Category Archives: birthday

Hershey Bar Cake

Yesterday was my last day working for Boulder County Parks and Open Space. The seasonal position started in April and ended in October so I knew it wasn’t forever going in but it is still sad to say goodbye. I loved everything about working there; my co-workers are all wonderful, caring people and my work was interesting and varied. I learned a lot about myself this summer and a lot about what kind of work I’d like to pursue in the future. They say when one door closes another one opens and behind the second door there’s cake! (That transition was a little forced, sorry)

I made this cake for my mom’s birthday because it’s her favorite since she was a little girl. This is quite possibly the best chocolate cake recipe ever in the history of ever. Just sayin’.

Also, I lost a lot of pictures when I did an update to my phone so unfortunately the pictures of her birthday party were among those that have gone missing. ūüė¶

Ingredients:

  • 6 (1.55 ounce) Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
  • 1-1/2 cups Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract¬†

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Set aside. 
In a microwave safe bowl combine the candy bars and the syrup. Microwave in increments until melted stirring occasionally. Set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. 
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Add melted chocolate, beating well. 
In another bowl, combine flour and baking soda. 

Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk to sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition. 
Add vanilla. 
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). 
Bake for 45 minutes.
Then cover with aluminum foil and cool in pan for 15 minutes. 
Turn over onto wire rack. 
Dust with powdered sugar, frost it, drizzle with icing or leave it. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
“This cake has a hole in it.”
“You fixed it!”

I’m Back! (and hopefully for good this time)

Every website I’ve ever read about blogging says to never tell your readers that you took a break from writing because they either didn’t notice and now realize or they did notice and don’t need you to tell them. But it felt weird for me to return to the blog-osphere without at least addressing the multitude of changes that have occurred in my life. First, I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Rangeland Ecology concentrating on Restoration Ecology in December.

Here’s me standing next to the portrait of the founder of Warner College of Natural Resources

I moved back to my hometown and I got a job as a hostess and expeditor at FATE Brewing Company in January. They opened in February in Boulder, CO and I have loved working here and making new friends.

This photo is from their website

In April, I visited Portland, OR…

…with my mom, Debbie…

This is at a lovely breakfast place called Cheryl’s.

…and my best friend, Alyssa, and her mom, Wendy.

This photo of Alyssa and I is taken outside our hotel, Hotel D’Luxe

We sampled some local cuisine and toured and fell in love with the city.

Voodoo Doughnut

Also in April I started my second job with Boulder County Parks and Open Space. I am working in Education and Outreach, which means I get to go hiking in Boulder County at least twice a week talking to people about nature and the like. And they pay me to do that.

This is me in my uniform.

I also get to eat lunch with adorable critters like this Eastern Fence Lizard

…enjoy the beautiful wildflowers like this Rocky Mountain Columbine

…and churn butter, do laundry by hand, play games while dressed up like a 19th century prairie woman (Summer Heritage Event next Saturday 07/20 at 5:30pm at Walker Ranch).

On June 6th, I turned 23 years old, and was lucky enough to celebrate with my family and friends.

In June, I pet sit for the two most entertaining hounds I’ve ever met.

The black on is Stella and Hank is the brown one

 And just last week at the beginning of July I visited my best friend Kristen in L.A., CA (Hermosa Beach)

This is Kristen and I at the only winery we made it to (we meant to go to more but you forget things like that when you share a bottle of wine).
In Venice Beach we tried to match the cover of the Jack’s Mannequin album Everything in Transit
The fish market at Redondo Beach

So far it’s been a fabulous year. Except for the part when I got attacked by a wild turkey. That was one of those times when I wish I were on a reality television show because I bet it would be hilarious to watch now that the trauma has (sort of) worn off.

So I guess that’s the end of this post, you’re all caught up now and you can look forward to a post with a new workout on Workout Wednesday and a post about buttermilk cake on Food Fun Friday.

What’s that you say? You want to hear the story about the turkeys? Well okay if you insist.

It all started back when I was about 5 years old. A goose at the Denver Zoo bit me and ever since I have had an irrational fear of large birds in particular, but birds in general as well. They fly by, near your face and eyeballs, with those sharp beaks and gouging claws. Let’s not forget how closely they are related to dinosaurs like T-Rex. And then I saw that Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds and it was all over.

But recently, due to my job with BCPOS most likely, I have had to make peace with this fear. I have started observing birds in the wild (instead of avoiding eye contact) and found humor in some of their actions. I was even was able to see the cuteness of a goose when I saw these goslings at Walden Ponds, east of Boulder.

One fine day I was patrolling at Heil Valley Ranch, just west of Longmont, CO. I was on the Lichen Loop enjoying the slight breeze and the gentle sunshine. I came across a group of wild turkeys. They were nesting in this area so I’d heard them in the distance on prior trips and had even seen them from a distance but this group was just off the trail.

They are the strangest looking birds, with the wrinkled, sagging skin around their heads and necks and they make sounds that I can only describe as a gurgling metallic bleat (whatever that means). I observed them, and took a few pictures as they walked away from me. Then I set off to continue my hike. The end.

Just kidding…

I was barely past the larger group of turkeys when I saw and heard a patch of western wheatgrass near the trail rustle. It startled me but I figured it must have been the wind. Regardless, I turned to look more closely and saw the feathers of another turkey. She had flattened herself to the ground probably out of fear of the strange creature that had approached her with quick, noisy footsteps. I turned to leave her alone but she decided it was time to protect herself (and her chicks).

In one swift movement she had made herself as large as she could by throwing her wings out and over her back and was merping (another turkey sound) her head off. I yelled in a frightened sort of way, which might not have helped the situation. Then in what I can only assume was an effort to make herself more aerodynamic she put down her wings down close to her body, lowered her head and charged toward me. I circled around a rock because I didn’t know what else to do (probably smart as since I’ve heard that turkeys have been know to puncture car tires so there’s no telling how my bare legs would hold up).

She reversed her charge and came back around the rock from the other side, still in the same head-down, wings-in position. My memory is a little fuzzy but I remember being chased around this rock multiple times before I began my mad sprint down the mountain, (away from the trail in the direction I wanted to go, toward the bit of trail I had come in on) backpack bouncing up and down.

She chased me about 20 yards in a herding matter and all the while I am hollering and yelping. I don’t know if she exactly intended to chase me right toward where her chicks were cheeping around on a bare patch in the grass, but I was forced to leap over them. I counted about three, possible four, adorable balls of fluff and feathers as I careened by/over them. My radio, clipped to my backpack belt, broke and fell, lost in the tall grasses. My ponytail fell out of its fasten as my hat blew off my head. I snatched the hat out of the air before it was carried away on the wind.

She stopped on a boulder, like a sentinel, ensuring I was gone for good. Then in a panicky way she scurried around collecting the oblivious chicks. I made it back to the trail with adrenaline, fear and sadness pulsing through my veins, tears splashing down my cheeks. I knew it was no good to go forward so I turned around and went back, defeated by a turkey.

And that is the end. Except I did end up finding the radio. I know that was concerning all of you very much; a poor radio left out in the rain with mad, wild turkeys on the loose.

Tell me about your experience with wildlife, domestic animals, children in the comments below.

ACDC – Apple Cake Disastrous Conundrum

 
My grandmother’s birthday was on October 17th. Before her birthday we were discussing what kind of cake she would like and I brought up the pumpkin shaped cake, which uses to bundt cakes. She loved this idea but requested that instead of pumpkin flavoring it be an apple cake with cream cheese icing. I said I’d make it, how hard could baking in a bundt cake be?

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 eggs¬†
  • 2 cups sugar¬†
  • 1/2 cup applesauce¬†
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla¬†
  • 2 cups flour¬†
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt¬†
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda¬†
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon¬†
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg¬†
  • 4 cups diced peeled apples¬†

I made the applesauce first (a few days before). It’s basically the same process as making Apple Butter only this time I didn’t add spices because I wanted plain, sugar-free applesauce. I used lemon juice to keep the apple from getting too discolored and I didn’t cook it as long as for the apple butter.

Beat eggs until light and fluffy.

Gradually add sugar,

applesauce,

and vanilla.

Into a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Stir into first mixture.

Core, peel and chop apples before stirring them in.

Grease a 12″ bundt cake pan. I mean seriously grease it, maybe use flour too… Then pour in batter to about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350¬į for 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then cry when it falls apart and you realize how badly you just failed.

Make batter again. This time pour into two 8″ round pans. Bake at 350¬į for 45 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then LEAP for JOY because it doesn’t fall apart. Cool completely before spreading with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 pkg.(3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth.

Sing Happy Birthday, blow out the candles and make a wish. Happy Birthday Grandma!

Now what am I going to do with the rest of these apples?