I usually keep my head in the sand when it comes to politics and the like, but this is one worth hearing and thinking about.
That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Worth Hearing. March 22, 2010
I usually keep my head in the sand when it comes to politics and the like, but this is one worth hearing and thinking about.
Mom’s Yule Log Cake December 15, 2009
I did some baking for my church’s Christmas banquet last weekend, so let me share!
The Yule Log recipe is from my Mom…she made this cake every year for as long as I can remember. She always made one for her dressage club Christmas party, and if we were lucky, we could talk her into making another one for the family!
Yule Log Cake with Meringue Mushrooms
-14 finely crushed Oreos
-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
–1/2 cup granulated sugar
–powdered sugar for sprinkling
Chocolate Filling Ingredients:
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
-1/3 cup softened butter
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
-2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
-2 tablespoons milk
-1 tablespoon imitation rum flavoring (I only used a drop of this)
Meringue Mushroom Ingredients:
-2 egg whites
-1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-Preheat oven to 350°
-Grease a 15″ x 10″ jelly roll pan; line pan with foil; HEAVILY GREASE FOIL.
–In a small bowl, combine Oreo crumbs, flour and baking powder; set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat 5 egg yolks with granulated sugar until light yellow.
-In small mixing bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat 5 egg whites until stiff peaks form.
-Gently fold whites into yolk mixture along with crumb mixture. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
-Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake springs back with lightly touched.
-Sprinkle a hand towel with powdered sugar. Loosen the edges of cake and invert it onto the towel.
-Starting at the long side, roll cake and towel, jelly-roll fashion. Cool on wire rack.
-Unroll cake and spread with chocolate filling; reroll. Transfer to serving dish and diagonally slice a 3 inch piece from the roll and place it against the side of roll to resemble a cut-off branch. Ice with chocolate frosting, and chill until serving time. Garnish with meringue mushrooms.
Chocolate Filling Directions:
-In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
–I find this works much better if you chill the bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes beforehand.
Chocolate Frosting Directions:
-In small mixing bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter with half of powdered sugar until blended. Add remaining sugar, chocolate, milk and rum; beat until blended.
Meringue Mushroom Directions:
-Preheat oven to 225°. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
-In small mixing bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat 2 egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until stiff, shiny peaks form.
-On parchment paper, pipe meringue in 1 inch rounds for mushroom tops and 1 inch lengths for stems.
-Bake for 60 minutes, then turn oven off and allow meringues to stand in oven for 30 minutes.
-In small bowl, microwave chocolate chips in 30 second intervals until completed melted. Assemble mushrooms by making a small hole in the underside of mushroom tops to fit stems; spread underside of each mushroom with chocolate; fit in stems.
This cake is kind of a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it. The whole thing was gone within minutes of it’s being cut at the banquet. There were more people than I had planned on – I think there were around 50 people. I should have made 2 cakes!
Anyway, try this recipe – you won’t be disappointed!
A Blog From Birmingham October 25, 2009
Alright, so as most of you know, I am in Birmingham, AL right now. And I need to vent! That’s not really what I had in mind for my blog when I started it…but you know what? It’s MY blog and I’ll vent if I want to!
Yesterday was probably one of the most stressful days of my life. I had a good visit with Mom in the morning, and then yesterday afternoon my brother, Dad and I met with a woman who I will call ‘A’, from UAB’s Palliative Care center. We also met with the Doctor, but that was after being put through the wringer with A for a little over an hour.
I am sure that ‘A’ is a nice woman, and that she had the best of intentions. But it felt like she spent all that time trying to convince us that Mom doesn’t want to live anymore and that we should not feel guilty about ‘giving up’ on her. She said a lot more than that – she talked for over an hour, in case I didn’t mention that already. But the summary was that modern medicine has been extending Mom’s life beyond what’s natural and we should go ahead and treat her like we’re living 100 years ago when people just got put into a bed and their families tried to make them comfortable until they passed. No really, she said exactly that. I am absolutely positive that Ms. ‘A’ is getting kickbacks from the Grim Reaper.
Apparently ‘A’ had a conversation with Mom a day or two ago, and Mom told her that she didn’t want any more medical treatment. So ‘A’ took us back to Mom’s room so we could hear her say it ourselves. However, ‘A’ is a professional at talking in circles, and Mom is extremely medicated right now as she still has a chest tube in her side and is in a lot of pain without the drugs. Mom’s only partially lucid. So ‘A’ tries to lead her around to saying she doesn’t want to fight anymore, but Mom is not lucid and is feeling much better now that she’s not in pain anymore and wasn’t getting it. So it came down to telling Mom that the Doctors feel like she is not going to get better and does she want to stay where she’s at, or go somewhere more comfortable? And that’s when Mom started crying and said, “So you’re telling me that no matter what I am going to die here??” Oh yeah. Hearts broke left and right. Also, I would like to kick ‘A’ into next week.
Then the Doctor came in, and was all fakey fakey…but he at least was a little more direct in talking to us and said that basically, the hospital has made no progress on Mom’s illness since she’s been there. They don’t know what’s wrong with her, they haven’t been able to heal her, and there is nothing further that they know how to do. He said he feels like they have been torturing Mom rather than treating her. He asked her if she felt the same way, and she said, “No. I do not feel like you have been torturing me.” But the Doctor still recommends that we move her to Palliative Care and out of ICU.
I feel like we spent the afternoon being convinced that we should stop fighting for Mom, and that Mom wants to stop fighting. I also feel like A and the Doctor made Mom feel like we all want to stop fighting for her, too. The bottom line though is that at the end of it, Mom did say she wants to be moved, she does not want to be put back on a ventilator if it comes down to that. So today she will be moved to the Palliative Care floor. And as long as that’s what she wants, I’m OK with that. Mom is being prayed for, and I know that God does not need the ICU or anything to make her well again if that’s His will.
As you can probably imagine, I am an emotional mess. I am so ANGRY. Seriously, I am fighting myself to keep from being a witch to everybody. I am mad with no target for my anger. So I want to yell at people walking on the street, doctors standing in the hospital hallways, my brother, everybody. I would also love to lay down and sleep for a day or two, but Lauren hardly lets me sleep for more than 4 hours at a stretch. Did I mention that she’s sick, too? Oh the fun!
Pray for me, that I keep it together and don’t give in to the anger. Of course, pray for my family. And please, if I seem snippy to you – well, I probably am. But I don’t mean it! Take me with several grains of salt for a while, eh?
Welcoming The Fall Into Our Home: Pumpkin Pancakes! October 20, 2009
Honestly, I have a backlog of recipes and photos to post….I just haven’t felt motivated to do so. Sorry, Charlie(s).
But now. Now we are finally experiencing some fall weather here in north Florida and I got motivated to do some celebratory cooking! First up: Pumpkin pancakes! (I have to say “pumpkin pancakes” slowly or I read and say it as pumpkin paMcakes. Just thought you should know.)
Unlike Peter Peter, I have never been much of a pumpkin eater. I don’t really care for pumpkin pie, even. But I’ve been browsing all these fall recipes and pumpkin is everywhere and suddenly it’s sounding pretty fantastic to me. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s just the natural expansion of my slowly aging palate. Either way, I got up and made some pumpkin pancakes this morning!
I took this recipe from Xiaolu at 6 Bittersweets. She is quite the cupcake artist, too. I’m pondering her Caramelized Banana Creme Brulee Cupcakes, which look and sound fabulous. They also look like a lot of work, and so I haven’t moved much beyond pondering them.
Back to the pancakes: I thought they turned out GREAT! Not surprisingly, David was not so enthusiastic. He is just not an adventurous eater, people. He likes scrambled eggs and ketchup for breakfast, turkey sandwiches for lunch and steak and potatoes for dinner. He could honestly live very happily on that menu DAILY. Sad, huh? Me, I love food. I love trying new food. Variety is the spice of life, right? At least when it comes to eating?
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cream Cheese “Syrup”
-1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 tablespoon wheat germ
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I did not have any ground nutmeg, so instead of adding everything seperately I just used a pumpkin pie spice mix that I already had, because it had all the ingredients in it, minus the cloves, add allspice. I thought it was good!)
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-pinch of ground cloves
-pinch of cayenne powder (oops, I forgot the cayenne! I bet it gives it a unique little bite. Next time!)
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 tablespoon molasses
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
-1 cup buttermilk (I substituted skim milk plus 1 tsp lemon juice)
–vegetable oil for the pan
Cream Cheese Syrup Ingredients:
-3/4 cup cream cheese frosting (any kind but I used extra from the recipe below)
-1/2 cup milk
-1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk, or more to taste
OK, I did not use the sweetened condensed milk. I just made the frosting with the following ingredients and added 1/2 cup milk to thin it. Yummm.
-4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
-1/8 cup (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1/8 cup maple syrup
-1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (I did not sift)
-In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, wheat germ, baking power, baking soda, and spices.
-In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg until thoroughly combined, then add the oil, molasses, sugar, pumpkin, and buttermilk.
-Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until the batter is mostly mixed but still contains small lumps. Let batter rest while pan heats, at least 5 minutes.
-Heat non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it over the bottom of the pan.
-Pour pancake batter onto hot griddle approximately 1/4 cup at a time.
-When the edges start to dry and bubbles appear on top, flip to cook the other side.
-Keep pancakes warm in an oven heated to 275 degrees as you repeat the process to cook the rest of the batter.
-To make the syrup, simply mix all the ingredients together until smooth. You can play around with the proportions to get the perfect sweetness/thickness for you.
OK, and finally, with the syrup (sooooooooo good with the syrup!)
Pork Chops ‘N’ Apples – AKA Parent Bait September 12, 2009
OK so I think it was actually the promise of Chai Latte Cupcakes that got my parents to accept my dinner invitation, but whatever. The point is that they made the trek out to my house, and they found themselves loving not only the cupcakes, but these pork chops, too!
I got this recipe from my one-time roommate and long-time friend Gina. She made it for me once back in our college roomie days. This was back when I cooked basically never. In fact, that same year I almost burnt down my apartment while attempting to make chicken nuggets. Or rather, by neglecting my chicken nuggets in their grease on the stove. But that’s a story for another time, or not.
Back to the pork chops. They are deeeelicious and easy and you must try them! Oh, and I also did not take any pictures of them…sorry!! I had hungry people hovering about in the kitchen, so I will come back and add some pictures next time I make this awesome dish.
Pork Chops And Apples by Gina H-turned-K. 🙂
-4 boneless pork chops
–2 Red Delicious (or whatever you prefer) apples, cored and sliced
-2 green onions (I did not have green onions…so I used 1/4 of a vidalia onion, chopped. YUM.)
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
-1 1/2 cups apple juice
-1 tbsp cornstarch
-1/4 cup milk
-Using a frying pan big enough for your pork chops to fit into later, cook the apples in oil until they are soft and their skin turns pink (if using red apples). It’s OK for them to be slightly browned. (If you are like me, you will prefer them that way!)
-Remove apples from frying pan and keep warm.
-Place pork chops in the pan or skillet and brown for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
-Add onions, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup apple juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.
-Remove pork chops and keep warm.
-Mix cornstarch with remaining 1 1/4 cups apple juice. Slowly pour into pan. Add milk, and stir until thickened (still cooking on low heat).
-Put pork chops and apples back into the pan, heat and serve.
**When Gina gave me this recipe, she included the side note that she likes to serve this meal with white rice, so she doubles everything except the pork chops and apples so that there is more gravy to go around. Personally, I do not care for rice. In fact, to date, I have never made rice. I did make mashed potatoes with this tonight, and there was plenty of gravy for the four of us, without doubling the recipe. So….do whatever you think is best!
I like to eat, eat, eat apples and puh-pork choooops,
P.S. – Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers that Apples and Bananas song from elementary school….