Gourmet Spotlight: Spiced Pear Cake

September 15th, 2009

If it happens to me, I know it must happen to you too.  You’re sitting there minding your own business when all of a sudden you are hit with an overwhelming feeling.

Must. Have. Cake. Now.

Are you familiar with this phenomenon?  The sudden urge to bake something moist and delicious?  And then shovel a big slice down the hatch?   Oh, ahem.  How unladylike of me.  Let me rephrase.  Delicately take small bites with your pinkie in the air. 

In my region, we were hit with some unexpected rain over the weekend.  It must have been that smell of the first rain mixed together with the wind blowing the first leaves from the trees that caused something to click inside of me.  I just had to make my oh-so-autumn Spiced Pear Cake.  And I had to make it now. 

I take some of these pretty little Bartletts and transform them into the most moist and delicious flavor of fall. 

before and after

My spiced pear cake has a little of everything.  A glazed fruit topping, a down home ingredient like molasses, and the spices often found in the best fall comfort food.  What’s my secret ingredient to guarantee a moist cake?

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Money Saving Media Center

September 14th, 2009

When we expanded our home three years ago, we added a small studio above our garage.  We wanted to add value by building a separate “granny” unit, and also provide a place for guests.  The studio was intended as a source of future income.  With its own small kitchen, it can be rented out to a tenant, or perhaps even turned into a vacation rental someday. 

For the first two years after our remodel, this space was completely unfinished.  Over the last year, we’ve slowly brought this space up to livability standards.  We even had my folks staying with us while their house was on the market. 

Since we are expecting a boatload of family and friends through the harvest season and holidays, it was high time I provided my guests with a comfortable space.  This weekend I focused on the media wall.  Formerly plain and sad, it is now organized and media friendly.  I built my own media center by repurposing some bookshelves and adding a custom display ledge. 

Here is the Before:

studio wall before

Here’s the After:

media center afterwards

Here’s how I did it.

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