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Friday, July 29, 2011

Chocolate bread

Last week I was catching up on my Twitter feed at work.  I caught a tweet from Two Peas and Their Pod that said something to the extent of, "Early morning baking before it gets too hot!"

What a lovely way to spend your morning!

I haven't baked in quite some time.  It has been hotter than a pistol lately, and our little kitchen and apartment gets far too hot with the oven running.  But Monday morning I woke up early before work to bake fresh chocolate bread.

My favorite coffee shop in college (as if it was years ago...try months ago) was Bordertown, a non-profit coffee shop nestled in the ever-so-scandalous "frat row."  B-town is adorable, brimming with character, and the best part?  They make the BEST fresh baked goods daily!  I have even been able to nab a few of their recipes myself!

Anyway, Bordertown has this incredibly moist and dense chocolate bread.  I'll have to work on getting the recipe, but the food network's recipe sufficed for my early morning baking session.  The bread was quite good, though not as delish as Bordertown's.  The recipe calls for chocolate chips and pecans; I skipped both and added cinnamon.  If you prefer a richer taste, be sure to go for the chocolate chips and pecans.  I actually think I will try that next time.

Chocolate Bread, modified from the Food Network

2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
2 C sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 C milk
1 C vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 C semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 1/2 C chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease two loaf pans.  In a large mixing bowl, beat all dry ingredients with electric mixer until well-combined.


Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed.


Pour batter in to two greased loaf pans, and bake for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Now that's a pretty darn easy recipe!  Enjoy!



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mark's 50th birthday extravaganza

My stepdad Mark recently turned 50.

Here's a pic of the b-day boy himself!  I photoshopped his face on to this macho motorcycle man (Mark owns a Harley) for his birthday card.

For his 50th birthday extravaganza we hosted a large group of family and friends at our cabin.  The weekend will go down as one of the best of the summer - no doubt about it.  Not only did my mom provide phenomenal food, particularly for Mark's birthday dinner, but the weather was absolutely pristine.  We spent tons of time on and in the lake (which, by the way, is the color of my hair because of the iron ore in it), and I successfully water-skiied for the first time since fourth grade!  Supa fun!

My hair is looking particularly smashing in this photo, wouldn't you say?  Yeah, right.  I wish.

I jumped at the chance to provide a "sweets display," as I like to call it, for the celebration.  It was hardly a grandiose display, but everyone definitely indulged, especially me!

Clockwise from top left:  Cake balls,  mini fruit pizzas (recipe soon to come - have to find it!), chocolate-dipped strawberries, and chocolate-marshmallow cookies (recipe also to follow soon).

Simply delightful!