February 2, 2012
Lately my son has been into his action figures, or as he calls them, “bad guys.” While watching him play with his bad guys, I had a mental image of Batman and Penguin fighting in a dark alley. The theme to this week’s photography challenge is “shadows.”
Using a spotlight in the corner of our living room, Batman and Penguin had a shadowy encounter.
Next week’s theme is “drink up!” With the Superbowl this weekend, I shouldn’t have a hard time getting a photo of that.
Other Project 52 Submissions:
February 1, 2012
I hate cleaning the kitchen. There is no other way to put it. I wish I had a maid whose sole purpose in my house was to attend to all things involved in kitchen tidiness. It is my least favorite thing to do. The biggest problem is that I use my kitchen; for three meals a day. I cook. I bake. Things get dirty in there.
Every night when I am cleaning up from a day of disaster making, I pout and feel sorry for myself for having to clean up my mess.
To describe this is the right tone, I thought a cartoon was necessary.
January 28, 2012
Yesterday was National Chocolate Cake Day. In other words, I found a good excuse to make an unnecessary treat. I came across a terrific chocolate cake recipe and thought I’d share it with everyone.
When I saw her chocolate cake recipe, I knew it had to be good. It wasn’t good. It was superb.
What makes this recipe unique is that it includes a cup of coffee in the batter. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but the cake turned out to be moist and delicious, with just a slight hint of coffee flavor.
I should note a sizable change I made to the recipe. It calls for buttermilk, I don’t keep buttermilk in my house regularly. This is a trick passed down from my great-grandma, whom we appropriately called “Cookie Grandma” for her grandmotherly kindness and perpetually stocked cookie jar. The tip? Use regular milk and add a little white vinegar to it. Don’t add too much because it will curdle. Play around with it. For a cup of milk, I’d add about a tablespoon of vinegar.
Ingredients (yields 24 cupcakes)
- 24 cupcake liners
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (or see my advice above)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
- Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack.
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Chop the chocolate and place it in a glass, heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add the chocolate to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cupcakes.
January 27, 2012
As I mentioned before, I am participating in a photography challenge hosted by Darcy at My3Boybarians.com. The challenge is to take a photo every week for one year: Project 52. Each week has a different theme. This week, the theme is a self-portrait. It turns out I’m not very good with the timer setting on my camera. I had a lot of difficulty getting the right settings for the lighting and the photos ended coming out kind of grainy looking.
Here are my best efforts.
I tried to capture myself in my most “natural habitat”. This is what I look like, in my home, on any given day.
I have a lot to learn about shooting on a tripod with a timer. I should probably keep reading, experimenting, and learning so my photos can come out a little better for next week’s challenge.
Previous Project 52 submissions:
1. Made with Love
2. I Dreamed a Dream– Note: I missed this challenge because we were without power (for 3 flipping days, I might add).
January 26, 2012
Ordinarily, I don’t speak publicly about my faith in great detail. I think it is a pretty personal aspect of one’s life. However, as my toddler becomes more demanding, I can’t help relating his frivolous demands with what so many of my prayers must sound like. I thought it was best described in picture.
Disclosure: I am not saying my husband is God and I’m a saint. Let’s not go giving anyone inflated egos now. We are pretty cool though, just ask us.
January 14, 2012
Lately, my son has been requesting that I sing three very specific songs to him before he goes to bed: 1) Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, 2) Mary had a Little Lamb, and 3) Hush Little Baby.
We follow our usual bedtime routine, but all of the sudden, about a week ago, he started asking me to sing to him after he is tucked in. He always asks for the songs, individually, in that order.
After stories, brushing teeth, and potty, I tuck him in and he will look at me and say “Twinkle Twinkle”. I sing it to him and say “Good night.”
“Mary Yittle Yam” he demands. I sing it. He shuts his eyes. After the song is over, I kiss him and say “Good Night” again.
“Angry Birds” he says, 3/4 of the way asleep. I know he means “Hush Little Baby,” so I sing it.
Night after night, it is the same thing and I admit, I love it.
Tonight, he wakes up at midnight. I changed his diaper and got him back in bed, all tucked in, and he starts the routine all over. “Twinkle Twinkle,” “Mary Yittle Yam,” and “Angry Birds.”
Near the end of “Angry Birds” he was fully asleep, but I can’t just stop in the middle of a song, so I finish it up. I sing the last line “Mama’s gonna buy you a mocking…” and he whisper-sings, in his sleep, “biiiird.”
It was the cutest thing EVER. I wish I had it on video.