Double Unders didn’t kick my butt! And, a birthday celebration. :)

Hello, hello!

I have good news!!

I survived 14.1!!

If you don’t remember what was involved, it was a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 30 double unders and 15 power snatches at 55#.

We’re supposed to count our reps and I got to 85.

Um, hello, that’s 60 double unders!!! (almost 2 full rounds)

No, it’s not an amazing score, comparatively speaking. But, I’m super stoked because I didn’t even think I would get 4 double unders in the 10 minutes. Seriously!!

I totally expected the double unders to kick MY butt but I feel like I kicked theirs.

I’m actually pretty proud of my score. 🙂

I definitely need to work on them in the future but I busted my butt and I RX’d that workout and I’m still in the game.

WHOOP!!

Can’t wait to see what 14.2 is!

The rest of the weekend was a birthday celebration for my grandma. 🙂

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With double chocolate cake, of course.

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Grandma loves chocolate cake.

She’s one smart lady.

And, she has a beautiful daughter and granddaughters. 🙂

3 generations!

3 generations!

And, here’s the obligatory cute puppy picture.

Because they’re cute. Duh.

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Talk to me: What did you do this weekend? 🙂

– jennifer

A weekend of surprises & some seriously amazing cake

Hello!

Happy Monday!

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How was your Thanksgiving holiday?

Did you eat too much?  Did you score any amazing deals on Black Friday?

What about today – are you a Cyber Monday kind of person?

My weekend was full of surprises!

Thing 2 and I were getting ready to head out on Friday – yes, I know I don’t DO Black Friday but my fuzzy crew needed food.

Clearly, I need to work on my planning because I totally could have made sure we had enough pet food before the holiday hit.

Anyway, we were getting ready to go – okay, I was getting ready to go…Thing 2 suddenly wanted to “wait about 30 minutes.”

What the heck?

Weird.

And then ….

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Thing 1 was there!!!

Pretty awesome surprise, if you ask me. 🙂

So, we hung out for a bit, went to lunch, did a few errands (I actually braved the Wal-Mart! Crazy, I know!), and chatted and watched tv.

Perfect.

Then, on Saturday, Thing 2 and I made a surprise trip to see MY folks and my grandmother!

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I even baked a Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze to take with me!

My grandmother LOVES chocolate. And, I love my grandmother so….

The best part of the surprise was the fact that my mother called me while we were 5 minutes away from their house.

She wanted a picture of Thing 2 for her frame she was taking to work.

Hahahaha!

Okay, I think we can handle that!

5 minutes later, Thing 2 is knocking on her front door!

It was pretty spectacular.

I love that we were able to do that. 🙂

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So, let’s talk about that cake. 🙂

Like I said, my grandmother loves chocolate and when I saw this cake recipe from Food and Wine, I knew I had to surprise her with it.

Bundt cakes can often be heavy and overwhelming but this one was light, moist, and decadent without being overpowering.

In fact, it was pretty amazing.

Om nom nom!

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Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze
makes 10-12 servings (depending on how big you make the slices)

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong-brewed coffee (I used Italian Roast)
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a small saucepan, melt 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the oil and sugar until smooth, then whisk in the egg.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture along with 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, whisk until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients, coffee, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Mine took 42 minutes so, depending on how hot your oven gets, I would start checking at 40 minutes. You don’t want an overdone cake!) Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let it cool completely.

4. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a heatproof bowl, combine the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate with the corn syrup and butter. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let the ganache glaze cool until thick but still pourable, about 5 minutes.

5. Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Let the cake stand until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes before serving.

6. Share with family and friends!

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Question: When do you put your Christmas tree up? Are you an “immediately after Thanksgiving” person or do you wait a little longer?

We normally wait – mostly because I get frustrated with the mess it makes – but we came home yesterday to a surprise! My sailor had dug the tree out of our packed with boxes garage and put it up! Honestly, I’m really glad he did that. It looks awesome where he put it and I’m happy it’s up. 🙂

– jennifer

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven…cake

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s I Love Reese’s Day! Okay, seriously, I love Reese’s EVERY day but today I get to celebrate it loud and proud. AND, calories don’t count today! Woot! (Yes, I made that up. It’s cool. Roll with it.)

So, because I’m a total nerd and I have this day marked on my calendar, I’ve been planning how I was going to celebrate. I didn’t want to just eat a Reese’s – which would have been FABULOUS! – but, seeing as this is Thing 1’s last weekend home before she heads off to boot camp (!), I really needed to go big. It’s not every day your firstborn sets off to chart her own course. (Yes, pun intended. Remember, I’m a nerd.) 🙂 I decided to make my own version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in cake form. Yeah, you read that right. It’s ON up in this joint!

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I found quite a few recipes for peanut butter chocolate cakes – CLEARLY, I am not the only fan of that combination! – and I decided to mesh two together. I already had a recipe for an amazing chocolate cake – Devil’s Food Cake – thank you Food and Wine magazine! That would be the jumping point for my creation. Add peanut butter mousse and a chocolate peanut butter ganache (found the recipe on Serious Eats and it comes from Yvonne Ruperti) and you’ve got heaven on a plate.

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven … Cake

Classic Devil’s Food Cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream, at room temperature

Peanut Butter Mousse
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Ganache
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup minis, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

2. In a bowl, sift the cake flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluggy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients until just blended.

3. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the one pan and 2/3 of the batter into the other prepared pan and smooth the surfaces. Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes, respectively, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out the cakes and let them cool completely.

4. For the Peanut Butter Mousse: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Switch to whip attachment and beat cream on high speed to stiff but not dry peaks. Fold cream into peanut butter mixture. Keep chilled until ready to use.

5. Slice the larger of the two cakes into two layers. Place on serving plate and stack cake layers with peanut butter mousse. Keep chilled until ganache is ready to use.

6. For the Peanut Butter Ganache: Using the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and cream until melted and smooth. Gently whisk in peanut butter. Chill until just firm enough to frost, about 30 minutes. Frost cake and serve.

7. No, you have not died and gone to heaven. 🙂

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– jennifer