June 22, 2016

Lemon Crumble Cream Cake

There are a million reasons I love this cake. First, it’s super easy (even though it looks totally complicated and fussy) because you use a box cake mix. Side note – if you have a simple white cake recipe that you love, you just go ahead and rock that sucker out.

Wait, I have to tell you a funny story real quick about cake mixes. Well, it’s more mean than funny but I have to laugh at the wicked comments I get on my recipes or I’d go nutters and have to move into my parent’s garage. I just recently got this on one of my shortcut cake recipes, “I cant believe yall from the south and you use box cake mix… some southern bells yall are. No southern home kitchen should ever allow boxed cake in it!”

OK, lady. What you gonna do? Take away my card?

Anyway! Back to the million reasons I love this cake! Like I said, it’s super easy and...
  • It totally looks like something from a fancy-pants bakery.
  • It has just the right amount of fresh, crisp, lemon zing.
  • It’s AH MAZE ING with a hot cup of coffee or tea so if you’re having company, this would be a perfect after-dinner dessert.
  • If you want to WIN the potluck or just outdo your sister-in-law, this is your recipe.
  • It’s got this coffee cake thing going on with the crumb topping so that’s just awesome.
  • The lemon cream filling is so absolutely perfect you could just go sit on the couch and eat the whole batch with a rubber spatula.
  • The contrasts of the firm crumb topping, tender cake and creamy filling is like a party in your mouth.
Lemon Crumble Cream Cake with a crumb topping dusted with powdered sugar, tender cake and lemon cream filling.

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June 7, 2016

“Bully Spectators” in Youth Baseball

No, this doesn’t have anything to with food or recipes but something’s been weighing on my mind so I want to talk about it. And maybe (just maybe? hopefully?) spark a conversation that might affect change.

My son is a 9-year old baseball player. Watching him and his teammates play ball over the years has brought me more joy than I ever would have expected. We’re five years in and I still feel disappointed when practice is rained out. We play rec ball in the spring and travel ball in the fall (for now).

Last year he made the all-star team (AA coach pitch) and my love for baseball was fully cemented. I don’t know what we ever did to deserve the stroke of luck that threw us together with the team we were on, but last summer marks the best season of my life as a parent. The boys won their sub-district championship, won their district championship and we went on to the state championship.

"I don’t know what we ever did to deserve the stroke of luck that threw us together with the team we were on, but last summer marks the best season of my life as a parent."

We (the kids, coaches, spouses, families, friends and everyone else who came along on our journey) had something special. We won and we won and we won some more and it was because the boys loved their coaches and they loved them back. Parents didn’t squabble or politic and no one expected special treatment. The day we got put out of State (finished 4th I think) I cried and cried like a big dumb baby because I just wasn’t ready for the magical experience to end.

I tell you all that to give reference to the thing I want to talk about. My boy managed to make this year’s all-star team as well (AAA minors) and we’re super excited and proud. We begin tournament play in less than two weeks and I just about can’t contain my excitement!

But there’s one thing gnawing at me. I am absolutely dreading encountering what I call the “bully spectators”. These are the fans (usually parents – scratch that – usually mothers) who heckle and harass the children on the opposing team.

“Bully Spectators” in Youth Baseball - a baseball mom's take on the growing phenomenon

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May 23, 2016

Mandy’s Mojitos

If you ever come over to my house you’ll notice I have mint planted everywhere. Seriously… I have it mixed in with almost all my potted plants and flower beds outside and this recipe is the reason why!

Instead of just mixing (and mixing and mixing) grainy sugar into these mojitos like the traditional recipes call for, you make a quick and easy simple syrup then let the fresh mint leaves steep in the syrup. Not only do you eliminate the grainy sugar, you get so much more mint flavor than you get from just muddling the mint.

Sometimes I make the syrup in big batches then freeze it in half-pint plastic containers to use whenever I want. Also? It is AH MAZE ING in iced tea!

Mandy's Mojitos! Whip up a pitcher with easy mint simple syrup (seriously, it's crazy easy), fresh lime juice, rum or tequila and lemon-lime or club soda.

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