Hummingbird Cake

Last Easter I wanted to bring a little Southern Tradition to the table for my soon-to-be husband. He had mentioned chocolate Coca-Cola Cake that he grew up with in Franklin, TN., but since everyone will be indulging with chocolate bunnies I thought of the classic Hummingbird Cake instead. No one from my San Diego Family had ever tried Hummingbird Cake before, so I thought it would be a delicious and fun cake to bake for everyone!

Hummingbird Cake was originally submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, NC. in Southern Living’s February 1978 issue. This recipe is known to have won numerous blue ribbons at county fairs. The name Hummingbird Cake was derived from the humming sound “mmmmmmm” people made while eating this delicious cake.

hummingbird cake recipe-Darcy Oliver Design

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped bananas
  • 1 bag of malt easter egg candy (for decoration)
  • 3 cups of shredded coconut (for decoration)
  • green food dye (for decoration)

Preparation

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
  2. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, prepare the shredded coconut with a few drops of green food dye.
  5. Mix food dye and coconut until you have reached the desired green “grass”.
  6. Sprinkle green coconut on top of the cake, and along the rim of the cake plate.
  7. Top off the grass with the malt easter egg candy.
  8. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
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Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken: Side of Kale Chips

If you are trying to eat clean or healthy, you may be bored with chicken. Throw in some Avocado and special seasonings, and you have one winning and easy Chicken Week Night Dish!

My husband gave this dish 2 thumbs up not only on the chicken and avocado topping, but gave me one heck of a cute smirk when he realized he was in love with…don’t say it!…Kale Chips.

Pinterest has been such a useful tool in finding healthy recipes for our family, and just say Avocado and I’m there! Without further adieu, here are the Recipes for Both Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, plus Kale Chips.

I prepared the Kale Chips first, so be sure to preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.

Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, Kale Chips-Darcy Oliver Design

Seared Avocado & Cilantro Chicken, Kale Chips

Seared Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (thinner filets are best)
  • blackening seasoning (I used Chef Paul’s Magic Seasoning: Blackened Redfish Magic)

Avocado & Cilantro:

  • 1 diced peeled avocado
  • 1/2 bunch of diced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp of diced jalepenos (I used 1 tbsp of sliced jalepenos, and then diced them)
  • 1/2 squeezed lime juice

**Mix together ingredients for the Topping  in a bowl & set aside.**

Avocado & Cilantro Salsa-Darcy Oliver Design

Avocado & Cilantro Salsa

Directions:

  1. Heat your skillet on med/high temp.
  2. Rinse your Chicken & place on a plate.
  3. Cover the chicken with the seasoning on one side.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of Coconut Oil to the hot skillet.
  5. Place Chicken in the Pan to sear for 2 minutes.
  6. Cover the chicken with the seasoning on the empty side.
  7. Sear on the other side for 2 mins.
  8. Flip over, and cook the chicken on each side for 3-4 mins.
  9. Spritz your chicken with the juice from the other half of the lime
  10. Serve on plate with Avocado & Cilantro Topping.

Kale Chips:

Kale Chips, Recipe-Darcy Oliver Design

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch of fresh dark green kale
  • garlic powder
  • ground sea salt
  • onion powder
  • steak seasoning (optional)
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the kale, tear the leaves off of the stalk, and place in mixing bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil to lightly coat the kale.
  3. Sprinkle the above seasonings, or choose your own!
  4. Place in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy.

 

 

Soft Sugar Cookies & Cookie Gifts

Most of your presents are wrapped and under the tree, and now that you have a little more time on your hands, let the baking begin! If you love the Lofthouse Sugar Cookies from the grocery store, you can whip up these Soft Sugar Cookies for the best made from scratch Sugar Cookie Recipe!
sugar cookies-Darcy Oliver Design

I brought these Sugar Cookies to a recent Cookie Party, and I still have left over dough in the freezer! This Recipe is great for large batch cookies, roughly around 100 Cookies total. However, when you wrap up the dough to sit in the fridge overnight to set up, you will have two batches of dough. I suggest taking one of the wrapped dough packages, and placing it in a freezer bag to have it chill in the freezer until you are ready to use it.

ingredients:

cookies:
6 cups flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups light sour cream

frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
Blue Gel Food Dye (or any color you prefer)
Sprinkles

directions:

For the cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk 5 cups of flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough needs to obtain the right consistency for rolling, so add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until this is achieved (up to 1 cup more flour). Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1 1/2 inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Generously flour a work area and rolling pin. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting:
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is achieved. Add a couple of drops of Food Dye and mix together until the color is consistent.

Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit overnight before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

If you are attending a Cookie Party this weekend, or just getting together with friends, this Cookie in a Jar is a great gift idea! Totally adorable, and ready to bake, my girlfriend gave this to me at a Cookie Party. With the directions and all, you just have to whip the cookie mix together with wet ingredients, and it makes for a fun Cookie Sesh to do with family! Whether you give Cookies or Cookies in a Jar, they make for the sweetest gifts this Christmas!
Cookie in a Jar-Darcy Oliver Design

Spicy Date Night Hand Pies

Many of us know that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so do your man a favor and make him these Spicy Date Night Hand Pies! Pack up your picnic basket with these flavorful pies, a side salad, and a nice Pinot Noir or Malbec (or both), and plan out a nice little spot to take your date. Last night I picked up my husband from work and took him to Fiesta Island for a sunset picnic, and he gave these little hand pies two thumbs up!

handpies2

hp3

Ingredients

For the Puff Pastry: Do yourself a favor and pick up two to three boxes of Pepperridge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets in the Frozen Foods Section.  You could make your own, but ain’t nobody got time for that! Before making the meaty filling, unwrap the puff pastry and place the frozen and folded (do not unfold until they are thawed out) on the counter to thaw.

For the Meaty Filling:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 cups chunky salsa (I used one glass jar of chunky salsa from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tbsp of chopped black olives
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cholula hot sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. In a pan, brown chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes
3. Pour in black olives, mix and then add the salsa, stir, cook about 5 minutes more
4. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste, set aside
5. Unfold the thawed pastry dough on parchment paper
6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds (I got four rounds out of one sheet)
7. Place a pinchful of shredded cheese on the round, and  a heaping tablespoon in the center of each round
8. Fold dough over filling to make a half circle
9. Crimp ends with a fork or hands
10. Place pies on a greased baking sheet, or ungreased Silpat
11. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water
12. Brush each pie with egg wash
13. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden
14. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack
15. Enjoy!

handpies