February 29

It’s Friday, and I’m nosy.

In the house of Chocolate, we hug all. the. time. If a couple of hours go by without someone getting some sort of affection, a hug, a kiss, a loving pat on the shoulder, a back rub, or something, then people in this house begin to seek it out…seek me out,  ’cause I’m known to give a good hug now and again.

Thank you all for your lovely responses to my post about my Grams. I will write about her more later, but for today and in honor of her and how much she means to me, I need to know, I must know (because you know, I’m nosy)

Who was the last person you hugged?

February 28

When I went away to college, I know that my parents expected me to get an education, and I did. I learned how to play cards. Sorry ma, but that is all I remember from college.

About a month after I went away, I began staying up in the student center playing cards. The Westerman boys, myself, Celeste (my room mate), and a few of her our friends would play Spades for hours. Lupe Rodrequez taught me how to shoot a better game of pool (sorry Lupe, it didn’t stick), but I can play a mean game of poker, thanks to him.

We are a card playing family. Actually, the boy and I play cards, the girl and Superman suffer through.  The boy has inherited my passion love of games. The stratagizing, the challenge, and most of all, the winning. When I was young I didn’t loose well. Now, I rarely loose at all. Those that have played cards with me know.

Rook

Do you feel her suffering?

Currently, she is beating me. It won’t last long.

February 26

Dear Internet,

A strange anomaly happened to me Saturday.

The girl and I went to Stuffmart to get 2 mailing envelopes (to mail something to a friend and a picture of the chips to my sister) and some kiwi.

We came home with 2 mailing envelops, some kiwi and

girlscout cookies

these.

Could someone please explain to me how it happened?

Signed,

Clueless in Chocolateville

February 25

If your on a diet, you just might want to click off my blog now, because if my other posts haven’t done you in, this one will.

Chocolate Intensity. That is what this is called.

When I came upon this recipe, it called to me, and I answered with a resounding yes! yes! yes!

Would you like to answer the call too? It is painless. I guarantee it.

First you must get out your 9 inch baking pan, butter it…..yes, butter. Then line with parchment and butter the parchment. Yes. Butter.

Weigh your chocolate and set it aside. You don’t have to use Ghiradelli, but a good friend sent me a ginormous bag, and Ghiradelli is great chocolate.

In a heavy sauce pan, add 3 sticks of butter. Yes, 3. Paula Deene and I are BFF.

Sugar.

Coffee. I love the flavor that coffee gives to chocolate. It adds just enough ‘je ne sais quoi’ (somein’ somein’ for those that don’t speak French) to it that makes the chocolate better. Superman drinks his coffee strong enough to manufacture fuel for NASA so I cut it with water.

Heat this to boiling.

Pour it over your chocolate and let it sit for a minute before stirring. I didn’t get a shot of this because the boy

was busy and didn’t call me in.

In another bowl, whisk 6 eggs

vanilla and salt.

Pour about 3/4 cup of the hot chocolate over the eggs, whisking constantly. This is called tempering.

Pour the tempered eggs into the hot chocolate and whisk to combine.

Strain your batter to catch any cooked egg bits. You don’t have to do this, but it will make your cake taste better. I promise.

Pour this luscious goodness into your prepared pan.

Set your cake into your largest roasting pan, and fill it with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. This is good for your roasting pan, especially if you have all sorts of baked on food from last summer and didn’t wash it then. I’m just sayin’.

Bake for 35-45 minutes till center is shiny, set, but a bit jiggly. Put the cake on a cooling rack from 20 more minutes. Invert cake onto the cake plate. Make sure it is exactly where you want it because this bad boy will not move. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before glazing.

For the glaze, you will

heat some cream

weigh some more chocolate

pay the photographer a paltry 6 chips

pour hot cream over chocolate to melt

stir after one minute.

I could drink this.

See how glossy the chocolate becomes?

Add some vanilla, and stir.

Congratulations. You have just made a ganache. Pour it over the center of your cake and smooth. Don’t forget the sides. They must be covered too.

Did you by any chance notice the lack of flour in this cake? That lack of flour gives this cake a fudge like quality, with a smooth silky texture. Pure heaven.

If you want to make this for yourself, click here to get your recipe.

February 23

I sent the boy off this morning at 5am. He was so excited he could hardly contain himself.

I took this picture yesterday.
Had I waited till this morning, he would have looked more like this.

I realize that you appreciate my efforts on your behalf.

I have never skied before. I am more of a staybythefiredrinkinghotcocoa kind of gal. It is way to cold out there to enjoy anything. There is no way on God’s white green earth that I am going to strap boards to my feet so I can go flying down a hill 20 miles an hour, 10º air blasting my face, with little sticks to make me go faster, only to go up and do it again. Nope.

Pass the hot chocolate.

Have you ever skied? Do you like it?

February 22

Deodorant.

Now I know everyone uses it, at least I hope everyone uses it.   Please raise your hands if your Sure!  The girl and I are going through a trial phase of our deodorant using.  We have tried the spray, and now the solid.  I really don’t want to move on to roll-on because, lets face it, roll-ons are sticky, gloppy, and gooey.   Blech!

We both have our favorites.  I like one, she likes the other.   I want to know which you like best.

So!

Which do you prefer, spray, roll on, or solid?   Deodorant, or antiperspirant?   Scented?  Unscented?   Do you go au natural?  Do you use baking soda?  Baby powder?

I.  must.  know.

February 21

This coming weekend, the boy will be going with our youth group on the annual ski trip.

In January, he bought himself a hat to wear on the trip, and with that purchase, began the slow journey to total, uncontained fervor.

About 2 weeks after that, Aldi carried snow board pants and jackets. We looked at them, because he had been using a pair of Superman’s old Air Force flight pants and coat, but the pants were beginning to fall apart, and they just weren’t ‘cool’ enough to go skiing in. (major eye rollage here) I told him that I couldn’t afford them, but secretly I was going to get them for him. I purchased them a week and a half later, laid them on his bed, and the excitement began to build in earnest.

When the boy has been given a gift, and it is something that he is really excited about, he uses/wears it all. the. time.

Yes internets, a hat and coat do make the man.

He was so excited about this coat that he begged me to let him and the girl walk to the library. He had to ‘make sure that it was good in the cold and wind’. (can we get some more eyes a rolling?) Later that night he tried to wear the ski pants to bed.

Last week, he purchased himself a pair of OTG (over the glasses) Ski goggles.

They came in the other day.

He wore them all day.

When I went downstairs to read some scriptures with him before bed, there he lay, all covered up…wearing those goggles.

Yes, my friends, the excitement has reached a fevered pitch here in the house of Chocolate. Saturday he is leaving, and things around here can get back to normal. Whatever that is.

February 19

For the people desperate for cheesecake, let me give you the recipe. I must stop the rioting before it starts.

Classic Cheesecake

  • 3 pkg cream cheese~room temperature
  • 1 ¼ c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, or ½ tsp. lemon oil
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • ½ c. heavy cream

Make a graham cracker crust. We don’t use a recipe, just crush up one packet of graham crackers, 1 stick butter, and about 1/4 c. sugar. Line your spring form pan with the crust, and up the sides about ½ an inch.

Beat cream cheese till soft and no lumps remain. Do this at slow speed as you don’t want air incorporated in to the mixture. Add sugar and salt. Mix till well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating till the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg, and scraping the bottom of the bowl before each addition. Stir in the lemon, vanilla, sour cream and heavy cream. Stir just until mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into your crust. Bake in a 325º oven for 45-50 minutes. The edges of the cake will look set and be a light golden brown. The middle should jiggle when you nudge the pan. The internal temp should be 165º or above when taken about an inch from the center.

Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the cheesecake cool slowly in the oven for 1 hour. During this time, the center will finish setting. Cooling the cake slowly will keep the top from cracking and ensure an even, smooth texture. (uuhhh my cheesecakes always crack)

After an hour, take the cake from the oven, and run a knife around the edge to allow the cake to contract as it cools. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

You can top this with a variety of things, but I much prefer caramel sauce.

Since 5 nights out of 7, it is just the boy and I eating one meal (the girl only gets to eat leaves and twigs), I am always on the look out for recipes that serve 2.

I found a wonderful web site that has tons of those recipes. So, as I was looking at different ones, I began to realize that all my baking dishes are way to big. I found a recipe for Bacon Cheese Penne, and I needed to see if we had a 3 cup baking dish. I asked the boy if we had one.

He brought out a few that he thought might work. They were all to big. Then he brought out a small mixing bowl.

I asked him if he would please find out if it would hold 3 cups.

I guess it does.

February 18

I have been catching a lot of flack from my reader friends who have been dieting, so I thought that I’d do something just for them.

Hey! I am an equal opportunity blogger.

Fresh healthy vegetables.

Doesn’t this just make you salivate?  Doesn’t it thrill you to your very core?  No?

Your right.

This is way better than a carrot.

February 17

This morning.

5:30 am~~rudely awakened by an obnoxiously full bladder.

5:30.20 am~~back in bed, much relieved. I move quick, internets.

5:31 am ~~thinking…did I pay the car payment? I think I made it. Did I? OH…crud…what if I didn’t. whining to myself…Did you forget again? No, I think I paid it. sigh…. and this is repeated over and over till I must force myself out of bed to check.

5:45 am~~forcing myself out of my nice warm bed, and stumble with eyes closed down stairs. Turn on the computer, modem, screen and speakers.

5:46 am~~ the blue screen of ‘welcome’ jars my eyes open….sigh..

5:48 am ~~everything is finally up, running, and ready for me to use the machine.

5:48 am~~click on bank web site. Type in ‘user name’ **********. Password ***************. Tab-enter.

5:49 am~~’Online Error  A system error has occurred. We are unable to process this transaction at this time. Please try again later. If this error continues to be displayed, please contact the credit union. Error Description: Timeout expiredPress “Cancel” to go back’.

I repeat the above 3 times. sigh…it is way to early in the morning for pages to be timing out. What is going on? The internet does not get Sunday’s off. Just open up for me. I. must. know.  I climbed out of bed for this.

5:51 am~~catch up on a few blogs, refresh bank page and keep trying.

6:00 am~~fully awake, and not wanting to be, ready to throw my computer out the window.

I should have stayed in bed.

February 16

Hi Internet.

I am trying something new.

Let me just say for the record. I have been fiddling with this for about 2 hours now, and I have 3 hairs on my head left, my left eye is twitching, and in the middle of all this, I am trying to fix 2 desserts for a get together tonight and only have 1 egg, so please vote, and let me know in the comments what you voted.

I do this to satisfy my insatiable curiosity.

I will figure it out what I am doing wrong later…..

Results

February 15**picture added**

Today is Friday, and I have a burning question…or two

Today’s burning question(s) is about breakfast. Do you eat breakfast? What do you eat for breakfast? Would you rather go out to eat for breakfast or supper? What is your favorite breakfast food? These things I must know. I must.

I had cheesy scrambled eggs with green onion, taco cheese and bacon bits, a sausage patty, and this lovely homemade Maple Walnut muffin.

February 14

Every morning except on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, the chips and I go for a nice long wog. It is a fast pace walk, for someone like me. The boy jogs, so we wog together. We have been doing this for 3 years now, and I have built myself up to about a mile. I am sure I could go further, but my knees refuse to co-operate with me.

Unfortunately, sometimes the weather doesn’t co-operate either.

So, when it is ugly ~~ugly meaning raining, icy, snowing, or below 20º~~outside, we walk inside. We abhor walking inside. Not because we are in the dungeon among the drying laundry and not because we have to stare at white concrete walls. We abhor walking inside because of this.

We hate the machine. It lies.

It is a torture device of the worst sort. I make the boy go first. I have to have that time to psyche myself up to get on it.

When he is finished, I climb aboard and get busy. While I am being tortured, I stare at the white wall, and wonder if the man that laid the brick forgot to bring his plumb line that day because it certainly isn’t straight.

I look to my right and try to decide what to make for supper out of two boxes of pasta, 2 bags of dried lentil soup, 50 pounds of flour, 15 pounds of sugar, 2 bags of slivered almonds, 5 cans of green beans, 2 cans of tomatoes, and 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup. I’ll have to think about that later, my heart rate is climbing, and I can not think when I can not breathe.

I know I have gone at least 3 minutes, maybe 4. I look down.

I told you. It lies. The lies are brutal and horrific. It just sucked 20 minutes of my life away.

Nobody withstands the machine.

February 13

Tomorrow is Valentines Day.

It will be a normal day, except that I will be spending the bulk of it alone. The girl hangs out with a friend on Thursday evenings, the boy has volunteered to work a special Valentines supper at work, and Superman will be at work.

I don’t generally go all out for this holiday, but this year I am feeling a bit sorry for myself. Stupid, yes, but there it is.

So, tell me your plans. What are you fixing for supper? Are you getting your hubbie a card? chocolates? nothing? making a special meal? Do you even celebrate the day?

Let me live vicariously through you!

February 12

Every winter Superman grows a beard. bleh…

If you recall, I am not a fan of facial hair, but he loves his beard, and every year, it gets earlier and earlier when he begins letting it grow.

This year he started in September. bleh…   I beg for him not to start till after Thanksgiving, but it is his face, and his hair…bleh.

Sunday, Superman did something so wonderful for me.

He cut it off.  For me.   It is the little things, people…the little things.

So, I must ask you. Which do you like better? the beard or the goatee?

February 11

I love pop tarts. I could eat them by the gross (especially the fudge ones), but since my budget doesn’t allow for me to be purchasing these by the gross, I thought I’d make some instead.

The boy has been on a baking binge, so he actually made them.

This isn’t about a specific recipe, but the process.

First you will want to make your favorite pie dough, or if you are like Applie some people I know, get premade at the store. It doesn’t matter.

Put your dough out on a floured board.

Roll it out in a rectangle.

Make sure that the sides are straight.

Then get out your ruler. Even if you are not anal like the boy and I, a ruler should be a staple in your kitchen. Really.

Measure our your strips 2×3 inches, and get out your jam.

We used Blueberry and

strawberry.

Put about 1 tsp. jam on your bottom rectangle and top with another one.

Crimp the sides.

Bake them for 9-11 minutes.

Make a powdered sugar and milk glaze, and sprinkle.

You can wait for them to cool, or you can eat them warm. Regardless, you just can’t stop at one.

A few things we learned.

1. These are far superior to store bought. These make store bought tasted like you are chewing on the box.

2. The thinner the dough is rolled, the better. These were rolled about 1/8 inches, and it was still a little thick, but be careful as the thinner it is rolled, the more delicate the dough.

3. Strawberry is so much better than the blueberry.

4. Next time we make them, we won’t do mini’s. We will cut them 3×4.

I also plan to play around with the filling.

Have fun. This is something that the kiddos would enjoy making. Go make some pie dough. That means you too, Applie!

February 10

Time.

When I was a kid, I used to moan about how it was taking ‘foreeeeeever’ to get to my birthday or Christmas, or Easter. Those were the biggest holidays around our house, and they all equaled presents. Christmas and Easter equaled chocolate. My mother would usually say something like ‘when you get older, time will go faster’. I remember thinking that mom was blowing smoke.

Now that I am older, I realize that she wasn’t blowing anything. She was spot on.

My boy graduates this year. I have been busily filling out FASFA forms, getting PIN numbers, finding college codes, and worrying.

A friend of mine was saying the other day that when her son moved out, she was able to see all the things she missed. She said ” Once they move out, all of the holes in life training become apparent like a sore thumb”.

Did I teach him all the right things. Did I teach him enough. Is he prepared enough to be on his own. Did I forget anything. Oh, I pray I didn’t forget anything….but what if I did.

Time….it is running away from me, and I am chasing it like a dog chases a car.