Thursday, February 22, 2018

How to Make an Easy & Delicious Twelve Layer Cake

Hey y'all! I'm so excited to be guest posting here today with the Magnolia Mamas. My name is Jena and I blog over at Our Southern Roots Blog.


I live in Kentucky with my husband Juston, daughter Caroline, son Carter and our dog and cat, Dixie and Lou.  Today, I wanted to share one of my all time favorite cake recipes to make, my Twelve Layer Cake, or as some call it, Stack Cake, so let's get to it. 

Okay, I admit it...the recipe name is a bit of a lie in my case. I was only able to get eleven layers in the cake that I'm about to share with you, but the original version of this cake is 12 layers, I just always come up a liiiitle bit short when I make mine.  I'll explain why in a bit. 

Every year for my husband's birthday, I love to make him this cake. I started making him this particular cake maybe four or five years ago for his birthday. We were first introduced to it when we were staying with some great friends (who are more like family) in Alabama, Mimi and PauPau as we call them, and Mimi had a friend of hers make the twelve layer cake. Did y'all follow that? A friend of a friend we think of as family made the cake haha It was life changing, I'm telling you! 

After Mimi sharing that cake with us, I took to the internet to try and find a recipe similar to it so that I could replicate and I was successful! Unfortunately, I can't find the original source for this recipe. I found it via Google years ago and wrote it down, but I never wrote down where I found it. If I come across it I will be sure and credit the original source. 


While the cake may look or sound intimidating, it really is a breeze, just a little bit time consuming on the front end, but not too much more than any other layer cake. The first thing I did before even starting on the cake batter was to roll out some parchment paper, then lay my cake pans on top and trace twelve separate circles, then cut all of those out. I also happened to have the cutest assistant in the kitchen working with me :)

HOW TO MAKE A DELICIOUS TWELVE LAYER CAKE

*Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees*

Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks softened unsalted butter 
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups milk (I used skim but any kind will work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

1: In either a stand mixer's bowl, or just any large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar together. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing completely after each egg. Be sure and scrape down the sides of the bowl in between adding each egg as well.  

2: In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. 


3: Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milk to the sugar mixture, combining completely after each addition. Once that's all incorporated, add in the vanilla and your batter is complete, so now it's time to bake the layers. 


Before adding the parchment paper to my round cake pans (I think they're 8" round pans), I greased them up generously with butter. Trust me, the last thing you want is your cake layer getting stuck in the pan. The layers are so thin that getting them un-stuck would be nearly impossible while still keeping them usable, so don't be stingy with the butter. After greasing the pan, lay the parchment paper on the bottom of each pan. For each layer, you'll use approximately 1 cup of batter. This is where I messed up; I always pour in the right amount to start with and get to looking and think I should add more, then before you know it, I have an eleven layer cake instead of a twelve layer cake. Oh well. I only have three cake pans so I just cooked three layers at a time. You'll bake each set of layers for twelve minutes, maybe a little less or a little more depending on your oven. Let the layers cool in the pan once you remove them from the oven, then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack until it's time to frost them.

Frosting ingredients:
  • 1 softened package cream cheese
  • 2 sticks softened  unsalted butter
  • 1 one pound box confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
1: Start by mixing the cream cheese and butter for a few minute until completely combined. Next, add in the cocoa powder and mix completely. Add in the confectioner's sugar in small batches mixing completely before adding more. Finally stir in the vanilla. If your batter is too thick, you can thin it out with milk, but I didn't need to use any. 

2: Next, it's time to start stacking and frosting.


3: At this point, before frosting the sides, it always reminds me of crepes or pancakes with chocolate icing. 

Now for the finished product...


You could add some sprinkles on top, or some pecans or walnuts...I wouldn't, but you can, haha. My husband doesn't like sprinkles and the kids don't like nuts in sweets, so I just kept it simple with no garnishes, but there you have it! 

Thanks so much to the sweet Magnolia Mamas, Carrie Beth and Jen for inviting me to share with y'all today, I hope if you have a special celebration coming up, you'll give this delicious cake a try! 


To join in Jena's daily dose of southern fun find her here:  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How and Why You Should be Getting in the Frame

Have you noticed that as mamas, we’re often too busy being behind the camera to ever make it into photos with our kids?
It is so important for us to get in pictures with our kids. I don’t know about you, but I love looking at old pictures of my parents. It’s important that our kids have pictures of us to look back on. It’s also important for us to have pictures of ourselves with our kids. There is nothing more precious than time spent with my son. Pictures documenting those moments are priceless to me.

Overcoming Insecurities

Motherhood is not always super glamorous.
I know that.
You know that.

Don’t let the insecurities get in the way of taking pictures with your kids. If like me, you struggle with feeling self-conscious in photos, you might find THIS helpful. It’s a list of my favorite tips to taking a more flattering photo.

The more confident you feel, the more likely you’ll be willing to jump in front of the camera instead of hide behind it.
It may surprise you that the more often you get in pictures, the more confident you’ll become. You’ll start to see yourself differently – and you should. Mama, you are so beautiful. You are strong and you are loved. Your kids adore you. You deserve to have pictures that capture that. Don’t hide behind the camera. Get in there!



Don’t take the easy way out

The easiest way to get in pictures with your kids is to hand off the camera to someone else. My husband doesn’t necessarily love photography the way I do, but he is always willing to take the camera and snap pictures of my son and I. Don’t be afraid to ask someone else to take the camera for a few minutes. It may feel as if you are being an inconvenience, but I think most people enjoy getting a turn to take pictures.
Don’t just rely on someone else though. Be intentional and learn how to take self-portraits with your kids – and I don’t just mean selfies! It doesn’t matter if you have a big fancy camera or a smart-phone – you have the ability to take beautiful self-portraits with your kids.




How to set up for a self-portrait

Ok. Stick with me. I know this is the most intimidating part, but I promise it’s not as bad as it seems. It takes a little bit of practice to perfect, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature.
If you’re using your smartphone there are a few ways to set up for a self-portrait.
  1. Set the self-timer and prop your phone up
  2. Use a remote
There are super affordable (I’m talking $8.00) shutter remotes made for smartphones that make getting in the picture really easy! This is what I use.

Tip: Even if you are using a remote, you should still set the self-timer. This gives you a few seconds between when the button is clicked and when the camera takes the picture. This allows you to hide the remote out of sight. If you don’t get the remote hidden in time, don’t sweat it. Some of my favorite pictures have the remote in view. Moments ALWAYS win.  


Next, pick a location, set up your phone, and take a few practice shots to make sure everything is working and in the right place. Then, and only then, grab your kiddo ;)
Use a remote or the self-timer and snap away.
Don’t worry about fancy poses or getting your kid to do something specific. Just interact with them normally! The last thing you want to do is make picture taking a frustrating experience for them – just keep it simple.


10 Ideas for Self-portraits with your kids

1. Read a book together
2. Play with a favorite toy on their bedroom floor.
3. Look out a window and play “I Spy.”
4. Cuddle in your favorite chair.
5. Ask your kiddo to touch foreheads with you or give kisses!
6. Turn on music and dance in your kitchen together.
7. Jump on the bed together.
8. Think of special things you do together every day – an example of this might be helping them brush their teeth or get their shoes on. Documenting the mundane is my favorite.
9. Blow Bubbles!
10. Plain ol’ smile at the camera.

If you use your smartphone to take your pictures, I’ve made a PDF download for you of 12 tips for taking better phone photos! You can download it HERE.

If you ever get stuck editing your photos, come say hi over on Instagram! I have a few phone editing tutorials saved in my story highlights and I add to them often.



A Note on Using DSLR Cameras

If you’re using a DSLR camera, the same techniques apply. A tripod is helpful but not necessary. Same with a shutter remote (I use this tripod and this shutter remote). If you don’t have either, just use the self-timer).


The most challenging aspect of using a DSLR is nailing focus – it just takes practice. With a shutter remote you can click the button and wait for the camera to autofocus. You can also manually set your focus by placing an object in the frame in lieu of yourself, focus on the object, and then remove the object when you get back in the picture.  

Don’t let the technical aspect get in the way!


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Monday, February 19, 2018

6 Delicious Rotisserie Chicken Recipes

Hi Everyone! My name is Brittany Graham, a busy mom of two hyperactive and sweet little boys. I’m also a Navy wife and a food blogger on my site, The Anchored Kitchen. I’m so excited to guest post on The Magnolia Mamas (Thank you Carrie Beth & Jen)!


I usually relish my time in the kitchen. It’s my happy place. Lately with school, work, after school activities, and my husband being out of town, I’ve reached for the rotisserie chickens at the grocery store more times than I care to admit. Because well, LIFE! I’m sharing 6 recipes using those boring old rotisserie chickens that will make you leave your mom guilt at the door and impress your active family. These days it’s so easy to find organic rotisserie chickens so you can rest assured.


First up are these Creamy Chicken Sheet Pan Nachos! A real family pleaser sure to check off all the boxes. Easy, check. Quick, check. Delicious, check. Picky Eater approved, check. Dinner plates optional, check!


Creamy Chicken Sheet Pan Nachos recipe and 5 other easy and delicious recipes to make with rotisserie chicken

Creamy Chicken Sheet Pan Nachos

INGREDIENTS NEEDED 

For the chicken
  • ½ C sour cream
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (I like to buy organic ones)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne


For the Nachos
  • 1 Can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C sharp cheddar cheese
  • 9 oz tortilla chips
  • 1 shallot or ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 mini sweet peppers or 1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 C shredded iceburg lettuce
  • Sour cream
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • Pickled jalapenos (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS
1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2: Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, or parchment paper.
3: Mix together the sour cream, oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, & cayenne.


4. Tear the meat off of the rotisserie chicken and toss into the sour cream mixture. 


5. Spread a layer of tortilla chips on the bottom of the sheet pan. Top with the black beans, then the onions, and bell peppers. Then evenly spread the chicken on. Sprinkle with the cheese and place in the bottom rack of your oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 





6. Pull the pan out and top with your cold toppings, starting with the lettuce then tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and pickled jalapenos (we save these for individual plates depending on everyone’s heat tolerance). 

7. Serve on plates, or dig into the pan as is. Drink a nice cold margarita and enjoy! 


5 Other Creative and Yummy Rotisserie Chicken Recipes



To learn more about Brittany, snag one of her helpful weekly meal plans, or drool over her recipes visit here: 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Be Our Guest...Blogger

This upcoming week we are changing things up a bit here in Magnolia Mama land. Both of us will be enjoying some much needed vacation time for our Winter Breaks. While we are away we have lined up some amazing ladies to entertain you while we are gone. We've gotten a sneak peek at what they are going to share, and you are going to have so much fun meeting each and every one of them!


If you want to follow along with us on our travels we'll be popping in now and then on Instagam and on our Insta-stories.

See you next week and stay tuned! We have some amazing things in the works for when we get back!


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Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Favorites: Nothing But LOVE Edition

My heart has been so full this week! And now that it's Friday - the icing on the cake! 

The entire month of February has been jam packed with fun, and today marks the start of our Winter Breaks. One of us is heading off for some sunny adventures, and the other is headed frolic in the snow. Both of us are of us are over the top excited about it. 

So far we have nothing but LOVE for the month of February! 

Today we might be kicking off vacation, but that's not the only thing to love lately. Linking up today as usual for a little Friday Favorites with some fabulous ladies. Not to mention, I have stumbled on a ton of favorites lately so get ready...


First, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Valentine's Day itself. I didn't take many photos, but it was such a fun day filled with love. 


The kids had so much fun at their class parties passing out Valentines and making crafts. 


Then they ate about a thousand pieces of candy and we did what any smart parents would do...we left them with a babysitter to go out to dinner on our own. 


We ate at a local restaurant and it was laid back and easy - just the way we like it. Plus tasty drinks and yummy desserts, what's not to love about that?


 I have approximately 87 more miles of running to go before I burn off that piece of peanut butter pie, but oh so worth it! 



We aren't consistent about giving gifts for Valentine's Day. Last year I even bought my own gift


This year though I wanted to get the kids a little something. They have been asking for these blankets for forever and I had kind of forgotten at Christmas. Well, Valentine's Day made all their shark/mermaid loving dreams come true. 


They have put these on non-stop since they got them and love them!


Who knew a blanket could be so exciting?! 


Okay, since I mentioned running above, I have to share my new favorite show to watch while I'm running. Netflix has been one of those things we signed up for on a whim and I have loved it! I just pop up the app when I'm at the gym, choose my show and go. 

We crowd sourced a few months ago on Facebook about what shows to watch on Netflix, and you guys gave some awesome suggestions. I just finished up with season two of the The Crown, and went back and looked at the list. A reader had messaged us about Scandal so I decided to give it a try. 


Y'all it is so so good! How did I not watch this earlier?!

It's definitely got me hooked and I'm so glad that there are a ton of seasons to binge watch!

So far on Netflix I've watched:
The Crown
Reign

 What have been your favorite shows on Netflix? Keep the suggestions coming!


I have all but given up on Winter and winter style. I am over the cold, rainy weather we have been having this season and am ready for some warmth and sun! We are headed somewhere sunny next week and I CANNOT WAIT! I was doing a little shopping for the trip and spotted some cozy, yet fun sweatshirts. If there's anything I can rock right now it's a sweatshirt. ;) 

This "Satur-yay" sweatshirt was a no-brainer. That's exactly how I feel every Saturday. 


It has a hi-low hem line so it's perfect to wear with leggings. It's lightweight, so perfect to wear into spring. And just a fun, casual weekend item.  


I love all things nautical so when I spotted this yellow anchor sweatshirt, I knew it needed to come home with me too. 


I've worn it a ton already. I've partnered it with jeans and my green Hunter boots on rainy days and popped it on with seersucker skinnies and my converse on others. So easy, so cozy, and will but cute to throw on in the Spring with some cut off shorts and flip flops. 



In prep for our trip, I've had to get the kids some new warm weather shoes. I re-ordered the Native shoes again because they literally are the easiest shoe to put kids in during the Summer months. My kids wore them everywhere - the pool, the beach, on the boat, playing outside. They are so easy and just rinse off. 


For the girls I found these fun converse-like shoes, and they were so inexpensive. L.C. loves hers and couldn't wait to wear them right away. 



They come in a ton of bright fun colors, and I ordered a few more pairs that will arrive when we return because the girls love them so much.  



Less than $10 for cute kids shoes? If that's not a favorite I don't know what is! 


Last week, Carrie Beth chatted about her favorite beauty products. Even being best friends, and chatting about everything under the sun some of these were new to me. I immediately ordered the root boost she mentioned and can't wait to give it a try. Skincare has been a huge topic among our circles lately (hello, wrinkles - eek!), and at a dinner my friend A was asking about my routine because she noticed some changes. I guess to me the change has been gradual over time that I haven't  noticed, but it was nice to see that it's producing noticeable results. I sent her a pick of my line up. 


I use a combo of these every single day. Some are pricey, but oh so worth it.
  • Columbia Probiotic Concentrate - I love this. It makes my skin feel so good! My skin seems to soak it right up and over time I feel as though my skin is little plumper (if that's the right word for it). I need to reorder but it's been one of my favorite products. 
  • Columbia Skincare Probiotic Complex - I use this twice a day, every day. I use it after I put on one of the oils or concentrates in the morning and at night. It is my favorite and such a good moisturizer. 
  • Dermae Illuminating Oil - I usually use this once every few days. It makes your skin feel good, and it smells so so good. I love using it when I feel a little tired. It seems to brighten up my skin a ton. Especially 
  • Skin Ceuticals  CE Ferulic - Okay I heard about this from someone and started using it about 6 months ago. It had rave reviews and I was willing to give it a try. I think this was probably the contributor for my friend asking about my skincare routine.  I use it every morning. Full warning - it doesn't smell the best, but clearly it works it's magic. 

What are some of your favorite skincare products? Share with us because I'm always willing to change up the lineup if it produces great results. 


And that's our favorites for the week! Stay tuned for something fun we have going on next week and follow along on Instagram to see where we are headed!

Have a great weekend y'all!


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Random Acts of Kindness {Ideas for Kids}

Random Acts of Kindness Day is this Saturday, but we're celebrating all week!  Last week I shared these Kindness Treat Bags and Blondie asked me if we had any extras. She wanted to take one to the lunchroom monitor at school.  


She said this woman was the nicest lady and she had told her teacher she thought this woman deserved to be paid more!  Not only does she have to put up with the loud cafeteria at school and kids that are being wild, but she does it with a smile on her face and is so sweet and kind to the kids. I loved that she came up with this idea on her own and wanted to do something special for this woman. I sent her off to school with the Kindness Treat Bag and she came home saying it made the woman feel so appreciated! 

I loved that it was her idea and she got to see how wonderful it feels to do something nice for another person.  On that note, I thought I'd share some other Random Acts of Kindness ideas for kids.  Easy ideas that can help get kids involved and start sharing the love! 



Some ideas are totally free, some take a little prep, but all are sure to put a smile on someone's face. 

Simple things like taping quarters to a vending machine or candy bar at the store...


Leaving lucky pennies on a sidewalk for someone to find...


And painting/hiding rocks for others to find...



  Head on over to Savvy Sassy Moms to see all 10 of our ideas! There are so many ideas all over the internet. It's fun to come up with a list with your kids and get to work. Anything that can lift someone up, make them smile, spread the love and share the kindness.


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Thank you Oriental Trading for providing some of the products for this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.