I just moved into a new apartment. I love the process of decorating and finding a new home for everything. The one part that I always get stumped on is hanging my pictures on the wall. I always have a grand plan to do a wall collage but when it comes time to hang the pictures I never know what to do. My pictures end up leaning against the wall unit I move and the cycle starts again. I started looking on Pinterest for a little inspiration and found that when it comes to hanging pictures there is a method to the madness and once you know that method it really is quite easy.
I came across the blog, Smile and Wave where she broke down the process and explained how easy it can be. All you need is some butcher paper and a pencil. She also has some great tips on how to figure out the order and placement of the collage. I will be sharing the slow-but-hopefully-steady process of my own collage wall in the coming weeks. But before I can hang the pictures I will be doing some watercolors to fill the frames so be on the look out for that post. Until then, if you have a wall collage snap a photo of it and share it with us on Instagram. We would love to see them!
I went back to my hometown this past week for a little family time. My parents and grandmother live in the tiniest of towns in south-eastern Ohio. It was a gorgeous fall weather day so we headed out to what we call “the farm” (there use to be a farm there, last century. Now there is just a lot of land. But very pretty land.) for a walk in the woods.
We found a persimmon tree and gathered a container full to take home. These are wild persimmons, so they are a lot smaller then what you would find in a store. But we couldn’t pass on taking these cuties with us.
This is my favorite little guy, Louie. He has spent his entire life in Chicago where grass and trees and harder to come by. This was pretty much the best day of his life.
And this is my moms nutty dog Molly Brown. She was having too good of time to stop for a silly picture. Way too many things to smell and roll on.
Once we got home everyone was wore out. I took a little nap and woke up to find my mom used the persimmons we found to make a persimmon coffee cake.
Moms are the best. I asked her for the recipe because it was delicious but of course she just “whipped it up”. So instead I will share this one with you. If you can talk your mom into making it while you nap, even better.
I think we can all agree that with the recent chill in the air, one of the best things about it is the food. You really can’t beat all the assorted squashes, apples, and of course pumpkin! Pinterest has me swooning over all of the amazing looking fall recipes. I selected a couple of my favorites to showcase, but honestly, I love our whole board full of fall themed foods.
The bloggers behind theses fall dishes have knocked it out of the park. I mean, candy apples for dinner? Can’t go wrong with that. Plus, those empanadas look like I could probably throw back more than….five.
Chris recently had his birthday, so when I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted, well lets just say I wasn’t surprised. Chocolate Peanut Butter. Like most, it is one of his favorite combos and I knew just the recipe to pull out of the arsenal. I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs.
I’ve made this cake a few times in the past and each time I do it gets less and less daunting. Don’t let it intimidate you. This cake is worth the little bit of extra work. It is seriously one of the best cakes I have ever had. It is also a show stopper. You walk in with this cake and heads will turn.
You may make this cake and when the time comes to frost it you will realize that it is impossible. You will shake your fist and curse my name. Well here is a little tip that will help you avoid a lot of frustration. After you make the cake freeze it for at least 30 minutes before frosting (I freeze mine overnight). This cake is soft and if you don’t freeze it, frosting it is impossible. I also find that doing a crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting) and then putting it back in the freezer for 30 minutes before fully frosting it is the best way to go. I know that can sound a little confusing so let me make it simple.
Bake and cool cake
Wrap cake tightly and freeze for at least 30 minutes
Apply a crumb coat
Put back into freezer for another 15-30 minutes
Top it off with the chocolate glaze
Got that? After I put on the chocolate glaze I put it in the refrigerator and let the frosting and chocolate set. Make this for the peanut butter lover in your life, they will be eternally grateful.
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. 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 stir 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.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.
Put into freezer for a least 30 minutes.
To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup of the peanut butter frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and apply crumb coat. Put back into freezer for another 15-30 minutes. Remove from freezer and use the remaining peanut butter frosting to frost the entire cake.
To decorate with the chocolate peanut butter glaze slowly drizzle the glaze just on the top of the cake. Using a spoon, slowly make circular motions around the top of the cake, starting in the middle and making your way to the edge of the cake. Once the glaze is at the edge keep using a circular motion to push the glaze in drips over the side.
Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving.
This is a very rich cake. Start with a small piece and a big glass of milk.
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth 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, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy- 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.
In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.