I found myself immediately transformed into a traffic cop as I held out both hands and practically threw myself into the “after-school pick-up” traffic to avoid having my 5-year-old hit by on-coming cars as he obliviously skipped across the street toward me. His eyes were shining. His “too-big” back-pack was jostling wildly up and down on his back. His smile…melt-your-heart big.
“Mom! Mom!” he cried out. “Guess what?”
“What, sweetie?” I said to him while wrapping my arm around his shoulders and pulling him over to the side with me.
“Best day ever!”
“Today was the 100th day of school!”
He then launched into a dissertation on why that 100th day was “Best Day Ever.” Top of the list was the half-eaten Fruit Loop necklace he wore around his neck. One hundred Fruit Loops, strung onto a piece of yarn and divided into groups of tens by squares of black paper.
“And, Mom, I finished my “neck-a-lace” first. Other people said they did but they didn’t. Not really.”
He continued to chatter as we drove home. Recounting the other 100th Day of School activities they had been doing in class. Collecting 100 things. Sorting 100 things. And then, counting out 100 cheerios, 100 raisins and 100 chocolate chips for the 100th day snack. The pinnacle of the 100th Day celebration.
And it made me think, 100 of anything, is quite substantial. Meaningful even. 100 days. 100 dollars. 100 yards. 100 years. 100 La Pomme de Portland posts.
And since this here post marks my 100th, I decided that it deserved its own little celebration. The kind of “Best Day Ever” celebration. It seems so long ago that I wrote that first one.
So, I baked a cake. A chocolate cake. From a box. With a few extras. Just because. And took pictures. Trust me it’s delicious. The Rooster couldn’t get over his good luck when he arrived home from work and found it sitting on the kitchen table.
And no it’s not low-fat, calorie-free or rich with whole grains but sometimes we can’t worry about that. Sometimes we simply need to enjoy what we’re eating because it tastes delicious. And because we’re celebrating. Or as those fancy French folks would say, “pour le plaisir.” So go on. Go make it. Celebrate with me.
And then as a little gift for you, I have created a list of inspiration (which ended up taking me a lot longer than I thought and hence the reason why this post did not go out last week at its regularly scheduled time.)
One hundred inspirational sites that I visit regularly. Sometimes for the recipes, sometimes for the beautiful photographs, other times for the bits of relevant information or simply because of the person behind the site.
This list is not exhaustive. There is so much talent out there on the web. It’s impossible to capture it all in one list. But I hope my one hundred may inspire you and lead you on to find your one hundred.
You will always find my list at the top of my site under the tab “Inspiration” and I will rotate the sites on the list as time goes by and new bits of inspiration are discovered.
And last, but certainly not least, I send out to each of you one hundred thank you’s. Thank you for reading. For growing along with me from 30 friends, to one hundred, to one thousand, to two thousand and more every month. Really and truly. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. You mean the world to me. I don’t take for granted the precious time that you kindly spend here on La Pomme. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.
A “Chocolate Times One Hundred” Cake
My dear, talented sister, Courtney Cook Hopp, passed this recipe on to me years ago. It’s easy. It’s a winner and it never fails to taste incredible. Perfect for celebrations. Plus, since I’m not much of a baker, as in “cake baking,” this recipe takes away the angst of “Will the cake be moist?” It always is.
I was inspired to garnish the cake with bits of greenery from the woods after reading this fascinating article written by our local Oregonian FOODday staff writer, Leslie Cole. Of course, all I could find in my woods were soggy Nerf accessories and a broken badminton racket so I ended up using some French tarragon from my herb garden that is just starting to pop up for spring. Furthermore, if, after reading the above article, you find yourself completely enamored with the foraging concept, here’s another good read. This article written by our own Kathleen Bauer of Good Stuff NW.
1 box Devil’s food cake mix (fine with or without “pudding in the mix”)
1 5.9 oz box instant chocolate pudding
1 1/4 c water
1/2 c oil
2 c chocolate chips, divided (semi-sweet or dark, your choice)
1/2 c whipping cream
Optional: powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
Combine the first 5 ingredients (cake mix through eggs) and beat with a mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for about 55 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn cake out onto a metal rack to finish cooling.
Once cake has completely cooled, make your ganache. Put your remaining cup of chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, carefully bring your cream just to a boil. Slowly pour over your reserved chocolate chips. With a spatula, gently stir the chips and cream until they blend together. You can let it sit at room temperature for up to 10 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. Then, spoon over your cooled cake.
As another option, you can pass on the ganache and simply sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar. I like to put my powdered sugar in a sieve and then gently press it through the sieve with the back of a spoon. This leaves a fine, even spread of the sugar on the cake.
PS: I like to pop my pieces of cake in the microwave for about 10 seconds. It softens up the chocolate chips and….yum.
In Case You’re Trying to Stay Away from the Box….
Check out these lovely posts, featuring cakes made from scratch.
- Ashley over at Not Without Salt made a Homemade Rainbow Chip Cake. Who knew you even could?
- Hannah has a Browned Butter Cake with Cinnamon Chocolate Frosting going on at her lovely Honey and Jam site.
- Here is charming Molly’s Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Chocolate Cake that I’ve always wanted to make but never have.
- Kim over at Quit Eating Out has a recipe for “light and healthy” Red Velvet Cupcakes. Could there be such a thing?
- And of course, one can never go wrong with anything by Ina. Here is the Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Ganache Cake.
And Because I Have Spring Fever….
Yes, yes, I could go on and on bemoaning our gray, rainy, no-sun weather typical for this time of year but I won’t. No. Instead I’ll tell you that I have spring fever. I managed to get some sweet pea seeds in the ground by President’s Day. Hoping to get some lettuce seeds in the ground as well and I absolutely swooned over this tea towel that Victoria featured over on her design site, SF Girl by Bay.
You can find this little goodie over at Terrain.
And yes, the Organization Project is back on….
I managed to pull out everything from the “under the stairs” closet. It is all boxed up, labeled and ready to donate. Of course, it is all sitting in my entryway at the moment. So, the goal for this week is to get it loaded into the car and taken to the appropriate donation site. Can’t wait!
All original text and photographs copyright: Carrie Minns 2009-2011