Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chocolate cake with a hint of coffee

I spent my afternoon baking the most delicious chocolate cupcakes. I was trying to decide what dessert to bring to a get together tonight when I remembered a chocolate cake recipe I made last year. I found it on the Food Network website, which is one of my favorite places to find recipes. It is a rich fluffy chocolate cake with a light chocolate buttercream frosting with a hint of coffee. I love the color of the frosting. It is a nice fall dessert. I added chocolate covered coffee beans to the top for decoration and an extra kick. Owen stood on a chair near by and watched and I mixed and whipped things together. His favorite part was when he got to lick the chocolate off a spatula. Anything with two sticks of butter in it (just in the frosting) has to be good. I'll leave you with that. 

Betty's Chocolate Cake Recipe
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Cake Batter Directions (Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans (I made 24 cupcakes instead). Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (about 20 for cupcakes), until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate 
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall fashion: boys shoes

1 / 2 / 3 / 4
Owen is going to be in need of some new shoes for fall and winter soon. He wore size 4 all summer and now they are all getting too small. There are so many cute boys shoes (maybe not as many as there are cute girls shoes, but they are out there). My favorites are probably #2 and #3. What is your vote on Owen's new shoes?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cooped up and reading: books we love

We have been all cooped up lately. Owen was so sick for a whole week. These last couple of days I have been letting him rest and recover so his little body can get back to normal. We have spent a lot of time in the house, reading, sleeping, watching TV, and just sitting on the couch together. I am so grateful he is better now. I keep saying what a relief it is to feel his body and it not be hot with a fever. Paul was out of town this weekend and Owen and I had been in the house too much so we went on a mommy and baby date. We went downtown and looked around at some shops and then stopped at a coffee shop, he got a cup of whip cream and I got an iced decaf mocha. We had a wonderful day together but now we are ready for daddy to come home.

In honor of being cooped up and reading a lot of books I thought I would share some that we love. What is one of your favorite children's books?

-Kiss Good Night "And she bent way down, kissing Sam once and twice and then twice more."
-Welcome to the Zoo A picture book with no words. I love the illustrations and so does Owen.
-Toy Boat "A little boy had a toy boat. He made it from a can, a cork, a yellow pencil, and some white cloth."
-Bear Snores On "Ho, Mouse! says Hare. Long time, no see! So they pop white corn. And they brew black tea."
-The Loud Book "There are lots of louds: Spilling your marbles in the library loud."
-Little Bunny Follows His Nose A scratch and sniff book. "Hop, hop, hop, Little Bunny followed his nose across a big field to a clump of green trees."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Snapshots from texas

Here are some snapshots from our trip to Texas last weekend. We were there for Paul's younger brothers wedding. We had a great time being with family, seeing friends and of course eating some delicious Texas barbecue! This has been the summer of family weddings. Owen is happy to have two new Aunts, Cassia and Jessica! He has a lot of family that really love him, as you can see from these pictures.

We got home late Monday night and the next morning Owen woke up with a bad stomach flu. It was so sad seeing him sick and not being able to make him feel better. The next day Paul and I got it. I can say it was the worst sickness I think I have ever had. I even fainted at one point. Owen got over the stomach flu and the next day came down with a runny nose and high fever. We went to the doctor this morning and found out he has an infection and needs medicine to get better. I just took his temperature and for the first time in 3 days he didn't have a fever! I'm praying he will start feeling all better soon. 

I am so grateful for all of you that have been so loving and helpful while we were sick! We have gotten a care package, groceries, encouraging words, dinner, lots of prayers and really helpful advice. We seriously would have been in trouble by ourselves!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

14 months

Our boy at 14 months
-I uploaded these photos yesterday and then got back on this morning to write a little something. As I looked over them again today I got a big smile on my face. I love my little boy. I love his personality, how he plays, all the faces he makes and the adventures we have together.
-I think its fitting that he isn't sitting in his rocking chair in most of these pictures. He loves to run, stomp and climb. 
-He is quite a climber. He will climb anything. He has climbed on top of bed, on top of our dinning room table and even pushed a chair over to the counter and tried to climb up there.  
-He has added several more words, like"uh oh" and a few more animal noises like "buk buk buk buk" as a chicken. Sometimes he so badly wants to communicate but doesn't have the words. He gets so excited and jibber jabbers and makes so many facial expressions as he tries to communicate.
-He has started understanding our words a lot more. We will say, "lets put your shirt on" and he will put his head down as if going into a shirt. Or we'll say, "Do you want to go outside?" and he will go to the door.  
-He doesn't take a pacifier anymore. I noticed him not wanting it very often and then one day he just wouldn't take it. 
-New foods he has tried and liked are beans, corn, yogurt and of course he had an Oreo and totally loved it. 
-He and I have been going on a little walk to a near by park everyday and playing for a little while. He loves it. He smiles so big when he goes down the slide and swings on the swing. All though he only enjoys the swing for a little while. Maybe he is like his momma and gets "car sick" on swings. 
-He loves when daddy gets home from work. One of the words he says the most is dada or daddy. He follows Paul around everywhere when he gets home. They have a very sweet relationship.