Emma is growing up too fast.
Overnight, she has suddenly shown a very grown up interest in books. She asked to be read to constantly, sitting still and listening intently to the entire story. Whenever I notice that she has left the room and is no longer playing with Matthew, I often find her in one of the rocking chairs - either the one in the living room or next to her crib - sitting calmly while paging through a book (usually upside-down). She no longer abhors trips to the library, but rather enjoys them. While Matthew picks out the books he wants to take home, she will peruse the board books until something catches her eye. Last week, we ended up checking out a gigantic 500-page encyclopedia on domestic cats because it was filled with pictures of kittens and she insisted on bringing it home with her. I think the book is half her height. However, to her credit, she has spent quite a bit of time looking at it. When she found a picture of a cat that resembled our Riley, she started pointing at it enthusiastically while declaring: "Ryeee! Ryeee!" That is now her favorite page - it sports a gigantic wrinkle as a permanent memento of Emma's affection.
While I'm seriously enjoying reading to both kids (sometimes for what may seem like hours on end), I can't help but feel sad knowing that my little baby is no longer a baby! This time last year, she was still such a helpless little angel - still so new to the world! Now, it is honestly difficult for me to remember a time when she was not here!
|The normal bedtime routine: Prayers, story, screams, silence.|
However, now that she is growing up and becoming more of an equal to her big brother every day, I am able to truly enjoy the sibling interaction between them. I'm not talking about the fighting - even though that happens a lot and is often comical to me because they get so worked up about the most ridiculous things. I'm talking about real, bona fide sibling affection. For example, we were at Mass on Sunday and the two of them were sitting in the pew next to one another paging through the missalette. Suddenly, Emma wrapped her arm around Matthew and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He in turn gave her a hug which they held for several seconds. After they released their embrace, Matthew touched his forehead to Emma's and whispered: "I just love you, Emma." They did not know I was watching so I know it was not put on as a show for me. It was a truly sincere display of the affection they have for one another. My little mommy heart nearly burst with joy at the sight. Those little monsters might drive me crazy most of the time, but they are certainly my pride and joy.
|Guess which child was not afraid of the dinosaurs at this museum?|
But not my pride and joy when it comes to their hatred for everything I have been baking lately. Matthew was bugging me all week to make blueberry muffins with him. We finally got around to baking them - and had a grand time while doing so - but then Matthew just completely refused to even try his creation.
"No thank you, I just look at them!" he told me nonchalantly as Emma happily began gulping down her fourth muffin.
What is wrong with this kid? As much as I enjoy cooking and baking with him, I want him to also enjoy the end product. Now he is requesting to bake sugar cookies (with frosting!) but I'm pretty sure I'm going to ignore him for fear the same thing may happen again.
Matthew's pickiness is precisely the reason I have begun baking desserts with more adult tastes because, let's be honest, the kids are probably not going to touch it anyway! Which is why I made my very first tiramisu the other night! Now, I have never ever eaten tiramisu before so I have no idea how this version stacks up against other, more authentic variations. However, I can state with full confidence that this was ridiculously delicious! Paul and I were in heaven while stuffing our faces with this fantastic dessert -full of coffee, whipped cream, chocolate, and booze! I eventually broke down and sent the remainder of the pan into work with Paul because otherwise we would have finished off the whole thing and I'm not sure either of us could deal with the guilt! The pan returned empty with many compliments from Paul's co-workers. I am beginning to build up quite a fan base over there. What a contrast from the upturned noses I get from my children. I love feeding engineers.
This recipe will definitely be made again soon! I'm already thinking that it would be perfect as a non-traditional addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table or possibly a fantastic sweet ending on Christmas Eve!
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, As seen on Brown Eyed Baker
2½ cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder
6½ tablespoons Kahlua, divided
6 egg yolks
⅔ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold heavy cream, divided
24 ounces mascarpone cheese
14 ounces dried ladyfingers (savoiardi) - not the puffy, soft ladyfingers
3½ tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Stir coffee, espresso, and 2½ tablespoons Kahlua in a wide bowl or baking dish until espresso dissolves; set aside.
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat yolks at low speed until just combined. Add sugar and salt and beat at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1½ to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once or twice. Add ⅓ cup of the heavy cream to yolks and beat at medium speed until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds; scrape bowl.
Set the bowl with yolks over a medium saucepan containing 1 inch of gently simmering water; cook, constantly scraping along bottom and sides of bowl with heatproof rubber spatula, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir vigorously to cool slightly, then set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons Kahlua until combined. Transfer bowl to standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, add mascarpone, and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside.
In now-empty mixer bowl, beat the remaining cream at medium speed until frothy, 1 to 1½ minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat until the cream holds stiff peaks, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the whipped cream into mascarpone mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Set mascarpone mixture aside.
Working one at a time, drop half of ladyfingers into coffee mixture, roll, remove and transfer to 13 by 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. (Do not submerge ladyfingers in coffee mixture; entire process should take no longer than 2 to 3 seconds for each cookie.) Arrange soaked cookies in single layer in baking dish, breaking or trimming ladyfingers as needed to fit neatly into dish.
Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers; use rubber spatula to spread mixture to sides and into corners of dish and smooth surface. Place 2 tablespoons cocoa in fine-mesh strainer and dust cocoa over mascarpone.
Repeat dipping and arrangement of ladyfingers; spread remaining mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers and dust with remaining 1½ tablespoons cocoa. Wipe edges of dish with dry paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. Cut into pieces and serve chilled. Leftovers can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.