Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

My Photo
Location: MA, United States

Find me at, and

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, with Brunch, links, and a Recipe!

*12/26/09: This post was supposed to go live on Christmas Eve, but I'm apparently technologically challenged, and effed it up. Sorry...

It's a Smitten Christmas brunch I'm planning this year. My parents are coming over, opening gifts with Felix, and brunching. We'll be roasting a beef loin the size of a Yule log to feed everyone when my in laws join us for dinner. Yahoo!

We're having this strata, these scones, this fruit salad, my Mom's sour cream coffee cake (see below), bacon, mimosas, and bloody marys. I heard a rumor about chocolate dipped strawberries, too. Mmmmm....

Merry Christmas too All, and here's the coffee cake recipe, as a little holiday gift:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
adapted from the Worcester Art Museum Cookbook

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temp.
1/4 t. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 c. sour cream
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda

for the topping:
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional**)

Grease a tube (or bundt, or angel food) pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Cream sugars and butter together in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping as you go. Add sour cream and dry ingredients; beat until very smooth.

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour half the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with half the topping, doing your best to keep it centered in the pan, so as to form a channel of filling in the final cake. Spoon the remaining batter over top, and finish with the rest of the topping, which doesn't need to be quite as tidy.

Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

**(Mark prefers pecans, but walnuts would also be acceptable. Me, I leave 'em out.)

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gluten & Refined Sugar Free, Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

I know, right? I'm a devotee of eggs and butter, and good, old fashioned all purpose flour. But I have a family with some allergy issues, so I'm testing this recipe to see how it flies. I came across it here, but it originates from there.

I stocked up at Whole Foods Market to get all the stuff required - and what a list! - and now here I sit, waiting patiently for the oven timer to tell me they're done. Here's what I've learned so far:
  • Coconut "oil" actually looks and behaves more like shortening, straight out of the jar (but oh, it smells like a good vacation!). The hot coffee added last basically melts the lump of coconut oil so it can be mixed into the batter.
  • Vegan kids don't lick this batter bowl. Eeew. This batter was bitter!

I have high hopes, though. Ovens have their own magic, and I firmly believe in the alchemy that happens in my 350 degree Fahrenheit Maytag. Especially when the wafting aromas include coconut and chocolate. Yum!

::thumb twiddling and elevator music::

And out they come from the oven, springy and risen, and smelling lovely. I hate that I really ought to wait to taste them until they're cool. Bah. Humbug.

::typing and blogging and editing photographs::

I waited the whole initial 20 minutes. You're s'posed to wait to they're cool, but I'm not frosting this batch right now, as my WFM was right out of coconut flour the other day. Then curiosity killed the cupcake, and I ate it.

It was good. Not what my mouth was expecting, but by the end of the cupcake, we'd discovered each other, and an appreciation was growing. I think I'll save these for vegan occasions, but it's nice to have some workable options in my repertoire.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Felix and the Snow: A video