Saturday, April 24, 2010

I feel loved!

 I just found out I got my first blogging award! The Sunshine Award. It's from TabithaVenasse at Taking apart the complexities that are me.  This is a great blog where Tabitha shares her struggles with trying to live a Godly life in a world we can all admit is less than.

I was surprised that I got it for Miscellany Shortcuts, because this poor little blog doesn't get the attention that my other blog Cerebral Lunch Box does.  A good part of that is because I don't post to this one nearly as much, but it means a lot that Tabitha choose this one to honor. 

The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received this award.

Here are my twelve spots of light that brighten up my day, in no particular order:

1. Jamie at Finding Bliss in a Life More or Less Ordinary. Jamie is a real life friend of mine.  It's funny, but I think through blogging and the internet we've gotten closer since I moved away than we were before.  She's a single mother who is discovering new things about herself every day.  I'm really proud of her and what she's been able to accomplish in a short time.

2. Rachel Elizabeth at Delete the Adjectives. Every one of Rachel's posts start with a beautiful quote, which she always follows up with thoughtful posts that uplift, but make you think, too. 

3. The Cupcake Queen at 52 Cupcakes. A blog all about cupcakes.  Need I say more?  The pictures are beautiful, the recipes delicious, and her dog adorable!

4. Kate Dalgleish at I Am the Worst Blogger. Talk about dedication!  Kate posts something at least twice a day everyday.  Sometimes it's the craziness that can be found in the depths of Youtube or a cute Pokemon cross-stitch she's made.  No matter what she posts, it's always a bright spot in my day.  I can't tell you how many times she's made me actually lol.

5. Allie at Hyperbole and a Half. This blog gives me hope that as a spastic, hypochondriac, kind of neurotic girl, I too can achieve success.  I love her Paint illustrations to her stories and not uncommon for me to laugh so hard I actually tear up.  Plus she's been sick lately, so she needs a little sunshine.

6. MB at Support for Partners of Software Developers. Another RLF that I infected with blogging.  A blog mostly dealing with planning for her upcoming wedding, the tone is sometimes confessional and sometimes a hilarious over the top list of details.

7. ChoirChic at Big Girl's 5k. As a big girl, myself, this blog really helps me feel good about my progress to a healthier lifestyle.  ChoirChic is also going through the Couch to 5k, and I see my struggles reflected in hers.  Keep going for it!

8. Chelsea at Chalk Wharf. A very new blog, but one that shows a lot of openness.  You have to applaud someone for putting really personal thoughts and worries out there for the world to see.  Chelsea's struggling with getting laid off recently, so she could use some sunshine and support.

9. Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published. A great place to find book reviews, goals to strive for, and a group of other wannabe writers.  Yeah for the un-published!

10. Another David at I've Never Been Good With Titles. I have to admit that when David starts talking about economics, I don't always get it all, but I still read through it (which means a lot coming from an English Major). Whether posting videos on Tuesday, drunk blogging, or begging people to fill out their census forms, he manages to make it all a fun read.

11. Badass Geek at The Badass Geek. I embrace my geekdom, so I really love this blog.  He's not afraid to tell some really hilarious but embarrassing stories about himself.  He's the kind of guy that could fit like a glove in my little circle of friends.

12. Not So Clever as My Friends at Inappropriate Remarks. This one probably isn't fair (a bit of nepotism) as this blog is written by my Husband.  Definitely not a very sunshiny blog in and of itself (it's a place to share funny rants at the craziness of life, media, and society), he is a giant source of light in my life. If you enjoy anything I write, it's based on his support and push for me to write.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Banana Pudding Cake

I meet every Tuesday with a great group of folks who are also dealing with the death of a loved one.  As baking and desserts are kind of my thing, I've wanted to bring something for a while.  However, as so many of them are Catholic, and I know a lot of people give up sweets for Lent, I didn't want to be a bad influence.  Yesterday I baked what I'm calling "Banana Pudding Cake" and brought it.  Everyone really liked it, and most took a piece home.  Try it out and tell me what you think!


  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 cups of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 medium bananas mashed (about a cup's worth)

The prettiest cakes I've ever made.  I finally tried the trick of lining the bottom of the pans with wax paper.  It worked like a charm.  No sticking or anything!

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  •  3 tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten (do this first)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8oz package of Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese if you prefer) 
  • 1 package sugar free banana cream pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Milk to thin frosting (sorry didn't measure)
  • Vanilla Wafers to garnish

The cake during the icing stages. I always have the hubby ice my cakes. He has a much steadier hand than I do.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut wax paper to fit the bottoms of your pans and grease the sides. Mash the bananas.  I chopped mine coarsely first.  You can leave small chunks. 
  2. Combine came mix, water, eggs, and oil.  Beat until moistened then beat for two minutes.  Add bananas.
  3. Pour into pans and back for 30-35 minutes.  Cool pans for 15 minutes, remove cakes, let them completely cool before frosting and filling.
  4. While cakes are cooking prepare your filling.  Separate your eggs and beat slightly in a small bowl. Heat your cup of milk to almost boiling (it can boil, just keep an eye on it, because it can scorch.)
  5. Mix sugar, flour and salt, blending well.  Gradually add the hot milk to the bowl of dry ingredients.  Make sure you stir!
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, turn to low heat.  Cook this for about five minutes.  Stir constantly!
  7. Temper your eggs with some of the hot mixture.  Then pour into the saucepan, cook for about two more minutes.
  8. Take your pan off the heat, add the butter and vanilla, stir until melted.  Pour your mixture into a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface (keeps a weird film from forming).  Cool in the refrigerator until ready to fill cake.
  9. Make your icing: place cheese, butter, and vanilla into a bowl.  Beat until smooth.
  10. Add pudding mix.  You will now basically have a dough like substance. 
  11. Gradually add powdered sugar, adding milk to thin when necessary.  You want a thick bodied frosting for this.
  12. Put cake together, garnish with vanilla wafers.  And enjoy!

Next time I plan on putting crushed wafers on the top. Having the whole ones made it difficult to cut.

I am a notoriously messy baker. This is why the husband's happy I don't bake all that often!

I hope you enjoyed the recipe!  I cobbled it together from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book and Incredibly Easy Cake Mix.

Anything you would try differently?  I'm always up for improvements!

PS--Other cooking bloggers out there, how do you make your food so pretty?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Veggie burgers--need a tweak

So last night I tried my hand at making black bean burgers.  The taste was fabulous!  But the texture was a bit mushy.  Hopefully you guys have some suggestions that can put them over the top.

I got the idea from

My version:

  • Big can (25.6 oz) of Bush's black beans
  • half an onion
  • whole bell pepper
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs Tony's
  • 1 tbs ground cumin (my new favorite spice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • sliced Provolone cheese
  1. Drain, rinse, and dry can of black beans. Then mash them (a hand masher works best)
  2. Mince onion, pepper, and garlic in a food processor.  Then add to the bean mix.
  3. Add spices, egg, and bread crumbs to the mixture. Form 5-6 patties.
  4. Pan fry on medium head for about 5 minutes each side.  Put cheese on top, lower heat, and cover the pan.  Let cook for about 3 more minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
The burgers were pretty mushy.  I really loved the taste of these, so I hope you try them out!

Any tips on how to make the burgers more sturdy?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quick N Easy

My husband and I are trying to finish the remnants of our grocery shopping.  You know, the odds and ends that will go bad soon, so you need to use them fast?

Here's what we came with last night:

Almost Manwich

Extra lean ground beef (about a pounds)
Onion (diced)
Minced Garlic
About 3/4 a cup of BBQ sauce
About 1/8 of a cup of Worcestershire sauce

  1. Cook onions and garlic in Olive Oil until tender.
  2. Add hamburger, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper to taste.  Brown.
  3. Add BBQ sauce and let simmer for 15-20 minutes (until a little of the liquid cooks off)
We had it on the last hamburger buns from a pack.  It turned out pretty, good.  Almost the Manwich of our childhoods. :)

What other thrown together recipes do you make when you have odd remnant ingredients?