Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday with Dorie - Plum Dimple Cake

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  
Who comforts us in all our affliction 
so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

No matter how hard I try I can't seem to be on time hardly ever any more. Life with a two year old in tow is just not very easy. So I was lamenting to my youngest daughter about not having my Tuesday with Dorie ready until Thursday, and she says, "Mom ... it doesn't matter about the day, because it's just a play on the title of the book Tuesday with Morie." That was so comforting ... really.

So, this week I'm ready on Thursday, but that is still TWD. I decided that the only way to get the cake made was to have Emily help. She is getting so good at doing things. One of her favorite phrases is "Baby try!?"

I had decided that I wanted to put the plums in skin side up. For one thing I wanted to plum juices to go into the cake. And also, I think it is more traditionally done that way. Otherwise, why is it called dimple cake. That's how you get the dimples.
When all was said and done I think that either I cooked it too long - 40 minutes - or else it is actually a very dry cake. I'll never know as I don't think I'll make it again. But I must say that it certainly smelled good. It has a wonderful fragrance. Perhaps what it needed was to have a syrup poured over it.
I added coarse sugars on top, and I liked the results of that.

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough."
Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emily is finally two!

"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me." 
Matthew 18: 5

For so long now people have been asking me how old is Emily, and I have to try and calculate the months, because that's what you do before a child is two years old. But now all I have to say is "She's two".

Heidi was a bit stressed on Emily's birthday, still suffering from the same problem she had on Annie's birthday, but it didn't affect Emily at all - she was the quintessential two year-old. She behaved herself.

She was pleasant and interactive with the guests.

She opened all of her presents with grace.

She enjoyed all of her presents, taking time with each one to look at it and comment.

I was amazed.

Her BIG present was a playhouse. Heidi promised me that the playhouse could be kept at my house if I would drive her all the way out into suburbia to get it. Under normal circumstances I don't do suburbia, but that seemed fair enough. So at 5:30 one day last week we headed out there. It was a long long ways deep into the inner depths of suburbia. I kept thinking "How am I going to get out of here?!" But we did finally make it - thanks to mapquest. Then the next difficulty was getting it into the car. It had to be taken down. Apparently the owners had bought it constructed. But once it was completely apart they managed to get it into my car. All in all it took us over 2 hours. But when all was said and done Heidi assembled the playhouse in her basement. Oh well.

Then when everyone had examined the little house thoroughly we all went upstairs for cake. Heidi had requested a chocolate cake. I made three fourths of "the perfect chocolate cake" and put it into two 8 inch pans. And when it was time to assemble the cake I cut the layers in half. It made for a nice sized cake that had a special look.

Those are some of her favourite candies on the cake - licorice scotties and spice drops. I absolutely could not find my piping kit, but I did find a tube of orange stuff that Corey brought home. Then Emily's clothes were removed for the eating of the chocolate cake.

Heidi took on the job of cutting the cake - it's usually done by me - and she did a very good job. The cake was enjoyed by all. Unfortunately there was an incident with the strawberries, but I won't go into that.

And to top it all off we got to watch the last game played in Yankee Stadium on Heidi's new HUGE!!! tv, and the Yankees won. How cool is that!?

But it was a bit sad. I'm SOOOO glad that I got to see a game in Yankee Stadium exactly a year ago - on a beautiful day and they won and I had a terrific seat. Life is really good sometimes.

Good Bye Yankee Stadium. We'll miss you.

"I want to know how God created this world. 
I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, 
in the spectrum of this or that element. 
I want to know His thoughts; 
the rest are details." 
Albert Einstein

Friday, September 19, 2008

Annie's Birthday - she is now the big three oh!

"Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old 
when He began His ministry." 
Luke 3: 23

It's amazing how often young people in their twenties dread their thirtieth birthday. I think a lot of that is due to Jerry Rubin saying "Never trust anyone over 30." Yet for the most part the young people today don't even know who Jerry Rubin was. Rubin was in fact 30 years old when he made that statement. He died in 1994 at the age of 56 from injuries incurred while jay-walking a six lane thoroughfare in LA during heavy traffic. But then turning thirty also means that it's about time to grow up. I liked being in my thirties. I started to feel more confidence in my abilities.

Annie was worried that her birthday would be just a great bit hassle if I got involved. Now I won't deny that a statement like that is bound to make a mother feel pretty bad. But I am constantly being reminded that I need to be thicker skinned. But then I bet there are people who read this and think why doesn't Molly take a hint and leave things alone. I don't know.

I knew that Annie was going to be at her house by herself for her birthday morning. It's been a very long tradition at our house to have a birthday breakfast. This is because I realized early on as a mother that it seemed a dumb idea to make a child wait until the end of their birthday day to open any of their presents. And so I began this tradition, and I would set the table the night before, and most of the presents would be wrapped for opening in the morning. I would save out one for later if this was possible.

So I arranged for Corey (who took Annie's birthday off from work) and Annie and Emily and I to go to breakfast at the Original Pancake House - which is just where Annie wanted to go. Then a couple days before Annie's birthday Sarah said that she and Caleb would join us. But then on Annie's birthday (today) Riley said he wanted to come along. I felt terrible, because I figured he would make things a little stressful, because he had never been to the Original Pancake House with Emily, and we all figured he would be tense. Also, Corey reminded him that Annie would be wearing her Lolita costume.That was enough to convince him that he better not go. Then shortly after that Sarah called to say that she would not be coming because Caleb had a bad diaper rash, which made him cry a lot. So we were back to just the four of us.

Everything went very well. We arrived at the restaurant at sometime around ten. The wait was to be twenty minutes, and we quickly got a seat in the waiting room, crowded as always. Soon we were given a booth to sit at, a bit tricky with Emily. There was a very big table next to us with more pre-schoolers than adults, so they had the baby-seats. Emily got a booster, which held her for a few minutes. She was obsessed with seeing the crown on the head of one of the pre-schoolers. But luckily they soon left, and I snatched a baby-seat before they were even out the door. At that Emily was much more behaved.

We ordered and apple pancake and Continental crepes, which used to be called Palestine Pancakes, plus one cup of coffee, which we shared, as coffee was $3 per cup. While waiting, Annie opened the presents we had brought. She seemed quite delighted with both presents, even though she's been known to say that only her sisters get her the cool presents.

Emily wanted to try on Annie's costume.

Emily with Annie's gloves.

Emily with Annie's hat

And while we were waiting for our pancakes, the waitress brought us this beautiful bowl of fruit with whipped cream, and said "Happy Birthday" to Annie. It was wonderful fruit. Breakfast was yummy, but there was even some left-over, which Annie could then have for later. I have to say that I don't think there is a better breakfast restaurant in the world that the Original Pancake House on Barbur Blvd - and it IS the original one. I first ate there in about 1954.

After breakfast we went straight to Movie Madness. Annie knew that she could rent a movie for free on her birthday, and she knew that the day before they had the movie she wanted but she was worried that someone would rent it. Both Corey and I knew that no one would rent it, as it was obscure. Sure enough it was there. We then headed home, though we weren't there long. Riley had made an appointment for me at the chiropractors because of the fall I took down the stairs this morning. I had felt a sharp pain in my back as I it the ground, so I was concerned. I also had several bruises, but nothing else.

When we got down town Annie and Corey went off to pick up Annie's paycheck and to buy shoes for Annie. Riley met Emily and I just outside the parking garage and he and Emily went for pizza while I went to the doctor. Just as I was finished and had met Riley and Emily eating pizza at a table on the side walk, Annie called to ask us to come look at some shoes she liked. What she really wanted was for us to help pay for them. She was of course at the Doc Martin store. The first car we saw on her looked rather bad, but even though she assured me that she was wearing the right size, I told her to try a size smaller. They looked soooo much better, and surprise surprise - they felt fine to her. So could it be that all these years she's been buying the wrong size shoes?! This could be the start of much nicer looking shoes on Annie.

We then hurried home, which was good, as I had forgotten about Christian coming home from school. He was there waiting for us. I then started right in on making the bostini cream pie. Unfortunately I made a mistake in making the custard. I stirred the eggs in with the cream and milk! But there was no starting over, as I had no more cream.
The pudding started out ok, but it was eventually evident that it was going to be a bit grainy. I cooked the cake in a big sheet instead of in individual ramekins. This worked out alright, but not my preferred method. It was out of the oven by about 7:40. I was clearly running behind schedule. But I certainly didn't want Annie to know that I was stressing a bit, as she said I was so known to do that. When am I going to learn to get things done ahead of time. Yesterday it never occurred to me that it was Thursday, and therefore the next day was Friday, Annie's birthday.

We finally got around to dinner at about 7:30. The whole family was there - Riley, Molly, Heidi, Annie, Corey, Sarah, Zac, Christian, Emily, and Caleb. Some members of the family found the event rather crowded, but all in all it was a lot of fun. I love it when everything gets full of activity. We were all trying to roast hot dogs at pretty much the same time. We just need to find a more spacious place to put the fire it. I think maybe on the spot between where the upped deck ends and the car begins. We can work it out.

Heidi began being very anxious to leave. She claimed it was because Emily needed to get to bed, but I really think that the problem was that her good buddy Stephan didn't want to come to the party, but she wanted to talk with him about the fact that she didn't get the job she applied for. But whatever the reason, I got the dessert ready as fast as I could. It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. You can't win them all.

All in all, I think that Annie really enjoyed her birthday. I know that I had a good time.


“Our whole life is but a greater and longer childhood” 
Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TWD - Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, page 85

I just wanted to let it be known that I did make these cookies, but it was a very hectic day, and before I could get a picture of the cookies they were eaten. What can you do?! I didn't want to make them again, I was tired.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Corey's Birthday, the cake on the cover of Baking, and TWD - "Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers"

"Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, 
and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD." 
Proverbs 16:20

So today is Corey's birthday. It is two days after Sarah's birthday, and for two days they are the same age. But now that it's Corey's birthday, she and Annie will be the same age until September 19th, which is Annie's birthday.

It's not easy having your birthday two days after you sister's birthday. And not only is that difficult, Annie used to be so jealous seeing two sisters having birthdays and she wanted to participate fully in the event. I have been known to put both Corey and Annie's names on a cake, and thus letting Annie think it was also her birthday. So Corey (and Annie) are now 29 years old.

The day started out with going to breakfast at a Swedish restaurant. Riley and I, and Annie and Corey and Emily. I called Sarah, but I got a hold of her too late for her to make it. The restaurant was very nice, and not like any restaurant we'd ever eaten at.

The after a short walk around the very interesting neighborhood that the restaurant was in, we took the girls down town to go to a button and lace store, and then we finally all went home. I settled in to feeding Emily lunch, and I don't know where everyone else went. Tom showed up at 2:00 to get the kids. He had neglected to get a baby seat in his car, so they had to just head off down the street walking.

At about 3:00 Sarah and Caleb arrived for tea. In some order or other I made the TWD cookies and got the tea set up. The cookies were very easy to make, and they were a big hit. Oh I remember where Riley went - to Costco to get beer and toilet paper. As soon as he came in he grabbed a cookie, and then said "Oh Wow1" Actually everyone liked the cookies, even those who don't like peanut butter cookies. The only change I made in Dorie's recipe was to use creamy peanut butter, as I never buy chunky, and I wasn't about to when I had a whole jar of creamy in the cupboard.

Dorie'a Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers

As soon as I felt that I'd made enough cookies, and that tea was ready we adjurned to the side yard for a birthday tea. Tiah also arrived with present in hand. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we had a lovely time, the seven of us. I got all of her presents, because there were as many of us as there was going to be.

But after our leisurely tea, it was remembered that a bunch of people would be arriving shortly after seven for the tiki birthday party. For me the most important thing was to get a start on the cake. Riley went into a bit of a tizzy wanting to get the deck and fire pit ready. It's all a bit of a blurr in my mind. All I know is that everything seemed to get ready in due time, even the cake. Annie had lots to do also. She made sweet and sour meatballs, baked beans, a fruit platter, and arranged the table beautifully.

All the right people arrived, in particular Peter. There was lots of beer and hot dogs, and the group (Corey's co-workers) had a very nice time. They sat on the lower part of the deck where the fire pit was, while the rest of us sat comfortably in the upper area. It really worked so nicely.

Eventually I went inside to get the cake frosted. It was the fluffy kind that required getting the sugar and water to a certain temperature, and then beating the syrup into the beaten egg whites. It seemed to me that the recipe needed just a bit more sugar, but oh well. I finally was just finishing the cake when people began to leave. I quickly coaxed them into staying for cake, which all came together quite nicely. We ate cake on the upper deck.

If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly 
and want to wring her neck at the same time, 
then you were probably an only child.  
~Linda Sunshine