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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blackberry Farm

I had the extreme good fortune to spend last weekend at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. Beautiful scenery, amazing food and top-notch service.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rum-Raisin Carrot Cake

I made this yesterday for my friend Angie's birthday, and it came out great, if I do say so! I mixed and matched a couple of recipes and made some of my own additions...hopefully I can remember everything I did!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups grated peeled carrots (4-5 large carrots)
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
3/4 cup raisins, soaked in 1 cup dark rum for at least 30 minutes (reserve rum)

Cream Cheese Frosting
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
One stick of softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar

For cake:Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in applesauce until blended. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and ginger. Gently mix in drained raisins. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; poke holes in cakes with a toothpick, drizzle reserved rum equally over each cake. Cool completely before frosting.

For frosting: In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, confectioners' sugar and brown sugar. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 10 minutes or until smooth. Spread the frosting between cake layers and all over cake. Decorate with walnut halves if desired.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas List, Part 1

I'm starting my Christmas are a few of my wants and needs:

A personalized
necklace by Lisa Leonard (want)

This bunny-soft pullover from Northface, in cream. (want?)

And a gift card from Williams-Sonoma so I can replace all my awful-looking baking sheets and muffin pans. (need)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Michelle Obama

No matter your politics, we can all agree that Michelle Obama is bringing great style to the Whitehouse! Here are some stellar looks:

She's not afraid of color: orange is gorgeous and current.

This is my favorite! I love the chic black tee with feminine skirt.

Another winner with bright color

A dressier look: belted and beautiful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

wallpaper love

Love this chic chandelier design.....
and what a great way to add interest to a stairway wall!