Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Torte

I'm mostly posting this recipe for my friend Kelly, who loves all things chocolate and rich :)  I made this while Matt's family was visiting when they all came over one night.  This is hands down the RICHEST and most diet unfriendly dessert I've ever made :)  In fact, I cut this tort into 20 pieces and could not even finish one whole piece.  I dare you to try it :)  It's soooooo yummy!!!!

The original recipe I found online called for a chocolate crust, and I modified and made a graham cracker crust instead, and I'm glad it did, it went well together. 

Chocolate Ganache Torte Recipe

Ingredients

The Shell
  • One package graham crackers
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Melted butter (1/4 cup or less)
  • 9 inch spring-form pan
The Filling
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of the best available semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, well chopped into small pieces (use brick chocolate, not chips)... I actually only had half good chocolate, so I used chocolate chips for the rest, and it turned out just fine.
  • More melted butter (up to one stick or 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup (or more) heavy whipping cream
The Sauce
  • Melted butter (one stick, a 1/2 cup, or a bit more)
  • Cane sugar (a pound or less)
  • Heavy whipping cream (1 cup - or more)

Method

1 Prepare the crust. Use a food processor to chop up the grahmn crackers and nuts.  Mix with 1/4 cup sugar and melted butter. Press this into the spring-form pan (along the bottom and halfway up the sides). Bake in oven at 350°F for 12-14 minutes, put aside.
2 While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In double boiler melt the butter and then add the chocolate. When chocolate is swirl-able, slowly add the whipping cream, stirring slowly, until mixture is blended and smooth. Pour mixture into the prepared shell. Refrigerate for at least four hours.
3 Prepare the sauce before serving (the sauce, served warm, should accompany the torte, served cold.) Melt butter over fairly high heat. Add sugar until saturated (the heat must be high enough for the sugar to dissolve; when no more will dissolve, the solution is saturated). Stirring only occasionally, let the mixture “burn” just enough to turn into a rich caramel. Add the cream, stirring briskly until well blended and smooth. Strain if necessary for smoothness.
4. If you want to be extra decadent like we were, you can also put a dollop of freshly whipped whipping cream on top :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Since we were looking all spiffy and coordinated I had to do a little photoshoot before we headed over to Matt's parent's house :)  I actually loved how these turned out.

This is such a natural and real smile of Ethan.  I love it.


 My silly girl

 A rare picture of both of my kids looking and smiling :)


 I set my camera on another chair and used the self timer to get a shot of all of us.  My trick to get the kids to look and smile...
I told them to "find the blinking light and laugh at it", haha.
It worked!






 We had around 22 people (kids included) for Thanksgiving at Matt's parents house.  My mom and my brother joined us and all of Matt's siblings were there.  It was such a fun day.  This was the most relaxing holiday we've had since having kids.  We didn't have a baby to chase after, and Ethan spent the entire day playing nicely with his cousins, it was awesome.  We even got to sit and play an entire game of Cranium with Mike and Heather.... we hadn't played a game like that since before having kids!  It was a great day :)

We had quite the spread!  In addition to the turkey that Marlene made,  Matt had smoked two pork butts the previous day.




Me and my mom and my bro

This was quite possibly the most hilarious moment of the day...
when my mom and I played teatherball.
I have not laughed so hard in a long time.
I also had not played teatherball since grade school :)
My mom was quite the worthy opponent and we had a very competitive game!~
We were both out of breath, and I forgot how much physical activity is actually involved in teatherball!

I played my brother too

I love this picture that Matt took of our brother in law Mark


 The dog even plays teatherball!

 Four of the cousins playing outside. They had a blast roaming around Grandma and papa's huge backyard (they have an acre).  They all found sticks.  You would never know it was freezing that day since they didn't have jackets, lol.  The cold doesn't bother you when you're a kid and running around.

 My bro

My mom reading to Alayna.

Marlene and Annette

What a blessed Thanksgiving :)
To be together with family is so wonderful.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Day Out With Thomas


A couple weeks back Matt's parents treated us and his brother's family to "A Day out with Thomas".  It took place at the train museum in Perris and it was so cute.  We all got to take a ride on Thomas, ride trollies, a caboose, and look at all of the cool old trains in the museums.  Ethan loved it all (as did Matt, hehe).  My favorite part was definitely the cool trains in the museums.


We all got to take a ride on a train pulled by Thomas.  The kids loved it :)


I just love the look of awe on his face as he looks out the window (this was a trolly we rode).







This was the old caboose we rode.  The kids got to ride up at the very top... so fun.

Ethan and Clayton.  Clayton is 16 months older than Ethan.




Can you see the reflection of the trains in my glasses?



What a fun day!
Thank you so much Sid and Marlene for taking our family!

A Perfect Fit

 I try not to complain too much about Ethan, or really go into specifics about my difficulties with him, because I don't want him to look back through my blog books one day and focus on those kinds of posts.  With that being said, he is a challenge :)  I used to beat myself up over how hard I thought he was, and thought I just must not have been a good mom... and then I had Alayna and realized how truly different children can be, even with the same parenting.  I realized that I am doing my best, and that is all I can do.  God made him who he is and instead of constantly trying to fight it (which I still find myself doing at times), and wish he were different, I just need to love him and work with him and appreciate him for who he is.

I was having a particularly hard day with Ethan the other week and then one of the blogs I read (thank you Salt and Nectar) posted this quote, and boy did it ever resonate with me... in a big way.  It's been running through my head constantly.  Just thought I'd share it.  I'm thinking I need to print it and put it in my purse :)

“Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be.” - Joan Ryan





God gave us the children we have because He thought we were the perfect fit for them.  Parenthood is most certainly the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.  I must surrender my heart and my selfish desires to God on a daily basis and pray that I can model His love to my children.

Friday, November 18, 2011

LA County Fair

I recently popped in my memory card from my point and shoot camera, and found these pictures from back in September.  We took the day off and met up with the Flores Family at the LA County Fair.  Our kids had a blast. Outings like that are so much more fun now that our kids are old enough to enjoy it and can survive the day without a nap. 

We had fun watching the pig races, eating some junk food, looking at all the animals and displays, watching a few horse races and just hanging out.  Ethan's favorite part was when I took him on the sky ride.  He was in heaven. 


2 weddings in a row

We had two of our friends get married two weekends in a row back in October.

The first one was the wedding of Jen Dahlin and Quenten Leenstra.  They got married up at the Arrowhead Springs Resort.  It was so much fun for me to be back up there.  I have SO many childhood memories from that place.  I only had my point and shoot with me, so I just took a few snapshots of us and our friends.  I didn't even try to get a picture of the bride and groom.  I figured I'd leave that to the people with the big cameras :)


The next weekend we had the wedding of David and Caitlyn at the Serendipity Gardens in Oak Glen.  David and Caitlyn are part of our weekly dinner small group.  The weather was perfect and it was a gorgeous place.  We had so much fun sipping wine, dancing, and having grown up conversation ;) 
It's not often we get to get dressed up all snazzy two weekends in a row!  :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

A few scenes from a day through a wide angle...

 A few scenes from Sunday evening through a wide angle lens...


Playing with Legos



Playing with toys and creating messes

Dance party....
us Hekmans love a good dance party.
Matt was practicing with the flash :)


What's up?

Hmmmm....
what's wrong with this picture?


Oh, you mean you didn't notice the 4 year old boy wearing his sister's play high heels?
  
I thought everyone rode a scooter in high heels!

He looks like a giant from this angle!

Matt took this.... I like it.
Our house through the branches of one of our California Redwood trees.

 Dump trucks are always in action around here....


Wide angle lenses are fun...
I was sad to have to mail this one back.
It was the Canon 17-55 2.8 (not an L series but still pretty awesome).
We rented it to use at our wedding this weekend, it was fun to play with.