Monday, May 30, 2011


It's officially summer because school is out and the big news is that I have a roommate.  My sister Kiley is living here for the summer!  She has a job as a counselor for a kids' camp, which sounds like a blast.

I also recently had some visitors to my house.  My maternal grandparents and my parents came up for a weekend to help Kiley move in and for my grandparents to see my home.  We had a lot of fun and I enjoyed showing them around Lincoln and taking them to my favorite local restaurants. 

Last week I saw Wicked in Omaha with one of my best friends here and my sister.  It was fantastic!  Even better than I remembered and what a great day with friends.  After the show, we walked down to the Old Market area and found a restaurant for an early dinner.  Stokes was wonderful; we got to sit outside on the patio, take advantage of happy hour specials (like a raspberry mojito and ahi tuna tacos), and had great service.  We finished off the day with ice cream from Maggie Moo's and I have to say that the chocolate peanut butter was delicious. 

For Memorial Day weekend, we headed back home for a wedding reception and to celebrate my mom's birthday.  The reception was so much fun; it's always entertaining to go to a traditional hometown reception.  We also hit up the usual places like Taco Shop (yum!!!).  Kiley and I made a German chocolate cake from scratch for our mom's birthday from Trisha Yearwood's recipe.  It was amazing, but I would recommend making a little extra frosting.  

Trisha Yearwood's German Chocolate Cake
4 ounces sweet dark chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 medium egg whites
2 cups sugar
5 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken

For the coconut frosting:
1 cup sugar
4 medium egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed grated coconut
1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans, walnuts, or almonds
1/4 cup warm milk

  1. Prepare the chocolate by melting it in the top of a double boiler, stirring until it is smooth. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of the butter and stir until it is melted and blended. Add 1/4 cup of warm milk and stir until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. Line the bottoms only of three 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper, or grease each pan bottom only with solid shortening and dust lightly with flour. 
  4. Sift together the sifted and measured flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Whip the egg whites until stiff using the wire beater of the mixer. Transfer the beaten whites to a separate bowl and set aside.
  6. In the mixer bowl, cream the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and the vanilla. Mix well.
  7. With the mixer on very low, stir in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Do this by adding about a third of the flour and slowly stirring it in completely. Then add about half the buttermilk and stir it in. Continue adding flour and buttermilk in this manner, ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir again. With a long-handled spoon or spatula, fold and stir the beaten egg whites into the batter until the batter is smooth with no visible clumps of whites.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. Bake on the middle rack of the oven, allowing at least 1/4-inch clearance between the pans and the oven walls. The cake will rise above the pan edges as it bakes but will not spill over and will settle back down as it continues to bake. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pans and springs back to a light touch. Cool layers in the pans for about 8 minutes.
  9. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool layers completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting, combine the sugar, egg yolks, and evaporated milk in the top of a double boiler. Stir with a wire whisk until the yolks are fully incorporated. Add the butter. Place over simmering water and bring to a boil (see Note below). Simmer for 12-15 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Add the vanilla, coconut, and nuts. Cool.
  11. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand and spread with frosting. Frost each layer completely, top and sides, as it is added to the cake.
Note: You can also make the frosting in a regular saucepan, but be sure to stir it constantly, as it scorches quite easily. Also, you must use the finely grated fresh or frozen coconut, not canned or shredded, to be able to spread the frosting on the sides of the cake easily.

AND Kiley made incredible chicken enchiladas tonight!  Unfortunately, I didn't think of taking pictures until after we'd eaten, but they were great and super easy!

Sam's Mom's Chicken Enchiladas

3-4 chicken breasts, shredded
1 tub fiesta dip or jalapeno sour cream dip
1 tub sour cream
shredded cheese
Louisiana hot sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the fiesta dip and sour cream in a bowl.  Now you are ready to assemble!
  3. Spread a layer the sour cream mixture on a tortilla.  Now add chicken, hot sauce (to taste), and shredded cheese down the middle.  There are no specific quantities for each, we just make it look good. :)  Wrap the tortilla and put it in a 9x13 glass pan.  
  4. Repeat until the pan is full.  Put the remaining sour cream mixture on top and add a layer of shredded cheese.  
  5. Bake covered for 30 minutes; then remove the foil and back uncovered for 10 minutes.  Yum!