Lemon Lavender Loaf

Lemon Lavender Loaf.

Fresh, bright, tart lemon zest and juice mixed with sweet, flowery, fragrant dried lavender buds in a beautifully glazed loaf.

I couldn’t decide if this should be considered a bread or a cake, so I am simply calling it loaf.     Plus I love the alliteration of a name where all the words start with the same Lovely Letter!

A dear friend gifted me a bag of dried lavender recently, and I have been dying to use it.  I finally found some time early Sunday morning to bake this beautiful loaf to enjoy on a beautiful Spring day.

It is light and soft and such a perfect Springtime treat.

Here is how I made it.

Lemon Lavender Loaf*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 cup milk with 1 Tbsp white vinegar let set 5 min)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender buds
  • Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 Tbsp milk
    • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1/2 tsp dried lavender buds

Directions:

Prepare two loaf pans with shortening and flour.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, and continue mixing until mixture looks like buttercream frosting.

Gently mix in salt and baking soda.

Add lemon zest and juice to buttermilk, and set aside.

To batter, alternate adding flour and lemon buttermilk in three additions, and mix just until incorporated.  Stir in lavender.

Pour into prepared pans and bake approximately 45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool loaves 10 minutes in pans.  Remove and cool completely.

Once cool, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, milk, lemon zest and juice, and lavender.  Pour over loaves.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Original recipe slightly adapted from FudgeRipple

Dancing into a New Week

Ballet Slippers Watercolor 8×10

Dancing into a New Week.

Happy Sunday.
Happy New Week.

Dance into it like you mean it –
whether pirouetting, plieing, or pencheing.

No matter your move,
make it meaningful.  Make the most of it!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks to Sam Allen at Peacock Poetry for posting a photo and poem that inspired this painting.

PS  This original painting as well as prints and cards are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop.

Scout on a Scooter

Scout on a Scooter Original 8×10 Watercolor

Scout on a Scooter.

I was recently commissioned through an inquiry on our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop to paint a photo of a cute little puppy named, “Scout” on his “Mom’s” bright red scooter.

Here is the photo I was provided:

How cute is little Scout with his goggles ready to ride?!  I can just picture the wind blowing through his curly locks.

What an honor it was to create this, and so glad Scout’s Mom was happy with it.

May we all find joy in life’s simple pleasures!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Time For Change

A Time for Change – Abstract in Taupe 18×24 on Stretched Canvas

A Time for Change – Abstract in Taupe.

I’ve been working on this abstract acrylic painting on a stretched canvas for a few weeks.

I am having so much fun with this new medium.  It is such a liberating experience and also such a challenge.

Before ever painting, I would have thought works of art like this were “easy!”  Slap and splash some paint on a canvas and call it art.

But…..

If you’ve never tried, I challenge you to.

There really is more to it than you realize.

Composition…. Point of interest…  Balance….

But really when it all comes down to it…. Are you happy with it?  Do you like it?  Does it make you feel good?  Evoke emotions?

I have to admit…. This piece has been through so many iterations, I couldn’t decide if it was done.  I couldn’t decide if it was “worthy” to share.  I felt like I liked it, but I doubted myself, so I sent a picture of it to my youngest son, and asked:  “What are your thoughts?”

He liked it, but he reminded me I should not need affirmation of my own art.

How humbling is it when your kids have to remind you of how to be a confident adult?

And then again, what pride do we feel when our kids remind us of how to be a confident adult?

So here is my latest abstract – A Time for Change.

And I like it!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  This original painting is available (only one – no prints) at our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop if you like it too.

GOLDEN Artist Colors

 

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Extreme Chocolate Cake.

For those times….
you know them…
when you just need chocolate cake.

I recently saw a question that made me think.

If you had to live without one of the following for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

  • Coffee
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Wine

For me, it would be chocolate.  Though I adore baking and enjoy chocolate (and even crave it sometimes), if I had to give up one of these four, it would be the chocolate.

I can’t imagine not having coffee in the morning.  A world without cheese?!  I’m just not sure that is a world worth living in.  And oh how I enjoy my glass or two of red wine in the evening.

How about you?

Now even though I would choose chocolate if I HAD to make the choice…. THANKFULLY I do not!

So here’s a chocolate cake I made recently (which is slightly adapted from this one I found at AllRecipes) – just because…

Because sometimes life is worth celebrating with chocolate cake!

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup softened butter
    • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour three 8-9″ round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix for 3 minutes with electric mixer.  Slowly stir in boiling water by hand with wooden spoon until fully incorporated.  Pour batter evenly into the three prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes in pans, then remove to cooling rack to cool complete.

Prepare frosting by beating butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar, then milk and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy and spreading consistency.

Spread frosting on each layer of cake stacked on top of each other and decorate as desired.

I shaved dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler from a large bar of Trader Joe’s 72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and placed halved strawberries around the perimeter of the top.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showing Your True Colors

Goldfinch – Mars, PA – April 2018

Showing Your True Colors.

If you could show your true color,
what color would you be?

Yellow is the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness.

Yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy.

Bright yellow is an attention getting color, and when used in combination with black,  it creates one of the easiest color combinations to read and see from long distances. This is why school buses, taxi cabs, and traffic signs are painted yellow and black.

If you were a color – would you be yellow?

If I could be as beautiful as this goldfinch that visits our backyard, I sure would be.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

My New Yellow Rubber Boots

My New Yellow Rubber Boots Watercolor 8×10

My New Yellow Rubber Boots.

It was great to get to spend some time in my art studio this weekend after getting through a handful of “have-to-do” tasks.

After recently painting some loose portrait-type figure paintings like this and this, I felt inspired to try some more “character” type illustrative work.  I was inspired by some beautiful work I found on Instagram done by an artist in the Netherlands, Marleen Kleiberg.

My granddaughter got her first little pair of yellow rubber boots from the Easter Bunny last week, and even though they were two sizes too big, she fell in love with them.   Her Mommy sent a picture on Easter morning of her wearing her new boots.  She was decked out in a denim ruffle-bottomed top and peach/orange knit leggings with a matching bow in her hair (and a mouthful of jelly beans!).

I used some artistic liberty to create this painting, but Pap Pap and Mommy and Daddy knew just who it was when I showed them, and got a kick out of it.

A little over a year ago, I painted this little portrait of her.  I can’t believe how much she has grown and changed in a year!

Oh the joy this little one brings to my world!  And what a fun subject to inspire paintings.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi