Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Up-side Down Pear Cake

Here's a cake that came out so good I had to bake it twice in a row. My husband brought home a huge box of pears and I was trying to think of ways to use them before going bad. So I decided to bake something with pears, and for some reason settled on an up-side down cake. Turns out the pears were perfect for it, and the cake was so easy to make, and so delicious, that I am sure to make it again at some point. Here's the recipe:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 pears, peeled, halted and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 inch springform cake pan.

Peel pears, cut in half and remove seeds.

In the prepared pan, combine 3 tablespoon butter (cut up and dropped on the bottom of the pan), and the brown sugar. Place the pan in the oven until the butter melts and the brown sugar caramelizes a little. Then take out and set aside.

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating both, until combined. No need to mix all that much.

Arrange the pears in the pan, with the flat side down, narrow side pointing to the center. Pour the cake batter on top.

Bake for 50 mins to an hour, allow to cool 15 mins before serving.


Monday, February 16, 2015

A Day at the Museum

Instead of browsing the President's Day sales, I took the girls to the Museum of the Natural History today. I've been there a few times before, but there is so much to see that you could spend weeks in there.
Started at the space show and learned about the birth of our universe. 

Then on to the dinosaur halls.

We're dangerous!

It's incredible to think that these huge animals once roamed the earth. 

Too cool to care about some old pile of bones. 

Oh, a nostril...let me stick a finger in it!

The American Indian section is amazing too! 

I once climbed to the top of this Mayan temple Chichen Itza...  

A giant jelly fish in the Biodiversity Hall

My 6-year old has been learning about whales in school, and is fascinated by them, so it was great to see the whale in its real scale size.

And, finally, the obligatory selfie! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

More SoCal

The weather is so depressing here in NY that I don't know why I ever wanted to live here when I could have chosen the sunny California instead! I needed a little mental pick-me-up today, it being Monday, me being stressed out, and on account of the gray icy weather, so here it is, some more SoCal... Even though it was a gray day there too, it was A LOT LESS depressing gray than this NY grayness!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Week Ago We Hosted Super Bowl

A week ago we had our traditional Super Bowl party. Just a few close friends this year, and of course lots of junky yummy food. I'm obviously not a football fan, but I like any excuse to eat and socialize... This year's game did not raise any big emotions in anyone, but my 4-year old was a little disappointed because the Seahawks didn't win. Not sure why she likes Seahawks, but it's her favorite team. And, after the deflate-gate, I guess the Patriots felt they had something to prove, so Brady brought it home. My favorite part was the half time show, as usually, and I liked Katy Perry, or Cati Purry, as she was spoofed in the Puppy Bowl.

My one and only blogger friend! 

Peace out. 

The cutest cookie monster cup cakes ever. 

Dips, salsa, hummus... 

Our version of bruschetta with chickpeas 

The Super Bowl cake was a hit with the smaller crowd. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This week I had the privilege to travel to Southern California for work, and I have a little confession to make.. I had never been to the West Coast before. What a waste! I totally fell in love with the area. The conference I attended was at Dana Point, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort. I've been to some nice hotels before, but this one is definitely up there on the list of best places I've been to. Everything about the place was exquisite, including the food at the conference, which is usually bland and uninspiring. This time the food was California healthy, gluten free, lo-carb, etc, but extremely tasty. I'm not a big fan of work travel, because the trips are usually quite hectic and this trip was hectic too, but the locale made up for it. One night I went to an event close-by at the Laguna Beach town, and it also looked lovely with lots of art galleries and people out at bars and restaurants. I would love to go back on my own and explore the area more.

Price shock when I got to my room.. and the realization that this was "that" kind of a resort! 

Woke up the next morning and this is my view... I can live with this. 

The resort was built in Spanish style architecture, very SoCal. 

Beautiful grounds, seen from a window on my way to a conference room... 

When I finally got a couple of hours for myself, it was cold and foggy. But that did not stop me for finding my happy place, i.e. the beach. 

It was just me and the surfer boys.. who were pretty nice to look at...so I didn't mind.

And somehow seeing this made everything ok. Why is peace of mind so elusive? 

Eventually I was there all alone... 

A little garden back at the resort

The hotel pool was absolutely gorgeously breathtakingly beautiful. I want to come back here when it's actually sunny and lay down on one of those chaise lounges and order a mojito... 

Thursday, February 5, 2015