What’s Been Happening Around Here

The last time we got together

for a book discussion we had read Traveling in Southern France which I wrote a little about here.

I mentioned that an old time (not OLD old) member had moved away and we had a new baby.  Unfortunately for us, Amanda had the baby and she’s the one who moved away, so we no longer have Amanda or a baby!

Dianne's newest grandbaby

Dianne’s newest grandbaby

Amanda and baby at yoga class

Amanda and baby at yoga class

Amanda happens to be Dianne’s daughter

so baby Eva is Dianne’s most recent granddaughter!  All will soon be fine again because Brianne is expecting—so more babies (baby I mean).

Now Dianne has stayed busy.  Right before she went to visit and took the photos above we met at the Highlands Tavern in Denver for her 60th birthday celebration!

No book to discuss--just birthday lunch and cake to eat

No book to discuss–just birthday lunch and cake to eat

You can’t see it down there on the end (by Dianne on the left)

but…..

Jean baked a scratch cake AND it was chocolate.

It was so delicious that after we sent the waitress back to the kitchen with a piece she came back and copied Jean’s phone number so she could get the recipe.  That adorable girl on the right is not in book club but we were thrilled to have her join us; she’s a budding entrepreneur and told us all about plans to expand her mom Laura’s (front left) gluten free bakery business.

Celeste gets out to lunch where she won't have to clean up after all of us!

Celeste gets out to lunch where she won’t have to clean up after all of us!

Here are Celeste (L) and Dianne (R) –aren’t they gorgeous?  How old/young is your book club?  Do you have any babies around?

Jean’s High Altitude Chocolate Cake

Quick, Moist Chocolate Cake/ High Altitude Recipe
From Mrs. Haney of North Denver, mother of 10  (1980’s)

2 c. flour
1 3/4 c.  sugar
2 tsp. soda (or slight bit less)
1/4 or 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. oil
1 c. buttermilk  (can make your own by putting about 3 tbsp. lemon juice
or vinegar in 2% or whole or even skim milk–let sit 4 minutes)
2 eggs (or 1 whole egg plus 1 egg white)
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. baking cocoa
——————————————-
Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes in a 9 X 12 greased and floured baking pan.
(Batter may seem thinner than other cake batters with the water and oil, but it comes out great!)
——————————————-
The Denver Post had a similar recipe in 1990, and added the following baking variations:
bake 2  9-inch round pans in 375 oven 30 minutes,    OR  cupcakes for 20 minutes.

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Updated: Banana Sorbet for Movie Night

At Least We’re Here is a women’s book club!  Read more about it here

I just updated this post so I can include it in the Chocolate Party!!   A group of bloggers (including Veronica at My Catholic Kitchen) hosts the party and each month chocolate and 1 other ingredient must be used in the recipe.  When I saw that this month’s 2 ingredients are ice cream and chocolate I knew my Banana Sorbet with Chocolate Sauce would be perfect.  I am by no means a food blogger or photographer, so it’s a real treat to join in this month.   Roxana is the mastermind behind Chocolate Party and if you want to join on Twitter look for #chocolateparty.

We had a movie night recently.

Amy found a BBC production of the Alice Ellis novel we read, Unexplained Laughter.  It stars Diana Rigg as the emotional train wreck of a main character: Lydia.  Rigg was perfectly cast in this part.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie which followed the plot faithfully even though I wasn’t that crazy about the book.

Movie-Unexplained-Laughter

Movie night at Dianne’s home: Diana Rigg stars as Lydia in Unexplained Laughter.

The food was amazing as usual.   Dianne recently returned from a fabulous trip to Poland, galavanting around in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II, and she wisely chose to serve a mouth-watering Polish Sausage entree.

Sorry there are no photos of all the food.  I am the world’s worst photographer, because although I brought along my iPad for photos I only remembered to take pictures after dinner– during the movie.  Too eager to drink wine and eat appetizers I think.  I even neglected to record the dessert I’m blogging about so I made it again for the photos here.

The Banana Sorbet

is a combination of several recipes for Banana Sorbet that I found on the internet, and it includes a few changes in measurements so I think it is almost my very own creation.  The Chocolate Sauce is more or less found on the internet as a “Magic Shell” type of ice cream sauce that hardens over the frozen creaminess.

Pureed bananas are sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon and a smaller amount of nutmeg

Pureed bananas are sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon and a smaller amount of nutmeg

This dessert is so light and easy! 

The amounts aren’t exact but I’m giving you enough of an idea so it should work fine, and I really don’t think there is a way to mess it up too much.

I am waiting for a (sigh) new chopping blade for my food processor so I just took a regular mixer and beat 4 ripe bananas until smooth.  I added a pinch of salt, about 1/2 cup of simple sugar syrup (boil equal parts of water and sugar together and let cool), a big shake of cinnamon (about 1 tsp) and a small shake of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp) and blended it all together.

Beat in some coconut milk and simple sugar syrup

Beat in some coconut milk and simple sugar syrup

Now don’t blink or you might miss this whole recipe.

I poured in about 1/2 can coconut milk and beat again and it was ready to freeze!  Yes that’s it, really.  I stuck it in the freezer and about 2 1/2 hours later I stirred it; about 2 1/2 hours after that I plopped it in a big bowl of ice and headed to Dianne’s house.

The Magically Delicious Chocolate Sauce

Next break up a 70% dark chocolate bar and gently melt using your preferred method: double boiler or microwave–and stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil and butter.  When you pour the sauce over any frozen confection it will harden.  If you leave out the butter it will be much tougher to break through with a spoon (which is what I did for Book Club; left out the butter I mean).

Chocolate_Sauce

Add the Chocolate Sauce and serve!

#chocolatepartyHere are the rules for adding your recipe to the Chocolate Party:

1.) Blog about your chocolate treat. Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose. It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake, the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.

2.) Include a link back to a monthly round-up or the Chocolate party page.  Optional, add the Chocolate Party logo in your blog post or on your sidebar.

3.) Your recipe must be published during the current month. Please do not link old recipes, they will be deleted.