Sunday, February 27, 2011

I heart you Paula Dean...

I am a big fan of multitasking. Actually thats a lie, but if I didn't multitask nothing would ever get finished. Rarely am I only doing one thing at any given point, and this post will be no exception. 
We are going to try a "Girl Crush"/"What's Cook'n" mash-up featuring southern belle and butter queen Paula Deen. Admittedly I have a girl crush on Paula, but not in a tickle fight braid each others hair sort of way. No, I more picture the P-Dot and I getting all crunked up on whiskey sours and eating foods found only in the deep fried category. 
I love her big smile, her big laugh and the fact that she is a pull yourself up by your own boot straps sorta gal. That and her gravity defying hair.
So when I received the book Food Network Favorites: Recipes From Our All Star Chefs
my attention was immediately drawn to Paula's "Is it Really Better than Sex?" cake. Such a bold statement, sign me up. I tried this recipe first when we had guests over the Holidays. It was a success, although it was a homely thing, not like Paula's at all. So many wet ingredients, it kind've looked like it had previously enjoyed. I decided to give it another try this week but with a few modifications. I thought I might make it work better as a trifle sort of dish. But, first things first...


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) box French vanilla pudding, plus ingredients to prepare
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup flaked, sweetened toasted coconut

(Like I said, Paula is not afraid of a little sugar or fat God love her)

Mix the cake batter and divide into two 8" pans, cook according to package instructions.

Spread sweetened flaked coconut onto pan and brown @350 for a few minutes. Keep careful watch on it, coconut burns fast - this time took me three tries to get it right.

While cake is cooking whip up the vanilla pudding - one small change, I used two packages because I was layering, and well because more is more.

Mix your sugar (I use brown simply because thats what I have and I think it makes a richer sauce) and your can of crushed pineapple. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Break up the first cake into the bottom of a glass bowl. The beauty of my way is in the imperfection, there is no wrong way to crumble and no need to be delicate. Ladle half of the hot pineapple mixture over the crumbled cake.

 Next is the vanilla pudding layer, but first whip up 500ml of heavy cream and set aside.  Add a generous layer of pudding on top of the cake, then a nice thick layer of whipped cream on top of see where I am going with this.

Crumble the remaining cake ontop, evenly distribute the last of the pineapple sugar mix.

Add a final layer of pudding and top with the remaining whipped cream. Bedazzle with your toasted coconut and shazam - Better than Sex in a Bowl.

Of the men surveyed at the table all agreed that the cake was awesome, but not better than sex. The women really really liked the cake. Paula if you ever read this I hope you like the modifications, and I will keep a bottle of bourbon on hand just in casies...xo

Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Country Weekend...

I meant for this post to happen Monday, but along came Valentine's Day hogging all the spotlight and well, it got shoved back a few days.
This past weekend was a busy one. It started on Friday with me getting - finally - my G1. I always meant to get it, I even bought a few cars thinking that would get me off my behind to do it. I obviously underestimated the tenacity of my behind. It took a move to the country to finally force the issue. I have been feeling a little stuck since our move out here, and I hate relying on others. So, I got my beginners and a year from now I should be bombing down a highway near you. Duck.

Next up was the opening of Judeful's Vagabond Cabaret here in Orono. Miss Jude sells treasures of all kinds. Clothing, jewellery, hand crafted wonders from local artists - and great coffee. She officially opened in November, but wanted to have a celebration close to Valentine's Day. 

Some shots of her wares...

Big sexy dresser by Dawson of Backshed Design (soon there will be a similar looking Big Sexy Linen Cupboard in my bathroon - woohoo!). Cutie patootie needlepoint by Alessia Churcher of Vintage Ramble and Six Dollars. Lola, the cutest dog ever, and cupcakes by yours truly.  The cream cheese icing was a big hit. I have been asked to post the recipe, which is quite possibly the easiest thing ever to make (hard to go wrong with sugar and butter). I alter this recipe slightly by adding a drop or two of lemon extract - compliments the double chocolate nicely.

Next up - Tattoo Saturday. Both my husband and I have work done by Pete Commanda, who was kind enough to make a rather far away house call. Pete has been working on various pieces on my person for almost two years. Someday, fingers crossed, I will be all coloured in. This time he worked on my field of poppies. It hurt, but luckily I had my old friend champagne in the jump seat assisting.

We finished up the weekend with a visit to our two new nieces Hannah and Harlow. Yup, my sister Jenna had twins too. We really are a multi-tasking type of family. These lovelies arrived a month ago and they are absolutely delightful! Makes me (almost) miss this age. Luckily I have a vivid memory bank and the first three months with Georgia and Shepard is still strong. Jen and Drew are handling it like champs (with a little help from my Mama). 
Go team Riordan Fowlie!

Miss Hannah...

Miss Harlow...


This weekend I am back in the city and may even throw on a pair of roller skates for the first time since October. Duck. xo

Monday, February 14, 2011

I heart Love...

Happy Valentine's Day friends. I know, I know...Valentine's Day is a holiday exploited by the greeting card and floral companies. One that preys on peoples guilt and makes us all buy stuff we don't need. High pressure love.
Blah, blah, blah...big fat whatever.
I love it. I love it all. The sappy cards, over priced flowers, foil wrapped chocolate hearts - that Lord knows no one needs to gobble so soon after the season of gluttony that is Christmas. All things shades of pink and red. Loooooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeee it.
This being said, I see no reason why you can't have fun with it. I am a smattering of romantic, sprinkled over a large heaping bowl of cynic. Once, when playing a "what kind of animal are you" game at a restaurant I worked at, I was referred to as a "porcupine filled with jam"...prickly outside, gooey centre. Best description of me to date. 
So, when a holiday like Valentine's Day comes around, I try to please both sides. 

Firstly - vintage Valentines from my Mama...xo

Next up a brilliant Valentine I bought for my hubby from owlyshadowpuppets. An amazing shop on Etsy that specializes in the most intricate shadow puppets and fancy cutout items. Not only was the Valentine itself grand, it came in the cutest velum bag. In the package were two tiny shadow puppet pieces, thrown in just for funsies - delightful! Go check this store out - totally worth your while.

Along with this I gave Paul a poster designed by moi. Now, I cannot take all the credit...a friend came up with the sentiment itself and graciously passed it on to me. I just purdied it up. And before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I have no real desire to punch my husband, and we certainly made it through today teeth intact. But as many of you know - and if you don't you should - marriage is a complex thing. Your eyes may light up when the love of your life walks in a room, and literally minutes later you are thinking "Dear Lord would I love to hit you hard with a Nerf bat". Right? Right? C'mon...I know it's not just me. 
Passion, it keeps a marriage fresh. Luckily I have a husband who appreciates design, and has a great sense of humour, he loved both my choices.

Lastly, a Valentine's song by the Black Keys for everyone to enjoy. This song is a favourite this week, and I send it out to my betterish half Pauly. I love your face. xo

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getter did...

We are in the home stretch of renovations out here in Orono. There are now walls, almost all of the ceilings and even lighting. There has been an amazing amount accomplished in three months, but a bare bulb just does not get any prettier over time so the push is on this week and next to finish any major projects. The loft overlooking the kitchen, a shower (three months of baths only is beginning to wear a bit). There are a few I type this I cannot feel any of my fingers and am one shiver away from starting a hobo's trash can fire beside me as I work. Perhaps figuring out a better heating system in my studio is also in order. 
Then, its all lipstick and rouge stuff, cake as it were.
It has been awhile since I posted pics of what we are doing, so I thought I would give you a little sneak peek at some of my favourite things in the house so far.

A bedroom door (finally!), the lovely claw foot tub I chose over a walk-in closet for my bedroom, gorgeous art from All The Luck In The World, my studio door, vintage coat rack from Russia, Zen jewellery holder, the beautiful view out my bedroom window, lovely chair from Judeful's Vagabond Cabaret, Brad and Dawson from Backshed Design putting up the most gorgeous "supporting" beam in the dining room...yes men wielding axes and chainsaws is how we roll out here, reclaimed tin ceiling for the dining room, and finally a new ceiling for the kitchen/loft area.

I will do another picture update in a few weeks. Hopefully I will be thawed out and surveying my kingdom from a fully finished loft space. xo