Monday, June 22, 2009

Semi-nude superheros and Cookie Cakes

H is at that awkward age when clothing, in his mind, is still optional. At any given moment, he strips down to his diaper, runs through the house shouting, "Chase me", and generally refuses to put his clothes back on.

Last week, my cousin (thanks Min!) sent these leg warmers. I figured, since H generally runs too hot (as in, "Mommy, I just too hot"), there was no way he would wear these. Boy was I wrong!

He begged me to put them on, immediately after one of his spontaneous stripping episodes. As you can see, it makes him look like the lost member of The Village People.

After getting them on, he jumped up and proceeded to run through the house yelling, "I a superhero! Take my picture, Mommy!"

Being the obedient servant of said superhero, I did just that.

Now, he wants a cape. Time to get out the sewing machine.

In other news, after trying desperately hard to weather the law suit storm without resorting to the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals, I have decided I am not that tough. I started the anti-depressants last week and now I feel like a superhero too. Not like I feel like I could survive a jump off the roof-type superhero, just so so so so much better than I have been feeling.

I am not advocating the use of these drugs for anyone else. It is a difficult and highly personal choice. This was not an easy decision for me or Mr. Smith, but now we both know that it was the right one. I don't feel so overwhelmed now. I don't feel so defeated. I feel like I want to write again, get to work, etc.

I feel like H must have felt when he put those leg warmers on!

As you can see, I am back and updating regularly again. I read several food blogs, as you well can imagine.

This one is one of my favorites. She has amazing recipes, great and unique ideas, beautiful photographs and I love the stories that go with her recipes. Definitely worth checking out.

A few days ago, she posted this recipe for her Neapolitan Cake. The photos were what really got me. It is absolutely stunning...great "wow" factor.

We are having guests in a few days, this one needs to age for a few days to be perfect, so it seemed like the ideal dessert to serve to our guests.

I used Boysenberry Jam, but I would recommend you use your favorite.

I expected this to be pretty fussy and the cookies to be difficult, but they really weren't. Using the cake pan and pressing the dough into the correct size and shape worked flawlessly.

The cake is resting, looking all beautiful and impressive on my diner-style cake stand. I will let you know how it tastes!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And the results are in...

my tummy, that is!

When I was in college, I worked in a movie theater as a cashier. I was the girl in the glass booth, selling tickets. I had to wear a maroon bow tie and matching polyester vest. We all shared the vests and believe me, they got pretty stinky. I still hate the smell of movie theater popcorn burning. Sends me on an extended flashback.

It was the first upscale theater in our area, so it was pretty big news. We sold ridiculous things like ice cream, espresso, Swiss chocolate and Jelly Belly jelly beans. Don't ask me why, but it was extremely popular.

Down the red carpeted ramp, to the left was a kiosk that sold cinnamon rolls, pecan buns and other heavenly creations. The owners were so smart, they would come and get the movie schedule from us (the one that charted all the exit times of the different theaters for the ushers) so they could have fresh, warm, seductive rolls ready for people leaving the movies.

The smell, oh the smell, wafting into my bullet-proof booth was unbelievable. You could smell them anywhere in the mall. The cinnamon fingers of the perfume, luring you to the spot where you could purchase the delight. Okay, so now I am drooling.

Until now, I have not found a Sticky Bun to rival those. This recipe is a winner. Yes, it requires a bit of planning and yes, it makes three pans of these Sticky Buns. Take my work for it, you won't be sorry to have three pans of these things. Your clothes may be a little tighter, and yes, you may have to go a few extra minutes on the treadmill.

So make the room in the fridge.

Yes, that is, in fact, melted butter that those soon-to-be Sticky Buns are swimming in right there.

Yup. Made the Sticky Buns, baked the Sticky Buns, ate the Sticky Buns.

I am not going to lie, they were still warm when I ate them. I am also not going to feel guilty about it! It was out of my hands, dammit. The blame belongs with those bastards (I mean that in the kindest sense of the word!) at King Arthur Flour.

I mean, are you kidding me? Just look at that molten sugar, oozing down the sides.

Is there are more sublime concoction than butter, sugar and cinnamon? I think not. The sugar changes into sweet lava during the baking. When the are still hot, you flip the pan over and have the ultimate decadent indulgence. Gooey, sweet, warm Sticky Buns.

A few notes, I used walnuts instead of pecans. I didn't have any pecans on hand, and honestly, I like walnuts better.

I also made my own cinnamon filling with granulated sugar, cinnamon and a little water. Worked just as well and saved having to order their stuff and wait for it to arrive. After I saw the recipe, that was completely out of the question.

Lastly, I used some honey and some Karo syrup and it worked just fine as well. It seems like a pretty bulletproof recipe, so change it up to suit your tastes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

These people are KILLING ME...

When I checked my mail this morning, this is what I found!

Now, I am forced to make them, devour them and report the results to you, internet. Thanks for NOTHING!

Do you realize how many hours I am going to have to ride that exercise bike like some manic hamster to get rid of these sticky buns? HUH?? Do you even care, internet?

Of course not.

So no more of you getting all inter-netty in my in-box and causing all this trouble! My big chubby butt can't take it any MORE!!! This is the last time I am going to fall for your sticky bun tricks.

Okay, probably not, but I had to at least sound like I was putting up a fight.

The dough is in the fridge.

I will let you know what happens tomorrow

Monday, June 15, 2009

And that is what you get for makin' Whoopie

Apparently, Whoopie Pies are making a comeback. I never even knew they were that much of a thing. I found this recipe (and a whole host of variations) here.

These are simple, straightforward and yield great results. Since I am a huge fan of all things peanut butter, you just knew I was going to go that route first, right?

They are almost like a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, on the inside. A little messy, but the kids loved them. You could even have them help, if they are willing.

So, go forth and make Whoopie Pies!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cocoa
dash of salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. vanilla

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Make sure the mixture is very well blended. In separate bowl combine sugar and shortening. Add eggs and mix for about 2 minutes until well blended. Alternate adding dry ingredients with milk and warm water in three-four additions. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended.

Use a #40 disher (or drop by rounded tablespoons full) onto ungreased, non-stick cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes (watch closely and adjust to your oven). Bake until the centers of the cookies spring back when pressed lightly.

Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Cool completely before filling.

Peanut Butter Filling

Peanut Butter Filling
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup milk

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add confectioner's sugar until well blended. Add milk slowly and mix until thoroughly blended together.