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August 28, 2012

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

I found this image and recipe on pinterest here.

 

It looked like a great idea, but after work, I didn't have time to get this done, so I modified the recipe. So here is my version of Strawberry Cheesecake Bites.

Strawberries - washed, dried and the tops removed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (I didn't measure and I ground up in my mini food processor)

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner snipped off.

Spread the graham cracker crumbs in a pan. You could use anything here, a plate, waxed paper, bowl, etc.

Pipe a dollop (like that technical term) of the cream cheese mixture onto the graham cracker crumbs and press a strawberry, cut side down, into the cream cheese. Transfer to a plate and immediately refrigerate so the cream cheese firms up.

These were so easy to make, and was so simple on a busy work night that I didn't take an after photo. Plus, they were eaten in an instant! But here they are, ready to be transferred to a plate and tossed into the refrigerator.

 

August 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Behind the Scenes

I'm a Background Whore meaning in every photo I look at, I always notice what is in the background. Well, I posted this photo on Facebook and was aware of what was in the background and looking at it thought I needed to "clean up" my birth announcement board and get rid of that bag on my chair. But I failed to notice what was in the foreground of this photo until my friend H sent me a message. She said, "That pic of Dan with the cake, what's that card on the table? A bathing suit or something." Take a look for yourself.

 

I thought about sharing this card after I shared my daughter's birthday card to her dad, but since my husband was not too happy about my card selection, I decided not to. But after H noticed it, I had to show the world. 

 

On the inside it says
Your Birthday, Your Fantasy.
Not my Business!

I told my friend H I would send it to her since she noticed it in the photo. I dug it out of the recycle bin and it's on its way to her house. 

August 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Pinterest inspired me to make my husband's birthday cake this year. I was excited about this new recipe and after posting a (terrible) mobile picture on Facebook, I had tons of comments and even a recipe request. So here it is!

This cake is very, very rich. You'll want to cut it into small slices or else you'll have a belly ache. You can find the original recipe here. I've noted my edits below with the recipe.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

CAKE:
1 box cake mix and ingredients for cake.
Make the cake according to the package, two rounds, and cool it completely.

FILLING:
8oz semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I always use Baker's in the red box, and I don't chop it)
8oz heavy cream (also called heavy whipping cream)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Peanut Butter Cups - I purchased two bags of the minis and had leftovers even after decorating and sampling.

Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Pour it over the chocolate in a medium bowl. Let sit for five minutes. Whisk until the chocolate melts, then whisk in the peanut butter until it's all incorporated and smooth. If you've never made chocolate ganache before, know that it can be tricky. Sometimes after it's all mixed, I let it set for 15 or more minutes to cool and thicken. You can always encourage thickening by putting into the refrigerator, but set a timer, and be sure to check it every five minutes. When it is completely set, it's similar to fudge. If you need to soften it, put it in the microwave for a minute at a time, at 50% power. Stirring after every minute. While my ganache sets, I made the frosting. 

FROSTING:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the vanilla, then the sugar. I beat mine until it was pretty fluffy. But then it seemed too solid, so I added a touch more vanilla. You can probably add milk, so it's similar to a frosting consistency.

ASSEMBLY:
Place one round cake on a cake stand or plate. Cover the top in the peanut butter fudge filling. I only used about 1/3 of the peanut butter/fudge filling/ganache here. You'll need some for the next few steps, so don't use it all. I also speckled the top of the ganache with mini peanut butter cups. This is completely optional.

Place the second 9-inch round on top. Using ganache, spread a thin layer on the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until the fudge is set and firm to the touch.

Slather the whole thing in the peanut butter frosting. I struggled with this part because my frosting was thick, but it was delicious so I kept going. I did manage to get the frosting to cover the entire cake, but it was somewhat thin on the top so I decided to take the remaining ganache and pour it on top of the cake before decorating it. I think it polished the piece nicely. To decorate the bottom of the cake, I cut the peanut butter cups in half, because I was afraid I might not have enough.

I tossed it into the fridge and took out to "thaw" before serving. It is best at room temperature because the ganache and frosting will become firm. 

This might look intimidating, but it is not. I encourage you to try it! 

 

 

August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. This past Friday, we had a party for him after work. My daughter and I made a peanut butter chocolate cake for him and decorated our dining room with things that I had - table cloth, colorful napkins, balloons, blowers and a happy birthday banner.

I love letting my daughter pick out her own cards. This holiday, just like Father's Day, was no different. She picked one out that was within arms reach of the cart she was sitting in, and kept talking about how funny the dogs looked with sunglasses on. She even showed her card to the man in the card aisle with us.

 

After she grabbed the card, I read it and laughed, and told her it was a perfect card for her dad! 

On the inside it says, "Let's celebrate your birthday like the fabulous bitches we are."

August 08, 2012

Picture Perfect

I bought this camera for my daughter before we went on vacation in July and love that she enjoys taking photos, but hasn't quite perfected it yet. I'm looking forward to watching her progress. I just cleared the memory card and these are a few of my favorites.

I recall helping her when we first got the camera. I showed her how to set her toys on the couch and get a picture. It's hard to teach a kid how to take a photo when all they want to do is hold the camera themselves. Here she is taking a picture of her baby that is sitting on the couch next to a bunny. 

 

Walking with me to the mailbox...and she's showing off her "sparkle toes." 

 

Here is her view from the back seat. We were all driving in the car. There are lots of these, mostly of the ceiling, back of seat and her foot. Not sure where we were going, but this one is at least in focus. 

 

 

 

 

 

August 02, 2012

Potty Training 101

Last Monday I decided it was "Potty Training Day." I sent my daughter to day care with just underwear on. I figured I better start soon because she's asking about underwear, wearing them every now and again and can already recite the potty book. Plus, we were done with our long car ride vacation to Ocean City, so I really didn't have an excuse.

I figured the first three days would be chaos, and I was right. Peeing here and there, not making it to the potty. Peeing in her pants and then telling me she peed. Peeing while eating breakfast, etc. Lots of cleaning the floor and scrubbing the carpet, clothing changes and laundry. I was washing a load of pee soaked clothes every night after work. Then on Thursday (day 4) it clicked a bit and less soiled clothes came home. By Friday, my daughter was accident free all day...even when we went to the fair.

You see, I had this brilliant idea to pre-buy a bracelet for the rides for the fair on Sunday and then I brilliantly declared/decided/flew by the seat of my pants that Monday was no more diaper day. So instead of letting my $15 pre-purchased ride bracelet go to waste, I packed a bag with wipes, a towel, change of clothes, and a toilet seat and headed to the fair in the morning. We went in the morning to see the animals and while there, Rachel peed on the potty. But not just any potty, the PORT-A-POTTY! The funniest thing she said, was "Where's the flusher?" I was SO PROUD of her and I also learned the acoustics for pee hitting the toilet water are amazing in a Port-A-Potty.

We went home for lunch and a nap and went BACK to the fair to ride the rides - since the midway didn't open until 2pm and I still had that aforementioned bracelet I paid $15 for. The rides were great. Mostly because the weather was great, overcast and in the low 70s. It sprinkled a few times, but nothing that stopped us from having fun. We visited the Port-A-Potty AGAIN and were successful! I should mention I did take her to the "normal" restrooms at the fair a few times during both of our visits, but she didn't go potty.

So though the weekend she did fairly well. She took a super long nap and peed through her clothes, which I expected since she didn't potty before going down and found my secret stash of Capri Sun and asked to have one. And she peed outside while I was filling up the pool - but who doesn't pee, or have the urge to pee when they see a hose with flowing water!?!? 

This week at school has been a struggle - which is to be expected. Friends that don't come to day care every day are there and she doesn't want to take the time to potty. So I'm not giving up, because once the diaper is gone, it's GONE! (Okay, she still uses one at night, which is fine since I have an entire case from Sam's Club to use up.)

At home we have a potty area in our (giant) bathroom for her, and she loves it. She asks for her table and says she needs her stool if it isn't under her feet. She enjoys flushing the toilet and watching the toilet paper go down. She also likes to tell us to "listen to the tinkle." And after we tinkle, my husband and/or I do a wild dance that she loves. 

Here she is in her potty throne, flushing the toilet and watching the (this time) poo go down. 

 

And sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Here she is after the fair, sitting on the potty we have in the vehicle and reading books. She hasn't peed in this potty, but it's here for emergencies. 

 

This photo is completely unrelated to potty, except that you can see her bootie and I thought it was hilarious when it happened and I needed to document/scrapbook/blog about it, yet at the same time, I'm grossed out. She was playing with these necklaces one day and all of the sudden....
(You'll have to ignore the bug bites she was scratching)