Ina Garten’s Carrot and Pineapple Cake


This is my go-to recipe for Carrot Cake.  It’s Ina Garten’s recipe and I usually leave out the raisins and walnuts since most people I know don’t like those ingredients.  It’s a wonderful carrot cake recipe that is moist and tasty!  

Carrot and Pineapple Cake
recipe from Ina Garten
Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Ingredients for the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
Directions:
Preheat over to 350.
LINE the bottom of 2 round cake pans with parchment paper, and then grease and flour the pans.  
Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together with a stand mixer until light yellow, and add the vanilla.  In another bowl mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until blended.  If you are using the raisins and walnuts, toss with 1 tablespoon of flour before adding to the batter.  Fold in the carrots and pineapple and mix well.
Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.  I usually stick my layers in the freezer to make frosting easier!  
Cream Cheese Frosting:

mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost your cake and ENJOY!

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New Camera

Landon and I gave each other (ok really more for me) a camera for Christmas this year.  I have been wanting a DSLR for about a year now and am super excited to learn how to take better photos with it.  I purchased a Canon T3 from Amazon – they have a fantastic deal right now here. It is very basic, but perfect for what I need it for!  
UPS dropped our package off at 9 p.m. and these were some of the first shots I took with the camera.  I just couldn’t wait for the girls to wake up the following morning for a little “photo shoot”!  Many of you asked how I have learned some of the different techniques such as “bokeh”.  I have been searching articles online and pinning to my Photography Board on Pinterest.  You can follow my board and we can all learn together!!!!
Here are my sweet girls the next morning on a cloudy and chilly day!  We had such a good time, even if Lauren wasn’t in the picture-taking mood!  

Over the weekend we took the girls out to take a few more pictures.  I Love how sweet Brooke looks holding the picture frame. 
This is one of my favorite photos so far!  This is sweet Lauren in front of (about 8 feet) our Christmas tree.  I love the “bokeh” in the background, but most of all I love her sweet face and those dark brown eyes. 
I have been working on the layout/appearance of the blog the last few days.  A big thanks to my friend emily for helping fix my template and creating the pages up top.  I have a tab designated for recipes, and my plan is to move all the recipes from This Hungry Mama over here so I won’t have to keep track of both blogs.  πŸ™‚

12 days of giving

We are halfway through our 12 days of giving!  The girls and I have really enjoyed finding creative ways to give to other people this Christmas.  God has given us SO many blessings and I want to teach the girls how to be a blessing to others.  It’s a tradition I hope to continue every Christmas.  You can read about what we did last year here.   My hope is that this post will inspire you to give outside of your “comfort zone” and to be a blessing to someone around you!  I can guarantee it will make them smile!!!  
day 1 – lily & lauren stuffed the mailbox with puppy chow for our favorite mail lady.

day 2 – we got a little snack basket together for a local owasso policeman.  they are all posted at different intersections around our shopping areas during the weekends, so it was easy to find someone who needed a snack!

day 3 – brooke gave these sweet socks to a special little baby.

day 4 – we bought lunch for the car behind us in the drive-thru.

day 5 – ups comes to our door at least 3 times a week thanks to thirty-one & amazon.  we left some cookies on the porch for him!

day 6 – excited to take these donuts to the church office staff this morning before school!

Lily & Lauren Update

I can’t believe it.  December 10th marked Lily & Lauren’s half birthday making them TWO & A HALF!  Wow – I can’t believe it – I still try to rock them to sleep and call them babies but they are growing SO quickly.  I’m so thankful for them and believe it or not, I am STILL in awe every time I think about the fact that they are twins.  It’s amazing to see them growing up together.  They have their own little personalities but are always looking out for one another (and Brooke!).  
 Lauren is always VERY affectionate to Lily and gives out kisses and hugs freely!  Landon and I gave each other a camera last week for Christmas.  I a SO excited to have something to capture these special moments.  

Lily loves her baby – she doesn’t leave home without her.  She loves boots, meat, singing, playing the guitar and dancing.  She is very loving and my favorite thing that she does is when she wraps her arms around me and plays with the back of my neck.  

Lauren is a little more on the crazy side.  She follows Brooke wherever she goes and that little dimple on her left cheek makes her look even more mischievous than she already is.  πŸ™‚  She loves shoes, carbs, singing, jumping on the bed and spanking her own bottom.  ha ha.
So BLESSED.

Peppermint M&M Cookies

I love Christmas.  I love Cookies.  I love Christmas Cookies.  
I just took my favorite chocolate chip cookies and added some crushed peppermint and mini m&m’s.  Now to find a cookie exchange to go to….. πŸ™‚
Peppermint m&m Cookies
Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablesppoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
1 cup m&m’s
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. 
Mix the butter and sugars until through thoroughly combined.  Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined.  Stir in the crushed candy and m&m’s.  
Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball.  Holding the dough ball in both hands, pull apart into two equal halves.  Place the dough balls with the jagged surfaces facing up leaving ample room between each ball.  (this will give it that bumpy bakery look!).  Bake until the cookies are light golden brown and the centers are still soft and puffy, between 11 and 14 minutes.

All them to cool on the sheets for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack.  ENJOY!

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