Hi there. Today was an awesome day! We woke up and at 7:30. We did our video games. Then we had an awesome breakfast of waffles, eggs, sausage, and raspberries. After that we went to SPA (my dad’s school) and my dad went into the building while we played in our hammocks. Then my dad went home with Oliver and made a picnic lunch. Then they came back and we had made a caterpillar home! Then we rolled down the big hill and went home 🏡.
The kids have been upgrading their cooking skills during the social isolation of COVID-19. Every week they produce a number of new recipes, almost invariably delicious. They focus primarily on baked goods—muffins, cupcakes, and full cakes—but they have also delved into savory options (the family potsticker assembly line involves all five of us).
This week, Griffin and Maggie looked through the May issue of Martha Stewart Living and cut out a number of recipes that they wanted to try. Yesterday, they chose this cake because we had all of the ingredients on hand. (We are trying to shop for groceries only once per week, which sometimes constrains our spontaneous cooking options.) We’re so glad they chose this one! It was delicious. Although they just baked it yesterday, there is only a little bit left, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone wolfs it down before I finish writing this post.
The recipe is available online, but I’m including it here in case it vanishes (or lands behind a paywall) at some point in the future.
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), whisked, plus more for pan
2/3 cup egg whites (from 5 to 6 large eggs)
3/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 teaspoons plus a pinch of kosher salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ground freeze-dried strawberries (1/2 ounce)
2 drops pink gel-paste food coloring
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in center. Brush a 10–to–15-cup Bundt pan with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Beat butter with 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, baking powder, and 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with egg-white mixture, and beginning and ending with flour. (You should have about 7 cups batter.) Separate 2 cups batter and stir in freeze-dried strawberries.
- Transfer 1/4 cup strawberry batter to a small bowl; stir in pink gel paste until combined. Stir mixture back into remaining strawberry batter a little at a time, until you achieve desired color.
- Spoon 2 1/2 cups vanilla batter into bottom of pan. Top with all of strawberry batter, then remaining vanilla. Run a butter knife through batter four times to swirl, then use to fold and swoop in a couple of places to further marble.
- Place pan in oven; reduce temperature to 325°F. Bake until top of cake springs back when lightly touched, 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely.
- Stir together strawberries, remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt; let stand until sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cream with confectioners’ sugar on high speed to soft peaks. Dust cake with more confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped cream and macerated berries.
This week, I worked on grammar and mammoth math and I read a lot. For grammar I had to figure out what part of speech different words were. For math I did all types of math, like clock work, and pluses and minuses, and figuring out what numbers are even and odd. I read Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, I and II. I got online for about a half hour to an hour every day with my teachers and classmates. I liked sharing at the end of the week where you get to share something special. The first time I shared a rock. It reminded me of state parks. And the second time I shared a plastic polar bear that I made in a Mold-A-Rama at Como Zoo. I don’t get to go to the zoo a whole lot now and I like the zoo.
Less than three miles from our front door is this gem of a park along the shore of the Mississippi River. We’ve heard about it many times, but never explored it until this week. It was full of delightful surprises.
We’ve reached the “fantasizing about kidnapping this woodpecker and keeping it as our pet” phase of isolation.
Our new way of connecting with family in Oregon, Washington, and Southern Minnesota: Yahtzee on Google Meet/Hangouts and FaceTime. We learned a few things about cameras and scoresheets and the importance of seeing the dice when we’re playing, and it was so nice to connect in a way we’re used to doing in person. I predict many more creative solutions to come ❤️
[Maggie did some research on leopard seals this morning while studying at home. We’re aiming to include highlights of daily lessons on the blog. – Andrew]
Leopard seals live in freezing polar waters. They have clawed flippers. There are many different types of seals but leopard seals are the strongest hunters and swim very fast. Leopard seals have spotted fur and look like the cat called a leopard.
Leave them alone for a while and they come up with this:
Hello. Welcome to the party of welcoming warmness. So this is what we are going to do:
- Show talents
- Play games
- And whenever you feel like it, swing on the hammock.
Maggie’s been asking about dying her hair for a long time. Sarah tried dying it at home last summer, but it washed out after the first trip to the pool. So we finally made a professional appointment. The choice of color was suspenseful. Last week she wanted it to be bright red. This morning, she was leaning toward “greenish blue.” The stylist convinced her that purple would work best with her natural color.
The kids took the opportunity of a snowy afternoon to paint these three watercolors. They sent the originals to their Auntie Alli for her birthday.