Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Carrot Cake for Cass' Birthday!

Well, there are no actual pictures of a slice of the carrot cake.  But here's what it looked like before we set it on fire...I mean, lit the candles.

Cass decided she was not going to be short between her little brothers.  So she made them hoist her up to their level, leaving me and Shannon looking as if we were standing in holes.

Anyway, the carrot cake.  Our traditional birthday cake is a marble cake, but she requested carrot cake instead.  With my buttercream frosting, because, as Cass said, she looks forward to birthday cake frosting all year long (not that I don't always make it, just that she's not usually around).  I changed it up a bit to make it a little healthier.  Just remember, as I told my dearly beloved, simply because the word "carrot" is in the name doesn't make this either health food or diet food.  Rats.


1 cup flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
6 egg whites or 1 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups shredded carrots

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add the egg whites and oil; beat 2 minutes.  Stir in the carrots and turn into a greased sheet cake pan (or 2 layer pans, if you prefer).  Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester in the middle comes out clean.  Frost with my buttercream frosting (1/2 cup butter, 1 pound confectioner's sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract and whipping cream to smooth it out, beaten until creamy) or cream cheese frosting (4 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1 pound confectioner's sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract and whipping cream to smooth it out, beaten until creamy).  Either way, it's delicious.

That's my feeble attempt to put Bebop on the cake.  Cass loved it; she served around Bebop and took that part of the cake home with her.

Today's Mark's driving test; my fingers are crossed!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Edited to add: Mark passed his test!  I am officially finished teaching kids how to drive!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Garden Tuesday: The Moon

These were taken last week, a couple of days before the full moon.  I know everyone made a big deal out of the Strawberry Moon on the Summer Solstice, because it won't happen again for another 70 years.  Whatever.  A big moon low in the sky looks great any time, and not just because it won't happen for another 70 years.

(Gawd, I'm getting to be an old crank.)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2016

And So Goes Another Week...

So...I was going to post about Cass' birthday, and carrot cake, and hot fudge sundaes, and all kinds of whatnot.  And then life happened.  We've had electricians in since last Wednesday (yes, 8 working days) replacing breakers in all of the electrical panels.  There's a new thing called arc fault breakers, and they're supposed to be like the funny outlets in your kitchen that shut off when something's amiss with the circuit.  We've lost our appetite for fire, so rewire we must.  Fun stuff, especially when they're shutting down power one place or another.  Shutting down the well pump for half a day was especially fun.

And then Mark goes for his road test next week, so I hired a driving instructor to take him out for some lessons; that way he can parallel park in that guy's little Honda.  I know it's impossible to pass in my Town Car, because the parallel parking place just plain isn't big enough.  I had to do the same for Ryan after he failed his first road test because he couldn't fit my Cadillac into the parallel parking spot. He never even got out onto the road.  So Mark's had 2 lessons this week.  Plus, he had to go for his senior portrait yesterday afternoon.  It almost feels like we're on the all-Mark channel here.

So I'll leave you with some pictures of one of our dogwood trees.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cookibook Wednesday: Desserts

This is a cookbook Mark found for me at a used book sale about 4 years ago.  To be fair, the title has always intimidated me.
 "Fantastic desserts"? I'm in. "Extravagant trifles, truffles, tarts and more"? Well....I need fast and relatively simple, not extravagant. goes.  The table of contents shows a little bit of everything.
 There are pages upon pages of hints and how-tos, which is nice.  Fun to read, even if you don't need it.

 In season right now: frozen desserts! Including a low fat orange sherbet.  I might try that one, or maybe wait until my dearly beloved is either (a) bored with his diet, or (b) decides he's lost enough weight to splurge now and again (he's dropped 10 pounds of the 25 he wants to lose, thanks to the cardiologist telling him what I've been trying to tell him).
 Bar cookies! Who doesn't love a good bar cookie? And they are easier than the regular kind!
 The instructions for this cake are daunting, filling 2 pages.  This is what I mean: extravagant doesn't work for me.  There are other things to do.
 But the boys might like these.
 And, for Louise: Peanut Butter Cups! (Fair disclosure: I love peanut butter cups, too.)

 There are even fruit desserts for those of us who want a lighter sweet treat.

 So, thanks to Louise for prompting me to pull this cookbook off the shelf!  There are things in here that won't take all day to prepare, after all!

This is Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by Louise!  Hop on over to check out the others who have linked up with her, look at her cookbook giveaway, and find out about signing up for the Picnic Game!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Garden Tuesday: Peonies and a Window

My peonies are in bloom.  I don't have nearly as many as Louise does, but I've been cutting a few every couple of days to keep my kitchen cheerful.  Too bad their season is only about 2 weeks!

In other news, I painted the raw dormer window last night (top left of yesterday's post).  I took my 6 foot stepladder to the attic to paint from inside, but I did have to sit on the sill and hang outside to paint.  My dearly beloved had an absolute fit when he went out to stand in the driveway and found me hanging out the window.  It's OK; I was done anyway, so I went inside.  Then he reported me to the boys at dinner.  Ryan then threw an absolute fit, and told me to let him hang out the window to paint next time, despite the fact that he's afraid of heights.  His rational was that I'm not strong enough to hold myself inside with one hand while painting with the other.  Of course, I had to point out to Ryan that there's no way he's fitting through a 22" wide window opening.  We compromised, with me agreeing to let him tie me to the rafters inside should I find the need to climb out a window again.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Update: What a 2 Weeks It's Been

There's been plenty of good, and some not-so-good.  Oh, some of the not-so-good would have been considered a minor disaster pre-fire, but now, nothing's a disaster as long as we're all alive and kicking.

All good: The rubber roofer came, replaced the rubber roof over the formerly burned area in just 3 days, and left.  We had 2" of rain after he was done, and stayed dry as a bone.  Victory for us! (No pictures; it's just a flat black roof.)

Mostly good: The central air guy came.  He got our system installed, and hooked up the 3 bedrooms that are in use.  Good news.  He tied into the old condensate line: bad news.  It terminated inside a wall, so it rained into my office all over my fabric.

 Good news: all of this fabric got re-washed, folded and sorted.  10 loads worth.  Bad news: Our washer developed a leak.  I kept washing anyway, and soaking up the water on the floor.  It had to be done.

Good news: At least one of the big box chains still sells non-water-saving washing machines.  And I got one.  Bad news: No one stocks them.  I had to wait from Saturday until Thursday afternoon to get a new washer.  The laundry room didn't smell pretty.

Good news: The new washer is installed, works like a champ, and all of the laundry is done. 

Great news:  The slate roofers showed up.  They made this mess.

Then they started putting rocks on my roof.

This is 2 days' work.  Pretty good, right?  They're supposed to be back tomorrow.  But trust me, slaters are so rare that we won't gripe if they don't show until next week.  We simply know they'll keep coming because we owe them money now.

Bonus good news:  Baby Madeline was here 2 weekends ago.  She's learned to smile.  This is her greeting to me as soon as they walked into the house, before she was even released from her car seat.  You know she spent basically no time in that seat for the rest of the weekend!

So, Happy Monday, everyone!