Blue Baking

I am officially homesick.  The excitement of our adventure has worn off.  The feeling that we are on some sort of extended vacation is gone.  It's back to work, back to school and the weekly grind of homework and activities.  I miss the daily distraction the kids provided before they went to school.  It is much easier to be an ant at work than have time to think and miss home.

The heat is oppressive.  This week alone we broke one record and tied two more.  The paper reported that this is the hottest August ever recorded.  I am longing for the crisp evenings that come in late August in Colorado.  The smell of fall and the glorious turning of the leaves that is soon to follow.  Not here.  It is so hot the kids have to sit in the "cool room" for recess.  We have had a week long "extreme heat warning."  If you ask me, I think the whole summer would fit in that category.  When we walk home from the bus stop it feels as though flames are licking your skin.  People are not meant to live in the desert.  It is very hostile.

Scorpions don't like the heat either.  Once it gets too much above 105, they seek shelter.  Unfortunately, they are seeking it in my home.  We have tried pest control, attempting to seal all possible entrances and Max goes hunting at night for them.  However, they remain.  In the last three weeks they have single handedly made it so I am ready to pack up and move.  There were two giant ones under the dog dish, two in my towels, one fell off my shirt hanging in the closet.  Not to mention the numerous others just hanging out in the bathrooms.  I praise God that no one has been stung.  The experts say seeing 7 in a season is really bad.  We have been having one or two daily.  The scorpion lady feels they are living in our walls.  Sweet dreams.

Since idle hands are the work of the devil, I have been baking to attempt to console myself.  I love to bake.  I love to make beautiful things that my family likes to eat.  I get extra satisfaction out of baking things that taste delicious that are egg free so that Hank can enjoy them with us!  The first was this Eggless Strawberry Cake.  It uses buttermilk in place of eggs and it is wonderful.  However, you can use an egg if you prefer.  Perfectly paired with coffee or ice cream. 

I bought a giant clam shell of blueberries at Costco that just begged to be baked with.  I made Three Berry Eggless Muffins.  It was a great way to use left over strawberries and raspberries.  They are divine the next day!

Three Berry Eggless Muffins

2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp orange juice
1 cup fat free milk
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries sliced
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients.

In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until just combined.

Gently fold in the berries.

I like to use cupcake papers.  Fill either well greased muffin tins or papers 2/3 full.

Bake in the oven for 22 minutes.

Allow them to cool for 15-20 min on a wire rack.

They are best the next morning but the kids thought they were just fine fresh out of the oven. :)

My crown jewel was this Blueberry Chocolate Cake = sin!  I wanted to use my blueberries but really wanted some chocolate comfort food.

Blueberry Chocolate Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp Hershey's Cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vinegar
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups water
1 cup of blueberries for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Put the blueberries and 2 cups of water in a blender or food processor and blend.  Use a strainer to remove the pulp.  Add your blueberry juice to a medium bowl and then add the remaining wet ingredients.  Mix well.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients until combined.

Pour batter into a greased 9 inch springform pan.

Bake for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean at the center of cake.  I pulled mine out a little too soon and the center collapsed a little.  But it made a perfect spot for a pile of blueberries. :)

Allow cake to cool for at least 2 hours and then transfer to serving platter.

Then pour this Chocolate Ganache (aka heaven) over the cake.  I used most of a bag of Ghiradelli Bittersweet Baking chips.  Start in the center and move outward allowing the ganache to roll off the edges.  I made an additional little mote around the base of the cake for the blueberries to swim in.  If some is good, more is better!

Allow the ganache to set up for about 10 minutes then add the blueberries around the side and in the center.

The chocolate ganache is really so good, you must try it.  Today!  You will thank me later. If you have some left over, you can dip strawberries in it and put them in the fridge.  Your kids will eat their fruits this way, I guarantee it!  Or you can just stick you fingers in it and  lick the bowl like I did.  I was happy.  Very happy.  Scorpions eat your heart out!


Courtney said...

Oh Katie! I am sorry you are homesick! And those scorpions I am not sure I could live with! In January I will be posting of the long dreadful winter that will be here to last for 4 months more and you will be swimming in your pool and wearing t-shirts! It will be me cooking and baking just to stay warm. ;)
We are still planning on a trip Oct 1-5! Just haven't booked things yet. It's sneaking up! I am excited to see your resort and your sweet fam again. XOXO!

Lacey said...

I am sad that you are homesick. I can only imagine. It is miserable here too if it makes you feel any better. Probably not. But it is so stinkin' hot, we don't remember what rain looks like, and I have to walk or bike the kids to school in this miserable heat and humidity. I am so ready for Fall to come as well. Your baking looks DIVINE.I wish you had moved here, I'd come try and cheer you up!!! I really think in time, you will love it there. XOXOXOXO

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