Zucchini Orange Bundt Cake

This past week I had a big step in my PhD career, my thesis proposal.  For a portion of the proposal I had a closed door session with my committee members ( PhDs and MDs that are selected to judge me on my progress).  It is customary to bring a snack for them.  I chose to go with this zucchini orange bundt cake from martha stewart.  It turned out wonderfully.. and I passed with flying colors =) .. thank you zucchini cake


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom 
Coarse salt
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 pinches of ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 6-cup Bundt pan (surlatable.com) with butter, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt.
2. Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then squeeze dry in a clean kitchen towel or press in a ricer. (You will need 2 1/2 cups.)
3.Stir together eggs and sugar, then stir in melted butter, zucchini, and orange zest and juice. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (cake will rise quite a bit over the top of the pan but should not run over). Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges of cake to loosen, and turn out onto wire rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
5.  for the glaze whisk together sugar and cardamom. Whisk in orange zest and juice, and whisk until mixture has the consistency of thick honey. If mixture is too thick, whisk in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
6. pour orange glaze evenly over cake, and let set before serving 

Crock Pot Chile Verde

Rich and I are from California.. which means most of our favorite food is Mexican.  The South does not know how to make Mexican food, so we have to do it ourselves.  One of Rich's fave dishes is Chile Verde.  Its slow cooked pork in a green sauce.  There was something like this on a menu at a restaurant here.. and it was basically pork chunks with green sauce on top.. not really the right thing.  So I went searching for a recipe that I could do in my crockpot. After many different types of recipes I devised my own.  Rich loved it!  Here is what we came up with..

Crock Pot Chile Verde
3-4lbs Pork Butt roast
1 26oz Can Tamatillos drained
2 Jalapenos
hand full Cilantro
1 onion diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a blender or food processor blend tamatillos, jalapenios and cilantro until it is thin and not chunky
2. Cut pork into 2 inch chunks trimming fat as you go
3. add pork, sauce and rest of ingredients to the crock pot and stir
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  It will be done in 6, and the pork will hold its shape, if you want to have more shredded pork consistency go for longer like 8. I stopped at 6 hours, opened the lid and cooked down the sauce a bit for about 30 min at the end.

Ideas for serving it... make a breakfast burrito with it, make huevos ranchers with it, serve it over rice, rich likes to put it over fries

Confetti Cookies / Funfetti Cookies

Have you guys seen all of the new rage on the recipe boards?  Using birthday cake mix for unusuall things like truffles, rice crispies and pancakes?  Well we were invited to an improptu multiple birthday party this weekend and so I decided to go the easy route and try out cookies using cake mix.  It only has 3 ingredients  (cake mix, oil, and eggs)  my recipe has 4 because i was unhappy with the sprinkle ammount and used more.  I would say I am not a fan of box mixes.. I think they are too sweet and I just love makeing things from scratch.  I know that the cake mix is a taste of childhood for some people so I decided to go for this.  Well they were beautiful, soft cookies.. but as suspected, way too sweet for my taste.  I think these would be wonderful for school birthday parties though, where the kids love sweet things. Also, you can try with other flavor cake mix, like devils food or red velvet!

Recipe Modified from Here.


(18.9-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Funfetti® Cake Mix
cup oil

1/2 c  Rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl mix cake mix with oil and eggs until just combined.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the sprinkles in the dough and fold in
3. Scoop one inch balls onto parchment lined cookie sheets, roll the tops in the left over sprinkles and place on cookie sheets.  using the bottom of a glass, press the balls down until they are 1/4 inch thick
4. bake for 6-8 min, then cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely 

Jonathan Adler Dining Room on a Budget

Jonathan Adler is by far my favorite designer.. he has happy, colorful designs.  And lets not forget about his Malibu Barbie house that he did.. Love.  Well this summer I was sort of getting stir crazy in my house.  This is our 4th year in this house and I needed a change.. so instead of moving I started redecorating, room by room.  I started with the dinning room and I am sooooo proud of it.  I used a Jonathan Adler dining room as inspiration.

So here is what we did
1. Painted our existing table Knights Armor Grey and our existing chairs with yellow spray paint and covered them with white seat covers
2. Ordered a chevron rug from ebay
3. Got turquoise curtains from pier one
4. Got a turquoise vase from home goods
5. Made a canvas piece from this tutorial
6. Got a book shelf for my cookbooks and set up an entry way display including a knock of jonathan adler book ends set that I found at Homegoods for 5 bucks.

Here are the finished pictures!

 Do you see the dog bookends?? the Jonathan Adler ones are 30-40bucks and I got these ones for 5bucks!

 Here is a view from the hallway

This is a view from the kitchen

Vase Filler DIY

So I found this awesome apothecary jar at homegoods for super cheep.  I have been looking for one under 30 bucks for a while, so when I spotted this one, I knocked the old lady that was eyeing it out of the way and grabbed it.  But then I looked all around for an appropriate filler and couldn't find one that I liked.  I loved the idea of colorful candy, but on second thought we live in the south where it is humid and I just saw it getting sticky and runny overtime.  Also there is always the worry if it got knocked over then the dogs would get to them before we could and get sick... So I went home with a new jar and no filler.  After some google searching I came across the idea of using dried beans and dyeing them.  Well they turned out awesome.

So here is what I did.  I took a bag of great norther white beans and divided them in half into two ziplock bags.  I took gel food coloring and added sunshine yellow to one bag and sky blue to one bag.  I only added as much as I could scoop out with one toothpick, which isnt much.  Then I shook the bags until the beans were covered.  Then I layed them out on cookie sheets and rubbed them with paper towels to get the extra dye off. Then added them to the jar with some black beans that I bought.. I am soooo happy with the outcome and it matches perfectly with my dinning room!