Strawberry Shortcake-Cake

I was given the assignment of dessert this year for our family Easter get together... Since JM's (aka the husband Justin Maureau) favorite cake is plain white and he adores strawberry shortcake I had him in mind when I created this recipe.  This is really simple and displays beautifully.

Strawberry Shortcake-Cake:
  • 1 box of betty crocker Vanilla white cake mix
  • 1 cup of sour cream (reduced fat)
  • 4 eggs (seperate the whites)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (or whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 2 pounds of strawberries, halved and stemmed (Sprinkle the strawberries with some True Via, or regular sugar and let maserate in their juices over night in the fridge)
  • Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (recipie followed below)
  1. Put egg whites in mixer with wisk attachment and fluff until frothy and small peaks form
  2. Meanwhile, spray 2 - 9 inch round cake pans with baking spray and preheat oven to 325
  3. remove fluffed egg whites and swt aside. Put vanilla, almond extract, milk, sugar, egg yolks, oil, and sour cream in mixer. Mix with regular attachment until incorporated.
  4. Finally add cake mix 1/2 at a time, scraping sides of bowl. Mix for 30 seconds on medium speed, then 2 minutes on med-high.
  5. Make a well in the middle and GENTLY fold in your egg whites with a spatula. (The egg whites will create a super airy, fluffy, and light cake)
  6. Pour equal amounts into prepared cake pans and bake about 23 minutes or until done. Immediatly remove from pans on a wire cooling rack and cool for a few hours.
  7. While cake is cooling prepare strawberries and frosting. (Take the strawberries and mash them with a potato masher until smooshed, but still leaving fairly big chunks of fruit)
  8. When cake is cooled cut each cake in half with a good serated knife so you will end up with 4 thin layers.
  9. Assemble bottom layer on a pretty cake pedestal. Spread some strawberries on top, then gently spread some frosting on top of that. (It's ok if the the frosting and strawberries mix)
  10. Complete this step until all layers have been used.
  11. Finally frost the sides and wipe platter clean if you make a little mess.
  12. Slice a few extra strawberries to decorate the top.
  13. Store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1-½ pound Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • a little milk if too thick
  1. Whip cream cheese and butter until fluffy with wisk attachment.
  2. Add vanilla and almond extract.
  3. Add powdered sugar in halves until you reach the consistency of spreadable frosting.  It should be thick.  Add milk if needed in teaspoons.
  4. Store in the fridge as butter content will melt at room temperature.


Butter London

Ever heard of it?  Well now you have!  I encourage you to visit and explore their vintage, chic line of all things polish.  This new line is now available at ULTA.  Yay!  Here are some of my favorite colors for the spring.  Their "All Hail the Queen" is a perfect beige pink that would look stunning on anyone for any season. Enjoy!

Ahhhh... Now that's some pretty polish for the tootsies and piggies. 


Barefoot Contessa and Banana Bread

I love the food network. My husband teases me about it, and always turns it on in bed for me.  I constantly have it on as background noise even if I can't sit down and watch it in bliss (which is usually never).  I love cupcake wars, At home with Giada, 5 ingredient fix, and a myriad of other shows.  One that I really love is Barefoot Contessa.  Everything is "fabulous" in Ina Garten's world and her fresh white Hampton's kitchen is just too die for.  She always has celebrity friends and the freshest ingredients.  Today I actually had a few extra minutes since the boys had scouts so I decided to make  some banana bread for my cousin who just had surgery.  I turned on Barefoot Contessa as background noise while cleaning and baking.  Her show today featured Alek Baldwin (30 rock anyone? My FAV!, sooooo hilarious).  Alek was helping Ina with a charity lunch and did all the grocery shopping at a local farmers market.  It was so funny, and I adore his witty and dry sense of humor.  Mariska Harghitay of Law and Order also was helping with the table settings.  If you missed it then go online and watch it, such a good episode, and it has an wasy recipie for (Eaten Mess, a dessert) MMM!  But I digress... The recipe I made is my favorite banana bread recipe, and I have tried MANY!  I don't like the ones that call for Crisco, nor do I like ones with white sugar.  I think the brown sugar and melted butter in this recipe give a brown butter, nutty taste that is exquisite and refined due to the spices..  I wanted too share it with you all after trying so many others.

Spiced Brown-Banana Bread:
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • one 4 oz. cup of applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of agave nectar (I use the light kind)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 1/2 Cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups of wheat flour
  1. Mix the bananas in mixer till mashed, then add melted butter and mix on speed 2 till blended
  2. Mix in sugar and agave, eggs, vanilla and spices.
  3. Sprinkle soda and salt on top of wet ingredients and then mix in.
  4. mix in flour, half at a time, until mixed, scraping sides with a spatula while mixer is running.
Use 2 loaf pans that are greased and fill a tad more than 1/2 full and bake for 1 hour at 350. (Don't overcook)!
immediately remove and cool for an hour before slicing with a serrated knife.
Then keep on for yourself and give one to someone else.  Happy Wednesday Everyone!


It's Raining...

My kitchen Helper Mr. Happy Pants
How glorious it is to wake up to an overcast, rainy Saturday Morning. {Sigh}Complete bliss is following me this day. My little kitchen helper Mr. Happy Pants helped this morning whip up a batch of homemade buttermilk waffles...MMM... We like to top our with fresh strawberries and homemade strawberry preserves, or a little agave nectar {However, the hubs prefers good ol' store bought Maple syrup...yuck}

Buttermilk Waffles:
  • 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks (save whites)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar.
Mix first 3 ingredients then mix the rest into the batter. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into batter. Cook in Belgian waffle maker. Top with agave nectar and berries, powder sugar, or homemade syrup.

After our tummies were full I lit all the candles in our home and opened the drapes. It is proving to be a cozy, lazy rainy saturday at the Maureau Household...and I couldn't be Happier!  The weather today screamed out that it's a baking day, so we made our fav Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  They are gooey and divine. Here is the recipe:
Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 11/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 11/2 C. flour
  • 21/2 C. quick oats
  • 11/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (large chunks)
  • 3/4 C. nuts. (I make half the batter with and half without)
Mix softened butter, brown and white sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy in Kitchen mixer. Add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Beat 2 more minutes. Bake at 350 on foil lined cookie sheets.  I use a cookie dropper for even baking and I bake for 9 minutes, so they are a tad undercooked. Thats the key... Take them out before they look done, then let set on wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Perfection every time!

I have a few weekend habits that I look forward to every Friday. Here is the list:
  • Friday Food and game night. We either grab Red Robin, Pei Wei, or Pizza with the kids then go home and have family game night on the Wii. Right now we are in a bowling tournament against eachother and Ky is in first... I'm in last, no surprise there!
  • Saturday morning waffles and Lounge time.  We always whip up our waffles on Saturdays and stay in our jammies till at least ten... sometimes longer if we have no where to be.
  • Sunday french toast lunch and movie afternoon.  Our ward meets at 9:00 am so Sunday mornings its a quick bowl of cereal...However, when we get home at noon we always are treated to dads french toast for lunch.  Seriously Justin makes the best french toast.Ever.Period.  I have tried to recreate his, but there is something so delish about the way he makes it.  He is so sweet and even cuts everybodys up into bite size squares on their plate.  My Hubbys a Doll.  We usually watch a family movie Sunday evenings and make "Theater Trays", complete with individual popcorn bowls with white cheddar seasoning, red vines for Justin and Kyler, and Peanut M&Ms for Jerron and I.  We then choose our drink of choice (usually lemonade) and snuggle on the couch.  We love it.
  • Sunday evening with J.  The kids always go to bed by 8 on Sundays to get ready for the week.  This allows a nice alone night with the Hubs.  We always lay in bed, watch celebrity apprentice and go over the week schedule together, and write our to-do lists.  It sounds mundane, but I love that alone time to connect and get organized for the week together so we are on the same page.

I had to post this photo of J.  Even in Maui he made his Yummy French Toast.
I don't think it's coincidence that the activities at home are what make me happy.  They are simple. Thats what this life is about. Sisimplicity in all things.  Home should be a sanctuary and it truly is for me. What are some of your weekend routines that make you Happy?


New Beginnings and a Good Day

New. The word can bring scary thoughts, and exciting thoughts all at once. We all get stuck in our comfort zones, and our creature habits.  We love our daily routines of habitual mundane steps, our familiar surroundings and usual, everyday faces.  On the flip side, New can bring unfamiliarity, unusual practices, and lead our souls and feet into unknown waters.  The breath of fresh air in these words is that every single day we are given a fresh start, and a new day.  What a blessing it is to be alive in this amazing, and quite sensational world.  I have a chalkboard in our kitchen, next to the breakfast nook and every week I scribble a thought for the boys and hubby to ponder.  This week, it is "Today is a New day".  The short reality is this: We are human. We are not perfect. We make mistakes.  We get lazy. We get tired. We get stuck in our own lives. We don't get to-do lists done. We miss appointments. We run late.  The Lesson is this: Try a little harder everyday, and be grateful we have a chance at a new beginning each and everyday when the sun comes up.  How glorious! Another little note I have hanging in our home is in the boys bedroom, it reads, "Today is a Good Day".  I hope we all take this to heart.  Again, I reiterate, It is a blessing, a gift, from up above that we are here and can learn, and experience daily life and all the joy and sorrow each day brings.  Happiness is relative and the day will always be what you make it.  Wake up with a smile, a word of appreciation for your kiddos, husbands, friends, and all other things magnificent and take on the day with the sun shining in your heart and a song on your lips.  To get in the spirit please, please, treat yourself to this lovely little track that the boys and I listen too everyday while driving to school.  Priscilla Ahn "Good Day"... It will not disappoint!  Here is my list of things that always guarantee a good day for moi:
  • Waking up to these three handsome boys
  • Cooking, baking and eating dinner everynight (especially cooking from Giada's recipies)
  • Watching the husband play baseball at the park every evening eith the boys(also the highlight of their day)
  • Hugs and Playtime with my two little loves (Mr. Spastic and Mr. Happy Pants)
  • Daily snack of Yogurt and Granola(MMMM...Can't live without it)
  • Sonic Happy Hour
  • Listening to Joshua Radin while getting dressed
  • Bedtime Story time and scripture reading (guarantees snuggle time)
  • Making a stranger smile while running errands
  • Chat time with Girlfriends
  • Candle burning while picking up the house at night