Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chocolate Cake

cold chocolate cake 
with whipped ganache filling 
covered in ganache.....need i say more?

Chocolate Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

-for the cake-
1 3/4 c flour
1 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c buttermilk, shaken
1/2 c oil
2 eggs, room temp
1 t vanilla
1 c hot coffee

-for the filling-
1/2 c cream
1/2 c chocolate chips

-for the frosting-
1 1/2 c cream
1 1/2 c chocolate chips 

-directions for the cake-
butter two 8-inch round cake pans.
line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of mixer 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.
pour into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
store in fridge until ready to assemble. can be done a day ahead of time.

-directions for the filling and frosting-
heat 2 cups of cream in a sauce pan until almost a simmer.
in two small bowls, measure out 1/2 c chocolate chips in one, and 1 1/2 chips in another.
once cream is heated, pour 1/2 c of cream into the 1/2c chips, and the rest into the 1 1/2c chips.
let chips melt for about 30 seconds, then stir both until combined and all the chocolate has melted.
for the whipped ganache, place melted cream/chocolate bowl into an ice bath and stir with a whisk until it lightens in color and resembles whipped cream. Do not over whip. spread between the cake layers.
for the frosting, stir until it cools down and is thick enough to stick to the cake and not run off. you may need to place in the fridge for a few minutes.but dont let it harden too much or you'll have fudge...really yummy fudge, but not what we are going for here!
pour it all on to the top of the cake and gently help it run down the sides by smoothing with an off-set spatula.
store in the fridge to 'set' the ganache.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Housewifery Helper

Cleaning is NOT my forte. I wish I was the type that loved to clean, but I'm not. My energy goes into getting creative, doing a project, or making a meal, and then......ppphhhhhhttttttttttttt (that's the sound of air being let out of a balloon) I have NO energy or desire to clean up my messes or my kids messes by the end of the day.  I would much rather leave it and tackle it the next morning with that new mercy I've been promised.
I know(believe me, I know) the house just can't function that way. The next morning provides it's own messes and before you know it it is Saturday and the house is a disaster! I don't like living that way,  and it is my job to provide a home that is welcoming and livable. So to trick myself into discipline on those areas that always sneak by me throughout the day, I created the above checklist.

I print it out and slip it into a page protector.  I fill out the calendar, to do list, and meal plan at the beginning of the week with a dry erase marker and then leave it on the kitchen counter so it is easily accessible and seen by all who want to keep me accountable : ) kids are great at that!

The other items are to be checked off.  Each time I drink a glass of water, I fill in a water drop. I keep an 8 oz cup right by my sheet.  It is easier for me to drink one small cup at a time, than to fill a big water bottle with a day's worth of water in it and feel overwhelmed.

The Bible, prayer, and exercise section just gets filled in once they are done. Sometimes all it takes is the idea that "I get to fill in the circle and complete my chart!" or " I don't want exercise to be the only blank not filled out so I better just do it!" to help me complete my tasks when I thought I had no energy. Because really, for me, it's just getting started. Once I actually start something, I'm good. I do it.  It's the thought of not knowing where or how to start that throws me into a tailspin.

For the cleaning section I split up the main household chores into a few each day.  This way I am not overwhelmed, it is easily doable in a few 15 min spurts, and the whole house gets touched at least once a week. 

When I stick to this chart, it really helps and I see a difference and that is enough to keep me going.  When I have a bad day/week, so what! I try again the next day. When you do a little each day, and stick with it for one week, you'll be surprised how much easier it is the next week. And when you see how much better things function when everything is clean and orderly, it's easier for me to go against my former cleaning habits and clean as I go rather than leave a mess for the end of the day.

I know everyone's house and schedules are different and that this exact chart wont work for you, but I'd encourage you to make your own and give it a shot.