#header-inner {text-align:center !important;}

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

While painting our bedroom yesterday morning, I was watching (or more like listening to) the Today show. They featured this Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Epicurius.com. I am dying to try it. I'm thinking of making it for Valentine's Day, but sort of want to try it out 1st. I'm off tomorrow & back to work Saturday & Sunday so I'm thinking of trying it out tomorrow to be sure I can handle it. Then I'll bring it to work so it won't sit at home for us to eat non-stop. I can't wait! (This pic is the one from the website, but I'll hopefully be posting a pic of my beautiful cake soon.)
Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Chef Ed Kasky used Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either. Serves 12 to 14.

For cake layers: 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting:1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Preparation:Make cake layers:Preheat oven to 300° F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Since Chris & I have been married we have discovered our love for playing games together. We're both competitive, although I am no where near as competitive as Chris is.

Our favorite game to play is SCRABBLE. Chris has a wealth of random words stored in his brain that he loves to pull out & use in SCRABBLE. Amazingly, he usually knows the meaning of these random words too. I usually consult Webster's just to be sure he's right though!

We played SCRABBLE last night and amazingly I beat him with a final score of 343 to 282. That's a pretty high-scoring game even for us! I did get off to a great start though by being able to take the 1st turn and spell SHAKERS to use all 7 of my letters. That got me 84 points, and he never caught me after that!


Friday, January 18, 2008


Thanks to Oprah's show & a friend of mine, I have discovered the newest & best clothing line ever! Sarah Jessica Parker has just introduced her clothing line called "Bitten". Everything is less than $20...can you believe that? She has clothing & accessories for women sized 2-22. Her line is currently only available @ Steve & Barry's stores & not yet online, but that will hopefully come soon. Check out these cute clothes & amazing deals:

You can check out the complete collection of "Bitten" @ http://www.bittensjp.com/. I can't wait to hit up a Steve & Barry's soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My "bucket list"

There's a new movie out starring Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman called "The Bucket List". I am really anxious to see it. The plot is based around two terminally-ill cancer patients (played by the aforementioned actors) who leave the hospital & journey on an adventure to live life to the fullest before they die. I have had a "do before I die" list for years, so I pulled it out the other day & checked off a few things & added quite a few more. Here's how it looks:

Visit New York City at Christmas......check (Dec. 2004)
Stand in Times Square to ring in the new year
See the Statue of Liberty......check (March 2000, Dec. 2004)
Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
Take the coastal lighthouse tour all over Maine
Stand next to a Giant Redwood tree
Visit the Grand Canyon
Travel to Alaska......check (June 2007)
Travel to Hawaii
Go to Yellowstone National Park
See the pyramids in Egypt
Take a Mediterranean island cruise
Go scuba diving (I've snorkled but never scubaed)
Go skydiving......almost check (on the books for Feb. 16th, 2008...ahhh, what fun!)
Swim with dolphins (I'm dying to do this)
Visit every baseball stadium in the U.S.......so far, I've been to Turner Field &
Wrigley Stadium
Travel across Europe (I'd really like to visit every European country, but definitely Italy,
Spain, England & Scotland)
Write a book

Still a lot left to do, but I think it's fun to have things to look forward to & dream for! Maybe I can check some more off of my list in 2008!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

recap & Resolutions

Happy New Year (a bit belated)! I'm so excited to see what God holds in store for my & Chris' 2008!

Christmas was great. I ended up working Christmas Eve day & then we had only 14 patients so I got Christmas day off. We drove home Christmas morning so our families were thrilled about that. We came back to our house the Thursday after Christmas & then went right back to work.

We got a lot of fun gifts for Christmas this year. Chris & I had of course already done our Christmas when we bought our new LCD HDTV & our new desktop computer. Chris' parents gave us a digital home theater system with a digital DVD player & speakers to go with our new t.v. Chris is in the process of getting it all fired up now & we can't wait to see how it sounds. My parents gave me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I've been wanting one for a while now, but just wouldn't buy it for myself. I am so excited & can't wait to start using it. Chris got several new tools, a gift card to buy a wheelbarrow that he's been wanting for yard work, and quite a few clothes. We also got a new fireplace tool set & I got a bagless vacuum cleaner that makes cleaning the house so much more fun! My grandparents gave us cash, so today we went a bought a new desk for our office. I love it! Some of my other favorite gifts were: a subscription to A Taste of Home, fleece pjs & slippers, some Pampered Chef utensils, and lots of Yankee Candles. Hopefully soon I'll post some pics of some of our fun gifts.

After working last Friday, Saturday, & Sunday I went to my school orientation on Monday & then went back to work Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. It's been busy to say the least. School started Wed. & is already off to a crazy start. I'm taking a Healthcare Populations course and Reseach Methods. It'll be a lot of reading & writing for both courses. Hopefully I'll survive.

I'm so excited about the new year. It's always such a refreshing time for me. After coming home & settling back in, we've done a little cleaning out all around the house & I'm hoping to have a yard sale to clean out more in March. We re-arranged our living room just for something different. I of course made the obligatory new year's resolutions, except that I fully intend to keep them!
*Jog/run atleast 3 times/week
*Take (& pass) my OCN exam (in May)
*Scrapbook & journal/blog more
*Take more time for me!
*Spend more time in prayer & meditation

Best wishes for a fulfilling 2008!