Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nikon D5000

Well, hello again! I've let a bit of time lapse between my posts but between being sick, getting a new dog, babysitting and all the regular duties that fill my day this is the best that I can do.

I want to share with all of you that we have a new camera! Yay! Already we've taken over 400 photos! But most of them are practice shots to test out settings so there's like 20 pics of the same thing but with different settings.

Rick and I have always enjoyed taking pictures but have never used a professional camera. Wowee Zowee! The difference is amazing! Of course we have a lot to learn with lighting, aperture, stops, focus and all the other mumbo jumbo that comes with the photography world.

Here area few pics I'd like to share.  Okay, a lot of pics!
Mommies Little Cowboy

Caleb, my nephew and monkey!

I couldn't post as many as I thought because my uploader is messing up.  I'll post more later.  Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lunatic, Liar or Lord

I know this is my second post today but I read this and felt I needed to share it.  It's short.

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  he would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell.  You must take your choice.  Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open for us."  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
 I think at some point we all struggle with confusion and doubt regarding some part of Jesus and God but, as I stated in an earlier post, mine is not whether He is God or that Christ was God in flesh but in the smaller things like, "does he really care that much?" or "does any of this matter?"  Regardless where the doubt and confusion lies the answer is always a strong and unwaivering "Yes!"  Yes He is God, Yes He cares and Yes it matters!

I pray that you do not struggle with this truth...but if you do I know that if you seek Him, you will find Him and He will meet you where you are and reveal Himself to you.

Much love and many blessings!

Samoas Cupcakes

I posted this in my FB notes but thought I might need to post it here too!  Just in case you missed it because this is something you do NOT want to miss!

I found this recipe on, MySweeyAndSaucy.com, in the February '09 post and boy did I hit the jackpot! This is one of the best cupcakes I've ever had! It's kind of like German Chocolate...but 10X more delicious! So if you like German Chocolate you'll LOVE this! It's a bit involved but worth every step. So make sure you read through all the steps first, gather your ingredients and then begin.

My Notes:
1. Preheat the oven first then toast your coconut while you mix the batter for the cupcakes.
2. When you add the caramel I just used a squeeze bottle to fill the cupcakes instead of cutting them.
3. I found I would like more of the coconut mixture to top them with so I'd do one and a half or double recipe next time.
4. I like to add sea salt on top of the chocolate ganache before coconut mixture to add another dimension of flavor and cut the sweetness.
5. If you want to watch portions then make minis instead.
Happy baking!

Brown Sugar Butter Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Toasted Coconut Topping
2 eggs
10 ounces evaporated milk
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 cups shredded, sweet coconut

1. Spread the coconut onto a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.
2. Crack the eggs into a small saucepan and beat lightly to break up.
3. Add milk, sugar, and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thick, bubbly, and golden, about 15 minutes.
4. Press mixture through a metal sieve and into a bowl to remove any lumps.
5. Add 2 cups of the coconut, reserving the remainder for assembly, stir to combine.
6. Let the mixture cool.

1/2 cup water
2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter

1. Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
4. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
8. Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter and stir until combined.
9. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Note: You will have leftover caramel, it stores well refrigerated in an airtight container for about a month.

Chocolate Ganache
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate like Valrhona 61% cocao
2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Let cool to room temperature.

1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon of caramel.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Smooth on a light coating of chocolate ganache.
5. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to harden the ganache.
6. With your hands, press out a disk of the coconut topping and place on top of the cupcake. Press to shape the mixture into a dome.
7. Press in some more plain toasted coconut on top of that.
8. Drizzle the top with lines of ganache. Note that you may have to warm the ganache over a water bath to get it to drizzling consistency.