Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cake. The very best Cake.

Cake from scratch is best.  
Cake that's dense and rich is amazing.  
Cake that has great ingredients and makes a chocolate fiend completely satisfied 
is the very best cake.   

Flourless Chocolate Cake (adapted from this recipe, which is from Gourmet Magazine).

I found this recipe on and fell in love with it.  
I've made this cake at least 7 or 8 times, 
and I'll surely make it again.  
It's simple and quick and satisfies my chocolate tooth. 
Yes, chocolate tooths exist.
I use semi-sweet chocolate because that's what I always mistakenly buy.  
I think that the semi-sweet is just as good and 
gets to be a little bit bittersweet (in a good way) with the added cocoa.  
I also add some salt to bring out that amazing chocolate flavor. 
Finally, I didn't mix the wet ingredients first and then add the dry (tip: sugar is a wet ingredient). It made this latest cake my best success yet! 
So hop to it. You'll be done with this in less than an hour, and that includes baking!

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (NOT chocolate chips), roughly chopped
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup.), cut into smaller pieces for easier melting
Pinch of salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3 eggs
See below for topping options I've thought of. 

Preheat oven to 375.  Cut a piece of wax paper for the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan and butter it.  I used a non-stick spring-form pan this time (9-inch round); it worked great!  But if you don't have either a spring-form pan or wax paper, just use a regular round cake pan and butter and flower it. 

With a double boiler (boiling water in a pot with a glass bowl on top, that is), add the chopped chocolate and the butter.  Let melt and stir it semi-regularly.  Not constantly, but keep an eye on it for when it completely melts.  Once it's all melted, turn off the heat, remove the double boiler, and carefully and quickly take the glass bowl off the metal pot.  Add a pinch of salt and mix together.  Let it cool slightly. 

While the chocolate is melting with the butter, measure in the sugar and then the cocoa powder into another bowl (one that will be able to fit all the ingredients when combined).  Mix it all together so the two ingredients are thoroughly combined.

In the middle of this mixture, make a dent/crater and add the eggs.  Combine the ingredients by folding the dry mix into the eggs with a rubber spatula.

Tip: don't drop your phone into the batter while taking a pretty picture. Trust.

Once the eggs are mixed with the cocoa and sugar, slowly add the melted chocolate to the rest of the ingredients.  Mix it all together and put it into the cake pan.  Spread it around until it's nice and level.  This is a thick batter, so make sure it's covering the whole bottom of your pan.  

Bake for 22-25 minutes for a 8-inch pan, 18-20 minutes for a 9-inch spring-form pan, or until the top has a glossy crust and a toothpick can be poked into the center and comes out clean.  Let it cool for 5 minutes and then flip the cake onto a plate. 

You will, and I'm serious, want to eat this instantly.  
Let it cool for a while so it gets a little more dense.  

Also, can think through your options first:

With nothing on it at all, it's simple and amazingly delicious. 
With a little whipped cream, the richness of the cocoa is delightfully complemented by the sweetness and lightness of the whipped cream.
With a very light layer of cocoa powder, you will get a little bit of bitterness that's perfect for chocolate lovers.
With a dusting (no more!) of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, it's awesome. 
Be wary of frosting - it might be too sweet, but it might work.  I don't know.  

Avoid a too much powder. It will "puff" in your mouth - not good!

So go for it. 
Make this cake, and be happy. 
I'm serious. 
Be happy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

something nice #1

Just some things that have been catching my eye right now:

fashion - OdLR fashion, that is.

from OdlR's FB Fan Page

ambition (as seen on  - 

Joconde Cheesecake from "You Made That?"

expression - 

From 1988 - I was almost 5.  My mom sent this to me on Monday.

"This remembrance is from Great-Grandma Hoppe (pronounced "hoppy"). 
Cherish it from her.
Remember her with a prayer.
Love, Grandma K."

thoughts on mission, indecision, lost vision

So we're at Trinity International University for a reason:
to follow
and glorify 

That's our mission as Christ followers,
and God wants John and I to do that through John's step into ministry. 

I know that God knits two into one when they get married, 
so what is John's mission
is also mine.

I'm all about him going into the military again.
He is so happy when he talks about his army buddies
and his experience working for a purpose so much more intense than most other jobs out there,
plus he looks dang good in uniform (and with an army body!). 

He's going to be embarrassed if he ever reads that. 

Anyway, the question that I always asked myself
and previously got asked by others even more was
"So, what are you going to do?"

Eventually that word "you" 

magnified exponentially in my mind whenever I heard that question. 

I realize now that it's because over these last few years
I've been asking myself that continuously.

What are YOU going to do?
What SHOULD YOU be doing?

Ok, I only asked myself that last one once. 

Yes, I've been fighting indecision for a long time. 
Oh, let me tell you, 

It's my biggest pet peeve,
and now I'm doing it!

But you know what, 
I'm going to figure it out. 

I want to get a master's degree either while we're in this land of universities 
(seriously, look it up; it's crazy.),
or right after John gets done with his M-Div (master's of divinity). 

Masters in what?
Oh - I don't know.  

See that!  That's my indecision. 
I've tossed around the ideas of 
education - but i wouldn't get hired with a masters + only 1 year of teaching experience, right?-
a medical career - which would mean both undergrad + grad work - 
or el. ed. - which would probably be only an undergrad initially. 

or something else?  I don't know!

Well, when I get overwhelmed by this indecision,
I start to feel a little lost.  

It's not a good feeling. 
However, it forces me to rely on God.  

It's kind of like walking in the dark.  
If you've ever played Super Mario Bros. Wii
(Thanks, Mom, for giving us that for Christmas!),
you know that the levels you play in the dark 
only allow you to see about one or two steps ahead
with "assistance" from your enemies at times.

If you have a light-up block or a 

fire-power flower, you can see a little further ahead.

If you get the STAR(!!!), you can see EVERYTHING!

I'm hoping that God gives me a STAR(!!!) sometime soon.

I'm sure that God will help me find my way. 
I'm not lost, really - just can't quite see what's next.  

Yet whether I can only see two or three feet in front of me
or if I can see everything that's ahead,
it's God that shows me where and how to go.

not really a feel-good post, but it get's better at the end.

so it's not as easy as i thought to -

wait, i don't think i ever thought life would be easy,

but anyways, I am still trying to adjust here in Deerfield.

For me, personally, moving was never anything I grew up with, 
nor was it something that I actually got used to in college,
and I've come to recognize that every move we've made
has been harder
and harder
for me.  

So I've been battling and losing to a lot of Satan's attacks:
and guilt about those two things,
plus frustration. 

Fun times!

No, seriously, 
after a little breakdown a couple of days ago,
things are back to being a lot better.


except that I don't have a job yet.

I've begun to realize I need to get out and branch out ASAP. 

I'm always better when I'm working and
involved in something,
and dang it - I want some new leggings
and a hat that doesn't crimp my bangs. 

So I'm looking for work still, and 
I know that God will provide it.  

I wish I could find a job that paid what I made when I was teaching,
i mean - my bachelors degree is worth more than minimum wage!
but let's be honest:
public education is at least a year or two behind the rest of
private industry when it comes to improvement in employment. 

that first teaching job drove me a little crazy!!  
Oddly enough, almost all my students loved me,
so maybe they were a little crazy, too.  
Actually, get rid of that "maybe" (my students would agree). 

So I'm still truckin', 
and I'll be writing again.

Enjoy what you're about to see and read,
(I've got about 4 or 5 posts in "edit")
and thanks for 
sticking around!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

keeping it real in chicagoland

hi friends, family, and visitors.

i always like to include "visitors" because you never know how people find your blog.  i've followed a few blogs just by searching what's next at the top of blogger's webpage.

so, back to my title.

John and I arrived here last friday.  After a flurry of unpacking, placing, and put-put-puttering into bed
(i'm attempting to personify a car running out of steam with that puttering bit),
we started to figure out life around here a little bit.
Now, I have to say "little bit" because so far living on a campus at Trinity
has been quite unlike living on campus at ISU,
but it's much more like a
24-hour small group meeting time where
you can either participate in it or
hide from it (aka go into your apt. and sleep, eat, blog, facebook, etc.).

I also have to say "little bit" because TIU has, so far,
been much more of "John's thing" than mine,
but I'm sure that will change.

I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing here,
as I'm asked what I'll be doing
However, I do know that I'm going to be
keeping it real
to the best of my ability.

What I mean by
"keeping it real"
is that I'm going to do my absolute best to retain my
Minnesota Nice
and my
Iowa Honest
in this
Ca-razy Chicagoland. 

Few people here are crazy, I'm certain,
but anything can seem crazy if you
don't know what the heck is going on
(including why the customer service lady at Target doesn't make small talk...dang it).

Welp, that's about it for me.
I've got a J.Crew gift card burning in my e-mail inbox that I need to use
and hopefully the sales associates at the stores will give me
the same opportunity to order site-to-store/home
as they would do in WDM. 

If not...
well, it'll just be another opportunity to understand the ca-razy. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

leaving home, again.

It's tough to move.

I learned that in 2002, when I first went to Ames for college.  I had never left my family for more than a week, and there I was, giddy yet scared and sad about being so far away.  

as well as moving from PI to Ames my sophomore year, 
was the last time I was ever at all happy to leave home.  
I was content, perhaps, 
even accepting, 
but not happy.

While I'm always a little bit excited, 
it's the day before moving and the day of moving that is tough. 

Right now I'm at the day before moving.  
We are getting stuff together like clockwork.  
Having a month to do that 
makes things a little simpler.                                                   
                                                                    - I don't think "simpler" should be a word -

We will be heading to Chicagoland tomorrow at about 6 AM.  
Once we're there, we'll unpack and arrange stuff. 
Once we're done with that, we'll find a church and hopefully find me a job. 

As for now, 
I'm going to finish up our packing with ma' man 
and try to relax for the rest of the day. 

I'm going to miss our current home
(and I'm thankful I can say that, 
because our home is with our in-laws, and I got blessed to have the ones I do), 
I miss my PI,MN home, 
and I miss my Newton, IA home, too. 

At least I know God wants us in Deerfield, 
so I can be content with that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 = size 11 shoes (alt. title: HELLO, SHOE INDUSTRY!)

2011 = the perfect year for the footwear industry to
respect me and my fellow long-footed females and
make a decent supply of size 11 sneakers,
and all other
That's shoes, for all the search engines out there.
Shoe shopping is something that can turn me into the hip-happiest girl in the mall
or into a serious case of the cranky-pants.

                                        It's not easy being...long-footed. 

Quick tidbit of information before I progress:

Now some of you may say "Size 11??  That's BIG!"  

Not so, my friends.  
For most of us size 11's, our feet are LONG, 
and for a some of us 
                         (well, some of them, in my very narrow-footed regard), 
our feet might be WIDE, regardless of their length.  
And for those of use who don't want to be PC/accurately sensitive, they are just big.
Just wanted to throw that out there before I go on for a bit, since I am, of course, an expert in terminology. 

...of course. 

Anyways, if I say "Size 11" enough on this post, some search engine will pick it up and show a shoe exec somewhere that 2011 is the perfect time to help us lanky ladies and give us a supply of size 11 shoes that is at least moderately available for the duration of the season. 

See, I was recently politely told by a shoe store professional the other day that 11's are the first ones to go.

What she didn't get to hear me say while working me for her commission (and trying to convince me that the shoes that pinched my toes were actually really well cushioned) was that us size 11 girls know those shoes are the first to go.

It's like being the first hyena in the Serengeti to spot a lone, half-eaten carcass, except in our case the carcass has been fashioned into a size 11 knee-high boot perfect for any fall or winter outfit.  

It's like personifying a human bulldozer on Black Friday to get to the back of a Best Buy for one of the only 5 ultra-ueber-ultimate size 11 1980" flat screens available in stock.  
It's like searching a deserted island for that elusive size 11 treasure chest only to realize that it was scooped up by some other lucky chica in the first place...several weeks ago, at full price... 

That's what it's like, usually.  

I'm sure that this happens to other people who have features that are also in the extremes.  
There are probably other posts like this out there right now.  

All I am saying is that, for 2011, shoe industry, make more size 11's.  It's a natural time to do it.   

Well...if not natural, 
at least it's correlative. 

Also, if you know where to find some nice, reasonably priced
                                    (less than $1,000 - thanks, search engines),
                                         leather boots good for getting around the Windy City, 
                                                                                                   (and size 11, of course),
please let me know.