Saturday, August 9, 2008

What Have We Been Up To?

Well, I haven't been posting very often, have I? Summer is winding down quickly. Yesterday was the last day of New Life Camp, so Sarah and Eric are back home. But Sarah leaves for college on Tuesday and Eric follows 10 days later. That means trips to WalMart and Target and Kohls and Staples and the shoe store. Since Eric is a freshman, we are outfitting his dorm room from scratch. Sarah has most of her dorm stuff already, but needs new sheets ( she is moving from a dorm with reg. twin beds to one with x-long twins!) and school supplies and clothes and shoes. Whew! We don't do anything elaborate - no matching curtains and rugs and disco balls and hi-def TVs :-), but the list is still pretty long!

Because they are heading off to a college 4 hours away, we are also trying to get in doctor and dentist visits. Sarah has been bothered by back pain for a few months now, so we took her to a chiropractor this week. This was a first for our family! The x-ray showed a slightly out -of-position hip joint, which is causing her spine to curve slightly and creating inflammation that is pressing on the nerves in her lower back. He adjusted her back and pushed the hip back into place, but until the muscles in that area "relearn" the correct position for that bone, they will continue to pull it out of place. So she needs 5-6 weeks of treatments in order for it to stay put. So it looks like we know what she'll be doing over Christmas break!

I was in a "baking" mood Saturday, so I made a Chocolate Layer Cake from a new recipe from the Food Network website.
It was divine. I took it to a potluck lunch on Sunday and it was polished off in no time.


1 cup ( 2 sticks) butter, softened at room temp.
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour OR cake flour
1 1/3 cups lite sour cream
1 1/2 cups hot coffee

8 T. ( 1 stick ) butter, softened
16 oz. lite cream cheese, softened
8 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup cooled coffee
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 ( 9-inch) cake pans.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment ( or with a hand mixer) cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and eggs and mix until fluffy - about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and mix. Add 1/2 the flour, then 1/2 the sour cream and mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream. Drizzle the hot coffee into the bowl as you mix, until it is all added. The batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans and bake until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - about 35 minutes. Halfway through baking time, quickly rotate pans in the oven to ensure even baking, but otherwise try not to open the oven door. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

Frosting: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate, mixing to incorporate. Add the coffee and vanilla and mix. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition, Beat until fluffy!

Set one layer on cake plate. Frost with about 2 cups of the frosting. Add 2nd layer, cover with frosting, add 3rd layer and frost top and sides with remaining frosting.


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