies that I was drinking each morning made with pineapple, carrots, spinach and coconut water (sometimes mango, strawberries, peaches – but always with spinach and coconut water and carrots) were like half of my daily allotted points!  I haven’t had a smoothie since May. 

I have become more conscience of what I am eating.  I have learned to choose the healthier options for salad dressings or learning to have a salad without so many extras.   This balsamic vinaigrette I’m currently loving is this one….

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I was looking in my olive oil cabinet and found a blood orange balsamic vinegar that I want to make into a vinaigrette after I finish this bottle.

I now make sure my vegetable and lean protein intake covers more of my plate.  I still have some of my favorites, like a homemade biscuit or slice pecan pie; now I have it less often.  I have had to find new snacks when I want something crunchy.  I am still learning how to use peanut butter powder instead of peanut butter – cause I really love peanut butter and I really miss it. I have found the Chobani Savors as a replacement for sour cream.

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One of the lunches I had this week looks like this. 

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Pulled pork with a small side salad (I apologize for that picture, I don’t know why it came out fuzzy), coleslaw made with Chobani Savors, a little, little bit of mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard; and of course my apple, orange and, because I found one this week, pineapple.

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My fruit bowl is always full of grapefruit, lemons, apples and oranges. 

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I have the lemons in my water and grapefruit for breakfast a few days a week.  I try to have an apple (Honeycrisp, please)  and orange each day for lunch.  I add pineapple if I can find it at a great price.

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I think it was helpful over the holidays when Stan and Babydoll became sick with that sinus thing that is going around.

Needless to say I have lost some weight – 23 lbs – and still need another 22 lbs before I get to my first goal weight.  So Yay for me for losing the 23 lbs!!!!

In addition to being a part of WW, our family joined the Y last September.  We had been wanting to join the Y for a while, but we just couldn’t justify the cost at the time. This time, Stan and I were both on a mission to slim down, there was a new Y opening up near our home soon, and we found that my job had an employee discount offered for the Y.  Babydoll has been wanting us to sign up, because she is a swimmer and most Y’s have pools (the location near us did not, but the new one was going to have it). 

Another thing that I had issue with was finding the time to go to the gym.  My schedule is not conducive to me going to the gym after work; I have too much to do.  Plus, by the time I get everything done, I just want to sit down; I do not want to go to a crowded gym and try to find a machine I can use – I have been advised by my Orthopedist to have no part of a treadmill with my knee being a contender for replacement.  I took a careful look at my schedule and made a mental commitment to go 2 days a week as well as walking daily (even in cold weather).

So now, I have three things that I have set a goal to be committed to – Weight Watchers, walking daily unless the weather is not conducive to it (rain, extreme temperatures, or ice would be the only deterrent because I am walking outside), and going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  Then this year, I decided to add challenges.  This month, me and Babydoll  are doing a challenge that truly has been a test….it is a challenge.

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It’s basically the squats, crunches and wall sit that are taking us out.  Oh, I hate the plank too.  You know what, it is all bad.   Next month, we are going to focus on ab and arm work, since they are the parts of my body I really want to have defined by the summer (another goal). 

I hope that I have articulated what my healthy body goal is: there are two goal weights, I want to have definition in my arms and abs, I want to commit to at least two days per week, and walking daily unless the weather is dangerous outside. 

I will tell you about my others goals (financial, spiritual, travel) in the weeks to come. Do you have a healthy body goal?  Do you have a beginners challenge that you want to recommend? Is there a snack or dessert that is healthy you would recommend?  Comment below, I would love to hear from you. 

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Planner Spread for week of 1/21/2019

I hope that everyone had a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  We have had a couple days of with snow and frigid temperatures, so I wanted to reflect that in my spread this week.  I’m still struggling with this new layout.  I think the thing I’m having issues with is the blocks that are colored on the left side, it seems to limit my color options.

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Like I said, I’m going to stick it out for at least the first month.  Comment below, to tell me if you think, I’m successful  with decorating the spread.

Have a good rest of your week.

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