Category Archives: family

A Heavenly Anniversary Dessert

I learned from our first date over three years ago that food is the way to Beau’s heart!  So for our anniversary I wanted to make a special treat: Tiramisu!
I looked up gluten free recipes online but didn’t quite want to go through the fuss of piping batter to make lady fingers.  So I visited the best cooking website out there… and decided to use the tiramisu recipe that had the highest rating.  Lucky for me, the recipe suggested using white cake box mix as a base instead of lady fingers or a sponge cake.

I used 1 stick butter and 1 stick
margarine which worked
perfectly in the cake.
For my cake I used the yellow cake mix in Elizabeth Barbone’s “Easy Gluten Free Baking.”  This was the first time I used this recipe so I guess it was a bit of a daring move… but it turned out great!  Even the batter tasted yummy, which is saying something for gluten free batters lol.  In the second half of the batter I added instant coffee and a splash of amaretto since I didn’t have any coffee liquer.  Next time I plan on adding more instant coffee to give it more of a kick!

My two favorite Sous Chefs!!!

After the two 8-inch cakes cooled, I made the filling.  Instead of making a traditional mascarpone cheese filling, I used other’s suggestion on  I used two light cream cheese packages, 5 Tablespoons light sour cream, ½ cup heavy cream, and a few Tablespoons amaretto. 

The cooled cakes…mmm…smelled wonderful!
When you bake them, they colapse slightly
while cooling, but don’t worry, they’re
supposed to!

I wasn’t quite sure about the flavor so I added in some powdered sugar to try to get rid of the cream cheesy flavor.  When placed in between the cake layers, however, the cheese filling tasted great!  It contains a lot less fat and calories (and costs less than marscarpone!) so I think it’s a great substitute.  I think if one uses coffee liquer it will taste really super.

The next step in this recipe is the “frosting,” which is a lot more like stiff whipped cream.  Heavy cream, powdered sugar, and amaretto make an amazing frosting to cover the entire cake.  I could (and did) eat this stuff alone.  SO YUMMY!  And simple!  Took about 3-4 minutes to get the perfect consistency.  If you beat too long you risk making a buttery mixture.

At this point, Beau came home from work and I was so excited to show him what I was doing.  And then all of a sudden, he shouted, “Oh my god, look at the door!”  Ant-like nasty bugs were pouring out from underneath our back door.  It was disgusting!!!  So I left my baking creation unfinished and cleaned the inside of the house for the next hour or so while Beau went nuts spraying the outside of our house. 

Turns out it was a termite surge, which is common in spring.  Of course they decided to mate right in our backyard and spill into our super clean house.  Ahhh, so no worries, they didn’t get any where near my tiramisu!  The nasty little bugs died quite quickly after getting into the house anyways (and the bug guy said they are not harmful to people of animals).  

Well good news to all those bakers out there… both the filling and frosting mixtures keep their consistency if left out in room temperature for over an hour lol!  So if you get a bug infestation, they won’t melt!
Before I assembled the cake, I poked holes in the cakes (with my meat thermometer haha!) and poured coffee into them.  I suggest soaking them a little more than I did and adding a coffee liquer to make a more dramatic flavor.  Then I generously slathered on the filling, dusted some unsweetened cocoa powder, added the second cake, and covered the entire tiramisu in the frosting.  Lastly, I dusted the cake in cocoa powder and shaved/ chopped semi-sweet chocolate.

I suggest letting the tiramisu sit for at least a few hours in the refrigerator before digging in.  This cake was sooooo delish!  Perfect for any occasion.  And super easy to adapt to your own personal taste.  Mmmm.  I can’t wait to experiment with this recipe again!

Buon appetito!!!

The Passing of an Amazing Friend

I would like to take a moment to share the saddening news one of our dear friends passed away this Sunday.  Levi Masalin and his cousin James passed away Sunday from a tragic motorcycle accident.

Levi was an amazing friend, brother, and son; full of life, love, and laughter.  The moment you met Levi you felt at home and you had an instant friendship.  I loved his humor… he filled the room with laughter and happiness.  He was one amazing person that touched the hearts of all those he knew.  I am so thankful I was able to have known such a sweet and caring boy.  

During this heartbreaking time, I ask of you to keep the Masalin family in your thoughts and prayers.  They have reached out to so many and have become a second family to many coasties like Beau.  They are one of the most loving families I know.  Together we can help them pull through this trying time.

Upon hearing this saddening news, I immediately got to thinking how precious and delicate life is.  We need to live each day like it’s our last.  And we need to love each other unconditionally whether it be through saying “I love you,” giving a hug, or simply sharing a smile with a stranger.  Take time to do these things… Levi certainly did.

Dear Levi, you are missed and loved so much.  Rest peacefully in eternally happiness and love.

   Michelle & Beau

Levi with the boys at our wedding

Good ‘Ole Cajun Country

In recent light of the Mississippi River flood, I thought it was appropriate to write about Beau’s and I’s weekend trip into Cajun Country for Easter.  

On Good Friday Beau, our doggies, and I made the six and a half hour drive to Lakes Charles, LA.  We stayed at Brett’s house (Beau’s brother who’s stationed there for the CG), which he fixed up SO nicely.  The upgraded kitchen was sure my favorite!  While we were there we visited with Beau’s mom and Brett showed us the grand old tour around southwestern LA.   
Our Saturday kicked off with some great southern BBQ!  Well actually, it kicked off with Khloe eating a chocolate chip cookie laying on the side of the road.  
Here’s a pic of Miss Khloe taken around the beginning of 2011 for those of you who have yet to meet her!
I was taking the dogs on a morning walk and of course Khloe “the fatty” eats anything she can find on the side of the road.  I nearly had a heart attack and was terrified she’d just drop dead in the middle of the walk.  Thankfully she’s probably eaten everything possible and her stomach can process it!  Oh Khloe Khloe Khloe haha.  I love her!
Anyways, back to BBQ, Brett brought us to one of his favorite places, Dan’s BBQ, and I took his advice and ordered a loaded potato with brisket on top.  Mmmmmm!  The potato alone was probably the size of small butternut sqush and stuffed inside was bacon, chives, sour cream, cheese… and the brisket was so delicious!  Thankfully Beau was there to help me finish it off alone I have to admit I did quite a good job myself haha.  I think I might make this easy meal at home if we’re feeling like being fatties!
Later Saturday we visited the Cameron Prairie Refuge where saw a few alligators!  Unfortunately it was really windy so all the gators stayed in the water, but we saw a baby one that was on the grassy bank sunning itself.  It was quite a sight to see.  Next time I hope to see much bigger ones… but I’m sure I’ll be a little scared and Beau will get a kick out of that.
Alligator from Cameron Prairie:
Southern Louisiana is a pretty place…there are marshes and bayous and swamps everywhere.  It’s crazy to think that this whole area is now underwater.  While driving along the highway one will see little shacks among the banks, river houses, and small boats: home of the “Swamp People.”  No wonder LA is the crawfish capital- there’s so much water!  Beau and I decided, though, that unless someone is a complete outdoors person, there really isn’t too much else to do in southern LA.
Saturday night we enjoyed a delicious dinner Beau’s mom cooked… fresh salad, corn, steak, and crab.  Boy was it a feast! And before we left on Sunday, we brought all three dogs to a local dog park.  Finally Bama came out of her shell (she was terrified of Pepper, Brett’s 90 pound dog, the entire weekend!) and Khloe had a blast climbing on the doggie ramps and tunnels!  I need to find an adorable dog park close to us back home.
It was a short but sweet week!  Y’all should take a trip down into Cajun country and have some good eats!