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Chocolate Mousse Cake

April 29, 2012

Today is cold, rainy and completely unproductive.  Unless you count the white chocolate raspberry slice of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory that I’m killing right now.

Seriously bad weather days are such lazy days with the exception of how well I can inhale food.  Not good.

The cheesecake is awesome (as usual).  Though I wouldn’t mind a slice of this chocolate mousse cake I recently made for my mom’s birthday.  Talk about stick your fork in the fridge every two seconds.  After awhile I was just got greedy and stuck my fork only in the mousse…over and over.

chocolate mousse cake

As this cake was originally served to the family including the young, old and in between, I made sure to use a recipe with no raw eggs.

Oh and since this is a lazy day, you really don’t think I’m going to type out these recipes do you?

I used the cake and assembly instructions from this recipe.  And I used this recipe for the egg-free chocolate mousse.

chocolate mousse cake

Looks super rich, but was pretty much just right.  And if you keep it at your house you might as well leave your fork out.

Letting Go of Expectations

April 27, 2012
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Let go of any expectations.  You have no idea what your best looks like.

Heirloom tomatoes

Left: Hillbilly, Top: Aunt Ginny's Purple, Right: Cherokee Green

When we plant a lovely little tomato transplant into our garden, we typically have expectations for it.  We expect it to grow, flower, produce fruit and provide us with a juicy slice or two for our beloved BLTs.

Sometimes these expectations are met, sometimes not.  The tomato plant might get eaten by a garden pest,  taken down by late blight, or just plain struggle in extreme weather conditions.

Ever been unhappy or upset that said tomato plant did not meet said expectations?  Yeah, me too.  Though maybe if expectations were not there, we would not be unhappy?

What if we planted the tomato, as a part of our love for gardening–but rather than expect specific outcomes, we just enjoy the moments to nurture it, to watch it grow,  or to taste it.  And if said tomato, crapped out on us…we’d enjoy the moments of visiting the local farmer’s market or our neighbor for that juicy slice on our BLTs.  Or heck maybe fresh tomato sauce instead.

Cherokee Green tomato

Green-when-ripe heirloom named Cherokee Green

Finding Joy in Life’s Surprises – Releasing Your Expectations

Below article from http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2009/20282.html

As we endeavor to find personal fulfillment and realize our individual ideals, we naturally form emotional attachments to those outcomes we hope will come to pass. These expectations can serve as a source of stability, allowing us to draft plans based on our visions of the future, but they can also limit our potential for happiness by blinding us to equally satisfying yet unexpected outcomes. Instead of taking pleasure in the surprising circumstances unfolding around us, we mourn for the anticipation left unfulfilled. When we think of letting go of our expectations, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a small inner voice that admonishes us to strive for specific goals, even if they continually elude us. However, the opposite of expectation is not pessimism. We can retain our optimism and free ourselves from the need to focus on specific probabilities by opening our hearts and minds to a wide variety of possible outcomes.

When we expect a situation, event, or confrontation to unfold in a certain way, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the surprises that have the potential to become profound blessings. Likewise, we may feel that we failed to meet our inner objectives because we were unable to bring about the desired results through our choices and actions. Consider, though, that we are all at the mercy of the universal flow, and our best intentions are often thwarted by fate. As you grow increasingly open to unforeseen outcomes, you will be more apt to look for and recognize the positive elements of your new circumstances. This receptivity to the unexpected can serve you well when you are called upon to compromise with others, your life plans seem to go awry, or the world moves forward in an unanticipated manner by granting you the flexibility to see the positive aspects of almost any outcome.

The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become. Though a situation in which you find yourself may not correspond to your initial wants, needs, or goals, ask yourself how you can make the most of it and then do your best to adapt. Your life’s journey will likely take many unpredicted and astonishing twists because you are willing to release your expectations.

Simple Mediterranean Layer Dip

April 27, 2012
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I love Mediterranean influenced dishes.  It probably has a lot to do with the salty feta and kalamata olives.

I also love layered dips.  It may be old school, but when can you ever turn down one of those mexican-layered dips.

How about a Mediterranean-layered dip?  Like a super easy, simple one.

Easy Greek Layer Dip

Simple Mediterranean Layer Dip

use portion amounts to your preference

Hummus – I make this non-tahini version a lot

Roasted red peppers, chopped

Black or kalamata olives, sliced

Cucumber, chopped

Grape tomatoes, chopped

Feta cheese

Spread hummus evenly on plate or serving dish.  Then sprinkle on rest of ingredients ending with the feta cheese.

Serve with crackers or pita chips.  I served with Kashi’s TLC Pita Crisps, which I thought were pretty perfect for this dip.

Enjoy!

It’s Officially…

April 24, 2012

Garden-eating season!

I have literally squealed out loud the past two nights as I’ve eaten arugula on my burger (last night) and pizza (tonight).  And good thing, ’cause I just realized I probably need some healthy greens after burgers and pizzas.  Way to be healthy, lady.  😉

And this is big because it is not like me to actually make happy squealing noises…out loud.

arugula on pizza

It’s the little things in life that actually become the big happy things.  🙂

Late April Garden

April 22, 2012

Here’s a tour of some notables in my yard and garden as we enter this last full week of April in 2012.

My ‘Mandarin Lights’ azalea is blooming.  Love these blooms, but overall this guy hasn’t grown up much…I’m thinking a move is in its future.

Mandarin Lights Azalea

Purple salvia, I think it’s ‘May Night’ is a blooming already.  Does anyone else think this stuff reeks? Deadheading this stuff is not my favorite summer chore.

Purple Salvia

Peonies all over town, including mine are getting ready for their blooms.  Love me a good peony bouquet.

Red peony bud

The chives are all budded out too.

Chives budding

The broccoli is still managing…even after last weekend’s hail damage.

broccoli in the garden

The non-planted one’s were much happier as they survived the storm inside.  Read about these here.

broccoli transplants

A quick taste of spinach and arugula tells me some yummy salads and greens on my sandwiches are in the near future.

Radish, arugula, spinach in the garden

How are things at your place?

Yoga at the Farm

April 19, 2012
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Hey locals…looking for something new to try this summer?

yoga at the farm

Go yoga.

A Bit of Rain in the Garden

April 15, 2012

As in… a bit of rain that creates Flash Flood Warnings.

Or a bit of rain that gives everyone a swimming pool in their back yard.

Or a bit or rain from a storm that makes the power go out for an hour.  In return makes me super bored and before you know it I eat 7/8ths of a pizza…by myself.  I am never allowed to do that again – misery.

Above is round numero one from yesterday’s Midwest storms at my place.  That’s small hail in the beds that have yet to be prepped and/or planted.

Round two.  Check out the grand new water feature in the background at our neighbor’s place.

This is a shot this morning…after Round 3 that was around 3:30AM.  Must have been a windy one – check out the flattened onions in front and the garbage can on the right.

Fortunately I don’t see any major damage around.  In a nearby town a tornado hit a hospital and college area…I think everyone is okay but hate to see them have to deal with all the damage.  Not cool.

I hope you all stayed safe and have a fabulous time cleaning water out of  your basements.  I may never move…not even a trickle in ours.  🙂