Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mom's Fresh Pear Cake

At the end of each summer. we usually pick pears from MawMaw's J's tree. In the past, the limbs have been so loaded down with pears that they crack in half or are hanging down like the arms of an octopus (are those called arms??).  Either way, this week we ventured out to her yard and this is what we found....
 Not exactly brimming with fruit as in years past...

 There were a few clusters here and there, but they were, of course, in the upper branches.

 Since I did promise the kiddos a pear cake, my only option was to shimmy up the tree and get some pears.  I guess those few (that is the key word here!) push-ups I pumped out earlier in the week were going to come to good use!

We managed to fill two sand buckets with pears... I say "we" because while I climbed and picked, the kids provided moral support from the air conditioned car.  This mainly came in the form of questions, such as, "What are you doing?" "Are there snakes out there?" and my personal favorite, "Can you give me my juice?"


After lunch and nap, Molly and I embarked on the culinary adventure of making my mom's pear cake.  I included this recipe in a cookbook I made for my mom a few years ago that combined her recipes and my yaya's.  
 It's a great gift idea for anyone; my mom loved it! 

The great (haha) thing about having to climb the pear tree was the pears were HUGE! They'd certainly had plenty of sun and rain, and it really only took me one huge pear and a few "regular" ones to make the cake.
 The kitchen staff refused to wear her apron, but she's pretty cute anyway. ;)  Besides having to let the chopped pears sit for an hour to "juice", the cake is so easy to make, a toddler could do it.... with adult supervision.  (Or should we specify Mom supervision? You know what I'm talking about.)

 She wasn't actually supposed to pour the oil in, but luckily she didn't spill any.  We call the junk on the counters in the background a "worked-in" kitchen.
 About an hour later.... voila!
Mom's Fresh Pear Cake

4 cups pear, cored and chunked
2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 and it was plenty sweet)
3 cups flour (all purpose or whole wheat pastry)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs beaten
2/3 cup oil
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Pour sugar over pears and let sit for at least one hour.  Sift together flour, salt, soda and spices; set aside. Combine eggs and oil in large bowl.  Add pears and juice, mix well.  Add dry ingredients; stir until just blended. Pour into greased and floured tube or bundt pan.  Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan. 

Happy Snacking!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bec's Directorial Debut

Hello All!  Long time since we've posted; although I am hoping to be much more consistent.  We have so much to share!  While watching the Olympics earlier in the week, Bec wanted to know how he could be on tv.  I told him he could either work really hard (like an Olympian), have a faux-job of being a reality tv star, or just happen to be near a local news camera.  Since none of these options were in his foreseeable future, we decided to take matters into our own hands.  Bec successfully planned and directed his first feature film short "Scabby's Western Adventure". 

Leave some love for our hardworking fella. ;)

Bec a.k.a "Cool Breeze"

Enjoy! Hardy Har Har!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Halves and Wholes!

Bryan completed his second half-marathon this past weekend, and rocked out an amazing finish in 1:45:10!  The kids and I came out to watch him race and eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  There is no greater feeling than eating a sugar-coated, cream filled confection while runners are finishing their thirteenth mile.   I felt guilty at first, but got over that pretty quickly. ;)

 Molly and Anna Gray with their sprinkled heart doughnuts. :)

 Gotta love a man in neon gloves! Woot woot!

Did I mention that he finished 3rd in his age group? ;)

We also traveled to the Outer Banks in November for Bryan to run his first marathon.  It was a blast!

Almost to the finish!

 The light at the end of the tunnel.

Mike, Bryan and Bobby at the finish.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It runs in the family...

After watching Bryan train for and run his first half-marathon earlier this year, I decided to test out the waters myself.  After a few months of 5 a.m. runs, chafing, and sweat, lots and lots of sweat, the race weekend finally arrived.  

Seeing mommy and daddy prepare for their races (Bryan's is coming up in November) also got Becton motivated and he decided he wanted to run too.  So Becton's big race debut was the day before my own and he was excited!  He had a few friends who would be running the strenuous, .17 mile course that wound through a parking lot. :)

Here are a few of the competitors: (Cue "Eye of the Tiger" background music)

Becton "I want to go the spaghetti dinner" Johnson

Lily "the real deal" Steel

Carson "Need for Speed" Billingsley

Here are the boys sizing up their competition...  And Becton does this while holding his mawmaw's hand. 
And they're off....

 Carson leading the pack!

Run, Becton, Run!

Becton was the last to leave the start line, but we thought he might be using a Tortoise and the Hare strategy.  Alas, he wasn't, but he did cross the finish line eventually; there were a few interesting rocks he had to check out before he finished the race. :)

He was so proud of his medal that he wore it the next day too. 

Hopefully I'll get the next day's race posted tomorrow, but that will depend on naps and schoolwork. 

The Johnsons

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blueberry Bounty

Long time no post!  The kids and I were able to get to Bridgeton, NC for some wet and wild blueberry picking in June... or May; I can't remember!  Either way, we were picking the day after some pretty heavy showers, so the areas between the rows of bushes were wet and muddy.  I will say I am thankful I made sure Molly had an extra change of clothes in her diaper bag.  

 Not only did she sit in a puddle but the sweat made her twice as icky!

 She was so loaded up with blueberries I thought I would need to weigh her on our way out. 

 That may be the only blueberry Becton picked that made it into the bucket... 

 Shortly after this picture was taken, Molly was no longer satisfied to eat one or two berries at a time; she sat on the ground with the bucket in front of her and proceeded to gorge herself on blueberries.  We're still working on teaching self-control ;)

Despite the mud, heat and sweat, I'm sure we'll be back next year, because who can say no to a face like this?

And thanks to Lindsay Corrigan for going with us and for bringing her camera! Also I must say that these blueberries tasted great in the Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe Ever!! And I've made quite a few muffins.

The Johnson

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Swampy Lives!

I love to make special cupcakes for Bec and Molls birthdays, since I only have to do it two times a year.  This year Becton told me he wanted alligator cupcakes, and thanks to Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack, "Old Swampy" came to life in our kitchen. 

 This book does an amazing job of showing you how to make beautiful cupcakes that are super easy to put together. 
 Are you checking out those banana runt claws? Nice!
Thanks to Lindsay Corrigan for the excellent dental work; there isn't a whole lot you can't make out of marshmallow. 

The Johnsons

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our Little Herd

For those of you who have a Chick-Fil-A, you may be aware that yesterday was Cow Appreciation Day. I have never gotten into the bovine spirit before, mostly because I usually forget until the day of. This year wasn't much different, except that I was able to throw some costumes together for the kids during nap time. Not. too. shabby.

Bryan and I were going out for a "Big People Dinner" later that night, so we dressed the kids up and let them get their free Chick-Fil-A entrees. I think they're pretty cute, but I am partial.

The Arrival: Becton won't look at the camera because he is afraid the Chick-Fil-A cow he saw standing out at the road is coming to get him. 
 Still on the lookout...
 I mean really... so cute!

 Extra felt and fabric glue= cow jerseys (Not to be confused with Jersey cows ;)

Happy Cow Appreciation Day!