April 26, 2009

Sunshine, Sugar and So Cal!


Our weather has been absolutely gorgeous! We have had a couple days in the hundreds and then down to the 80s and even the 60s but the sun is just shining and that is what I love about living in Southern California! This weekend it was too beautiful, we just could not resist a spontaneous roadtrip to Malibu for lunch and a scenic drive. We went to Neptune's Net, of course, for some awesome shrimp n chips. There were a bunch of guys out wind surfing and it was great to just watch from the cliff above. These guys are talented and I cant deny that it actually looks fun (but I doubt I am capable of the strength to do a sport like that!). It was so precious to see all of the cute couples stopping off the PCH to check it out and I couldnt resist capturing the moment of an older couple holding each other close. I love old couples!!

On another happy note, I have been baking A LOT this week! We decided to go out and meet some of our neighbors who we found out also attend our church. It was good and we are hoping they will all be able to come to our place for a BBQ this next weekend to get to know each other a bit more. God blessed our time out visiting and meeting our bros n sis' in Christ.
Gare asked me to bake up some goodies to give to each of the families, so I of course did not put up a fight. I made some Macaroons and Lemon Butter Pound Cake. Thursday I needed to bring a dessert to our Community Gathering, so I made my first Lemon Raspberry Upside Down Cake which was absolutely delic and moist! Oh and I also made some Red Velvet cupcakes for my dear friend Jackie's one year anniversary with her hubby (which is today!). Man the kitchen was ridiculously messy! And I thank God for a husband that is so willing to help me clean it all up... I think all of those delicious goodies are payment enough! :) Recipe for the Macaroons and Upside Down Cake are below. Let me know if you attempt and what you think!

Black-and-White Coconut Macaroons
( From Betty Crocker!)

3 cups lightly packed shredded coconut
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
Glaze
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1 tablespoon shortening
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped (I didnt use these)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. Using food processor, process coconut until finely ground.
2. In large bowl, stir together coconut and cookie mix. Add sweetened condensed milk and almond extract; mix well. Mixture will be crumbly. Stir in cream of tartar.
3. In small bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into cookie mixture. Using 1 1/2 tablespoon-size cookie scoop, firmly pack with coconut mixture and place mound on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining coconut, placing mounds 2 inches apart. Press each mound to flatten slightly.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges just begin to lightly brown (do not overbake). Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
5. In 1-quart nonstick saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening over medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Dip each cooled cookie halfway into melted chocolate, letting excess drip off. Place on sheet of parchment paper; sprinkle chocolate portion with nuts. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 1 hour. Store between sheets of parchment paper in tightly covered container.


Lemon-Raspberry Upside Down Cake

**Derived from several web recipes**

1 Box Lemon Cake Mix
20 oz Frozen Raspberries or 3+ cups Fresh Raspberries
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 (4oz.) Package Sugar Free Raspberry Jello Mix **OPTIONAL**
3/4 Tbsp. Sliced Almonds ** OPTIONAL**

**Take frozen raspberries out of freezer atleast 30 min. before prep. Then place in pan and let thaw more while you prep cake, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan
2. Place thawed raspberries at bottom of pan until covered
3. Sprinkle sugar over top of the berries
4. Sprinkle jello mix over top of the berries
5. Sprinkle sliced almonds over top of berries
6. Prepare cake mix following box instructions and pour over top of berries
7. Place in oven for 35-45 minutes
8. take out and let cool, 2 min.
9. Invert cake onto cake pan or another 9x13 pan

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream :)

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