Monday, January 30, 2012

Honey Cakes with Vanilla Honey Butter

"The girl unwrapped the bundle and made three small piles, equal piles, he noticed, not skimping herself the way his mother used to do.  Then Joel spoke a blessing and they handed Daniel his share, a few olives, a flat little loaf of wheat bread, and a small honey cake whose taste his tongue suddenly remembered from childhood. For the first time Daniel felt his tight muscles begin to relax.  His eyes met Joel's , and the two boys studied each other without hostility.......In some way, the food had made it easier to speak."
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Food nourishes more than just our bodies - it nourishes our souls.  Maybe these honey cakes were the original soul food. When shared, they brought Daniel back to his childhood and chipped away at the hostility that had been maturing inside him.

I made these delicious cakes for the fifth grade as they began their literature journey through The Bronze Bow.  The story takes place during the time of Christ.  These cakes have a distinctive taste of honey and are a little reminiscent of corn bread, but without corn!  

The Vanilla Honey Butter elevates them just a little bit more.  Use a real vanilla bean if you can.  It's worth the extra effort!

Honey Cakes

1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup honey
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour

Cream shortening, honey and eggs.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan (or 21 muffin tins or 10 mini loaves) and pour batter in it.  Bake at 350 degrees.

Baking times:  30 minutes for a 13 x 9 inch pan, 15 minutes for muffins, and about 18 minutes for mini-loaves.

Vanilla Honey Butter

1 stick butter
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 Tablespoons honey

Bring butter to room temperature.  Scrape the seeds from one vanilla bean.  Add 2 Tablespoons honey and mix together.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

iheartfaces | Oh, So Silly!

I'm not a professional photographer.  So even though most of my Photo Challenge entries are taken with my big girl camera, some moments arise when only the iPhone is on hand!  What could be sillier than two 11-year olds trying to walk in 6-inch heels?

To view more silly photos, visit I Heart Faces!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chicken & Pumpkin Enchilada Soup

I know it's not October or November anymore, but I'm still in love with pumpkin! Pumpkin is a virtual chameleon! Not only is it outstanding in baked goods, it adds a richness and depth of flavor to soups, stews and even spaghetti sauce! And of course, don't forget that it's low fat and one serving gives you an entire day's worth of Vitamin A! Combine my love of pumpkin with my love of the slow cooker (best Christmas present you ever gave me, honey!) and you have a meal made in heaven.

Hope you all enjoy this one!

Chicken & Pumpkin Enchilada Soup

by Rachel @ Simple Girl

4 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans green enchilada sauce
1 can pumpkin
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup frozen corn
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Glaze (or balsamic vinegar)
4 ounces finely shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large slow cooker and cook for 6 - 8 hours on low.
Before serving, shred any large chicken chunks with a fork right in the pot.
Top with extra cheese, avocado slices and sour cream.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

iheartfaces | By The Book

Anna reading in her hammock chair.
Our little bookworm!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Equestrian Party

When Anna, the animal lover, turned eleven in November, we decided to give her an equestrian party.  She was thrilled.  Giving Tween parties can be a little tricky.  They're too old for pre-school frou-frou, but that doesn't mean one should give up style!

The stables provided the perfect backdrop for an outdoor picnic.
I used tan tablecloths from Target and topped them with strips of fun fabric.

I loved these "green" plates and bamboo forks from Party City.  
The girls all wanted to take the forks home with them as souvenirs! 

Mason Jars with flowers added to the rustic theme.

Each plate was topped with a Horse-shaped cookie in a cellophane bag tied with raffia.

I was even able to re-use the bunting from Ella's "Pink Party!"

IBC Root Beer in a bottle added an old-fashioned touch.

I kept the dessert simple with chocolate cupcakes.

When not riding horses, the girls decorated horse shoes.

And everyone went home with "CowGirl" Cookies in a Jar.
You can find the How-To on these along with the cute labels on Bakerella's website!

And, of course, a few more pictures of the party girls!

Happy Birthday, Anna!