Somebody turned a whopping 31, and it wasn't this author's fabulous, young, self.
It was my husband. Not that he looks a day over 25. I have this secret fear that when we're in our 60's people are going to wonder why he's out with an old, wrinkly, pasty, hag. He ages so beautifully. Not fair! What's that saying?? Good black don't crack? Just kidding.
Anywho--it was lovely because it fell on President's Day this year. This meant no sharing him with school or work.
He started off the day playing basketball, which is always a favorite pastime of his. To me, I don't see how anything that begins at 6 am can be enjoyable--but glad he finds such joy in it. Then, he came home and napped--a close second on his list of favorite pastimes.
|With his prized possession!|
As he napped I was busy being a good wifey and whipping up a semi-homemade Boston cream pie, and homemade challah bread (recipes below). I figured my East Coast boy needed some East Coast treats.
I was SUPER nervous about the challah bread. I'd never made homemade bread. Let alone one that my husband has fantasized about for years (he hasn't lived on the East Coast since 2000). It's a traditional Jewish bread, and seeing how Utah Valley doesn't have any Jewish bakeries I had to put my "goy" butt into gear. (Goy is yiddish for non-Jew)
It took over three hours. Holy cow! Claudy loves it because it's "eggy". I sure hope he loved it, because I don't know when I'll have the energy to make it again!! It has two eggs, as well as a generous amount of sugar, and to top it all off, honey. It was sweet and something to really sink your teeth into.
My braiding skills are heinous. Just ask my poor Cabbage Patch dolls growing up. So, my bread looked a little bit more like a handicapped serpent, but boy did it taste good! And, the smell while it was baking was intoxicating. We've been eating it for breakfast, snacks, and well, everything in between. It's good plain. It's good dipped in hot chocolate. It's good with a little honey drizzled on it. It's good if eaten while standing on your head--OK--just kidding about the last part, but it's probably true. When I saw how huge the loaf was I literally thought, "How will we eat this all??" And, we're on our last morsel. Whoops!
And, to top off all of this fabulous eating, we kept up our tradition of going to the local Brazilian Grill/aka meat fest called Tucanos. You get a free meal on your birthday so we are total suckers. Carter also came along and did fabulously. We gave him some veggies from the salad bar and he was pretty content to just nibble and make eyes at the table full of single ladies. I'm pretty sure his expressions, if they could talk, would have sounded like Joey from Friends when he says his famous line of "How YOU doin'?" They were loving it almost as much as he was. Mother's of daughters around Carter's age: hide them in 16 years--you've been warned.
I had Carter pass Claudy's gift to him while we were eating. I had printed out his itinerary for a three day genealogy conference I had signed him up for. I had even called his work and gotten it off for him. It's all set! It's in Salt Lake City and it will be a global genealogy conference. If you know Claudy, and his love for family history this has his name written ALL OVER IT. I sure hope he enjoys it. I was super happy to have found such a great gift for him and even more thrilled that there was a drastic price drop for students (BLESS THEM!). I can't wait for him to go :)
It was a wonderful day full of food, relaxation, more food, and spending quality time together. I love going out with my boys.
And now, for the recipes for when you want to indulge in some East Coast noshings:
Boston Cream Pie
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
For the cake:
1 yellow cake mix (and ingredients called for on the package--but using milk instead of water and butter instead of oil)
1 cup cold milk
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip
1.5 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions. Line two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper or spray thoroughly with cooking spray. The only way you can mess up this cake is if your cake sticks to the pans so make sure that doesn't happen. Bake cake according to package directions; until golden brown and center passes the toothpick test. Once done, let cakes cool and invert on a wire rack to cool further.
Beat 1 cup of milk and pudding with a whisk or mixer for 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped cream. Let stand 5 minutes. Stack cake layers on serving plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers. It may seem like a lot, but trust me--this was the best part and you want every bit!
For the glaze: Microwave chocolate and butter on high for one minute in a small microwave safe bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk; mix well until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake immediately letting drip down the sides. I felt the chocolate was a bit too dark, so that's why I added more butter and powdered sugar than her recipe calls for. My husband thought it was a perfect balance to the sweetness of the filling and cake. I think next time I won't do unsweetened chocolate, but probably semi-sweet. Refrigerate.
Things That Make You Say: "Mmmmm"!
1/2 c. warm water
2 Tb. yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix and let the yeast proof.
6 c. flour
1/2 c. oil
1 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp sugar
1 c. warm water (with 3 Tbsp taken out and reserved)
1 Tbsp salt
For bread topping: 1 beaten egg
Mix together flour, 2 eggs, oil, honey, sugar water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the yeast mixture. Mix well for 3-5 minutes. If the dough is really sticky, add in a little more of the reserved water. If mixing by hand, mix until smooth and elastic. (I used my KitchenAid and used the dough hook attachment.) Remove from the bowl and oil the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl, turning to grease all sides. Put the whole bowl into a plastic bag and knot it closed. Let it rise for an hour. Punch down and re-seal in the bag. Let it rise 1/2 hour, repeat one more time rising another half hour (3x total). After risen 3 times, divide into 3 equal pieces and braid the dough. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise another 1/2 hour. Before baking, brush with an egg wash (1 beaten egg). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
**My dough hardly rose each time. I was terrified I had done something wrong, but it rose tremendously while baking and turned out fine. I also found this website very helpful: secretsofchallah.com.**