Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December Update

I haven't updated in a while, but here are some of the highlights from December:

Christmas Day shot, all dressed up for church.

We can't open one present until February.

And then of course it wouldn't be the Christmas season without a trip to Temple Square to see all the lights.

I hope you had a great Christmas and here's to a happy new year!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guess What...

So Ben and I have some news. The newest Blanchette will be arriving around February 20th. We're so excited and It's a Girl!yea! So far we're pretty sure she takes after me as she spent most of the appointment kicking her legs, rolling herself in a ball, and constantly flipping.

The only thing she was not adverse to showing us was that she was in fact a girl. Ben is concerned and already wrote a song for any boy that tries to date her when she's older. The song involves Ben's purchase of a gun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Movie

This evening I got invited to watch a movie called "17 Miracles" at my church with the relief society and the young women. The movie is about some of the mormon pioneers and their experience on the trail. IT.WAS.INTENSE. I had heard it was an amazing movie but a tear jerker. Already being in an emotional state today, I was concerned I might lose it while watching this movie. It was epic but I held it together, right up until the last 10 minutes or so and then I lost it, in a big way. Big blubbering tears. I highly recommend this movie. It's not made or produced by the LDS or mormon church officially but most of the people in the movie are LDS. If you get the chance to watch it I would highly recommend you take it.
You can see the trailer here: http://www.17miracles.com/

Scary Day

Today started out an average day. I, being exhausted most days, like to take naps outside on my lunch break. It's a nice break to my work day.

Now just for informational purposes. This is what a brown recluse spider looks like. It looks big and scary right? Well lets be honest all spiders look scary. None of them are exactly cute and cuddly. Either way. This looks big but a brown recluse is usually about the size of a quarter.

Now that doesn't seem so bad. It's big enough to be scary but not that scary. Until you consider that this is what a brown recluse spider bite looks like.
Basically it starts to disintegrate your flesh and the only way to treat that is to cut out the affected flesh that spreads the longer it's not taken care of.

Now back to my story. I like to sleep in the shade under a tree behind the building where I work. I did so today and my cell phone alarm went off to let me know it was time to go back in. I proceeded to get up groggy and disoriented and went to pick up my shoes which were on the grass next to the blanket I napped on. I look down to discover a normal looking brown spider taking up the heel of the inside of one shoe.

I proceed to freeze since all spiders freak me the heck out. I stand there for a good minute trying to process what I can do. I consider leaving my shoes and making a break for it. I then consider I work in an office that requires business attire and I need my shoes. I finally decided to try knock my shoe in hopes the spider will leave. As I lean over to do so it evacuates my shoe only to go into my other shoe. I am back where I started. I knock the shoe over then retreat 4 feet while I try to figure out if that got rid of the spider or not. There is no movement by my shoe so if the spider is out of my shoe it's just sitting next to it and not going anywhere. I figure maybe it's not moving because I'm still there. I gather my blanket and walk barefoot back to my car to put it away and give the spider time to leave.

I return and gather my one shoe and put it back on while still trying to scope out if the spider is still anywhere near my other shoe. I proceed slowly. I finally realize the spider has left my shoe but is sitting in the grass just next to it and has not seemed to move from the spot where it was hurtled out of the rolling shoe. I once again freeze and consider my options. I can no more go back to work with only one shoe than I can with no shoes at all. I kick the shoe and retreat once more to stake out the situation. The shoe remains spider free and a good 3 feet away from where I believe the spider still is. I grab my shoe and run. I then stop on the sidewalk, try to compose myself, inspect my shoe once again, put my shoes on, and return to work.

Now keep in mind the whole time I am afraid of this spider but it looks like an ordinary brown spider. I tell my co-worker about my experience and quip, at least it wasn't a brown recluse. This leads dear Megan to research what a brown recluse looks like and leads we to have a near heart attack when I realize that based on appearance, size, the quick movement from shoe to shoe, the crouched stance, and the relatively non-agressive/not moving really after coming out of my shoe, that there is a very good chance that the spider in my shoe was a brown recluse. Had I put my foot in my shoe without noticing the spider there is a chance my foot would have looked like the picture above.

I said quite a few prayers of gratitude today. I will never again sleep under a tree behind my work. Ever. The End.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ben's Birthday

Yesterday was Ben's birthday. I was so proud of myself because I bought his presents weeks ago and bought the ingredients for his cake days in advance and was so excited to make it. Usually for Ben's birthday I do the normal cake mix in a casserole dish and if i'm feeling adventurous I'll make peanut butter frosting from scratch and decorate it with chocolate chips. This year I told Ben I was going to make him an epic, totally from scratch cake and I did! I actually picked out this cake a year ago but alas I was intimidated and it did not get made for Ben's birthday last year. Of course that made it that much more epic because I've been waiting to make it for a year. Here is the cake in all it's glory:

And for proof I actually made this creation...

I mixed the cake from scratch the day before to make sure I would have plenty of time to assemble the epicness when I got home from work on Ben's birthday.

the first order of business when I got home was making the peanut butter cream cheese frosting...SO. VERY. RICH.

Partial frosting...

Totally frosted and chilling in the fridge in anticipation of the layer of chocolate peanut butter glaze.

Finished product. This cake is so rich I took it to Ben's work and Ben and 6 of his male co-workers only finished off a little less than half. We are going to be enjoying our sugar high in our house for awhile.

If you'd like to make your our cake here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Adapted, only barely, from Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

This cake is INTENSE. Serve it in the thinnest slices possible, and keep a glass of milk handy.

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (the book says, I say a heck of a lot more)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosted, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Friday, May 6, 2011

5 years down Eternity to go

On a New Years Eve 6 years ago I got asked on a date. That November I was proposed to and 5 years ago today, I got Married!This is our first picture as husband and wife walking out of the Boston Temple.

Here's our close up.
Then our far away with the temple.

Later we had our reception.

Happy Anniversary to my hubby. It's been an adventure and completely worth it. I love you.

Speaking of Adventure, for our 3 year anniversary we went to Ireland. Here we are at the top of Blarney Castle, Ben even kissed the blarney stone.

Here's to many more years of adventure!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Honey Bread

Yesterday I finally did it. I made homemade honey bread!

This is the recipe I used
  • 1 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 1/4 oz. active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp., 1 package)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 C.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. salt

How to make it

  • In a small saucepan, heat milk with honey, stirring, over low heat until just lukewarm. (It should be warm, but not be uncomfortable to keep your finger in the milk.)
  • Remove pan from heat. Stir in yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add butter and yolks, whisking until combined well.
  • Transfer milk mixture to bowl.
  • Gradually add flour and salt, stirring until incorporated. Knead 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer to lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil.
  • Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk (2 hours in warm place, or overnight in refrigerator).
  • Punch down dough, place in loaf pan, and let rise until doubled in bulk.
  • Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes.
It turned out delicious. Ben and I had breakfast for dinner and this bread went perfectly with in. Speaking of perfectly I made some honey butter to go with this bread and it was delightful. Now I'm not an expert at honey butter as I just take a little unsalted butter and scoop some honey on top and microwave for 30 seconds and stir. I then refrigerate and its spreadable in as little and 30 minutes. Yum.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back to Basics

This is my running companion. Here name is Eva. This past year (2010) one day in July while Ben was gone at scout camp I decided i was going to start running. I realized that since Ben was not home I felt like I didn't have a ton of motivation and I was just kind of sitting around. Ben was gone for a week so I needed a purpose. A neighbor of mine is a marathon runner and a computer programmer. He took his two loves and made a blog for running. (fastrunningblog.com) . It has a calendar where you can enter in teh amount you ran that day etc. So I started using that and every weekday night and morning I was running. (I took weekends off) I started tracking my time and got all excited about it. Then things happened like I got attacked by a pitbull who lives two houses down from me and whose house you have to pass to go into or out of the cul-de-sac. This made me less inclinded to run because it was the second time the unattended dog escaped and attacked. Last time it got my dog Boston, this time it got both of us but mostly me. I eventually got over it and started running again as soon as the brace was off my wrist. Then it got to be November and I got busy, then December and more busy. Then it got cold and I got lazy. Either way this is the report from the running blog of how much I ran last year. The total is at the bottom.

Training Report

Report for entries starting Jan 01, 2010 and ending Dec 31, 2010 .

Month Total Distance

Jul 30.10

Aug 52.70

Sep 36.10

Oct 22.70

Nov 5.50

Dec 2.83

Total 149.93