Free Lunch Rocks

Free lunch is the best lunch.

I went to Shakespeare’s Pizza today after they Twittered (@shakespizza) lunch slices at $1.50. I didn’t really want pizza but found it hard to pass up. Shakespeare’s Pizza is a local, famous (?) pizza joint here in Columbia Missouri, best pizza in the city IMHO.

It was delicious! I got a slice of the vegetarian and an iced tea. Being the celebrity that I am (cough cough, friend working the register) I got my slice gratis!

THANKS!

As you can see… I ate it all.

If you ever visit Columbia, you’ve gotta visit Shakespeare’s Pizza for lunch or dinner. I recommend the Darwin and the Vegetarian on the wheat crust. Yum!


BBQ at the Palace

The Princess invited a few friend over for BBQ at her place last weekend. It was just such an awesome time! The people were great, the wine was awesome and the food… amazing. Her hubby can really cook!

The entire time, not matter what we did, booze, food, Guitar Hero… this girl kept getting all of the attention. Gah!

Even Ben had no power over the baby.

Well, actually, that talk about nothing be able to draw them away from the baby? That wasn’t exactly true.  Ryan was allll about the doggie.  It was the cutest thing, and it’s what happens every time Ryan and I go to Karen’s.

We really need to get a cat or dog… or bunny.  It seems like Ryan was just made to have a pet. It’s just too adorable.

Curtis was kicking ass at Guitar Hero and then I’m not exactly sure what happened…  Karen walks over to Curtis, bends over….

Curtis starts to pull $1 bills out of his wallet. I’m not saying Karen was extending “favors” to Curtis for change but shortly after she was playing cards with nickles.

I’m just sayin’!!!

The Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cake

The full title of this post should be…

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache

Michael (@mdanbom) joined me in making this delicious cake for the last Cake and a Movie night (#CaaM) which happened last night.

We had a wonderful crowd come over…

@laurenreid, @aurablush, @taylorjm10, @ok2baprincess, @brooding_soul, @savannahbrooke and @coreyschmidt.

It was suggested that we watch Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and it was a great film. But I’m a sucker for Michael Cera and Kat Dennings; oh and any movie with a band full of really hot gay guys, especially when the gay characters aren’t so annoying.

Now I guess it’s time to post my Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache.

This is an original of Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes modified by the SmittenKitchen.com and further adopted by me.

With no further adieu… the

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake Base
Makes about 7 cups

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa w/ 60% cacao
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes.

Place cakes in freezer for thirty minutes. This will allow these incredibly soft, moist cakes to firm up before frosting. Now is a good time to make the frosting.

Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese FrostingMakes About 5 cups

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time to prevent lumping. Mix thoroughly after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. Use the spatula to fold frosting to ensure it is smooth and creamy.

Frosting a dark cake with a light frosting can be difficult. Here are some tips to make this as easy as possible.

Measure out just enough frosting to put a thin layer of frosting on the cake using an offset spatular. Microwave frosting for 20-30 seconds to make frosting soft and spreadable. Let this cool on the cold cake, firming up the frosting and preventing any rips in the cake.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread about 1/2 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer.

For a smoother frosting, use 1/2-2/3 of the remaining frosting to finish up the top and sides, reserving 1/3-1/2 for later. Place layered cake into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Warm frosting in microwave for 20-30 seconds before smoothing the rest of the frosting on the chilled cake.

Place cake back into the refrigerator while you prepare the ganache.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter GanacheMakes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream, beating until smooth.

Let the ganache sit for a few minutes. It should be warm but not hot when applied to the cake.

Slowly pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely.

Use warm, sharp, thin knife to slice the cake, cleaning between each slice with warm water and dry towel. This will make each slice as beautiful as the first.

Let me know how it works for you and if you have any suggestions for modifications or cake suggestion for the next Cake and a Movie night. So far it sounds like a carrot cake is winning out. If you’ve got a great recipe, send it over!


The Princess’s Birthday

Holy cow. I had a ton of friends with birthdays yesterday.  It seems like people that had birthdays yesterday are just really awesome friends. Kohl, Patrick and of course, Karen in particular.

Karen (@ok2baprincess), it turns out, is super popular.  Nicole, who set this whole deal up, had something like 30 people at Sycamore’s for her birthday dinner.  How she got everyone together from such different circles, who really knows.

The wait at Sycamore was pretty intense, but a few of us decided a bottle of wine would fix that.

Oh, and for this post, just click the little pictures to see them larger. Didn’t want to make the page super slow to load. Also, you can click the right side of any picture to go to the next one.

After our delicious dinner, we headed over to Top Ten Wines for a few glasses and some ping pong. Just about our entire troupe of people made the voyage. We totally took over that place haha.

Oh, and the wine was amazing.

Uh oh, now I’ve gone into a rant…

I don’t understand how people can NOT just love a good wine. Here in Missouri, many people don’t know what a good wine is. There are several Missouri wineries but most make crap wine, in my opinion.

Those who think they are connaisseurs of wine out here TYPICALLY think Yellow Tail is a top notch wine and Korbel, or worse, André are fabulous champanges, don’t even try to explain sparkling wine to them.

I’m not hating on Missourians, just leading up to how incredibly happy I am that most of my friends aren’t these people, especially those I was with last night.  And even if you do love André and even Riverboat Red, that’s totally fine. I’m glad that you like those wines. Just saying, I don’t and can’t stand when people compare their $8.00 bottle of Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator to my Seghesio.

See it isn’t about the price so much, there are awesome bottles of economical wine. Just do the research.  A bottle of Seghesio costs you under $25 and will mop the floor with that stupid Hahn Estates’ Cycles Gladiator that my father’s side of the family is so obsessed with right now.

Though I pretty much love anything from the Dry Creek Valley.

Where the hell did that come from? Back to the festivities. So we played some ping pong and drank our wine, had our conversation. Awesome time.

Time for some more pictures!

After Top Ten, we broke up a bit, some went for karaoke while others headed home.  Of course, @bigred77 @ericcox and @turtis couldn’t help but model for the camera as we walked to our cars haha.  I love those tweeple!

The night was so much fun. We talked about changing out Sunday mornings around a bit too.  Very excited about that, oh and Cake and a Movie night.  The next one is tomorrow, Monday night! I need movie and cake suggestions.

Happy Birthday Karen! HUGS!

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Being in Houston

One of my favorite things about being in Houston is getting to hang out with friends.  One better is getting to hang out with someone you met in Missouri who is from Houston.

Last night Chase and I met up for some beers and talk about seeing Milk.  We saw the movie today and it was phenominal.  You must see it.

We also went to the roof of his building and took some pics last night… (my writing style is awful right now, I’m rushing to help with dinner)

Here’s the pic!

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Quick Trip to San Francisco

The Flight Is Booked!

I just booked my flight for a quick, QUICK trip to San Francisco.  I’ll be leaving Missouri December 12 and will be in town until December 14th.  Yeah, a really quick trip.

So, if you live or will be in the bay area next weekend, hit me up through a comment on this blog post, a tweet on my twitter, a message or wall post on my facebook or a message on myspace.  I’m pretty easy… to get in touch with.

Look forward to meeting up with anyone and everyone.  I’ll be bringing my camera to take pics while I’m out there.

Finally, believe it or not, I’ve never even taken a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge (I had to get that one from the flickr!).  Somehow I managed to never get a picture, never mind that I have visited San Francisco more times than I can count… I lived just an hour north outside of Santa Rosa and even lived in the city yet never got a picture of the bridge.  I even know the turn off for the shot everyone uses.

I must remedy that!

See you guys soon!  I’m super duper excited.

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