Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Italian Cream Cake





My sweet friend Tamiel shared with us her Italian Cream Cake recipe with me for our first Christmas here in Dallas and now it's been a tradition ever since.

And now, I am sharing it with you! It is soft as silk and I am sure it could be award winning! (wish I had time all year long to make it!)

Trust Me You Will Want to Make This Cake For Christmas!!!

Thank you Tamiel!  
BTW we adore your beautiful family and miss seeing your smiling faces at church every Sunday!


Wishing You all a Merry Christmas!!

Love the Moore's


Ingredients:


1 cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup Coconut
3 teaspoons Vanilla
5 whole eggs, separated
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 stick Butter

Frosting: 2 packages of cream cheese frosting 
1 cup chopped Walnuts
1 cup Sweetned Flaked Coconut

or homemake frosting: 
2 packages (8oz) Cream Cheese
1 stick Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 package 2 lb Powdered Sugar

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix until light and fluffy.

Stir in chopped walnuts and sugared coconut to frosting. Spread between layers and top cake.




Instructions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 round cake pans.


Step 1

Separate Egg Whites and whip until stiff.
Then set aside until end of recipe.






Step 2

Mix together butter, oil, sugar, yellow egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut in one bowl.
In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder.





Step 3

Mix Dry ingredients with buttermilk. Then mix dry ingredients to wet ingredients. 




Step 4 

Fold in egg whites.





Step 5


Bake for  20-25 min. or until you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and cool for 15 min. Then remove cakes from pans.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

OUR DIVINE CALLING


Something I have come to learn over time is that we all have a purpose and a divine calling-our calling is not just for own growth but for the service of others.

 Our greatest desires are clues to what our calling is. 

Often we can see that our desires are rooted at it's core in improving what exists or creating something completely new for the betterment of others. This quote embodies my belief of our divine callings. 



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gluten Free Aloha Cake




 My house smells like a tropical beach with the scent of warm coconut coming from my kitchen!

 Who needs a Bath and Body Works candle when you can just make this cake!!!


This recipe comes from my long time friend Sesha, who lived in Hawaii for over eight years. She explains that Aloha Cake it is at every party, and church function and that is how she came to discover the super moist cake. Since learning she has Celiac disease, Sesha has learned how to modify the traditional recipe, but not sacrifice the taste (cake is more dense in texture but still fluffy). When her family misses Hawaii she will make Aloha Cake. 
I'm so glad she shared her island recipe with our family-hope you enjoy it too!







INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg. of Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix        ( I use Target's Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Mix)
4 tsp. Imitation Coconut Extract                     ( McCormick Imitation Coconut extract is Gluten Free)
1 pkg. (3 1/2 oz) Instant Vanilla Pudding mix              (Jello brand is Gluten Free)
1 can (20 oz.) Crushed Pineapple-do not drain.
1 pkg. of Gluten Free Coconut flakes                 ( I used Target's Let's Do Organic Brand)
1 tub of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting               (I use this brand because it's Gluten free)


*Note on buying ingredients; I bought all of my GF foods from my local Target Super Store in one trip.






DIRECTIONS:


1. Prepare Cake mix as packet says, except use the juice from crushed pineapple instead of water-along with the crushed pineapple. 


2. Add Vanilla Pudding, plus the use 3 teaspoons of the Coconut extract-saving 1 teaspoon for frosting.


3. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until cooked completely. 


4. Top with Vanilla icing and sprinkle coconut flakes or you can do the traditional way: Prepare pudding mix as directed on package, stirring in 1 teaspoon of Extract. Spread pineapple and pudding over cake and frost with whipped topping.



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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guest Bedroom Makeover Stage 1


We are going to be home for the holidays and expecting LOTS of guests! So it's time to finally get furniture and invest in decor for the guest room.

Where to start? I went online to Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Pinterest for some inspiration...


The Inspiration Room
Restoration Hardware Design Bedroom

What I love: 
The curvy bed 
The matching washed out nightstands
The Natural Rug
The desk lamps
The linen X benches





The Bare Guest Room Before




The Bed

I decided to start with the rug and bed-since those are the largest and the central pieces to the room. The inspiration room has a neutral headboard with decorative arches and curves. I love the drama of the inspiration headboard but didn't want to pay Restoration Hardware prices, so I shopped around until I found this Tribecca Home Esmeral Beige Linen headboard from Overstock.com {$549}. I have never shopped at Overstock before.....So I was a bit nervous about the quality. Will the headboard  look as nice as the pictures portray? It was hard to wait for the shipment! 






YAY...The boxes arrived today after only one week via UPS!






Once my hubby got home from work, we got started putting the bed together. I held my breath as we cut the box open because I didn't know what quality or true color the bed was going to be. I was in for a GOOD surprise!  It was gorgeous! The pictures actually didn't do it justice.







The bed all put together..took about an hour.





The Rug


I had bought this 8x 10 chunky wool  & jute rug a few years back from Pottery Barn.  In the past it was in my living room-but it is way better suited for the guest bedroom because of how soft it is. (Just an FYI it does some "shedding" and I have to vacuum the fuzz once in a while.)




Now it's time to shop for a plush mattress and bedding.



I have a couple ideas on the duvet cover:


Either A.) Pottery Barn Samantha in Gray 






B.) Pottery Barn Lucianna in Gray



Which one would you choose?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What I'm Reading | When We Talk About God

I'll be honest...I never heard of Rob Bell until I saw a preview of Super Soul Sunday's teaser of Oprah's interview with him that will air next Sunday. 

To Read an Excerpt {Click Here}

Two things perked my interest in him-



First, his open love for our gay brothers and sisters.

"I think the ship has sailed and I think that the church needs to just … this is the world that we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are," Bell said in March.
 "I believe God [is] pulling us ahead into greater and greater affirmation and acceptance of our gay brothers and sisters and pastors and friends and neighbors and coworkers." Previously, Bell had also stated that he was "for marriage ... for fidelity ... for love" whether it was with homosexual or heterosexual relationships.
As a member of a Christian church that does not endorse same sex marriage, I find myself in search for where I fit within it, since my heart does not match my church's doctrine. I love the title of Bell's book, "Love Wins" because that is what I feel it all boils down to...Love wins everytime, and Love Never Fails.


Second, his belief that we are all wired for the mysterious.


 ".....It's not crazy to acknowledge that there's a God," Bell says. "It may actually be the rational move, is simply to say, 'I've come to the end of my own logical powers and acknowledge there's too much that's beyond what we can sort through using these little brains that we have.'
"And for 300 years the water we've been swimming in, that we've been handed by the enlightenment tradition -- which has brought us medicines and hospitals and all sorts of wonderful things -- has also brought us, ultimately, if you cannot explain it ... I don't know. And yet we're fascinated as humans. We're wired for the mysterious. We love it. We're drawn to it. You can't stifle it."



So I downloaded one of his book's titled, What We Talk About When When We Talk About God.  While there maybe controversial theology in the mix I was open to reading it and I found a few amazing gems that I share below...


1 Corinthians 13:8 by Dennis Asare


 I  Read About God's Love 


Simple, yet really reaffirming-God is for us. He goes further to say he is for us, with us and pulling for us, that is really the main point and theme of the book. Every chapter is set up to point to that message.

“When I talk about the God who is with us, for us, and ahead of us, I'm talking about our facing that which most terrifies us about ourselves, embracing it and fearing it no longer, refusing to allow it to exist separate from the rest of our being, resting assured that we are loved and we belong and we are going to be just fine.” 

One of my favorite points that Rob Bell makes it that you do not have to wait to be worthy, perfect to have God on your side, he states:

"Gospel is the shocking, provocative, revolutionary, subversive, counter intuitive good news that in your moments of greatest despair, failure, sin, weakness, losing, failing, frustration, inability, helplessness, wandering, and falling short, God meets you there — right there — right exactly there — in that place, and announces, I am on your side.(135-136)"


 I Read About The Reason For Faith

Everything is Spiritual, he describes in the book the evolutionary story of creation, mixing a dense but clear explication of the scientific origins of the universe, all framed within a wider worldview that humans, by nature, are spiritual—there is nothing humans do that is not spiritual.
“Take faith, for example. For many people in our world, the opposite of faith is doubt. The goal, then, within this understanding, is to eliminate doubt. But faith and doubt aren't opposites. Doubt is often a sign that your faith has a pulse, that it's alive and well and exploring and searching. Faith and doubt aren't opposites, they are, it turns out, excellent dance partners.”
 Now that secularism is the consensus, Bell turns the tables and casts the scientific skeptic as the closed-minded logician who fails to leave room for the mysterious, the mystical, and the soulAccording to Rob Bell, everyone is a “person of faith,” even skeptics. The question is not if we have beliefs but what those beliefs are.

While I am not a believer in all the theology he believes in- I learned some new and mind expanding facts about science and energy and how spirit can fit into science.


Have you read What We Talk About When We Talk About God? What are your thoughts about the book?


Thursday, October 31, 2013

ORC #5 | Monogram Wall

We are in the final weeks of the Linda's One Room Challenge  from Calling It Home and I'm still in!

I am glad I picked my living room as my challenge room because it will feel more cozy for the holidays. 

It was a bit rough for me though this week.....  had been down with the flu earlier this week. The silver lining is that I had LOTS of time to watch TV while I recovered. So I caught up on my favorite couple-Bill and Giuliana Rancic by watching their reality show....when I saw a screen shot of their living room monogram B&G on their wall! I was inspired! 
Finally I knew what to do with my little corner in my living room!


The Inspiration

Bill & Giulianna's home is absolutely gorgeous and you can {Tour Their Home }.
I could just move right in..

Source / eonline





Source / eonline

The Letters 

I had remembered seeing the letters at Restoration Hardware and at Hobby Lobby before...so I made a quick trip first to Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby had them on SALE for half off the $10 regular price tag! So the 3 letters only cost me a total of $15 dollars.

My initials are going first..otherwise it's S & M...haha.






Here is my little corner with the monogram.






It's simple...but I really like it!





Next Up On The Design Plan...

My plans are to add a reading chair to that corner with a lamp and accent table.



I will order the chair this week that is something like this:



Another goal this week was to cover the purple pillows. I had been eye'in these Linen Pottery Barn pillow covers and picked one up at the store just to see how it would go against my sofa.....



It was almost the same color...so fail.
Onward to other options.


Thanks to the challenge I now have only a few things left to make the room complete:

reading chair
rug 8x10 (break up the beige)
floor lamp
new throw pillows
accent table


I am excited now to take a peak at everyone's rooms that are doing the challenge! Click the box below and it will take you to the tour. 


P.S with being sick this week, I ordered for the first time online through Overstock.com a bed for my guest bedroom..(nervous, but such a good deal on the Tribecca Linen Bed)......which leads me to ask
What is your favorite online store for home goods/decor?



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

HOMEMADE GROUT + TILE CLEANER

I can't help but see all the pins on Pinterest of homemade cleaners, claiming to be the best solutions to your biggest stains and household problems and not want to try them-but which one???





While shopping in the cleaning department this was the first  recipe online that pulled up on my iPhone-it is by food.com  and I was sold to try it by this review alone:


"A MILLION STARS - This is AWESOME! We are renting a house with old yucky kitchen tile. Throw in 2 yrs of living here with 3 kids and yucky grout!! I had tried a ton of products including an entire can of Scrubbing bubbles on just the grout and nothing even made a tiny dent. Now I have gone from black to white grout!!!!"


....and here is my test run, review + results!





The Ingredients

Ammonia
White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Warm Water

A 9 cup+ container for the solution or a spray bottle. A funnel is helpful too to apply solution, or you can mop solution on floors.










The Steps & Recipe





Place 1/4 cup White Vinegar in container.









Place 1/2 cup of Baking Soda in container.







Place 1/3 cup of ammonia in container....honestly-smells not so amazing.


Next add 7 Cups of Warm Water to your container and mix it up. 




The Problem


There are 2 grout problems in my house: stains by my dishwasher from liquids that spilled over the sides of the dishwasher door on accident, and bathroom grout stains from the bathroom when spills or squirts of toothpaste somehow 
stain the grout on the floor? I have kids...

( there is no way to make dirt look pretty in pictures-so no judgement.)



Ok....the tile is finally dry so I can see what the results are.


WOW.

The only downside to the cleaner, I would say is the smell. It isn't overwhelming, though. Also note with ammonia-do not mix it with bleach

Let me know what your results are! Comment below.




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