I won this AWESOME Fringe Division mug from a giveaway on Hello Mary Rebecca. It’s the only thing I’ve ever won from a blog giveaway, and the only thing I’ve ever REALLY REALLY wanted to win, like if I hadn’t won I would have bought one. I should have gotten it on Thursday but the post office by my house is totally stupid and I had to wait until today to pick it up, the day AFTER the season finale. I totally love it though, so hank you Mary & thank you MWM Designs!
Sometimes I like to set myself goals.
I’ve been wanting to do this for about forever but for some reason (my black thumb?) I never got around to it. A few weeks ago I bought a little asparagus fern on a whim and realized it would be perfect for this project. I already had the jar and the toy fawn, the rocks I actually had to buy (I could have picked them out of my backyard but WHO HAS THE TIME I mean really) and the soil I got from my neighbor, who has a huge bag of it outside his door. There are three types of moss, two I harvested from behind my house and the third I liberated from the landscaping of an apartment complex down the hill. So. This was a very cost-effective project! I just hope it doesn’t all die, like my houseplants always do. FINGERS CROSSED!
The other day I was thinking about chocolate cake (I mean, why wouldn’t I be??) and I realized I’d never made chocolate cake from scratch. I know, CRAZY, right? I didn’t really trust the internet to give me a reputable recipe, so I did what any modern woman would do: I asked my mom for hers.
The thing about my mom and baking is that she doesn’t really do recipes; in her own words she does “lumps of this and sploshes of that,” so when she did send me her recipe I had to do some adjustments and calculations, partly because I needed to halve the recipe to make jar cakes, and partly because I don’t know how much “1/2 package ground almonds (those leetle red and black packages from the supermarket)” actually is. In the end all my calculations must have been correct, because this cake is aaaaaawesome, super chocolatey and moist and fluffy.
Now, while I managed to figure out the cake recipe, unfortunately my frosting turned out total crap. The first batch was gritty and the second was oozy, so I ended up using some canned stuff from the store, which I’m not really thrilled about. If anyone has a foolproof recipe for chocolate buttercream, please send it my way.
Tanie & her Mom’s Chocolate Cake in a Jar
¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter (room temperature)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup ground almonds
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the inside of ten 4-oz jars with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Melt chocolate chips, either in a double boiler or microwave (my mom says to be careful if using a microwave as she once melted a bowl doing this O__O ). Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
In a mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add ground almonds, then the eggs one at a time.
Add vanilla and milk to melted chocolate and mix with a fork or small whisk.
Add chocolate mixture to butter mixture and mix well (mine went sort of lumpy for a hot minute but in the end it was nice and smooth).
Fold in flour mixture.
Spoon batter into jars, filling to about ⅔. Wipe any batter off the outside of the jars and place in a shallow baking dish with about ¼” of water in the bottom.
Bake for 30-40 minutes (mine took 33 minutes).
Once cakes are fully cooked (the tops should spring back when pressed lightly), remove the jars from the oven & dish and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, if the batter has risen into the mouth of the jar, you can either scoop the top of the cake out, or gently squish it down into the jar before icing (I did the latter).
Now for the taste test:
“Are you done yet?”
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my favourite work days; only three kids come (instead of four or five or, like Wednesdays, SIX, argh) and none before eight, which means I get to have a little quiet morning with Sym before the craziness starts. Today Kichou got some much appreciated attention, uninterrupted by Georgie, who was wet from her walk and therefore shut in her crate.
Who’s in the Forest (large format board book), written by Phillis Gershator & illustrated by Jill McDonald
This book is a big hit with the kids; rhyming books generally are, and the simple rhymes and repeated words and phrases make it easy for them to follow along. The cutouts make story time funner, since the kids always want to see which animal is peeking through and what they’re doing on the next page. The illustrations are bright, friendly and cheerful, and after we read it they always want to go through the book and show me the animals they like the best, or count how many of each animal there are.
I like the large format; the book is 8½” square, which made it easier to read with the kids (reading little books involves lots of shoving each other to be able to see the pictures). The construction is sturdy and has held up well; this book has been out on the shelf for over a month and in spite of being fought over, stepped on, and drooled on almost every day it shows remarkably little sign of wear and tear. I took pictures of my actual copy for this post and you can see it still looks great! This book is definitely going to be a favourite around here for a long time.
I received a copy of this book from Barefoot Books in exchange for my review.
I actually thought I was done with citrus fruits and the endless juicing thereof, but I got a mad craving for lemonade so I bought some more lemons. I HAVE A PROBLEM, OKAY? Anyway the lemons in question turned out to have a super think peel and didn’t give enough juice for straight lemonade so I decided to berry it up.
Mixed Berry Lemonade
• juice of 4 lemons
• 4 cups of water
• 1 cup of sugar
• ½ cup chopped strawberries
• ½ cup blackberries
• ½ cup blueberries
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the berries, sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and simmer for fifteen minutes. Allow to cool completely and strain through a fine sieve to remove berry pieces. Mix resulting berry syrup with the lemon juice and 3 remaining cups of water. Chill and enjoy!