Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick and Delicious Pork Sandwiches

Springtime.  Birds tweeting. Flowers blooming. Warmer Weather (sort of!).  The school year is starting to wrap up and I am doing some manic planning for completing the curriculum and getting kiddos ready for those dreaded state mandated tests.  The garden is coming back to life and needs my attention. We have graduations and birthdays is so full and we are so blessed!

That means that dinner needs to be fast and, of course, delicious too!  Springtime is the perfect time for Cooking Light Magazine's annual quick issue - 40 meals in under 40 minutes.  This year they out did themselves with main dishes paired with some rotating and out-of-the-ordinary sides

On one of our particularly crazy nights we tried the Soy-Marinated Pork Sandwiches with the Soba Noodle salad. 

Soy-Marinated Pork Sandwiches with Soba Noodle Salad - Cooking Light 4/13

Wow!  What a lot of flavor in a short period of time!  It took less than 30 minutes to put together.  Hubby, as chief dishwasher, was especially happy with this dish because it didn't even make much of a mess.

Soba Noodle Salad

The Soba Noodle salad is chock full of veggies and has a light tasting soy dressing.  I put it into Weight Watchers and it comes up at just 4 points for a generous 3/4 cup serving.

The pork sandwiches have a quick sweet and savory marinade and are topped with colorful carrot ribbon quick pickles.
The sandwich with the carrot topping came up to 7 points - all included: bun, pork and carrot topping.

I served it with some melon and it made a delicious and filling meal.  

So Cooking Light to the rescue again!  A perfect meal for a busy Spring weeknight!

Link to the recipes here:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Working on the "slow blouse"

Got a bit of time today and made some progress on the sleeveless blouse I cut out right before Easter. It's coming along, but still needs a few tweaks. I think the fit could still use a bit of refining but I'm learning a lot about how to fit myself again.

Here us a preview of the blouse draped over Donna the Dressform...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Southern Living Hummingbird Cake

My middle daughter and I teamed up to make this updated version of the Hummingbird cake originally published in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living.

I did the baking and she did the amazing frosting and decorating!

Southern Living's updated Hummingbird Cake - April 2013
I'll keep this post short because the recipe is long...The cake takes multiple steps over a couple of days, but no one step takes too much effort or time.  
And it is sooo worth the effort!
Since my sister is adamantly opposed to bananas,
my daughter whipped up some chocolate cupcakes
for the left over frosting.

The garnish on top is a mix of lavender from the yard that is just starting to come out of its winter sleep and some rosemary that had a few purple blooms.

My Sous Chef
My mother, the master of beautiful table settings, grew rye grass and baked bunny cookies for place cards at each setting.

Today was back to work.  It was such a nice Easter that the glow carried me all through day today!  
Happy Easter everyone!

35th Anniversary Hummingbird Cake
Southern Living Magazine April 2013

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups diced ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in bananas and next 5 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into 4 greased and floured 9 inch square or round cake pans.  

2.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (at least 1 hour).

3.  Spread Cream Cheese custard filling between layers.  Spread Browned Butter Frosting on top and sides of cake.  Chill 1 hour before serving.  Store in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Custard Filling:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
 Whisk together first 2 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; whisk in eggs and milk until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches a chilled pudding-like thickness.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly; boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and whisk in cream cheese and vanilla until cheese melts.  Cool to room temperature (about 1 hour).  Place plastic wrap directly on mixture(to prevent a film from forming), and chill 6 to 24 hours.

Browned Butter Frosting (Double the recipe if you want to do the basket weave design)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1.  Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown.  Remove pan immediately from heat and pour butter into a small bowl.  Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cook and begins to solidify.

2.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with sugar.  Beat at low speed until well blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla.