At Least Twice A Week

Archive for April 2010

This week’s Martha and Me item was picked by Brette.  And wow, what a choice.  I wanted an excuse to make this and I was so happy with the results.

The recipe is in the April issue of Martha Stewart Living and along with the cake they offer a chocolate frosting.  The recipe on the website  is slightly different than the one in the magazine.  I followed the magazine  but I am sure they are both wonderful.

I made cupcakes since they have to go to work with me and cupcakes travel easier.  My hubby has no willpower so if I keep this kind of thing in the house, he indulges.  Anyway,  the cake was so easy, sift the dry add the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and voila, you are done.  I used vegetable oil because I didn’t have safflower but it worked wonderfully. The cake was moist and not too crumbly and had a good, rich chocolate flavor.  I will definitely be making this batter again.

The frosting was a bit more involved to make.  Cream the butter and cream cheese, sift the powered sugar, salt and cocoa, melt the chocolate add the sour cream.  There were a lot of bowls to wash when I was done.  And there was so much frosting left over.  While I would say the taste was good, it was way too sweet for me.  See the milk in the picture, it is a must have with this frosting.

Another good thing about this recipe is I had everything on hand.  However, next time I am icing these delicious cupcakes with a chocolate glaze and I think that will be perfect.

I love my  backyard.  It is an escape.  I piddle, as my hubby calls it. This is what my flower bed looked like last year.

It isn’t a big area about 4′ x 10′ but it is enough for me to put in lots of pretty things that last from April until October.  Climbing roses, jasmine, sweet angle face, firebushes and some things that I don’t even know the name of but they were cheap at yard sales so I planted them.

As many of you also encountered, we had a very strange winter.  It snowed 3 times in the Houston area during December and January.  And I did try to protect things as much as possible but everything froze.

This is what my garden looked like after the freeze. 

It was depressing.  Everyone I spoke to said to leave it alone and it will come back.  So I did.  And they were wrong.  Very little came back.  You can’t see it but I had a bouginvilla that was about 6′ tall, it’s gone.  All of the firebushes. Gone.  The only thing we didn’t lose were the roses, the jasmine and the two things that are still green in the front (those I don’t know the name of).

I haven’t lost hope yet.  I will get it back into shape soon and it will be stunning.  It so much fun to watch the transformation as you add things and they grow and look gorgeous.  I can’t wait.

Have you ever heard the expression ‘Work to live, don’t live to work’.  Well lately, honestly for the last 6 weeks, my entire existence has been centered around a very demanding, recession burdened position of employment.  While I was always able to come home, relax and cook to forget about the day, my evening were filled will completing tasks from the previous day and planning the next day along with trying to avert any emergencies.  Luckily things have calmed down, people are in place now who can do their jobs and I can go back to my regular job.  And my life.

I didn’t completely stop cooking, I just stopped posting.  My hubby and I even had a vacation that had been planned for months tucked in there.  It wasn’t a resort trip or anything like that but it was time away visiting family and not having the stress of the phone constantly ringing (I did answer emails though!)  And while on vacation we had some fabulous food.  I’ll show you pictures soon.  Everyone laughed because I wouldn’t let anyone eat until I took pictures of their dishes.  Just part of the fun of enjoying the food, eating with your eyes first.

Now, I think I’ll get back to the ‘work to live part’, where I let my work sustain all the thing I love.


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© Karen Schaeffer and At Least Twice A Week, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Schaeffer and At Least Twice A Week with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.