Tag: chocolate

Summer Snack: KISS Edition

We just had an awesome and delicious snack and I am not exaggerating one bit when I tell you the kids can make it themselves. I whipped it up this time, but next time they’re on their own. Frankly, it’s just as well. I don’t think I can be trusted all alone with its deliciousness.

Have I piqued your interest? Are you curious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat? 

Well, okay then. I’ll tell you what our scrumptious afternoon snack was today. It was so simple you might just think I am silly for blogging about it. Then again you didn’t think to have this today, did you? Oh ho ho! I’ve got you there, haven’t I? 

Okay, okay. Enough with the suspense already!

We had juicy, fresh, local strawberries dipped in white chocolate. Ta daa! 

So easy! Right? 

Here’s what I did.

Pick or buy fresh local strawberries. Ours were bought, but most definitely local and oh so fresh.

Clean them and remove any that might be iffy or mushy or underripe. Taste test 17 just to be sure.

Get some good quality, white chocolate. Today we used Baker’s, but white chocolate chips, white chocolate melting wafers, white chocolate chunks from your bulk food store, etc., would all work fine.

Break the chocolate into individual squares. Or if using larger blocks chop it up using a serrated edge knife. This will help it melt faster and also will give you a chance to taste test the chocolate to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. It hasn’t. Taste it anyway. You know, just in case.

Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. I used one of my trusty little square dip bowls from President’s Choice. (More on those later. It’s a very short love story.)

Pop the chocolate into the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir gently. You are not trying to whip it up, really, you want smooth, bubble-free, shiny chocolate. Place back in microwave for 10 seconds. Stir. This may be enough time, but if you need more melting time, be sure to use only 10 second intervals because you don’t want the chocolate to seize or burn. That’d be a shame. 

Give the chocolate one final gentle stir and place in the centre of a platter. 

Fill the platter with your beautiful, clean, fresh, local strawberries and stand back while the wolverines – umm – I mean children dig in!

See?

I bet you’re glad I suggested all that taste testing when you first started this little snack journey, now, aren’t you?

You’re welcome.

Monday Motivation Needs More Motivation 

  

Good morning! 

Today I need a bit of an extra boost.

These days are a challenge for everyone, so I’m sharing!

Mini Eggs have 210 calories and 28g of  carbohydrates (not to mention 10g of fat, 6g of which are saturated!) for 42 grams, or about 17 eggs .

  

Hmm? Whassat? Oh, no. No reason. Just a random fact*. 

WHAT?

I like to educate.

I do.

*kicks invisible pebbles*

*sighs loudly in exasperation*

Okay! Okay!

Maaaayyyybe I found the hidden Mini Eggs. Maybe. 

Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really.

Anyway, before I do any more damage to my plans, and to circumvent any damage you might be about to do to yours, I thought I’d come and share these facts with you. 

The truth hurts.

The truth shall set me free.

Contradiction. It’s a fact of life.

A life I’d like to keep living for a really long time.

Now excuse me while I take those seventeen Mini Eggs and disperse them between the Things’ Easter baskets. They won’t divide evenly and though that could drive me mad, I will not eat another stOOpid egg! One Thing will just have to get an extra egg. It all evens out in the wash, as they say.

Oh, and I have also sealed the bag and tossed it way up into the cupboard of sin that I can’t reach.

Done!

  

So, how is your Monday going?

Any hurdles to share?

What is motivating you today?

Whatever it is, I hope you have it in abundance.

*Here’s another fact: I ate another Mini Egg when I went to get the bag to check my facts. Somebody stop me! 

 

 

Let there be cake!

Today is a very special day because two of my favourite people in the world – my NS BFF and my Ottawa BFF – celebrate their birthdays on March 6th. Isn’t that an awesome coincidence? I think so.

I always took it as a bit of a “sign” that Ottawa BFF was put in my path. She is generous, kind, smart, funny and knows more about wine than I could ever hope to know. We actually met because of one of her acts of kindness. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.

My NS BFF and I met in the first few weeks of our first year of university and we have been friends ever since. There’s nothing like a dry sense of humour and a mutual love of music to bond two people together so quickly! Also, you know someone is destined to be your BFF when you can call each other out on your B.S., pretty much right off the bat, which we did and it was awesome! Of course, there’s a story there, too, but I’ll also tell you that – wait for it – another time.

In honour of these very special women on their very special day, I am sharing a recipe for the most decadent and amazing chocolate cake in the universe… EVER! Yay, cake!

This cake is my NS BFF’s “Birthday” cake, made by her Mom every year. Isn’t that sweet? Since she is my BFF, I will not be telling you how many times this cake has been made. (Though, if you really wanted to, you might be able to figure out a round about number when you see the copyright information, but I digress..)

So, without further ado, I give you:

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

This is a rich chocolate cake that freezes beautifully and looks as good as it tastes. (Serves 8 to 10)

2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

3/4 cup sour cream (190 ml)

1/4 cup butter

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (3 x 85g squares)

Frosting

1/2 cup butter

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and beat for 1/2 minute at low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Then beat for 3 minutes at highest speed. Pour into greased and floured cake pans: 2 9-inch pans or 3 8-inch pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. For the frosting: In the top of a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate over barely simmering water. Remove from heat and cool. Add powdered sugar, then blend in sour cream and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Important Rules that Make this my BFF’s Birthday cake

Use a bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 – 70 minutes. Bundt pans make cakes fancy without anything “extra” at all.

The cake itself is very rich and doesn’t really need frosting. NS BFF’s Mom uses a chocolate glaze rather than the frosting.

My thoughts

A little dusting of confectioner’s sugar would be beautiful and is one way to lighten up this cake. Filling the centre with fresh raspberries or a variety of berries is also a nice healthy garnish.

This recipe is from a cookbook called “San Francisco à la Carte”* (p. 432), and though I have a scanned copy of the recipe, complete with sweet and personalized hand written notes from my NS BFF’s Mom (I like to think of these as “historical documents”), you can still find this cookbook by searching online and maybe, if you are lucky, at a second hand bookstore or yard sale!

As often happens in my life when I delve deeper into things I am interested in or working on, I discovered two very fun facts today about this book.

The first is that it was a Junior League of San Francisco project. I had no idea, as I had never seen the actual book before.  This is interesting to me because another friend of mine – a new IRL friend – is a Junior League member here in Halifax and when I found the book online I had one of those “Eureka!” moments.

The second is that this cake recipe is featured in the beginning of “San Francisco à la Carte” in the suggested menus section, under “Barbeques-Picnics” as a part of a “Wine Country Picnic” menu. Ha! If that isn’t just perfect for my Ottawa BFF, I don’t know what perfect is!

Happy Birthday to my BFFs! My life is better with you in it and I am ever grateful for your presence.

Now, let there be cake!

  • “San Francisco à la Carte” Copyright 1979 by the Junior League of San Francisco, Inc. A Main Street Book published by Doubleday