Friday, February 19, 2010

What We've Been Up to: Photo Journal

Oh, yeah, and Logan has RSV--so you can guess just how recent some of those pictures are. Poor baby. Send well-wishes his way!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Evening Laborer

My poor hubby has been banished--to the bathroom. Every evening he spends some quality time getting up close and personal with our guest bathroom. No, not in that way. He's attempting to remove lingering wallpaper glue. This has been quite the ordeal. Our adventures in wallpaper land began when we bought my childhood home in 2008. We tackled the master bedroom first. And, it still looks like this:
And then the dining room and the downstairs guest bath. The dining room is the only room "finished." It's the only room in the house that looks like us. The rest, well, not so much. The downstairs bath paper had to go--it was discolored from water dripping from the towel rack when people dried their hands and peeling in places. In other words, not the impression I want to make with people. But, it's been sitting in a state of disrepair for over a year now. Bedrest and a newborn in the house didn't help much.So, here's the only thing Matt's found to take off glue--a steamer and a drywall sponge. We've tried water and vinegar, putty knives, DIFF, you name it. Instead he gets to wax on and wax off until he wishes his arms would fall off at the elbow. Great fun. If you happen to have a magic wand for vanishing wallpaper glue, please let me borrow it. My hubby will love you forever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Death of Me

Today I hosted cooking group. The theme was "Chocolate that Warms the Heart." More like, "Chocolate that Clogs the Heart." I made a very scrumptious chocolate cake FROM SCRATCH with a chocolate ganache. Sounds fancy, but it was not really that hard. I stole the recipe from my go-to website for this sort of I highly, highly, highly suggest you try this recipe. It's FAB. In fact, it is so yummy that I couldn't resist eating some of it before bed tonight and then sitting down to type this because I think it criminal that all of you, my fabulous readers, do not have the taste of this heavenly, artery clogging, chocolaty goodness in your mouth (and clinging to your thighs) at this very moment.

Now, a note on this recipe. The baking temp is 275. Who ever heard of baking a cake at that temperature? I tried it (in 9in cake pans, because that's what I own) and it was still a runny mess after 40min. I then had to bake it at 375 for about 15min before it was set properly. So, use your discretion on the baking temp and check frequently with a toothpick to determine doneness (is that a word? If not, you know what I mean--yeah, yeah, ignore that I'm an English major).

Colette's Chocolate Bourbon Coconut Cake
Recipe courtesy Colette Peters, New York, NY and taken from

Prep Time:45 minInactive Prep Time:2 hr 0 minCook Time:50 min
Serves: about 20 servings
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups hot coffee
1/4 cup bourbon
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Chocolate Ganache:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (either blocks cut into small pieces or chocolate chips)
8 ounces heavy cream
2 teaspoons your favorite liqueur or extract, optional

Place the sifted flour in a medium bowl and stir in the baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, place the chocolate and the butter. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and butter and then add the bourbon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the cover and whisk to fully incorporate. Set aside until mixture has cooled.

Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

When coffee mixture has cooled, add the sugar and whisk until blended. Add the flour mixture, half at a time and stir until just combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, and coconut and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for about 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack before icing.

While cakes are cooling, make ganache:
Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan just until it starts to boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate, making sure that all of the chocolate is covered. Cover the bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the chocolate until dark and shiny and then let cool to room temperature. The more you whisk this icing as it cools, the stiffer it will get. If you refrigerate the icing before you put it on the cake, it will get very hard and you will have to microwave it for a few seconds to soften it to a spreadable state.

Frost cake:
Spread ganache over bottom layer of cake. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganache. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I heard about this charity from an email discussion group and had to make it the cause of a quick and easy service project for our local MOMS Club chapter. There was a drop box for the cause in our local mall, and we filled up the whole thing (and broke it in the process, but that's my hubby's fault and not mine). I should have taken my camera but didn't think about it.

If you have not heard of Soles4Souls, it was founded in 2004 by Wayne Elsey to help victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. A rather simple concept, Soles3Souls collects new and gently used shoes around the country and redistributes them to those in need in the US and around the world.

The method is simple; clean out your closet and protect someone else's feet. This would be a wonderful cause for a shoe drive (like we had) or just as an incentive to get rid of stuff you don't use to benefit a soul who really needs them.

If you would like more information on Soles4Souls, please visit their website: