Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{life} Family Slide Show Night

In my journey of becoming a Landrum, I have found that the family in which I grew up, and the family in which my fiance grew up, have one great thing in common: We have a very strong connection to, and desire to learn about and uphold, our heritage. In my post about a cake recipe I touched a little upon my connection with my family and our closeness. Well, Sunday night I had the honor of getting a glimpse into the past of my future family, the Landrums.

We had my fiance's mother's side of the family over to our house to watch a collection of slides that was recently found. I was able to sit and listen to my future mother-in-law go back and forth with her brothers about what they remembered of their family when they were growing up.

It was a military family. They traveled a lot, and saw/lived in many different places.  My fiance's Grandfather's plane was shot down in Vietnam. They are very proud of where they have come from.

It was an amazing evening filled with lots of great food, laughing, love, and reminiscing. I thought I would share a few shots (or a lot) of our evening together.

Friday, August 19, 2011

{food} New cake recipe

I have a white cake recipe which I got from my cooking class in high school. It has been my go-to recipe for white cake since that time. The past few times I've made it, I realized that it is a little dry, and doesn't really have the texture that I am looking for in a white cake. This week I went on a hunt around the internet to find the perfect white cake recipe. I am looking for one that produces a moist, tender, fluffy white cake. Not too sweet, and not too heavy or dry.

The one I am focusing on right now is one that I found on This recipe is actually for a "funfetti" cake. Perfect for birthdays... only, I just want a simple white cake. So I just left out the sprinkles.

photo credit:

My favorite cake in the world is white cake with homemade chocolate fudge frosting. This time, however, I wanted to put together a 4 layer cake with homemade strawberry freezer jam (made by yours truly), and cream cheese buttercream frosting.

When I started with this recipe I hadn't read through all of the instructions, so when I was getting my ingredients together I was taken aback when I saw that I was supposed to put all of my dry ingredients in the bowl first. What? If you bake often, you know that typically the sugar is placed in the bowl first with butter and shortening, and is creamed together. Then eggs are added. And then dry ingredients are mixed in alternately with milk.

So I did as I was told-- I separated the eggs and placed them in a small bowl with part of the milk, and the vanilla. I put the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, and added the butter and shortening. The result was a very thick dough, similar to a bread dough. I was trusting the recipe because I wasn't really sure what to expect, or what it was supposed to look like. 

I don't know why I was even skeptical after reading the post where I found this recipe. It sounded like a great recipe. And, once my cakes were out of the oven looking wonderful, I was excited to move on to the next step.

I've never made a layer cake with more than 2 layers. I wanted to make this one with 4 layers. After seeing my cakes after they were baked, I was a little nervous about being able to cut them in half.  Next time I may try 8-inch, or 6-inch pans to get a little more hight on the finished cake. I cut carefully and was able to get them into 4 layers with only a slight variance in thickness. 

I had read online that it was wise to pipe a border of frosting around each layer, just inside the edge, so the jam won't seep through the layer and onto the outside of the cake. I did this after I spread a third of a jar of jam on each layer. Also, it helped to use the bottom of a cake as the bottom layer, and the when I placed it's "top" I placed it upside-down. it helped keep the next layer flat. 

What remained was just to frost the cake like I would any other cake. 

Of course I IMMEDIATELY cut a piece to try. I didn't realize that my fiance was in the house with me. I was "mmm-ing" and "oooh-ing" and "oh that's good"-ing, thinking I was alone. Then from the living room I hear "it's that good, huh?"... HA! oh well. He knows how excited I get over food. When I find the perfect recipe and I can execute if perfectly, that is my reaction. 

Yes, I ate it all.

{wedding} Save-the-Dates

Well, the save-the-dates went out yesterday. They were so much fun to put together. We tried to hand out as many as we could because we wanted to wrap some of them in string, and the USPS adds $.20 extra per piece because they have to hand stamp them. In order to save a little cash, we only wrapped the ones we were handing out, which ended up being about half.
[side note- I noticed our mail person out by the mailbox picking up our stack of save-the-dates that had been strewn around the ground, so I went down to help him pick them up. Turns out, there was a black widow IN OUR MAILBOX! He said he had to reach past the spider, and through the nest to get the mail out. So if your piece makes it to your house with a little more "wear", that is why; it made it through a very traumatic experience :) ... and our mailman killed the black widow, so no worries.]

Like I noted in an earlier post, we gathered inspiration from all over the internet, but particularly The Natural Wedding Company. I loved the hand made look of hers, and definitely loved how they turned out. I loved the idea of using one piece of card stock, and addressing the outside so an envelope is not needed.

We went with a drawing that Zach did of the barn where we will be having our reception and, of course, Zach's talent of hand lettering. The result, in my opinion, is very "us", and very unique.

Thanks so much to Bellis Copy center for doing such a wonderful job with our printing. It is on the campus of Bob Jones University, but is open to the public. They have AMAZING prices for bulk printing, and they do really great work.

A very long time ago I came across this vintage home office stamp set. It came in very handy for stamping our return address on the backs of the save-the-dates.

pardon the blurring over the address :)

We folded the paper in half and used brown kraft paper tape to hold it together, and act as a wrap-around address label. We wrote the "to" address on the front and the return on the back.

We loved how they turned out. Now to get moving on the invitations!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Introducing Olde Soul Print Shop

You need to head over to Olde Soul Print Shop's blog and grab up a shirt while they're still around!!!

{life, food} Grocery Shopping and a Couple Great Website s

So this morning I'm putting together my grocery list for shopping later today. I try to be organized when I go to the grocery store, otherwise I end up with a cart full of potato chips, ice cream, and Velveeta shells and cheese. Not good.

Now, I've been using Pinterest lately and, I must add, it is very addicting. There are all sorts of ideas for inspiration in pretty much any category that you can think of. It allows you to set up boards on which you "pin" images that are attached to links. If there is something you are interested in you can pin it to your board to keep track of your ideas, and then just click on the photo and it will link you to the website containing instructions, recipe, DIY ideas, etc. Among others I have a "Crafty" board, a "For the Home" board, and "Recipes I want to try" board.

a portion of my Pinterest

While I was gathering my list for groceries this morning I decided to check my exhaustive collection of recipes I've found on the internet. I have a folder on my desktop full of links to recipes, a tab on my toolbar with links to recipe sites, and of course my Pinterest board. While searching I stumbled upon an amazing website! I wanted to share. is a site that lets you see various recipes in a photo gallery format, then leads you to the site where the recipe is held. They feature food bloggers from all over the world. We are talking hundreds and hundreds of recipes, folks! 

Here are a couple of the recipes I intend to try:

Now, I'm not sure most of these recipes are considered "healthy", but I can make changes in order to help them fit into our dietary restrictions or concerns. 
I hope that you will find this website as helpful as I have. I no longer have "writter's block" when I sit down to write my grocery list. I actually find that I'm needing to cut back on the recipes I want to try in order to stay in my budget!

Happy cooking!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

{food, health} Trying to Make Changes

I've had a lot of conversations with people lately about eating healthier. I may need to explain my definition of healthy eating. I don't mean calorie counting, nor do I mean counting fat grams. I do think these are important for someone who is in the very beginning of a healthy eating journey because it helps a person understand what they are putting into their body on a basic level.

However, I also believe we have been conditioned to think that fat and high calorie counts in our diet are automatically bad for us because we have a problem with obesity in our country. I think the problem is not necessarily only the fats and calories; Our bodies need fats, but healthy fats, and in moderation in a balanced diet. I think this problem is from a lack of education about what eating healthy really means. This need is trying to be filled, not by people eating more vegetables and local, fresh foods, but by buying pre-packaged, processed foods claiming "low calorie" or "low fat" that may have some nutritional value, but are not the best for our bodies. The problem is, especially in our country, we always want bigger, faster, more convenient, and I think our bodies are paying for it.

Eggs from free range, grain fed chickens

My explanation of eating healthy is cutting out processed foods, chemicals, and preservatives, while incorporating as much fresh, local food in my diet as possible. Mostly vegetables, but also meat from local farms, while not requiring meat as a necessity for every meal. Also, eating when we are hungry, and not only because it is "meal-time", and being aware of my portion size. (I cannot tell you how many times I've eaten an entire meal when I wasn't really hungry, simply because it was "supper time") Most of my friends hold these same views, so i've been getting a lot of advice and information from people who are keeping these habits.

Tiny tomatoes from my garden

We have begun our "healthy eating journey" with trying to cut out so much meat from our diets. We aren't going completely vegetarian ( I mean, come on-- my favorite meal in the world is good, grilled ribeye steak and mashed potatoes. Simple, I know. But how can I give that up?! maybe in time, but not yet :)), but we felt we needed to make some healthier choices. Not to mention the price of buying healthy meat (when I say healthy i mean organic, no hormones, no antibiotics, etc) is at least twice the price of other meats. I found myself slipping on my convictions about healthy meats because I couldn't afford to buy the kind. I would leave the grocery store so upset because I wasn't able to feed my family (small as it is) what I felt is best for us, all because it is just priced too high. I find that in some stores I am forced to buy things that I don't want to buy, only because the healthier option is priced too high. So, the solution? Take the need away. Replace those things with healthy options that will be more nutritious, and just as delicious!

I'm realizing that there are so many things that I have as a staple in my pantry that are not healthy for us. Cutting processed foods from our diet is the next step. When we are more conscious of what we eat,  we will begin to notice things here and there and wonder why in the world we continue to use them. There are healthier alternatives. Most of the things that I use that are processed are simply for convenience sake. Why do I feel like I NEED cream of mushroom soup and Minute Rice?! If I just take the time to make these things, they are much better tasting, and much better for me. All the preservatives and chemicals added to those types of foods are terrible for our bodies.

This week was our first week eating mostly vegetarian. I think we did pretty good! My favorite Recipe this week was Vegetarian Spinach Enchiladas (I will post this recipe another time). Now, since I am also phasing out all processed foods from my pantry, and this recipe did include a jarred enchilada sauce, I used it this time but my goal is to learn how to make a good enchilada sauce homemade.

I'm a sucker for shopping bags. I LOVED this one and couldn't pass it up!

I have a feeling this little blog about my life may end up having a lean towards eating and health and my struggles with both. I hope you will leave comments about your habits that you have found helpful, as well as the ones you are trying to leave behind.