Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate + Salted Caramel = Bliss

As the New Year approaches so do resolutions....many involve healthified eating.

This post does not.

If you are like me and love all things chocolate......then get your mixers started.  This would be perfect for a New Year's know, get in one last indulgent-bust-your-pant-button-bite. And then start your resolution.....or


I mean, someone will have to eat the leftovers (if there are any).  And who can resist leftovers when salted caramel is involved. Not me. I apologize for squashing any resolutions before they even have a chance to survive. But in all honesty this is much more fun...and delicious....and addicting. 

One bit of sound advice.....serve this chilled, not after sitting out for an hour like I did. It becomes a bit sloppy and loses it's truffle-like texture. I don't usually serve sloppy, but couldn't resist with this one. Also, you can't possibly go wrong with such a short ingredient list, use the best chocolate and you will be good to go.

Oh. And for all you pregger ladies out there..... you should make this and eat a slice Every.Single.Day. If you think I'm nuts then listen very carefully to this new study. 

"In 2004, researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland did a study with around 300 pregnant women to rate their stress levels and rate of chocolate consumption. Half a year after birth, the mothers came back and had to log their young ones behavior within a few categories, including soothability and fear. The babies of mothers who had eaten chocolate daily during pregnancy had a more happier disposition and were more open to new situations"

So maybe this wouldn't be the wisest choice of everyday indulgence.....however, I did in fact eat dark chocolate every morning during my pregnancy and my baby boy has the sweetest disposition of any baby I have every met. Coincidence? Apparently not. I'll take it. And another slice please.

So eat up ladies (prego or not....who says babies are the only one's who need a good disposition?)

Flourless Chocolate Torte:
Adapted from Annie's Eats

8 large eggs, cold
1 lb. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces


Whipped Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce

Preheat the oven to 325° F and adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position.  Grease the sides of an 8-inch springform pan
and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Wrap the outside of the pan tightly with heavy duty foil and set in a larger baking pan.  Bring a pot of water to boil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the eggs at high speed until the volume doubles to approximately 1 quart (about 5-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat until smooth and very warm (about 115° F), stirring once or twice.  Fold about a third of the beaten eggs into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible.  Fold in half of the remaining eggs, and then the last half, until the mixture is homogenous.

Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan surrounding the springform to come about halfway up the sides of the springform.  Bake until the cake has risen slightly, the edges are just beginning to set, and an instant-read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140° F, 22-25 minutes.(I ended up having to bake it about 10-15 extra minutes to get the right temperature.)

Remove the springform from the water bath and set on a wire rack; cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate overnight to mellow the flavor.  The cake can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Right before serving cover with freshly whipped cream and serve drizzled with rich Salted Caramel Sauce. Then sigh. And be thankful of the soon-to-be happy disposition that will soon follow. 

Pondering joy

So I am back from my hiatus.  The absence  was not intentional but was kind of unavoidable.  See, I got to go home and be with family for 2 weeks.  As soon as our soles hit Portland soil we got swept up in seeing family, eating good food, freezing our tails off at Zoo Lights, missing my husband, wrapping gifts, ripping open presents, feeding my little boy (that in itself should be a full time boy can pack it away!), catching up with friends, laughing with Grandmas, coffee with mom, rubbing my sister's growing baby belly, but most importantly taking time to celebrate the true Joy of the season--Jesus. Without his glorious birth we would be nothing, have nothing, and our future would be a big black nothing. But because of his humble birth and life we have everything to be thankful for and everything to be joyful of.

I cannot imagine life without my Savior.

He was born in a stinky stable that I might have life and live it abundantly. So live it I will do, but not without the absence of an eternal perspective. He has given me so much joy.....

He is the reason for this season......

"Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

comfort on a plate

I'm having one of those days. You know the ones where all you want to do is curl up in your sweats and watch Christmas movies....with something yummy to eat.....

Something like this would do.

Unfortunately, this isn't on the menu until Friday....but would it be bad if I told you I just made this last week? I am already fully anticipating that cheesy, gooey, crisp on the top and all melty-goodness in the middle.

Mister Magoo is looking forward to it too.

This is him last week before he gobbled up his first taste of homemade mac n' cheese....notice that sad little tear under his left eye....

So sad. :(
Nothing a little cheesy goodness couldn't cure.....

He gobbled it up, I gobbled it up, we all gobbled it up.....Thanks once again Pioneer Woman you have created a mac n' cheese masterpiece!

If you need some comfort food to soothe your soul, or chase away the rainy need to try this.

The Pioneer Woman's Baked Macaroni and Cheese:


  • 4 cups Dried Macaroni
  • 1 whole Egg Beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
  • 1 pound Cheese, Grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme
  • Crushed plain or seasoned bread crumbs
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.
In a small bowl, beat egg.
In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.
Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.
Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.
Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.
Add in cheese and stir to melt.
Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.
Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top. I added the crushed bread crumbs and shaved Parmesan cheese to add more texture to the finished result. Yum.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Whoa Jane!

I don't know how Sundays work in your family but here they always seem to fall somewhere between a mad dash, sleep-deprived and rejuvenating day. It's a mad dash in the morning to first of all, wake up, and then get showered, dressed, diaper bag packed, puffs restocked, and a snack easily accessible for right after church (for Cole, not me.....although I wouldn't mind a snack.)  People say a baby changes everything but little did I anticipate how much more work it would be to get everyone to church on any given Sunday.  And no one ever told me the anxiety that comes with dropping your baby off in the nursery, especially when you have to peel those nubby little fingers gripping your neck and then the lower lip.....oh, that lower lip how you grip and rip my heart every.single.time. Cole never seemed to have separation anxiety, until now. And so do I.....which only amplifies the problem. Thankfully we have found a church that feeds and refreshes our weary beings, and makes missing naps, pouty lips and havoc-induced afternoons well worth it.

But it sure goes against our earthly beings.

How easy it would be to just stay in our sweats, make pancakes, put Cole down for his morning nap on time and have a happier little man the rest of the day. And in all honesty, sometime we do just that.  But then I am reminded of a story my mom told me about when they had their first baby (my older brother) and how every single Sunday they would pack my brother up and listen to him scream his lungs out all the way too church and all the way back home. And then he would come down with a snotty nose, croup, and a nasty cold the week following. But did that deter them from going? No, they were determined to raise their family in a Christ-centered home, and in doing so meant not giving in to the obstacles that would make that goal seem tainted or not as important in the given moment.  Thank you mom and dad for instilling in your family the importance of putting Christ first even when it clearly was not the easy route.

I have much to be thankful for.....I don't have a screamer. And while going to church throws my sweet boy off of his normal schedule and usually produces a not-so-happy-little-camper.  I am confident that the the blessings will far outweigh the hassle of a kinked up schedule in the long run. Keeping that in mind makes days like yesterday a little bit more bearable. 

we definitely did not have a Cole like this:

I grew weary (could also have something to do with my total lack of sleep this past week, thank you insomnia.) I stayed home from our Sunday night Bible study because my little stinker would not go down for his nap, he was cranky, I was cranky, we were cranksters and we both needed a nice long nap.  But then something happened, something God knew we both needed.....a good, gut-wrenching laugh.

It all happened so innocently, I was giving Cole his evening bath and he was playing and splashing around.

I don't remember what happened, I think he made a big splash and got water everywhere to which I proclaimed-- "Whoa Jane!" And then,

Belly laughs. Head tilted back and deep from the core laughing. 

Cole's response was so addicting that I kept saying "Whoa Jane!" over and over again, always producing another round of roaring laughter.

God knew we both needed that.

So we laughed our way through the rest of bath time and to my surprise the usually two-person job of getting him lotioned, diapered, and PJ'd up went so smoothly and quickly that I had him down for bed and fast asleep in record time.

Ah, my soul rejoiced! Thank you Jesus.  And thank you "Jane".