Friday, July 29, 2011

Her First Haircut

Since we just recently discussed my bangs, and let's face it one of the most horrid trends of growing up in the early 90's - I thought it fitting to capture My Indigo's first haircut.

My daughter is like a child on caffeine all day long, when we asked her to sit still under this cape she was almost traumatized.  She was almost zombified!

My wonderful stylist friend volunteered to cut her locks since she too has curly hair. I wouldn't trust anybody else.

This weekend we rented a massive bouncy house that is going to fill my backyard for a belated party for Indy.

Just think of all the fun pictures I will have for you next week, not to mention Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes - word

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Double Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Cream

OK- this settles it, I’m on some sort of cake kick.

There are many things that could be worse of course. I could want to have butter shakes, bacon sprinkles over frosted lard, or deep fried peanut butter burritos…come to think of it that last one sounds kind of good.

Yes I made all of those up, but I simply had to prove a point. I need an addiction to lettuce not cake. I mean why can I not get addicted to working out, saving my money, or tossing out barely full shampoo bottles?

Those things would actually help me, but no cake is my kick.

Let’s see one of my very first kicks was hair related. Let me take you back, here are the items you will need to join in on my kick.

1. Aqua Net
2. Blow Dryer
3. Zits
4. No self esteem
5. New Kids on the Block tapes

I would wake up every morning and perform the following : Get dressed, brush teeth, turn blow dryer towards hair, close in on my bangs, reach for Aqua Net and…..

Spray, Spray,Spray…stop to breathe

Spray, Spray, lean a certain way, Spray & breathe

Now this is all with the blow dryer still pointed at my bangs. The point was to get those bangs pointed straight up…only on one side though, the other side was reserved for a sort of waterfall affect created with the curling iron.


Double Chocolate Cake
Delightfully borrowed from Handle the Heat
{Printable Recipe}

· Butter, for greasing the pans
· 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
· 2 cups sugar
· 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt
· 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake 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. (I used my hands, burn those cake calories ladies!))  In a large measuring up or small 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 hot coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Don't over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35  minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Butter Cream

· 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
· 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
· 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
· 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional)


With a mixer beat your butter for at least one minute. Add in the yolk and vanilla extract. Next add in the confectioner’s sugar cup by cup until well blended.

In a double boiler melt your chocolate and then mix into your butter mixture. Frost your cake! I did a crumb coat, placed in the fridge for one hour, then a second coat of frosting.

I made the stripes by cutting stripes of parchment that I placed in a pattern over the top. I sprinkled with cocoa powder then blew off the excess…it was a *wee* bit messy but worth it.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Edamame & Avocado Spread

You know you have kids when the way you think about your cat changes.

Case in point. About 10 years ago one of my cats went missing for a few days. I was out night and day calling for that little beast. Beat me if you must but our cats are inside/outside cats. About a week after the kitty went missing I found Izo (that's his name) wandering up to our beach apartment barely able to hold himself up.

We took Izo to the vet and little man had done so much damage to his legs he required orthopedic kitty surgery that set our broke butt’s in debt to the tune of 3,ooo dollars. We took out credit and didn’t wink an eye over it.

Once surgery was over we made sure to take the best care of him, tuna, lounging, ear rubbing. Anything to make little dude happy

Fast forward to now (1 kid later) and I just have to list out the things Izo does that make me crazy.

First thing, wants feed. Seriously dude, home those hunting skills because obviously opening up a can of food has become too much of a hardship to me. Not to mention, cat food is stanky. Not to mention, how the hedge fund does it end up all over the another room??

Second thing, this cat wants to come in…and then go out? Sometimes he wants to do this in a very short time period. Obviously I being such a busy woman cannot be made to expend extra energy on things such as…opening a door or closing one.  On the couch with the remote is where I choose to burn extra calories

Third thing, cat wants water. No cat can not drink out of bowl. Being the prince he is, only fresh tap water will do…especially fresh tap water when you want to brush your teeth.

Fourth thing, cat want some lovin. Now this would be OK if kitty didn’t demand it by climbing onto my chest at 2am in the morning. Izo, mom does not keep those sort of hours anymore.

Also one little pet down of a cat = 2 trips around the house with your Dyson.

How are they not bald after the 16 million hairs they lose everyday?

Delightfully borrowed/altered from HERE
{Printable Recipe}

1 Avocado, diced
¾ cup Edamame
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs lime juice
¼ cup parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Coriander


Toss all ingredients into your food processor and blend, brain surgery I tell you. I had this spread on toasted bread with some buffalo chicken and Havarti. NOM to the second power.

Bright and refreshing - sure to wake up an everyday sandwich.

Now excuse me while I kick a cat....JOKING!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fresh Cherry Cake & Fresh Cherry Butter Cream

Well it’s that time again. What time you ask? Well, it is time for me to congratulate myself for keeping my little human alive for another whole year!

AKA – Happy Birthday Indigo! You are the big 3! (OK, 3 on the 21st we are one day early but today we celebrate)

Oh how I love thee.

I love you soooo much I made you a Fresh Cherry Cake & Fresh Cherry Butter cream, I have the stained fingers for proof!

There are few things “batter” than cake, but of course I can think of a few..

1. Indigo (except at night at about 130am, OK even then!)
2. Husband (most of the time. LOVE you honey bunny)
3. 3 day weekends
4. Finding a 20 dollar bill in the washer, finders keepers dude
5. Telling your husband that you found 20 dollars, and no he cannot have it back (I’m mean like that)
6. Winning the lottery, never won the lottery but I am quite sure this would be better then eating cake.
7. Indigo

Now, there are also things that are 50 gabillionzillion times worse than eating cake. I won’t get to crazy here but let’s list some out.

1. Your husband finding the 20 dollar bill in the washer
2. Your husband telling you he found the 20 dollar bill and then saying “finders keepers”.
3. Not winning the lottery
4. Winning a lottery that involves you doing the laundry for your household exclusively.
5. The movie SkyLine
6. Zombies, like real ones..not movies because those are awesome

Everything always comes down to Zombies you see.

But let’s get back to the cake and the reason for it.

Indigo I love you, happy birthday daughter. Your are lovely, cool, stubborn, cute, smiley, interesting, chatty, batty, witty, thoughtful, forgetful, awesome, bodacious, spontaneous, and scared of garbage trucks…which makes me love you all the more.

INGREDIENTS for Fresh Cherry Cake
Adapted from this Cake
{Pintable Recipe}

• 2 cups pitted red cherries
• 3 tbs sugar, for the cherries
• 1/4 cup half & half, at room temperature
• 6 large egg whites, room temperature
• 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
• 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
• 1 3/4 cup sugar
• 4 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

DIRECTIONS for Fresh Cherry Cake

Three hours before baking, toss your halved and pitted cherries with 3 tbs white sugar. Let them sit in a bowl and become nice and juicy (3 hours time). Once ready, puree this mixture in your food processor. Reserve ¾ cup of this puree for the cake, 3 tbs for the Butter Cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your baking dishes: coat inside with butter and flour. I made 12 cupcakes, and 1 - 8 inch cake round.

In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.

Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds. Divide the batter evenly among the pans or into your cupcake liners about half way.

Bake for about 25 minutes (cake round) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary, cupcakes are less time). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).

PS - The small round cake was used cutting out circles from my cake round and stacking them with some buttercream in between each layer.  So adorable, a mini cake for the guest of honor.

INGREDIENTS for Cherry Butter Cream

• 3 tbs fresh cherry puree
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
• 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS for Cherry Butter Cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons cherry puree.

- The result, a wonderful Fresh Cherry Flavored cake and butter cream. It was fabulous. It tastes likes cherries and is speckled with their wonderfulness. Happy Birthday Indigo.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cilantro, Lime, Jalapeno Pesto with Soba Noodles

Over the weekend I was engaging my daughter in normal car conversation. We always talk about her day and things like what food, art, stories she partook of during the week. At almost 3 years old she is a full on non-stop make you beg for mercy till she even considers stopping talking talker.

A normal conversation goes a little like this.

“Indigo what did you do at school this week?”
“I played with Jack.” (Jack has been her boyfriend for at least 1 year already!)

“Oh, what toys did you play with today Indigo?”
“Ummmm, I played with Poop! “ (Said with that little 3 year old cutie patootie voice)

“Oh I see, what did you eat for lunch at school?”
“Poop” (Said with a twinkle in her eye)

“Oh I see, Indigo would you like some Spaghetti and Poop balls when we get home?”
“Yes.” (We both giggle here)

So those are the normal questions I ask, and normal answers that she gives. Well today we were on our way to church and talking about daddy. She loves to talk about daddy, and since he was away at work she was missing him.

I started to lead the questions and ask why she was missing him and of course what she liked about her papa. It is always nice for her form her own answers and sometimes they are hilarious. Like today's answer.

Here is what she said.

“Indigo, what do you like most about daddy?”
“I like his wallet” (completely serious toddler face)

I swear to you that is what she said, and I almost peed my pants! And since her answer was wallet, I’m thinking she might be watching The Real Housewives after I got to bed.

{Printable Recipe}

• 1 bunch fresh cilantro (2 cups, not packed)
• 2 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
• ¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 3 large cloves garlic
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• Soba Noodles, or any pasta you prefer
• Parmesan
• Salt


Combine the cilantro, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and Parmesan cheese in a blender; pulse mixture.  I started with a 1/4 cup of oil but added another 1/4 cup to reach the consistency I like.

Next cook your noodles according to package directions. For the Soba I brought the water to a boil, then dropped in handfuls of noodles at a time. I made sure to keep them from clumping. I then brought down the temp to medium, a very soft boil. After about 7 minutes I drained the noodles and rinsed with hot water.

Toss with Pesto, Parmesan, and Salt. Enjoy this pasta hot or cold.

PS - Indigo is 3 really soon, I made a fresh Cherry cake with fresh Cherry Butter Cream  this weekend for us, recipe to come shortly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Kitchens - Strawberry Soup

Hello and step right up for the second installment of Little Kitchens, not only does it involve my truly little kitchen it also involves my little human, Indigo. Why Little Kitchens, well if you must ask..

1. It’s fun
2. It’s fun
3. Don’t we all plan on our kids being zillionaire chefs who support us into the Twilight years?
4. I saw the Twilight movie before I read the books so it totally didn’t ruin it for me.
5. We have a neighbor”hood” crow, we named him Russell and he likes Saltines.

Do we have an understanding, or have I lost ya? If you know me you know that you get all sorts of random good information.

More information on this soup, this stuff is good – like real good.

Where should you eat this soup? I can give you a few ideas.

1. Eat it for Breakfast, Lunch, Linner, and Dinner – or while watching True Blood if you need a snack.
2. Eat it for every day that ends in day
3. Eat it because Pink soup is all sorts of cool
4. Eat it because it’s intriguing, just like I am not trying to butter you up.

Speaking of butter, Indigo is the butter to my bread and I just love her to pieces. She stole a few Strawberries though and I found them all over her shirt. This was after I walked up to her room at nap time and found her bottom less and covered in sunscreen.

I mean it’s only logical to find some sunscreen and then feel the need to disrobe from the waist down and smear it all over yourself, oh wait maybe that just me.

So as you can tell I need to entertain my kid and of course come up with some bloggy goodness. So pull on up your kids and lets make some Strawberry Soup.

INGREDIENTS for the Strawberry Soup:
Delightfully borrowed from Joy Of Baking

1 pound (454 grams) fresh strawberries
1/4 cup (60 ml) light corn syrup
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup (120 - 240 ml) milk or cream, or to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste (optional)

GARNISHES for the Strawberry Soup:

Crushed Graham Crackers
Mint leaves
Extra berries of any kind
Dollop of whipped cream & shaved chocolate

Strawberry Print Outs
Find parts to the Strawberry Plant


Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Let your little one line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Now it’s time to plop their little butts right up on the counter. You have my permission! Now let’s get to it. Place all of your Strawberries into a pasta strainer and run them under cold water.

Have your child wash each and every one under the water, great time for counting lessons here. My daughter also devoured a few.

Wash and cut the strawberries in half, my little one watched this step…she’s to crazy for cutlery.

Next on our list is the corn syrup. Carefully measure out ¼ cup. Place your Strawberries in a medium sized bowl.

Now pour in the corn syrup little ones.

And now it’s time to stir, stir, stir

Have your little one place the strawberries on a baking sheet (we used a spatula) and bake in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until the color of the strawberries intensifies and the syrup is thick, about 45 - 60 minutes.

Here is where we get to do some art…have your little one color this luscious strawberry and the full Strawberry plant. Be sure to google the plant and name all the different parts. By the time you are done, we can complete our Strawberry soup.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly, have your little one place the Strawberries in your food processor (keep a close eye on them of course!)

Process until the strawberries are pureed. Pour your berries into a medium sized bowl and add the sugar, yogurt, milk, and lime or lemon juice and have your little one stir until combined.

Now place back in your blender and process one more time. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.
Ladle the strawberry soup into dessert bowls and garnish with crushed grahams.

Makes 4 servings.

- Do let me know if you try Little Kitchens at home!