Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc…

IMG_8690I can not believe we are already in February of 2016.  It has been such a great start to the new year!  Things are really busy and hopping here at the G&H headquarters.

As for personally, I began school at the Savannah College of Art and Design this past January.  I love it.  But, it has not come with its challenges.  As a mom, I have felt guilt because I can not always be available for the girls.  However, the lesson has been for them and for me, to let go.  It is time to let go of being everything they want me to be and be ME!  Now, of course they would prefer that I be available when they need something immediatley.  Who wouldn’t want that?  So, I can not blame them for having some push back.  I will say time management is the biggest, best skill we are learning.  We are all learning to manage our own schedules, plan accordingly and not take advantage of one another.  Again, this is not an easy skill that comes naturally.  I catch myself being so busy that the first thing to go is the gratitude.

I picked up Emma from Lacrosse the other evening.  She hopped in the car with tears streaming down her eyes.  I said “what is wrong?”  She quickly began explaining her fear of being kicked off the varsity team because she didn’t practice well.  Emma was doing what I do all the time.  She wasn’t enjoying the moment for fear that tomorrow it will be taken away.  Light bulb!

I have been so scared that I won’t be able to juggle the kids, the school and the business that I am not enjoying the moment of all of it.  And, I do love all of it.  Each thing brings me such joy and nothing is perfect about it.  Imperfect…I feel I am right were I am suppose to be.

So, as time is ticking away, I blink and we are at another birthday.  My baby, Gabrielle is 9 years old today.   We are going to make cupcakes from a box.  Imperfect but yet, so perfect.  I’ll save the cake from scratch for my clients.

As for Grits and Honey, it has really taken off on the weekly meals program.  I just love this aspect of the business because it helps those who feel, like me, a little overwhelmed at moments.  And, if I can help you out with your time management, that puts a smile on my face.  But, it isn’t just about saving time or we would be going to eat fast food everynight.  It is about eating healthy, eating well, and eating together at home.

Here is to enjoying all those imperfect and sometimes rushed moments!  I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

PS- Get those dates in for Spring catered events (graduations, baby showers, birthdays and weddings)… the calendar is filliing up quickly!

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Let’s Bake a Cake!

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Yellow Cake with Butter Cream Icing and Fresh Strawberries

The rain is heavy this morning.  I imagine that this is what a rain forest would feel like.  Everything is wet but growing and green because of the warmer weather.  There also seems to be a thousand birds, bugs and little critters scurrying around.

The weather seems to be a bit of a reflection of my feelings today.  The weight of moving to a new home and the whisper of a new beginning.  As I signed my name on the closing papers to the house, I realized how much one piece of paper and signature can mean to someone.  It could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars, it could mean a burden gone, it could mean no roof over your head, or it could mean a gratitude for not having the burden of fixing one more thing in the house.  It could mean many things I suspect with different perspectives.  So, as I left the closing, I realized I may have shifted internally  with this simple signature, but everything is still moving swiftly in Atlanta.

I am feeling nostalgia over this closing chapter.  I brought home a baby girl in this house.  I started a business in this house.  I had many gatherings with friends and family in this house.  I found my inner voice and authenticity in this house.

But with each beginning comes and end.  I am ecstatic about the new chapters that are to come.  I read in the Artist’s Way the other day about our finite thinking.  We can’t always see what tomorrow will bring us.  The unknown can be a paralyzing.  But thinking about the infinite things that the universe has to offer is so amazing.  I see the peddles on a dog wood tree.  I see pollen all over my back yard.  There are so many things the universe brings down upon us that we can not count or grasp an understanding on.  We can not wrap our limited head around what is possible.  I believe the universe has an infinite joy that lies ahead of me and around everyone who believes it.  I may not be able to see it, just as I can not count the leaves on a tree but it is there.  I may feel fear creep up because of the unknown but just as in good vs. evil, the good always wins.  As my dear friend Jo said, “one foot in front of the other”.  If we wake up enough times telling ourselves the universe wants to give us infinite joy, we start to believe it.  Just as I feel a heaviness with the rain clouds.  I also feel a wind of weightlessness that carries me to soar to the next chapter and joy that lies ahead.

One of the many joys that I have is to bake.  As Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake!”  Strawberries are in full season here in the south, and I have some in the house.  We will add those to our cake too!

Yellow Cake Recipe

Ingredients

2 Sticks Butter (room temp)

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  I used two 8″ cake pans.  Butter and flour your cake pans.  Begin by mixing your butter and sugar on medium high-speed for about 5 minutes.  While this is mixing, mix your flour, baking powder and salt.  (I have to be honest I don’t always sift these ingredients.  I just don’t feel like it sometimes, and I certainly don’t want something extra to clean.  I know every baking chef out there will disagree with this method but sometimes it just works).

Add your vinegar to your milk.  This will break down the milk into what is like a buttermilk.  I don’t always keep buttermilk in my fridge which is why this method works better for me.  I usually always have milk and vinegar.

After your butter and sugar mixture is creamy and fluffy, alternate adding in the milk mixture and the flour mixture.  Don’t over mix this part.  Mix until it just comes together making a nice cake batter.  Add in your vanilla extract.  Lastly pour your batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Check out the Butter Cream Icing recipe on The Goose blog page.  It is super easy and delicious.  I put about 1/4 of the prepared icing on the cake.  This cake recipe is so good I don’t want to overwhelm it with the butter cream.  I put sliced fresh strawberries in the center between layers and a pile of strawberries on the top.

I am now wondering if the heaviness is from the rain or from not being able to stop eating this delicious cake.  And look, the sun is peeping out!  Let’s go for a walk and dream about what my new home and kitchen will look like… The possibilities are endless.  Cheers!

 

 

 

The Goose

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When I see my little Gabby Goose outside playing, content with herself, making up foods, cooking for her bug friends, chatting to herself and those made up creatures, my heart melts with love.  All of my girls did this at some point.  The older girls don’t do it anymore.  They are little ladies now, too cool to talk to stuffed animals or bugs.  But my Goose, she is turning 7, and she is still that sweet little girl with the imagination of Rembrandt or Picasso.  The computer, mini iPad, or cell phone hasn’t sucked her completely in.

She is grating chalk into cups and I see her nose and cheeks becoming rosy from the crispness in the air.  I wonder who she is chatting with.  She shirks her shoulders as if to say “I don’t know”.  I realize this moment is worth its weight in gold.  I want to cherish it like so many other fleeting moments.  There are so many of these moments, if, I just stop for a minute to notice them.

My Goose has this attraction that brings people to her.  They enjoy and want to be around her.   Her happiness and joy is a magnet to everyone who comes in contact with her.  Well, maybe not so much when she was an infant.  She was the loudest of any child I have ever heard.  I think most people who were around us when she was a baby would vouch for that.  Her scream was piercing.  But now, I wonder why this little, happy soul chose me to be its mother.  It is really cool to think about this with each of my daughters.  How these sweet spirits grow from a little bean in your womb into these human beings that are so precious.  They are all pretty damn amazing, and I get to be their mom.  There really is nothing sweeter!

For my goose’s birthday, we will make cupcakes.  She wants her sisters to make the cake and I will make the Buttercream Icing.  In her honor, I will share my Buttercream Icing recipe.

Ingredients

10 egg whites

3 cups white sugar

3 lbs butter (room temp)

1 tablespoon flavoring (vanilla, almond, or other extract)

Directions

In a double boiler, heat your egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  You need to whisk your mixture while it heats up so the egg and sugar doesn’t burn.  When your egg whites are hot to touch, pour the mixture into a mixer and whisk on high speed.  You will notice that your egg whites become fluffy white, and tripled in size.  Once they are stiff, take your whisk off and add your dough attachment.  Add half the butter and pulse so that the butter goes to the bottom.  Repeat until all the butter is added.  Mix on high until it is fully incorporated.  Your Buttercream Icing will be smooth and silky.  At this point, you can add your extract or favorite food coloring.  This can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks or the freezer for a couple of months.  Just, thaw and add back to the mixer to get that smooth texture.  If it looks watery, it has separated and is too cold.  Just heat it up to room temp. and it will combine right back together!

This Buttercream Icing is delicious with the Vanilla Pound Cake recipe thatI shared a few weeks ago.  I have made them for many parties and events.  There is never any left over.  I will be showing my love for my little Goose on her birthday by making her favorite icing.  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  I think some sweet cupcakes with Buttercream Icing are just the thing to show your love!  Make them for that special person in your life.  OR order them from G&H and take that time to enjoy moments in your life.  Cheers!

You want WHAT for Christmas?

Vanilla Pound Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Icing

Vanilla Pound Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Icing

It is finally here!  The season that little people and some big people favor most of the year.  Christmas is finally upon us!

I may have written this before, but this is not my favorite holiday.  It reminds me of a really bad drug (like a decongestant) that gets you all hyped up only to plummet you to the bottom of the deepest darkest hole.  OK, maybe that is a bit extreme but I ain’t a fan.  We all feel way too busy rushing around.  We all hear those car horns a little more this time of year.  Everyone seems a little Mad.  And for most Moms and Dads, it can be brutal having your little monkey look at you with those sweet eyes, saying “please get me that iPad mini” that is over $300.  I sold my car from college for about that much.

I believe the best part of this year is staying warm in the kitchen while baking goodies for friends and family. And sometimes eating the goodies myself while watching Netflix in the comfort of my own home.  Sometimes I turn on some calming music (maybe a little Frank Sinatra’s Christmas but only once during the season) and zone in on the baking, tuning everything else out.  All eyes do light up and twinkle when given that gift that is made from the heart and fills the belly.

The girls and I have so much fun concocting different sweet treats.  One such treat are these Vanilla Pound Cupcakes.  I call them pound cakes because they use more egg than a normal yellow vanilla cake.  They can be tricky because as they cool, they will shrink from the cupcake tin.  I found this Pound Cake recipe from Gourmet.  It was called Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake.  I changed a couple of things, like the egg amount, to make them into more of a yummy cupcake.

You will need to soften your butter to room temperature.  This always gets me because I forget and then need to make it on the fly.

Ingredients~

2 sticks butter

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour (sifted)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream your butter and sugar together in a mixer and then add the eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix.  Scrape down of your bowl.  Add half your flour, then all your heavy cream, and finish with your last bit of flour and salt.  Mix this on high speed for 5-6 minutes.  This is where the batter will get a lovely silky texture.  Bake your cupcakes for about 45 minutes.  Check to make sure your toothpick comes out clean!

You will love this with berries and cream in the summertime too.  It doesn’t hurt to dream of the warm spring, which IS my favorite season.  It will be here sooner than we know.

Here is to spending way too much money on the monkeys and feeding them way too much sugar.  But, most importantly, to their faces lighting up when they receive what they didn’t expect, which is always priceless.

H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N

Mummy Cupcake

Mummy Cupcake

It is officially the holiday season.  As I write, I want to fall over from exhaustion, already.  This cappuccino should help me survive.

Does this mean I am the Scrooge of Halloween.  Well, no.  Just the actual day is exhausting.  I have had a lot of fun up to this day decorating and making tricky treats.  I guess the fun is just catching up- I want to rest, if just for a moment.

What!?!?  There is no time to rest this time of year!  It is time to go full speed ahead.  It is time to do lots of tricking and treating, and cooking, eating, and celebrating, to buying out the stores for Christmas, and then doing more cooking eating and celebrating…  Grits and Honey can make it easier for you this season!  I did a dinner party last weekend for a birthday party and the client couldn’t believe what a different person she was with out having all the stress of the party.  You too can have a simpler life.

For another pumpkin carving party, I made yellow cupcakes.  Children and adults love these.  This recipe is a staple all year round for birthdays, holidays, graduations, or just to put a smile on someone’s face.

Get a stick of butter and and 3 eggs and leave out to become room temperature.  Mix your butter and 2 cups sugar together until your mixture is pale in color and fluffy.  Next, mix in your eggs one at a time.  In one separate bowls mix 3 cups flour and one tablespoon baking powder, in another bowl add 1.5 cups half and half and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.  Add 1/2 flour mixture to your sugar mixture then all of the milk mixture, and finish with the rest of your flour.  Mix this well and then pour into your favorite cupcake liners.  If your making cake, just make sure to prepare pans so the cake doesn’t stick!  Bake your cupcakes for around 20 minutes but check them around 18 minutes.

Here’s to not just making it through the holidays but actually enjoying them too.  And, their is nothing wrong with taking a little power nap!  Happy Halloween!