Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Best Red Sangria Recipe

Serves about 6 – start this the night before the party

·      1 bottle of red wine
·      ¼ cup of brandy
·      ¼ cup orange flavored liqueur
·      2 Tbsps. Fresh lime juice
·      2 Tbsps. Orange juice
·      ¼ cup sugar
·      1 orange, thinly sliced
·      1 lemon, thinly sliced
·      1 lime, thinly sliced
·      1 bottle lemon lime sparkling water, chilled

1.     Add the orange, lemon and lime slices to a pitcher.
2.     Pour in the brandy, orange flavored liqueur, lime juice, orange juice,  and sugar.
3.     Mix, cover and set in the fridge over night.
4.     2 hours prior to the party add your bottle of wine, stir, cover and add chill.
5.     Right before serving add the bottle of sparkling water and stir.
6.     When pouring be sure to add some fruit to the glasses and ice. 

Amazing 3 Layer Fudge Brownie Cake Recipe

Serves about 26 thin slices.   Make the cake the day before you plan to use it.

Step 1 Making the Layers - You will need to do this for each layer of the cake (if you want 3 layers you make this 3 times):

·      1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter cubed into 1Tbsp cubes
·      4 (1oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
·      2 cups white sugar
·      2 eggs beaten
·      1 cup all-purpose flower
·      1 tsp. vanilla extract
·      ½ tsp. salt

Instructions:  You can triple the above amounts and do it all at once or make one set at a time.  If you do it all at once it will be harder to mix up and make sure it is all mixed together.

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9” round cake pan (or as many  pans as you plan to make layers) some softened butter works well and make sure to cover every inch so the brownie comes out of the pan with no problem.
2.     Chop the chocolate into smaller chunks to allow the chocolate to melt faster.
3.     In a saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter (mix constantly).
4.     Add the chocolate and melt on very low heat being sure to mix constantly.
5.     Stir in the sugar.
6.     Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly so the eggs do not cook when they are added.
7.     Add the beaten eggs into the mixture one at a time being sure to mix well after each, then stir in the vanilla.
8.     In a separate bowl combine the flower and salt making sure to stir to fully combine.
9.     Stir in the flower into the chocolate mixture a cup at a time.
10. Add the brownie mixture to your pan being sure smooth it out so there is an even layer (if making all 3 layers at once divide the batter evenly among the cake pans)
11. Bake in the oven 35 minutes.  The Brownie layer is done when you insert a tooth pick and it comes out clean (keep in mind you do not want it to over cook as it needs to be fudgy).
12. Cool the pans on a wire rack before taking out the brownie.
13. To take out flip the pan over onto the wire rack.  If it was greased well and the brownie was allowed to cool in the pan it should come right not

Step 2 Making the Frosting – This will cover the sides and top of the 3 layer cake.

·      4 (1oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
·      1 pkg. (16oz) powder sugar
·      ½ cup (1 stick) butter softened
·      2 tsp. vanilla
·      1/3 cup whole milk

1.     Chop the chocolate into smaller chunks to allow it to melt faster.
2.     Add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 1-1/2 min., stopping to stir every 30 sec. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
3.     Allow the chocolate to cool for 5 min.
4.     Add the sugar, butter and vanilla and combined.
5.     Gradually add the milk, beating constantly with a mixer on low speed until well blended.

Cover and leave the frosting at room temperature to make it easier to work with.

STOP – Do not continue on until the brownie layers are completely cooled and the frosting is completed

Step 3 Making Prepping the Cake
1.     Turn one of the brownie layers upside down on a cake plate or round cake board (for plain cake board cover with aluminum foil).
2.     Add about a half of cup of frosting to a piping bag.
3.     Pipe a line of frosting around the top outside of the cake.  This will make a well to add the Ganache filling to making sure it doesn’t spill out the sides.

Step 4 Making the Chocolate Ganache Filling – This will cover the sides and top of the 3 layer cake.

·      9 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
·      1 cup heavy cream

1.     Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
2.     Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil over the pot.
3.     Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, whisk until smooth.
4.     Allow the ganache to cool slightly before using.

Step 5 Putting the cake together

1.     Pour some of the ganache filling onto your first layer of the cake and spread evenly out to the edges being sure to stop at the frosting line  you added.
2.     Put the next layer of the cake upside down over the first layer.
3.     Pipe another frosting line around the outside layer of the second layer.
4.     Repeat adding the ganache filling and spreading out.
5.     Add the third and final layer of the brownie mixture upside down over  the second layer.
6.     Frost the cake and add any decorations.

TIP:  When cutting be sure to use a large sharpened knife as you will be cutting through 3 layers of brownie. 

DO NOT put the cake in the fridge it will get way to hard to be able to cut.

Jerry's Birthday Party

On Saturday we had friends over for a Birthday Party BBQ and it was so much fun.  A few people had not met Annabelle yet so they got to meet her as well.  I did a lot of work getting ready for the party.
The birthday boy and his little pumpkin


  • Tissue Paper Pom Poms handing from the ceiling over the table
  • Candy in mason jars
  • Made my own flower center pieces the night before
  • Fruit salad skewers
  • Veggies in plastic cups with the dip at the bottom for easy eating
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Quinoa Summer Veggie Salad
  • Greek Pasta Salad
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Citrus Chicken
  • Made my own Hamberg Patties
  • Hot dogs
  • Red Sangria (see on following posts) ***It was awesome**
  • I used mason jars that I spiced up with some colored scrapbooking paper and colorful straws and chalkboard labels to serve them in
  • Soda, Water, Beer
  • An AWESOME 3 layer Fudge Chocolate Brownie Cake (see my recipe on following post)  **Everyone said it was the best cake they have ever had**
  • With of course Vanilla Ice Cream

Flower Arrangement Center Pieces: Also a great gift to give your guests when they go home (in our case the last two couples that left who helped pick up I gave them each one)

  1. Oasis $2.99 each on Amazon (I made 3)
  2. Sheets of moss $16.01 on Amazon and you will have some left over
  3. Green floral wire $2.10
  4. What ever flowers you like, I got 5 packs of flowers at Walmart for $25
  5. You will need something to put under it to keep the water from running I used aluminum container lids that I cut to size and folded up the edges to keep the water in
Total Cost = $46.10 for 3 center peaces that everyone complimented

  1. Soak the Oasis per the instructions and place on what ever you are using to keep the water from running
  2. Cut the Moss and and secure to the Oasis by making pins with the wire to hold it in place
  3. Cut the flowers and stick them in the Oasis
Each will take you about 20 mins to complete (1 hr. for the 3 I made)

Mason Jar Sangria Glasses:  I called them the adult sippy cups
  1. Colorful scrapbook paper, I used only two sheets because each sheet had two colors one on each side (free if you have some around the house)
  2. Colorful straws - $5.32 (you will have enough for a several more parties)
  3. Hole punch (free if you have one)
  4. Chalk Board Labels (Optional) $9.00 - I found once the condensation kicked in chalk just came off
  5. Ball Mason jars (if you don't have them around they are about $15 for 12)
Total Cost = $29.32 for 12 glasses that your guests will think are pretty neat

  1. Cut the scrapbooking paper to fit inside the lid and then punch a hole in them making sure the hole will be to the side but not covered by the metal lid ring
  2. Stick on labels
  3. Put straws through the punched out holes on the lid
  4. Put lid on the jar
Total time will be about 20-30 mins depending on how fast you can cut and how many you need to make

We both had a great time and I loved organizing this party (it was a lot of work)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Months Old!

I can't believe it has already been 5 Months since Annabelle entered this world.  It feels like yesterday I was complaining about being over due and thinking she was going to not come out until she was 18 yrs old.  Oooh the silly things you think when you have had enough of being pregnant and you are over due.

She truly is the light of our day and every smile she gives us warms our hearts.   She is doing great at rolling over from her back to front and I know she can do front to back but she doesn't do that often.  We are working on sitting up but for now she just tips over.  Her hair is getting longer and her eyes are changing to be a brown/blue (kind of hazel like mine).  I can see 2 little bumps on her bottom gums and she is drooling like crazy but I still think we have a while before the teeth come through.

As of yet we have not tried cereal because the Dr. said if she gets up to 32oz of formula or is waking up in the middle of the night hungry then try cereal once a day in the afternoon.  Neither of those have happened yet so I think she is still good on formula.  However, it is becoming a challenge to get her to focus on eating because she wants to see what is going on.  We are looking forward to starting her on cereal when she turns 6 months.

When we go out everyone always comments on how cute she is and how she looks like a doll.  I love these comments and I especially like making the older generation smile.  I just wish she would show her pretty smile off for strangers but I guess that is a good thing that she doesn't trust everyone.  I am not as crazy as I thought I would be about strangers talking to or getting near her because I can't keep her in a bubble forever I just don't want people to touch her hands because they go right in her mouth.

Size:  3-6 Months more on the 6 Months and growing more every day.

She is doing wonderful and her weight is right on track where she should be for her age not to be not to small.