Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Big Damn Movie Debut!

(image is a screen grab from Sci Fi channel website)

Serenity to air on Sci Fi channel
Preempting my previously scheduled post to jump for joy at the cable debut of Serenity on the Sci-Fi channel. That's right! For once a departure from the greasy, crap-tastic standard fare that Sci Fi airs in its weekend lineup. It's the Big Damn Movie broadcast (ain't it just) and it's gonna be shiny.

Now to go make some Fruity-Oaty bars and I'll be all set. You won't find any questionable concoction labeled Mudder's Milk at Silly Hat Central. A girl's gotta have standards.

Anyone want to come over for a shindig?

Of course you can bring your Jane Cobb hat. Toy dinosaurs and Hawaiian shirts too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I scrapped! Weeeeeeeee!

Yes! I found time to scrap! And I wanted to share the page with everyone who has been so wonderful to us this year — all of you steadfast, patient and creative blog-friendly folks. Wishing you (Each and every one!) a love and light-filled year that is better than you could possibly imagine!

Friday, December 19, 2008


As a parent who is trying to raise a child with a lifelong love of reading, the bedtime story is an immutable part of our evening routine.

However, once he has finished pointing out all the pictures in the books that catch his fancy, Little Sprout usually loses interest and tries to run off. What's a mother to do? Make sure the story is entertaining for you too, of course.

Tonight I read a new holiday book: The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming - a Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket. True to persnickety type, the main character is an increasingly irate latke (a potato pancake) trying in vain to get a little respect from three Christmas-centric icons.

The Latke story appeals to me kids of all ages. It is irreverent, silly and blends holiday traditions while managing to teach about Hanukkah.

Before we go any further, my favorite stuffed toy as a child was a Jonnycake (a cornmeal cake that was a pioneer staple) which had yarn hair, hands and feet sticking out from its perfectly round body. Much like the Gingerbread Man, early memories involved the Johnnycake jumping out of a hot oven and running away. Presumably screaming.

Anthropomorphic flapjacks railing against their lot.
(See, the symmetry is almost poetic.)

Er, um . . . back to bedtime reading.

At first, Little Sprout didn't show the slightest interest in this story. He would wander off to play with Matchbox cars or trains or beg Big Daddy to flip him upside-down in a somersault. But I kept on reading aloud.

When the latke started screaming Little Sprout took notice. He could identify with a hysterical hashbrown that frustrated little latke. Whenever I would exclaim, he joined in with his own loud, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

After storytime was finished I said, "Sprout, what does the latke say?" and he rushed up to me (hugging me at the knees) and yelled, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

I think we just started a new holiday tradition.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You Still Have Time to Vote!

The holiday rush is on. Whew! So much to do and so little time to get it all done.

But I had to take a few moments out of the mad scramble at Silly Hat Central to share my overwhelming gratitude to each and every one of you who voted for my Chocolate Rum Cake in the Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge.

A huge, velvety, dark chocolate Thank You!

Voting ends December 19 so, if you've been wanting to vote, you still have time. Here is the link to the round up page:
Ultimate Chocolate Cake Round Up

I couldn't believe my eyes today when I saw my name near the top of the voting list. See?

There are so many incredible and masterful-looking cake submissions that I presumed my humble (though very tasty) entry wouldn't get many votes. Now I'm jazzed!

I encourage you to visit NotQuiteNigella and take a gander at all the delicious cakes. Drool, indulge in a calorie-free chocolate fantasy or two and cast your vote.

Mine is the last cake before the voting ballot. The recipe lives right here in the original post.

As I've said before, there are so many mouth-watering chocolate confections to choose from, I couldn't possibly expect you to choose my entry. Many humble thanks, though, if you do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge

Mmm, chocolate is food of the gods. So when Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella emailed me about her Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge, I jumped at the chance to participate.

Did I want to bake chocolate cake and not have to share it enter for a chance to win a prize? Is this a trick question?

So I put the kettle on for tea and set about choosing a cake that was dense and decadent.

None of the recipes I found were exactly what I wanted so I adapted two recipes into one sinfully rich, satisfying confection. Et voila! A Chocolate Rum Cake was born.

NOTE: Several recipes called for chocolate frosting (or chocolate mousse frosting - yum!) and/or chocolate shavings. I chose to forego frosting and shavings in favor of a buttery rum glaze.

Next time, I will try dusting the cake with powdered sugar to showcase the lovely fleur de lis pattern.

Chocolate Rum Cake
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. butter
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 Tbsp. Rum Extract or dark rum
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
Dash of ground nutmeg (optional)
½ cup dark cocoa (unsweetened)
2 cups sifted flour
1 ¾ tsp. baking power
½ tsp. salt
⅔ cup milk

Rum Glaze:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
2 Tbsp. water
½ cup dark rum

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy; gradually add sugar and lemon peel, beating well. Add eggs. one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add rum; beat until blended. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Bake in greased and floured pan at 350 degrees F, 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done. I used a 10-cup nonstick Fleur de Lis Bundt® pan.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then turn out on cooling rack. While cake is cooling, prepare glaze. In saucepan, combine sugar, butter and water to make a syrup and heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil for a minimum of 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Add rum.

Transfer cake onto serving plate. Pierce cake with a toothpick, cake tester or fork in several places. Pour warm glaze over cake. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 16 servings.

Sources: NordicWare Bundt Cookbook, Swedish Rum Cake, pg. 7.
Grandpa's Chocolate-Rum Cake, AOL KitchenAssistant recipe

Click on links to go to The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Challenge hosted by Not Quite Nigella

Special thanks to Not Quite Nigella for hosting this contest. I had great fun and got to eat cake!