Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Back of the house

Just in case I haven't kept myself busy enough, I've decided to start compiling stories (maybe into a book?) from my experiences working at a hotel. The title will be Back of the House and the comedy/drama will have you completely shocked about what really happens behind the scenes of a hotel. When my computer gets to my house I will start with my stories, but for now I can't keep blogging from the iPad.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Little Cabbage

Hey everyone, my new company Little Cabbage is up and running. Come check us out here on Etsy and on Twitter @littlecabbagebp on Facebook here and lastly our blog.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Triple chocolate cake

This is a little late, but here is the amazing 4-layer chocolate cake that I made for Valentine's Day. Brenan and I had stressful day that day so I decided to make something extra decadent.

Triple chocolate cake

Okay, I admit it, I took the easy way out and used a box mix this time. Devil's Food to be precise. If you have the time or if boxed isn't your thing, make your favorite cakes using 2 9"pans. Cool the cakes and slice in half horizontally. For the best results, use a long sharp knife.

I used the recipe from my previous post, found here. Once your cake layers are cooled, put 1/3 of your frosting into a plastic ziploc or pastry bag  and pipe it onto the first layer. Repeat with 2 more layers. This is a great technique to frost because you won't pull up crumbs while trying to spread frosting. I piped a tight spiral onto each layer except the top. Once you stack your layers the frosting spreads out and voila, perfectly frosted layers!

To prevent this cake from being too rich, I made an icing for the top instead of using frosting.
1/2 cadbury dairy milk bar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate bar on med-low heat, adding 2 TBL of the milk to help it thin out. Turn off the heat and add the powdered sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add more milk to thin out the consistency, you'll want it to be nearly like corn syrup in consistency. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then drizzle over the top of the cake.

With the rest of the Cadbury bar, use a potato peeler to shave chocolate curls for the top of the cake.

A Frosting Secret

I love frosting. I like to make homemade as much as possible and I always used to run into this problem- I could always taste the powdered sugar once I was done...yuck!  So, while working at the St. Regis I became great friends with the pastry chef and this is what he told me is the secret to frosting--add corn syrup. It helps break down the powdered sugar (like how the milk does) without dissolving it and losing its consistency. So for today, here is my favorite frosting recipe (for now). I'm in the midst of finding/trying new recipes that are as to die for...


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
*2 TBL corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. *Add in 2 TBL corn syrup and beat about 20 sec longer. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

*My addition to the recipe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Black Bean Brownies

I got this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian (here) and I LOVE them. They add some extra nutrition to an otherwise empty calorie treat. I added my changes/notes to the recipe at the end.

Butter, for greasing pan
3/4 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup flour*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.

In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Here are the changes I made to the recipe.
1. I used canned beans and you must rinse the heck out of them if you use a canned bean.
2. I omitted the coffee, not on principle, but because I didn't have any.
3. *Since I'm high elevation I added an extra 2 TBL flour and did a scant 1/2 tea baking powder
4. Cook longer than 20 minutes! I did 20 minutes and they were definitely under done in the middle.

I had Brenan try them before I told him there were beans in it and he really liked them.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Diaper Recommendations

I am the most finicky/picky shopper. It annoys Brenan because I can't just make a purchase, I need to know the competitor's product, price points, and reviews whether it is a big purchase like a TV or something small, like yogurt. I decided to share some of the different products I've tried because it's not always easy and I just wish I had a little product reviewer in my ear whispering to me what I should buy. So here is the first line up of products:

Huggies Little Snugglers & Little Movers

Huggies are my favorite, I don't buy them as often since they are expensive. They are what fit my baby the best and are the least troublesome, i.e. less leaks, no chaffing, don't fall off. The only downside is that they are the most expensive. If you go to they have coupons from time-to-time.

Huggies Snug & Dry

This is their less expensive diaper and I don't care for them as much. They are more "papery" feeling and they chaffed Julia a lot. I would not bother buying these over the Little Movers/Little Snugglers which are way better quality than these.


For being a "name brand" and as expensive as Huggies, these diapers are my least favorite. They don't have the scrunch in the back that helps contain blowouts and they have a funny smell. Plus they don't absorb as well and their velcro/tape waste band makes them not fit well.

Target Brand

Target brand is what we use in our house and we love them. They fit well, absorb well, and they are just as good as Huggies considering they are a store brand. HOWEVER Target does not have a universal diaper across all stores. In Utah they use a circle design and those are the winners. When I was in Oregon we bought some and they had a star design and it was a completely different diaper and they were the worst. If you buy these check the design first.

Western Family Brand
We bought these and I would say they are so-so. I didn't love the fit/waistband, but we didn't have any issues with absorption. They didn't have the size printed on them and that is the worst when you have two kids in two separate sizes.

Smith's Brand

I'd say these were a little better than Western Family, we had some issues with how they fit.

I put Luvs in the same category as Pampers, but they cost less so it doesn't make me as upset to use them. We have a bunch that were given to us, and are using them, but I would not buy them on my own.

Walmart Brand

The worst, hands down. Didn't fit or absorb well.

Sam's Club Brand

I thought they were pretty decent, I only had a few to try since they were a small sample pack, but I remember liking them and it's a great deal. The downside is that you have to have a Sam's club membership, so the membership fee may not pay off if you don't buy other things.

Fisher Price Brand

I've only ever seen these at Baby's R Us, but I really liked them. I got them on sale so I don't remember the price point, but if you're ever there they are worth a try! I just don't go there that often...

Monday, February 11, 2013

5 months

I cannot believe that my Jackson T is 5 months old. Life has been so busy that I haven't had a chance to blog about him for the past few months. This kid is growing like crazy and becoming the cutest little man. At his last appointment he weighed 15.5 lbs and was 25" tall (versus 6.7 lbs and 19" at birth). He is teething, which is always a bummer but he is a trooper for the most part. Since he quit sleeping through the night we are trying different ways to get him to sleep better. If I get him drowsy enough during the day, all I have to do is swaddle him with 1 arm out and he puts himself to sleep. At night, now that we are established at home and not travelling anymore, I want to try to let him cry himself back to sleep. This is of course problematic with Julia in the next room and Brenan the light sleeper. I've got my fingers crossed. Also, little buddy can nearly sit on his own (still hates the bumbo) and is starting to squirm/roll in little strides at a time. He can be centered on his playmat and be facing the complete opposite direction 5 min later.

My chunky monkey :)