Thursday, July 30, 2015

Camping with Bessie

Our view from the front door (in Bessie)

Summertime and the livin' is easy...or so the song goes.

Not so much at our house, until the weekend.

We bust our butts all week to get everything done; watering, cleaning, shopping, cooking, work...
then Friday afternoon rolls around and we are on the road out of town!

Here are some pictures and a short video of our favorite place to camp.  We love it here and can't wait to bust our butts all week so we can head out again.

Tucker and Hershey on the river.

Tucker's favorite place, laying in the water (and that is cold!)

Riley whining because he wants in my lap.

July 30, 2015   Sunrise 4:43 am  Sunset 11:08 pm  Temp. H 72/ L 50°F

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Patriotic Pie and a Kitchen Disaster

We had about 20 people over for a 4th of July dinner.  We didn't have the usual grilled meat type of dinner, no, the Blond Boy and the DIL were here so we had prime rib and crab.  The boy loves prime rib and the DIL loves crab.  I did make a patriotic pie.  It was a cheater pie from this pie, but I used canned pie filling, I was in a hurry.  I made the pie, snapped a picture to post on instagram, and popped it in the oven.  450°F and 45 minutes later, it was ready to pull out of the oven.

I did want to make sure the bottom crust was cooked completely, and since I baked this in a pyrex pan I lifted it over my head and checked out the bottom crust - perfect!  As I was lowering it to place it on the counter, the pie slipped from the pot holders and spilled, upside-down, onto the door of the oven.

I screamed, the glass hit, and my kids came running to see what the noise was all about.  The pie, of course, was ruined.  There was cherry and blueberry lava all over the oven door, inside the oven, the kitchen floor...the kids turned the oven off and started to clean up the mess.  We got a good handle of the mess and the Baby Boy says, "I thought there was blueberry in the pie, I've only cleaned up cherry."
This is after I used two spatulas to clean most of it off the door, I finally calmed down a little.

He opened the drawer under the oven, and there was a pile of blueberry and more cherry all over the pans in the bottom drawer.  More cleaning, one last scrub of the oven and the floor and we were done.
The drawer under the oven...full of blueberry and cherry goodness that we don't get to enjoy.

Now, the good news in this mishap is 1) the pyrex dish didn't break, 2) the glass on the oven door didn't break, and 3) the pie slipped forward, not backward, and I didn't end up wearing searing hot sugary pie filling and ending up in the burn unit at our local hospital!

The Baby Boy and the Chick went to the store and bought ice cream, toppings, and waffle cones and we had an ice cream bar for our dessert.  It was the silver lining to the whole event.

1 year ago:   The Curly Haired Boy's Wedding
2 years ago:  Adult Root Beer Floats
3 years ago:  Strawberry Eating Dogs and Strawberry Pie

July 8, 2015  Sunrise 3:30 am  Sunset 12:23 am  Temp H 73/ L 52°F

Monday, July 6, 2015

Surfing lessons

A couple months have gone by since Dave's mom passed on, so I can share this now.

My husband and I were over at his mom's.  It was a particularly difficult day for her and Dave and I were a little wrung out.  He was in the kitchen and I was in the bathroom with his mom helping her get cleaned up, yet again.  It was an indelicate situation and it went from bad to worse...

So after she was finished getting cleaned up, she had new clothes on and was sitting in her chair, I went into the kitchen and informed my husband that when all this was said and done, he was taking me on vacation so I could learn how to surf.
"Yes ma'am." was his whole answer.

I married a smart man.

He even emailed me information about surfing schools in Hawaii.  I think we will probably go next fall, in October or November.  I'm not sure we are stuck on Hawaii so I am looking around.  When it was my turn to spend the night with June, and she was tucked into bed for the night I surfed the web (see what I did there..."surf" the web, clever, huh), and check out places all over the world that has surfing schools.  It was a wonderful way to take a little stress off the day and dream of oceans and warmer weather.

Coconut Mojito on the Rocks

24-48 mint leaves
2 oz. fresh lime juice
8 oz. coconut rum
2 oz. simple syrup
4 oz. cream of coconut
club soda

Fill 4 glasses with ice.

Place mint leaves, lime juice and simple syrup in pitcher.  Muddle with back of spoon until mint is broken down and infused juice and syrup with flavor.  Add coconut rum and cream of coconut.  Mix well.  Add ice and stir until very cold.

Strain the drink into chilled, ice-filled glasses and fill about 4/3 full.  Top with club soda.  Enjoy

The Blond Boy enjoying a coconut mojito over the 4th of July weekend.

The Blond Boy and his friend "Not-Craig" visiting from California.

July 6, 2015   Sunrise 3:24am  Sunset 12:28 am  Temp H 79/ L 54°F

Friday, July 3, 2015

Chocolate Cake Pops

So, I had all this extra cake from the  heart cakes I made for the wedding rehearsal dinner, and I had some Nutella Buttercream left over, so I just mixed the two, rolled them into balls, and dipped them in chocolate.  Everyone thought I was brilliant and went out of my way to make a special treat...I'll never tell them they are just eating left-overs!
Roll the cake paste (mmm, delicious, cake-paste) into balls.

Add sticks - or not

After dipping in chocolate, sprinkle with sprinkles while the chocolate is still soft.

I left some plain for those sickkos who don't like sprinkles.

An assortment of sprinkles to make everyone happy.

My taste-tester approved.

Chocolate Cake Pops

1 Chocolate cake, your favorite or from a box (I used the left-overs from two sheets of cut out hearts from this recipe)
1/2 batch of Nutella buttercream (here) or a can of frosting

Candy coating or chocolate for dipping (I use Ghirardelli's dipping chocolate)
Assorted Sprinkles
Sticks, if desired

Break up cake and place it and frosting in mixer and mix on low until completely incorporated and a soft paste forms.  Roll into desired size balls.  I like to use my medium scooper for this.  Add sticks, if desired.  Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate, I like to use a measuring glass in the microwave.  Dip cake balls in chocolate and let excess drip off.  Place in cookie sheet and sprinkle if desired.  Keep in refrigerator.

You can use any flavor cake, any flavor frosting and white or dark chocolate.  I've also made these with a surprise middle, like a raspberry or candy center.  Use your imagination!

1 year ago:   Chicken with Tomato/Onion Chutney and Blood Work
2 years ago:  Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings
3 years ago:  Homemade Root Beer and Root Beer Float Pie

July 3, 2015   Sunrise: 3:16 am  Sunset 12:35 am  Temp H 68/ L 48°F

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chocolate heart cakes

It is summer and weddings are in the air.  We have 4 to go to ourselves!  It is very fun to see couples that you have known for a long time take that next step and become husband and wife.  

This past weekend the son of good friends got married. Dave coached the boy young man in high school basketball, and this couple were at our house for their senior prom dinner. The blond boy was in the wedding so he  and the DIL came up.  We were invited to the rehearsal dinner and I was asked to bring dessert.  I made these little heart cakes, filled with Nutella buttercream and raspberry jelly, topped with more Nutella buttercream and a little pink heart (the bridesmaids dresses were this shade of pink).  They were easy, delicious and a big hit.  I'm all for wedding season if I can eat more of these.

Bake the chocolate cake in a 13x17 inch sheet pan, then use a small cookie cutter to cut out the hearts.

As I removed the hearts, I cut them in half horizontally with a serrated knife

The bottom half bordered with Nutella buttercream and filled with raspberry jam.

White chocolate, dyed pink, for the hearts.

Tops added and frosted and hearts added.

Chocolate Heart Cakes with Nutella Buttercream and Raspberry Jam

For Cake
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ¾ cup sugar
• ½ cup cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup warm water
• 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
• 1 egg
• ½ cup milk
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Buttercream

1 large jar or 2 small jars of Nutella (about 26 ounces)
3 sticks of butter or 1.5 cups  room temperature

Whip Nutella and butter together until light and fully mixed.  Scrap down bowl and mix on meduim-high for about 2 more minutes.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Spray 13x17 inch pan with a baking spray, line with parchment, spray with baking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a small cup, dissolve the instant espresso powder in water. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract on medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Stir in mixed espresso. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool the cake on wire rack  completely.
6. Cut our hearts or desired shape, carefully remove from pan.  Slice in half horizontally and place on a clean sheet pan.
7. Put buttercream in a piping bag with a star tip.
8. Place bottom half of heart on plate, pipe a rim around the edge, fill with raspberry jelly, place top of cake back on and press gently to secure.
9.  Pipe buttercream on top and decorate with candy heart or other decoration. (I do all the buttercream rims, then all the raspberry jelly, then all the tops - it goes faster than doing one full cake at a time.)
Refrigerate until buttercream firms.  Remove from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving.

1 year ago:     Patriotic Pie
2 years ago:  White Water Rafting at Denali Park
3 years ago:  Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

July 1, 2015   Sunrise 3:11 am  Sunset 12:39 am  Temp H 63/ L 50°F