Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oven-Roasted Mango Hummingbird Cake

It was a mere week-long celebration for one of my best friends in Charleston's/roommate's 22nd birthday. We had friends over for homemade crawfish jambalaya, hurricanes (the drink, not natural disaster...though if you drink to many it could be), and this Oven Roasted Mango Hummingbird Cake I made.

Oven-Roasted Mango Hummingbird Cake
(adapted from Southern Living)

3 cups chopped mango (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 ripe bananas, chopped

1. Place mango on a baking pan and sprinkle with brown sugar. Roast at 400° for 30 minutes or until brown, crispy on the edges and roasted. You may need to stir periodically while in the oven. Let cool.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Stir in mango, vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
4. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
5. Ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1.5- 2 lbs powdered sugar

Cream together Neufchatel and butter. Gradually add powdered sugar until you get the right consistency.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mixtape Monday: Drive Soundtrack

Drive is one of those movies that sticks with you. The lighting, the colors, the Ryan Gosling, the music. It wasn't what I expected to be at all, but nonetheless liked it. (I must warn that it is very quiet at times and has a bit of gore.) The art direction was spot on and I cannot get the soundtrack out of my head. It has an entirely techno/80's vibe to it and inspires this playlist:

1. A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth) - College (closing song and a memorable one at that)
2. Nightcall - Kavinsky (a creepy altered voice that created the opening credits)
3. Under Your Spell - Desire
4. Echoes of Mine - M83 (a song that builds and builds over and over)
5. Genesis - Grimes
6. Keep You - Class Actress (catchy indeed)
7. In Step - FrankMusik
8. Pulling Our Weight - The Radio Dept.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep?

This has long been one of my favorite songs after I heard it off the Eclipse Soundtrack a few summers ago. The video is so fitting and I love any excuse for claymation. Sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Charleston Lately...

Driving across the Ravenel Bridge at sunset while blasting this song ... Saturday strolls around South of Broad ... dressing up like we're from the 1920's when going to see The Artist ... breakfast for dinner at the Early Bird Diner... admiring the hints of spring around town...
I have never loved Charleston more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mixtape Monday: Currently Listening to...

1. Outro - M83 (This is currently my favorite song off "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming." It is so epic and majestic. I think the video above of Yosemite fully captures the fleeting feeling of this song.)
2. Bad Girls - M.I.A. (Another song accompanied by a fitting video - filmed in Morocco. Love the middle-eastern flair to this.)
3. Simple Song - The Shins (This is their new single, looking forward to the next album. This one is quite 80's.)
4. Television - You Won't (Simply orchestrated, but lovely lyrics)
5. Gathering Stories- Jonsi (Off the "We Bought A Zoo" Soundtrack, which I highly recommend if you love anything Jonsi and Sigur Ros)
6. Oh Louise - Korey Dane (Slow and southern sounding, if you like Ryan Adams, check this out)
7. Calling Me Names - Good Old War (Fun, Sunny and Spring-like)
8. Air A Dancer - Penguin Cafe Orchestra (Spanish influenced, lyric-less)
9. Tourists - Bright Moments (reminiscent of Beirut...)
10. Wilderness Eyes - 41st and Home
11. Whirring - The Joy Formidable (very Tegan and Sara)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Countries I Want to See, Pt. 3

Painted elephant
India is what I believe to be the most colorful place in the world. The Holi Festival, a religious holiday also known as Festival of Colours, is a springtime fete where Lisa Frank colored powders and water are thrown at each other. It makes for the most stunning pictures and looks like loads of fun. As a country so rich in art and traditions, visiting the Hindu temples and casually passing painted elephants would be both artistically inspiring and perhaps spiritually too. The Taj Mahal, is an obvious draw to me, and to everyone else in the world, wholly deserving it's spot on the "Wonders of the World" list.
New Zealand Mountains
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Sand dunes
The Green Pool
New Zealand
It's no wonder why epic, fantastical movies, such as Lord of the Rings, are filmed in New Zealand. It's a land of so many terrains and temperatues. This one photographer's collection displays the extremes I am talking about. It looks like Iceland at times, but then also calls to mind Chile and Yosemite National Park. I have done little research on the country, but whenever I see a picture of the landscape there, I fall in love. I still can't get over the highlighter green lake in the bottom picture...
Penguins at Boulder Beach, South Africa
South Africa, God's Window
South Africa
South Africa
I have recently become obsessed with South Africa because one of my friends is studying abroad there for the semester. The pictures she posts and the activities she writes about are all kinds of wonderful. Cape Town looks quite picturesque, with it located near the ocean. However, it is also one of the most deadly beaches in the world because of Great White Sharks, and wouldn't you know, my friend went cage diving with them. Bravery is an understatement. Bonus: there are adorable penguins that hang out at the beach.

What countries do you want to see?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese

baked pasta
This recipe is a standby of mine for potlucks of large gatherings and get-well-soon meals. Its super simple to make and has been picky-eater, kid-approved. You can make it several days in advance and bake it when you are ready to serve - it freezes well too!

Also, how cool is this stop motion about making spaghetti?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mixtape Mondays: Valentine's Day

valentines mantle
Though I am going to watch chick-flicks and drink wine with my girlfriends on this Single Awareness Day, I am still going to indulge in music about love - the pitfalls and the triumphs.
*In the picture of my mantle, I simply pinned heart doilies and leftover crayon hearts from last year with mini clothespins to a string*

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

The party planner in me loves an excuse to get enthusiastic about menial commercial holidays, but the perpetually single girl in me does not. I like to treat Valentines Day unromantically, giving edible gifts to my parents and girlfriends and typically treating myself to a pastry or nice bar of salted caramel chocolate. I think it should be a day to love yourself (and treat. yo. self). I believe in the notion that you need to love yourself to truly love others.

Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else
- Eleanor Roosevelt

I just sent off a batch of my Aunt Therese's Sugar Cookies to my parents and grandparents (and kept plenty for friends in Charleston). I typically ice these sugar cookies but once I saw this idea, I knew I was going to forgo the frosting this one time. What I did was follow my Aunt's cookie recipe (which I have been making, baking and eating for years) and used these steps to make the pinwheel action a-go-go. I cut out lip shapes with the leftover pink dough.

Aunt Therese's Sugar Cookies
1 1/ sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs in a mixer. Add vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add to mixer until all incorporated.
3. Divide into sections and freeze until ready to use (up to several days), make sure the dough is chilled before you roll it out
4. Follow pinwheel steps or roll out into floured surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February Etsy

feb etsy
I've finally added some new creations to my Etsy shop - some mixed media paintings and geometric wood necklaces. See more here!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mixtape Mondays: Classical-esque

Marie Antoinette
A playlist inspired by beautiful costume dramas:

1. Perpetuum Mobile - Penguin Cafe Orchestra
2. Beginner's Theme Suite - Roger Neill, Dave Palmer & Brian Reitzell
3. Replicate - Fanfarlo
4. The Supine - Andrew Bird
5. Cities - Hey Marseilles
6. Taxi Cab - Vampire Weekend
7. Golden Brown - Alexi Murdoch
8. The Secret Life of Daydreams - Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack
9. The Orchard - Ra Ra Riot
10. Claire de Lune - The APM Orchestra

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Was Just A Card

My best friend from high school shared this video with me a few weeks ago and I have been watching it once a day since. We both danced together in high school and now she has continued on with the art in college. She has a bright future ahead of her, being both a beautiful dancer and creative, sought after choreographer. See her work here.
This video has inspired me to start dancing again, whether it be in my room, backyard or wherever. And though I miss dancing on the stage, you can still get the feeling of emotional release that dance gives you anywhere.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

73 Degrees

73 degrees outside, though it feels much warmer. The weather has tricked the trees into blossoming early, and though I thought an evil freeze might come to knock off all the flowers, I believe the warm weather is here to stay. I am thinking I should appreciate it because hopefully this time next year I will be living in Chicago, away from 73 degree winter days.
I am looking forward to the future, but am missing Charleston already...
Isn't this tree gorgeous? I marvel at it in our backyard when doing the dishes.
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