Friday, December 16, 2011

Ce-cilia, You're Breaking my Heart.

My baby girl is growing up way too fast for my liking.
 She can sit up, sometimes on her own, now.
 She eats real people food daily, and is just as picky as her brother.
Cecilia can roll over if she has a good enough motivator. Harvey likes to "share" Lia's toys, so motivation is not a problem here.
Lia even prefers to sleep in her own bed instead of my arms.  She also has taken my second favorite bed warmer. Life just isn't fair sometimes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Scenes from Thanksgiving

Here are some shots from our thanksgiving. Which, Yes I know, was nearly 3 weeks ago. 

Harvey and Lia getting ready for our politically incorrect walk.
Uncle James reading to baby Lia.
Some down time from cooking.
Auntie Rachel bonding with the baby.
Lia admiring a well done braid.
Hugging out grievances.
Playing settlers. I'm pretty sure I lost this one.
Cecilia trying her hand at the game.
 Captain making sure Harvey's latest fall didn't result in anything too serious.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Peanutbutter Truffle Brownies


Peanutbutter Truffle Brownies

For the brownie base I baked up brownies from a box.

Peanutbutter Layer:

1/2 c. butter softened
1/2 c peanutbutter
2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 tsp milk

Mix together and spread over cooled brownies.

Ganache:
1/4 c. peanutbutter
2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
2. tbl heavy cream

Microwave and mix together. Spread over top of peanutbutter layer.

These brownies are absolutely delicious and don't take much more effort than standard brownies. Plus, they are so rich you can cut them up into tiny pieces and serve  more than you would with regular brownies.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Economy's So Bad, Even Clothes Are Too Expensive.

Finding nudity in odd places.


Harvey climbed into the bucket of future fish tank water. He was pleased with himself.


On a different day he climbed into the sink to take a bath.  I decided it was a good place to keep him out of my hair while  I cleaned in the kitchen.


Here we find Harvey brushing his teeth with two fists... in the middle of the day no less. he climbed up onto the sink so he could see his teeth in the mirror.


Not to be outdone by her brother, Cecilia frequently insists on some diaper free time. Every time we do this she manages to wiggle off her waterproof pad. Also, she has recently learned to roll over and is surprised when it happens.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

6 Months and Counting

Cecilia is 6 months old today.
She can sit up now, if you prop her just so.
Though, most of the time she falls.
She can grab things on purpose, but it takes a lot of concentration.
She is easily distracted.
She has 1 tooth, and one more about to break through.
Consequently there is oh so much drool.
Cecilia really likes being part of what is going on, even when she can't participate.
She is just a very happy drooly little girl right now.

In case you want to know Lia's current stats are 15 pounds and 22.5 inches.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Death by Cheesecake





Introducing the Peanutbutter cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.


Best Ever Cheesecake:


no crust, split in 2 pans


Cheesecake:
3 sticks cream cheese, 24 oz total
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
30 mini recces peanutbutter cups (optional)


DIRECTIONS:
 Preheat oven to 350.  Boil some water for a water bath
Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice,  and blend until smooth and creamy. Add peanutbutter cups, optional.
Pour batter into  the pan and tap on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan, i used a jelly roll pan, and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.


Chocolate Cake that was Only Okay, and was in fact originally intended for my birthday cake, but was too light and fluffy to make the cut:


Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup hot coco
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 x 9″ (or 3 x 8″ for slightly shorter layers) cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaning ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 35 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely coo


Honey Caramel Sauce that I over cooked:


1/3 c. honey
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon butter


Heat honey and sugar over medium heat to 305 degrees.  Meanwhile heat cream till bubbles form around the edges. When sugar and honey reach 305 turn off heat and add butter. Mixture will bubble so be careful. Gradually stir in hot cream and cook till 235. Turn off heat add vanilla and let cool.  *note* if you plan on eating this frozen, don't continue cook after adding the cream and butter. 


Easy Peasy chocolate ganache:


1/2 c  heavy cream heated in microwave for one minute. Add 1 c. chocolate and stir till combined. Chill.


To put the cake together. Spread caramel and peanuts over each layer of cheese cake and chocolate cake. Alternate the cheesecake with the chocolate cake and stack them. Pour ganache over the top. This cake is easier to cut when frozen, or chilled very well.

I will; say this, this cake is HUGE. If i make it again every I will only use one layer each of chocolate cake and cheesecake.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harvey's 3rd Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Harvey's 3rd birthday. We had a dinosaur themed party that was Dino-Mite! (that one is for you dad)

I made a chocolate banana cake and filled it with a roasted marshmallow frosting.  To make the filling you take 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows and toast them under your broiler on both sides. Blend 1/2 c butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in your mixer, then add in the marshmallows. It's okay if you want to eat some of the marshmallows first because 10 oz was really more than enough. You could probably start with half a bag - 3/4 of a bag and be fine. Anyways, add the marshmallows to the butter and sugar and ad in 1 tsp vanilla and enough honey to get a nice smooth consistency, about 1/4 cup. You could use corn syrup instead of honey, but honey tastes better.


The kids all had their own dinosaur tail, and we had a freeze dance with them. We also did a fossil dig, which was a fail even though the kids loved the sand box. I made salt dough dinosaurs for them to dig up, but the sand was so moist they became soggy and gross.


Harvey was fairly tired by the end and needed help blowing out his candles. I'm not even sure he ate any cake at the party! Don't worry he ate the leftovers later.

We also had a pinata to kick open, but it was too strong for those little feet to  break. Also, a kicked pinata equals kicked candies. We were able to break it open in the end though. Though, to the dismay of the kids, it was filled with only a little candy and a lot of pretzels and play dough.

So that was our party for Harvey. Remind me to never plan one without Captain again. These things need 2 adults!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Frog

When Captain mows the lawn he frequently finds frogs.


Cecilia is more interested in people than animals at the moment.

 
Harvey and Chloe however, were very intrigued.
I hope you enjoyed a bit of our summer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tired Out


Some days you just need a nap. Even if it is only 9 am,

or in a completely uncomfortable position.  Naps just can't be avoided.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More or Less Fashion



Harvey's making some statements these days. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dia De Los Muertos

First I would like to say,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOGAN  
❤ we love you very much 

In honor of this day I would like to dedicate these photos to you. For those of your who don't know our Logan, her favorite holiday is Halloween.

Friday was our ward trunk or treat party.


This year, the kiddos wore hand me down costumes. Yes, I could have made them, but I didn't. They still looked adorable.  Cecilia went as a bear in hibernation for most of the evening.


Harvey dressed as a dinosaur hopped up on way too much sugar. Having braved the activity myself this time, I now have a greater appreciation for Captain. He normally is the one who follows Harvey around during these things.


I only did my hair and makeup for the party. It was because I knew Lia would be in her sling for most of the evening. The makeup is a stylized skeleton done in the sugar skull style that is popular in Mexico.  The ringlets were accomplished with rag curlers. It took 2 hours to put them in, 14 hours to dry and forty five minutes to let them down.


Ha so, seriously Cecilia wasn't concerned one bit about the way I looked. She was all, "Hey mom you have something on your face. I'm gonna eat now. Nom nom nom." Harvey on the other hand, backed away slowly before hiding in his bed. He was mildly concerned about the odd person opening his bedroom door. Oh and Harvey learned a new word today; Scary. He kept telling me things were scary. The cows were scary, my face was scary, the scarecrow was funny scary. The scariest thing for him was when he was trick or treating. Something grabbed his hand as he reached into the candy bucket. It was just a friend, but Harvey was totally freaked out. He wasn't willing to reach back in there even for a handful of candy. 


So that was our Halloween.
Happy Birthday Logan.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Drive By

Captain's brother Marshall drove a friend out to school back in August. We were able to meet him along the way and have lunch. 

It was Cecilia's first time meeting her Uncle Marshall.


We hope to see him again soon. Also, he made that hat.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate Almond Cake


Happy Birthday to me! Yes, again, I know, it's late. We all know i'm behind on posting. Deal with it.
That being said. this cake was wonderful. If you would like to make it yourself, here are the recipes.


Almond Cake adapted from here



1 1/3 cups  sugar
8 ounces  almond paste
3/4, plus 1/4 cup  flour
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Mix 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside. In a food processor mix sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup flour till well blended. Add butter one cube at a time and extracts. Add eggs. Slowly add in flour mixture.
Preheat oven to 352 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch circle pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until it is light brown and feels set to the touch.


I only used one of these cakes in my layer cake, and I froze the second one.


Chocolate Cake


8oz unsweetened chocolate chopped


1/2 cup unsalted butter


2/3 cup milk


1 1/4 cups light brown sugar


2 tsp vanilla extract


2/3 cup sour cream


2 cups flour


1 tsp baking powder.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 9" springform pan. Over low heat combine chocolate, butter and milk in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add sugar and vanilla. Set aside to cool. Mix egg yolks and cream in a bowl then mix into the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then fold in. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and then fold into the chocolate mixture. 


Bake for 45-55 minutes.


Italian Meringue Buttercream adapted from here


5 large egg whites (real or dehydrated, I'm not picky)


1 1/4 cups sugar


3 sticks soften butter cubed


1 tsp almond extract


1 tsp vanillia extract


1/2 cup water


food coloring (optional)


Make a simple syrup with water and 1 cup sugar, bring to a firm ball stage, 245 degrees.  While that is heating up, whip eggs and 1/4 cup sugar till you can turn the bowl upside down and the meringue doesn't slip out. Don't over whip.  Add syrup to eggs slowly and steadily. Once the syrup is fully incorporated, beat 10-15 minutes until it is cooled. Add butter one cube at a time. Add extracts and food coloring.




Chocolate Ganache


1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


Place cream in glass container. Microwave till cream starts to bubble. Remove and add chocolate chips. Stir till combined.  You can add corn syrup if you want it sweeter.




Assembly:


1 9 inch almond cake


1 9 inch chocolate cake


1-2 portions of Italian buttercream (or other frosting you like)


1 jar apricot jam


Chocolate Ganache




Carefully slice your cakes in half. Spread 1/4 jar of jam on each one. Heating the jam can help this spread nicely.  Alternate layers spreading frosting between. Frost outside. Chill, then drizzle chocolate ganache over the top.


Note. These cakes are very dense and heavy. So, you have to like that kind of cake to like this.