Chocolate Cake

Fudgy, chocolatey, yummy cake!  A favorite here in the Harseverse for birthdays.


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (reduce by half if using salted butter)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.  (I use one 10-inch, one 9-inch, and one 6-inch pans, dividing the batter evenly between them to get the three-layer cakes pictured below.)
  1. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, melted butter and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
  1. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  1. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  1. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Now choose your frosting...  The vanilla compliments the chocolate cake quite nicely, kind of how the icing in an oreo just works with the cookie. But if you have a serious chocolate craving, stick with the chocolate frosting.  Both are delicious!

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 cups powdered (icing) sugar
3 Tbsp milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients and mix with a hand or stand mixer.  Frost cooled cake.

Vanilla Cream Frosting
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) butter, softened
6 cups (1.5 L) icing sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
In large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Beat in vanilla.  Frost cooled cake. 



A-team is four!  He's our goofball as you can tell by my attempt to get a "nice birthday picture" above.  He's always on the go and plays well by himself.  He also still likes playing with his mom too.  But it's usually fighting, and he always wins.  Unless we play cars.  But that usually gets violent too.  He's creative as well, but not really into drawing.  His play is creative.  Any object can be something, but then change into something else and the whole scenario changes as well.  He likes helping me in the kitchen and he'll help with other stuff like dusting and sweeping. "I'm making the house all shiny!"  We love his squeaky voice and silly walks.
We celebrated the day with friends for dinner.  His birthday dinner choice we had eaten the night before, though, because just the thought of cooking pancakes for 10 people made me tired.  So we had slow cooker chili and challah! 


Eight Months

Miss S is two-thirds of a year old!  She loves to play peek-a-boo, and will put things (or her fists) on her forehead and peek out from underneath with a big grin.  She eats a bit of solid food now, and particularly likes banana chunks.  She's a cheerful baby who loves to babble and shriek and blow raspberries.  Her family gets to see that side of her - strangers, not so much.  I think to them she is serious.  If anyone tries to talk to her she'll just stare at them blankly.  And check to see that Mommy is still close by. 
She doesn't like to be held by anyone but Mommy or Daddy.  Everyone else is too scary, apparently.  She knows the words kiss, (leans forward for one) bath, (evokes a huge grin) where are you? (during peekaboo) and Daddy.  She still dislikes tummy time.  It will be a while before she learns to crawl. ;)



Normally these blocks spell something inspirational.  Well, I suppose this is inspired as well.  By winter.
I'm still not used to the cold, cold winters here.  Most days are really sunny, though!
I will post again soon!



Dress-up Day

Today was dress-up day at C-note's school.  It was suggested that they choose a "hero from a book or movie."  He wanted to be Prince Caspian from the Chronicles of Narnia.  The end result of my crafting makes him look more like a medieval knight, but it looks kinda neat, and won him first prize in his grade.  So he's not running-away-from-evil-Uncle-Miraz Caspian, or Voyaging-on-the-Dawntreader Caspian, but perhaps going-to-war-against-the-Telmarines Caspian.
The helm was made of craft foam (inspired by this website), the sword was made of leftover wood bits by Stu, then finished with silver tape and sport tape, his buckler the bottom of a springform pan that was getting rusty anyway, and his "chain-mail" was an open-knit tunic shirt of mine, cinched by a belt from my closet.
Some adjustments were made to the helm after trying it on.  His shoulders kept pushing it up, so I cut off some material.  All in all, a total of $3 was spent to make this costume happen, not including the things found around the house of course!

MY Sandwich!

 Mm, mm, what a yummy grilled cheese and ham sandwich I just snagged!
What are you doing?  Give it back now!
STOP!  It's MINE!*wapwapwap*

You're EATING it!  NO!
 My saaaaaandwich......
You're the worst dad ever!
 Ok, thanks for the crust...sniff...


Potato Bacon Soup

This is a favorite here in the Harseverse.  It's a meal-in-a-bowl!  Warm and delicious, perfect for those chilly winter nights.  Leftovers are even more yummy reheated next day.  Serve with garlic bread or crusty rolls.
1 large onion, diced
6 slices bacon, chopped, plus extra slices for garnish
5-6 large potatoes, cubed
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
4 stalks celery, sliced
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup chopped chives
freshly ground pepper

Cook chopped bacon and onion together on medium high heat for 5 minutes.  Add potatoes, celery, and stock and bring to a boil.  You want enough stock to come up within an inch of covering the vegetables, but not to cover them entirely because you will be adding milk later.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  While soup is simmering, cook extra bacon slices until crisp, chop them and set aside for garnishing.  Once vegetables are tender, roughly mash with a potato masher.  Don't completely obliterate them - you want some chunkiness.  Add milk (add more for thinner soup, less for thicker soup) and the cheese and half of the chives.  Serve with the remaining chives, crispy bacon, shredded cheese and pepper for toppings.   

Six Months

This past Friday Sweetie turned one half year old.  We celebrated her half-birthday with a cake.  Ok, we didn't really, but we did have cake.  Because it's the holidays.  And holidays = lots of baking.  Ah, who am I kidding, I don't need a reason to bake.  Ever.  The boys enjoy helping and right now they're both home, so baking was on the itinerary a few times!

Little miss S loves to rock herself and bounce off the back of the couch (and her bebePOD - so much that I can't have her on the counter anymore, or she'll scoot it right off the edge.)  She thinks her brothers are the best people ever, and greets all of us with an "Ah."  She loves to sit up, but is still working on keeping herself up.  She still doesn't like tummy time, but she's getting better at it.  She's not in a rush with rolling around either.  She is a little shy around strangers, and has been so since she was four months old.  She prefers to be with her mommy, and mommy doesn't mind at all...