21 November, 2010

Turning 9

 My Thanksgiving baby.  Is he a cutie pie or what? He was born the day after Thanksgiving, 2001.  For their birthdays my boys get to choose what kind of cake they like,  what type of frosting, and frosting color.  Chocolate cake with red frosting and sprinkles was my 9 year olds request and he loves to help.  The chocolate cake on the back of the Hershey's cocoa can is a pretty good one, but I decided to search a little.  This cake is wonderfully moist and rich, almost fudgey.  It's very decadent and special enough for company or something as special as your baby turning 9!!

I was in a hurry in preparing it and didn't read it used three cake pans.  I only used two.  Yes, the cake took an extra 30 minutes but the moistness was not effected in the least.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (I used all-purpose and sifted it)
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 3 circles of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, then press them in.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and eggs and mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix. Add 1/2 of the flour, then 1/2 of the sour creamand mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream. Drizzle in the hot coffee and mix until smooth. The batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pans and bake until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay), about 35 minutes. Halfway through the baking, quickly rotate the pans in the oven to ensure even baking, but otherwise try not to open the oven. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.

The recipe suggests cream cheese frosting. Per my son's request I used buttercream.  Here is the recipe I use:
3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2-3 T. heavy cream
Cream butter and add sugar, vanilla and cream.  Beat until smooth and use more cream if needed to get the right consistency.

17 November, 2010

Chili and mashed potatoes?

I peeled my last 6 potatoes with the intention of making Shepherd's pie for dinner.  Like I do so often I opened my lazy susan to discover I had no canned green beans.  I'd used them last week for Boola Boola (a great recipe of my dad's that I'll share later).  So...I had to go to plan B.  Plan B was chili.  So I had potatoes already peeled so I boiled them up while I made the chili.  Both mashed potatoes and chili are great comfort foods and so wonderful on a cold fall night.  I had never had chili over mashed potatoes before.  My mom in law loves chili with rice, restaurants makes chili cheese fries so I thought why not the chili over mashed potatoes?  Once I tasted this I wondered why I'd never done it before.  Delicious overload.
Yes, it's rich, but what comfort food isn't? A small portion is quite satisfying.  It's quite good let me just tell you.
So next time you're in the mood for some serious comfort food--mashed potatoes and chili.

14 November, 2010

Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

Thai is probably my favorite type of food to eat (and make)  I love to shop the International Market for my ingredients.  It's easy to pick up what you need there.  That would be the Fish sauce, Thai chili peppers and Thai basil.  The rest of the ingredients are more than likely available at your local Kroger.
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1-4 (depending on your heat level) Thai chili peppers, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 T. sugar
3 T. oyster sauce
2 T. fish sauce
4 c. day old Jasmine rice
one sliced red pepper
1 c. Thai basil
Preheat your wok.  Add 1/4 c. vegetable oil.  When oil is hot add chicken, garlic, and Thai peppers.
Stir fry until chicken starts to brown and gets about half way cooked.  Add fish sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce.  Continue to stir.  Now add your rice and toss everything all together.  Add your red pepper and Thai basil.  continue to stir until basil is wilted making sure chicken is cooked completely.
Plate and serve right away.  

13 November, 2010

Brined BBQ chicken and potato skins

Do you know how delicious and juicy poultry is when you use a brine?  During Thanksgiving time you will hear a lot about brining turkey.  If only brine fresh turkey or chickens.  If you were to buy a Butterball turkey those are already brined before you buy them.  Homemade brines are definitely superior if you have the time. 
Last night I made a big Friday night dinner since sickness has invaded our home nobody was in the mood to do our usual family night out.
Try this brine next time you're making chicken:
8 c. water
1/4 c. sea salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 T. BBQ dry rub seasoning  (You can use any dry rub recipe you like.  There are a lot of them out there) 
Mix this together in a covered container.  Take your chicken breasts (bone in or boneless-skinless) and submerge in in the brine.  Cover and let it stay in there for at least 2 hours but NO MORE THAN 4!  When done brining take it out of the brine and pat dry.  Bake it, broil it or grill it.  The result is deliciously flavorful and juicy chicken.  It's no more trouble than a marinade and really worth the time.  

10 November, 2010

Ode to Joy by Carrason

Carrason has been taking piano lessons for 2 1/2 months!

08 November, 2010

Favorite scents

I haven't had a chance to review any scents in the last couple weeks.  I will soon tho' as I've got to figure out what my Christmas scent will be.  So, I thought I would share a couple of my personal favorites I wear on a continual basis.
First is L'Artisan's Vanilia. I first found this scent 4-5 years ago.  I heard Michelle Pfeiffer talk about how good it was and it made me want to try it.  Unfortunately this scent has been discontinued.  Don't even get me started on the senselessness of that.  Without going into a complaint novel, I'll just say...it's a tragedy of epic proportions.  L'Artisan's Vanilia is the king of vanilla.  Don't think of a sweet candy coated vanilla.  This is a smokey vanilla that's all grown up. Ylang-ylang, nutmeg, clove, vanilla, & sandalwood are among the top notes.  A really delicious scent that you can still find in a few places online if you're really interested. 

06 November, 2010

game day dip

                   No, it's not a new recipe but it's so good on a game day.
1 lb. Velveeta cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can hot Rotel
1 lb. cooked and drained ground beef
Put all ingredients in the crock pot or in a saucepan on the stove over very low heat.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday odds and ends

Better late than never.

                                                           Carrs and daddy 
                                                   Connor helping remove filter

                                                    Daddy working hard
                                                     the pool cover
                                                    Until next year...

Table talk
 Here lies our kitchen table.  Every scratch and stain made in the 8 years we've owned it are reminiscent of some event or time in our lives.  This is wear and tear with love.  Thousands of meals (literally), many hundreds of homeschool days, and many good friends entertained.   So...the point of the photo is I wanted to show you these cute Dwell Studio place mats I found on clearance at Target yesterday.  They are cork on the bottom, easy to clean, and cover a lot of our unashamed wear and tear if we need them to.
Cute huh?

gobble gobble:
 I have a flag for every season and most holidays.  I've had the same Thanksgiving flag for about 7 yrs.  I was excited to find a new flag yesterday (again at Target) for $2.50!!  It's still a little wrinkled but a great little flag for the price.  

03 November, 2010


Enchiladas for dinner tonight.  I loosely based these on Pioneer Woman's recipe from her cookbook.

Magic Chopper

I use lots of onions when I cook but I hate cutting them.  Many years ago my hubs DLP bought me a "Magic Chopper".  I believe it was one of those "As seen on TV"type products.  It's dangerous for DLP to watch infomercials because he inevitably is drawn like a moth to a flame and like a sheep to the home shopping network slaughter he'll follow and believe that the product (as they claim) will change my life.  It's sweet and thoughtful of him and I do love him for it. Well, I ended up LOVING the chopper.  I used in continually for many years. So my old original chopper chopped it's last onion a few months ago.  I looked all over (Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Sears, Walmart, etc..) for a new one to no avail.   I finally found one here in Nashville at Old Time Pottery.  It was still under $20!  I would have paid way more.
                  The Magic Chopper
      Cut off onion ends and peel it
      half it and into the magic chopper it goes
       Give it a few turns and like magic---
Chopped onions with NO tears or smelly hands and easy clean up.  Wash it in some warm soapy water and dry.  I don't usually put it in the dishwasher.  I probably should have picked up two. :)

Beautiful Watches

Isn't a watch a terrific thing?  Not only does it adorn your wrist and look lovely, but it serves a real essential purpose in keeping time.  The high price watches aren't significant to me.  You can have your Rolex, Cartier, and Tag Heuer (I can't come close to affording them anyway).  My favorite watch ever was one I found in a pawn shop when I was nineteen. It was around $15.  A very thin, flat and large face with a plain roman numerals and a flat black band.  Simple and classic.  I think it must have been some weird off brand because I could never find a replacement once the insides stopped functioning.  Here's a few of my favorites right now:  
Remember SWATCH?  I had two in high school. They're still around and have some really cute styles.  I love this one they call "Frozen Breeze" $50. http://store.swatch.com/special-collections/watches/page/1/GN231

I like Fossil watches.  They are affordable and have lots of cool styles.  This style called the Three Hand Convertible Silver watch caught my eye.  $95

This watch is actually a man's watch.  I like the simplistic flat face. I'd prefer a black band tho'. It reminds me of my favorite pawn shop watch.  $175


Very nice.  $575


Newport KY

Cincinnati at Sunset

            I took this picture on our trip back from KY.  It was Halloween and I thought it would be a good haunted house

                               The Creation Museum pond was beautiful, even in the fall.
                                              Big red barn
                       No, we didn't eat here but it looked like one of those great hole in the wall places in downtown Cincinnati.