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Monday, April 25, 2016

{ Strawberry Lemon Pound Cake }

I think, dare I say it... it's finally Spring here in Ohio.

I thought that before, then awoke to snow on Bean's birthday (April 9). It seems it is here for real now though. 

Ohio likes to give us 75 degree days in March, but when April rolls around its like, "Hey, jk! Here's a 30 degree day!". Um, thanks.

Now that Spring actually has arrived, I like to open all the doors and windows and just let the happy flow through.

Don't get me wrong, I love Winter. I love Winter a lot. I love beautiful snowy days, snuggling inside, reading books under blankets, warm cocoa, etc, etc, etc.

However, I love Winter IN Winter. By the time April arrives, I'm over it. Over. It.

Bring on the sunshine, bring on the lemonade, bring on the lemon cake!

This is a simple lemon pound cake (it starts with a box mix) with a tangy lemon glaze.

Not too lemony. Just right lemony. As my friend Lori likes to say, too much lemon "tastes like Pledge". And let's be real life here. No one wants that.

Just right lemony with strawberries.

Welcome, Spring!

Strawberry Lemon Pound Cake
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1 lemon cake boxed mix
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped, and set aside in a bowl.

Zest one lemon and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.

Grease and flour tube or bundt pan, set aside.

In mixing bowl add the cake mix and pudding mix, stir to combine. Spoon a couple tablespoons of this over the strawberries to dust. This will help them from all sinking to the bottom while baking*. Set strawberries aside again.

Add the oil, water, and eggs. Beat until well combined. Add in the juice and zest. Mix well. Fold in the strawberries last. Pour into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to fully cool before glazing.

*they still like to sink, but this will help some.

Lemon Glaze
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
1 Tablespoon lemon zest, divided
hot water

Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add in lemon juice. Stir until glossy. If desired consistency is not reached, add hot water 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Stir in 1/2 Tablespoon of lemon zest.

Drizzle over cake, immediately sprinkle the other 1/2 Tablespoon of lemon zest over the glaze.

If you like more glaze, double the recipe above.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

{ Settlers of Catan Party }

In 6th grade, Bean's teacher had "Gamer Lunches" as rewards for good behavior, good grades, etc. If you were invited to Gamer Lunch, you got to have lunch with her and play games instead of eating in the cafeteria with everyone else. These were tabletop games, not video games. His favorite game he played there was Settlers of Catan. He talked about that game for years. Finally, 5 years later, Christmas 2014 I purchased it for him. Hey, it is an expensive board game! Now he has all the major expansions and player extensions. His friends will come over and they will gather around the table and play Catan for hours.

This year for his 19th birthday party, he decided to go with the Catan theme.While I've only played it a couple times, I know several things about it. He helped fill in some of the gaps and we ended up with an awesome party.

I will give you a cost breakdown for the party at the end of the post.

Here's what I did.

I set the tablescape up with these decorations. Sandcastle molds painted in a gray primer, black iron candleholders with candles, decorative rocks, and LED lanterns.

For the food:

Wood- Pretzel rods

Gold- Rolos

Sheep- White Cheddar popcorn

Rocks- Meatballs

Brick- Fun size candy bars

Wheat- Sliced french bread

Sea- Blue Hawaiian Punch, 7-Up, vanilla ice cream

And Settlers of Pizza.

This is made with a 3" hexagon cookie cutter.

The Catan toppings are:

Wheat- cheddar and mozzarella cheeses
Forest- Green peppers
Sheep- Green peppers and onion
Rock- Italian sausage
Brick- pepperoni

I made etched steins for everyone to take home. They pulled resource cards to see which stein they got. If they pulled wheat, they got one with the wheat design.

I made these with my Silhouette cutter, etching cream, and clipart from free clipart sites.

Finally, the cake. Now, I'm no professional cake decorator, but he liked it!

And of course, this party wouldn't be complete without the playing of The Settlers of Catan.

Party Cost Breakdown- Party of 8:

All of the decorations and the steins came from the Dollar Tree, whoop whoop! Thank you $1 store!

Rocks (2 packs)
Candleholders (2)
Candles (2)
Sandcastle molds (3)
Plastic Table cloths (2)
LED lanterns (2)
Total: $13

Steins (8), take home gifts:
Total: $8

Meatballs -3.99 (on sale, normally $7.99)
Spaghetti sauce for meatballs- $1.79
French Bread- .99
Popcorn- $1
Rolos- $3.50
Funsize Candy Bars- $1.50 x 3= $4.50
Hawaiian Punch- $1.99
7-Up- $1 (store brand)
Pizza Crust (2- I also made a plain pizza)- $.59 x2= $1.18
Green Pepper & Onion- $1.00
Pepperoni- $3
Sausage- $2
Cheeses- $4
Pizza Sauce- 1.29
Cake- $10
Total: $39.23

Items on hand- spray paint, etching cream, Silhouette cutter, cardstock for food name tags, printer

Total party cost: $62.23

Heyyyyyyy... not bad for an epic night in Catan, eh?

Happy Birthday to my Bean Boy once again!

See all my party plans here.

Monday, April 4, 2016

{ Skillet S'mores }

I have a confession.

These photos have been sitting on my camera for a year. #oops.

I found them when trying to make sure I had all of my 2015 photos downloaded onto my computer. I couldn't just let them go to waste, eh?

So, here we are. Skillet S'mores.

I served these to a group of VERY happy teenage boys, and also, my husband. There was nothing left. Nothing.

This is definitely something I now have in my arsenal. It's so easy, fast, and fun. Not to mention the taste.

Easy, gooey, chocolately. Good.


Skillet S'mores
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1 Tablespoon oil
1 bag milk chocolate chips (I like Hershey's brand for this)
15-20 large marshmallows, cut in half
graham crackers
cast iron skillet (or other oven proof skillet*)

Preheat oven to 450* F

Pour oil into pan and brush with a pastry brush or coat all around with a paper towel. Be sure to coat the bottom and sides well.

Pour in chocolate chips. Top with marshmallow halves.

Bake for 5-7 minutes until marshmallows are toasted.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. This will give allow the heat from the pan to keep melting the chips.

Serve warm with graham crackers, but be wary of the hot pan.

*You can use another type of pan, but cast iron retains the heat for a better all around melt.

Adapted from Dessert for Two


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