Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Daring Baker's Challenge: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sorry kids but we spent all day tearing out our bathroom and I am exhausted. So down to business...this was a flop for me. I made it twice and while it tasted awesome, the middle didn't come out quite like I wanted it to. I blame everything on the pan I used (it was a little too big). Anyways, I made this with whipped cream and a raspberry sauce...divine.
Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Raspberry Sauce
Borrowed from Domino Magazine
1 pint raspberries
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

Combine half the raspberries, ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add remaining raspberries. Stir to combine and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipped cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients and whip it, whip it good.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Would This Be Considered a Form of Child Neglect?

Hmm I don't think so but we have developed some very strange games as of late. How about this one...I throw a piece of clothing over Jack's head and he starts madly giggling while crawling around. Here he is crawling...
...and crawling...
...and crawling right onto the wall.Here is a close up of the action...and yes there was a bit of a thunk. But again, HE WAS MADLY GIGGLING!
Hmmm maybe if he reverses and then...on no wait...crams his head in between the plant and the wall...giggle follows.
Just in case you doubted that he was having fun.
Next game involves pulling all of the old plastic bags out of the drawer. Fun but he knows he is not supposed to do that.
Oh he knows he is in trouble!
But I, of course, crack first. Then it is all a fun game again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little Piece of Heaven

This recipe if dedicated to my mother. She LOVES the apple cinnamon bread that you can get from Costco so I thought I would try this homemade lower-fat version out for her. Mom, You have to make this bread.

"Makeover" Apple Bread
Borrowed from Healthy Cooking

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/3 cup cold butter


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
For topping, combine the flour, sugar and walnuts; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
2 loaves (12 slices each).

Happy Birthday to ME!

It's my birthday! I am leaving BC soon to go thrift store shopping in Boise and also stop by the Bulls-Eye Boutique to see what is new. I haven't been to a Target since we left Eugene. A girl has some needs that just need to be met. My friend's joked that they were going to give me a Salvation Army gift certificate...they were being funny but I was thinking "sure...oh wait. You are kidding." Anyways, here are some pics for your amusement. I leave you to wonder how does this cute little girl...

Turn into this machine! You have to ask my parents what they fed me...or maybe what they didn't feed me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chicken in the Snow! HO! HO! HO!

Remember these guys...

...they have since turned into these beautiful hens...
...and are laying these eggs!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Found: Disgustingly Cute Salt and Pepper Shakers

I know! Wiener dogs...Jack LOVES them!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is There Light at the End of This Tunnel?

I really hope so! After losing many of my favorite shelter/DIY/inspirational magazines, there is hope on the horizon! A new magazine is coming to town and I am so excited. Fresh Home is boasting that it's content will "focus on thrifty, do-it-yourself projects that will appeal to young homeowners even in an uncertain economy." Holy cow said the chicken! So I am crossing my fingers and hoping that is one part Blueprintand one part Domino with just a hint of the nest. PLEASE!

On that same note, I also found a fun new blog while looking for the Fresh Magazine site. Check out Fresh Home the blog (no relation to the mag) and see all the pretty eye candy and home decor advice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Before and After: Consigment Store Chic

I love furniture shopping. However, I don't like shopping in furniture stores (I will make the exception for Clark and Company in Baker City Oregon!! Shout out to my boys!) and I hate matching furniture sets. So where is a girl to turn? Consignment stores. The one here in Baker has a pretty good flow of furniture and I have been watching it for about a year now...waiting...patiently waiting for something good. I finally found it!

I know it doesn't look like much but I got it at a great price and it cleaned up really nicely. For those of you that don't remember, here was our dining room upon moving in...

Next stage was a light fixture upgrade (we still have two more to put in over the table), a free table from my in-laws, and a big white sewing center that I was using as a credenza. I know! Not the prettiest but furnishing your home with pre-used furniture takes time! Sometime you have to make do with what you get until you find the perfect piece!

And I found it! It is a little office-ish right now but imagine it with new knobs and maybe, sometime in the future, stained a dark brown with white milk paint doors. For now, I like how it how it is.

One day, I will repaint the pretty red walls a nice white color and we will tear up the carpet. We have to leave it for now because we have NO IDEA what flooring is under it. Fun times.

Loran and I are having a debate on our gold dollar store chicken which I love. He hates. Check out the metal fruit bowl that I found for $2!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I am a Vintage Modern Kinda' Gal

I love online quizzes! I stop and do anything that will give me insight into my psyche. According to Sproost's online quiz, I am 50% vintage modern, 36% modern elegance, and 14% rustic revival. While not an exact science (one time it listed me at 50% cottage chic...WHAT!), it is fun and offers some pretty decors. Take the quiz more than once to see even more (and totally redeem yourself)!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Could Have Been Worse

Carrie Desktop Wallpaper 1024 x 768

I promised Anne at the City Sage that I would tell her my two tragic prom stories due to the fact that I am lacking on the blogging front which, by the way is because of very important project in the works. Anyways, you have to check out this blog post starring our own Queen Anne. I cracked up when I saw that because that was SO opposite of my prom experience.

First off, let's start with one of the dresses that I had to have made for this event. A friend of my mother's offered to make this dress for me and I was so excited when I picked out the dark green taffeta that I could hardly contain myself. We had a first fitting with the pattern and we decided that adding about 7 inches in extra material to the hemline of the pattern would be sufficient. Imagine my surprise when I went in the day before the dance to try on my mermaid dress...(Not an actual picture of me in the dress...but almost except no shells in my hair...and no pink)

wait...except it was not supposed to be a mermaid dress! It was just a simple A-line dress. She had added all 7 inches at the waist instead of the hemline. I was mortified! To make things worse, I was just nominated to be Freshman Princess earlier that day. Thank god my mom came up with the idea to cut the dress in half and make two separate pieces out of it. Brilliant.

Enter my second "prom" experience. Now please understand that I went to a very small school in southern Oregon so for me there was never a romantic connotation behind prom..that being said, my best friend in school was supposed to take me to our senior prom. It was a given right? Wrong. He ended up taking the chick that had just had a baby because he felt sorry for her. Like I said, small town. So where did that leave me? Nowhere...until a sweet underclassman stepped up and asked me. Underclassman meaning I had to drive...because he was not old enough. Oh yes, nothing says magical prom night like hiking up your floor length dress so you can drive your Chevy pick-up to the dance. Thank god I don't have to ever do that again.

What about you guys? Any fun and exciting stories that you would like to share? Crazy themes? Even crazier music? Unfortunately, 1996 was the year of the Marcarena. Ouch...that is really dating myself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Then You Get Pregnant...

I hate shopping for clothes. Then I got pregnant and my loathing was taken to a whole new level. Where do you go to find a 37" inseam in maternity wear that doesn't set you back $200? Sad to report, nowhere. Some way, some how, I managed to make it through 9 months (the first 7 required nice work clothes) and here is how.
maternity wear
maternity wear - by mowe34 on

Two necessities for the larger prego girl are Belly-Ups and the Bella Band. The first allows you to wear your regular pants much longer into your pregnancy. They are a small suspender that snaps onto the waistline of your pants and the bottom of your bra. Then you can wear your normal pants unbuttoned or your maternity pants without them sliding off every two seconds. Trust me, once your tummy gets a little rounder, NOTHING stays on!

The Bella Band is great in the fact that it helps to hold your roll-top panel pants up. It also keeps you safe from any trailer-trash-beer-gut-bottom-of-the-belly-poking-out-of-the-shirt baring. Fun I know.

The best place to find maternity clothes is online. My two top stores are Old Navy and Gap and with their free shipping over $100, I just order all I can, try everything on at home, and then send the items back that I don't like. Long Legs also offers a maternity line but their price point is quite a bit higher. I liked keeping it cheap because you won't be in these clothes long.

Dresses are another great option. They can grow with you and you don't have to worry about the inseams. Yeah! Plus, you can always slip a pair of leggings underneath to keep warm.

I hope these links help my two good friends who are both incubating fetuses. Yay for babies and clothes that fit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our Baby Boy is One Already

It has been a year since he was born! How time flies when you are having fun. A year of dirty diapers, breastfeeding, and miscellaneous mishaps (ask LJ about Jack's deadly aim). Jack had no idea what was going on so we kept the party small inviting just the family. I debated about what to make him and finally settled on mashed potato casserole, peas, and meat pies made by my mother-in-law. All of his favorites.

Then came the cake. Chocolate zucchini cake with a light dusting of powdered sugar got the nod. He loved it and not only stuffed it in his mouth, but tried to lovingly share it with his best bud, Inchie the wiener dog. fun is it to watch your kid eat their first sweet dessert?

Almost as much fun as your kid managing to make a Charlie Chaplin style 'stache on his face. We left that for awhile because it amused us so.

Happy Birthday little man!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Living in the Land of the Lost!

Marshall, Will and Holly
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known
High on the rapids It struck their tiny raft (insert screams here)
And plunged them down a thousand feet below
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost

You know it is good when your dad watches it with you. Basically, a dad and his two kids fall through a crack and end up in this weird world of dinosaurs, aliens-lizard things (called "Sleestak") and hairy little caveman.

They are remaking it. Will Ferrell is starring. I AM SO EXCITED!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Etsy Eight: Shopping Vicariously Through My Blog

Here is what I would buy today...if I had the money and absolutely no conscience or self-control.

Though suede would be prettier, I wouldn't be able to wash it when the Tupperware dish full of applesauce leaks onto the interior. Taupe McCloud Handbag, $49

Pretty. Pod Vase, $80

Brilliant idea! Reusable Sandwich Bags, $8

Because I feel like a hypocrite putting plastic-bagged veggies into my cloth totes at the supermarket. Reusable produce bags, $10.50

Robosaurus, $22

And if Jack were a little girl, this ladybug tee. Inkpony LB tee, $17

What we feel most has no name (deep thought for the day), $35

I love plates. This are so cute and would make a great Valentine's Day setting. She also has a white series that is really nice! Pomegranate Milano cupcake dessert plates, $75