Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ten Months

Evie is so big!  I weighed her the other day,  and she's about 20  pounds.  Thanks, breastfeeding and cooked carrots.

Yesterday she had her first ice cream cone. It may have given her a few hives, which is really sad.

Today she's been giving me high fives, and pointing to things she likes or wants.

Last week, she took a few tentative steps, going between parents,  but has yet to repeat the phenomena.

She likes to eat chili verde, apples and peaches, cooked carrots and peas, grapes,  pb&j, string cheese, grilled cheese, and mandarin oranges. Minestrone soup is probably her fave.

Evie claps and waves a lot. And now plays peek-a-boo. It is the cutest.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Almost 10

Evie waves!  Hello, goodbye, and in general excitement. She can eat minestrone soup by the bowl-full. She shakes her head. She stands a bit. She climbs and goes up stairs. She smiles at and talks to all the babies in her books. She's getting to like dogs, or at least not be scared of them. She is scared of some noises, like loud velcro, ripping fabric, the vacuum, and a cookie sheet hitting the hard floor (she pulled it down). She sometimes gives wet, open-mouth kisses. She loves going upside-down. She has enough hair for two little pigtails. She peed on her dad for the first time just this week (pre-bath). She has six teeth with another coming in. She plays independently. She's just funny and darling and amazing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chocolate Cake Truffles and a Pirate Ship Cake

For my nephew's sixth birthday,  I made him a pirate ship cake. Inside, it is cocoa fudge cake with chocolate mint buttercream.

To shape the ship,  I baked four layers: two in a loaf pan, two in an oval Corningware casserole dish.  Then I did a lot of carving, which resulted in quite a bit of cake left over.  I also had some frosting leftover, so what did I do?  I made cake truffles (like tiny cake pops without sticks).

I have been known to turn up my nose at cake pops: I just didn't like the idea of eating something that has been handled so much (I may have been under the impression that the cake and frosting were combined with bare hands, then smashed into balls with bare hands... ew!). So I used a mixer to combine the cake and frosting, then scooped the truffles using a tiny one inch scoop onto a foil-lined sheet pan, and stuck them in the freezer for a few hours.

I dipped the truffles in a few different kinds of chocolate, just that I had in t he cupboard.  I had orange and milk chocolate compound coating* and some dark chocolate labeled "midnight delight." I melted the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second increments, with lots of stirring.  I sprinkled some with orange and chocolate sprinkles, and left them overnight to set (though the compound coating sets almost immediately).

I'm not exactly sure on the cake-to-frosting ratio. I was worried I didn't have enough frosting, but they turned out just right!  So I recommend going easy on the frosting. You can always add more, or use the leftover between graham crackers (my fav).

So, without further ado, here are the recipes! Both are adapted from good old Betty Crocker.

Cocoa Fudge Cake

1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x13 pan.  Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly,  30 seconds.  Beat on high, scraping bowl occasionally,  3 minutes. Pour into pan.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Chocolate Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted amd cooled (can sub 1/3 cup cocoa powder)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (or peppermint oil, to taste)
2 tablespoons milk (plus more, as needed)

Mix chocolate and butter. Add powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla (or flavoring of choice) and milk. Add milk as needed until frosting is of spreading consistency.

*Compound coating is pseudo chocolate. It tastes pretty good, and is virtually foolproof because you don't have to worry about tempering because it never blooms. I get it at Baker's Cache and Carry on Vine Street. Mine was a little old, so I added coconut oil to thin it a bit for dipping.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

9 months plus

I have been very negligent about documenting this baby girl here. And she changes so much every day!

Evie crawls, pulls up, and tries to climb everywhere.  She's fallen off the bed once, and hasn't really grasped the idea of edges and ledges. In hee mind ahes invincible,  I think. She has loud "bababahhh" conversations, and whispers "ssssss" when she's happy or excited. She eats, and eats,  and eats. And spits out food. And yells if you are too slow giving her bites. Her favorites are carrots, pot stickers, and applesauce. She is in the 70th percentile for height, and 30th for weight. Her head is in the 90th percentile (there's the Nelson genes).

She is so busy that I think she gets bored. Evie can have a basket full of toys and still just wand to crawl out of the room, find the cords and outlets,  and create general mischief.

She's been a bit fussy and hard to please this last week. She has five teeth now, two on top, three on the bottom. I'm hoping the fussiness is teething. Naps are a continuous challenge,  but she'll usually sleep one hour for at least one of them. 

Evie is still a great clapper. She does pat-a-cake and if you're happy and you know it,  and claps when excited. We think she's practicing to be a dentist,  because she is fascinated with examining our mouths and teeth. She is also really interested in dogs, but quite scared if them.

Evie is busier than ever, but also more fun! She constantly makes us laugh. 

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