Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe: Lemon Glaze Bundt Cake

Well, I told you a few days ago that Annie and I were about to have some baking fun!! I'm SOOOO excited to say that today I did two things that I have never done before--made my own recipe and made a cake from scratch!  And we had friends and family over for a Glee night and the verdict is in--the cake is DELICIOUS!!! Moist, tasty, and lemony!  Here are the details...

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup butter @ room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of cake flour
zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box lemon pudding

Glaze Ingredients:
3-5 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups confectioners sugar

Step by Step:
1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.

2.  Cream butter until fluffy. 

3.  Add sugar and continue to cream well with butter. 

4.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

6. Add vanilla & lemon zest & lemon juice and continue to beat until just mixed. 

7. Add baking powder and salt.

8. Add pudding mix.

9. Place batter in bundt cake pan: Bake 35 minutes.

10.  Cool in pan 2 minutes. Invert cake onto cooling rack. 

11.  Make glaze.  Mix sugar and lemon juice adding more juice for tart glaze and more sugar for sweeter/thicker glaze.

12.  Place cake on plate and glaze cake.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Like A Child In A Toy Store....

I purchased a fun new toy today!! A baking toy!  My first bundt cake pan!  I went into Macys with hopes to purchase this one made by Calphalon since all of our bakeware is made by Calphalon, but then I saw this beauty...

Meet Annie!  She has really cool silicon handles that will make removing the cake from the pan super easy!!  I'm pretty excited!! In fact, Troy had to eventually shoo me out of the bakeware section of Macys because it really is like a toy store for me!!  So many fun things that I want!  But, for today, one of the many items from my "baking wish list" can be scratched off!!  

And why did I purchase this lovely cake pan today you ask?  Well, this week I plan to venture into the unknown--making a cake from scratch!!  The plan is to make a lemon cake with lemon glaze!  I finalized my recipe this afternoon after weeks of looking at other recipes and talking to other bakers.  So stay tuned for the adventures of Annie and I! 

Also, anyone out there know much about Anolon compared to Calphalon? I played around with some of the Anolon bakeware and found it to be better quality than Calphalon.  This is my first venture with Anolon, so wondering if anyone out there knows more?  Holler at me! :-D

Way too excited over here (like, really!),

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recipe: Skillet Cookie

Today I felt like baking something quick, easy, and chocolate!  I decided to go with a skillet cookie! I had all of the ingredients in the house and it takes very minimal baking skills and effort!  So I tweaked my friend Brittany's skillet cookie recipe just a hair and here are the details and results!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

Step by Step:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, soda, and salt in small bowl to set aside. 

3. With mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix.  Add flour mixture and beat until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Put in 10 inch oven-proof skillet, pressing to flatten.  Bake until the edges brown and top is golden, about 25 minutes.  

5. Transfer to wire rack for 15-20 minutes to cool.  

6. Yummy served warm but also good cooled down.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review: His Needs Her Needs

Title:  His Needs Her Needs: Building An Affair-Proof Marriage

Author: Willard F. Harley, Jr.

Synopsis: Harley begins by explaining what he calls the "Love Bank" concept.  He explains that every person has a love bank account for each of their friends, family, co-workers, etc...  Each day, the people in our various relationships either deposit or debit (withdraw) from the love bank.  The primary relationship that the book focuses on is that between a husband and wife and how that relationship can result in deposits and debits from the love bank.

Harley believes that there are ten emotional needs that can typically, but not always, be divided into "his needs" and "her needs".  A woman's top five emotional needs include (in no specific order): (1)  affection, (2) conversation, (3) honesty and openness, (4) financial support, and (5) family commitment.   A husband's top five emotional needs include (again, in no specific order): (1) sexual fulfillment, (2) recreational companionship, (3) an attractive spouse, (4) domestic support, and (5) admiration.  Harley believes that when either spouse's emotional needs are unmet, the marriage is susceptible to divorce and/or infidelity. 

Each chapter of the book alternates between discussing his needs and her needs.  While each chapter deals with what may be considered a "his" or "her" need, Harley addresses both the husband and wife in each chapter.  Harley continues to discuss the love bank concept, explaining that when a husband or wife meets their spouses emotional needs, he or she deposits high currency into their spouse's love bank, thereby preventing someone else from meeting that emotional need as well or as much as the spouse.   Some needs, such as sexual fulfillment, are needs that can only be met by the spouse.  As such, Harley emphasizes the importance of each spouse working to identify and meet their spouses emotional needs.

Harley writes that fulfilling those needs "means preparing yourself to meet needs you may not appreciate yourself.  By learning to understand your spouse as a totally different person than you, you can begin to become an expert in meeting all that person's emotional needs."

My thoughts:  What I liked: First, I appreciated that Harley spoke to/addressed both the husband and wife in each chapter.  He did not choose to just address the husband in the "her needs" chapters and vice versa.  As such, I think a woman will be able to read the "her needs" chapters and still learn and even be able to identify things that she can do to better assist her husband in meeting the so-called "her needs."   Harley also includes questions at the conclusion of each chapter--"him" questions, "her" questions, and "consider together" questions which I think could be helpful in sparking insightful conversation!

Second, what I really enjoyed was the ever-important theme of selflessness and the give & take of the marriage relationship.   Harley begins the book by making sure that it is understood that your spouse is different from you.  Sure, you may share similarities and have tons of things in common, but men and women are different.  Men and women do, at times, have different needs.  Even if we don't realize it.  So I really enjoyed the overall discussion about being selfless enough to remember that your spouse's needs may be different from your needs.  The key is to identify his/her needs and then work to meet them without being phony, false, mechanical, etc...  I particularly enjoyed the chapters on affection, conversation, and admiration.  As for the affection & conversation chapters, I think they spoke to two of my important emotional needs and the admiration chapter was informative because Troy's PLL (primary love language) is words of affirmation!  So the admiration chapter helped me to understand even more why words of admiration meet a husband's emotional need!  (at least in my case)
Shifting gears--What I did not like/agree with: In the recreational companionship chapter, Harley goes too far in his assessment of how the need for recreational companionship  must be fulfilled.  Harley concludes that a wife should develop an interest in the recreational activities that her husband enjoys and if she cannot enjoy them, she should "encourage[] him to consider other activities that they can enjoy together."  The husband should consider giving up those activities that his wife really does not like to do.  An example he gives--giving up watching "Monday Night Football."

The rationale behind Harley's conclusion is that married couples should be each other's best friend and "playmate."  If you allow another person to become your spouse's recreational buddy, that allows someone else to deposit large amounts into your spouse's love bank and thus will make the spouse susceptible to an affair.  In the case of same-sex friendships, Harley believes a spouse should not want someone else to fill up their spouse's love bank through spending time together doing recreational activities. 

Overall, I. do. not. agree.  My primary problem with Harley's thought is that he forgets and omits the importance of same-sex friendships.  I believe that men need other men to hang out with, talk to about "men things," and occasionally enjoy certain recreational activities together.  The same is true for women.  These things do not take away from a marriage; in fact, I believe they can enhance and add to a healthy marriage.  Troy and I enjoy time spent with young married couples.  We find ourselves spending a great deal of time with our friends Eric & Sonja.  Whenever we get together there is always some point where Troy and Eric go off and talk about something and Sonja and I do the same (or we leave and go to the mall!).  It's actually never planned that way, it just happens!  The same is true even if we're with other couples.  The women break off for a while and the men do the same!     

I like shopping. A LOT.  And while I enjoy when Troy & I go shopping together (i.e. he brings along a book and says he likes pretty much everything I try on), it's a different type of shopping than when me and a friend pull a 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. shopping extravaganza!  So, should I give up my time when I spend the majority of the day with a friend doing something that, hey, just might fill up my "love bank"?  I say, Heavens no!

Troy loves talking to Aaron, one of his closest friends, about books or about any and everything related to the church & the Bible.  As long as I've known Troy, he has valued that aspect of his friendship with Aaron.  You should see the two of them when they get together! Closer than brothers! Should I now demand that that time be taken from Aaron and given to me?  I think not.  As a matter of fact, that type of selfish behavior in a marriage will give birth to resentment, lying, and anger.  Among other things!

The key that Harley omits is this nugget--All things are done in moderation!!!   What I think Harley should have addressed is the need to make sure that your time spent with your close same-sex friends does not severely outweigh and have greater significance than your time spent enjoying your spouse.  That's where problems lie.  I would definitely recommend that he consider adding more discussion about balancing relationships and ensuring that other relationships do not consume a husband or wife to the point of neglecting their spouse.  But, the tone of the book is definitely that no other relationship can be meaningful except for the husband & wife relationship.  I think that's very very sad. and wrong!

Recommend?  Despite the areas that I disagreed with Harley, I would recommend the book! But with a qualifier!  I would not recommend this book to an engaged or newly married couple.  I would, however, recommend the book to those who have been married for at least one year.  I think it helps to have marital experience before reading this book because it will allow a couple to better use this book as a tool as opposed to a potentially false guide.  Certain things that Harley writes, for example he advises a husband to make at least 15 hours a week for undivided attention for his wife, I think would freak out newlyweds or engaged couples.   While it's great to identify emotional needs, I think a book more like the Five Love Languages, which is a little more big picture, is better for an engaged or newly married couple.  I found the book insightful but I was able to draw on my experiences from the past two years in better understanding certain parts of the book and in being able to disagree with some of Harley's conclusions. 

Small note: There is a chapter entitled "How to Survive An Affair" that I did not read and therefore have no comment on.  There was no need to read that chapter!

Rating: B+

If you've read or find yourself reading His Needs Her Needs please leave a comment or email me! I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

I started this blog!!!! Happy Creation Day Blog!!!  On September 8, 2009 after much thought, I finally mustered up the courage to start a blog to share the various funnings (and sometimes non-funnings) that happen on this life journey of mine.  My initial goal was to start a blog that was random but organized & purposeful, funny but also serious at times, honest but not offensive, and at all times, a blog that was 100% M-E.   And I honestly feel I have done that.

As time went on we purchased a home and my love for home decor grew times ten!  After that, my blog posts started to talk more about things that we have done in our new home--decorating, sewing, cooking, baking, etc...  Who knows what this next year holds, but I plan to keep on blogging and I'm really enjoying every second of it!!!

To those lovely folks out there who read my blog--thank you!! ESPECIALLY if you are not related to me through family or friendship! LOL!!! I think that's really cool!! Thanks again and please continue to read and comment and stay tuned!! So many fun things ahead for First Came Love! :-)

p.s. if you're wondering why I entitled the blog First Came Love, check out the very first post!  Also, for those who read via google reader or a similar program, please remember to check out the actual blog where I have links to fun things like books I'm reading, a collection of my favorite things, receipes, home decor, and some links to pictures of my home decor inspiration!!

Thanks so much for reading---REALLY!!,

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm Charleston bound for Allison & Cody's wedding this Saturday!! I am sure I'll have fun pictures and reports when I return!!  Hope everyone has a splendid Labor Day weekend!!!  AGH!!! Allison's getting married!!!!

Bridesmaiding it,