Monday, March 22, 2010

Beware of cats!

Never leave your knitting unattended.

It's the perfect place for a cat nap. But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Heehee.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2 + 2 = FUN

Today is Cookie & Kiss' Birthday and they have come to town to celebrate! The request for dinner was Uncle Joe's pizza. Pizza is Kiss' favorite food and Uncle Joe was happy to oblige the birthday girl.

She is all smiles while eating her pizza. Lovin' it!

For dessert, chocolate cup cakes with marshmallow icing

Cookie wasn't so sure about the marshmallow icing, but loved the cake. Kiss was another story. She loved everything about these cupcakes, especially the icing.

Best cupcakes ever!

The Chocolate Cupcake recipe comes from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. The cake was moist, tender, and delicious. Molly makes a chocolate glaze for her cupcakes, but I wanted to please a younger palate. Recently, I was cleaning out the cookbook shelf and came across a recipe I had clipped from Food & Wine, September 2003 for Marshmallow Icing. As soon as I saw it I knew this was the topping for the babies' birthday cake.

Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup well stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line the wells of a standard-sized muffin tin with paper liners.

Put the semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and opaque.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg on medium speed until it is pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the oil, yogurt, and vanilla, beating well. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture, and beat to thoroughly combine. Add the dry ingredients all at once, and beat on low speed until the batter is just combined. With spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and briefly stir to make sure that all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

Spoon the batter into the wells of the muffin tin, making sure that it is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and cool for 20 minutes. And then very carefully remove the cupcakes and allow to cool completely before icing.

Marshmallow Icing

5 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of cream tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Bring 1-inch of water to boil in a wide saucepan. In a large stainless steel bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar, water, and corn syrup until blended. Set the bowl over the saucepan and whisk the whites until the sugar is completely melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Rub some of the mixture between your fingers to be sure it's not gritty.

Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the cream of tartar to the whites. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed for 1 minute to break them up. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until until the icing is fluffy, firm, and no longer warm to the touch, about 1 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Use right away.

Makes 6 1/2 cups of icing.

This last little note about the amount. Guess what? I didn't really see it until I was typing up the recipe. Of course, an abundance of icing was made. Way too much icing for a 12 cupcakes. I could have iced at least 3 dozen cupcakes, maybe 4. The icing is deliciously sweet. Cookie didn't really like the stickiness, but I got a big ole seal of approval from Kiss, as the pictures attest. Totally worth every sticky, sweet moment of pleasure. BTW, there were no complaints from the adults either. A crowd pleaser all the way around.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Soul Consoling Tower

Monument in Manzanar Cemetary.

On the road home from Mammoth we stopped at Manzanar. We thought it important to share with our nephew, as it is part of our family history. My father was born in an interment camp in Arizona and visiting Manzanar touches a place deep in my soul that aches at the injustice perpetuated on the Japanese and my family.

From an editorial in the LA Times, July 10, 1998

"The nation has recognized that the forced relocation of the internees was a colossal blunder, the result of panic, fear and blantant prejudice. It's too easy to say, as many do, 'It can't happen again.' Manzanar should stand as a solemn reminder that liberty always is a precious and vulnerable thing."
- Keeping Manzanar's Message

At dinner my nephew asked why they don't teach important stuff like this in history class. We really didn't have a good answer to this question. All I can say now, is if you are on the road it is worth the stop to learn about and embrace a moment in our own country's history and the treatment of it's own citizens. It is worth it even though it makes me weep every time.

-- Post From My iPh

Monday, March 08, 2010

Keep your tips up

The family is hanging out in Mammoth. Just Stopped for lunch after a morning of skiing. We have worked up a powerful hunger. It's snowing and the wind is blowing on the top of the mtn. Awesome.

Tank is doing well. She is trying to walk. It's scary & exhilarating at the same time. Kind of like skiing.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, March 05, 2010

Good Wishes


This picture is of my Mom and my Aunt.

I absolutely love this picture. My mom has such a playful and joyous spirit. These are two of her best qualities. She's always a HOOT!

I love you, Mom!
Enjoy your weekend celebrations.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Life has gone to the dogs

Did anyone notice the full moon this past weekend? We did at our house. We called it bad moon arisin'.

Let me tell you why...

The short story...the hubby punched a pit bull & saved a woman.

The long story...We went to LACMA to kill some time and on the way back to our parked car we heard screaming. From across the street we could see legs and a dog in the bushes across the street. Both Joe and I ran across the street. I started calling 911, while the hubby grabbed the pit bull off of the woman. When the pit bull came back for more, he kicked it. That got the pit bull's attention and it came for him and he punched it in the face and got bit in the process. After that, the owner of the pit bull was able to take hold of her dog.

What happened was that the pit bull attacked the other woman's dog. That woman protected her dog and got attacked in the process. The woman had bites to both forearms and if the hub's hadn't pulled the dog off her it probably would have been worse because she was on the ground. The owner had part of her finger bit off in the fray. It was a messy, bloody, and scary scene.

The fire department and police showed up and started patching up Joe and the woman that was attacked. She was taken away in an ambulance. During that time, the owner and the pit bull were given a wide berth while everyone was patched up. After everyone was taken care of, the firemen threw the owner a lasso to put on her dog, which had gotten out of collar and leash during the fracas. Then a policeman aimed a shotgun at the dog while the owner let it go and they got the dog into the back of the squad car. The EMT's were then able to take care of the owner.

This was the point that we left for the doctor's office. Luckily, our physician was in his office and gave the hubby a tetanus shot, antibiotics, a better patch up, and a referral to the plastic surgeon for stitches. Joe got a couple of stitches in two places and is going to live to punch another dog.

And when the full moon came out later that night...he did not transform.

I am really proud of him for helping a stranger, especially when such a formidable animal was involved. He's my very own Hasselhoff.

Nice picture...right?! Needs a bikini wax from where I'm standing.

More about dogs...

On Sunday, Tank went to get a recheck and got her stitches out. She is definitely doing better. The bowels are finally moving. No need for more details about that, but all you mama's know what I am talking about. Poop becomes way too interesting. She is trying to stand, but her front left leg is very limp and so she falls over. That leg is going to be the slowest to recover. Hopefully the right front leg will become strong enough and she can start walking on three legs. We went to the doctor's today because her appetite and thirst were really low. Now she is eating some anorexic dog food. Seriously, dog food for dogs with eating disorders. She loves it. I am glad she is eating something. When you can't even entice a dog to eat a hot dog or Pirate's booty you know you got some trouble.

This has been an really exhausting period of recovery. Not much sleep at night. Loads of worry. Constant monitoring. Big LOVE to all the mama's out there. Really... BIG love to you!