Bonjour, mes amis! I can't seem to do my weekly menu posts on time (Menu Monday), so I should probably change the name, right? *lol* It's just busy, busy, busy around here! I don't know how other women who work full-time with kids and a husband and a house manage it all. I can't imagine how some go to school, too, while they are already juggling all of that! I can't hardly manage Zach and Hobie and our home while working part-time. *lol*
Anyway, these days I'm living for the weekends. It's not that I hate my job or dislike it--it's just rather boring most of the time, and I know it is not what I am supposed to do with my life. What am I? Good question. Let me know if you find the answer before I do! I'm gearing up to start my first class at Phoenix next month (COM170). Last week I had almost finished reading all of the materials when I signed on Monday to find out that they had updated the class coursework! (This is part of the reason why I did not post then.) So I frantically had to finish up what I hadn't read yet while starting lesson planning and working on my syllabus. Thankfully so much is laid out for Phoenix's first time facilitators, not to mention the fact that a lot of the new material I will be covering was formerly covered in COM172, which I almost taught back in May. Sooo I am probably breaking even right now. :)
I also interviewed with the head of the English department at NWACC to teach composition there. Right now they don't have any openings, but once they do, I should be notified.
Anyhoooooo, unless you are living under a rock (which means you probably wouldn't be reading this anyway), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released at midnight on Friday!!!!!!!! I had been waiting for this sooo long! It was very serious business. Because much of our journey with Harry Potter had been completed together, Monica and I decided we would attend the opening of this film together, too. We didn't get to go to Part 1 together because Zach and I were staying with his aunt and uncle after moving up here. Monica was supposed to come up and visit us a few months ago, but she fell ill with mono. As a result, we thought HP 7.2 would be the perfect excuse for her to come visit The Owlery finally! Of course, Zach came, too, as he finally read the series last summer and we watched the films after that. :)
Zach had promised Monica another cake many moons ago (i.e. last summer) after she completed her therapy because she enjoyed her cake I made her so much after her surgery last June. As she says, "Cake is my world." :)
I had to add the stars in the O's because they didn't turn out too well. I don't think the stars helped much. *lol* But overall the cake was cute!
Since I have a darling Harry Potter cookbook, I thought it would be appropriate to make a cake out of it. I decided on HAGRID'S CHOCOLATE CAKE because I could add some decorations on top, which I feel is a requirement for birthday cakes... unless you are Zach and Black Forest Cake is your favorite. Then it's all about the cherries and chocolate chips. :)
This is the cake Hagrid brought Harry in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I don't know if the cake just looks pink or if it actually was pink because brown sometimes looks pinkish in certain lights. Find the picture here.
HAGRID'S CHOCOLATE CAKE
(adapted from Dinah Bucholz's The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut wax paper or parchment paper circles to line two cake pans. Spray pans with cooking spray with flour, line pan with circles, and spray circles.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a dash of cinnamon.
-With an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of butter (at room temperature), 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar until light and fluffy for five minutes. Be sure to scrap the bowl after each time you add a new ingredient.
-Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating after each until incorporated.
-Add 1 tsp. vanilla and beat until combined.
-Add half of the hot cocoa mixture and beat until combined.
-Add the flour mixture and stir on the slowest speed until well combined. Finish by scraping the bottom of the bowl and folding it in.
-Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 20+ minutes until the cakes feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Be careful not to overbake.
-Cool the layers in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Be careful to peel away the wax paper because it may stick. Your cake will be flat as Hagrid's cake was. :) Remember Rubeus Hagrid made rock cakes that literally could chip your teeth like a rock could!
-To prepare the glaze, place 8 ounces of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 3/4 cup whipping cream, 1/4 stick butter, and 1/4 cup corn syrup in a bowl and microwave for 15 or 20 seconds at a time until melted. It should take between 1 and 3 minutes to melt completely.
-To make the chocolate frosting, place 1 stick of butter (at room temperature), 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. whipping cream, and 1 tsp. vanilla in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy about 7 minutes. Add half of the cooled glaze and beat until combined. If the frosting is too soft or runny, chill for 10 minutes or so and beat again. Continue chilling and beating as necessary.
I apologize I don't have any other pictures of the baking process after this point. Monica showed up earlier than I had planned, so she was there while I was assembling the cake.
-To make green icing, you can combine some sugar and water to perform a paste and mix in green food coloring until you reach your desired shade of green. I had some Wilton's buttercream made up already, so I just tinted it until it was green enough for me!
-To assemble the cake, place a large dollop of icing in the center of a cardboard round and center one layer on top of the cardboard round. Spread 3/4 cup of the chocolate frosting over the cake and smooth it with the edges. To smooth, use a spatula or a knife continuously dipped in warm or hot water. Place the second layer over the first and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Start to pour the remaining glaze over the top of the cake, smoothing it to the edges and allowing it to drip over the sides. You may need to warm the glaze and cool it if it is too stiff to pour initially. (I would warn to pour slowly and carefully because I had A LOT of glaze left and it just poured everywhere. It still turned out well, but you couldn't really see the frosting underneath the glaze. It's okay because, once again, it is supposed to look as if Hagrid made it. :)
-Place green icing in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip for writing and write "Happy Birthday" on top. For kicks, you could misspell the words, but, as an English major, that would bother me too much. *lol*
I made Monica a coffee cup cozy I saw on Etsy when I did my Muggle Baby, Magical Nursery treasury. It says, "Accio Brain." Get it?! :)
I decided to make this for Monica long before I decided to do this whole themed weekend. I swear!
Once we decided to go see HP 7.2 and I decided to surprise her with the cake, I just kept on with the theme. When we were at Brickworld in Chicago, I got some Harry Potter magnets, which is perfect because Monica just moved into a new apartment and needed some magnets!
modeling her cozy
Snape on a Chain!
Monica with her very delicious HAGRID'S CHOCOLATE CAKE
I'm telling you: I am not a cake person, but I have eaten at least one piece every single day since I've made it. Sometimes two pieces! The glaze and chocolate frosting is addictive.
Here I am prepared to go see the movie in my Gryffindor beanie, scarf, knee socks, and shirt. Yes, it was 100+ degrees, but I. did. not. CARE. That is devotion (as I told Zach). *lol*
I look like a Gryffindor field hockey player or something. *haha*
And here we are in the theatre!!!
We went to Table Mesa for dinner Saturday night, and they had butterbeer! It was not at all how I imagined. But it was quite refreshing. :)
I built my Burrow LEGO set after our guests left for the weekend to make the magic last a bit longer. I also started rereading the series. ;)