January 23, 2010

Chocolate Lava Cups

I was really in the mood for some "Lava Cups"...atleast that's what I call them.  I couldn't find a recipe off at hand, so I decided to start with my favorite 3 ingredients...Chocolate Cake Mix, Chocolate Jello, and Chocolate!  How can you go wrong, right? 

I mixed the pudding in with the cake mix and baked the cake like the directions called for...then I made up the "ganache" type filling for the middle.  I melted 1 box of the Baker's Semi Sweet squares over medium heat with 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream until it all melted together and became creamy.  Then I poured it into a bowl and stuck it into the fridge for a half hour or so.

When the chocolate was hard enough, I scooped it out with a tablespoon and dropped it in the middle of my little cupcakes...(I used a mini cheesecake tin).

I baked them at 350 for the lenght it said on the box...which I think was about 20-22 minutes.  Then I took them out of the pans to cool for just a few minutes, while I heated up the remaining chocolate in the microwave.  (Make sure you heat it slowly...otherwise it will scorch)  After it was all melted, I placed a Lavacup and a scoop of ice cream on everyone's plate...then topped with melted chocolate!  I see I was overly excited to eat it...so I guess I left out the shot of the ice cream.  I guess if you want to see what it looks like, you'll have to try it out for yourself!  What a bummer;)

So if you're in the mood for something chocolatey...this definitely does the trick!

January 22, 2010

The day AFTER Phoenix's big Tornado Warning...(Back Blogged)

Normally, it's during the "Monsoon" that we get to go play in our parks, er, lakes!  Last night's storm was pretty crazy around here!  In fact, I'm not sure what was crazier...the Tornado Warning, or the fact that EVERY SINGLE one of my shows was interrupted every 5 minutes or so, letting us know how much rain had fallen...still think it was under 3" btw:)  So I thought before the sun dries up the park, I would let the girls try out their "rain boots" that I got for a few dollars at Target!  They were so EXCITED!  It's such a beautiful day!!!
As you can see, Seattle lost a shoe...but believe it or not she came home dry! 
Just another reason that...I LOVE PHOENIX!

January 16, 2010

A Lovely Day at the Phoenix Zoo...

My friend Charilla and her daughter, Madison invited us out to the zoo today! So I took my oldest 3 girls.  It was PERFECT weather and we had so much fun:)

These stingrays were like little puppies! I couldn't believe how "friendly" they were! Madison got to touch two different ones! I've never seen any stingrays that were so willing to come to the sides to be pet!

The girls came home and told Boston they got to sit on real elephants...I'm not sure what finally gave it away that it was only rock?  Ha ha!  It did have him going for a minute or two though...

I had to take a picture of the goats...in Patterson, CA where we used to live, there would always be a wood sign at the end of Las Palmas saying, "Chivos for Sale".  After months of passing it, Phil asked what "Chivos" were, I just assumed EVERYONE knew what "chivos" were! It was so funny to me for some reason!  SO now whenever we see goats...we call them "chivos"!

I think this is what would happen if you crossed a Brahma bull and a chivo! 

Brooklyn thought this was pretty sweet..."but a little gross too"

Niki and Madison...with Our Madison and Paris

She was so excited to see the farm animals!  It was cute!

Charilla found a brave little squirrel that apparently liked Cheeze It's!

I guess he had a REALLY hard day...he definitely didn't have time for a bath!

"Jacob" smelled my Chex Mix and came to check us out!

This bird was some type of Condor...all I have to say is scary! Hopefully they hunt ALL 11 species of Rattlesnakes that apparently reside around here!!

Whenever I see the Girraffes...I always think of Melvin from Madagascar! 

I think I should see about purchasing one of these guys to bring to my parents house! (Ant Eater)

Madison-"Mommy, why does that monkey have a red bum bum?" 
Me-"Because he didn't listen to his mommy and she smacked his booty with the wooden spoon."
Madison's Reaction- Eyes wide open, jaw about hitting the floor...PRICELESS! I didn't even set her straight!  That should make for some interesting conversation on a field trip some day! 

January 14, 2010

Creamy Dreamy Blueberry Muffins

I've recently been getting some requests to post this recipe...so here you go!

Okay, so everyone that knows me, knows I'm a sucker for "Starbucks Tuesday"...declared by Phil a few years ago, when he started bringing me home a Grande Hot Chocolate and Blueberry muffin EVERY Tuesday morning from Starbucks, before leaving for work! It's one of a few "cheesy" things we do around here to let eachother know we still "like" eachother:) ANYHOO...It's the best...or WAS until our Starbucks started skimping on the quality of their muffins! Seriously! They changed their recipe and now I'm just a fan of their cocoa:( So I decided to make my own Blueberry Muffins!

Phil is used to these random "cooking missions" I seem to embark upon, even if dinner was placed on the "back burner"...so we could enjoy some great blueberry muffins for dessert! It makes about a dozen regular sized muffins and FYI...only about 6 of the king sized ones:) **WARNING** These muffins are EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE, and NOT a compliment to ANY diet...unless it's the "SEE FOOD" diet:)

1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 stick softened butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 3/4 Cups all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Package Instant Vanilla Pudding (small)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
12-16 oz Fresh Blueberries
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar


1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then place your berries in a bowl and coat with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir to make sure that the berries are coated in sugar. Set aside.

2. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt and sugar, until well combined. Then slowly add the remaining ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, flour, and ending with the pudding mix. After everything is combined, the mixture will seem dry.

3. Slowly begin adding approximately 1/3-1/2 cups Heavy Cream to the batter, until it is the consistancy of thick pancake batter.**Depending on how you like your berries, you can either choose to mix them in now or wait and press them into the tops of the muffins next...

4. Fill 6 King Sized muffin tins or 24 regular size tins with muffin batter, about ¾ full, that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. If you haven't already added them, press 5-6 berries into tops of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through. Remove and let cool.

5. Using the same bowl that the berries were in, place the powdered sugar and a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Hand whisk the cream and sugar until the consistency of syrup, if too dry add more whipping cream, if too "liquidy" add more sugar. Whisk until smooth and RUNNY consistency; Pour over the top of muffins, while they are still warm.

6. Using another bowl...combine the butter, sugar, and flour for the CRUMB topping using an electric mixer, until ingredients look uniformly like crumbs! Sprinkle this mixture on top of the whipped cream drizzle! Simply delicious!!!!

January 9, 2010

Brooklyn's "Spa Party"

For Brooklyn's BIG 10 we decided to have a "Spa" themed party! She always begs me to let her help make candles and other things that nice mommy's would let her do! Soooo, I decided that she's at the PERFECT age right now for this type of stuff!
So we planned it all out...so first while we waited for all the guests to arrive, the girls played a little 1 on 1 action. (I know...my living room looks ghetto now...but OH well...it's TONS of FUN!)

Then it was on to Pizza making! Each of the girls could choose to either make a pizza or a calzone with my nifty new calzone maker! Yay! I made sure they all did it themselves...that way if it didn't taste so swell...it was their own fault;) Ha Ha!

Next was candles, since they take the longest to set up:) The girls had lots of GREAT fragrances to choose from and mix. I warned them all about mixing...but you know girls at that age...MORE IS BETTER for some reason! I guess it takes a while before the "less is more" lesson really sinks in:) It was super cute to see them have complete executive control over their projects!

After candles, we made lip balm and bath fizzies in that order. The girls got to choose the colors and the flavors and of course had fun creating things that they can actually use! The time literally flew by and it was soo nice to have a party where you didn't have to worry about anyone!

My sweet cupcake cake was for dessert...and although it kind of looks sad...it actually tasted super yummy!
Brooklyn had a super fun time and I hope all the girls did too!

January 8, 2010

No use crying over spilled...Lucky Charms!

While mommy's away...the baby's will play! Okay, so I stepped into my bedroom for a new shirt...(my shirts seem to be targets for all kinds of interesting things lately:) And then I noticed it got REALLY quiet...Go, Diego Go! was on and then I made that "rookie" mistake...we all know the one. The thought..."OOh it's quiet...maybe while they're being good I'll..." in my case it was brush my teeth. My toothbrush is a Sonicare, so it's timed...I was gone a WHOLE 1 minute and 30 seconds EXTRA and this is what I got to spend the next 20 minutes cleaning up! The pictures don't really do this beauty justice either...the trail leads through the loft!
Isn't that the "crappiest" deal ever? We get a few minutes to ourselves...in peace...but the price is sometimes hours of "make up" work! Luckily, this was nothing compared to some of their previous results of "being quiet"...so I just snapped a picture and happily, no, scratch that, just cleaned up their mess...with CLEAN TEETH! It was so worth it:) Not to mention I had help...Berlin seemed to LOVE them!