Friday, April 24, 2015

Baking and Cooking Day

Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Pound Cake Mix, on Amazon

Tonight after work I'm planning to get into the kitchen and cook up a bunch of yummy things to eat over the weekend and into next week. I have a bit of work to do later tonight on my blogs, so I probably won't be doing a lot of baking from scratch. To save time, I'll use some of the baking mixes I've stored carefully away in my pantry for opportunities like this.


  • Look to the weekend ahead - have you made social plans yet? Your friends might already be busy, so invite them to do something fun as soon as you figure out what that might be!
  • Go into the weekend with a full tank of gas. While you're out, do you need to pick up a movie from Redbox, drop off mail or dry cleaning, get some cash from an ATM?
  • The weather is getting nicer - carve out some time for a couple walks this weekend.
  • How are you doing on your Spring Cleaning progress? Wish mine were already done. Perhaps by the end of this weekend it will be!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Baking and Cooking

Mini Wheels Pasta, from Barilla

Today I'm taking time to make some things I'll share with friends and family, enjoy over the weekend, and eat next week. This past week, I had a crazy, chaotic workweek. I (sadly) ate breakfast at the computer each morning - yogurt usually. I barely had time to make a sandwich or throw together an uninspired salad for lunch every day. I ate leftovers for dinner, or quickly threw together some vegetarian tacos. I'm anticipating another hectic workweek next week, so I hope to plan ahead a little better and prepare some tasty foods for myself ahead of time.

I plan to make:

  • Hard boiled eggs for salads and egg salad sandwiches to eat through the week next week.
  • Roasted beets for salads and Family Night dinner with a bunch of beet-loving cousins.
  • Lemon pound cake to slice and bring to outdoor picnics.
  • Cold pasta salad for my lunches and to bring on picnics.
  • A baked pasta dish and a macaroni and cheese to freeze and reheat for family meals next week.
  • A couple of enchilada dishes to freeze and reheat for upcoming dinner parties.
  • Refried beans to use next week. It will be nice to eat fresh and not canned refried beans!
  • A lemon cake to serve on Family Night.

When's the last time you had an uninterrupted three or four hours in the kitchen to experiment, bake and cook tasty things, and play around with ingredients? I'm glad I could prioritize this time and deter myself from just going out to a movie tonight like I'd been tempted to. I can watch a movie on Netflix while waiting for my cakes to bake!

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc

New for Spring from L'Occitane - Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc. I suspect they put this out specifically in time for Mother's Day. I don't have a mother to gift this to, so I might have to just indulge in it myself. However, I have yet to smell these! I'll head down to my local L'Occitane store next time I'm at the mall and check it out. The collection includes an eau de toilette, a body milk, a hand cream, a shower gel, and a mini fragrance set.

Iris Bleu & Iris Blanc, at L'Occitane USA

LOVELY BLOGS: My Danish Kitchen

Blogger Gitte lives in the US now, but is originally from Denmark. She shares her recipes for both classic and modern Danish dishes, and also blogs about other Scandinavian recipes. Currently she's blogging about chocolate almond biscotti, a lovely Hazelnut cake with nougat cream, and sharing how to make rye bread without a sourdough starter. I'm also intrigued by her post on Magic Custard Cake.

LOVELY BOOKS: The Follies & Fashions Of Our Grandfathers

Here's a charming antique book from 1807 you can read online for free. There are thirty-seven color plates showing court and morning dresses as well as gentlemen's outfits. The text is a bit dry, providing fashion tips and a bit of gossip on long dead fashionable people from yesteryear. Several of the illustrations look like they would fit right into an antique edition of Pride & Prejudice. The artwork, long out of copyright, might prove useful to some of the blogging, crafty readers of Lovely Living.

The Follies & Fashions Of Our Grandfathers, at Archive.Org

LOVELY BOOKS: The Residence

"Inside the private world of the White House." I don't care at all about politics, but I've always been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes machinations that keep our presidents safe and our White House running. I've devoured books by White House chefs, White House decorators, secretaries, and Secret Service agents.

Now this weekend I'm treating myself to the hardcover edition of this book. (I almost got it on my Kindle, but I think I have a couple friends who will want to borrow this book after I'm done with it, so I got the paper copy I can hand over to them soon).

The book was written after hundreds of hours of interviews with staffers and former staffers, including butlers, ushers, maids, chefs, florists, and doormen.

Chapters include "Controlled Chaos," "Discretion," "Devotion," "Extraordinary Demands," "Dark Days," "Sacrifice," "Race and the Residence," and of course, "Backstairs Gossip and Mischief." I'm also looking forward to the chapter called "Growing Up in the White House."

The Residence, on

LOVELY FOOD: Babushka Chocolates

These adorable truffles are part of Moonstruck's Mother's Day collection. So cute! They also offer a ginger & sea salt truffle made to look like a Babushka doll, too.

Babushka Doll Truffles, at Moonstruck Chocolates

LOVELY HOME: Ruffled Shower Curtains

I'm not really in need of a new shower curtain - I redid my guest bathroom just last Spring, in a lovely soft lavender shade. But I'm really intrigued by these ruffly shower curtains. I may just keep them in mind for the next time around. I'm not sure if these would look wrinkly or "too girly" though. I just thought they are a refreshing departure from the plain style I currently have up. The curtains come in five or six color options - I think the Ivory is hideous but I like the blues-greens curtain very much.

Ruffled Shower Curtains, on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Blue Terracotta

This Etsy shop is run out of Lyon, France. The seller creates precious, delicate brooches based on butterflies, moths, and leaves. There are also hair fascinators headbands, and hair clips. If you like butterflies and are looking for a special statement piece for your hair, take a browse here. I'm having trouble picking just one "favorite" here!

Blue Terracotta, on Etsy


Blueberry Elephant Macarons (Raspberri Cupcakes)

Easy Lemon Cake Recipe (Bakers Royale)

Elegant Spring Checkerboard Cake (Bakingdom)

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa and Avocado Cream Sauce (Annie's Eats)

Hydrangea Meringue Cookies (Haniela's)

Lemon Blueberry Bread (Love From the Oven)

The Many Faces of Rosie the Riveter (The Atlantic)

Mexican Grilled Corn Avocado Toast (How Sweet It Is)

Red, White and Black Fancy Cake Pops (Pint Sized Baker)

Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Feta and Herbs (CHOW)

Strawberry Mint Julep (Baking Bites)

Vintage Cocktail Friday: Champs Elysees (Mid-Century Menu)

Weekday Vegetable Soup (101 Cookbooks)

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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