Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recipe Share

Cake? I think I will! For more about my thoughts on cake, click here.

Today, I'll be sharing the recipe for this beauty:

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
From, with modifications and notes from Jane at This Week for Dinner
- 1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (Jane note: mash the bananas REALLY lumps!) - 2 teaspoons lemon juice

- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/8 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened - 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ~3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300°
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan or two 9-inch round pans. (Jane note: For the round pans, I actually had some leftover batter – you want to fill the pans up about halfway – the cake grows when cooking)
In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cakes are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. (Jane note: if you are making two rounds, let them cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, pop them out of the pan onto cooling racks, THEN put in the freezer. The original recipe claims this immediate freezing step will make the cake very moist...I also like doing this because then my cake is ready to be frosted more quickly.)
For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon
vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. (Jane note: the recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar...I used a bit more butter and I didn’t measure the sugar as I added it – just kept adding until it was the right consistency.) Spread on cooled cake. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Of Barberries, Porcupines, and Buying a Zoo

So this weekend, we planted one of each of these in our front yard:

These were our favourites at our old house. Both turn brighter versions of themselves in the summer, and then brighter still, come fall. Here they are, planted and (hopefully) content in their new garden homes in our front yard:

We also watched this:

...which was amazing! So under-rated. It was way more sophisticated in its humour and plot than we thought it would be. A good one in our view (hah, pun intended) for a night in - you should see it!

And, lastly, we woke up to this in our backyard on Sunday morning:

...THAT blob in the a porcupine! What?! We couldn't even belie-...we had a...what?? I know we live in the suburbs, but whoa, what is a porcupine doing in our 'city-house-backyard-tree'? And how did he/she get there? What was worse was that we didn't notice him/her at first, and were casually just out in the yard before breakfast. Juno walked right under this tree, and so did Adam, thinking that whatever noise was coming from the tree was either a squirrel or a bird, until he looked up, ran inside with the dog, and called up the stairs for me to please come out...and to bring the camera with me! Glad we were able to capture this on camera! Gladder still that the porcupine found his or her own way down and out, back to a forest where he/she belongs...hopefully.

So that was our weekend. Full of fresh air, sunshine, yard work, and animal sightings.

How about you? Did you have any strange animal encounters, real or imagined? Whatever you got up to, hope it was enjoyable!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Article and Video Round-Up

Some cool finds to share on this fabulous Friday!

1) "The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness)" 

What do you think erodes good plans and great intentions?
Forbes Magazine has the six factors that turn visionaries and dreamers into regretful paper-pushers.

See the list here.

2) A wonderful series of pet adoption PSAs and the cutest campaign videos I've seen in a while! via The Shelter Pet Project. A few of our favourites:

Canine cognition?! Emory University has taken the first peek into un-sedated dogs' brains, via fMRI. 

Not sure Juno could ever handle something like this, but, so cool! 

The article and a video are here.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

May Days

May days are happy days. The weather around these parts was spectacular this weekend - just what we needed to lift spirits and kick progress into gear.

We spent more of this weekend outside than in - in the garden, by the BBQ, on the trails, and enjoying the company of good friends!

How are your days lately? Are you letting the sun shine in?