Sunday, August 28, 2011

anna quindlen

I had no idea who she is, until Julie mentioned she loved her.  I just liked the quote, so I posted it.  But, now that she has peaked my curiosity, I have done a little internet investigating and have discovered a wealth of interesting/clever quotations from her.  How fun!!

And although I promise that this will not become a blog of AQ quotes, I found one that went nicely with the pics I had stumbled across when reorganizing my computer folders (I have been in a cleaning/reorganizing frenzy lately...i know, I know, that's what spring is for. But right before a new service year I have an overpowering urge to make my life (and home) BETTER. And CLEANER. Just so I can enjoy throwing myself into service in September without the guilt that I am neglecting something.)
anyways, here goes:

Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That's what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first.

 We aren't always breaking something when we're cleaning, but it does seem to go in waves.  This little bird was no doubt a gift brought by travelling missionaries or bethel guests who often stay at the home of the sister we clean for.  In other words, IRREPLACEABLE.  oops! not to worry, we always carry superglue for just such occasions.

One day, at the end of a particularly long streak of breaking things, I heard a commotion coming from the bedroom, and Erin started shouting for help.  She broke the bed. From underneath. How is that possible? haha. (we fixed it!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kitty Litter Cake

Last month I was invited to a bbq and asked to bring a dessert.  Since I knew there would be lots of kids there, I decided to make this recipe.  I've only made it once before, but as it is so unusal and simple to make, I found that I had no trouble remembering the ingredients.

 Kitty Litter Cake
You will need:
Chocolate cake mix
Package of Chocolate chip cookies
1 box instant pudding
Package of mini twix and or tootsie rolls ( tootsie rolls are more moldable, but I think twix are yummier)
Plastic tub
Plastic Scoop (I got tub and scoop at the dollar store)

1.Prepare one box of chocolate cake mix (follow directions for 9x13 pan) and let cake cool
2.Prepare one box of instant chocolate pudding
3.Crush a package of chocolate chip cookies (not the chewy ones, and a ziplock bag and rolling pin work great for this)

Crumble cake and mix with pudding in large bowl. Spread in tub
Sprinkle cookie crumbs evenly over top.
Mold tootsie rolls or twix bars, roll slightly in crumbs and place in tub.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The dinner co-op is still in action, although it just isn't the same without Julie (she's on hiatus while she remodels her house, which means she will hopefully return this fall).  I miss her enthusiasm for food, and being able to discuss our food triumphs and disasters together.
This week has been especially fantastic, so much so that I felt compelled to write about it here.  It all started yesterday with Trixy and Regan's dinner of stuffed porkchops (the stuffing wouldn't fit so it ended up as more of a sauce, which was still delicous) and spring greens with loads of strawberries in a balsamic dressing.
Every time I taste a fresh local summer strawberry, I  ask myself, "Why did I even bother buying strawberries in February?!?" They tasted like paper.  But the ones at the markets now are amazing.  I love, love, love summer.  Yeah, the weather has been disappointing, but the fruit oh so definitely makes up for it.

Tonight I made salmon burgers with a dill-lemon cream cheese spread. ( I get them from the costco freezer section. They are soo yummy and easy to make.  I usually just cook and crumble them over a salad, but now that I've actually eaten them in their intended burger form, I think I'm hooked! )

For dessert  I actually made something that looks pretty!!!  Usually the appearance of my baked goods leaves something to be desired. but not tonight.  Here is the recipe.  It is incredibly easy and quick to make, with very simple ingredients.

Peach and Raspberry Scone Cake
(from Kitchen Seasons, easy recipes for seasonal organic food, by Ross Dobson)

2 1/4 c self-rising flour
2 c whipping cream
1 c lemonade
1/4 c raspberry jam
2 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 basket fresh raspberries (I used strawberries tonight)

a 9 inch, loose-bottomed tart tin, lightly greased
Serves 8

Preheat the oven to 350*. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Add half of the cream and all the lemonade and use a wooden spoon to mix together.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, gently pressing down to fit, and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Remove the cake from the oven and let cool.

Using a long, sharp knife,  slice about 1/4 inch off the top of the cake to create an even surface. Spread the jam evenly over the top of the cake.

Whip the remaining cream until soft peaks form.  Spoon the cream on top of the cake, arrange the fruit on top and cut into wedges to serve.

You can mix and match any soft summer fruit, just make sure it is of the best quality, since the final result largely depends on the fruit itself.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Survivor Mud Run and Motivation

Mayem of Mud

needle in a haystack
I have been thinking about working out . Every day.  But it isn't as easy to actually do the work. Lately my sister has inspired me  to start thinking about my workout routine.  But I knew I needed a goal in order to be really motivated to follow through with all my good intentions.  More than a goal, I needed an actual date. Something that was beyond me to change and that would be rewarding enough to get my butt in gear.
I have found it!!

Legs of Rubber

check out this link. 

mossy marsh madness

 It looks like so much fun, I am nearly giddy.  I just can't wait! Today I got up at 4:45 to work out before work (I plugged my phone in the living room, set the alarm on LOUD, and laid out my workout clothes beside it). That way, I HAVE to get up.  It worked!! 

Cargo Wall of Wrath

So one workout down, 2 more to go this week, plus some running. The crazy thing is, I have always hated the idea of running. It NEVER, NEVER appealed to me. Until now!  I think I'll try the Grandview trail this weekend. Anyone know how long it is?

I will be a survivor!  :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fire and Ice

Searching for a recipe to make Habanero Sugar, I stumbled on a recipe for Fire & Ice Cake.  It is basically a chocolate cake with a layer of lime sorbet and a layer of vanilla ice cream to which you have added habanero sugar.  Sounds intriguing, right?

So I made it. But I am not a good baker. I have not given up yet, but although everything so far tastes good, my desserts have usually been disappointingly ugly. ( Like the lemon-lime pound cake that ended up being 2 inches high) It started out more like 5 inches, but would not stop shrinking... Curiouser and Curiouser...

Mistake #1: using creamy yogurt blend vanilla ice cream.  I came to the realization (after the fact, of course) that soft creamy ice cream is great for mixing things into it (like habanero sugar) but not so great as a layer of a cake. it was so smooshy that it oozed out the sides from the weight of the top layer of cake, refused to refreeze properly and so my cake ended up being a soggy leaky ice cream thing.
Mistake #2:   the 3 Habaneros that the recipe called for were WAY TOO MUCH.

It was inedible. Seriously, eating half a spoonful of the ice cream alone made everyone start coughing. There's no way anyone could survive more than one bite.  I have never thrown an entire dessert in the garbage before, but there was no other option.

I did not give up, though.  After doing some thinking and asking opinions, I came up with a fun alternative.  I tried a cake recipe from my current favorite cook book, and served it alongside (so much easier than layers!!) a scoop of Costco vanilla ice cream.  If you've never had the Costco vanilla ice cream, it is amazingly creamy and dense! It comes in a package of 2 half gallons, so I just took one container and added 1/2 of one (that's right, not 3, but half of ONE) habanero in a sugar paste. It was very yummy, with just the right amount of heat.

Here's the recipe:

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake 
(from Seriously Simple by Diane Rossen Worthington)
This chocolate cake is easy to make and will garner raves from any chocolate-lover. I like to use a high-quality cocoa, like Droste or Scharffen Berger, for an intense chocolate flavor. This is one of those cakes that you can make a day ahead and it will still taste great (makes one 9-inch bundt  cake; serves 8 to 10)

Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze
from the internet
1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
¾  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
¾  cup (1 ½  sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 ¾  cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
½ teaspoon canola oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch lightweight bundt pan.
  2.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl.
  3.  In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and process until fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at at ime, and process until incorporated. Add the vanilla.
  4. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and process until just combined.  Pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make the glaze: in a double boiler over simmering water, combine the coffee, chocolate, and butter and stir until melted. Stir in the syrup and oil until blended.
  7. Place the cake and wire rack on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.  Drizzle the glaze over evenly.  Transfer the cake to a serving platter.

Advanced preparations:
May be prepared 1 day ahead, covered, and kept at room temperature.