Sunday, July 31, 2011

Root Beer Float Cake

Can I go make this again right now? Honestly, I couldn't really appreciate the flavor of rootbeer itself, but the cake was so densely dark chocolate I want another piece right now. Oh, the icing is like fudge. Too bad it's been gone for over a month now. I might just have to break down and make this again the next time I'm PMSing.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: One 10-inch bundt cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes


For the Root Beer Bundt Cake:
2 cups root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder - 3 ounces
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces - 1 stick
1¼ cups granulated sugar - 8.75 ounces
½ cup dark brown sugar 3.75 ounces
2 cups all-purpose flour 8.5 ounces
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened - 1 stick
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ cups powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F*. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter the pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess flour; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy, which is okay. Do not overbeat it, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

6. To make the Root Beer Fudge Frosting, put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping the sides of the food processor a couple of times. (If you don’t have a food processor, simply throw it all into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer and mix on medium-low until combined and satiny smooth.)

7. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the cake in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving. Store leftovers wrapped well or in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Note: If you are using a dark, nonstick pan, heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

(Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)


Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really, this is a 4.5 star book, but four stars just wouldn't be enough, so here's to five stars. I thoroughly enjoyed Delirium. I found myself wanting my car rides to turn longer so I didn't have to turn if off. I can't even describe all of the messages Oliver addressed, but she did wonderful. I can't remember the quote, but there's a line that states indifference is worse than fear. So true. I can't wait to see where Oliver takes us with the second book!
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bored vs Hungry?

Look to the right of Winston's face. Yes, that's a hole. Despite having a full bowl of food, Winston decided he needed to chew a hole into the food bag. Guess we can't keep his food on the floor anymore.

I hate the term abortion

Really, I truly hate the term abortion for a miscarriage. I received an email that my health information on my insurance has been updated, so I open the website to see what's been added. There is a long list of blood work and procedures with listed diagnosis as "missed abortion." Really medical community, "abortion?" In my mind, the word "abort" is an active verb. For example, "The military decided to abort the mission." There was someone who made an active decision to stop doing what they were doing. Guess what?!? I didn't make an active decision to lose my baby. Webster's defines the word miscarry as, "to come to harm." Yes, that's exactly what happened to my baby. Something harmful got in his or her way of continuing to grow. And in fact, my body never actively tried to get rid of the pregnancy. I had to go under general anesthesia to have that part taken care of.

I hate diagnosis codes. Yes, I think I've reached the angry stage of grief right now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blueberry BBQ Sauce

I love blueberry. This recipe was originally for salmon, but I figured I'd give it a try on chicken. I'd give it a B. It was ok, but nothing to knock my socks off.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon blueberry syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add blueberries. Heat until the begin to bubble and burst, about 10 minutes, then mash with a fork. Add in ketchup, both vinegars, brown sugar, onion and garlic powder, ground mustard and worcestershire sauce. Whisk well to combine and break up blueberries and turn the heat up to medium. Heat until mixture bubbles, stirring every few minutes, then turn heat back down to low. Cook for 20 minutes, whisking every few minutes. Sauce will be slightly clumpy and thicker than regular BBQ sauce.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Layered Almond Cinnamon Scones

I loved the cinnamon chips in these pumpkin scones and knew they would complement almond wonderfully. Personally, I thought the scone recipe was a little too bland and the almond schmear too rich. Together, they were a nice combination, however.

Recipe from Love n Bake

2 cups all-purpose flour 8.50 ounces
¼ cup granulated sugar - 1.54 ounces
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz. (3/4 stick) butter - 6 tablespoon
1 egg
2/3 cup cream or milk
1/3 cup cinnamon bites
½ cup Love'n Bake ™ Cinnamon Schmear

1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar- 5 ounces
3 tablespoons milk
½ cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture then cut it in using two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (This step may also be done in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.)
3. Combine the egg and cream in a small bowl and beat well. Add the liquid to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed. Add cinnamon bites. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times just until it comes together.
4. Divide the dough into two even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball of dough with a lightly floured rolling pin into a circle about 8-inches in diameter. Spread the Schmear over one disc of dough. Place the second piece of dough on top. Pinch the edges to seal the two pieces of dough together.
5. Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pie-shaped wedges using a long kitchen knife or rolling cutter. Position each piece of dough on the prepared baking sheet spaced a few inches apart. Brush the tops with milk or water.
5. Bake the scones until lightly browned on top and slightly puffed, about 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Let the scones cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

7. Combine the powdered sugar and glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle the tops of the baked scones with the sugar glaze using a teaspoon or fork.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Caleb's Crossing

Caleb's CrossingCaleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I could give this four stars because I loved the main character so much, but I'm only really feeling 3 stars. Brooks did a wonderful job of telling the story of an independent woman who demanded more independence than society allowed. While telling her story, Brooks tackled the relationships of English and Native Americans in early America. The story flowed and characters were great, it just didn't keep me at the edge of my seat.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

I should be 10 weeks pregnant

Today I should be ten weeks pregnant. I should be getting ready to go to my doctor's office and hear my baby's heartbeat. Instead, today I went to the operating room to finish a miscarriage my body never really even started.

At first I wasn't going to blog about my experience, but I learned the best way for me to heal is to talk about things. We all know women have miscarriages, but there is this silent understanding that society doesn't talk about them. That does not help. Each couple who lost their baby, no matter how early or late, lost a person they already started to love and to imagine being a part of their lives. Not talking about it doesn't mean people stop feeling that love. Something like a miscarriage can't just be swept under the rug. So, that's what brings me here. This will probably end of up long and rambling, but it's for me, so I can write as much as I want.

I had something called a missed miscarriage, meaning the cells stopped growing, but my body never responded. At approximately 8 weeks, I had an ultrasound for dates, which showed the embryo to be 5wks6days. While I know my dates could be off, I personally knew then that the pregnancy was in trouble--I should not be a whole 3 weeks off. A repeat ultrasound a week later confirmed no growth. Being in the medical field, I know my miscarriage was likely the result of chromosomal abnormality, but that doesn't make it easier. Right now, I feel mostly betrayed by my body. When I told my best girlfriends and had my prenatal counseling, the baby had already stopped growing. If my body recognized the signs, I wouldn't have experienced the excitement of telling my friends or had to answer an ungodly number of questions about my family history.

After my second ultrasound, the tech told me she had to get the doctor. I already knew then. As soon as the doctor walked in, I looked at her and said, "I know." Mom was with me and suggested I just let the doctor talk and tell me what's going on. I can't remember if the doctor ever said the word miscarriage. I don't think she did. I think she picked up on my cue. Me telling her I knew what's going on was my way of protecting myself right then and there from hearing, "You've had a miscarriage." After that, it's interesting how people speak in code. I called the office the next day to "schedule my procedure." The nurse looked up my name, saw what I needed, and didn't even mention the word D&C. The following day, the anesthesia nurse called to get my history and we too only used the word, "procedure." At that time it was self-preservation. I have since been able to say "D&C" and that I've had a miscarriage. As I said, talking about it means I've started accepting it and I can't heal until I accept what's going on.

In terms of today, right now I feel physically normal. In recovery as soon as I woke up the nurse asked, "Can I get you anything?" I said, "my baby back," and started crying. She understood. I still feel bad for putting her in that situation, but that's what I wanted. That's what I still want right now.

I know time helps. I know this means we can get pregnant and some couples can't. I know the odds are in our favor that our next pregnancy will be normal and healthy. I also know that when February comes, I'm going to wish I was taking our baby home from the hospital. I know that I'm always going to feel a piece of us has been lost.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brie en Croute

After this post, I'm finally caught up on all of my Easter dishes.

I really enjoy Brie and love when it's melted. I stay simple this time and just did Brie and puff pastry. My family didn't rave about it as much as I hoped, so I doubt I'll experiment with new fillings any time soon.

Recipe from Pepperidge Farm

1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed according to package directions
1 (8-ounce) Brie cheese round
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

*Heat the oven to 400°F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Place the cheese in the center. Fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim the excess pastry and press to seal. Reserve the pastry scraps for decoration.
*Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Brush the seam of the pastry with the egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Decorate with the pastry scraps, if desired. Brush with the egg mixture.
*Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


RosesRoses by Leila Meacham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this story. Some could say this book tells a story of romance, but I find it tells more of a story of stubborness. I find myself angry with a character or two, which means the writer did well with character development. However, I felt some of the writing was too directional and didnt' leave me to make easy connections. Sometimes too much dialogue irks me. It was an enjoyable read, but not something I feel everyone needs to go read.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One Year

One year ago the world lost a wonderful man. There is so much I wish we could share with Mr. Joe. He'd love our new house and playing with our new puppy. Joe makes light of the NFL situation and says, "at least Dad's missing all of this lock-out drama." They say time makes things easier, and I guess "they" are right. However, I still wish I would see him walk through the door, I wish Joe could call him up after an Ravens or Orioles game to discuss the highlights. I wish he was still here. I know he was very sick in 1996 and the doctors said it's a miracle he lived until 2010, but knowing that doesn't make his loss any easier. Mr. Joe, I miss you and I love you.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pork Roast With Thyme and Garlic

Yes, still working on recipes I made for Easter... Joe's not a fan of ham, so I wanted to make a pork roast too. It was the hit of dinner! I personally felt like I put too much garlic in it, but the family politely said it was fine.

Recipe from All Recipes

* 5 pounds pork roast, trimmed
* 5 cloves garlic, sliced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
* 3 bay leaves - omitted
* 1/2 cup cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. With a small knife, pierce top of roast. Force garlic slices into the cuts. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper. Place bay leaves in the bottom of the roasting pan, and set roast on top of bay leaves, fat side up. Mix vinegar and thyme in a small bowl, and pour over the top of the roast.
3. Bake in the preheated oven 3 hours, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C) is reached. Using a baster or spoon, baste the drippings over the roast frequently while it is cooking. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes when done before slicing.

The Oracle of Stanboul

The Oracle of StamboulThe Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the cover! However, a book review shouldn't be about it's cover. The story was nice and writing flowed nicely. I felt the story's ending was lacking a little. I would have liked more closure and I feel like too many characters were introduced. If there were fewer characters, I feel like they would have had more depth. I know the main character had her roll, but I felt like some characters were simply introduced and disappeared without me knowing more about their personalities, even though they seemed to be important to the story.
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