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Friday, January 29, 2016

what we're watching right now

thank goodness it's friday!  this week has been crazy, and we are definitely looking forward to relaxing this weekend.  luckily, we have minimal plans.  one of our favorite ways to relax is to curl up with leko and catch up on our favorite shows.  (of course, there's always food involved too!)  here's what we are obsessed with watching right now . . .

modern family - abc
the middle - abc
life in pieces - cbs
fixer upper - hgtv
flip or flop - hgtv
big time rv - travel channel
younger - tv land
the pioneer woman - food network

what are you watching?
love, laurie

Thursday, January 28, 2016

vegan cleansing detox soup

starting in the fall straight through to the winter, i feel like all we do is eat!  it all starts with halloween candy in october, followed by my dad's birthday and thanksgiving in november, followed by my mom's birthday and christmas in december, followed by new years eve/day, and then my birthday in the beginning of january.  it's an endless stream of gatherings involving food that yield a ton of left overs for four straight months.  don't get me wrong, i absolutely love it, but it certainly takes a toll on my waistline.

now that the holidays and my birthday are behind us, we are trying to get ourselves back on track and eat better.  say hello to this vegan cleansing detox soup!  perfect for this time of year especially.  this soup is cleansing because it is packed full of veggies, and it is free of oil.  a detox soup doesn't have to be boring.  oh no, it has tons of flavor!  this recipe will make enough for leftovers to last you all week long, and a bowl of this warm soup is ideal on a cold winter day.

vegan cleansing detox soup
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 25 minutes
yields: 8 servings
adapted from the glowing fridge

1/2 cup water
1/2 spanish onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 small tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 small head of broccoli, florets
1 cup kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 cup napa cabbage, chopped
1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced

in a large pot over medium heat, warm the water.  add the onion and garlic.  saute for 2 minutes, stirring  occasionally.  add the celery, carrots, tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  stir and cook for 3 minutes (adding extra water as needed).  add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  add the broccoli, kale, cabbage, and lemon juice.  simmer for 5 minutes, until the broccoli and cabbage are tender.

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

happy national chocolate cake day!

today is national chocolate cake day, and i can't think of a better thing to celebrate on a wednesday!  i absolutely love chocolate cake!  here's a little chocolate cake history for today . . .

according to the dover post, the first chocolate cake was born in 1765 when a doctor and a chocolate maker teamed up at an old mill and ground cocoa beans between huge millstones to make a thick syrup.  they poured the syrupy liquid into molds shaped like cakes.

the earliest chocolate cake recipe was published in 1847 in "the lady's receipt book."  the recipe was written by a popular philadelphia cookbook author named eliza leslie.

the first boxed cake mix was created by the "o. duff and sons" company in the late 1920s, and betty crocker released their first dry cake mix in 1947.

in honor of national chocolate cake day today, here are some of our favorite chocolate cake recipes that we have made and loved over the past few years:

chocolate buttermilk cake
chocolate sour-cream cake
chocolate s'mores cake
- chocolate hazelnut cake
chocolate peanut butter pretzel cake
chocolate peanut butter checkerboard cake
andes mint chocolate cake
chocolate-raspberry sacher torte
chocolate beet cake
chocolate zucchini cake
german chocolate cake
chocolate cupcakes
- chocolate pancakes

enjoy this sweet day!
love, laurie

. . .

"all you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
- charles m. schulz 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

mini cranberry coffee cake loaves

we really enjoyed staying at home all weekend and not leaving the house, and a lazy winter sunday morning at home in our pajamas called for a fun breakfast.  since we had fresh cranberries at home, i made cranberry coffee cake for breakfast.  it was a lovely treat to go alongside our scrambled eggs.

the cake is super moist and delicious, and the flavor of the tart cranberries goes so well with the sweet batter and the streusel topping.  instead of making one large coffee cake, or individual muffins, i made two mini loafs.  (my mom found these adorable mini loaf pans at michael's craft store last winter.)  i love a recipe that only makes a small amount.  one mini loaf was the perfect size to share, which meant we had one for breakfast and one leftover to enjoy the next day.

mini cranberry coffee cake loafs
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 30-35 minutes
yields: 2 mini loafs (5 inch by 3 inch)
adapted from dessert for two

muffin ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup fresh cranberries

streusel ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  in a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, beaten egg, vanilla, sugar, salt, and spices.  sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the mixture.  whisk together to combine.  fold in the cranberries.  in a separate bowl, stir together all of the streusel ingredients with a fork.

grease two mini loaf pans.  fill the pans half way with the batter, then add about 1/4 of the streusel mixture on top on each.  pour the remaining batter on top and cover with the remaining streusel mixture.  place the loaf pans on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loafs comes out clean.  let cook in the pan for 15 minutes before serving.

love, laurie

Monday, January 25, 2016

snow storm . . . what snow storm?

all of last week, people in the northeast were in a tizzy as meteorologists insisted that we would get clobbered by a massive snowpocalypse storm this weekend.  there was so much hype, it was ridiculous.  we came straight home from work on friday night and hunkered down, shovels ready, waiting for several feet of snow.  we were rather surprised to wake up to absolutely no snow on saturday morning.  finally around 10am, a few flakes began to fall, but that was it.  it only snowed for about 3 hours or so, and it was barely enough snow to cover the grass.  then it stopped and was over.  for the rest of the day on saturday, we kept waiting for more, but nothing came.  we really couldn't believe it!  the sun came out on sunday and melted almost all of the little bit of snow that we got.  even though we only got just slightly more than a dusting, other areas around us didn't make out as well.  both my parents and ryan's parents got a ton of snow!

the "snow storm" (or lack there of) gave us a good excuse to stay at home all weekend.  we spent the entire weekend at home relaxing and cuddling on the couch with leko watching tv.  it was luxurious!  the best part about the "snow storm" this weekend was that we didn't even have to shovel!

love, laurie

Friday, January 22, 2016

fun links

even though monday was a holiday and we only had a four day work week, this week seemed to drag on forever.  the work days were crazy, and all week i couldn't seem to figure out which day of the week it was.  we're not sure what to expect for this weekend because the forecast is calling for snow.  the only problem is, the weather forecasters cannot seem to agree upon how much snow we will get.  i have heard forecasts that range from 1 inch to 36 inches!  honestly, i don't think they even know what they are talking about.  so, we plan on just seeing what we get and taking it from there.  regardless if we get a dusting or a snowpocalypse, i'm happy it's friday!

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently . . .

1. the 10 most popular restaurants on instagram

2. a pb&j party is totally my speed . . . how cute are those pb&j cutouts?!

3. 13 tips for action photography in bad light

4. this pose is nuts

5. how to ask for a raise

6. cookies of the world

7. the new app a color story came out this week, and i'm looking forward to trying it out

8. since i teach comm arts, i liked this article about how to become a powerful communicator

9. the 10 best small museums in nyc

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, January 21, 2016

vegan roasted cauliflower and garlic dip

over the weekend, we hopped in the car with my parents and took a drive to new jersey.  our family loves grocery stores, and we're willing to drive to investigate them.  family friends who live in new jersey had recently mentioned that we would enjoy corrado's market.  so, since we had nothing on our agendas for sunday, we headed to new jersey to check out corrado's and to stock up at trader joe's.  (side note: it's an absolute sin that we do not have a trader joe's closer to our house.  we're forced to either drive crazy long distances with a cooler in the car to stock up every few months, or we have to bring home only what we can carry when we make a trip into nyc.)  in the car we were joking about how we are all willing to drive such a long distance for a grocery store.  we are definitely a family of foodies.

luckily our hike to new jersery battling snow and crazy traffic was worth it because we loved corrado's.  their selection of produce was unreal and their prices couldn't be beat.  we were like kids in a candy store walking up and down the aisles.  while we were there, we bought a head of cauliflower, fresh parsley, and several heads of garlic (among many other things of course).  we also bought a bag of unsalted roasted sunflower seeds from trader joe's too.

i have had my eye on a cauliflower and garlic dip recipe for quite some time, and with these ingredients, i knew i had to make it this weekend.  the recipe was so easy and i was able to throw it together in no time on monday when we had the day off work.

this dip starts out in the oven.  you roast a whole head of cauliflower and an entire head of garlic.  roasted garlic is really something special.  garlic takes on a whole new flavor as it roasts in the oven and it becomes decadently sweet.

cauliflower is both healthy and hearty.  it makes the perfect base for this dip.  the combination of the roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic, and roasted sunflower seeds blends together perfectly and gives this dip a smokey flavor unlike anything else.  extra virgin olive oil smooths out the dip, fresh lemon juice brightens it up, and freshly ground nutmeg gives it a nice depth of flavor.

the consistency of this dip reminds me of a chunky hummus.  to jazz it up, we topped our dip with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, additional roasted sunflower seeds, and some fresh parsley.  it really took it over the top.  you can enjoy this dip with pita bread, crackers, chips, or veggies.

this dip is such a nice alternative to heavy, rich dips made with sour cream or mayo.  it is so light and bright.  it would be great as an appetizer, as a dip for a party, or as a late night snack.  let's be honest here . . . ryan and i sat in bed the other night with a bag of tortilla chips and this dip and went to town.

roasted cauliflower and garlic dip
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 25 minutes
yields: approximately 2-3 cups
adapted from brooklyn supper

1 large head of cauliflower
1 head of garlic
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  line two small baking sheets with aluminum foil.  cut the cauliflower into florets and break the head of garlic into cloves (leaving the papery skin on the garlic cloves).  arrange the cauliflower florets on one baking sheet and the garlic cloves on the other.  sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to evenly coat.  place both pans in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and golden, and the garlic is fragrant, tossing occasionally to make sure it does not burn.  set aside to cool.

when cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the papery skins.  in a food processor, combine the garlic, cauliflower, lemon juice, nutmeg, and sunflower seeds.  pulse to combine.  with the food processor running, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil in until creamy.  add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

serve topped with an additional drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, additional sunflower seeds, and minced parsley.  enjoy with pita, crackers, or veggies!

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

it's good to be a cat . . .

. . . especially in our family.  between us and our parents, our family has six fur babies.  we all know how to spoil kitties, and our family kitties sure get a lot of love and attention.  here are a few pictures that we snapped recently on our phones of what our family kitties have been up to lately.

^we recently bought a new rolling kitchen cart for our house.  after we assembled it, leko had to check out our work from the underneath.  he's a tough inspector!^
^ryan's parents' kitties enjoying a bite to eat together off the same plate . . . a rare moment of getting along, but then again food was involved.^
^our baby leko intently watching animals outside.  it's a good thing we put that hassock under the window for him to sit on and watch his kingdom!^
^my parents' triplets say, "why eat on the floor like animals when you can dine on the counter tops like royalty?"^
^we were trying to get out the door to go grocery shopping over the weekend and leko jumped right in the grocery bag to say, "hey guys, take me with you and i'll show you where the tuna is in the grocery store!"^

we sure do love all of our family kitties!
love, laurie

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

chai spice oat waffles

the long three-day weekend was wonderful.  we thoroughly enjoyed being able to sleep in, spend some time with our families, and relax around the house with leko.  it was really hard to convince myself that i actually had to go to work this morning.

we had no where to be on sunday morning.  after we finally got ourselves out of bed, we headed downstairs for a lazy and slow sunday morning breakfast in our pajamas.

cold january weekend mornings call for a warm comforting breakfast.  these waffles were the perfect thing.  oat flour gives them a great texture, buttermilk gives them a great flavor, and the chai spices make them so delicious.  they are so easy to whip up and they make the whole house smell wonderful as they are cooking too!

chai spice oat waffles
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yields: 2 large servings
adapted from annie's eats

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted

preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions.  grind oats in a food processor until very fine.  in a large bowl, combine the oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices.  stir to combine.  add the milk, egg, and vanilla.  whisk well.  stir in the melted butter.  pour enough batter into the waffle iron to just barely cover the waffle grid.  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the waffles are golden brown.  once cooked, transfer the waffles to a cooling rack while you prepare the remaining waffles.  serve warm, topped with warm maple syrup.

love, laurie

Monday, January 18, 2016

live life a little lighter

we're half way through january, and now is about the time when many people start forgetting about their new year's resolutions.  (especially if those resolutions involved getting healthier, eating better, or getting in shape.)

since we don't want to fall off the new year's resolution bandwagon, we're teaming up with chobani to "crunch the numbers" and dedicate ourselves to living life a little lighter in the new year, and we want you to join us!  you don't have to make any drastic changes, try starting with 100 fewer calories per day!  here are 12 easy and fun ways to burn 100 calories . . .

i love the idea that i can burn 100 calories by dancing around the kitchen for 20 minutes, and another 100 calories by cooking for 34 minutes!

i've mentioned before that my whole family loves yogurt, especially greek yogurt, and we are huge chobani fans.  so, we are excited to help chobani celebrate the launch of their new simply 100 crunch yogurt which is the first and only 100-calorie greek yogurt with crunchy, natural goodies on the side.  this new line of naturally-sweetened greek yogurt is full of flavor and satisfaction for only 100 calories.  made with natural, non-GMO ingredients, it's an ally in your weight-management journey.  they are an excellent source of protein and fiber, and they have less sugar than regular fruit yogurt.

i'm a big proponent of eating healthily, so i read labels closely and i carefully watch what i put in my body.  be sure that you know what's in your cup of yogurt.  other greek yogurts on the market use potassium sorbate as a preservative (which is used to kill bugs) and sucralose as a sweetener (which has chlorine added to it).  no thank you!

chobani's simply 100 crunch yogurts come in three different flavors, which will make you think that you are indulging on dessert: blueberry cookie crumble, strawberry chocolate truffle, and mango cone crisp.  (be sure to click here for a $1 off coupon too!)

join us and start 2016 off strong!
love, laurie

Friday, January 15, 2016

10 simple photo editing tips

a few months ago, i shared 10 tips for better travel photos and today i want to follow up that post with some tips for editing photos.  let me let you in on a little secret (which isn't really so secret): i've been editing photos for my blog for the past 4 years and i don't own photoshop.  sure, i'd love to use photoshop, but it's expensive, and i've had success using free online photo editing websites.  in the past i used and loved picnik, but now that it is gone i primarily use picmonkey and ipiccy for all of my photo editing needs.  whether you use fancy editing software, or free editing websites, here are 10 simple tips for editing your photos to make them look great . . . 

1. straighten your photos
often i have to snap a picture quickly in order to capture an image before the moment is gone or before the subject moves.  i don't always have time to worry about lining things up in my lens to make sure they are perfectly straight.  luckily, it doesn't matter because most photo-editing programs have a rotation feature.  the very first thing i do before editing my photos is make sure they are straight.  you want to make sure that the horizon is actually evenly horizontal and that any buildings, poles, etc, are actually vertical.  use the guiding grid lines in the rotation feature to be sure that your photo is properly straightened.

2. crop your images
whether you need to hide something in the picture or you need to create composition, be sure to crop your images.  use the crop tool to get close to the action or to cut out anything that you don't want featured in the image.

3. re-size for intended use
what do you intend to do with the photo you are editing?  if you plan to print it and frame it, then you should make sure it is the highest quality possible.  however, if you are posting it online, it will take longer to load on a web page if the dimensions of the photo are too large.  determine the exact size you need and re-size the image accordingly.  (ps: for my blog, all photos are 675px wide.)

4. adjust the exposure 
it's not always possible to take photos in perfect lighting.  if your image is looking a little dark or overly bright, fix the exposure by adjusting the brightness, highlights, shadows, and contrast.

5. enhance the colors
if the coloring of your photo is dull and dingy, adjust the saturation and temperature to boost the wow factor.  let those colors pop off your photo!

6. play with black and white
it's really rare that i post black and white photos, but sometimes the coloring in a photo is just too messed up to salvage.  that's when i turn to black and white to save the day.  bonus: it gives the image a really cool artistic effect.

7. reduce shine
reflective surfaces can cause problems with a flash or bright sunlight.  several members of our family wear glasses and practically everyone wears sunglasses in the summer.  inevitably, there is always a shiny reflection in someone's glasses.  similarly, when photographing food next to a window when it's really sunny outside, sometimes there is a shiny sun streak across the plate.  luckily you can reduce the shine in order to dull the shine or to make it disappear all together.

8. remove blemishes
i'm not a fan of retouching and airbrushing to make people look unnatural.  however, every once in a while you have a great picture and someone has a blemish, pimple, cut, scratch, etc.  sometimes pictures of food have a stray "blemish" too, such as a drip of sauce on the side of the plate or a runaway nut or sprinkle.  it's great to be able to make those blemishes disappear and not distract from the rest of the photo.

9. sharpen the final image
i like sharpening my images to make sure they are as crisp and clear as possible.  if you need to sharpen an image that is otherwise a little blurry or slightly out of focus, be sure to do it after you have already cropped the image to your desired size.  the level of sharpening required will vary depending on the final size of the image.

10. save your edited images, but keep the originals
it's fun to edit photos, but i religiously make sure to keep the unedited originals too.  you never know when you will need to go back to the untouched original image.

love, laurie

Thursday, January 14, 2016

make yourself comfortable, kitten!

it has been an odd winter so far here in northeastern pennsylvania.  we made it through october, november, december, and half of january without any snow.  that has to be some sort of record.  this week we finally saw the white stuff for the first time.  just enough to coat the trees and the grass, but not enough to get us a snow day from work.  :-(

even though we haven't had a lot of snow yet this winter, the last few days have been super chilly, and we're not the only ones who want to cuddle up when it gets cold.  leko loves cuddling close, and of course we don't mind it one bit.  a few nights ago, ryan and i sat in bed to watch a few shows that we had recorded on the dvr.  within seconds, leko was right up on ryan's lap.  he was so excited to cuddle, he didn't even wait for ryan to get the blankets over him.  leko sprawled out and fell right asleep.  as we were watching the tv, leko kept stretching out longer and longer, and created a little nest for himself.  we just couldn't resist how cute he was sleeping there.  i had to grab my phone to snap a picture before he woke up and moved.  he sure knows how to make himself comfortable!

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

snapshots of life lately, according to my iphone pictures

a few photos of . . . leko on ryan's lap with a princess wand that i found while cleaning out a closet over christmas break, dinner at a mongolian grill with my parents to kick off the new year, leading the 2nd grade tap class, and leko curled up in bed to stay warm.

follow along with us on instagram
love, laurie

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

the ultimate chocolate hazelnut cake

over the weekend our families got together to celebrate my birthday.  of course there was birthday cake involved.  this year i was in the mood for a chocolate hazelnut combination, so ryan and i got to work creating the ultimate chocolate hazelnut cake.

if you are a fan of chocolate and hazelnut, look no further.  i'm calling this "the ultimate" chocolate hazelnut cake recipe because if nutella and ferrero rocher got together and had a baby that was a cake, it would be this cake.

here's the break down . . . two layers of chocolate cake with a layer of nutella fudge in between, all covered with whipped nutella buttercream frosting, and decorated with chopped hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and ferrero rocher candy.

the chocolate cake has a wonderfully deep flavor thanks to the addition of coffee in the cake batter.  the cake itself isn't sweet which is great to balance out the nutella fudge layer which is a bit on the sweeter side.  the frosting is part buttercream, part whipped cream, which means it is light and fluffy.  the nutella beaten into the frosting really punches that chocolate hazelnut flavor all the way.

i'm only a little embarrassed to say that there is an entire jar of nutella in this cake recipe!  go big or go home, am i right?  ;-)

the ultimate chocolate hazelnut cake
prep time:45 minutes
baking time: 30-35 minutes
yields: one two layer 9-inch round cake (16-18 servings)
cake and frosting adapted from the candid appetite
nutella fudge layer adapted from sprinkle bakes

cake ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee
1 teaspoon espresso powder

fudge layer ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup nutella
1/4 cup butter, melted
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

frosting ingredients:
5 tablespoons salted butter, softened
3/4 cup nutella
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar

to make the cake: preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  grease and flour the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda together.  add the sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  beat together until combined.  stir the espresso powder into the coffee.  with the mixer on low, slowly stream in the coffee.  evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans and allowing them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

to make the nutella fudge layer: line one 9-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap.  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the powdered sugar, nutella, and melted butter.  the mixture will be crumbly.  add 3-4 tablespoons of cream gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a workable dough.  turn the mixture out onto a solid surface and kneed together into a dough.  (it should not be too sticky or too crumbly.)  press the dough evenly into the plastic-lined cake pan.  cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

to make the frosting: in an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the butter, nutella, and vanilla.  beat to combine.  gradually add the powdered sugar, alternating with the cream to achieve desired consistency and thickness.

to assemble the cake: place one layer of the chocolate cake on a cake stand.  spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake.  remove the fudge layer from the plastic wrap and place on top of the frosted first layer of cake.  spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the fudge layer, then place the second layer of cake on top.  evenly cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.  decorate with chopped hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and/or ferrero rocher candy.

love, laurie

Monday, January 11, 2016

my birthday celebration!

on saturday, our parents came up to our house to celebrate my birthday!  for lunch, we had salad, a roasted veggie cornbread panzanella, and a build-your-own baked potato bar with a bunch of toppings, followed by a chocolate hazelnut birthday cake and presents.  the best present was getting to celebrate with the ones i love.  i had a really great time on saturday!

love, laurie