Tuesday, January 31, 2012

crummy crumb cake

entemann's let me down.  real down.  like to the point of boycotting their brand from this day on.
we have an entemann's outlet not too far from us, prices are great for stocking up.  naturally, i will buy their crumb cake.  i grew up on it.

this time however, they left must to be desired.  with crumb cake, you have to at least have 1/2 inch of crumb to satisfy my requirement.  the two millimeters atop of my purchased crumb cake did not qualify.

(not gunna lie, i still ate the whole box).

my desire for crumb cake was not fulfilled.  i turned to google to help fill my void.

as much as i don't want to admit going over to martha's dark side, i must say that her crumb cake was exactly what i was looking for.

first time i made it, the batter didn't seem to cover the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan, so i doubled it.  and added fifty percent more crumb.  it turned out fine, but took forever to bake.
just stick with the original recipe.  new york crumb cake.

see what i mean about not covering the bottom.  but it all will turn out alright, i promise! baking powder will make it all better.

the crumb.

while baking, i took a picture of myself less than 24 hours before having number three.  

so much for having crumb cake for friday morning breakfast!


simple ingredients and ease of recipe have made this a go-to recipe for anytime i need to add another inch to my butt.

i mean, anytime guests are coming over:)



**you can use the crumb recipe for topping muffins and pies, too**

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thanksgiving tried and true.

i want to share with you my two favorite tried and true thanksgiving recipes.

love sweet potatoes from a can smothered in marshmallows?  me too. but, sooner or later we all have to grow up.

first and forever cookbook:  sweet potatoes with praline topping.

3 pounds sweet potatoes
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
contents of 1 vanilla bean.  here's how.
1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (1 ounce) chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

preheat oven to 425 degrees f.  line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

rinse sweet potatoes and prick in several places with a fork. place on baking sheet and bake until very soft when pierced with knife, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  remove the sweet potatoes from oven and reduce to 325 degrees f.

when sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and put the pulp in a large bowl.  add evaporated milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and contents of vanilla bean, if desired, brandy, and salt.  mash up with a potato masher until all ingredients are blended well.  transfer to an 8 inch square glass baking dish.

to make topping
combine brown sugar, flour, butter, pecans, and salt in a medium bowl.  spoon topping evenly over the potatoes.  bake until the top is golden brown, 24 to 35 minutes.

serves 8.

sweet potato mixture can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.  topping can be prepped 3 to 5 days in advance and stored in a sealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.  spoon topping over potatoes just before baking.

if kids are celebrating thanksgiving with you, there is no harm in setting a portion of the sweet potato mixture aside and adding mini marshmallows for them.

next up: pumpkin semifreddo

semifreddo: Italian for "half frozen."

i love pumpkin pie just as much as everyone else...but, thanksgiving dessert isn't the same when this isn't on the table each year.

it's light, sweet, and refreshing. a perfect way to finish off thanksgiving day gorging.

it says to use a metal loaf pan. i have found the crust is sometimes too thick to cut through when frozen, so i just make it in an 8 inch springform pan.

aaaaand. i also coat the walls and pan bottom with a thin layer of butter. plastic wrap is too cumbersome for me when using a springform.  use it for the loaf pan, though.

aaaaand. i sometimes just nix homemade caramel for store bought.

aaaand. you can make it three days ahead.

(just one more aaaaand).

aaaaand. i hope you give this a try, despite the ingredient list. it is totally worth it.  if now isn't an option, give them a try for christmas.

what are your tried and true, go-to recipes?

whatever you are doing this year, i hope you are spending it with close friends and family.  don't forget to serve those who are less fortunate.  your local supermarket most likely has a food bank collection bin with a list of items you can pick up and donate.

happy thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

acorns a mast.

if you are as blessed (or cursed) as we are when it comes to oak trees, you may have noticed this is a mast year.

mast year = a lot of acorns.

running in the dark over acorns at six in the morning to get the garbage out in time may be the equivalent to running over your children's wood blocks or legos.  the curse of acorns.

but, you know me...i harvest what i'm given.  this is the blessing, free/cheap material for fall decorations.

different oaks produce different acorns.  if dendrology is not your thing, just keep searching on the ground under oaks until you find the ones you like.

or for $15 you can get 54 plastic acorns from pottery barn.

i've collected enough acorns to cover five jelly roll pans.  however, i'm down to one pan.  i had to toss most of them. who would have thought such things as acorn weevils exist. within a day or so after collecting, all the acorns had holes in them with ugly, little larva slithering around.

getting rid of them was easy.  lightly cook them in the oven. really, you should do this if you want to use acorns for any decor.  even if they don't have weevils in them, they are still full of moisture and have the potential for getting green and fuzzy.

spread acorns out on a pan and put in an oven set at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.

if you are using the acorn caps, a glue gun may be handy to have to keep them together.

so, you have your acorns...now what?  here are some ideas i found.

i love wreaths, so naturally i used the acorns to make one for our front door. it can easily be transformed into a Christmas wreath by choosing Christmasy spray paint colors.  

disclosure: this is not my front door, mine is in the process of getting a facelift. much needed facelift.

or filled up a jar with a teal pillar candle.

living in the pine barrens has surely given me ample material to work with.  some more desire than others ie moss over half my lawn.  what have you found in nature that has made it's way into your home as decoration?  i'd love to hear about your finds.  

hope everyone has a safe and relaxing thanksgiving week.  enjoy your family and friends and remember to give thanks each day to the lord for what he has blessed you with.


Monday, October 10, 2011

pinterest pick of the week

happy monday, folks.  hopefully, you have off today in observation of columbus day.  if your kids are off too, get outside...today looks like another beautiful day.  

pintrest may very well be the ultimate time suck. but, in a good way. life changing way.  i'm going to go out there and say it is up there with the other internet greats like amazon, google, and twitter.  for me at least.

(haven't been there yet?  finish reading my post and head on over immediately...then go outside!)

the purpose of the site is to maintain a collection of "pins" that anyone on the internet like/love. you see a cute pair of riding boots on some website?!  you "pin" it to pinterest for everyone else to see.  it's like a more refined google image search with pictures of things people actually like, a lot.

looking for bathroom decor ideas?  or crafts for toddlers? wedding favors? just type it in the search.

there are so many great ideas on there.  i seriously need an accountability partner to limit my searching.

anyone?  ::cricket, cricket::

great!  i'm not ready to give up one of the few things that fill my cup daily.  there are also some hilarious things people pin that really crack me up.

c'mon, you know that's funny!
i try to do a recipe, craft, or whatever else looks interesting, once a week.

this past week, i gave the pumpkin cinnamon roll pancakes with cream cheese icing a try. can you blame me?  people were re-pinning these things like hotcakes. haha...get it?  hotcakes.

recipe girl has provided the recipe and detailed directions for these delicious delights.

my only suggestion is to prep everything the night before. it's a bit more time consuming than your traditional boxed pancakes and maple syrup.  prep the flour, cinnamon swirl, egg, and icing mixtures separately.  you'll have less dishes to do in the morning and gives you a tasty reason to get up.

again with the sideways pictures, my apologies.  the final stamp of approval comes from natalie.

i'm on a pumpkin kick, as is everyone else this time of the year. stay tuned...another tried and true pumpkin recipe will be posted this week.
let me know if you give these pancakes and/or pinterest a try.  you won't be disappointed.

**disclosure:  jersey shore l'amour does not take responsibility for decreased productivity in the home not limited to laundry bottleneck, dirty dish overload, filthy children, and/or hungry husband.  approach pinterest with caution.  

thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

it's a bug's life.


how are you? great!

me? oh, just getting more pregnant by the day, dreaming about the day we'll have our house as the way we want it, and sucking down more coffee than i probably should.

summer was rough. really rough.  the best way for me to cope with the overwhelmingness (this is a jill word, btw) was the get out of the house and in the yard.

since we live in the sticks, we see all different kinda buggaroos. i love that my four year old knows the difference between a beetle and a stink bug. or that she can spot a stick bug faster than i can. and that she can surprise attack daddy with a supersoaker in a snow white dress.  love her.

thankfully, one of the gems i came across was called insectropolis. for all you wussies out there who hate bugs...this is not the place for you.  located in toms river, this is great for those of you with small kids who just happen to be visiting the seaside heights area. actually, it's not too far from the parkway...you can visit if you're passing by to go to other shore points.

believe it or not, this thirty year old, mother of two has a bug collection. true story.  i even took a pic of myself with it to prove that i didn't find this pic on google images.  this is what is left of about half my collection.

with my two kiddos, it took thirty minutes to walk through the entire museum. i opted out of the guided tour...attention spans will suffer. including mine!


goliath is an understatement.
for some odd reason, i was able to edit the photos below in iphoto so it wasn't sideways...but blogspot is failing to recogniiiize.  so suck it up and tilt your head.  

this was a neat display of honeybees doing what they do best: making honey.  the hive has a tube on the bottom that allows the worker bees to exit and enter the hive from outside.  

hungry?  they even have a snack bar.  kinda.

if you're local, check it out.  the kids will love it.  they do birthday parties, too.

and if you have giant european hornets building a basketball sized nest in the attic above your bedroom like we did, they even have extermination services.  no joke.  call them, they'll take care of business.  ozane pest control.  

if you live closer to philly, there is a sister bug museum called insectarium.  i have to admit that i have also been to this one. it's not as good as insectropolis, but they do have a gigantic, clear cockroach house which was pretty awesome.  you spray water over the edge and all the cockroaches run up the side and go to the water...and...oh, nevermind.

i'm a nerd.  i know.

hope everyone is doing well.  miss you all.

thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

chalkboard paint magic.

i love. love. love chalk board paint.

i see it all over the craft blogs.  people use it on their fridge. their walls. jars. lamps, pumpkins. coffee tables.

yes, pumpkins.

say goodbye to that hideous almond colored fridge!
love this.  a lot.

cute wedding place "cards".
ahhh.  organization.
crib ends turned into an easel.

i really can't get enough of it.  i may have gone overboard with all the pics, but you gotta agree...these are some great ideas and so fun to look at.

now, if i can get my hubby to agree to paint an entire wall in the kitchen.

back during mother's day, we helped the 217church tots make special chalkboard paint flower pots for all the mommies.  they came out super cute.

you can get the terra cotta pots at any craft shop.  i bought the chalkboard paint, rhinestones, and pink paint at wal-mart...may be a bit cheaper there than at michaels or ac moore.

just use the sponge brush to paint a coat or two with the chalkboard paint.

let it dry completely so you can hold the pot to paint the top lip.  pink would definitely not be my first choice of color, i'm more of a turquoise-kind-of-girl. or you can paint the whole pot black.

once everything is dried, rub chalk all over the chalkboard paint to "cure" the writing surface.  

just from my own, personal experience, i can offer you these two very, very important suggestions...

tip 1:  do not paint over white carpet.

tip 2:  do not let your pre-schooler help. 

just sayin.'

traditional chalkboard colors green or black don't tickle your fancy, but you'd love to have a chalkboard wall in a more desirable color?  good ol' martha has come up with a recipe to make your chalkboard wall dreams come true.

what's your favorite chalkboard use from above?  have you used the paint before?  how did it work out for you?

thanks for stopping by and be sure to stay cool...this heatwave is sick.