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Archive for November, 2006

Need a recipe for some chocolaty goodness for your holiday party? This recipe for Devil’s Food Cake, found in Everyday Food magazine, turned out wonderful. This is not a rich, sweet dessert but more of a light, airy cake with a mellow chocolate taste. It was easy to throw together and only took about thirty minutes to bake up. One thing I should point out is that when mixing the ingredients it smells heavenly. Resist all urges to lick the bowl.

DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE – serves 12

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup melted butter (plus more for pan)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper; butter paper. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients; with an electric mixer, beat on low speed until moist. Raise speed to medium; beat until smooth, about 3 minutes more. Pour into prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper; reinvert to cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar right before serving.

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A place for our shoes

I am really thrilled that another one of my husband’s home improvement projects is finished. What was once our laundry room has been transformed into a very functional mudroom. With hooks for our coats, baskets to hold various things (hats, gloves, recyclables) and a place to take off shoes, he has created the perfect space right next to our back door.  You can even just see (in the first picture) the wooden MUDROOM letters hung up above the coat hooks. Leah even thinks it’s a cool place to hang out (although that doesn’t look very comfortable to me).

 

 

 

So, what’s next on his ever growing “honey do” list? I’ll give you a hint – see those pretty toy storage units in the picture that my husband is holding? Yep, we are both too frugal to buy them from the source, so as Joe always enthusiastically says, “I can build that!”  And believe me, he can!

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Thank you all so very much for your kind thoughts and prayers regarding my girlfriend Defi. We are all still in shock. Her funeral was yesterday and I don’t think that it really truly has hit me yet. It felt like a surreal experience to sit down with her husband and hold her beautiful daughter. Joe, Leah and I plan on spending a lot of time with Robert and his two children, in hopes that we can help them transition during this most difficult time. Needless to say, this pretty much shot our entire weekend.

Having said that, Thanksgiving day was really wonderful. Even though the weather was terrible, nixing our plans on attending the Macy’s Thanksgivinig Day Parade in NYC, we still spent the morning watching it on tv. We then ventured over to my parents house where my mother outdid herself. The turkey and all the fixings were really delicious.

During this time of extreme sadness, it reminds me to take a moment to really think about all the things I have to be grateful for. For my wonderful, hardworking husband, my beautiful daughter, my daughter waiting for me in China, my parents who are both in good health, for my sister (who sometimes drives me nuts but always is willing to help), my neighbors who are there to lend a hand, for our friends and our extended families. For my house, which keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Thank you.

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Next week…

Next week my “happy” post will come. I will share my recipe for the devil’s food cake I made for Thanksgiving, tell you all about what a truly nice day it was and show you all the progress (albeit slow) on my knitting projects. Heck, I may even be able to post pictures of our almost finished mudroom. In the meantime though, I am just going to write from my heart.

On Friday morning Joe and I found out that we had lost a dear friend of ours. In the hospital for the birth of her second child, my girlfriend Defi suffered from a rare condition called amniotic embolism. This is nearly always fatal. This was the case for my friend, who was only 39 years old. Her infant daughter survived.

I cannot express the pure shock that we have felt over the past twenty-four hours. Joe and I have known her and her husband for over ten years. They are both two of the most generous people we have ever met. She was an easy person to talk to and we always looked forward to spending time with her and her family. I feel truly blessed and honored that I was able to call her my friend. We have spent the past few July 4th holidays (which also is our wedding anniversary) at their house for a day full of food, fireworks and just fun. I cannot imagine what next July 4th will feel like.

Please keep Defi’s family in your prayers. She leaves behind her husband, her two daughters and a business that she and her husband ran together.

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If it ain’t broken…

I should listen to that advice more often. Due to my fairly short attention span and the fact that WordPress just doesn’t want to cooperate, I can’t seem to get one of my pictures as a header. For the time being, please ignore the current header image. Hopefully I will be able to sort this out quickly. Does this type of thing happen to you typepad users?

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I knit what?

knittingLike I don’t have enough knitting going on around here, I recently bought some yarn and started another felted Sophie bag, only this time I doubled the pattern in order to make it twice as large. Once I started knitting I knew I had two problems. First, by doubling the pattern it really was going to take twice as long as the first – duh! Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that I had put myself on a totally unrealistic timetable to get it finished in time for when my niece Candice visits next month. Secondly, I am convinced that once it was finished and felted, it would have qualified for entry at What Not to Knit. Yes, it was that ugly.

So last night my husband helped me rip it out. I returned the two unused skeins of purple, teal & black wool yarn (yep, you heard that right – what was I thinking) and picked out a color combination I think may work a little better. I will now knit the bottom half of the bag a deep purple (Candice’s favorite color) and the top half a light grey.  For the sake of time, I will be following the original pattern and saving the doubled pattern for next time.  Wish me luck!

P.S. Thanks for the compliments on the cranberry photo used in the below post. I use all my own photographs for my blog EXCEPT for that one! I didn’t have the cranberry sauce prepared yet, so hence no photo of mine. Instead I googled cranberry photos and found that pretty one. I too think it is nice.

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This is the first time in many years that I will not be hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of cooking up a storm, I plan on attending (with husband, daughter and foreign exchange student in tow) the 80th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Afterwards we will be heading over to my parents house to stuff ourselves the turkey.

Only once before have I ever attended the Thanksgiving Day parade, and it was FREEZING cold. Needless to say, if the weather stinks on Thursday morning, we will be enjoying the parade from the comfort of family room couch. Otherwise, I will be sure to get a picture of a giant balloon for my Thanksgiving post.

Since I am shirking all my cooking / cleaning the house responsibilities, I did promise my Mom to bring two things with me on Thanksgiving. One dessert (to be decided upon) and my citrus-cranberry sauce. If you are sick of the canned stuff and want to try something a bit different, check out the following recipe. Bonus – you can make it up to three days in advance!

Citrus-Cranberry Sauce

2 large navel oranges

1 (12-oz) package fresh cranberries, picked over

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Remove the peel and pith from the oranges with a pairing knife, cut each section into quarters.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat combine oranges, cranberries, sugar, water and ground ginger. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon and lime juice. Cover sauce and chill before serving.

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