Saturday, March 27, 2010

First Week of Spring!

What's the best part of Spring? Daffodils, bunnies, tree buds, birds...NO! Free Water Ice!

Up here in New England, we'd call it a Slush, but down in the Philly area, it's water ice...and it's FREE on the first day of Spring! What you see in the picture is Florida Orange Water Ice on the top, and on the bottom, unseen, is PEEPS flavor! It's bright yellow, and tastes like a marshamallow peep. It was fantastic, and my tongue and lips were bright yellow for most of the day.

I was going to write a post about the rest of our great first day of Spring,'s been a busy week, so I thought I'd share some of the springy things that have been going on. The first day of Spring was spent at the in-laws in Delaware...somewhere I never imagined spending a lot of time, but it sure is nice to get a little weather that's warmer than Boston this time of year. That's what we got last Saturday, WARM! It was great.

We took Bella for a walk, (my in-laws dog...we have Pepper the Devil Kitty), to see some flowers

Played with the nephews and some chalk on the driveway

And then we did the best thing of most favorite part of the day...

Oh wait, we all ready talked about that didn't we?

Yesterday I was able to leave work a little early, and take a nice walk over to the Seaport area to go check out the flower show.

On the way, this guy was sleeping in a window as I walked by

I found some evidence of Spring in Boston!
( Can you believe it was snowing this morning?)

The flower show was great, I could look at flowers all day long...really I could.
Camillas. They look like Origami

My beloved Peony

Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Potatoes

Happy St. Patty's Night!

I came home from work today with wonderful smells of dinner coming from the kitchen, and a little corner of a little chaos :)

Irish Potato Night!
Note the beer and Homer mug :)

I had never heard of "Irish Potatoes" until 2 years ago when my husband was busy in the kitchen making them. I had no idea they weren't real potatoes!  I thought he was baking actual potatoes until he showed me the final product.

These are basically little balls of frosting and coconut rolled in cinnamon. Hello! Yum.

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16oz confectioners sugar
  • 7 oz sweetened flaked coconut
  • Cinnamon
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. 
Stir in coconut with a spoon.
(This parts take a little elbow grease!)

Take an amount of the mixture, less than half of a golf ball, and roll imperfectly in your palms.
Then roll each little ball in a bowl of cinnamon.

Reserve the last 1 cup or so of mixture, and mix in a few drops of green food coloring.
Make into small balls and roll in the cinnamon.
They look like mini potatoes!

The idea is only a few, special  "potatoes" have been touched by a leprechaun! This is especially fun with kids.

Have fun!
(Oh, and Refrigerate!!)
I cracked myself up with this one, baked potato anyone?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So this weekend my husband and I had every intention to go to my hometown to see the St. Patty's Day Parade, a sort of 'big deal' for a 'small' town, but since we were having the monsoon of the century up here in New England, we just hung out with my Mom instead. We had some great corned beef and cabbage, yum!, and of course we had to make green beer! If you haven't done this, and you are even the slightest bit Irish, or have ever pretended to be Irish, or even just like the color green, you have to make green beer! It's so fun and ridiculously easy.

You need to buy a light beer, Bud Light works, but I much prefer Sam Adams Light (if you can get it in your neck of the woods). As long as it is lighter in color though, get what you like to drink!

Frost some pint glasses or whatever type of glass you have handy by placing them in the freezer for at least an hour. This is optional of course! :) A frosty glass is just fun, not necessary!

Pour your light beer into the glass.  Put one drop of food green food coloring into your beer.

You can watch the green clouds do their thing:

or just give a quick stir.

Voila! Green Beer! 

Also, after the Monsoon...and sort of during the second day of the unreal weather, we went down to the beach to look for goodies the ocean brought up.

The thrashing waves were amazing 

...and the seagulls were living it up!

May the luck of the Irish be with you today!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monster Strawberry

I love strawberries. Really, I do. Especially when they are fresh off the plant, juicy, little, bright, red, warm from the sun...they are the best!

Of course it's March, and we have some cold, rainy days to get through before we can even think about a strawberry picking day, but I had to share this particular strawberry! It's a monster!

My Mom came to visit this weekend and brought some really beautiful strawberries up, that were actually very good for February. In the box, this crazy monster strawberry was taking up most of the space.

I love food oddities like this!

I can't wait until June and homemade strawberry ice cream!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Cake

This cake is my husband's absolute favorite cake. It's chocolate cake, with a whipped cream chocolate mousse filling and a chocolate ganache glaze, that chocolate lover's will drool over!  The recipe is out of a Taste of Home magazine, and it is worth every bite!

I usually make the cake in heart shaped pans that were my mother's, and I think they originally were my Grandmother's. I made the cake this week for my husband's birthday, and he wanted the classic round pans...more manly :) . This is the ONLY cake he has wanted for the last three years on his birthday. I made it once for Valentine's Day and his was a lot of cake to make within 2 weeks of each now it's usually just his birthday cake. I have also made mini versions of this cake in mini-spring form pans for a friend after she gave birth! Too cute in mini!
Chocolate Ganache Cake
Taste of Home Magazine Feb/March 2007

3/4 cup butter, softened (unsalted)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (light or fat free works just fine)
3/4 cup sour cream (I use low fat)
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes.  Combine buttermilk and sour cream in a separate bowl. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a third bowl; add to creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk mixture, beating well after each addition.

Pour batter into two greased and waxed paper lined 9 inch pans. (I usually use brown paper grocery bags or parchment paper. Just trace around the outside of the pan onto the paper, cut them out and voila!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

So, while the cake is baking, start preparing the chocolate whipped cream mousse filling.

4 oz semisweet chocolate (eyeball 1/3 bag of semisweet chocolate chips)
1 cup heaving whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Melt chocolate, with the cream over low heat. Stirring almost constantly. (ok how vague is that? I have done this two ways...I have melted the chocolate with the cream in a pyrex bowl set over a pan of simmering water, just make sure the pyrex isn't immersed in the water in the will cause the chocolate to get too hot. My latest way to do this is with a butter melting pot I got for our wedding, it is my most favorite little pan! It works perfectly for the filling and the glaze of this cake).

Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat, stir in vanilla and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Chill until slightly thickened. ( Chill for at least 30 minutes I've found, you want it to be cold enough to whip up into a nice texture) Once cooled, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. (This could take awhile, keep going with it, it's obvious once the consistency changes). Chill again until mixture gets thick enough to spread.


8 oz semisweet chocolate (the rest of the bag of semisweet chips)
1/4 cup butter, cubed (unsalted)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt chocolate and butter. Gradually add cream; heat until just warmed. (Add a little cream, stir until incorporated, then add a little more cream and reapeat until all nice and smooth) Chill this mixture until slight thickened. (This makes a lot of glaze, use as much as you like when you assemble the cake)

Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with filling. Top with remaining cake layer. Slowly pour glaze over the top of the cake. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve!

You can freeze your leftover buttermilk!
1 pint of whipping cream is all you need for this entire recipe

If you try it, please let me know! It's worth it, I promise!