Thursday, April 24, 2008

Proud owners of a dirt mound!

Yup, M and I signed our lives, or at least our $$, away today.

Here is what we got for it:Yay!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Friends or enemies???

This is what greeted me when I got to work this morning...the trail of confetti should have warned me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chocolate Pound cake

Yes, tomorrow is the big day. The day I turn 30. To celebrate, I am bring one of my favorite cakes to work. And, totally ripping off the style of the pioneer woman, I am going to share the recipe (and if your lucky enough to work with me, a slice). So here goes.

Warning...not the least bit healthy, but should any cake really be?

My Mum's Chocolate pound cake (modify to be gluten-free)

First the dry team:

Sift together 2 cups of "nearly-normal" flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)

Sifting is too much work so I just take my trusty whisk and mix it around a bit

Next the wet team:
3 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups butter (yup the picture lies), 5 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
* remember this is for my birthday, so enjoy all of those eggs and butter!

Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, until light and creamy
next add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition
add the vanilla and mix in. Be sure to use the real vanilla not the fake stuff. That is made from tree extracts, I should know. If you ever want to know how they get those out of the tree I'll tell you, but that is for another time.
This should now be a thick lovely mass and tastes pretty good by itself
lastly, add in the dry team alternating it with the buttermilk (always end with the buttermilk)
Scoop the chocolate goodness (you won't really be able to pour it) into a greased 10 cup bundt pan.
I use a nordicware chrysanthemum bundt . Isn't it pretty, I once made this cake using Special Dark Hershey's cocoa and the cake looked like a giant black ju-ju fruit.

slide your spatula through the batter and tap the pan on the counter to release any big air bubbles
Bake at 325F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or so, until either a skewer comes out with just some moist crumbs or an instant read thermometer reads at least 212F. (I can never wait that long and it turns out a little gooey)
Let cool in the pan for 20+ minutes before removing cake. Allow it to cool completely before slicing. With all of that butter, the cake will stay moist for quite a while and freezes well. Of course, it usually doesn't last that long.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mmm.. .Biscuits (wheat-free)

I finally found a good gluten-free flour mix!

I had been buying the Red Mill Gluten-free mix for a few years, but was unhappy with the garbanzo bean flavor of the flour in a lot of recipes. It only worked really well in anything chocolate, I just had to add some cinnamon to the recipe.

I was playing around on the web one day and found this site. Jules Shepard is a Celiac that loves to bake and has come up with a great flour mix and what looks to be some good recipes.

My first attempt at using this flour mix was modifying Cook's Country biscuits (April/May 2008 issue, Page 24). I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the results. I thought they were great and M enjoyed them too!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The big 3-0

Yup, that's right. I'm turning 30 this month. I'm dropping that last little bit of being a 20-something and am diving into my 30s. All-in-all my first three decades have been pretty good.

A couple years ago, I heard that you should do something new every year, so here is my top 10 list of new things that I have done this year (in no particular order):
1. Explored Namjin Road and the Bund in Shanghai

2. Experienced a Chinese Beerfest (it surrounded my hotel)
3. Went camping for two weeks in Yosemite

4. Did a 6 (or was it 7?) multi-pitch climb with A&A while in Yosemite
5. Won the 2nd event at the Stevens Point Mixed Bonspiel with Mom, Dad, and Bud. The first time I curled in 4 years!

6. Downsized, M and I moved from 1500 sqft to about 700 sqft, and lived to tell about it

7. Went wheat-free for real, not just a couple of weeks
8. Pushed through an options agreement (and got it in before the end of the year)
9. Tried to teach Rover to go on walks (that didn't work out so well)
10. Found land to build on and helped M design a house

Oh and the old house is down: yay!

A pretty good year I have to say.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ding Dong the House is Down!!

Pictures to follow as soon as I get back from Fort Lauderdale.

M and I went out to dinner with some of his coworkers tonight and I drove by on my way home. The house was supposed to be down by Tuesday, but we weren't holding our breath. And when I drove by it was completely down! Gone, all that was left was the stairs leading up the hill from the sidewalk. I did a double take and almost went around the block just to be sure. M is going to check it out tomorrow during the day to see if there is anything left.

It looks like we might be able to close by Friday!!

I have been a traveling machine, between work, family, and friends, I have been gone more then I have been home. I think the kitties have started to forget who I am! I'm off to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow for the day, but when I get back I'll have to blog about curling and the beach. It is pretty amazing that I can be curling in WI on one Sunday and getting burnt on a SC beach the next!