My husband won’t use bodywash. Only soap. He doesn’t like receiving gifts, so I thought that buying him something I know he likes would be the key.

Except I made the mistake of buying fancy soaps. They aren’t girly, but they are tropical, or minty, or (gasp!) moisturizing.

That’s not what he wants. He wants boring, blue, “squeaky clean” soap. The kind with names like Zest, or Irish Spring.

That’s okay with me, because the fancy soap I bought him from Lush smells amazing, and now it’s all mine. The best kind of gifts are the ones that keep on giving (to me).

Advertisements

No seriously, it really is. I managed to find a recipe for “That Chocolate Cake.” So perfect for me, right? And also really, really delicious.

I put on the Etsy apron That Husband gave me for my birthday a few years ago and got to work.

I know this is really unlike me, but I have no pictures of the cooking process. The focus of this project was the food, not the photography, although someday I hope to be good enough at it to take pictures at the same time. Also I hope to live in a place with better light. When we start apartment hunting next year I’m going to ask “Does it have light? I want to live somewhere with lots of light.”

I assembled all of the ingredients on my counter, and pulled up the recipe. I substituted Black and Green organic cocoa powder and Bakers 100% Cacoa unsweetened chocolate for the Scharffen Berger ingredients.

That Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • Unsalted butter and flour for pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Scharffen Berger unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

For the Cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Min in the eggs, oil, and milk.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.

For the Frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.

To Frost the Cake:

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

Serves 8 to 10

There was one disaster during the process, but crisis was averted when That Husband offered to run to the grocery store to pick up another pint of heavy whipping cream for a second attempt at the frosting. Don’t take your eyes off that boiling cream and sugar for even a moment. Not even if you think your favorite character on the TV show you are watching while you bake might be dying.

After the cakes had cooled I used a trick I learned from a fantastic baker I lived next to growing up. I cut as much of the crust off of the cake as possible. It makes the cakes look ragged before the frosting is applied, but it means that no one gets an “end” piece. Plus you get to eat whatever you cut off, kind of like a pre-cake snack.

I frosted the first layer and That Husband was ready to dig right in. “Get away!” I screeched. He didn’t realize that this was going to be a double layer delight.

Just so you know, I spent about 15 minutes attempting to clean up all the frosting on the rim of this plate so I could take this picture. So pretty! But I wanted to take things a step further.

When I decided to run a hot knife over the frosting to give it this shiny smooth look I wasn’t thinking about how hard it would be to photograph. I don’t think it looks very good in this picture, but after it was in the fridge for a day the shine wore off and it looked as delicious as it tasted.

Would I reccomend you make this cake? Heck yes! I was told by our friends that it was better than the cake they like to buy from a bakery they like to visit in their neighborhood. Success!

Don’t mind the slightly creepy Stepford wife look I have on my face. My eyes are trying to say to you “Did you sign for the challenge? Make that cake!”

Not just for the country, but for the space of That Wife as well!

I’m working on figuring out the domain thing, and the WordPress.org migration thing, and the building up an empire of bloggers that begin with “That” thing (you know, like That Husband, because he definitely needs a blog).

But every great empire must be built on a solid foundation, and it’s time to break some ground with some design tweaks.

Go ahead and give me some header feedback. Do you like it? Should I change it? What should I change it to? The little 60’s hairdo girl isn’t up for debate cuz I think she’s hot and you can’t ever make me think anything different.

Do you like any of the Kitchenaid icons below better than the one I currently have?

kitchenaid

I just have to be patient. Krakow wasn’t built in a day, you know?

“My parents want to give us something off of the registry for the wedding.”

A wedding registry gives a couple the chance to create a dream wish list. What does it mean when your Polish relatives want to get you something you haven’t already asked for?

This was before I knew about my FIL’s completely awesome knive/sword collection, and so I still didn’t quite understand what I was getting when I opened it the week before the wedding.

This knife, is my best friend in the kitchen. When I dice, it sings. When I slice, it purrs. Sometimes we disagree and my finger ends up red, but I know that I’m always in the wrong in these situations and I never swear in anger at my little friend. Mcusta is allergic to the dishwasher so I lovingly wash her by hand each day. It’s a love affair of epic proportions.

I assure you, this knife is as amazing as the photo I took of it.

I love this knife so much I keep it in the original wood box it came in. I left the purple ribbon tied around it for the first few weeks, but I later realized that was an exercise in ridiculousness.

If you are still using the Wal-mart knife set you got in college, you are past due for an upgrade.

Oh, and if you speak Japanese, I would love to know how to say her name.

Writing letter to the future is a very good idea.

I like clicking on the “View Public Entries” option to read the letters others have written.

Some are religious:

He has risen! Mark 16:6

Alleluia!

Some are letters written to others:

Dear Norman,

I stumbled upon this site while doing research for an article that I’m writing. Today’s date is February 1, 2005, and it’s approximately one o’clock in the afternoon. Outside, the sun is already starting its slow journey across the blue-stained sky. I was eating a plate of orange wedges earlier, wishing that you were here because you always eat the other half of the orange when I’m not looking…

Some are reminders:

Dear FutureMe, Hey you hows it going? im fine just drinking some Guiness thats on special offer at alldays (remember that TINY flat you and Kathryn used to live in, its from the one near there) Anyway the reason im sending this is I figured 35 (30 for Kathryn) would be a good time to start having kids so just saying well done if you have already or get on with it! if you dont . Anyway see you later (literally) good looking!
bye from me and kathryn (aged 24 and 19)

Wouldn’t it be lovely to get a letter from your past, reminding how you good thngs were? Or reminding you how bad they were and hoping for a better future?

I think I will have to begin writing some of my own.

I’ll share one with you:

Dear You,

Remember when you and That Husband used to turn to  each other on a regular basis and say “We’re married!”? And you said it because you were so ridiculously happy that you needed to make sure it was really true.

I hope you still do that.

Love, Me.

As soon as I heard seven-year-old Tarak McLain start to read his list on NPR I started to cry. By number 5 I was doing that little hiccuping thing I do when I know I am overreacting to something but I can’t help it. It took him 6 hours to compose  and the words are all his own. It’s one of the most touching “This I Believe” segments I’ve ever heard.

I think we learned yesterday that we don’t all agree. But I know we all believe.

I believe life is good.

I believe God is in everything.

I believe we’re all equal.

I believe we can help people.

I believe everyone is weird in their own way.

I believe hate is a cause for love.

I believe that when I meditate I feel peaceful.

I believe we should be generous.

I believe brothers and sisters should be kind to each other.

I believe kids should respect their parents.

I believe I should not whine.

I believe people should wake up early.

I believe people should go outside more.

I believe in nature.

I believe people should use less trees.

I believe we should help the Arctic and rainforest animals.

I believe people shouldn’t throw litter on the ground.

I believe people should not smoke.

I believe God is in good and bad.

I believe in magic.

I believe people should not give up.

I believe love is everywhere.

I believe that God helps us to have a good time.

I believe we live best in a community.

I believe we can protect people in danger.

I believe we should help the poor.

I believe it’s OK to die but not to kill.

I believe war should not have started.

I believe war should stop.

I believe we can make peace.

Today is apparently a day for me to write opinionated posts because I have one more for you.

I’m not as excited as most about the inaguration today. I won’t even be watching it. (This could also be because we don’t have any kind of broadcasting on our tv.)

I understand that there are some people who are overjoyed just because George W. Bush is gone. I will admit I am happy I won’t have to cringe over his grammar any longer.

But the overwhelming majority of people seem to be calling this inaguration “historic” because Obama is black. I may sound a tad conceited when I say this, but I have never had any problems with judging people because of the color of their skin or the country of origin. The people making a fuss over the color of his skin are likely people who would claim the same. They say they voted for him because of who he was, not because he was black, but if they don’t care about his skin color why do they keep bringing it up over and over?

I think I am going to hear two opinions in the comments: Many of you will reply and say that you celebrate his skin color because it indicates the enormous amount of progress that the United States has made since the era of civil rights. Others will say that having a black President proves that anyone can be President.

I’ve heard many references to the color of his skin, but I haven’t heard much about his credentials and what he will do for the country (except coming from Obama’s own mouth).

Martin Luther King said:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

If we turn Obama into “The Black President” and judge all his successes and failures as those of the black man who once ruled the free world, are we really living “The Dream”?

At the beginning of our marriage I was so naive. Previously, I thought when people asked if/when I wanted to have kids that they were looking for an honest answer. Innocent and smiling I would say “I wish I had one right now.” I’ve since learned that telling the truth often leads to exclamations of shock or negativity from the listener.

“You are so young!”

“You should wait two or three years before you do that.”

“You need to take time for yourself to enjoy your marriage!”

“Having kids, period, is a mistake.” (Seriously, people have said this!)

Frankly, the more I hear responses in this vein, the angrier I become. What right do these people have to tell me what to do with my own cervix? What right do they have to judge my desire to sacrifice my body, time, and money to bring new life into the world and the timeline in which I decide to do so? Should I text you each morning I successfully swallow the pink pill so you can rest assured I will continue to enjoy my marriage for at least one day longer?

Don’t ask me the question if there is only one reply you want to hear. Rather, whisper to your husband about the time That Husand and I are losing to enjoy ourselves, while you sleep in your lonely apartment and judge me behind my back when you hear I am pregnant 6 months into the marriage. Hold onto your views that kids are to be tolerated as an expensive inconvenience several years into the marriage after the mortgage is paid off and careers are further developed. Whatever you do, don’t take one moment to consider that I might have different priorities in my life.

water birth

Many of you say this to others and think you are doing them a service. You waited, so they should too! Or maybe you didn’t wait and now your life is ruined and you want to prevent me from making the same mistake. I’m not quite sure what I am supposed to be waiting for at this point. I have the husband (and his best swimmers), the necessary funds, the mental competence, and my body has been telling me how ready it is on a monthly basis for over 10 years now.

So tell me, other than a reason to “enjoy life” for awhile, why should I wait? Some people told me I should wait to get married also. I’m going to go ahead and say that they were wrong.

I’m going to propose something new. Let’s leave the talk of should we/shouldn’t we to the couple. Let’s stop asking if people are “trying”. You tell me that instead of desiring a child I should be exploring other areas of my life, so ask me about them.What do I like to do in my spare time? Where do I work? If I could have dinner with any three people in the world, who would it be?

Unless you want to hear me say “I’d be pregnant last week if it were completely up to me,” just don’t ask.


(In case you didn’t catch it, my deepest desire is to have a baby. Not to have people stop criticizing me for wanting to do so. Though both would be ideal.)

What are you doing on here? Seriously, stop reading this post and find a way to better celebrate Martin Luther King day. You can come back and finish catching up on the life of That Wife at work tomorrow (don’t deny it, I know most of you are usually getting paid while you read my blog at the office).

This week I’ll be talking about chocolate cake, babies, my husbands affinity for soap, and a few delicious things I’ve been cooking lately.

But for now, I suggest we all relax.

So apparently you are still here reading. Well fine. Go ahead and tell me what you did/are doing with your free day. Or what you wish you were doing. Maybe it will give me some good idea for what we can do for President’s day next month.

Last week I talked about where we came from, this week we I’ll cover why we are here and the first step in where we are going.

plandeathandjudgementpost1

Birth/Veil

If we lived with God before we were born and were presented with this wonderful plan, why don’t we remember it? In the LDS church we refer to this as “passing through the veil” at birth. This “veil” prevents us from remembering what happened before birth. It is common for members of the church, when describing spiritual experiences to say “the veil was very thin”, etc.

Mortal Life

Once we have passed through the veil we are in the stage of the Plan called mortal life. We are all born with the Light of Christ, what many people refer to as a conscience. This Light influences us to seek for truth and righteousness in our lives.

I’ve spent a little bit of time studying faiths other than my own, and I believe that one thing almost all religions have in common is a belief that there are things we must do in this life to achieve hpapiness (whether that happiness occurs in this life or the next, or both). Through the prophet Joseph Smith, who restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, all of the commandments necessary to achieve that happiness have been revealed. We not only need to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but we must receive the necessary ordinances to live with Him again. Ordinances are sacred formal acts where we make promises to God and receive promises from Him in return.

In this mortal life it is necessary to receive the ordinances of baptism (symbolizing a new life and commitment), confirmation to receive the Holy Ghost (to receive divine help in following Jesus Christ), receiving the priesthood (the authority for men to perform ordinances and lead the church), the endowment, and being sealed to family and spouse. These ordinances are only available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I will  describe each these ordinances in detail in future posts.

Spirit World

After death all the spirits of all of those who have ever lived upon the earth are sent to the Spirit World. The Spirit World is not Heaven in the traditional Christian sense of the word. It is where souls reside until they can be judged according to their works and sent to the appropriate Kingdom of God to reside for eternity.

Where is the Spirit World? We don’t know exactly, but the prophet Joseph Smith said that those who have died “are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith”. Prophet Brigham Young stated “Where is the spirit world? It is right here.”

What are the spirits like? Spirit beings have the same bodily form as mortals except that the spirit body is in perfect form (see Ether 3:16). Isn’t it exciting to think that all of the scars and battle wounds we have developed in this life will be eliminated when we die? In the Spirit World we will all have the same thoughts, attitudes, and feelings that we do on earth. (see Alma 34:34). We will have the same appetites and desires that we had when we lived on earth. All of our spirits will be in adult form. We were adults before mortal existence, and we will be in adult form after death, even if we were to die as infants or children.

What do we do in the Spirit World? Those who have received all of the necessary ordinances during mortal life are busy with the work of the Lord. Those were not given the chance to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept it are given the chance to do so at this time. Those who rejected the Gospel during Mortal Life, and/or those who reject it in the Spirit World will suffer for their sins because they did not accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ, an act which paid for the sins of all men, eliminating the need for us to suffer for our own mistakes.

I know the Gospel to be true, but sometimes it is difficult to essentially convey the message “This is the only way you can do it.” After thinking about this for a while, thinking about telling this to so many people that I respect and admire I felt a little bit stumped. Then I remembered what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7:13-14:

13 ¶ Enter ye in at the astrait bgate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to cdestruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because astrait is the bgate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto clife, and few there be that find it.

This is not my Gospel, it is His. The necessity of these ordinances makes the work we do in the Temple of the Lord even more meaningful. We go back to the temple over and over to give those living in the Spirit World the opportunity to accept or reject the Gospel. How majestic is this Plan that provides all the spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven the opportunity to choose to live with him again!