Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake, Desserts, Food, holiday, holidays

Pineapple Sheet Cake

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I had high hopes for baking one of my husband’s favorite cakes for Valentine’s Day. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is rumored to be at the top of his list. But, as fate would have it, the weather outside today is horrible and we are currently under a blizzard warning. Getting out to the grocery store to pick up maraschino cherries and pineapple rings just wasn’t going to happen today.
So, I searched through the pantry for the can of crushed pineapple that I had purchased last week and remembered my recipe for Pineapple Sheet Cake that would surely act as a close second to the highly favored upside down cake. While this cake is delightfully simple to assemble, over-mixing can make the cake a bit rubbery, so take care to use a spatula to combine all ingredients completely without over doing it. A light, homemade cream cheese frosting usually completes this cake. Today’s bake is topped with a canned version of the original. Once again, the weather conditions would hold me back and I had to settle for ingredients that I had on hand.
I nibbled a sliver of the cake just before plating it, and to my delight, it turned out wonderful. Not too bland, not too sweet…just wonderful. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Pineapple Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9″ baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mix until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until center springs back to the touch. Cool completely. Frost cake with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle chopped or ground walnuts over the frosting. Optional: Omit the frosting and lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Posted in Crafts, Gifts, holiday, holidays, Sewing

Hand Made Friendship Hearts

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Years ago, as I was rummaging through the craft section of a local area garage sale, I stumbled upon a box of beads, sequins, golden threads, and patterns. I scooped it up and asked the owner how much was needed for the treasure. To my delight, she said $1.00 would fit the bill. I gathered up a few more crafting trinkets (some sewing and embroidery supplies) along with the box of sequined treasures, paid the kind lady, and I was on my way.
Shortly after arriving home, I took out a heart shaped cookie cutter and traced several small hearts on a light gray felt square. I carefully cut the heart shapes out and stitched on enough sequins and beads to cover the entire surface of one heart shape. On another heart shaped felt piece, I secured a pin back so that eventually, my project would become a pin. I then used a tiny blanket stitch (gray thread or monofilament) to sew the two felt heart shapes, wrong sides together, leaving a small opening to stuff in a bit of batting. After closing up the opening, I would plump up the heart shape by using my fingers to evenly distribute the batting tucked inside. Voila, the pin is complete!
I then used printable business cards to create a message, printed a sheet and punched two holes in each card to secure the pin back. I used small cellophane bags to envelope the pin/card and tied a bow for a sweet finish.
I have given these pins out at weddings, for Valentine’s Day, and for Mother’s Day. They are quick and simple and require very few supplies. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Posted in Baked goods, Baking, cookies, Desserts

Valentine Shortbread Cookies

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Every year, when the swim season is at its peak and our swimmers are getting ready for the big championship meets, the girl’s team picks a secret buddy to surprise with a week’s worth of little gifts.
This week, M and I scoured the shelves of the local discount stores to find little trinkets and goodies to pack into colorful bags, each marked with an inspirational swimming quote. In the early morning hours, the girls sneak into the pool locker room and place the goodie bag in front of their “buddy’s” locker. It’s all in good fun and a welcome release from the daily grind of swimming yard after yard in the pool, during the long winter months. Yesterday, M surprised her “buddy” with a beautiful container full of Valentine Shortbread Cookies and a few other little trinkets.
These cookies are kind of over the top in the “sweets department”. The recipe includes lots of creamy butter and a load of sugar. Certainly not something you’d want to munch on everyday. But for this special occasion, and for the upcoming Valentines Day holiday, maybe this is the cookie you’d like to make and share with your sweetheart!

Valentine Shortbread Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups flour
1/4 cup Wilton sprinkles + extra for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Carefully add flour and mix well. Gently fold sprinkles into batter. Using a small ice cream scoop, form cookies and place on baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or with slightly damp fingers. Lightly pat remaining sprinkles into top of cookies. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze when cooled.

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