Friday, March 23, 2012

Guinness Bundt Cake

I love to cook, but when it comes to baking I cringe. I can bake brownies, pumpkin breads and gooey cakes just fine, but an actual cake with frosting (even from the box) intimidates me. This past weekend my mother-in-law invited us over for corned beef and cabbage in honor of St. Patrick's Day, and I offered to bring dessert. I asked my friend Nika for suggestions (she's Irish) and she suggested I make a Guinness cake... cringe! Well, on Saturday I finally decided to put my cake baking fear behind me and picked up all the ingredients for a Guinness cake. That afternoon I made my very first bundt cake from scratch and guess what?! I really enjoyed baking it and according to hubby, JD and the Garcia family it was really good!

Guinness Bundt Cake
•1 cup Guinness beer
•1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
•3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
•2 cups all purpose flour
•2 cups sugar
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•2 large eggs
•2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a bundt pan very, very well. Bring 1 cup Guinness and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.
Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. 
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack or plate to frost.
Cream Cheese Frosting (Drizzle)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Directions: To make frosting/drizzle, beat together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla and slowly mix in powdered sugar. Add milk to desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled bundt cake.

Note: I placed my frosting in a sandwich bag, snipped one corner of the bag and drizzled the frosting over the bundt cake.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walmart, OSH, HomeGoods & The Container Store

What do all these stores have in common, you ask?! Well, I just found out they will all be opening new stores in the South Bay this year. I'm so excited, I just had to share the news with all my local friends and followers! Below are a few details and dates, please try to contain your excitement... Just kidding, get excited!
will be located where the former Mervyns store was located, on Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. It is projected to open in late summer 2012.

will be located where the former Kmart store was located, on Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance. They may also be adding a grocery store to this location. September openings are planned for OSH and HomeGoods.
will be located where the former   Borders Book Store was, located in Plaza El Segundo. Grand Opening will be on June 16th, 2012.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LAIR at the Los Angeles Zoo

I'm really excited about LAIR, the new exhibit that just opened at the Los Angeles Zoo! It may be hard to believe but I love reptiles, and snakes happen to be one of my favorites (I always wanted one as a child, but my mom would have moved out of the house). JD is fond of lizards, I assume its because they look like baby dinosaurs, so I'm pretty sure he will love this exhibit too. I'm hoping the weather will be nice this weekend so we can pay the reptiles a visit. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures just for you mom!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Creamy Caramel Flan

Can you beleive that until recently I had never made flan from scratch (I can just picture my mom frowning as she reads this)?! Well, on a whim I finally decided to try to make one and was excited when I found a very simple recipe on All Recipes. With my trusty assitant chef JD lending a helping hand, I made my very first homemade flan. It was pretty easy to make and I'm guessing I was'nt the only one who enjoyed it; since everyone dug into it before I had a chance to take a pretty slice picture! If you love flan you have to try the recipe below, it really is easy to make and yummy too. Enjoy!

Creamy Caramel Flan
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook sugar, stirring, until golden. Pour into a 10 inch round baking dish, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Beat in condensed and evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into caramel coated pan. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place baking dish on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes, until center is just set. Cool one hour on wire rack, then chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. To unmold, run a knife around edges of pan and invert on a rimmed serving platter.

Recipe Source: All Recipes

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Getting Organized: Kitchen Drawers

I can't believe I haven’t blogged for over a week! It's not because I don't have anything to blog about, I do! I’ve just been so busy. I went back to school a few weeks ago after taking a couple years off, so I now find myself studying instead of blogging and pinning. With so many things to do, I've been trying to make our everyday life a little easier at home by getting organized, and the kitchen was the first room on my list. I have to admit I dislike our kitchen for so many reasons (we're going to start working on changing that soon), but I'll give it points for being functional. All of our lower cabinets are actually drawers (which I love), but this also means that things seem to just get thrown into them, as you can see below.
So a couple weeks ago I went to IKEA and bought a bunch of plate and utensil organizers and emptied every single drawer in the kitchen and started organizing!

Now all of our kitchen drawers look like this, I love it! Even JD gets excited about helping us put the dishes away because he can clearly see exactly were everything belongs.

If you're looking to get organized, I totally recommend stopping by IKEA. They have really great organization collections for every room in the home.

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