Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Cake


7 Eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder


1-25 oz jar of dark cherries
(In light syrup)


1 stick softened, butter
1-8 oz can Condensed Milk


8 tsp cocoa powder
8 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp sour cream
100 g. unsalted butter

Pour out half of the syrup from the cherries and refill the jar back up with vodka. Let it stand in the marinade for several hours. Before use, drain the cherries.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Beat the eggs and sugar together for 10-15 until thickened and doubled in size. Add the cocoa and continue mixing, until incorporated. Sift in the flour and gently fold in. Then, in a large spring form pan coated with butter pour in the batter and bake for 30 mins or until toothpick comes up clean.

Once the cake has cooled, cut along the perimeter of it, leaving a 1/2 in border. Scoop out all of the insides in order to make a shell, kind of like making a bread bowl. Put the shell of the cake to the side and work on the remains that you pulled out. Either crumble them with your fingers or pulse them in a food processor.

To make the cream, simply beat the butter and once it is fluffy add the condensed milk. Beat together until incorporated. Mix the cream in with the cake bits. Fold in the cherries and then stuff the filling back into the cake shell.

To finish the cake off, make the chocolate glaze by melting the cocoa powder, sugar and sour cream in a small saucepan. Bring to a soft simmer and then take it off the heat. Add the butter 1 tbsp at a time, stirring to incorporate. Once all the butter is added, let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it on the cake. Sprinkle with nuts or bits or chocolate.

Tempted, Hope.

Monday, February 14, 2011


This Valentines day I went looking for a Raspberry scrub from The body shop, but was inspired by cherries instead. Chocolate covered cherries infused with alcohol is a popular choice for many people so when planning our date for tonight I thought it would be appropriate for the occasion.

The scrub almost looks like a cherry puree and the smell was sweet enough to drench a whole body in, so it was a fairly easy decision to make especially since my mind was already moving me right along. I was in the plans of making a chocolate cherry cake with notes of Vodka through out. And, since the cherries for the cake would need to marinate in the alcohol for some time I thought a cherry infused drink would accommodate our bath well.

For all the other wives out there, I hope you are having a great Valentines day. I hope that every day can be filled with moments that will ignite your heart by very sight of the man that you love. The one you have chosen just as much as he had chosen you. That you wouldn't expect from each other the things you aren't willing to do yourselves and then wait on them. That instead, you would take a day and shower him with the things that he loves just because you love him.

Valentines day or not, Cherr-ish every moment. Hope.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Its a Girl!

I remember the day Jenny was born. She was out in 5, with not a minute to loose. Kicking and screaming, pouting and shouting, crying and laughing, she was a girl that from birth knew that there was an agenda for her to fill.

She was any new mom's dream, born with a whole head of hair. But as most dreams go, I didn't realize that we would also begin a journey with it. Brushing was a struggle from the get go, her big hazel eyes just shedding out tears. Big, shiny ones that left a trail long enough to walk in, sit down, and read a book. So, with the sweetest look I knew how to give, I told my little precious gem that "Beauty comes with a price and beauty some times hurts". The words seemed to be as transparent as the tears that were falling.

Its funny now, how her tears brought out some of mine. Tears that soon became the chapters of our lives. And in the midst of each emotional break down we would drive to my husbands work, so that he could talk to me and for a minute hold her. No one saw the days when we couldn't understand each other. When simple things like trying to dress her turned into tantrums while she deliberated if that's what she wanted to do at all. The scene she would create with the scattered popcorn on the floor, cereal on the carpet, and spills on the very thing I just spent half of the day trying to put on.

It seemed that in between her emotional break downs and mine, I was learning a few things about a nurture that needed to be balanced by consistency. But as days rolled by and another set of problems appeared I struggled to be positive. Realistically, I was in a place where months of potty training had gone wrong. When instead of going on her potty she would take the opportunity to show case it in art. Poop smeared against her satin headboard, toys, carpet and clothes was not a dream that I wanted to be living in.

Prayer along with persistence finally paid off a few months later, when she finally went on the potty herself. But as one area was concurred another area was about to be questioned. The difference between her disobedience and her curiosity, was a little harder. Because Jenny had a way of filling in all the shades of gray. Literally, we saw her spread the ashes on the carpet, only to sit down and play with the black disaster. It turns out that even rules have shades and we spent the next few years discovering them.

Today, I still tell her to take a few more bites of her food, brush in between tears, and teach her about putting things back. But I also know that when she speaks, people listen. That, her attention to detail is something she was born with. And that she has a personality that is all her own. Its one that creates interest where ever she goes and a leader that loves to teach. Of course, I thought, from the moment she was born she has been teaching me.

Looking back, I know that it has been a full season of ups and downs but in a sense it felt like at the same time we were being reassured as parents about our parenting. So, comforted by god, I began thinking about another girl, at first scared by the very idea. But the more I thought, the more I felt ready to have one. Six months in, I can't be more thrilled by the idea that Jenny will finally have a sister and our lives will be enriched by another girl.

Here's to all the little girls who are
made of sugar and spice,
And everything nice.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blast from the past

Valentines day is nearing quickly and as I think about all the people in my life, I can't help but wonder about all the other people that are not. The ones I have hurt in the past. The ones that saw my true nature and ran away from it, destroyed by the words that came out of my mouth.

This is to the one I have hurt,

My heart can not rest for my mind won't let me and my prayers won't grant me peace. It's like the power of regret and guilt consume me, to a point that it binds me to my sins. Forgiveness feels undeserving, its grace to wonderful for me. But yet I search to make things right, in hopes that settling this with you will help me settle too.

I want to apologize, for all I have done and not done. For the things I have said but also have failed to tell you too. For the way I have made you feel, purposefully and pridefully for my own pleasure. For not giving you a fair chance and seeing you through my own insecurities instead of the person you really are. I feel, that I am ready to find a truth that is real and not through my own short comings.

I am so sorry that you had to see that side of me but I also want to say thank you. Thank you, for challenging my actions and my heart to a level I have never been to before. For taking me from a person that would initially see opportunities to destruct, instead of places to uplift.

Please, accept this as from a person who wants reconciliation. A person that wants to be different but knows it will take time for transformation. And a friend who's discovering that at the end of the day the person she needs to deal with is herself. Just her, sitting before all of her short comings, failures, and regrets. Understanding that to move forward, she would need to enter the past.

Sincerely, I hope that this helps you move forward in yourself. To be a women that has the confidence to live securely in a world that is insecure. A women that will finally let her walls down and know that she is more then the things that are said to her, because she is a women that can change things just by the words that she speaks.

Sincerely, hope.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Walk the way

We went walking in a new part of town. I wanted to look at a few antique shops and Genius was in the mood to take me. The weather was damp, wet, and cold. But it was the usual and I was prepared. I had on my rain boots, rain coat, and umbrella.

Amongst some very interesting things, I found the coffee sacks I had been looking for. They were going to be used in another attempt to reupholster my chairs before going plastic and my hopes were high this time around. Perhaps child number four would know how to properly sit in a chair. Perhaps she won't bounce around in her seat or eat without playing with her food.

As I enjoyed my sarcastic adventure into a land of behavior, we walked into a coffee place and sampled away on freshly roasted beans. They seem to be the talk around town so we were delighted with the experience, as well as interested in some of the classes that the shop offered.

Continuing down the street with another sample, I was amazing at how a cup of that size could warm my whole body. But a sip and a half later I was back on empty, searching for another place to browse in.

The flower, wine and salt store soon caught our attention. And while we inquired about the wall of Salt I couldn't help but ask what the blocks of it were for. Eighty dollars did seem a little steep, until it was explained that they could be used in a variety of cooking crusades. Grilling meat, searing veggies, or morning eggs could all be done on the salty block. This was definitely a place to keep in mind, especially for gift baskets.

We were coming to the end of the road, but not before we walked into a shoe place. The smell of real leather marinated into my clothes. All the things there were taken to a whole new desirable level and we drooled over the bags and shoes that stood before us. But although our minds ran away with the merchandise, it seemed that our wallets had a real sense of restraint so we walked away with nothing except an exceptional idea for sneakers.

A simple elastic tied at one end and worked up the shoe, puts the traditional shoe laces to shame and I can't help but love the idea.

Thanks again, Portland.
You rule, hope.