Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yoga with Lily

This is a good work out video for core strength and balance :) Meant to include this in the previous post!

Q: What has Lily been up to this summer?

A: Playing with animals and water.

Kansas City Zoo...o.k., maybe not playing with the lioness :)

Kansas City - with Lexi Gazaway

Lucky Tarman - at Refugio Campground

Kansas City - Plaza fountain

Granite Bay - swimming with cousin Lauren

Bend, OR - overlooking Mt Bachelor with Uncle Mike (and Ruka)

She has also been up to visiting lots of fun family, doing 24-piece puzzles, climbing out of her crib, going on the potty (not trained, yet), jumping, and constantly talking about what is going on around her. We've enjoyed the summer together as a family!


Not being a huge candy-lover, I wasn't thrilled when I saw that the Daring Baker's challenge would center around this idea. However, I was quickly captured by the idea of making and flavoring my own truffles.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsely, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

What was especially fun about this challenge, is that I had all the ingredients ready to go. It just required a little creativity of opening my pantry doors and perusing the garden for some delicious treats! Part of the requirement of this challenge was to learn how to "temper" chocolate, which is what makes that smooth and almost shiny exterior of the chocolates you can buy from a chocolate shop. What I had on hand was the Trader Joe's Pound-Plus Bar in Dark Chocolate, and I was very pleased with the result.

The truffle flavors you will find pictured here are: Mango, mint and lemon dark chocolate and orange cardamom dark chocolate:

I also tried my hand at pate de fruit, but would consider it fairly unsuccessful. The flavor of these little guys is lemon cucumber/melon:

If you want to make some delicious truffles, give this recipe a try.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My favorite cake

If you were to ask me what my favorite cake was growing up and what it is even today, I would tell you it's a strawberry whipped cream cake. There's nothing like juicy deep red berries enveloped in a cloud of lightly sweetened whipped cream all atop a moist, delicious cake. When I found out that this month's Daring Baker challenge was a grown up version, I was game.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers' host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

While I am sure there is a bit of bias in this next statement, this is my favorite version of my favorite cake. It may be partially due to the amount of labor and time put into making such deliciousness, but it was well worth the effort. A frasier is typically a French version of a strawberry whipped cream cake, but it could take on many different fruits and varieties. What makes it so special, is that the "bread" of the cake "sandwich" is a lemon chiffon cake that I kicked up a notch by moistening it with some lemon infused simple syrup. The filling is a stabilized whipped cream made with a vanilla bean pastry cream folded into whipped cream with a little gelatin. As it sets, it firms up a bit. Then, of course, strawberries (from one of our favorite organic farms in SB) add the extra burst of love. I mean, what's not to love?

If you want to take a bite into your own version of this yumminess, check out the amazing recipe.