Monthly Archives: September 2011

A chocolate lover’s ecstacy

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“These are scrumptious!” – Cullen.

Ba Hah! Nice word choice hun. But really, I couldn’t agree more. I ate one cupcake worth of batter before baking, one as soon as it came out of the oven and another in celebration of my dad’s birthday after lunch. Woof!

Cupcake Project’s Better Than Sex Cupcake has been on my baking bucket list since I found the recipe at the beginning of the summer. It has five different chocolate components to it that combine to make a chocolate party in your mouth. You can check out the original recipe and blog here :

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/02/better-than-sex-cupcakes-chocolate.html

It was my dad’s birthday today so I whipped up these babies this morning while Lilly was at preschool. The five components of the cake include the amazingly moist chocolate cake, mini semi-sweet chocolate pieces in the cake, a chocolate mousse filling (I omitted this component due to time and ingredient constraints), a chocolate ganache frosting and a white chocolate drizzle.

I was NOT disappointed by the outcome and neither was any one else except maybe the birthday boy himself since he can’t taste food. Really, dad eats but can’t taste anything because the radiation and chemo took out his sense of taste. The man has had a rocky couple of years but just kicked his throat cancer in the ass, just in time for his birthday! Woo hoo!!!

I sort of feel like a jerk for making something so delicious for his birthday and he couldn’t even enjoy it. I’ll make them again for him when his taste returns.

      

Lilly and Odin were happy to enjoy the cupcakes for Grandpa’s birthday though!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!  You deserve this next year to be as good as these cupcakes were to eat. That’s sayin’ something!

Make these cupcakes for a chocolate lover in your life.

 

Pizza Party

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We eat a ton of pizza in this household but rarely to we make pizza from scratch. In reality I don’t know why I don’t do this more often. The kids love it, I love it  and the pizza tastes so much better. Yesterday evening we had a total of 5 moms and 10 kids making pizzas and creating chaos. It was great!

These little ladies were more than eager to get their hands dirty rolling dough, spreading sauce and slopping down cheese, pepperoni and sausage.  Of course my pictures are lacking since I was the ring leader of this culinary adventure and was busy making sure each kid had their fair share of toppings and turn with the rolling pin.

These blonde-haired heart breakers will know how to make their future girlfriends a decent home made pizza pie!

   

I couldn’t have asked for cuter dinner company!

I pulled a photo from a pizza party we had last month so you could see the beautiful pizzas we create. The designs come out differently each time but the cheesy faces and smiles is a constant.

This is one of my best buddies from the burbs. She’s totally out numbered raising three boys but that doesn’t stop her from making a honey wheat pizza dough and single-handedly assembling one of the most yummy pizzas I’ve had in a long time. Stacey made us a pesto-corn-tomato pizza. Does the thought of corn on pizza creep you out a little? I was a bit dubious too but take my word for it and try it anyways. It was out of this world! Thanks Stacey!!!

So, get your hands dirty and make some pizzas! You won’t be sorry.

***Quick tip:

I’ve found that Dell Alpe pizza sauce is a front runner in store brand pizza sauces. 1 can covers 3 pizzas.

Elk, it’s what’s for dinner

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More specifically it was a ricotta-elk burger and actually it was lunch. Whatever. The burgers lasted all of 5 minutes and that’s just because Lilly eats like a tortoise. They were just too good! The recipe was simple, just 1 pound ground elk, about 1/2 cup ricotta and a good dose of Montreal Steak Seasoning. I didn’t want to add too much to the burger because I wanted the elk to be the star and based on the fact that Lilly ate it, I’d have to say it was a success.

 

Lilly was not willing to share with her vulture-like parents. Poor Odin was sleeping while these masterpieces were being annihilated. Better luck next time, boy!

For our Sunday football feast we made ground elk tacos which were also delicious but the taco seasonings disguised the elk flavor too much. I’ll stick to using ground goose for tacos in the future.

 

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

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It’s a classic car question that kids love to ask just to drive their parent’s nuts. Lilly has her own version of this and it goes like this:

Lilly – “Are we almost home?”

Me – “No”

Lilly – “Now are we almost home?”

Me – “We’re 10 seconds closer than the last time you asked. And NO!”

…so on and so forth. Today everything changed, I fear, due to my smart-ass nature.

Here’s what went down:

We were 5 minutes into our 15 minute drive home from Grandma Maggie and Coach’s (aka Grandpa Rob) house when Lilly starts asking if we’re almost home and lamenting how she is “just done with sitting in this car”.

I then turn to Cullen and say, in my high-pitched mocking voice, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Hey mom, are we there yet? Huh, huh, huh, are we there yet?”

He chuckled and not 10 seconds later we hear Lilly mocking me back , “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?…” I responded with a quick, “NO!” which was followed just as quickly with a, “Ugh Mom, are ya kiddin’ me?!” Spoken like a true teenager!

Not to be ignored, Odin felt the need to chime in with more mocking but thankfully he isn’t too good an enunciating words so it came out in a high pitched mumble. Cullen and I laughed at the whole situation, of course, but we both died a little inside too knowing this is only the beginning of a world of car ride hurt.

They’re just lucky they’re so darn cute!

Apple Craft for glue stick addicts

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If you have a toddler then you’re fully aware of the addictive nature of glue sticks. If you have a toddler then you’re also aware of how difficult it is to think through a coherent thought while they run and scream around your computer. But I digress. Though please forgive me if this post is grammatically unsound or hard to read. I blame the chaos that is unfolding around me as Cullen sleeps on the couch.

Back to the apple craft. So last week we had a play date at our home and I figured a structured craft would be good, even if it only kept the kids occupied in a civil fashion for a few minutes. A quick internet search revealed a paper based craft needing only the items in my craft drawer. Let me show ya how it’s done:

 

The cast of characters include while paper cut into an apple, green paper cut into a leaf, red paper torn into pieces, a different color for the background and a glue stick. An older kid could help with the cutting but I took care of this detail for the munchkins.


It’s a pretty straight-forward project once you have everything assembled. Just glue the apple down and stick the red paper to the white apple trying to cover all the white spots. This is easier said than done when you’re just 1 year old!

When you’re three you tell your mom, “Go away! I can do it!” and “You forgetted I’m a big girl.”

No hunny, I did not forgetted you’re a big girl, I just like to feel needed every now and then, darn it! Preschool has made her extremely independent as if she wasn’t so before!

While your older kid is laboring at spelling her name it’s always a bright idea to give the younger one a marker and a blank apple and see how much marker ends up in his mouth and how much ends up on the apple. I think it was a pretty even outcome.

And if you’re like me, do one yourself and laugh at how superior yours is to your kids… wait, don’t do that. That’s a jerk move and your kids will end up in therapy. Just make one and put it on your door when you have company and don’t want the door bell waking the kids.

If you leave extra craft supplies on the table you never know how many duplicated projects will appear on your display door… Lilly really enjoyed this one! She made 4.

Happy crafting!

Death to the Fruit Flies

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These tiny winged creatures are the bane of my existence. We had a phenomenal harvest this year with our first garden. We had snap peas, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peppers, jalapenos, broccoli, cilantro, basil, cucumber and loads of tomatoes. As we harvested our bounty and brought it in the house to sit on the counter (and sometimes rot because really, I can only eat so many damn vegetables without the help of my family) we soon found ourselves coexisting with hoards of fruit flies. Yuck! My kitchen has been a fruit fly’s Mecca for at least 2 months now and to be honest I sort of got use to the tiny buggers, although I certainly still dislike them. The solution to my problem came to me from the lips of a large yeti we call John. Yesterday he informed me that he had a similar pest problem and a simple ramekin filled with cider vinegar and a small drop of soap swirled into it would soon leave me the sole inhabitant of my kitchen once more. As of this morning I can happily attest to the success of this method as I swirl twenty or so dead fruit flies around in the small dish. Thanks Yeti John!

Happy in the kitchen once more,

Coll

 

***A few pictures to add:

The specks are the flies

I married a fat kid.

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Of course, I’m a fat kid at heart too so being married to one is just grand. Our freezer currently contains Reeses Peanut Butter Cup ice cream bars (thank you Grandma Maggie), a gallon of rainbow sherbet, Deans’ Cookies and Cream and Edy’s Caramel Delight ice cream. Now would be an appropriate time to be slightly embarrassed but since that doesn’t happen to me too often we’re good.  On top of all that there is an angle food cake cooling on my counter. Be jealous! Give me an hour and that baby will be smothered in chocolate frosting and on its way to being consumed. Mind you, this is our second angle food cake since Saturday. The first was only in existence for a few short hours before being completely devoured and both were instigated by my beloved. He sure does love his angle food cake with chocolate frosting and he’s damn good at making them from scratch. It’s nice not being the only capable one in the kitchen, even if it is one of the only things he makes.

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9/24/11 update

All that remains of the cake is the frosting smudges on the kid’s faces! We were eating it for 2 days and it was the best one we’ve ever made We’re already eager to make another.

 

Indulging in sweets

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I figured I could throw up some pics of my recent baking. Currently the thought of a cupcake makes me want to barf but I’m trying to get over that. Just some bad associations with early pregnancy…

 

Here is a pic of Kelly’s graduation cake. It had 8 layers. The recipe was from Cooksillustrated and featured a yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting. It was damn good despite it looking a little goofy but I’m more about taste than looks as you’ll soon find out!

Next up, salted caramel cup cakes. Despite some massive issues making all three components of the cupcake (cake, buttercream and caramel) it came together after a night in the refrigerator.

A little back story is necessary for this next cake. My grandparents use to own the bakery on the square in Woodstock before they sold it to Swiss Made. I grew up eating delicious desserts and a family favorite is the marzipan covered cakes. Before going back to Germany in June I spent some time in the kitchen with my gramps and walked away with some of his recipes. I got to do the honors for Father’s Day. It’s a yellow cake with fresh strawberry filling and a nutella-buttercream covered in Marzipan. YUM!

The next batch of cupcakes were so delicious so it stands to reason that I have no idea where I found the recipe. It was just a standard chocolate cupcake with a very light swiss buttercream frosting. I really need to do a better job of documenting my baking sources so I repeat in the future. The picture features my good friend Amy and her darling girl, Lila and of course the cupcake.

Forgetting cake for a minute, I have to throw up a pic of some summertime sugar cookies. When I make these little suckers they don’t last long. The icing is delicious but almost impossible to stack and transport because of its butter and powdered sugar base.

I’m pretty proud of the way this next one turned out. It was a last minute cake for Pierce’s good bye dinner. I piped the logo in white chocolate bark and then just dyed some frosting and garnished with chocolate chips.

This goofy number was for Amy’s 25th birthday. It was late and I ran out of frosting. That’s my excuse for the appearance. Lila didn’t seem to mind though and everyone said it tasted just like a sugar cookie. It was white cake with my sugar cookie frosting so it’s no wonder it tasted like a cookie. I don’t think I’d repeat that combo though.


August saw a flurry of baking, all for the same day. I had my first tiered wedding cake to make on top of 24 rootbeer cupcakes for Robby and Kathryn’s BBQ and I threw in a dozen devil’s food cupcakes for Sobacki’s neighbor’s birthday and some for the new mamas in my life. There were a few mishaps but I’m just an amateur people!

Phew! So that highlights my baking shenanigans throughout the summer.  Feels good to get it all in one place. There has also been a few strawberry rhubarb pies and apple crisps that have been stellar. I’m sure this blog will be showcasing a lot of apple related treats in the near future. I have a small obsession with all things Fall.

Life and living and all that jazz

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Well, you asked for it so here goes nothing. I’m starting this blog for all our friends and family who miss out on all the fun, excitement and absurd antics that fill our days and weeks and months.  Check in when you can, when you remember or when you’re bored and see what we’re up to. You’re like to find cooking and baking recipes both disastrous and successful, photos of our adventures and quotes directly from the mouths of the little monsters I’m raisin (both young and old!) Hold on to your hats, this may be a bumpy ride!

 

A snippet from Lil's first day of school