Friday, September 18, 2009

reese-ie-roo

Reese is being SO funny right now, and I don't want to forget any of the funny things that she is doing and saying.  Here are a few of the highlights:

While shopping at a boutique in Whitefish, MT, Reese goes rack by rack and says "ooh, I love it" as she is touching the darling clothes.  When she finds a zippy that she likes, with teddy bear ears on the hood, no less, she takes it off the rack and holds it up to me and says, "I try it on?"  My mom and the sales clerk nearly died of laughter!  And later, when I offered her one of two purses, she wanted both.  One on each arm.  The girl does love to shop!  Figures.

Reese and her friend Max were taking turns fake laughing back and forth in their car seats one day on the way to town.  I told Reese that I knew she was faking.  A few days later, she laughs in the car and then says "that's fake!"  (Maybe you had to be there for that one.)

A lot of the time, Reese talks to herself and I can't always understand what she is saying.  One day we were in the car running errands and she was babbling in the back seat.  As I listened closer, I realized that she was praying... she really likes to close her prayers with an enthusiastic "Amen!"

When Reese and I are in the grocery store and she wants to open something that we are planning to buy, I tell her that we have to go "beeps" first and then we can open it.  (The scanner at the check-out makes a beeping noise with each item, and Reese likes to listen for all the beeps.)  One day while we were in the kitchen, Reese found a bag of M&Ms that we bought the day before that she really wanted to open.  After not getting her way immediately, she said "I go beeps!"...you see, she really wanted the same bag of M&Ms at the store the day before, and, since we had actually "gone beeps", how could I say no?

Reese loves to sing songs all day long...she especially loves to sing "Patty-cake, Patty-cake, baker man!" "Roll it, mark it B, for baby and me."  But, my favorite part is that as soon as she is finished with the song, she claps and says, "Yay, Reese-ie-roo!"  By the smile on her face, that might be her favorite part too.

While we were in Montana, Reese and Max loved to do everything together.  If one was playing with the plastic cupcakes, the other wanted to play with the plastic cupcakes.  One day, Max slipped on the end of a rug on the floor, fell face first, and started to cry.  Seeing the attention that Max received from his mother, Reese lay down in the exact position that Max was in when he fell and started fake crying.  The poor thing must be so starved for attention...either that, or she has totally learned to play me.  I'm leaning toward the latter.

When Reese wants me to pick her up, she reaches up and says, "I hold you!"  It melts me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

hi-hat cupcakes

I have wanted to try these cupcakes for a long time! I first saw these cupcakes three years ago on the Martha Stewart show and have thought about them ever since. They remind me of the chocolate-dipped ice cream cones my sisters and I would get at Dairy Island in Cleveland on summer evening outings with our parents. I just got a new cupcake cookbook (new to me, but I've wanted this book since it was published a few years ago) and the hi hat cupcake recipe was inside, which was a sign to me that now was the time to finally try them for myself.

They are a bit labor-intensive...but if you are willing to put in the work, these cupcakes are divine!

Here's what you'll need:

for the cupcakes:
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water

for the filling:
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the coating:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs canola or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

Bake cupcakes just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then remove from the pan to cool completely.

Make the filling. Put the sugar, water, egg whites, and cream of tartar in a heatproof container or the top of a double boiler with at least a 2-quart capacity and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high speed until opaque, white, and foamy, about 1 minute. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler).

The top container should sit firmly over the pan of hot water; be sure to keep the cord of the electric mixer away from the burner. Beat on high speed until the frosting forms a stiff peak that stands straight up if you stop the beaters and lift them out of the mixture, about 12 minutes. The frosting should register 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermometer. Remove the container from the water, add the vanilla extract, and continue beating for 2 minutes to further thicken the filling. The filling will become firmer as it cools on the finished cupcakes.

Spoon the filling into a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain pastry tip or a large plastic freezer bag with a 1/2-inch long hole cut in one corner. Leaving a 1/8-inch plain edge on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of filling into a 2-inch-high cone-shaped mound on top of each one, using about 1/2 cup of filling per cupcake. Place the filled cupcakes on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, while you prepare the coating.

Make the chocolate coating. Put the chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Scrape the chocolate coating into a small bowl and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip the top of the mound of filling in the chocolate coating, letting any excess drip off, then spoon more coating over the unfilled edge of the cupcake and over the rest of the filling to coat it; none of the white filling should show. (You will have some chocolate coating left for another use or to pour over ice cream, but it is easier to work with a larger quantity of chocolate coating.) Let the cupcakes sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes to firm the coating slightly.

Peel off the paper liners and discard them. (This will make for a smooth chocolate-coated edge if any coating has dripped on to the paper liner.) Return the cupcakes to the platter and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set the coating, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve cold.

The cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

labor day

We have had the most fun Labor Day weekend in Montana! Lindsey and Mike came up from San Diego, Lauren and Ben came up from Salt Lake, and Heidi and Ben and Max are here for a few weeks from Las Vegas while Ben does a rotation with Northwest Montana Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. We spent one beautiful day at the lake, and when it cooled down we shopped and baked (what would a trip to Montana be without some baking and TJ Maxx?)...oh, and I think there was some football on tv throughout the weekend. Reese loved all the attention and making a new buddy who is just her size.
Lauren made a tutu for Reese and she wanted to twirl in it all day long! It even goes with jammies!

Reese is obsessed with the giant bathtub at MommaCat's house and she loves to run around the house wearing just her towel after she gets out of the tub.

And what would Labor Day weekend be without one last trip to Burger Town for a Flathead Monster and huckleberry milkshake before they close for the winter?!
Reese is loving having a constant buddy in Max. She asks for Max as soon as she wakes up in the morning or from a nap, she tries to hold his hand and give him hugs (Max is not a fan of hand holding quite yet and usually tries to push Reese away when she gets in his personal space), and she also tries to boss him around (she is 10 weeks older, after all). But most of the time they spend together is playing peek-a-boo, reading books, playing with Jenga blocks and knocking down everything I build, and playing with their all-time favorite plastic cupcakes! I think Reese might be ready for a sibling!
(that is NOT an announcement)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

sun salutations and floating golf balls

video

just a little early morning yoga to start the day! reese still needs a little practice.

video

reese loves to go to the lake! she got to drive the boat and watch everyone ski, play on the dock and dangle her feet in the water...but the most fun she had while playing catch with the floating golf balls.