Monday, April 30, 2012

A Seafood Dinner, Lemon Loaf Experiment, and a Homemade Bird Feeder!

Been wondering where my manicures have gone?
Down the drain, along with all the nutrients that normally keep nails growing.
I haven't had a nail to paint for a few months, and while I try different herbal supplements to improve the situ, I have ignored the paint bottles in my caboodle!
Well, except to paint my toenails, which I painted in March, when the sun came out and I could still see my feet. LOL

Tori's friends at the farm gave us this idea for homemade bird feeders one day. We finally got around to making them... smear peanut butter in the pinecone, then roll it in bird seed, and hang the cone from a string outside.

As with any craft, Tori was enthralled with the process,,,she was and meticulous and focused...

Since that one BBQ day when I asked her to take my picture, she has been ALL about grabbing my camera. Her is one of a dozen photos she shot of me hanging the pinecones.

Then, during a random conversation with someone who didn't know we had made these, I was informed that peanut butter can choke a bird to death. Apparently,  birds have this particular texture (?) on their tongue that prevents them from removing a sticky substance such as peanut butter from their tongue.
We took them down and bought real bird feeders (to be shown in future posts).

For dinner that night, I wanted fish. My husband hasn't made it to the fishing holes yet (lol- the fishing hole being the DELAWARE RIVER, helloooO!), though they're only a handful of miles away. So, I had to BUY fish, much to my chagrin. Rainbow trout, bass, tilapia...all the fish was $18 per pound, so I chose salmon, which was $7.99 per pound if I buy two! (No worries on the fishing ordeal, though. In June, we're to go camping before Baby Boy arrives, and Hubby is going to show Tori what fishing is all about! She's ecstatic!)

I made dinner with this salmon recipe (although, I cooked my brown rice separately in a rice cooker), and for the veggies, I braised (our favorite method lately) some cut up veggies from the refrigerator [choosing whichever veggies would add a pop of color and taste good together] in butter, olive oil, celery salt, onion powder, tarragon, and a pinch of cayenne for the slight 'bite' that my husband craves. On a medium high heat, it took but a few minutes to tenderized the veggies. Veggies over the rice, salmon sauce drizzled over everything.... it was another "Mm-mmmmm" meal in our family that night.
On Friday nights, we like to have dessert. That day, while shopping at Wegmans for my meal stuffs, I saw this cake at the beginning of our shopping spree. I knew I had to have it. Call it pregnancy craving, because I don't crave sweets. I crave bitter. But lately, I've wanted dessert dessert dessert (so completely opposite is this pregnancy compared to 5 years ago with Tori. She never had a sweet bite in the womb!).
Anyway, Coconut cake is what it is, in case you wondered. :)

And everyone's exclamations....

This recipe was so time consuming that I won't be offering it at the farm for sale. I wouldn't make anything! But, I did find another lemon pound cake recipe for muffins that I will share in a later post. And my family sure enjoyed eating it, thus I would make it for personal consumption.
 I found a note online that you can approximate cake flour by using 2T cornstarch for every cup of all-purpose flour (and then, remove 2 T of flour, so that in essence, you are replacing 2 T flour with 2 T cornstarch). This I did, and the cake turned out alright.
 I have found it to be more economic and more tasty to use fresh lemon zest in my recipes. It does take more time and effort, but it's well worth it!
 I've also found that having a 4 year old assistant creates an atmosphere conducive to FUN and ADVENTURE while baking! Actually, it seems that when she DOESN'T help me, I miss some ingredient or put twice the baking powder as is called for. Perhaps she contributes to my being focused.
 And she takes some fun photos!
 I don't have a food processor, so I used a blender to cream the butter, sugar, etc. Perhaps that is why my cake was more dense than a real poundcake, but it worked for me.

 Because this was an experiment for making lemon loaf MUFFINS, and the recipe was PLENTIFUL, I made both a loaf and jumbo muffins. In the end, I had much batter leftover (not enough for a loaf or whole pan of muffins, but too much to ignore). I suppose that I should have poured more in my loaf pan, being that it was half the height as a normal poundcake. LOL.
 Making the drizzle was the easiest part. Lemon extract and confectioners sugar. Mix. Done. But, I added lemon zest to the recipe, as I do with any lemon recipe.
 After twenty minutes, turn the oven temperature down....
 And cook for 30 more minutes... (Though the muffins were done at 20 minutes)
 Out of the oven...
 With glaze on top...
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Another delicious meal in the "W" household.

Here's a belly shot for my Cali family.
24 1/2 weeks (just a few weeks ago)

..that we had to get the camera out...

...were so extreme...

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