Tag Archives: chocolate

Birthday, Birthday…

What do you get when you layer fabulous hometown beer, grilled steaks, and triple chocolate mousse cake? An amazing birthday. Yesterday was my birthday, I’m inching closer to the big 4-0 and I’m actually feeling pretty good about it. It helps to have a wonderful husband who is 12 years older and has very little sympathy for me where the aging process is concerned.

Mike is going to be 50 this year and he still gets up every morning and wages a life or death struggle with his ridiculous cat. That is a man who is not going quietly into senility by any stretch. I really have very little room to complain about 40 looming out there, just two years away.

I also have to appreciate a man who will stretch my birthday into an entire weekend of celebrating. Our family is notorious for stretching out birthdays and my birthday was certainly no exception. We celebrated all weekend long and it was wonderful!!

Saturday we spent a few hours at Lengthwise Pub. We indulged in the Zeus Imperial IPA (probably the only IPA I actually enjoy) and some fabulous food. I also had a Truffle, Lengthwise Kern County Crude Porter mixed with their Raspberry Wheat. It made for a delightful, chocolate-y, coffee, raspberry, dessert beer. I’m a dark beer girl at heart so this was the ideal way to end our trip to Lengthwise.

Sunday morning we rolled out of bed and headed to a local breakfast spot, J&M’s Bar & Grill. Mike had the homemade corned beef hash and eggs with a side of biscuits and gravy. I had the eggs benedict and the girls had pancakes and french toast. The eggs benedict was really fabulous. I’m picky about my hollandaise sauce and this one fit the bill nicely. It was the ideal way to start the day of my official birthday.

We spent the day visiting some nurseries in town. Our weather has been so spring-like lately that we almost forgot it was still January. It was a great day just hanging out with family and enjoying a little sunshine and mild weather.

One of the highlights of my birthday was logging into Facebook and seeing all the sweetest, birthday wishes from friends and family. I am really blessed to know some amazing people and have some of the sweetest friends on the planet.

Sunday morning I found myself tagged on instagram with the sweetest birthday collage ever:

Birthday collage

Katie is the most thoughtful daughter a mom could ever want. Each one of these pictures is a really great memory for me. There is Katie’s first birthday up in the top right corner and the bottom slide is from a baseball game last summer. Needless to say, this was a really special and very thoughtful treat.

We ended my birthday with a fabulous dinner. Mike grilled gorgeous steaks and we had a great dinner with all the trimmings. My birthday cake this year was an amazing triple chocolate mousse cake. There really aren’t enough words to describe the decadence of that cake, it was truly a cake fit to cap off an amazing birthday weekend.

Of course, after all that weekend indulgence the girls and I were out first thing this morning for a 2 mile run. 😉

Now to figure out how to fill the next 11 months until my next birthday! 😉 We have lots of adventures planned this year so I bet it will fly by!

Stuff it?

A little over a month away from Christmas and the only thing I’ve purchased is stocking stuffers. Technically, they aren’t 100% done but I’m close. My kids used to have debates over who they got better candy from; Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Personally, I think Santa Claus because I’ve seen his bill. 😉

Halloween is sort of the junk candy holiday. It’s Hershey’s miniatures and lollipops and gummy worms. Easter is about Cadbury Eggs, the token Peeps, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies.

Christmas… now Christmas is all about the good stuff. Ghiradelli chocolate and Lindt truffles. I like to go to World Market and buy too much exotic treats, unusual things that you don’t see at all the stores. I think I have the most fun with Christmas, for sure.

Right now I have the other stocking stuffers ready to go. The candy I usually buy a week or so before Christmas. When the kids were little stocking stuffers were toys and crayons. As they have gotten older I’ve switched things out for perfume, make up and fun stuff from Bath and Bodyworks.

Maggie is hopelessly addicted to bath bombs. Nothing makes her more happy than climbing into a tub that is hot pink and smells like strawberries and lime. I love to find them in fun shapes and I’ll probably go with a combo of Christmas themed bath bombs and every day bath bombs for her.

Christmas Eve is a blast for me, the kids go to bed with empty stockings hanging over the fireplace and the next morning the stuffed stockings are propped against the hearth because they are too full to hang anymore.

What are your standard go-to stocking stuffers?


How I Spent SuperBowl Sunday

In case you didn’t know, I boycott the StuporBowl. Seriously. I know that makes me all anti-American and what-not, I’m totally okay with it. I sort of have the same feeling about it that Zube Girl does, which actually makes me feel better about my whole boycotting thing.

I’m just going to go right along and assume this means you are totally curious as to what I might have been doing instead of eating nachos, chili, chips and dips or whatever else is popular at SuperBowl parties these days. No fears! I’m totally ready to tell you complete with pictures!

It just so happens that earlier this week I caught an episode of Paula Deen’s show, Paula’s Best Dishes, on FoodNetwork and decided I had to make Chewy Cake. I am a huge Paula Deen fan and I’ve honestly never made a recipe of hers that didn’t turn out phenomenally and become a requested item around the ol’ casa.

So, Sunday afternoon Katie and I headed into the kitchen to whip up a batch of Chewy Cake. Around here we usually stick to desserts and treats that are built around chocolate. This one had chocolate but that wasn’t the main theme of this dessert. The ingredients really all work together so that there isn’t one particular flavor or item that stands out more than others, which is good considering it has both coconut and pecans and I wouldn’t classify either of those as favorites of mine.

Chewy Cake - A Paula Deen recipeI’m so glad I decided to make this. It’s so decadent, chewy, delicious and best of all, easy to make! The batter is a little stiff and sticky but it’s not hard to work with. If you are wanting to pile them up on a plate all pretty, then definitely let them cool. Katie and I aren’t big on waiting and we like just about any dessert fresh out of the oven and as warm and gooey as possible.

This reminded me of Tollhouse Pie as soon as I tried it so I had to pull the ice cream out of the freezer and Katie grabbed the chocolate syrup and the end result was this:

Chewy Cake ala Mode

Chewy Cake ala Mode

and one more pic because, trust me, this is so worth appreciating:

Chewy Cake ala Mode

Chewy Cake ala Mode

And, here is the recipe if you are inclined to whip up a batch yourself. I highly recommend it, it got rave reviews from everyone in the house!

Paula Deen’s Chewy Cake


One 1-pound package or bag light brown sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350?F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, butter, eggs, coconut, vanilla, pecans, and chocolate chips until well combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan before cutting it into squares.