Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a great holiday, whatever holiday you celebrate. May it be safe and peaceful, whatever part of the world you are in. May it be everything you hope and wish for.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gratuitous Kitty Pictures

Black Bean Soup

Dinner tonight was black bean soup. Just something I threw together, but it turned out very tasty, so I thought I would post it here.

Black Bean Soup

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed.
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can corn
4 chicken breast fillets, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup frozen mixed veggies, or a small can of Vegall
1 onion diced
4 gloves of garlic (or to taste), minced
1 chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste

in a large pot, sweat the onions and garlic in a small amount of oil. add the chicken and all the canned vegetables. add water to cover by 1 inch and toss in the bouillon cube. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. serve hot with cornbread.

I actually never have canned beans on hand, I always have dried. So I used 1 cup of dried beans, cooked in about 2 quarts water, no seasoning. When the beans are tender, drain and rinse, and follow the rest of the directions.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deeply Dark Devils Food Cake

MMMMMM.... cake. I love cake. I love chocolate. So when I was asked to bake a cake for my friend Ashlynne's birthday, who also loves chocolate, I knew this was the cake I had to bake. I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa powder and it was beyond deeply dark. It was black... and rich. I frosted it with a chocolate butter cream that I made with coffee instead of milk. This cake is so dark, it sucks up the light, so rich it could buy you a car. Serve it at room temperature to get the full creaminess of the frosting. It got eaten before I was able to take pictures, but I plan on making it again soon.

Deeply Dark Devils Food Cake
Makes 1 tall 9 inch cake layer

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
11 tablespoons unsatled butter, softened
1 1/2 cips granulated sugar
2/3 cup dutch process cocoa
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup warm water
1 recipe "Especially Dark" Chocolate Frosting (recipe at the end)

Position rack in the cent or the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3 inch spring form pan (make sure that the pan has a tight-fitting bottom, to prevent the batter from leaking.). Dust the pan with flour.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture is pale and well, blended, about 3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and beat at medium speed for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. At low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the warm water in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes for the full recipe, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the bottom of the pan and let cake cool completely.

With a long,serrated knife (I used a bread knife), slice the cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Using 1/3 of the chocolate butter cream, spread onto the top of the bottom layer. Place the other layer on top. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

"The Cake Book" by Tish Boyle copyright 2006

"Especially Dark" Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
3 cups powdered (confectioner or icing, depending on where you live)sugar
1/3 cup milk (I used strong coffee, make sure it's completely cool)
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Melt the butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount of additional milk if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

from the back of the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa box.

Monday, December 15, 2008


No recipe tonight, I'm feeling very sentimental and sappy. You see, I suffer from severe depression and the holidays are the worse time for me. This is the first time I've put up a tree in 3 or 4 years. It's just me and mom now, unlike the Christmas's when I was a kid. I come from a large, Catholic, Cajun family, so Christmas celebrations usually involved everyone from first cousins to third and fourth cousins, as well as all the step family. We're talking close to 100 people all crammed into my grandmothers little house in Baton Rouge. I really miss my family sometimes and wish we could all be together through the holidays. I especially miss my brothers and sisters. I am however very blessed with the very best group of friends a person could have. They have really helped me through some hard times and I love them with all my heart. Without them I don't know that I would have made it these past few years and I hope they know how much I appreciate their love and support. Because of them, this year's Christmas doesn't seem so bad emotionally, hence, the Christmas tree and the feeling that maybe life isn't so bad.
So here is my little tree!!

Here it is with all the lights turned off.

Some of my favorite ornaments.

Mietze helping me decorate.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I have had a nasty stomach virus all week long, so needless to say, there hasn't been much cooking going on at my house. If it weren't for Campbells pull tabs on their soups, I probably wouldn't have eaten at all this week. I love chicken soup, so I was happy about that. I would have preferred to have had my own homemade chicken soup, but alas, I had none in the freezer, nor did I have the energy or where-withal to make any. So, though I have no pictures, I will post my chicken noodle soup recipe anyway. It really is quick and easy. Unless you've got your head in a toilet going "MOOOOMMMMM!!! I'M SICK!!!"

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 1/4 piece of fresh ginger
1 box of no salt added chicken broth.
2 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 carrot, peeled and slice into 1/4 rounds
1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/4 pieces
1/2 cup uncooked egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

In a 2 quart heavy bottomed pot, put the ginger and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until it's as gingery (is that a word??) as you would like it to be. Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until chicken and noodles are cooked and the carrots are tender-crisp.