Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's looking at me.

One day I came home from work, and wanted a snack. Specifically, bread and butter. Most people would probably just get a slice of bread and eat that but me? I have to make some skillet bread.

Everything was going fine until I flipped it onto a plate ...

I ate it anyway.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Depression Cake

No, I'm not depressed. But if, say, you were depressed, a chocolate cake would surely cure it, right? As the story goes, during the depression eggs and butter were hard to get, so people figured out how to make a chocolate cake without them. Of course, I want to try!

The vinegar in the recipe was kind of a turn off, though. It's just there for the chemical reaction, but doesn't it sound gross?

(Sorry for posting giant pictures of delicious cake.)

This was probably the densest, moist chocolate cake I've ever eaten. Almost like the cake you'd get at a restaurant. Which makes me wonder - do they not use eggs or butter in their cakes either? I could see that being a sweet cost-cutting trick.

I tried making Martha Stewart's champagne truffles a while back, and it didn't go so well. So I melted down the leftovers and poured it over the whole cake. It eventually hardened to a fudge-like consistency. Yum.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pi Day

Did you know that March 14 is Pi Day? Probably, if you're reading my blog. If not, I'm not making it up. I put it on the calendar and everything.

The only question is: what kind of pie to make?

Years ago, when I first started collecting recipes off the internet, I printed instructions to make hand pies. The recipe was specifically for blackberries, but I had blueberries. Same difference, if you ask me.

Since there's no link to be found, here's what I did:

Blueberry Hand Pies

For the filling:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Boil these all together until it gets thick and syrupy. It should only take a few minutes, and the thicker the better so the filling doesn't run all over your crusts.

For the crust:
  • 1 & 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs water
  • a little salt
Mix these together until it gets crumbly. I did it in my mixer, but I know some people do it with a food processor or by hand. Whichever you like, just make it doughy. Depending on how you mixed it, you should probably throw it back in the refrigerator to get the dough stiffer. I went straight to the rolling out, since the mixer doesn't really heat up the dough at all.

Roll the dough out pretty thin - it will get a little thicker once baked. I used a mini tart pan (about 4-5" wide) to cut out pretty ruffly circles. Put each cutout on a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop a spoonful of filling onto one side of the circle. Fold the dough over in half, and seal them with either a little water, extra dough, or a fork.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

My circles were on the bigger side, so I only got five out of this recipe. But oh, they were good. The perfect size for just a little pie, and not overwhelming with blueberries.

Oh, and I entered the nutritional information into a calculator for you, if you're interested. You're welcome.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Remember how I said I had my "I am woman, hear me roar" moment? Here it is.

Houses around here have all different laundry configurations: upstairs, downstairs, garage. Our laundry is in the garage. It's neither here nor there to me; it's not like the house is so massive it's a pain to run a load downstairs. And it's not like we're waiting two weeks in between laundry loads any more. Have I mentioned I love having my own machines at my disposal? I do.

Anyway, the only downside is the garage is concrete, and has two concrete steps down. And it's nasty to step barefoot on cold, cold concrete. We put a big piece of carpet scrap down in front of the machines, but it's old and nasty and dirty. And you still have to travel down those cold steps.

Plus, two cars barely fit despite being a two-car garage. It's not like it's full of stuff either (so don't bother coming to rob the garage). The steps are in just the right spot to block your car door, if you pull in far enough.

Obviously the solution is to carpet the steps. And DIY, not actually pay a professional. Duh.

We bought some relatively inexpensive carpet from Home Depot on a trip (long, long ago - the Christmas overhaul in which I did not participate really wore me out). It was less than $1 per square foot. I measured six ways until Sunday, and we over-bought. I think, in total, $30. Seriously, I only used about half.

I measured each cut about three times, marking the back with a sharpie, then cutting a little with tin snips. Measure, mark, measure, snip, measure, mark, measure, snip. The sides required more cutting, but were actually easier to cut; the smaller pieces were a little more wieldy than the long strip down the face of the steps.

We bought a little tub of carpet adhesive based on the Home Depot guy's recommendation of what would stick to concrete. The alternative was a giant tub. I used the whole thing, without even a little to spare. It was a lot like frosting a cake! There were some bubbles and I was afraid it wasn't going to stick (although I got some on my fingers and then couldn't get anything not to stick) so I set random junk around the garage on top. See what I mean about robbing our garage?

I'm pretty happy with the results! It's not perfect or professional, but it's cushy and not cold when you step out to do a load of laundry.

The remnant will probably go to replace the beige remnant that's already in front of the machines. I think there's enough left over to almost cover between the steps and the door.

Maybe one of these days we'll do a project inside the house!