Gift Buying Update

Remember way back here when I said I was going to attempt to buy more gifts from small businesses?
Well here is a little update on some of the wonderful things I have found....

For one of my dear friends whose birthday was in March, I found this lovely print from the etsy shop Brookish.
It was one of those gifts that is appreciated only by those that love Pride and Prejudice, and my friend Ellie was a perfect match. This etsy shop has other items too that may end up in my household at some point in the future.
8x10 Pride and Prejudice Locations Typography Screenprint

Another friend's birthday soon followed, and for her I found this headband from the shop Folding Chair Designs...I instantly thought of my friend Bekah when I saw this headband.
Leaf Headband - Navy, Mustard Yellow and Green - Vintage Fabric

Another item that I happened to find is not from an etsy shop, but has it's own website. This handy little device, the "cuppow", allows for you to turn a canning jar into a travel mug. Genius? I think so. I gave one to the beautiful bride to be Hannah at her bridal shower...because sometimes iced coffee is the best relief for wedding planning stress.

Overall, I feel that shopping through smaller business has allowed me to buy more personal and unique gifts. It has also been fun spending time finding that perfect thing for the people in my life that I love.

Well I better get to bed. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.


If you forget your coffee in the microwave...

This week has been one of those "I reheat my mug of coffee every hour and still forget to drink it" kind of weeks. Please tell me you do that too, the constant battle of trying to finish a cup of coffee before you get distracted? I finally gave up trying to finish my hot coffee, and switched over to iced coffee for the afternoon.  

We will see if that gets finished. 
One reason for my inability to focus on my caffeine needs is that there is currently no room on my desk for a cup of any kind. Which is perhaps better because there are currently almost two hundred wedding invites waiting to be assembled, and one wrong move could mean hours of work becoming coffee tinted. 

I've been taking breaks from staring at my computer screen to sit outside on our patio. In between planning out where my new seedlings will eventually call home, I have also been reading my recipe books from the library. I love my library. Seriously. I always have at least six different cookbooks, novels, gardening books, etc. checked out. Who needs to spend money? (besides the occasional late fee, haha)... 

Well I better get back to work.

I'm beyond excited for these wedding invites...final product to be shared soon. 

I usually find the surface of my desk about every other week. The upside? usually the messier it is the more work I am doing. 

currently reading for new recipes.

various herbs, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and garden peas waiting for summer...

P.S. Are you craving iced coffee now? I apologize, and to make amends here is the recipe on how to make it....Perfect Iced Coffee


On Praying.

On my mind this evening...


*photograph taken on the coast in Washington last year.


Chocolate Ganache Birthday (or any occasion) Cake

It was my husband's 24th birthday this past week, so I thought it was a perfect excuse to try out a new recipe. Incredibly rich, so this four layer beauty goes a long way with a crown. My family managed to polish off maybe half of it. It is also a little more time consuming then most recipes I take on, but I knew the birthday boy was worth it, and let's be honest...I was craving chocolate. The levels of Chocolate in this cake are borderline insane. On that note, enjoy!

SoNo Chocolate Ganache Cake
(from SoNo Baking Company & CafĂ© in Connecticut) 


1 pound semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup good-quality honey
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Sponge Cake 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 1/3 cups brewed American coffee

  1. To make the ganache: Place all the chocolate in a heatproof bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, honey, and salt. Scrape the tiny black seeds from the vanilla bean pod, if using, into the cream, and add the pod. Bring the cream to a boil, pour over the chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer into a bowl. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the vanilla extract, if using. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the ganache stiffens, at least 6 hours or overnight. (Or, place in the refrigerater and chill, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until the ganache stiffens.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper and dust with a little bit of cocoa powder, tapping out any excess.
  3. To make the cake: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift in the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla, melted butter, buttermilk, and coffee. Mix on low speed until fully combined. Pour the batter into prepared cake pans. Bake on a baking sheet until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then unmold the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely.
  5. Using a serrated knife, slice the top ¹⁄8 to ¼ inch off each cake to level it, if necessary. Discard the top pieces. Splice each cake horizontally into two layers for a total of four layers. Place the bottom layer on a 9-inch cake round, a turntable, or a platter, and using an offset spatula, spread thickly with about 1½ cups of the ganache. Repeat with the second and third layers, spreading another 1½ cups ganache over each layer. Add the final cake layer and spread it with a very thin layer of ganache (this is your crumb layer). Place the cake in the refrigerator until the crumb layer is set, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and place it on a wire rack set over a sheet pan. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, heat the reserved ganache just until liquid. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Using a large offset spatula, help spread the ganache from the center to the edges so the cake is completely covered. Smooth the top and sides. Refrigerate to set, about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Just in case you wanted a visual of the man who inspired this cake...here he is. Yes he is in a Kayak on grass, and yes he is pretending to paddle. Doesn't everyone ride in their kayak in their lawns for their birthday?


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