Monday, September 27, 2010

Chocolate, Chicken and Cupcakes

The following are more chronicles of a martha 'wanna-be.'
Recent hostessing foodie goodness, household makeover accomplishments, and other adventures.


First stop: chocolate cake.  Ummm.  I had made this cake once before and was craving it something fierce.  We were expecting company (and by company, I mean 2 other adults) and I figured that was enough to warrant this cake.  However, it was HUGE. We had oodles of cake left.

Which we ate.
Within 3 days.

How many calories was that?
Not too bad right?  The icing only has chocolate and cream-cheese, the cake has buttermilk....

It's called "Died and gone to heaven chocolate layer cake"
aptly named
(Recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook)

Next up:  finishing previous pillow project.  Yup, that's right.  DONE.  All the pillows are covered, zippered, and in their new locations.  I had numerous fights with Bern, my reluctant old sewing machine...but we still conquered the pillows!

Onwards to more cupcakes and some 'favors' that I made for a weekly women's group.  I hostess a table at our Church and brought some fall pumpkin cream-cheese cupcakes as well as some chocolate sash gifties.

I've kind of decided that making wedding favors for a living would be a blast.
Any takers?
The recipe was from martha online- simple, fluffy, soft, lip smacking.
Cream cheese frosting from joy the baker, her cinnamon frosting from her red velvet cupcakes.
Not the best picture...

Final hostessing endeavour: enter J.O.  Jamie Oliver- new favourite cook book author.  (Thanks to the Searles) I've ordered every cookbook from the library.

Chicken.  Amazingness. 
However- handling dead, pale chicken, not so amazing.

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Pot Roasted Chicken
Coarsely chop 2 red peppers, 2 orange peppers, 4 red onions, 1 ripe pineapple
Place in bottom of roasting pan with a couple 'glugs' (as he calls them) of olive oil
Mix in salt and pepper, crushed fennel seed
Stuff chicken with chopped parsley and grated ginger (3 thumbs or so)
Season chicken inside and out with pepper and salt
Put chicken on veggies.  Pat with olive oil
Shove in oven- 375 for 1.5 hours
(served with rice)

BEST PART: after cooked, take half of veggies and put in blender with 6 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp of salt.  Blend.
Chop up chicken- serve veggies and chicken over rice with veggie sauce.
SO good.

Oops- didn't take a picture of the end result.  But it was epic.
Couldn't find the recipe picture on his site- but there's other great recipes on it.

Next project:  It's a surprise.  However, some hints:
-bright colours
-button eyes
-nieces and nephews...

Christmas projects have officially started!

p.s. Silas has a tooth that's just about up!
p.p.s for the interest of my readers: I'll be taking a photography course starting next week.  Hopefully that will make the blog pics better.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Silas is 8 months!

I think I say this every month, but it really is hard to believe Silas is 8 months old.  What a precious little boy.  He's so cute, and easy to make laugh.  He loves being around people, being outside, is content jumping, exploring, and is already very curious.

Love him to bits.
Here's some pics of him lately:
He's got a good shocked look
Silas loves being carried in this backpack!  Although, he has a bit too close of access to my hair!
Silas was down for a 'nap' but he kept chatting and chatting, I was wondering what was going on in there....
He moves around a TON in his crib- it's hysterical finding the different positions he's in.

he's a little explorer! Can't just look at flowers- has to touch them!
he has the face of an explorer...
Silas sits really well.  So cute..

Silas says 'da-da-da' and 'ma-ma-ma' and all kinds of sounds.  He is super close to crawling- crawls almost backwards and spins around on his tummy.  He's getting a bit frustrated but he's super fun to watch trying to figure it out.  We'll post video soon.

He eats all his colours of solids- and we'll be starting some proteins soon.  He loves holding his spoon and trying to feed himself his baby mum mums.  He laughs when I play peak-a-boo, when I tickle his knees or when I dangle his soother just out of reach.  I love making him laugh...warms my heart.  He hates being dressed or undressed, loves his bath- and plays with running water, and still hasn't worn shoes cause he kicks them off right away.  He's impossible to put pants on cause he wiggles so much, does pretty well in the car, and is still only waking once a night.  He has 2 naps now instead of 3, goes to bed at 8, and wakes up early (at 8).  Silas does well at the nursery at church and doesn't seem to mind to have others look after him.  But he recognizes mom and dad and is so happy to see us when we come get him!

So fun to watch him change and grow!  Can't wait to see him crawl!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Household Projects etc.

Not sure what motivated all this, but here are some of my latest projects around the house.  

1. mmmmmore cupcakes.  
This time around it was cookies and cream cupcakes.  I overbaked them a touch, but they were otherwise yummy.  The bottom had half a cookie in it, the dough had chopped up oreos in it, and the top was a cream-cheese frosting.  
calories?  ha ha.  don't ask.
Recipe from Annie's Eats blog.
2. Gardening
Went and saw Brian Minter speak at our Church/community gardening event.  He is a gardening guru and got me inspired about winter gardening.  

Oops.  Went to the gardening store and spent 100 bucks.  But now we have a beautiful front plot (although, there is more to do) and I made this lovely winter bucket ALL BY MYSELF.  All the plants should survive the winter.  

Finger's crossed.  (psssst don't tell them that I killed the three flowers I planted in the summer...)

3. Sewing
My grandmother gave me HER mother's sewing machine.

Introducing:  my very own Bernina.  (Bern for short)
She's old.  She's solid.  She's a bit sassy...She's swiss. She's a hard worker and was a movie star sewing machine back in her day.

Mom came over and helped me figure her out.  She is a bit complicated and needs a bit of tender love, but we're figuring each other out.

Here's what we've accomplished together so far:
Amazing isn't it?  I mean, I am a terrible sewer.  Terrible.  The first two minutes alone with Bern, and we were already fighting.  She was groaning and whining.  I was grumpy and a bit rough with her...

But then.  There was a moment of understanding and, look what we accomplished!

Hello beautiful little pillow cover!  I carried this little gem from room to room trying to find a perfect location for it.  

I know.  Weird.

But here's the catch.  
I have a LOT more to re-cover.
It's okay.  Bern and I will do it.  (Right Bern?)

Oh....and did I tell you, Bern, we're going to sew a quilt together too?
I bought all these fabrics in Ghana well over a year ago.  The plan was to make a quilt to remember our trip  by.

We'll see how long this takes me to accomplish...

4.  re-decorating?
We have a family room attached to our kitchen.  It was getting over-crowded with furniture.  Not kid friendly.  New plan:  playroom!

So we painted a fun chalkboard on the wall (thanks Jackie for the idea and the paint)

And, I removed some furniture and put a nice reading chair (whose cushion will be re-covered soon), some fun flooring, and I will be putting up a toy organizer, possibly a bulletin board and some educational letters on the walls/maps etc.  
Any other fun ideas for a play room- pass them along!

So.  Yes.  Lots to do...

(And that's not even mentioning my continued scrapbook project of our Europe trip, the knitting project I'm starting, and card making....oh, and trying to cook like Jamie Oliver).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Random Happenings

What's new?
This is what we've been up to:
1. Helping out with a missions event at our Church.  Jason's making a promo video, I'm doing some graphic design type of stuff.
2. Re-organizing our home.  I want to turn our family room into more of a 'play' room.  We're planning on some chalkboard paint, some kiddie style floor mats, some toy bins...etc.
3. Hanging out with friends who have more kids than us.  Moral: ENJOY having ONE right now.
4. Going for walks and adventures with Silas.  He loves being out, socializing, 
and going for hikes in his new baby backpack.
5. New favorite photo of Silas (pre-cry):
6. trying new cupcake recipes such as this mocha cupcake with espresso/cream cheese buttercream frosting.
7. Getting ready for the busyness of fall.  I'm trying to be out and about a bit each day for Silas' and my own sake. Ex: tot romp at the community centre, swimming lessons, stroller fit classes, and co-hostessing a table at a weekly Church women's get-together.
8. Silas is very chatty these days saying 'ma-ma-ma-da-da-do' and giggling, randomly.  He's trying to get more mobile too, looks like he's crawling backwards?
9. I'm running more these days.  YES.  I love running in the fall.
10. I need to stop having cream in my coffee and having full-cream-amazing-yogurts because, well, it's going to catch up with me.  (I've enjoyed not having to watch what I eat due to being pregnant and then bfeeding Silas...sigh...back to being careful)
11. Went through the  US border crossing as the driver for the first time.  Phew.  Was nerve-wracking.  
12. We'll be hosting some people from India in our home for a week!
13. Not sure why I'm numbering these items.
14. Need to clean the house, but I'm blogging instead.
15. New favourite quote (thanks Jackie for this one).  Parenthood: the days are long but the years are short.  SO true.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In the Company of Other Sufferers

I read this poem/hymn today.  It is my song too, my story too.  I need to be reminded over and over and over that this life is short, that no matter how severe my suffering or sorrow, pain or affliction, it is but a moment and eternity is forever.  One day every tear in this life will be a vague remembrance. [Hallelujah]  Instead we will eternally be sorrow-free, joy-filled, and be face-to-face with our love and our life.

In the meantime, I can take comfort knowing that I have company in this world of suffering.  And suffering?  How well do I really know it? Even if I have had trials and trouble, there are multitudes of others worldwide who are much better acquainted with the sharp pain of suffering and loss.  I imagine this hymn writer alone has experienced the reality of her words even more than I have.

All the same, just as laboring to birth Silas was arduous and awful, and felt horribly long at the time- it is nothing. It is a tiny fraction of time, already, compared to the gift, the joy, of having his life in my arms.  So it is with my life.  This life's difficulties will be nothing, 'light, and momentary' in comparison to eternity with my Savior.

Here's the hymn that touched me today:

     God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

     God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

          God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
          Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
          Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
          Never a river, turbid and deep

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cupcake Hangover

Cupcake hangover.  I ate 3 un-iced cupcakes yesterday.  3.  Have a bit of a tummy-ache.  Then I went and iced them today.  Ugh: now I have an icing-headache from licking spoons, bowls, beaters...  Oh, but aren't they lovely?  Not sure why I needed to make like 36 for no particular occasion.  But it was fun!

Tried 2 different chocolate recipes:
Dark chocolate
Were a bit heavier and cakier (is that a word?)

Devil's chocolate.  Lighter, fluffier, better for cupcakes I think

On to icing.
Tried Chocolate- Peanut Butter

Made a mistake though:
Put icing in icing bag.
Left in fridge overnight to ice them today.
Oops.  Should have re-whipped the icing today- so the icing wasn't cracky.

But the best was the Chocolate-Chip-Mint:

In both cupcake recipes I used buttercream frostings.
Now what to do.
Eat the rest? 

Who wants a cupcake?

Next on the list to conquer:
Espresso buttercream frosting on mocha cupcakes.  Breakfast of champions!

Some other combinations I'm dreaming up:
Lemon Raspberry Buttercream
Chocolate Black Cherry Cream Cheese
Pumpkin Maple Buttercream

oh boy.  Surest way to gain weight.  Should I stop here?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...