Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seriously Good Cake

The Dallas Morning News frequently has excellent recipes in their Your Life section. I've found many good keepers in the past few years there. I found the one below this week and it may now rank as one of my very favorite desserts ever...but there are so many from which to choose.

Unfortunately, I can't find it listed on their website, so here it is re-typed. Hope they don't mind.

Pumpkin-Cranberry Spice Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole what flour
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 2 T water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large Bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with oil Add a small amount of granulated sugar and turn the pan to coat. Discard excess.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, orange zest, orange juice and water. Beat on low until smooth.

Sift the dry ingredients on top of the pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the cranberries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the better into the prepared pan, smoothingthe top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powered sugar before serving. Makes 16 servings.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dead Dogs

The dogs are very lucky that they aren't dead right now - though they are in exile in the back yard. We had a very lovely day today (more on that later). But when we got home this evening, we were greated with this:

That's a big pile of candy from a Halloween event that they (Fozzie?) pulled down from the desk you see right there. And yes, most of it has been eaten. Brisco is in his sausage state. Foz is not far behind.

But wait, there's more.

Yup, that's the TABLECLOTH from the KITCHEN TABLE. One of them must have gotten a hold of the corner and pulled it until the ceramic bowl with the fruit in it - which resides in the middle of the table - came crashing down.

Who are these dogs that have replaced my mischievous-but-only-mildly-destructive puppies??? They're lucky they're not dead because I killed them. They both have cuteness working to their advantage. We'll see what the chocolate does to them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

rANDOm sTufF

Random item #1:

HOLY COW! Run for your lives! It's the Godfather of all slugs!

It took me 3 handfulls of salt to get the slime off my fingers. First the giant grasshopper, now this. And this:

Random item #2:

I guess all the rain is pushing things out of their usual hidey-holes. This little guy is most welcome...just not on the baby gate.

Random item #3:

I made a pumpkin pie from scratch-ola today, minus the crust. Doesn't taste any better than from a can I don't think. But maybe that's because I'm just used to the canned stuff.

Roasted up the seeds too.

Random item #4:

Finished a pair of socks for Craig. I still don't know why I made these (yes I do, I cast on too many stitches for my foot but the perfect number for Craig and was too lazy to take it out again) as he doesn't wear any of the other pairs I've made for him.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yarn stuff

This is a fiber-intensive post, so for those of you who have no interest in such stuff you might want to just move along today.

I finished a new scarf. Pink Lady Scarf from Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009. It's in KnitPicks Gloss sock yarn. Color is burgundy. It should be nice and warm without being too bulky and it's just a little feminine without being frilly.

Next on the list, I finished two big 'junk' batts. They were made up of left-overs of all sorts of stuff. They were fun to spin just 'however'...very slubby and thick and thin. There's even a little sparkle in them.

Last but definitely not least, I worked on some bulky spinning which is very difficult for me to do anymore. Spinning finer is far easier after the initial spinning learning-curve. But I had some super soft, sproingy Cormo waiting to be made into some extra-huggable yarn. The yarn's not perfect, but it is so, so, so very soft. I need to figure out if I'll dye it or not.

What color would you dye a cloud?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cute and Cuddle to Creepy Crawly

I did a spinning demo at Nash Farm last Saturday. Craig got to hang out with Big I while I was busy, but I did get to have fun with him for a few minutes at the end. He found a some new friends.

He loved the rabbit especially; kept coming back to it. We may have to get a couple of our own!

In the garden, I turned a compost pile and found some other friends.

Big I wasn't so sure, though.

But look at this sucker. It's gotta be the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen.

I hope it's not a precursor to a locust plague.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nice and Cozy

It's cold and rainy here. But not to worry I have 2 new defenses.

Defense #1.

Just looks like tea you say? Look closer.

That's right, DECAF CHAI! I haven't had chai since I was pregnant and that resulted in Isaac and me both being up until 1 am. It was the only time he was ever really uncomfortable en utero. I was so excited to see this in the store I actually paid full price for it. Add some milk and a zap in the microwave and mmm...then I went and took a nap. Most excellent.

Defense #2

No, not the baby, though he's nice too. Two new recliners. We've been looking for nice, affordable patio furniture but as is always the case when we go to Weir's, we found something completely different than what we came for.

They're perfect for our needs. Nice enough to be comfy and fit well in the room, but not so nice as to be unaffordable and make me freak out when they get spilled, jumped or vomited upon.

Now I think I'll go combine my defenses...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New wildlife

We've got a new resident in the neighborhood. Isn't she lovely?

I haven't figured out what type of hawk it is yet. It's a little small to be a redtail, but I guess it could be a male. I'll have to look it up. But I do know what she's been eating from my yard!

She can have all she wants!


I cleared out some of the cantaloupes from the yard the other day. Look what I found wedged in between fence sections - funniest shaped melon I've ever seen.

I had to get Craig to yank it out it was in there so tight. I told you they were taking over the place.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A wee one

Welcome to Andy and Stacy's Miss. M.

She arrived yesterday October 3rd at 9:48 est. She's 6 lbs. 7 oz. and has quite the hairdo already! She's as cute as she can be and we're very glad she's here!

It should be noted that last I talked to Stacy on the 2nd she was not dilated even a smidge and seemed resigned to waiting things out for a while longer. Just goes to show that you can never tell when those little ones will decide it's time.

Good job, Stacy and congratulations to both of you!

Friday, October 2, 2009

This is the reason... make sure your pie dough is COLD when you put it in the oven.

I was in a hurry to get another apple pie in before Big I woke up and didn't think about chilling it for a few minutes first. Gah! Failure, complete failure.

Instead of flaky, puffy yumminess it became oozy, flat, meltiness. COLD people. The dough has to be COLD.

In contrast, here's the one from this past weekend. It's a bad picture, but trust me, it was everything a crust should be.


Poor Big I had a bad tumble tonight. Every now and again he tries going a little faster than he should and face-plants on the sidewalk. Tonight I saw it from front and center and he got the whole thing right on his mouth. BIG fat lip, blood, the whole shebang.

He seems to have recovered (yet another reason to be thankful for extended nursing...instant comfort and antibacterial breastmilk right where it was needed) and enjoyed his nice cold cantaloupe (wouldn't take a popsicle or ice). I think one of his teeth is crooked now, but Craig thinks I'm crazy. If his teeth are ruined for life we'll know why.


Big I got a new rocking horse the other day. We're still working on mounting and dismounting. He may be quite the equestrian yet.

He was also practicing with the camera again today, unbeknownst to me. Maybe he has a future in cinematography. What do you think?