Short Kids Poem: Chocolate Poem

short kids poem chocolate

I built my house of chocolate
from the shutters to the walls.
My doors are solid chocolate
at the end of chocolate halls.

I dust with chocolate pudding.
I bath in chocolate lakes.
And when I’m feeling tired,
I sleep on chocolate cakes!

My chairs are chocolate muffins.
My lamps shine chocolate light.
My grand piano’s cocoa…
if you’re hungry have a bite.

I decorate with chocolate
down to the chocolate wreath
I guess that’s why my mouth
is filled with chocolate teeth.

How To Make a Ham Cake

how to make a ham cake

As most people know, the best way to get ahead in life is a good ham cake. I’m not talking about a pork pie — but a fluffy, dessert cake shaped like a ham. Here’s how I made mine:

Start with a 9×13″ cake. I used a white cake with red dye, but a red velvet cake would work fine. Everyone has their favorite recipe or brand, so make what your family likes.

Bake the cake and let it cool… preferably on a window sill where it’s easy for neighborhood children to steal.

Cut the cake in half so you have two 9×6.5″ cakes. Stack the two pieces on top of each other. Extra credit: put pink frosting between the two layers of cake before you stack it.

Use a serrated knife to shave the cake into a tear-drop shape. I rounded all of the edges and sloped down the down the back. When you’re done, put the cake on your final serving platter. Now is a good time to eat most of the shavings, but save a few to use as ham slices on the tray.

Frost! Frost! Frost! You need three colors of frosting: brown, white and pink. Again you can make your favorite frosting or buy it in a can. (If you make the frosting, make sure it is easily spreadable because the cake is extra crumbly from shaping it). I used chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting and then added red food coloring to the vanilla to make it pink.

Frost the back, top and sides of the cake with brown frosting… but before you do any frosting, test it to make sure it tastes good. I recommend testing at least two spoons since the first one might be a fluke.

Make a diamond pattern on the brown frosting. You can use the handle of a spoon or knife to draw subtle diamonds on the chocolate frosting — but I opted to pipette white diamonds on my ham cake so it would have a more cartoon-y look. (There are instructions about pipetting below.)

Frost the front of the cake pink. If you actually have any cake shavings left, turn them into shaved ham that has already been cut on the platter. As you can see from my picture, I only had one shaving left.

Pipette the white ham bone. If you have never pipetted before, it’s surprisingly simple. Put white frosting into a plastic bag and seal off the bag by spinning it or zipping it. Cut off a small corner of the plastic bag with scissors. Squeeze white frosting out of the plastic bag in a circle shape so it looks like a ham bone.

If you don’t have a baby that’s about ready to wake up from a nap, put mini chocolate chips in the middle of each of the chocolate diamonds — they’ll look like little cloves. I had hoped to do that, but my baby was just waking up.

Before serving, top with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry.

Time to complete: 30 minutes once the cake is baked and the frosting is made/purchased… or a good two hours if you’re making the cake from scratch, baking, cooling and cleaning everything up.

Cleaning up is optional — nobody will care that you made a mess when they’re eating HAM CAKE!

Online Mad Libs: Chocolate

Mad Libs! Jumble of pencils
Fill out these questions to generate your own silly mad libs letter instantly online! (Hint: a noun is a person/place/thing. An adverb ends in “ly” and describes an action. An adjective describes a person/place/thing.)

This is a silly online story that will be completed with your words. Please answer the questions below and click the generate button to read the story with your words included!

Noun:

Person’s Name:

Noun:

Noun (plural):

Color:

Something you could taste:

Holiday:

Number:

Noun:

Adjective:


How I got the most candy on Halloween

Pumpkin Candle
I loved trick-or-treating for years longer than I should have — but the allure of a night where I could find unlimited candy at my neighbors’ doorsteps was too much.  Getting the most quality candy was always mission, so I thought I would share some of my tips.

Trick or treat in a group.  I’m sure my parents insisted on that for safety, but I loved it because you could trade your candy with everyone at the end of the night.  If you got enough people together in a group someone was bound to love Tootsie Rolls more than M&Ms.  My mission was to find that person and make sure nobody else knew their preference.  You can even strike trading agreements before you leave.

Trick or Treat in a figure 8 or clover leaf.  If you trick or treat in small loops going in different directions from your home, it’s easier to swing by home to drop off your current loot or go to the bathroom.  (There’s no need to get a snack since you’re walking around with a bucket of sugar.)

Exchange candy with your parents.  Odds are your parents give away candy… so why not trade your junk to them for half-way-decent candy… let your parents give out the bad stuff to unsuspecting kids.

Exchange candy in the take-a-piece bowl.  There was inevitably one or two families near my house that would always have a take-a-piece bowls (but only one because the great goblin is watching) left on their stoop.  It always felt like stealing to take a whole handful, but the sign never said anything about trading with the bowl… so unload your Circus Peanuts because something in the bowl has to be better.

Memorize last year’s dead zones.  Some houses think it’s cool to give soda (but that’s heavy to carry), raisins, or toothbrushes.  Remember these houses so you can steer clear next year.

Be on the look out for parents clearing their bowl. Shortly before some parents shut off the porch lights, they dump the remainder of their bowls in a lucky Halloween bucket.  Listen to the grapevine for stories of these houses and try to position yourself to be the jackpot recipient.

Happy Trick or Treating!

The first dessert I remember

Pillsbury Rocky Road Pizza

Rocky Road Pizza courtesy of Pillsbury.com

What’s the first dessert you vividly remember eating? My first was a rocky-road pizza my mother made for my 9th (?) birthday. I know I had eaten a lot of sugar by then, but for some reason I still can recall every detail of that cake.

It was the first time my mind had been blown away. How could a pizza be sweet? Can you just put anything on a crust and call it a pizza? I was enthralled by how the the rocky-road pizza looked so much like a pizza even though it wasn’t one. It was a textural sensation with chips, chunks and crumbles all held together with a marshmallow goo.

I can’t remember if I overly liked it because we never had it again. Chocolate chip cookies, ice-creams and little chocolates were much more the norm. But it made an impression on me and made me feel like the king of the world for my birthday — sometimes that’s all that really matters.

How I learned to love dark chocolate

Chocolate Bar
For thirty years I was a die-hard milk chocolate fanatic. I didn’t hurt that my grocery store was next to a movie theater and always sold cheap, sugary chocolate bars for a quarter. I didn’t understand why those la-de-dah dark chocolate freaks wanted to eat something so bitter.

Then I met a dark chocolate apostle who changed my life. Not only was he aghast by how much sugar I consumed, but he was equally worried about the percentage of milk chocolate I was consuming. He told me that anyone who loved dessert as much as I did really needed to try dark chocolate. It was just a fluke or sign of my culinary adolescence that I liked milk chocolate.

However, not being a fool, he put his money where his mouth was and purchased a different dark chocolate bar for us to share each week. He started me off easy with delights like Lindt Dark Chocolate truffles. The smooth bitterness of its liquid fudge dripped through my brain and clogged the milk-chocolate-loving sensors. We sampled Baci balls — hazelnut was a rare milk chocolate flavor and I found myself more intrigued by the strange nut than the bitter cocoa. He even appealed to my literary side with Chocolove poems.

Somehow between all the new flavors, discussion of what we were eating and his sincere offer to expand my chocolate mind, I realized I had never given dark chocolate an honest try. My last real attempt was a Hereshy’s Mini Special Dark when I was 8 (and loved to suck sugar cubes). There was a whole world of desserts, tastes and textures that I knew nothing about. It was like looking down at an industrious swarm of ants and seeing a new, exciting hive of activity you had never noticed before.

Ever since that fall, I have been hooked. I have attempted different cocoa percentages and learned many lessons the hard way (like 99% cocoa is inedible bitter)… and my life has been richer for it… not because dark is better than milk, but because you should always question everything you do. You never know when that curiosity will lead you to a great discovery, like it lead me to dark chocolate.