Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • Last weekend we got paczki from Party Cake and they were yummy. 
  • A friend just lost her husband to COVID so that stinks.
  • It's so nice to wake up and look at the news and not expect a total poop show. Certain other politicians are leaving steaming piles of poop all over, but at least the leader is not pooping all over.

 What We're Eating:

  • Roast Chicken with tossed Salad. All week. 
  • Dessert: Leftover cookies, candy

What We're Watching:

  • We finished The Valhalla Murders (Netflix). It got better as it went on.
  • We have one more episode of The Flight Attendant (HBOMax). We are liking this much more than we expected and finding that the story is much more interesting than we expected.

What I'm Reading:

More of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries. Bonefire of the Vanities, Smarty Bones, Shorty Bones, Booty Bones, and I'm partway through #15 Bone to Be Wild. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Hot Cocoa Cake

Last weekend we made Hot Cocoa Cake from The Perfect Cake (America's Test Kitchen). I'd been wanting to make this cake since last winter plus we had some leftover marshmallow creme.
It's easy to make, it just takes time. Even prepping the cake pans takes time: greasing, flouring, putting a parchment round in the pan, greasing that. The cookbook shows a 3 layer cake (8" layers) but we have 2 9" layer pans, so we decided our cake would be 2 9" layers. The nice thing for many of the cakes in this cookbook is that the recipes for vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, etc., round layers are for 3 8" or 2 9" layers, so no worries about having too much/too little batter. You need to have everything measured out ahead of time before you start mixing. The chocolate, cocoa, and hot water mixture needs time to cool a bit. Eggs need separating. Butter needs to be chunked and added chunk by chunk. You use both the whisk and paddle of the stand mixer. 
The cake layers need to cool before assembly. The marshmallow filling is easy but can be annoying since marshmallow creme is sticky! Once the marshmallow creme is combined with gelatin, butter, and vanilla it's much easier to work with. The frosting is so good, just whipping cream, cocoa, and white chocolate.
The cake is delicious and moist. Whenever I've made a cake that calls for buttermilk, it has never been dry and disappointing. I love the marshmallow filling. And that frosting - I think I could just eat it like pudding. I like that no powdered sugar was involved. Even SP really likes this cake and he's not usually a chocolate cake and marshmallow person!

To make it pretty, ATK tops it with large marshmallows and a dusting of cocoa powder. I didn't want to be eating that much marshmallow so we planned to just go without. Then we found a mostly used package from the last time we make Rice Krispies Treats so we figured we'd put them on top to make it prettier, especially for photos. They look fine, but in reality, the marshmallows with a use by date of Sept 2020 were hard and stale and revolting, so after taking photos, we plucked them off and tossed them!

We'd definitely make this cake again.

Recipe here: Hot Cocoa Cake

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • The dark, oppressive, angry, orange force is gone. It's so nice to see nice people in charge, people who laugh, who seem happy, who seem to care about more than themselves.
  • I didn't watch the inauguration but I did watch the clip of the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman. Amazing. Beautiful words that brought me to tears.
  • Ted Cruz, a TX twit tweeting about the Paris Climate Agreement and Pittsburgh. Huh. Eff off Cruz. You tried to get our votes tossed out and accused our state of election fraud and now you're saying we will lose jobs if we join the Paris Climate Agreement? News flash: we are no longer a smoky steel city and haven't been for some time. Also, Pittsburgh has been supporting the Paris Climate Agreement for the past 4 years in spite of Orange Blob's actions.
  • Bernie with his gloves and parka. The memes. Love them.
  • Non-inauguration thought: At Thanksgiving we received an amaryllis. At first, we had only a pot of dirt. We let it hang out in the dining room and ignored it. Then one day, we discovered it had started growing and eventually, we had this:

It made us think of a celery stick topped by an artichoke. We moved it into the living room and a few days later, we had this:

It bloomed beautiful flowers that make we yearn for spring but when I look out the window, I see the wind and snow remnants.
At least the amaryllis cheers us up.

What We're Eating:

  • Chicken Breasts with Mustard-Cream Sauce, Duchess Potato Casserole, Steamed Broccoli
  • Ham-Asparagus-Swiss Quiche
  • Dessert: Hot Cocoa Cake

What We're Watching:

  • Lupin (Netflix). Such a fun show! We both really enjoyed the five episodes of Part 1 and are looking forward to Part 2.
  • Marcella (Netflix). We finished Season 3. I don't know if there will be a season 4, but I guess the ending could be a good ending to the show or a cliffhanger for a fourth season - ? Season 3 was pretty good.
  • We started The Valhalla Murders (Netflix). The show is from Iceland/set in Iceland, so once again we are reading subtitles. We've watched half of the episodes and so far like it. 
  • Worst Cooks in America. Now that it's episode 3, it's less crazy, ridiculous, annoying. Things have calmed down a bit. We have the same favorite contestant and the same most disliked contestant so we'll see how they fare.

What I'm Reading:

  • Wishbones, Greedy Bones, Bone Appetit, Bones of a Feather (Sarah Booth Delaney book #'s 8, 9, 10, 11) by Carolyn Haines. It doesn't take long for me to read these books and I enjoy them.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

No deep thoughts. Maybe just some bullet point thoughts:

  • Last weekend we got the first paczki of the season from Bethel Bakery. They were delicious! 
  • We got Saturday take-out dinner from Burgatory. I got my usual custom creation chicken but instead of chips I got salad! It was a really tasty salad.
  • SP got a new computer, or rather, ordered a whole bunch of parts to create a new & improved computer. He's busy putting everything together.
  • We got a new lasagna pan! After we made it on Sunday, of course. As we were making it, we were talking about how we don't have a good lasagna/13x9 pan because the metal ones are a little rusty, the white one had rounded edges which makes for a sad because it's smaller piece of lasagna, and the glass ones we're always worried will shatter. We've never had a glass baking dish shatter but figure it'd be our luck to have it happen on lasagna. So we treated ourselves to the Le Creuset Heritage Rectangular Casserole in Artichaut color (a pretty green). It arrived today.

What We're Eating:

  • Lasagna
  • Salad with shrimp
  • Dessert: paczki, holiday cookies, holiday candy

What We're Watching:

  • We're almost done with season 3 of Marcella on Netflix. Two more episodes.
  • I finally caught up on This Is Us, the last 2 episodes. Of course I cried at both. Randall's birth mother's story in particular made me sad cry.

What I'm Reading:

  • The Haunting At Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright. It was good and definitely held my attention but the conclusion of the 1928 story, well, it didn't seem complete, and as for the current day story, it was a little too optimal.
  • A Time for Mercy by John Grisham. I always enjoy his plots but all the legal/trial stuff gets boring to me. This one also had an unsatisfactory ending. Or maybe depressing ending? Not sure, but I have so many questions!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

My thoughts aren't on anything but what happened in DC yesterday. We were glued to the TV and news. Yelling at the TV. Unbelievable yet believable. Thirteen days... please let normal return. I do not like waking up each day wondering what fresh pile of poop there is.

What We're Eating:
  • Breaded Pork Chops with roasted cauliflower
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Dessert: holiday cookies and candy
What We're Watching:
  • The season 2 finale of His Dark Materials. It ended as more of a cliffhanger than I expected.
  • The Rookie is back and I'm glad they quickly resolved last season's cliffhanger but it's just sort of meh.
  • Another season of Worst Cooks. The first episode is always funny because they make their signature dish. This time, a lady made carbonara with mayo. Another pushed spaghetti through hot dog slices and then boiled them. 
  • The New Mutants (movie). Not as bad as we expected. Not as good as we would have liked.
  • Marcella (Netflix). We finished season 1 and started season 2. I was ready to quit halfway through season 1, but then I got interested again. Marcella has great instincts as a detective but personally, she's a mess and not very likeable. You want to blame her for her marriage failing but her husband is even more unlikeable. Such a jerk.
What I'm Reading:
  • The Crow Trap: The First Vera Stanhope Mystery by Ann Cleeves. It was good but took a while to really grab my attention. I'm not sure Vera is a very likeable character.