We had a very impromptu family gathering for Emily's birthday last night at Justin's parents house. We were just gonna do cake at our house, but Justin's mother invited us over. She even ordered pizza! I have mentioned several times that I am not a cake decorator. Emily did get a delicious cake in her favorite flavor though. I made Cook's Illustrated dark chocolate cupcakes with their vanilla bean buttercream. I made Emily a 6-inch cake and the rest of us had cupcakes.
We had a busy morning getting Emily's pictures taken. I don't think I stopped moving all day. I got some good pictures though. Even though Emily's hair was a little funny. :)
Notice her adorable shoes. They were a birthday present from Justin's mother. They are her first shoes, and she can actually walk in them. They make some good shoes at Robeez.
It took her about 20 minutes to get this far into her cake. In fact, I had to use a fork to break into the chocolate cake to get her eating it. Apparently she didn't want to get messy.
This was what she looked like afterwards though. Ha!
Weight- 24.6 lbs
Height- 30 1/2 inches
Hello everybody! I want to introduce you to my adorable baby girl, Emily Clare Porter. She is on the left, on the right is my sister's baby Maryn. Emily is 7 1/2 months old now.
To say she keeps me busy is an understatement. I do not have quite as much time as I use to. Life is getting back to normal now though, she is able to crawl around on her own. I am excited about posting about all my cooking/baking endeavors again. I have missed sharing them all with you.
Tonight, I am baking a cherry pie. Mostly so I can try out my new favorite ingredient. I bought some instant ClearJel from the Baker's Catalog. It is a type of modified corn starch and it is amazing. It does not require heat to thicken like regular cornstarch. You can freeze pies using it with no trouble, and it is the best thickener to use in pies like a fresh strawberry, where you need a thickened glaze without baking.
I used the cherry pie recipe in ATK's Family Baking Book. It has all the flavors I like in a cherry pie like cinnamon and almond. I used the ClearJel one for one in place of the cornstarch. It also comes with instructions for using jarred/canned cherries, which I need. I have never seen fresh sour cherries, and I doubt I will down here in Louisiana.
The pie turned out absolutely gorgeous! I love a lattice pie. I always feel like I should be entering it in a fair somewhere.
I had to mention this awesome recipe I got from David Lebovitz's blog. I was excited when I saw the buckwheat flour and cornmeal.... but it was the white chocolate and sour cherries that sealed the deal. I had to make them. They were crazy good. I ate two immediately and I am contemplating a third. I love any recipe that throws in whole grains, and the cornmeal adds great texture.
I especially loved the crispy brown edges. You need to get to a health food store and pick up the buckwheat flour. You can also use it to make these fantastic buckwheat pancakes. Hopefully you already have some whole grain cornmeal on hand. Pick up some dried sour cherries from the raisin section of your grocery store, and some Callebaut or Lindt white chocolate there, too.
Are they worth all the running around? Yes! Buy extra ingredients... You will want to make them again.
I made a good home cooked meal tonight. I figure we will be missing them next week. I will not miss cooking though, I am ready to let other people do it for me. I made a lovely cajun meatloaf, smashed potatoes, and biscuits. Yum. It was delicious and hit the spot. Now that the weekend is here, I can concentrate on washing, packing, and planning for our departure. Sunday we are going to have a fish fry at my inlaws house, and then spend the night. That will get us 30 minutes closer to our airport Monday.
I am paranoid that I am going to forget to check-in online for our flight Sunday morning. I actually set an alarm on my phone. I am so looking forward to this trip. I think it will be a bit more relaxing this time since we know what to expect. We might spend a little more time in the pool .
I will likely be writing up a trip report when we get home. I really love reading over my last one. We get back on the 18th, so you will hear from me sometime after that.
Oh, and for dessert tonight I made the strawberry pie out of the new Cook's Country. I think it turned out pretty special.
I hope you all have a great day. I will be thinking of my Dad and my father-in-law, who both happen to be working in Texas and unable to come home for the holiday. My kids loved their Easter baskets this morning, especially the Blendy pens. Here is their beautiful artwork:
St. Patrick's Day ended on a frantic note for us. It worked out fine though, and the meal was great. The guests included: my family of four, my sister Karen/her husband Jason/Ava and Jack, my dad, as well as a later visit from my mother-in-law Paula.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I corned my own corn beef using a Martha Stewart recipe. I am thrilled to be able to tell you that it was totally worth the two-week wait.
...and I am jealous. That will not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the process though. I am so happy for her. I am also happy for myself, because I plan on spending a lot of quality time there! Justin and I dropped the kids off at school and then made the hours drive to my sister's house.
Driving up and seeing that house going up was incredible. We grew up running around that wild land and now it is being tamed. Crazy! I managed to stop by her current house first and get a cup of coffee before we ran over there.
It was really good to be able to see the house in person, and get a feel for it to scale. It feels a lot larger when you are standing in it. We walked around the lower level. I got to stand in the kitchen for the first time. I found out just how big the amazing porches would be, and be amazed by all the huge windows. We left the builders to build and went and ate a quick lunch.
We ran back over there while they were eating their lunch. We got to visit with them for a minute, and then we climbed the scaffolding to the second level. That was awesome. The place is going to have great views, and I (I mean) the kids have amazing bedrooms.
I managed to take a of couple pictures. Even one or two with Karen in them. Oops. They are not as good as Karen's, but my battery was dying and I had to take them when Karen wasn't paying attention.