Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

I am waiting for a batch of no-bake cookies to cool off so we can put them in a tin to go to a cook out later this evening in the old neighborhood we moved from last year. We used to host a large gathering of neighbors in our front yard in the old neighborhood every July 4th. We didn't have anything at the new house last year since we were still tired from moving in, and this year one of the old neighbors wanted us to come to their front yard...I think we will host a neighborhood cookout sometime this Fall when it is a little cooler.

Hubby and the boys just got back from the fishing contest and frog races. I love our little town! Every July 4th, they have frog races for different age categories of kids. Each kids brings a frog and the first frog that jumps outside the ring is the winner. Jeremy wanted to bring the HUGE toad that sits by our back door at night, but I was a little worried about it getting hurt, and to tell you the truth, I'd be devastated if he got lost. I really love watching him at night. He's quite comical.

I completed my passport application last night in order to be able to go to Mexico with my friend, Marita, at some point this year. I will be taking it to the post office to be witnessed and mailed off on Friday. However, I also got on the government website for traveler's advisories and was pretty freaked out how bad it sounds like Mexico has gotten! It sounds remarkably like Columbia and Nicaragua did in the 80's when drug cartels were running the country. I am going to have to give serious consideration about going. We will be with Marita's husband, Juan, and staying with his family, but the situation in Mexico sounds really bad in general. And it is not only the border towns. It seems to be affecting the whole country. Too bad she didn't marry someone who lives in Canada. That really sounds like a safer option!

I made a really awesome cream cheese pound cake last night for the get together tonight. I love cream cheese pound cakes. They are one of those simple, yet elegant dessert options that can be used in a multitude of ways. We slice ours, pile it high with sliced strawberries that have had a tablespoon of sugar added to them and allowed to sit (we use 3 tablespoons of sugar for every 4 cups of sliced strawberries, or less if the strawberries are sweet.) Basically they sit in the sugar for a couple hours which draws out some of the juices and allows a syrup to form, then we pile them on sliced poundcake and add whipped cream or cool whip. Here is the pound cake recipe:

Cream cheese Poundcake

1 (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, at room temp.
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups)unsalted butter (no substitutions) at room temp.
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temp.
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
(the grated rind of 1 lemon, orange or lime is also a great addition of you have it.)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy (5-7 minutes) with an electric mixer (I use my stand mixer, which makes this really easy).
Slowly add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla and other flavoring, lemon zests etc.

Combine flour and salt. Add to the butter mixture, beating at low speed just until flour is combined. Too much beating makes it rise out of the pan too high and become lighter. Poundcake is supposed to be dense.

Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch tube or bundt pan. Bale at 325 degree until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes--your oven may be different, so make sure to check the cake with the skewer.

Let sit in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, them loosen and invert onto a wire rack to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar before slicing or top with a powdered sugar glazed while cooling.


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