Friday, February 18, 2011

Morgan in Wonderland

It seems like Morgan would never fit into this little blue dress that she got from my dear friend, Leala and her two beautiful girls, Anika and Indigo (great names, I know). But she insisted on trying it on a few days ago and 'tada', it fits! She pranced around in it as curious as Alice herself, and I couldn't help but snap a few lovely pics to capture her blue bliss.

She has become nutty for books, we must read 20 a day. Not a bad obsession, but she chases me around the house with them! She loves the books that have little flips in them. Karen Katz, you are a genius. Although, I'm getting very sick of you.

Morgan is such good a mommy. I think she's going to be a really big help when the new baby comes. She never gets jealous when I hold other babies, she is so concerned when they cry, and she loves to take care of them.

I'm sure she'll have her terrible two moments, but for the most part, she is going to love the whole experience of being a big sister. I can't wait to see her fall in love with the new bugaboo.

I still can't get enough of those petite little toes.
Especially when they're peaking out of a pretty blue dress.

Somedays she is so independent and other days, she just wants to play with me steady. I can't complain about either, I am thankful for both. I am so looking forward to getting our backyard landscaped for the summer. I'm visualizing a shady canopy, housing our comfy patio furniture with plenty of candle lit lanterns, lush baskets of hanging begonias, a couple cozy throws for cooler nights, maybe a wind chime to drive my neighbours crazy, big pots bursting with grasses and flowers, plenty of scented lavender, and of course the company of friends, family and kiddies for Morgan to splash around with. Everybody is welcome!

I plan to eat almost every meal outside this summer (it always tastes so much better out there anyways), weather permitting of course. With a new baby and a busy 2-year old, the last thing I want is for all of us to be cooped up inside for the steamy summer months. I hope we get some good weather. Since baby is due July 3rd, that will give us enough time to get the grass in, the deck build, the canopy cozy, the patio set up and hopefully we can squeeze in some gardening too.

Wouldn't mind a play gym and sandbox for Morgan too! A munchkin pool is a must, of course. Oh, and a fire pit in the back corner for the hubby. If only money grew on trees. I'd settle for Skittles too, I guess. I'm sure I'll enjoy the fire pit too, if I'm not catching up on sleep!

The backyard is a bare slate for imagination right now. I can't wait to give ourselves a little heavenly hideaway out there, even if we can't do everything this year. It'll be the great company, food, grass stains, sunscreen in the eye, dirt in the toes, sweet-peas, little bare bums (not mine of course, lord knows, it wont be little by July) and sunshine that'll make it just perfect.


The secret to this cake is buying the best peaches possible.
I wait every year for Prima Peaches to come in season. They are
so addictively delicious. I sauté the peaches in butter and a
little butter and sugar so there are fresh peaches on
top of the cake as well as inside it.

For Peaches:

1 pound sliced peaches (about 3 cups) for inside of cake.
Additional peaches will be needed for top of cake.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

a pinch of kosher salt or sea salt

For the Cake:

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

3 cups unbleached white flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cooked peaches (note: the three cups of peaches will cook down to about 1 1/2 cups.
Reserve some peaches for the top of the cake or just cook more. The more peaches the better!
Also remember to reserve the liquid from the cooked peaches for the frosting.

For the Frosting:

2 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened

2 sticks of unsalted butter

2 1-pound box of powdered sugar

1/4 cup of peach syrup (liquid after you cook the peaches)

For the Shards of Sugar (to garnish additional peaches and to garnish top of cake)

1 cup Sugar

For the peaches: Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add butter and peaches. Sprinkle with sugar. (if the peaches are not naturally sweet you may need more sugar. The peaches I use are very sweet and only need a little sugar) Add ground ginger and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 8-inch-round cake pans. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing them completely into the butter mixture after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine all of the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix or sift together well. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the sour cream. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the cooked peaches into the cake batter. Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Baked for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then invert onto cooling racks to finish cooling.

Make the Frosting: It is probably best to make the frosting in two batches unless you have a really big bowl. So put one block of cream cheese, one stick of butter and one box of cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Mix in reserved peach syrup from your cooked peaches. Then make another batch exactly like it.

Make the burnt sugar shards: Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. In a large stainless steel saucepan, place the sugar. Heat over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt and brown. Do not stir. Tilt the pan if you need it to melt more evenly. As soon as the sugar is a beautiful amber brown color pour it onto the parchment paper lined sheet tray. Slightly tilt the pan so it spreads around. It should harden immediately as it cools. When it is completely hard break it into shards by either hitting it with a mallet or dropping the tray so the sugar cracks.

Frost the cake. Just before presenting place more sautéed peaches on top of the cake for garnish. Place some of the sugar shards on top of the peaches. Garnish around the cake with peach halves and quarters and piles of burnt sugar.

Recipe and picture from kiss the groom

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