Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend: How Our Garden Grows & Peanut Butter Frosting

My son made sure to let me know I was appreciated this past weekend.  At 2, he is going through one doozy of a mommy phase....we are talking extreme separation anxiety.  I don't think the 2-year molars are helping any.  So yes, crying whenever I walked out of sight certainly communicated my importance.  I am thankful my husband and daughter took a different route.  Cards and hugs and dinner and selfless acts of help around the house are somewhat preferred to the kind of love that makes my clothing damp and boogery and my arms tired, but I am grateful for love in all these forms.  I'm a blessed woman.  :) 

Saturday was absolutely gorgeous and my husband was busy all over the yard while I played with the kids and put finishing touches on some desserts (read on).  Some friends of ours from church have been inviting us to get raspberry plants from their yard for a few years now, but this was the first year the ground was prepared in time.  This is along the side of the house, next to the garage.  Hubby dug up a few climbing roses and transplanted them to the back of the yard, where they'll hopefully take off along the fence, and planted a few rows of raspberries in their places.   Just out of the frame to the left are two blueberry bushes given to us by some other friends. Can't wait for all this fresh fruit!  To the right is a peony plant that should bloom soon. 


In the front flower garden the Mountain Laurel is opening up...


And just below it are some pretty lettuces where the deer are unlikely to venture.


My obsession with that amazing chocolate cake continues.  I was asked to bring the dessert to our family celebration of Mother's Day, and my husband encouraged me to make "something I love."  I picked peanut butter frosting this time because I love it and I knew the other moms present would love it too--my children not so much (yes, they will eat curries but not peanut butter & jelly)--but they ate the cake and left the frosting.



Here's the Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe.


Perfect Peanut Butter Frosting

12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
milk, cream, or half n half

Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter.  Beat in sugar a cup at a time, adding a few tablespoons of milk or cream until desired consistency is reached.  Use immediately to frost cake layers.  This frosting was a dream to work with.  Cake should be refrigerated once frosted, but let it come to room temperature to serve.


If you want to take the cake to the next level (both taste-wise and visually), chill it thoroughly, then top with:


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Shell

In a microwaveable container, melt 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate with 1 heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, and 2 tsp. corn syrup.  Melt on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.  Don't overheat it.  Use to top chilled cake.  If you want to make the flower design, pour the shell onto the middle of the cake and spread outwards in smooth strokes with an offset spatula, adding a final dollop of chocolate in the middle.  This shell tastes like the chocolate of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. 

After a wonderful brunch (prepared by my aunt and uncle), visiting with family, and this for dessert, we came home for naptime (for my son....and me!...so nice), and then my husband made fajitas for dinner, as per my request.  That recipe is coming soon.  I also finished The Book of Sorrows, the follow up to The Book of the Dun Cow, and it was so good, if not more, well, sorrowful than anyone who has grown to love certain characters would maybe prefer.  All in all, quite a good weekend.  Hope yours was lovely as well!




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