Monday, January 28, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake

We had our first family dinner at our new house this weekend, and since my daughter-in-law is on a Gluten free diet I knew I had to make a dessert that she would also be able to enjoy. This flourless chocolate cake was the answer!

It was very chocolaty and fudge-like in texture and "melt in the mouth" good! Even my youngest grandson loved it!  You don't have to be Gluten free to enjoy this cake -- it definitely was a crowd pleaser.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Serves 10| Hands-On Time: 20m| Total Time: 2hr


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
1/4 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar


Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with ¼ cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder; whisk in the chocolate mixture.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding. Dust with the confectioners' sugar. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

This is one of the beautiful sunsets we see almost every evening over the nearby foothills.  It reminds me of the John Denver song when he said: " I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky!"

Last week I showed you a beautiful buck that happened to visit my backyard--click here to see that post. This little guy drops by daily to nibble on some grass and sun himself.

My cat sits by the door for hours watching him and other wildlife. Life is certainly a slower pace here for us all, and we're enjoying every minute of it!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Showers of Happiness!

It has been a busy time since my husband and I arrived in Colorado nine days ago! The moving truck came, and all went well, with the exception of a few frantic moments where I thought my cat had run out of the house (he was hiding in a closet).  Thankfully, everything arrived intact from its long journey from New York, and we have been busy unpacking, with many boxes still left to open and items to put away and organize. We have also been trying to buy necessities, fill our pantry, and decide on some new furniture pieces that we need. One of our first priorities was a new mattress set, as we did not move our old ones.  After sleeping on an uncomfortable futon for a week, we were very excited to finally have a king size bed to rest on! 

The very best event that happened this weekend was my daughter's baby shower! It was held at my son and daughter-in-law's home, and she, along with her Mother and sister, did a wonderful job decorating, planning the brunch menu and preparing the food. The cupcakes you see, in the top right of the photo collage above, were from Denver's gourmet shop called Happy Cakes Bakery. They were so delicious! I made the "diaper cake" as a centerpiece, using newborn and size one Pampers that are rolled up to form a two-tier "cake," which I then decorated with small baby items. I topped it with the cute stuffed monkey from the Babies R Us "CoCaLo" theme, which my daughter has chosen to decorate her baby's nursery.

Most of those that attended the shower were co-workers and local friends, while our New York, and other out of state family, had sent their gifts ahead of time.  My daughter felt very loved, and received so many delightful gifts! My grandsons had fun helping her open some of them. A couple of the gifts made me smile, so I included them in the collage above. (Click on any photo to make it open on a new page and then click on it again to enlarge it.  Use your browser's back arrow to return to this post)  I especially laughed at the book a friend of mine sent called The Baby Book of the Boroughs," so that my granddaughter would learn the proper pronunciation of "noo-Yaww- uhk," (New York) and the word that always gives me away as a New Yorker-- "Kaw-fee" (Coffee)

One of the special things that were done at the baby shower was that everyone was asked to send or bring a special bead for a "Motherhood Blessings Bracelet," that my daughter-in-law strung together during the shower. Every person wrote on a card for my daughter to keep as to why they chose the bead(s) and what blessing it represented for my daughter and her expected baby girl.  You can see the finished bracelets in the collage above.  My daughter will wear the bracelets while she is in labor as a reminder of all these wonderful blessings and messages of support from those who love her.

One of my life's greatest blessings has been my children. To have a daughter, now expecting a daughter, is a circle of life that fills me with such joy!  I am so happy to be living close to her now and to be able to enjoy all these special moments. Please keep her in your prayers as she awaits the birth of her baby girl in a few weeks. We can not wait to meet her!

Before I leave I have to show you who I saw when I looked out my kitchen window last week!

This beautiful young buck was passing through my backyard!  I'm sure he wanted to sample some of the bushes that are growing there, but he was such an amazing sight I really didn't care. There is a lot of wildlife in my area, and it is nice to live in harmony with them, even if I now know I probably won't be able to plant tomatoes in my backyard like I did when I lived in Brooklyn, and have them survive. It will be a small sacrifice to see such wonderful examples of nature!

Later that evening, as dusk approached, I saw this gorgeous sunlit cloud hanging over my neighborhood.  Colorado is so beautiful! I can't wait to show you more of it after I get settled. Please be patient with me as I try to catch up!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New York to Colorado!

I'm back! My husband and I made the move from Brooklyn, New York, to a suburb of Denver, Colorado last week. Our moving truck came on schedule, and, as I watched from my front window, it was loaded with almost all our worldly goods. Did I cry?  I have to admit I did a little ... I've lived in my Brooklyn home over 36 years and it was sad to leave so many memories and so many nearby favorite people behind. But I also felt very happy and excited, as I knew I was moving to a beautiful state where my children and grandchildren live, and that life would go on and be exciting in a brand new way.

We began our 1,800 plus mile drive the morning after the moving truck left. My friend Rosemary brought muffins and hot coffee over that morning and helped us load up our car. We had a tearful goodbye, but best friends never really say goodbye do they?  I know we'll be together again many more times in the future. Rosemary was really a lifesaver, as I had a few meltdowns when we realized we didn't have enough room in our Subaru for anything else, and we'd have to leave a few important things behind. She bundled them up and took them to her home for safe keeping. My husband will be coming back to NYC many times over the next few years for business reasons and little by little he will carry back what we left behind in his luggage, or ship them.

As we traveled west, I was a little apprehensive about making this trip in the winter. If you remember, my husband and I made the same trip--click here to view-- last July, when the skies were blue and sunny and the temperatures were warm. It was so much fun at that time to see all the states in their summer glory. Now I was hoping winter weather would cooperate with us, as we decided to take the same route on Interstate Highway 80 West. As we drove through Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains, we saw our first snowfall.

The snow slowed us up a little, so instead of stopping in Indiana, as was our goal, we stopped for the night in Maumee, Ohio, where we saw this beautiful sunset.

We got up bright and early the next morning to make up driving time, with Kearney, Nebraska, as our next goal.  The weather in Indiana was cold and grey, but road conditions were good.

The pretty barns I took photos of on our summer trip looked cold and forlorn on this ride, so I didn't take many photos of them on this drive West, as I did then. (click here to see that post)  It was also hard to keep my car windows clean from all the road slush!

Illinois had fairly good weather.

Outside of city area traffic, the roads there were very empty.

In fact, for many miles, our car and a few trucks were the only traffic. It was in Illinois, however, where we had our first excitement.  My husband at one point noticed he was being followed by a state trooper. The trooper came next to our car and then dropped behind us and put on his lights and pulled us over.  The trooper obviously wanted to see what we had piled high in the back of our car, and perhaps he had also noticed our cat, in his carrier, looking out the window and wanted to see if there was something illegal dangerous in our car? After hearing our explanation about moving, and checking our license and registration, he sent us back on our way with a speed limit warning, so all was well, even if our hearts were beating a little faster afterward!

When we crossed over the mighty Mississippi River it thankfully looked fuller than it had in the past summer's drought.

We drove through all of Iowa in a pouring rain storm, but felt happy it wasn't snow!

The remains of a prior snowstorm had left interesting patterns on the plowed cornfields of Iowa.

On to Nebraska, where we began to see fog building up.
The fog became as heavy as pea soup, and we contemplated stopping earlier than our planned destination of Kearney, but we decided to drive on as it would be difficult to see anything at all off the interstate. It was truly scary, and eerie, driving in the fog and I said more than a few prayers as we kept driving.
It was in Nebraska that my husband received a devastating phone call that an esteemed colleague from work had passed away suddenly in his sleep the prior day. This man had been instrumental in convincing and supporting my husband that we should do this big move, and we felt his approving presence in our hearts even as we deeply mourned his loss.  We finally arrived in Kearney, Nebraska, for the night safely, but our hearts were heavy. We also received word that my son and daughter-in-law were in the hospital emergency room that evening with my youngest grandson, as he was very sick with a flu-like respiratory virus! Needless to say, we did not rest well that night, but thankfully we heard good news the next morning that our grandson was doing better and was home again.

We crossed over the border between Nebraska and Colorado the next morning. Anticipation helped to keep us cheerful, despite the heavy news of the night before.

The North East part of Colorado is mainly flat plains, as far as the eye can see.  As we passed by scattered cattle ranches all I could think of was the herds of hundreds of thousands of buffalo, along with the Native Americans, that once owned this land.

As we traveled further southwest in Colorado, we came upon the sight of frost on the sagebrush and trees.

Everything glistened like diamonds! It was so beautiful!  My husband and I never saw anything like it, and we both felt like we were entering a magical fairyland.

Then the snow began to fall, and pretty soon we were in freezing white-out snow conditions, traveling less than 40 miles an hour.

At this point, we worried we'd never make it to our new home!

Then, like magic, as we approached Denver, the sky became clear and bright and the weather was fine! We drove on finally feeling all the tension of the past two days melt away.

There, in the near distance, was our home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains!

My sweet daughter and son-in-law were waiting for us at our new home and we were happy to see the "bump" of our expected granddaughter! We know many happy moments await us here in Colorado and I can't wait to share them with you!
Unfortunately, both of our grandsons were now ill with the flu and on quarantine from my daughter, so we are waiting till they feel better to see them.  In the meantime, we have lots to catch up on!  I felt like a newlywed again as I had to run out and buy so many new things just to settle in before the moving truck arrives tomorrow.

Our cat Bo had no trouble getting comfortable in his new home, although he felt as we did -- totally exhausted!  Please bear with me our as lives get settled and I open and find places for everything in my moving boxes over the next few weeks days. I now look forward to taking you to many places in Colorado, as well as returning to blog about New York City from time to time.

It's good to be home!

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Three Kings Day

"From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial."

My Mother's favorite Christmas card to receive was one that had an image of the the Magi--The Three Kings--that we celebrate today on the feast of the Epiphany.  She remembered this day from her childhood for all the special celebrations it held.  When she passed away on Three Kings Day last year I know she was welcomed into heaven lead by the Magi, and I felt peace that as a woman of faith she would receive rewards for her devout life. Living so close to my mother was a blessing for my family, as she was very a part of our daily life.  I couldn't resist sharing some of our happy moments in the collage above. Please keep us in your prayers today, and also as my husband and I begin our life of new beginnings. 

I will not have Internet service for awhile, so I am closing comments for this post. My next post will be from Colorado and I look forward to telling you about our journey west and about our new home.

See you then!