March Joys!

At this time of year it can become exceptionally difficult to remain joyful.  You can sense spring, but yet it is impossible to see it beyond the slowly melting snow.   It’s still icy, and where it’s not icy, it’s muddy.  I am still finding places to take the littles where they can run and play and get some of their cabin fever alleviated.  Our last outing took us to Indigo (similar to Barnes & Nobel for my American friends) Cleverly this Indigo placed the Starbucks at the very center of the store, directly adjacent to the children’s section.  So we headed there for the morning.  I had the pleasure of thoroughly enjoying a steaming hot coffee and shared a cute little flower cookie with Peach.  Little Pea ate his pink birthday cake pop while pushing trains on the Thomas Table. I actually finished my coffee while it was HOT! We finished off the visit with a new book, who’s main character shares the same name as Peach (obviously Peach is not her real name) so of course it had to come home with us.  Books is where I almost never say no – I think she knows my weakness.  Peach also chose to spend her $3 allowance, hard earned by toy cleanup and bed making, on a new pack of scratch ‘n’ sniff strawberry stickers.  It makes me reminisce about my own childhood and my own collection of smelly stickers.  I walked out with a new book on Polyculture Gardening – in hopes that in one year it will be read, and I will have some more knowledge on the art of mixing pretty plants with hardy vegetables.

Spring also tricked us in the last week, with a spike in temperature to allow for an actual day at the park.  It was still snowy, but at nearly 10 degrees, it was lovely.  Little Pea got to sport his new adorable Fox hat made by my lovely friend who runs a little etsy shoppe.  Funny enough, these warm caps are crocheted in Barbados where no child would ever really need such an article! But Lana, the owner, is talented and creative, and kindly designed a fox just for us!

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We also had the joy of celebrating my mom’s 65th Birthday! She wanted to keep it quiet, so we abide her wishes.  The only request she has had for the last few years was a banana cake.  Not bread, cake! There is a difference! I followed a recipe I found on Pinterest, but then adjusted it a lot to suit my own personal, less sweet tastes.  So here it is; Banana Cake with Peanut Butter & Honey Icing. They were amazing – and will certainly be made again!

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Recipe: (yields 12 cupcakes)

  • 1/2 package white cake mix – any variety
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Free-range happy eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup light cooking oil, like canola
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed up bananas

Directions:

Preheat oven to temperature recommended on the cake package

In a good size bowl sift together cake mix, flour & baking soda.  In a smaller bowl (with a spout is a bonus) crack eggs, and lightly beat.  Then add oil and milk and whisk together.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  I used my stand mixer for this part, but you would not necessarily need to if you’re coordinated enough.  Once everything looks consistant and there are no lumps stir in banana with a wooden spoon.

If making cupcakes, line your pan with liners. If making a cake, cut parchment to fit pans, or lightly grease. Bake as directed on the back of the mix package or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from pan onto wire rack.

Recipe for Icing: (makes enough for 12 cupcakes)

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (salted or non – either works)
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter – any brand! If using natural add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp white sugar, and make sure it’s well blended before using!
  • 2 cups icing sugar

Directions for Icing:

In a medium bowl or your stand mixer add the two butter and blend them together until fluffy.  Slowly add icing sugar until the mixture will hold a soft peak.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Scoop out the icing into a piping bag or plastic zipper bag.  If using a zipper bag, snip a small hole using pinking shears in the bottom corner to get neat swirls.  Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes or cake.

Happy Birthday Mom!

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