Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Black Forest Cake Day! March 28, 2011

Filed under: Berries,cake,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,holiday,Parties — hmills96 @ 10:00 am

My foodie fame at work goes beyond my delicious weekly offerings. It actually started long before my first pitch-in. We have a special, in-house instant messaging system that allows us to not only talk to people at my branch, but also the St. Pete location.

We cannot access Facebook and Twitter, and I almost hate to admit this…when I first started my new job I was having social networking withdrawals. Plus, I wanted to get to know the people I was working with. There’s a status update feature on our IM system. One day, I updated my status to tell everyone Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The rest was history. If I don’t post an update every morning, I get 10 IMs asking what the food holiday of the day is. It’s started quite a few discussions–What’s your favorite soup/candy/pop? Every day its something different.

Today is National Black Forest Cake Day! I knew I had to make something for this holiday. It was too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I turned this recipe into one of my trifles–it’s easier for me to transport to Indy without the whole thing falling apart. But feel free to make this into a layer cake as it was originally intended!

Black Forest Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 cans cherry pie filling
2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 Tbsp Chambord

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Cool Whip (I used two small tubs to make the trifle, you won’t need nearly as much to make the cake version)
1 Tbsp Chamboard (use Kirsch if you can find it)

Combine cherry filling, cranberry juice, and 1 Tbsp Chambord in a saucepan. Stir over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cake pans heavily with PAM or line with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In your mixer, combine butter milk, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Mix until well blended.

Pour batter into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool.

Mix together Cool Whip with 1 Tbsp Chambord or Kirsch.

Layer cake, cherry filling, and Cool Whip either in a trifle dish or on a cake plate. Garnish top with cherries and chocolate curls.


Blueberry Noir Sorbet July 27, 2010

Filed under: Berries,dessert,Ice Cream,My Recipes,Spring/Summer,wine — hmills96 @ 5:42 am
Tags: , ,

I have been a very bad blogging lady lately. I guess I’ve just been all blogged out or something. It’s not for lack of material–I’ve read 3 books, and I’ve made Blueberry Sorbet and Teriyaki Steaks. I just haven’t felt like blogging anything.

I started a journal, and have been recording my many misadventures there, maybe that has something to do with it, I don’t know. Really though, I just haven’t been spending as much time on the computer lately (as evidenced by the overflow of items in my Google Reader). I think I just needed a break.

This weekend was HOT. REALLY HOT. We had a garage sale on Saturday, and then Sunday I decided to go for a walk. Exercising when it’s 90 degrees outside–not a good idea. So I decided to use the last of the graduation blueberries (can you believe they lasted this long??) and make something cold.

I would suggest straining the syrup and freezing this in an ice cream maker. But I was hot and lazy and didn’t want to lug out my mixer, so I just blended it with a boat motor and froze it granita style. It was still really good but the hand blender definitely changed the texture. Straining it will give you a much lighter sorbet.

Blueberry Noir Sorbet

Original Recipe

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
1 cup Pino Noir

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients except the wine. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain out juice into a bowl. Stir in wine. Chill in fridge.

Freeze in ice cream mixer per manufacturer’s instructions. Will probably need to let this set up in freezer for another 30 minutes to an hour.


Summer Fruit Ice Cream June 15, 2010

It’s been an eventful couple of days here at the Wall household. Yesterday, a friend asked me to go with her to a nearby shelter to look at dogs. The no-kill shelter was way over capacity and my friend had heard a rumor that things were not looking good for the animals…if you know what I mean (thankfully, we found out this was not true when we got there).

She and her husband were looking to adopt a dog, so down we went to Hamilton County Humane Society. If you live in this area and are looking to adopt, check them out. It’s a great facility, they REALLY care about their animals there. Even though they had so many, they knew them by name, personality. We spent about 2 hours with them and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The pens were clean, the animals happy (or at least as happy as they can be locked in a pound). I have never seen a pound that nice before.

J and I had talked off and on about getting another cat to replace Keira. She and Smokey had finally got to be good friends when she left us, and Smokey has always had a companion. I hated that my girl was alone. Plus, Keira was so lively, and we missed having that personality around. So, when we went to visit the shelter yesterday, we went into the cattery. I wasn’t really looking to take anybody home, I just wanted to see what they had. J wanted a kitten, but I like them old enough to have developed a personality (because any cat person can tell you, they all have VERY different personalities).

I looked and smiled at the fuzzballs as we went through the pens, just enjoying the way the kitties showed off, saying “Pick me!” But then, in the very last pen was the funniest face I have ever seen. He was sitting there pouting at me. I knew right then he was one of my family, as we have a hereditary Pout that we laugh about. I looked over his information, and he likes other cats, he likes dogs, adapts well to new places. Good, good, good! I watched him in the cage for a while, and my heart melted. Then I got to take him into the visiting room, and he played with some toys, sat in my lap. We bonded :). I noticed he was very laid back, but friendly, and active. Perfect. Now all I had to do was convince my husband. I paid part of his adoption fee to hold him until today, so J could come down and meet him.

J was reluctant, but he agreed to come down this morning. He had the same reaction to his funny face. How can you resist? Then when we went into the visiting room, Patrick was MUCH more lively than he was yesterday. Running all over the place, showing off for J. He couldn’t say no. So we packed him up and brought him home.

I was worried, but the introductions went fairly smooth. Smokey growled and complained, but Patrick just laid down and chilled, he was completely relaxed. No big deal. We still have a long way to go before Smokey is cuddling up next to him but with his laid back attitude, she won’t be able to find a reason to be mad at him for long (except that because she’s in such a bad mood, he’s getting more attention right now). He was even unfazed by a 60 pound bounding ball of wagging mud pouncing at him and following him around. He just keeps coming in here and rubbing on me like, “Dude, this is SOOOO much better than that cage.”

My Funny Fellow

All three got new collars today, and their tags have been ordered. After Keira left and never came back, I don’t want that to happen again. I’m sure she’s living at the top of a tree somewhere eating squirrels, but I miss her. HCHS microchips all their animals, and because they will microchip your pet for $30, I’m seriously considering having the other two done too.

In the chaos of welcoming a new family member, I managed to make ice cream last night! This is some seriously awesome stuff. You can play around with the fruit, do whatever looks good to you. You can do all one if you don’t want to mix it up, but I had those blueberries leftover from my sister’s party (and still have more!), and some strawberries and a peach that were about to turn. Also, if you don’t want to add the creaminess, or you’re lactose intolerant, just make it a sorbet. Just make the fruit syrup (and add the strawberries to the blueberries when cooking), cool, then freeze that. It would be delicious, and I may do that with the rest of the blueberries once this is gone.

Summer Fruit Ice Cream
Adapted from

1 1/2 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 large egg yolks
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half
3 cups blueberries
1 sprig rosemary
1 peach, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pint strawberries, diced & macerated in honey while other ingredients are cooling

Beat together 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, and yolks. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk & half and half, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and gradually add to cream cheese mixture, with beater on med.-high so not to scramble eggs. Return to pan. Cook over medium low until thermometer reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes. Place pan on ice, cool completely.

Combine blueberries, peach, rosemary, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir often. Remove rosemary sprig and discard. Cool completely.

Stir blueberry mixture into milk mixture, add strawberries. Pour into ice cream machine and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions. Put in freezer-safe container and freeze until solid.

**Note–This made too much for my Kitchenaid attachment. Don’t overfill!


Blueberry Sunrise Muffins June 6, 2010

Filed under: Berries,Breakfast,Family,Freezer Meals,Muffins — hmills96 @ 12:45 pm
Tags: , , ,

Can you believe my baby sister graduated from high school last week?  Ugh. I feel so old!

I’ve spent a lot of time in my hometown lately, watching those that I think of as 10-year-old midgets throw their last pitches, sing their last solos, and finally, don their caps and gowns and walk across the stage at BHS. Congratulations Class of 2010! I laughed with one of my former classmates, a brother of Em’s friend, when we realized our 5th year reunion is not far away. Oh dear…

You know what else makes me feel old? Babies. I have found out every day for the last 4 out of 5 days that someone else is pregnant. No one yet today, but it’s still early. One of my college friends is even having twins! It’s crazy! I made a list, just for spite yesterday. Off the top of my head, I could think of 9 people who have recently had good news, and several more who have just given birth! It makes me feel old to think we are at that stage in our lives. Trust me, there are no plans for little Haley’s anytime soon…much to my family’s dismay! That doesn’t mean I don’t jump up and down when I find out another of my friends is expecting though! There’s been a lot of squealing going on over here!

One good thing that came out of feeling old is 2 lbs of blueberries leftover from Em’s graduation party. She had the first party of the class, which means it’s usually the biggest. Still, we had waaaaaaaay more food than we needed. Which, from my perspective is not a bad thing, because I got to take home leftovers! The 2 lbs of berries I took was only half of what was left. Luckily, they freeze well! You may see blueberry recipes for a while. I know, so disappointing right? Ha!

Blueberry Sunrise Muffins

Adapted from Dine and Dish

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, beaten
/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp fresh orange zest
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1 cup fresh blueberries

Melt butter, let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray Muffin cups with Pam.

In batter bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and zest.

In separate bowl, whisk together butter, egg, milk, and juice.

Pour wet over dry ingredients and stir just until mixed. Will be lumpy. Stir in blueberries.

Pour into muffin cups. Bake about 18-24 minutes, until golden.

Makes 8-10.


Strawberry Ice Cream! April 10, 2010

Filed under: Berries,dessert,Ice Cream,Spring/Summer — hmills96 @ 5:18 pm

It’s drill weekend! For J., that means putting on a uniform and spending two days being a completely different person (and since this weekend was PT testing, it also means almost killing himself to make time on the 2 mile). For me, it means I have the house to myself for the weekend, which means relaxation. All I’ve done today is catch up on my YouTube videos. I’m a huge fan of ShayCarl and SXEPhil, but I’ve fallen waaaaaaaaay behind. Sorry to all those who follow me on Facebook, you kind of got them all at once today, but check out their channels, they are pretty entertaining. The other thing I did today was break out my Kitchenaid Ice Cream Attachment for the first time this season! J. bought some strawberries on sale the other day, and they were a little tart for eating plain, but perfect for putting in a super sweet milky concoction! We don’t keep a lot of ice cream in the house–I don’t eat a lot of it, so I don’t usually buy it. But homemade ice cream–now THAT’s a different story. It’s so easy to do, and sooooo much better than the stuff you buy at the store. I KNOW what I’m putting in it, so no preservatives!

A couple of notes about this recipe–This made a LOT of base, so if you are using the KA, you’ll have to make two batches. In fact, unless you eat a lot of ice cream at your house, I’d recommend halving the recipe. (That is the downside of no preservatives…you do have to eat this pretty quickly, it won’t keep as long.) The other thing about this recipe is that I would recommend pureeing at least some of the strawberries in a food processor after they mascerate. Otherwise, you are just going to have vanilla ice cream with strawberry chunks. It is still delicious, but not what I was looking for when I went to make strawberry ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Ice Cream


1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped (or pureed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whipping cream

Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to bring out the berry juices. If pureeing, do this after refrigeration.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup sugar.

Add milk and vanilla.

Add strawberries and juice.

Add whipping cream.

Pour base in ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Remember, don’t fill too full or it WILL overflow. The ice cream base WILL expand as it freezes. The ice cream will be about soft serve consistency at this stage, you will need to freeze in your freezer to get hard serve ice cream.

**Note–Another option is to leave the strawberries out of the base until after the cream mixture has frozen in the machine for 10 minutes. This is actually how Kitchen Aid recommends you deal with mix-ins, but I didn’t think about it until later. The cream might freeze easier without the chunks. Don’t let it freeze too far before you add the berries, though.