Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Big Jolly Family

Most people dread their in-laws. Most people make fun of them. Some even move across the country to get away from them. I got lucky. With the exception of one falling out that we've all agreed to get over and not discuss again like healthy adults do, I got lucky. My in-laws love me. They love A. They are always on the look out for cute stuff for our house and score quirky finds for me at yard sales and thrift stores. Case in point?

This copper jell-o mold. It was $2 at one of the local thrift stores and when I was with them and saw it I fell in love. There's just something simple and lovely about it that I love. The holes on the top are where the cherries are suppose to go so that when you flip out the mold, you have cherries on top. How neat! I think I'm going to start collecting them actually and decorate my 1959 state of the art kitchen with them. I remember that my great grandma would hang them on the walls above the cabinets and I like the idea that every time I would see them, I would think of her. Plus, I might as well embrace the decade my kitchen is stuck in cause it's gonna be stuck in it for a while. I just have to make sure to do it tactfully or it could get out of hand.

But getting back on topic, my in-laws, for reasons that aren't important, my in-laws, sister-in-law and their two cats moved in with us this weekend. It's suppose to be for a month.

This is what they brought with them for their month. I'm not really worried about the time frame, mainly cause I don't want to help pack and unload a trailer again. Oh and cause we love them. That by the way is the back of a 25 foot trailer. That is full. Oh yes. Their entire life is now in our house and garage. I actually think there are many pros to them moving in and despite jokes from people at work, I'm not at all concerned about it. For example...

  • Cute stuff: My in-laws have quirky style senses. I've already decorated my yard with their yard stuff. Two pink flamgos included.
  • Conversations: My in-laws are talkers. I'm a talker. Yay!
  • Babysitting: I have three built in babysitters now. I'm excited at the prospect of taking a shower without having to wait till A. is asleep or bribing him with Spongebob educational work sheets.
  • Money: Are agreement is that while they are here they will buy groceries. The money we save, even just for one month, from not buying groceries should help up pump up our savings.
  • Daily Love Reminders: They already adore A. but having them here will just mean even more love in our house on a daily basis. Mom is already over every day and now with them here, he will get even more daily reminders of who loves him.
That being said, there are some cons. There are always cons.

  • Chocolate Stash: I keep a stash of chocolate chips hidden in the upper part of the cabinet. In moments or crisis, or bordem, I take it out and snack on a handfull. Now I'll have to find a new spot because I don't share my stash.
  • Bras: Under the, thanks for sharing category, I don't wear a bra around my house. All mine have wires and frankly, any time the girls can be free I enjoy. Now I'll have to wear a bra a lot more. Damn.
  • Parking Issues: We have one of those awesome drive ways that while thankfully has two spots in front of our garage that we don't park in for fear of it falling in, is only a one car driveway the rest of the way to the street. We also live in a town were parking on the street between 2am and 5am is illegal and will get you a $10 parking ticket. So, with four cars and people leaving at different times, every night I get to play move the cars into the right order game.
But yup. There you have it. We're now just one huge Jolly Family.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boston Cream Pie and a Birthday

I'm not sure about you, but in our family if it's your birthday, you get to pick any kind of dessert you want. I always pick my mom's chocolate cheese cake, my brother always picks my mom's german chocolate cake and my mom changes her mind every year but usually something chocolate and mint (last year I made her mint brownies). The Husband this year picked Boston Cream Pie for his birthday yesterday. I have no idea why. He has never voiced an interest in it before now but it's his birthday, so Boston Cream Pie it is.

So I decided to search the internet because I have no idea what I'm doing making a cake from scratch as I've only ever done it twice. Turns out there are tons of ways and variations to make a Boston Cream Pie. So I decided to make the cake using yellow cake, vanilla custard and chocolate ganache. Sounds yummy to me! The yellow cake recipe comes from The Kitchen, the vanilla custard comes from Epicurious and the chocolate ganache also comes from The Kitchen.

Boston Cream Pie

Yellow Cake

1/2 cup butter, softned
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while the butter softens. Grease the bottom of your pans. Mix all the ingredients, in the order they are listed, making sure to combine each ingredient thoroughly. Pour into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and middle of cake springs back when touched. Allow cakes to cool completely.

Vanilla Custard

3 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Then heat the milk in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Slowly add the hot milk to the mixture, whisking constantly. Tranfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over low to medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken, approximately 6-10 minutes or it registers 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Immediately take the mixture off the heat and push the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the butter and and the vanilla. Chill the custard until cold and thickened, approximately 3 hours.

Chocolate Ganche

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pour the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer and bubbles begin to form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes. Stir to combine. Pour over cake.

Final Assembly

If your cakes need evening out, even them out with a knife. Then layer the cake with cake on bottom, custard in the middle, another layer of cake and then smother it in ganache. Enjoy!

My Thoughts: This cake smelled so yummy while it was baking. I wanted to eat it piping hot right out of the oven and the liquid ganache, I wanted to go swiming in it. For someone who doesn't even really like regular cakes, I thought this one was pretty good. Kinda like a long john, just in cake form. The Husband and A. liked it too.

I would make this cake again, if requested, not just because though. It has nothing to do with the cake, it was fine, I just don't like yellow cake. I might try it again, but with chocolate cake instead and a different flavored custard.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Catch Up

So it's been a while since I posted. It's been a crazy month and a half. And by crazy, I mean, I've been tired. To sum up the time I'm going to update in quick sentances and pictures. I take pictures sometimes that I mean to turn into posts but lately haven't. So here we go...

Work. Well first, no picture for this one. Cell phones are actually forbidden at my work due to patents. Car mirrors are serouis business you know. Work is fine. It's just long. Very long. My shift is from 3pm to 1am. Then A. wakes up at 6am. I'm tired. Thankfully I have a wonderful, wonderful mom who comes over so I can take an hour or two nap before work.

But going back in time, every year my town has an annual festival. It celebrates tulips. Tulips. And as lame as that sounds, and as lame as I thought it was when I was a teenager, I adore it now. I get it now. It's about family fun. It's about free and pretty cheap activities for munchkins. To start out the festival we (me, Mom (Nana), YaYa and Pop Pop) took A. to the big kid activity day. He loved it. He started out by posing on a large rock. That's his, "I'm tough" pose. Pop Pop showed him how.

Then he played in one of those large blow up climbers. He loves these things. He's a very good climber.

And he loved petting the animals. The day was a great one and for only $6 it was dirt cheap.

Then later on in the week we went to the children's parade. All the kids dress up and march down main street. This was A. and his impression of the parade. He didn't enjoy it. It was too loud. There were too many people. It was too hot. We lasted 12 minutes. We will try again next year.

Then a few weeks ago we went to the local fair. Oh what was suppose to be the fair. We were kinda confused because it wasn't normally when it was held but did say it was that fair. It was small. But A. enjoyed the little kid rides. He really loved riding the orange truck.

And then A. had his last day of school. He has two sessions each month for the summer but they are on break. I felt like we should do something nice for the teachers and aides. Honestly I thought I should buy them vodka and chocolate. Afterall these are teachers of 2 and 3 year olds. With special needs. They deserve chocolate vodka. But I figured that was probably not appropriate so instead we made them (in full disclosure, they were not from scratch, they were Meijer knock off cookies that were on sale) chocolate chip and turle cookies. I then had A. make a drawing inside a thank you card. All the teachers said the cookies were fantastic. I just hope they know I meant it, that I really do thank them for all their help with A.

And that is the last month in a nut shell in pictures. Other stuff happened of course but that's all I have in pictures. Hopefully I can update more often, or at least in a more timely manner.