Coffee and a Pen is back!

This week has been a very busy one, as have the past two months. It was the last full week of school before the end of the school year next Wednesday and I very much look forward to a slower schedule with less running around and living in a minivan, as it seems at times.

The highlight this week was my son's 3rd birthday on Wednesday and his deciding to quit gymnastics on Monday. He simply refused to enter the gym room, crying and not wanting to go back. I can hardly believe that my little baby is now a little boy who will start school later this year. He's already drawing - the primitive drawing of a child. This is his first drawing of me:

Sagey's first human drawing

I remember when Saffron started drawing like that and how both her drawings and coloring abilities have changed, including staying within the lines (she saw me posting Sagey's drawing and wanted me to post something of hers...not a drawing, but showing her love of coloring):

Cinnamon was sick for most of the week, starting last weekend. She spiked a high fever, at times over 102 degrees, and her neck was so sore with swollen lymphnodes that she cried when anyone touched it. She appears to be all better since yesterday, back to her needing Bandaids every five minutes (inside joke). :)

This past Monday, I found a great recipe for lemon sugar cookies that looks delicious. I love lemons and use a lot of lemon zest. Sometimes I feel sorry for all of those skinless lemons still sitting in my refrigerator. Last week, I came across variegated pink lemons (last photo below). I've never even heard of these before then and just had to buy five of them. The skins of the lemons are so beautiful that I still haven't brought myself to use a zester to them.

A few highlights from last week... Last Friday, I made Martha Stewart's Triple-Citrus Cupcakes for Saffi's belated half-birthday celebration at school. If I remember correctly, this is the third time I've ever made cupcakes and I'm still not "into" them. It's not the fact that I simply don't like the typical American frosting (nor do my kids, thankfully), but perhaps that I have yet to find a recipe that works for my taste. I'm in the early stages of developing my own version. Despite that, the kids at Saffi's school loved these cupcakes and said they were the best they've ever had. Saffi mentioned that they loved the "frosting" the best with the lime zest "sprinkles". When I was putting on the lime zest, my daughter asked, "Are you pretending those are sprinkles?". 

The middle photo above was a promising vanilla layer cake I tried from a new cookbook I purchased earlier this year. It was the first recipe I tried from Bea's book and it was an utter failure. The taste of the batter was great. However, I wasn't too happy to see it overflowing and spilling onto the oven floor - smoking and almost causing the fire alarms to sound. I'm starting to wonder just how much testing is involved in recipes these days. Even though the book called for an 8" cake pan, I kept thinking, "This just doesn't seem right." I should have listened to that little voice telling me to use a larger cake pan. Even after 35 minutes, the batter was still soupy and thus ended up being poured down the drain. What a shame.

Yesterday, I discovered a new baking project in the blog world. It's a monthly bake-a-long and this month's project is focaccia. I plan on making both a sweet and savory version. For the savory version, I'm planning on using carmelized onions. I recall coming across this article about the lies in most recipes about the length of time it takes to carmelize onions. I agree, the process takes much longer than the generally stated 10-15 minutes. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of onions, but the wait is definitely worth it. My husband introduced me to his version of "fried" onions on the barbeque grill. They are absolutely amazing, particularly as a side with some filet mignon with fresh herb butter.

More links coming next week. I leave you with two of my favorite mugs (so far) that I've added to my collection and a slice of Sagey's birthday cake. Enjoy your weekend!