Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Sentimental Heart

Christmas Eve was my Grandma Maxine's birthday. Every year some cluster of our extended family would gather to celebrate her.  On her 90th, which was her last birthday, we brought her home to the house she built with my grandfather and made her a special birthday dinner.  My cousin Erin brought her delicious Rum Cake, a treat her other Grandmother, Flo, used to make.  I asked her for the recipe yesterday and she reminded me that December 24th has become a very sentimental day for her, as it was both our late Grandmother's birthday and the day she lost her Grandma Flo. Since this is the time of year that we look back, and create and recreate traditions, I thought I'd share the recipe today.  xoxo Happy Christmas

Grandma Flo's Rum Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4oz)
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup rum (light or dark)plus 1/2 cup for glaze
1/4 cup walnuts or pecan (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 10" bundt pan
*If using walnuts or pecans, sprinkle them into bundt pan.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, rum & oil, mixing well.
Bake 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in pan and prepare glaze.

For Glaze: In a saucepan melt butter, stir in water and sugar and bring to a boil.
Remove glaze from heat and stir in rum, pour glaze over cake while in pan. Allow cake to cool and invert onto serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 23, 2011

LACK Luster

I am an avid follower of Apartment Therapy, it's kind of like design porn for me, and it's a great alternative to staring at facebook updates when I'm avoiding a pile of laundry.  At years end they do "best of" lists, and today they posted one on best Hacked, Upcycled & DIY projects of the year.  Number one on the list was the LACK hack. For those of you that don't know LACK, it's this little square end table sold for about $10 at IKEA.  I recently did my own LACK hack.  I've been needing a multipurpose table (trains, legos, late night wine fueled Trivial Pursuit tournaments)to be kept in the living room, therefore not painted with a charming train scene and also not something that costs more than my couch.  I found a brand new 48" table top in the cast off section of IKEA for $5.  It's a solid table top (heavy).  I attached it to a matching birch LACK table using heavy duty foam tape, paired it with some classy white stools for munchkin seating and voila.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cookie Monster

This weekend we get to go to two fun parties!  Unfortunately Jasper can't have dairy and the ubiquitous cupcake usually has lots of it. Most of the time we just get him one at Whole Foods and bring it with us, but today while at Trader Joe's we stumbled upon Cookie Butter.  For some reason, perhaps I have been good this year, it has no dairy. I grabbed a gingerbread cake mix and made mini cupcakes with the leftover fancy papers from the Anthropologist hack.  Warm the Cookie Butter just a bit and pipe onto a cooled cupcake.  Would be delicious with chocolate as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Candy Land

I have always loved paper straws, probably because they are kind of preppy with their stripes. Fortunately they've made a comeback in the last few years as weddings have turned into celebratory carnivals and soda shop candy counters and Gatsby picnics including speak easies with men in caps and suspenders...such things require fancy straws. I was recently inspired by a Christmas wreath I saw on the cover of woman's Day (at the grocery store) made from paper straws to look like candy canes. I made my own version to go on the wall above my stairs. Here's what you need: 1 box of 144 paper straws, which I found at Paper Source. A ring of some sort- I used a wooden wreath frame from Michaels, but you could make your own out of cardboard.  Hot glue gun, scissors.  I constructed it in the same way as my Sunburst Mirror, centering four straws on each quadrant.  I filled it in the same way evenly dividing the space until it was filled in completely.  Later I came around and trimmed 2 inches off of every third straw to give it dimension.  
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