Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Much Needed Sprucing

The wall behind our TV has been blank for too long. We have things on most every other wall of the house. So, I've been acquiring pieces to make a little feature wall for a little while and I finally got the shelves to put them on.

I decided I could wait no longer so I put it together tonight. Here is the result.
I'm very particular with hanging things. This took me about 1 hour and a half with a pencil, a level, a long ruler, a tape measure, a drill, some anchors and some screws. Who knew it would be such an event.
Just a few of our favorite pictures in the middle.
This was the cake topper from our wedding and I've always wanted to put it on display.
And this hour glass matched the curtains perfectly... plus hour glasses are cool :)

The pictures off to the sides are both of lines of trees in fog. Also, there is a neat little tree frame with hanging picture frames. I will put a picture of it up here when I get all the little pictures in it. For now, we just pretend the people who came with the frame are related to us.

It took some time and devotion, but I'm really glad I did this. It really makes the room feel more homey :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Baby's First Birthday

*sniff* My baby has grown up. Today is his first birthday!

Earlier in the day, Justin took Gordo to Arby's for a roast beef sandwich, one of his favorites.
He started off the evening with a bacon wrapped steak. Which he ate in about 60 seconds.

Then I insisted he wear a hat, much to his dismay. Sadly, his idea of the proper way a hat should be worn and mine were very different.
He was more comfortable this way.

So, I had to get at least one shot of him in his hat, even if it was against his will. He loved it.
So, I rewarded him with a fancy doggy cookie.
Which he very much enjoyed.

I can't believe my baby is a year old! I remember so well when we went and picked him out, hobbling around on the farm with his little puppy legs and his raccoon like eyes :) Now he's all grown up. *sniff*

But we still love him. I don't know what I would do without my Gordo!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Magical Bavarian Cheesecake

So, I must admit, my favorite thing I tried at Epcot last week was the Bavarian Cheesecake at the Biergarten Restaurant. It was absolutely delicious. I had never had it before, and it is quite different from a regular cheesecake. It has a layer of vanilla sponge cake on the top and the bottom with the cheese mixture as the filling. And you don't bake the cheese part!

This new found love is what made me search the web where I hit the mother load with All Ears Net.

I promised my mom that I would make one as a late birthday gift for her (her b-day was Friday and it was just too hectic for everyone). Finally I had the time yesterday and I gave it a try. The result was a magical confection.

My Grammy has been in the hospital for almost two weeks now from a bad cold that turned for the worse. She started having small heart attacks to boot, so we were all very worried. A few months ago she was in the hospital and I made her Challah, or as she calls it now "healing Jewish bread" and it miraculously made her better. SO what better way to improve your health than with another Megan made baked good?

I went down to the hospital today amidst the drama of what recuperative facility she would be accepted into. There is a really nice one in Merritt Island that we wanted her to go to and we were really worried about most of the other ones in the area (not the most well kept places). So, I showed up to give my Mommy her b-day cake and of course gave some to Grammy. Grammy ate two pieces, which was a big deal since one of the things that aggravated her condition was her loss of appetite. So, once she professed how good the cake was, she told us to take the nurse and the case worker in charge of admission into the nursing facility. The cake must have been really good because after professing the nursing home we wanted was completely full 5 minutes before, she came back after eating the cake to tell us she got in! So from now on, I must make her a baked good every time she gets sick :)

I've copied the recipe to the blog so you can read it here or go directly to the source here.

Bavarian Cheesecake
INGREDIENTS

6 ounces Cream Cheese
6 ounces Baker's Cheese
2 Egg Yolks
4 ounces Granulated Sugar
8 ounces Sour Cream
1 ounce Lemon Juice
12 ounces Heavy Cream
1/2 ounce Gelatin
2 ounces Water
Vanilla Sponge Cake -- recipe follows

VANILLA SPONGE CAKE

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup Sugar (granulated)
4 Egg yolks
1 teaspoon. Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Flour (all-purpose)
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Egg Whites

METHOD
1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a mixer, add the egg yolks and sugar beat until light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Beat until smooth.

5. Whip the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Gently fold this into the cake batter.

6. Place into two separate greased and lined 8-inch round cake pans. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes.


ASSEMBLING CAKE

METHOD
1. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks. Set aside.

2. Mix together in a mixing bowl the cream cheese, baker's cheese, egg yolks, and granulated sugar until smooth. Then add the sour cream and mix until smooth.

3. Gently add the whipped mixture to the cheese mixture being careful not to over whip.

4. Dissolve the gelatin in the water over a double boiler until the mixture is clear. Be careful not to whip the gelatin so it does not get air bubbles in it.

5. Add the gelatin mixture into the cheese mixture and fold quickly. When adding the gelatin mixture to the cheese mixture set the mixer on medium speed, and add it from the edge of the bowl, being careful not to get the gelatin on the whip or the side of the bowl so as to prevent lumping.

6. Using a springform pan, place one of the vanilla sponge cakes smooth side down. Immediately pour the cheese mixture on the cake, and smooth out surface. Then place the other cake on top with the smooth side out. Let set overnight.

7. Remove the cake from the springform pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar. This cake can be served with any of your favorite fresh fruit sauce(s).

Notes to the chef - the gelatin really does set up fast once it hits the cream mixture, so do like the recipe says and add it quickly.

Also, as we live in America, most of you (like myself) have probably never heard of Baker's cheese until you read this recipe. Also, once you search in every normal supermarket to find it and come back empty handed, do not fret. I used low fat Ricotta cheese and it substituted wonderfully. I tasted just as good as the cake I had in Epcot.

I'm sure now that I have this website at my disposal, I will be making more posts about exotic foods. I'm dying to try some Norwegian recipes :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Last Days of Disney

Well, we used two of our Disney days for our anniversary, and we needed to use the other two. So, we managed to coordinate our days off so we could go :)

We Went to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.

I had never ridden the Astro Orbiter before, so we decided that it must happen on this trip :)
Woo Hoo :) Sadly, Justin and I are too tall for both of us to ride it together, so Justin let me go by myself. I'nt he sweet?
We also had lots of fun at the Haunted Mansion, easily one of our favorite Disney rides.
Check out the ears! I swear they make ears themed for everything now, but these were super cool :)
Also a lovely license plate :)
There actually weren't any kids swarmed all over the sword in the stone, so we had to give it a yank.
Then we went onto Epcot, where we sampled the exotic fashion of Canada.

We also rode Spaceship Earth (the ride in the big ball). Justin and I made sure to pose nicely for our picture. So, here is a picture of us in the future.
We also decided to splurge a bit and we had dinner in the Biergarten Restaurant in Germany one day and Les Chefs de France in (you guessed it) France the other. I was so inspired by the new and different foods that I went online to find some recipes and came across this fantastic site: All Ears Net.com
This website not only tells you the menu and pricing for each restaurant in the park, it also has pretty much every recipe you could want from all the parks and even some of the resorts and events like the Food and Wine Festival.

We had a lot of fun with our Florida Resident 4 day passes, and now we have filled the Disney canteen for quite a while. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Favorite Family Guy Clip

I tried to find this clip online after I first watched it, but it was nowhere to be found! So, when the episode came on tonight, I couldn't help but record it. Kevin, I hope you have seen this. I know you will appreciate it :)
video

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Justin's Surprise Graduation Party

So, today was the big day that has been months in the making! Justin's mom and I decided a few months back to have a surprise graduation party for him... but making that happen was a bit more than we bargained for. He's a bit too quick on the uptake for us to pull everything over on him, so we kept having to make up reasons to be places and get him places. It was a lot of subterfuge, but it all came out great :)

I snuck over to Justin's parent's house last night to get it all decorated. This is what it looked like:
I hung up a long frame with Justin's graduation pictures I had taken over the last few weeks in it.
We had a signature frame for all the guests to sign and send their wished.
Justin's mom is a nurse and teaches at Titusville High School so she let brought home this skull to use :)
She also brought her full skeleton Napoleon (Bone-A-Part). We dressed him in a cap and gown. He was quite a hit :)

So, we arranged it all: the guests got to his mom's house at 2pm and we arrived fashionably late to what Justin thought was just a party for his parent's friends. He was so shocked when he came through the door and everyone yelled, "Surprise!" It took him a minute to figure out what was going on, but he was very happy once he did. There were people from church, my family, his family, even his relatives from down south made a 2 hour drive to get there.

I had a cake made by Leigh at Cake or Death Cakes and it came out fabulous! I told her we wanted something for his graduation from UCF and he was an anthropology major and she came up with this:
She made it look like an archaeological dig and the bones are in the shape of the UCF Pegasus logo. How cool is that?
She even made this cute little beetle :)
We socialized for a while, and then had Justin cut his cake!
Very carefully, of course.
He particularly liked the beetle :)

Then we were onto swimming!







Also, there were several babies present. So, I can't resist taking pictures of a cute baby :)
This was just such a rare occurrence, I had to photograph it. Marisa is holding a baby.
Harper (the baby) really looks like she's loving it.
So, I just wanted to thank everyone who helped out and made this surprise such a successful one. Justin had a great time and definitely felt the love :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Justin Graditates!

Today was a momentous day in the life of the Shimer family: Justin graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Criminal Justice.

Justin's parents and I went to UCF early in the morning to watch him walk across the stage :)
He's smack dab in the middle of the crowd.
And he's walking :)




We had to get the studious pose :)

I'm so proud of him! We all are, and I know it is the start of great things :)