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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Careful with the way we talk

Hello everybody! Happy Saturday! And for my sitstahs: Happy Saturday Sharefest! I hope you have something nice planned for the weekend! It doesn't have to be something expensive or out of the ordinary! Just something that lets you and your family enjoy and continue to create bonds and memories that last forever :)

Today... I just want to say something quick... just about the way we express ourselves... I know, you probably wanted me to say that I was going to share another recipe! I promise I'll have one on Monday! :) How about those chicken Tacos I owe you? Ok... deal! ... But for now I just want to talk about how important it is (even for our own image, not only out of compassion/love/respect for others) how we express ourselves...

I've come to known some people that whenever you ask them something their response is INVARIABLY negative! And even when they say something nice then they add a little something at the end that turns it into something dark or horrible... And I am not talking about people who suffer depression or have something horrible going on in their lives, I am talking about "happy, common" people who just seem to have decided that "positive or kind" would not be part of their personality! It really seems to push me away from them, whether I want it or not... I really try to stay and get to know them better... but it is hard! Let's see an example:

  • Me: "Hi, thanks for calling, I am happy I am getting to know people here since we are new in the area"
  • Person: "Don't get used to it, people here barely care for each other!"
  • Me: "Oh well! Then double thanks for calling! I am hoping to make friends!"
  • Person: "Oh! No! Don't make friends here! When you finally make friends people move or something happens and then you end up alone"
  • Me: "Oh! Ok... thanks for the advice, so you were calling to let me know about this event, where will it be?"
  • Person: "oh yes, it will be at ______________ but you might not even want to go... it will be extremely hot! It is horrible"
  • Me: "Oh! Ok.... are you going?"
  • Person: "Sure... We always go, we haven't missed it for a few years now... but it gets way too crowded and...."

-sigh-

Other kind of people that tend to even scare me... and make me wonder "why?"... it's the kind that are always willing to give too much information... and not just information but BAD INFORMATION and the information is not about themselves but about others:

A very similar conversation to this happened in public:

  • Person #1: "Hey, who else didn't show up? I am taking attendance and I want to know who else was supposed to be here" 
  • Person #2: "Kristy (fake name, obviously) isn't here"
  • Person #1: "Who is Kristy? I don't remember her"
  • Person #2: "Kristy, the lady that brought cake the other day"
  • Person #1: (loudly in front of everyone) "Oh! Yeah! the one whose son was supposed to marry this girl because she was pregnant but then ended up not marrying her" (fake situation but pretty close to what she shared)
  • Person #2: "ehem... yeah."

 I wish I could say the examples above are very isolated but I've seen these people time after time continue to express themselves like that... I wish I could say I've never complained too much or probably shared more information than I should've (of course in the posts above I tried to make sure nobody would recognize the people who I am talking about to protect them) ... I think it is important to train our mind and tongue to speak differently... To speak blessings, to be kind and merciful, to at least have a nice attitude or to stay still and just not say anything at all!

I just thought I would share this here as a reminder for myself and for whoever might benefit from it out there... I think that especially if we profess to be devoted to God and others, we should try to be more aware of what we are really projecting, not even just because it's good and nice to others but even because our own image is usually destroyed when we talk like that.


 Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.


Happy Saturday!

© Paloma K

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coffee Friday with Tara!

Happy Coffee Friday Everyone! Welcome to your weekly Coffee Party!

If you mentioned "coffee" anywhere in ANY blog post of your week -even if coffee is not the main topic- just LINK UP with us at the end of this post! (make sure you link back to THE COFFEE SHOP somewhere on the post you are going to use for this party).

Today... Our Coffee Party Hostess is: Tara Denny from "Nowhere to Go but Crazy" she is a fellow blogger and a coffee lover! So make sure you stop by her blog to thank her for "serving coffee" for all of us today here at The Coffee Shop! (she has a freebie for us, coffee lovers, there too!)

This is what Tara said: "My blog is http://www.taradennyimages.com/  and until recently it's been all about my photography, but lately I've been trying to spice it up a little with DIY, Geeky Fridays, OMG CUTE and other stuff that interests me. I figure, it's my blog, why should it only be about one thing, it can be about whatever I like? Right?"

And now... her Coffee:

"This one I call coffee for two. It's from my obsession with red and teal, and It makes me think of having coffee with my Best friend DM Crockett in the early hours of the morning, because we've been up all night talking." - Tara
Coffee for two

This one is "Love Unconditionally" Which for me, is Coffee, but it was from Valentine's Day. I meant it sort of like "Share your thoughts over coffee, agree to disagree and love unconditionally" - Tara
Love Unconditionally
 Thanks for sharing some "coffee" and a little bit about yourself and your blog with us today Tara! I loved your pictures!

Would you like to be featured on our "Coffee Friday"? Don't think too much about it... just snap a shot of that coffee you're drinking right now... and send it to: love.for.coffee@gmail.com , share a little bit about yourself, your blog, your love for coffee and about the pictures you take. I'll contact you back to let you know when your pictures will appear here!

And now... it's your turn... if you mentioned coffee on a post and posted a link back to "The Coffee Shop" in it... (or our Coffee Party Button)

The Coffee Shop
Just link it up:

Whether you have coffee pictures or not, blogged about coffee or not... You are welcome to comment! Comments are like the sugar and cream to our coffee! 


© Paloma K

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Was it just me?

Well.. first of all let me remind you that tomorrow we have our Coffee Party "Coffee Friday" if you want to join just somehow mention "coffee" on your post (it doesn't have to be the main topic) and then come back to link with us! -remember to link back to us within the post- We will also have a featured blogger, a dear friend of mine who already sent me her coffee pictures to share with all of us... so she will be serving coffee and I think that she will even have a freebie for those who visit her from here! ;) Very cool! Right?

 
Anyway... Now to my topic... The Hunger Games... I just finished the 3rd. book and I am ... unsure of the way I feel about the whole thing... mmmm I guess I always expect the main character of the story (especially if portrayed as some kind of hero/heroin) to have this sense of justice... fighting for something above and beyond them... but that's not what you will find when you read this novel. I kept trying to find values... in some way... and even when you do find love... it's all a little (or a lot?) twisted? I don't know... I know it's probably not about values and I was maybe confused and thought it would be one of those stories where truth, justice, honor, love, faith, loyalty and those wonderful things prevail... and I found vengeance, selfishness, lies, anger, lack of forgiveness, etc... all from those that were the center of the story. Yes, there were glimpses of those values and principles that I mentioned but they were like "sparks" not really the "general feeling" throughout the books.

Am I crazy? I just feel like you it's hard to completely distinguish the bad ones from the good ones in movies, books and tv shows...  is it just me who felt like this?  I didn't even feel like the violence in the book was justified for the sake of the story and the moral behind it... and interestingly I am not saying that I didn't enjoy the books... I couldn't stop reading! ... so... huh! ... I have mixed feelings about it.

***WARNING: The comments may contain some spoilers... if you haven't read the books, be warned you might read stuff that gives too much away from the books ***

Ok... Now a question... is anybody else having issues leaving comments on my blog? I had a friend tell me that when she tries to comment the post is refreshed but nothing happens... I know if you are having issues you probably can't answer this question here... so please, PLEASE send me an e-mail to: love.for.coffee@gmail.com so I can see how I can fix it!

Thanks again!


Paloma K.
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Increase the Traffic to your blog with Gevalia

Ok... first of all... even if you are not interested on the opportunity below... leave a comment just to say hi! :) I love it when friends stop by and let me know they are here!


Ok friends, here is the deal... it turns out that I am friends with a very cool friend (Liz) who happens to work with the Gevalia Team! Gevalia? What's Gevalia? I'll pretend you never asked that question! LOL! Gevalia is a Coffee Brand and they have an official FB page... check it out: Gevalia FB Page with over 220,000 followers! They have this cool feature each Thursday called "The Beanchat" where they have someone host their chat for 1 hour (from 9 a.m. Central to 10 a.m. Central) and talk about everything an anything -, So...  my friend gives me the opportunity to get great bloggers for her to host it :) ... and if you blog and if you like "The Coffee Shop" that already makes you AN AMAZING BLOGGER with such great taste! LOL! ...

Anyway... the cool thing about this, is that Gevalia makes an official announcement from their FB page about who will be hosting their chat and their followers are invited to that person's BLOG! -they also tweet about it- ... what a cool feature! Don't you think?

If you'd like to be considered for a future Beanchat ... let me know here! or send me an e-mail to love.for.coffee@gmail.com with your e-mail address so I can have my friend contact you ASAP and get you on their Beanchat Schedule! :) it's really easy ...  you will even get to choose the topics, which of course have to be rated PG and stay away from religion/politics - it's a very friendly chat- and you can also have the guests (everyone who is chatting) know more about your blog and post about 2 links to your blog posts throughout the chat.

Their chat is very dynamic and fast paced, you don't have to do anything extraordinary or moderate anything, Gevalia does that... you just have to keep everyone engaged in the conversation, greet them when they come in and say bye when they leave... that's all.

And I think Gevalia also sends you some free coffee to "thank you" for participating.

So... don't wait any longer... and drink some coffee with all the Gevalia lovers out there. it's just 1 hour of your life.... and you get people to check your blog out. ... Also... INVITE YOUR BLOGGING FRIENDS to this post... they could be interested too ;)

By the way... Gevalia does NOT PAY ME ANYTHING for doing this and I don't receive ANY KIND OF COMPENSATION for helping them... I just like to help my friend from Gevalia and my blogger friends (YOU) by getting them to participate on this.


© Paloma K.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday of Quotes and Chocolate Cupcakes

As it's now a tradition (or at least it used to be and I am trying to bring it back) on Tuesdays I post some quotes, inspirational thoughts or some joke... Today... is no exception ... so here they are... some funny quotes for the day:

Oscar Wilde
I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

Robert Frost
A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.

Charles Schulz
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.

-o-o-o-o-o-
 
And now... the recipe! Do you remember that I made some Chocolate Cupcakes with Festive Frosting for my husband on the Friday before Father's Day? Well... maybe you don't but I know I promised to share the recipe and here I am.... you might feel suspicious  when you read the ingredients! No eggs? No milk? White vinegar? Well... don't be so suspicious... just try them! They are REALLY, REALLY GOOD!


Delicious and Fluffy Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (preferably safflower)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Directions: 

Preheat oven at 350 F.
  1. Mix all ingredients together until moist and well blended.
  2. Line a  standard muffin tin with cupcake liners (I used Reynolds Aluminum "Stay Brite" they are AWESOME! And if you use those you don't even need a cupcake pan you can just use any regular baking sheet! How cool is that)
  3. Fill the cups about 3/4 and bake for about 20-25 mins. or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Make frosting while cupcakes bake, once the cupcakes are ready let them cool completely on a wire rack before you frost them.
 Festive Frosting

Ingredients

  •  4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  •   8 tbsp. shortening
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • some water in case frosting is too thick until you reach desired consistency.

Directions

  1. Beat butter and shortening with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Add water if needed or more sugar until you reach desired consistency. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)
  3. Add your favorite colors, you can divide the frosting in two or three to use different colors for the cupcakes. Gel coloring will work even better than the regular liquid one, I used liquid one but gel coloring will give you brighter colors.

Note: If you have M&M's at hand... (especially miniature ones) play with them and get creative with the colors. Make it all look pretty! Plus they add a nice touch of crunch and more chocolate flavor!



Enjoy!

© Paloma King

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Monday... I won!!!

 Good morning fellow Monday Lovers ;) ... If you, like me, love Monday and get tired of all the attacks towards it on Fb and everywhere else... You are in the right place... now... If you hate Monday and feel like it shouldn't exist (LOL) let me tell you you are in the right place too... Hopefully we can add some happiness to your day and help you start the week better!

I think finding someone with a good attitude is like finding a red bright cardinal in a gray winter day. - Paloma.

If you face today negatively, from the start... even before the day even begins it might just cause for things to go wrong by itself... or at least for things to seem even worse than they are (not just for you, but also those around you)... I am sorry if you are going through a rough time... there are tragedies indeed that I am not going to deny are too painful to smile... and I am not talking about that... I am talking about hating the start of the week just because we have to go to work (instead of thanking because we have work) or just because we are going to face a person who doesn't like us (instead of thanking for all those who do) ... anyway... Charles Swindoll said it like this:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes."
 
 So... I was happy to come and tell you that even when I had a very bad night (littlest one for some reason decided to cry most of the night... which is very, VERY unlike her) and share with you another Happy Start of the week... but right before I posted I found out I am the lucky winner of a giveaway that Amanda from Serenity Now  hosted. YAY! First time I win a giveaway! So cool! Another blessing, right?

Happy Monday!

© Paloma K.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Watering my brain after a long drought

So... this past week my husband wasn't home... He had to travel because of his job, I didn't share about that with pretty much anybody (especially online) just because I thought it was safer that way... plus, I was a little sad from him being gone... He left on Sunday and came back last night! So I am just thankful with God he is back and his trip went good!

Thank you all in the blog for being here, even without knowing I was going through a little rough patch. I know it might sound "exaggerated" but I had never had to be without my hubby for so long ... many of you have husbands that have to work away from home or are in the other side of the world in places that are not the ideal... and I just have so much respect for you... I am sorry if my "rough patch" sounds silly to any of you... I am just thankful he's back! :)

So this week, while he was gone I decided to read the 2nd. book of the Hunger Games Trilogy "Catching Fire" I must confess I haven't read a book as a book should be read, with all focus and attention, from cover to cover for a long time now, I used to be an avid reader when I was a little girl and during my teenage years, I would read even very grown up (sometimes hiding from my mom) books like Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, The Gambler and Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, Hamlet (we all know who wrote that one!), among others like that, besides the very traditional  Anne Frank Diary, Little Women and Wuthering Heights ...these are some of the titles I have on my mind right now... Many other books by Edgar Allan Poe, Beautiful poems by Spanish speaking authors like Neruda, Leon Felipe, Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarborou,  ... etc... well... I was a girl that devoured books, even encyclopedias! And then... it happened! I think there were some events in my life that kept me from doing things I loved... like singing/reading... I lived a nightmare for a while and even when I woke up from it to a wonderful life I was still numb to do some of the things I loved so much... I couldn't focus to read even ONE ENTIRE page of anything! My mind became so random! I would be actually sad and embarrassed to not be able to say that "I read this or that", even the Bible seemed impossible to read! I would! of course! And I got involved with Bible Studies just to MAKE myself read it! but I would only be able to read "so much" ... I tried reading other books... without success... I needed something "simple" and "entertaining" I guess.... before tackling a BIG BOOK... weird! ...  Then, I watched the Movie "The Hunger Games" when it premiered and it was very entertaining ... So I decided I would tackle the books, I know they are meant to be for younger people, who knows... I just bought the second one... And it was what I needed! The book is definitely not the greatest literary piece you'll ever find... but it was ENTERTAINING and very easy to read... I finished the book really fast... I hadn't been able to do that in a long time! I am looking forward to buying the 3rd. one! ... If you have any book recommendations for someone that wants to go back to reading... Please... share with me! My brain, my soul and I will thank you!


© Paloma K

Friday, June 22, 2012

Join our Coffee Party - Coffee Friday

Today... as every Friday.. .I'll be posting a "Coffee Picture" ... mine this time, but hopefully yours soon! If you want your Coffee Pictures (and your blog) featured here just send me an e-mail to love.for.coffee@gmail.com and I can send you more information ... or read our Coffee Friday Page to know more about it!

Let me fill your cup with coffee!

Also... if ANY of your posts this week (preferable today's) mentioned "coffee" somewhere! (it doesn't matter if it's not the central topic of the post) link up with us! The only requirements are: "The Coffee Element" on your post AND linking back to us! (you can even use this button to link back)

The Coffee Shop
So... drink a cup of coffee and LINK UP! Happy Coffee Friday!


© Paloma King

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Reminder and How to Freeze Cherries

 Hello everybody! Thanks for all your wonderful comments on my previous post! You are all spoiling me! I am getting used to comments! They are actually quite addictive! I love reading and responding them! So nice!

Now... a quick reminder... Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!! And we have our "Coffee Party" here at the Coffee Shop... we call it "Coffee Friday" and to be part of it you just need to:

1. Mention coffee on your post (your whole post doesn't have to be ALL ABOUT COFFEE but just mention it)... (either tell us that you went to a coffee shop or that you brewed some coffee at home or that you used coffee grounds for your garden, ANYTHING that is coffee related)

2. Link Back to us somehow inviting people to come and join this Coffee Party! You can use this button:

The Coffee Shop

And then just stop by tomorrow (and every Friday), get your cup of coffee and Link up!!!

If you would like to be THE FEATURED BLOGGER you just need to send me your "coffee pictures" (1 or up to 5)  to: love.for.coffee@gmail.com, along with a link to your blog, link to your favorite post and telling us something about yourself and why you like coffee... when you do I will just send you the date when you will be featured and everyone who stops by that day will have "the cup of coffee you served" (through your picture) and will be able to stop by your blog to get to know you better and thank you for the cup of coffee!

So... don't wait any longer and start taking your pictures and mentioning coffee for tomorrow's post so you can join this "Coffee Party".

------ ok... that reminder took a lot longer than I thought... now our "How To" ----

So... got a lot of fresh cherries and you're done eating them "for now"? Are you afraid they might go bad? They are very delicate so yes, they might go bad quickly... but don't lose their delicious flavor now that they are in season and keep it longer by freezing them properly.... Here is How to do it:

1. Start with ripe fresh cherries, wash them, drain them and place them on a paper towel, while you gently pat dry them as well.


2.  Pit the cherries over a baking sheet to catch all the juices that might be released while pitting. If you don't have a cherry pitter then I guess this is a guide on "how to pit cherries" as well. If you want to keep your cherries whole you just need to:

  • Remove the stem
  • Insert a toothpick or even a paring knife where the stem used to be until you can touch the pit.
  • Bend the utensil that you are using (toothpick or paring knife) -I use the paring knife- and twist around the pit until you loosen it and then you just press the cherry (almost squeezing) the pit out. 
What I prefer to do is just remove the stem and then cut all the way around the pit with a paring knife, pulling cherry in half, and removing the pit (it's pretty easy, actually)

3. Arrange the pitted cherries on the baking sheet you've been working on (I actually used a 9x13" pan)  on a single layer, making sure there are no cherries on top of each other and place them in the freezer (on the baking sheet) for at least two hours or overnight.



4. Once the cherries are completely frozen transfer them to a "freezing sealable bag" (try to get as much air as possible out of the bag) and place them back in the freezer until you are ready to use them.


Now just enjoy them in smoothies, shakes, cakes, cobblers, pies or just pop them frozen in your mouth! They are delicious!
  
© Paloma K.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brooklyn Blackout Cake! - The Cake Slice

June 20th! That's today! And as every 20th of each month we, The Cake Slice Bakers, finally reveal The Cake we baked for the month. I love being part of The Cake Slice because I love the idea of "baking with others" even when we are far away... we choose a Recipe Book each year, and each month we vote for a cake to bake from that book! (we have 4 options to choose from each month) and then... we get to bake it and then reveal our master piece on the 20th (never earlier) of each month.

This time the winner cake was "Brooklyn Blackout 2003" and I think we were all winners with this! I was very excited because hubby loves chocolate, so I decided I would make it for father's day... then I even thought about sharing it in church to celebrate the daddies of my lifegroup (as we call it) but nobody ate it (there wasn't a big turnout in our lifegroup that Sunday... probably because it was father's day) anyway if you read yesterday's post you already know this... so... I ended up bringing the whole cake back home where hubby got to try it... I was anxious to see his reaction, I hadn't tasted it yet, nobody had... and all he said was: "WOW! Make sure you invite people over to eat this cake... because it DESERVES TO BE EATEN" I was so happy... so I did... I had friends over and I even sent them with some cake to take home with them... these were some of the comments from my friends:

Laurie D: "Tastes like a slice of heaven" 

James D: "Where had you been all my life?" 

Mrs. Diane H: "Thank you SOOOO much for the cake! That was without a doubt some of the best chocolate cake I have every had!!! And I have had a lot of chocolate cake in my lifetime. LOL!!!"

 So... you get an idea how much people liked it! Here are some pictures of the cake... I am going to share the recipe at the end but I truly want to encourage you to get this book... The Cake Book by Tish Boyle. This book is more than a recipe book but it's a guide to bake perfect cakes and understand how "a cake is created" like which tools and ingredients to use ... and why! everything in a very easy to understand "language".

Here are some of the pics... To see entire album Click Here 





Brooklyn Blackout 2003
Yield : Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 10 to 12

Ingredients

Chocolate Blackout Cake:

  • 1½ cups (6.4 oz/181 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2.9 oz/85 g) natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (14 oz/400 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
  • ½ cup (1 stick/4 oz/113 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot brewed coffee

Chocolate Pudding Filling:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup (4.6 oz/132 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
  • 3 ounces (85 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fudgy Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 11 tablespoons (5.5 oz/156 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups (6.7 oz/191 g) confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

MAKE THE CAKE

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9" round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the granulated sugar and, using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until blended.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. At low speed, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in a steady steam. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat at medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the hot coffee, mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir the batter up from the bottom of the bowl a few times to thoroughly blend it. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly and smoothing the tops.
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
5. Invert the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.

MAKE THE FILLING
6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt at medium speed until pale, about 1 minute.
7. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the water and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk about half of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture. Whisk this mixture back into the remaining cream mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, whisking, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until completely melted.
8. Pass the filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled.

MAKE THE FROSTING
9. Put the chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl and place over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.
10. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate, then beat until well-blended and creamy, about 1 minute.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
11. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half horizontally, to make 4 layers. Reserve one layer. Place another cake layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Whisk the chilled filling until smooth. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread half of the filling over the layer. Top with another cake layer and spread it with the remaining filling. Top with a third cake layer, smooth side up.
12. Break half of the reserved cake layer into large pieces and place them in the bowl of a food processor (save the remainder of the cake layer for snacking). Process the cake to fine crumbs, and set aside.
13. Using a narrow metal spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting. Pat a generous amount of cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake, pressing them lightly into the frosting. Sprinkle the remaining cake crumbs over the top of the cake. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Notes

STORE in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!


Paloma K.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday of Quotes... and gifts from above!

 Hello dear friends! What a great week I am having! First of all... let me share "the Quote of the Day"

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival."  - C. S. Lewis 


And on that same note and talking about friends... let me share about my day yesterday... Well... it turns out that I baked a chocolate cake for Father's Day on Saturday... I can't describe much of that cake right now because it's "June's Cake" for "The Cake Slice Bakers" and it's supposed to stay a secret until we all reveal our cakes in June 20th (so the name of the cake and the recipe will be revealed that day!) ... anyway... I made that cake thinking about sharing it in church on Sunday to celebrate all the father's ... long story short the cake was not eaten! There was a very low turn out in our lifegroup and the few people who were there didn't eat cake (it was probably to early in the morning) ... The cake looked great (well... you'll see when I can share about it and the pictures on the 20th) but it was pretty good... and I felt disappointed but I didn't want it to end up in the garbage... of course!

So... I posted an open invitation on FB for friends to join me to eat cake on MONDAY ... and that was a great idea! I had friends come early in the morning, we went to the pool, then we had lunch and at the end we ate the cake (their comments about the cake will be shared on my "cake post" on the 20th too) ...

My daughter (middle) and two of her friends who came over for cake
 Then another sweet friend Mrs. Diane who also stopped by for a slice of cake, she gave me an AMAZING GIFT... Well... look for yourself:


 You see that? It's a beautiful ROMERTOPF Clay Pot... when she told me she would give me something (she explained it was some clay dish) I thought I knew what she was talking about but when I saw it I was soooo shocked! This thing is beautiful!!! So I started to look it up online to see what I could make and it turns out that is such a neat thing to cook with (I mean... I immediately knew it would just by looking at it) but then I found GREAT info online....

So I can cook from a whole chicken in it to a delicious cobbler for dessert! It's pretty awesome... For first time use I made my own combination of ingredients and I am sooo happy with it...  it's kind of a Chicken with Rice and Vegetables Casserole! I'll share pictures and recipe tomorrow (after we try it)... I made it for today's lunch so... we'll be tasting it later but it looks pretty good!

So it was a great day all around! I am so blessed to have such great friends... they are truly a gift from above... and then they give me even additional gifts like a beautiful claypot! Thanks Ms. Diane! I love my pot!

 And thanks to my friends who stopped by for cake... The fun, company, conversations, sharing my food with you was just very special and made my day that much better! Thank you!

Finally, to end the day... God still kept pouring His blessings and gave me this beautiful sunset to look at (the only edition made to the picture was the frame and text but there's no enhancement, boosting of colors or anything like that)


I'll be sharing my "Clay Pot Recipes" as I cook! and don't think I've forgotten about the other recipes I owe you (the chocolate cupcakes with festive frosting and chicken tacos I made for hubby on Friday) that's all coming!

Have a great Tuesday! Go tell a friend how much his/her friendship means to you!

© Paloma K.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Monday - Flowers and Nectar!

Good morning everybody! Dreading to start the week? Feeling down just from reading everybody's statuses on FB complaining and hating Monday? Well... you are at the right place... it's going to be Monday ALL DAY LONG (lol!) So... we can go through it with a happy, thankful, joyful attitude or hating it and complaining about it (making it worse) ... either way we are (hopefully) going to go through it... if we get through another day I guess that's already a reason in itself to be thankful!

Anything good about Monday for you? I've said it many times... for me it's like a new opportunity (each day is, isn't it?) to do things better... but Monday offers us the feeling of a fresh new start! (why so many dieters wait until Monday to begin? Because of that!)

Something I am happy about today... is... well... the flowers on my table! I got them on Friday but they still look gorgeous! they are so bright and ... yellow! It feels like there is a small sun in my dining room!



Something that is making you feel particularly happy today? Share it with us!

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” – Art Linkletter

And to add some extra sweetness to the day ... let me just ask you a question... have you used Agave Nectar for cooking/baking?

I got a small bottle to try it for the very first time and I am still not sure exactly what to do with it... I know there are instructions in the back of the bottle and  I see that instead of 1 cup of sugar you use 2/3  of a cup of agave nectar in a recipe... but I thought I would ask those who have used it before... which recipes are better with Agave Nectar? and... should I use less liquid to the recipe? I mean... it's a liquid so I am wondering if that affects anything... I know it's healthier (and less caloric) than sugar... so I really want to replace sugar in most of my desserts.... how's the taste? too different?

This is the one I bought:

  Any thoughts? Please share! Have a HAPPY MONDAY!

© Paloma K.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

With our first girl
With our 2nd. baby girl  
Daddy and the princesses
My dad!
My dad and my girls
My dad, my father in law and my girls!

Grandpa! and my oldest when she was a baby

 Happy Father's Day!

© Paloma K.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day Kick Off - Making him feel like a king!

Thanks to those who joined our Coffee Party! I'll be talking more about that during the week ahead of us! For now I will just let some pictures speak for themselves... this is what I made for hubby and he was thrilled.... He's been a little stressed out lately so I must confess I wasn't even thinking about Father's Day just yet... I just wanted him to have a nice relaxing and VERY DELICIOUS evening at home! so I prepared some stuff that I know he loves!

For dinner, chicken tacos

Later at night some nice, fresh spread just for the two of us! (Notice the heart shaped "Boursin spread"?)

Watching something light and funny on TV, talking and enjoying the food

During the day I made these for him, I wanted to make something colorful and cheerful!

Believe it or not there was still room for dessert so he had a cupcake and a cup of coffee

He was sooo happy and that  made me happy too! Nice way to start "Father's Day Weekend" don't you think? I'll be posting the recipes for "Chicken Tacos" and "Chocolate Cupcakes" soon!

© Paloma K.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coffee Friday - Coffee for Dad

Today is Friday so as every Friday and trying to re-take my old tradition of Coffee Friday I am posting a "Coffee Related Picture" here... But... it shouldn't be MY pictures posted here! It could be YOUR PICTURE and your blog being featured!

If you'd like to participate and be featured just read the Coffee Friday Page and get started! It's super easy!

So here is today's picture....

Big, Strong Coffee? Great for Father's Day!

I am also going to make it a Link Party! So if you have any post that is "Coffee Related" this week (you just have to mention that you like coffee or went to a Coffee Shop or had coffee with friends, stuff like that) Link it up! And visit the links of the list! let's get this party started! I'll be doing this every week! Just make sure you link back to us on your post.

You can use this button for our Coffee Friday Feature:

The Coffee Shop
So... what are you waiting? Link up!



© Paloma King

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beach is coming and Red Rice is Here!

Today we'll be going to THE BEACH! I've been wanting to go to the beach for so long! Hopefully this will be a good one! We just moved here a year ago and we still haven't found a good beach... We've had to drive almost 2 hours just to find horrible beaches and we know this won't be paradise but people have told us "it's decent" so... we hope we will like it... it's in Galveston... and we hope it will be nice... (fingers crossed)

So... I have to get ready to go but wanted to post my Red Rice Recipe before leaving.

Here it is


Red Rice 

Yield: 4 hungry people

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or regular vegetable oil)
  • 1 cup of JASMINE Rice (You can use white though)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3/4 big red tomato or 1 medium 
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 chicken bouillion cube (I use Knorr)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup of water (increase 1/4 cup of water if using regular white rice)
  • Pinch of salt and and pinch of black pepper (the chicken bouillion is salty already)

Elaboration:

First, using a blender blend the tomato, garlic powder, bouillion, ground cumin, pinch of salt and pepper and cup of water until it's made into a liquified sauce.

In a medium saucepan at medium/high heat heat the oil, add the rice and stir constantly (preferably with a wooden spoon) until it starts looking a little opaque, turn the heat down to medium, add the chopped onion and keep stirring until the rice starts turning into a golden color, add the tomato/spice sauce you previously blended, stir one last time (no more) and cover with a tight lid (leaving just about a tiny crack open) until it starts to boil, once it starts boiling turn the heat down to low (about "3" from a 1 to 10 scale) and leave it like that about 10 minutes or until the water has completely absorbed (avoid stirring and removing lid). Once the water's been absorbed cover tightly and remove from the heat. Let it keep cooking (without removing the lid) in its own steam for about 5 more minutes. Immediately fluff with a fork and serve.

The rice should be cooked but the grains of rice shouldn't "open" if they "open" or it looks more like mashed potatoes it means it's overcooked. If you are not used to cooking rice, try eating a few grains when you think it's ready and if you feel "resistance" in the grain when biting into it, it means it's undercooked.


This rice is very easy to make and really delicious! I hope you enjoy it!


© Paloma K.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A heartbreaking experience...

-sigh- I don't like talking about bad things, especially here... I want my blog to be a place where we can all sit back and relax, just enjoy a good moment away from the hectic life outside! But today... I just can't help it... I have to share about something that just broke my heart!

So... earlier today I went to a Subway close to our house just to get some nice lunch with my girls... I was sitting there and there was this woman at another table with a beautiful 2 yr. old, or so I think! She looked like 2 and a half... you know? younger than 3 but a little older than 2, anyway... this girl was gorgeous, in the way only kids can be... big, innocent eyes and hands reaching for a mommy embrace ... The girl wasn't really misbehaving or acting horrible... she just seemed to be needing attention... she didn't look very clean either... and she seemed to be trying to say something to her "mommy" ... then... for some reason... the "woman" turns around and looks at me (I don't even know why!) and with a very unpleasant voice she says: "ugh! Sorry! This girl is not mine! SHE IS NOT MINE! I am just the step-mom, it was her mom who made her such a bad girl" ... and you could see her little girl look at her really attentive and confused... I was shocked, upset, paralyzed and almost couldn't believe I was hearing those horrible things come out of that woman's mouth and in front of that sweet girl! I couldn't say anything for a few seconds and then, almost in tears I said: "Please just don't say that"... The woman turned around, grabbed the girl who was still reaching towards her and left! I ... I am still wondering how that girl is doing... and I feel bad that so many children have to suffer from lack of love or the selfishness of parents who make bad choices... I don't know what to even say... I am not in that situation and I can only praise God... I hugged and kissed my girls and I can only pray for that little one... I know I probably don't need to say this... but if you've been blessed with a kid... whether you are the biological parent or not... please... care for that life! love such a gift! be compassionate and affectionate... they are just little ones who need our love and they look up to us... many children are abandoned even with their moms AT HOME! And that's just not right...

--- enough --- 

I said I would post a Red Rice Recipe and I will but right now I had to post about this... I am sorry... I promise I will tomorrow.


© Paloma K.

Perfect after fast food! - Meatball Soup

Thanks for the "get well comments" I am still surrounded by "Kleenex" and coughing but I DO feel better ;) Thank you very much! It is very encouraging to see your comments! You have no idea. Ok... now to my post...

Unfortunately for some reason I couldn't cook lunch for hubby the other day... You know? I always prepare it ahead of time and then just leave it ready for him in containers so he can take it to work and enjoy his food at lunch... he loves it! And hates having to eat "fast food" (although he loves having a Bic Mac once in a while by choice not because he "has to" ... BTW I hate Bic Macs) - ok moving on to my topic -... so... He had to eat fast food  and came home still feeling "yucky" from eating that... I knew he would! So... to make it up to him I cooked something I knew screams "I am homemade and the person who made it LOVES YOU!" is one of those "Mexican Meals" that you just love because is something "a mommy" would cook to make you feel better or special" ... Hubby loves the "Mexican Meatballs" I usually make with chipotle... for my recipe click here but this time I wanted to make something different and without chipotle so it would be tender to his stomach.... So I decided to try Leslie's "Caldo de Albondigas" (Mexican Meatball Soup) from La Cocina De Leslie just making some variations of my own and my amazing Red Rice (Recipe will be posted tomorrow) and he was in heaven! He kept making "I love this" noises while eating it! and I felt very happy!

So here it is:
 

Now the recipe...

Caldo de Albondigas
Adapted from La Cocina de Leslie

Ingredients:

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup  long-grain rice (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano (crushed)
  • 4 medium potatoes (cut in large chunks)
  • 4 carrots (peeled and sliced in large chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cubes chicken bouillion (I use Knorr)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, bread crumbs, tomato, onion, egg and oregano.  Season with salt and pepper (about 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper).  Mix until well combined.

Using a 1/8-cup measuring cup as a reference to get the "size" of the meatballs, shape the meat mixture into balls.  Place in a 4-quart stockpot with 8 cups of water.  Add the vegetables and season soup with chicken bouillion and garlic. Cover stockpot and cook over medium heat until vegetable are tender (about 35 mins). Taste and season with more salt if needed.



Join us tomorrow for the recipe to make Red Rice.

Enjoy!

© Paloma K.