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Monday, September 29, 2008

Mrs. Chism's "Indestructable" Pumpkin Cake

When I was born my parents rented an apartment in the basement of Mrs. Chism's house. Mrs. Chism didn't have any grandchildren so she sort of adopted me and I called her Grandma Mary. This is her Pumpkin Cake recipe.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. soda
2 cups unseasoned canned pumpkin

Beat eggs, add sugar and salad oil. Sift dry ingredients and add to egg mixture. Add pumpkin. Blend well. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350ยบ F for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let stand 10 min., then remove from pan to cool. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Note: I made these into cupcakes because I couldn't find my bundt pan. It's buried somewhere in my messy storeroom. Sorry! I didn't keep track of how long they took to bake, but I would guess about 15 min. They were done pretty fast.

My mom makes this cake just about every year for fall family get-togethers. She makes it in a bundt pan and prefers to leave it unfrosted. It's a very sturdy cake and has earned the title "indestructable" due to the many mishaps it has survived. Apart from many acts of clumsiness resulting in the cake being dropped (while contained in its carrier) this cake has even survived a couple minor car wrecks.

Monday, September 22, 2008


What does coffee mean to you?

A delectable flavor and a welcome aroma that helps you "get going" on even the darkest morning?…a leisurely after-dinner cup that is the perfect accompanimment to good conversation?…the bracing beverage that gives real meaning to your mid-morning coffee break?
–from Fun with Coffee, copyright 1956 by the Pan-American Coffee Bureau

ahhhhh…coffee…my drug of choice. My parents didn't drink a lot of coffee, but every time my grandparents came to visit they'd brew up a pot. I remember loving the smell and wishing I was old enough to drink it. I remember the first time I tried coffee. I was probably about 10 and I was at a friends house. Her parents were gone and she decided to make a pot of coffee. I was totally amazed that she knew how to make coffee and I was a little afraid that we'd get in trouble! She dumped a ton of cream and sugar in each of our cups and it was sooooo good. I became a full blown addict when my daughters were babies and I relied on it to stay awake after nights of no sleep. My son and I still have "milk and coffee snuggle-ups". When he was two, we were visiting some friends and he got tired so he came to me and said "I need milk and coffee and rock-a-bye" . My friend was apalled until I explained the coffee was for me.

My teenage daughters both celebrated their birthdays last week. For the big family get-together, I made German Chocolate cupcakes and frosted half with German Chocolate Buttercream and the other half with Mocha Buttercream. Here's the recipe (from The Cake Doctor):

(Note: for the German Chocolate Buttercream) just omit the coffee granules from the following recipe)

1/4 cup milk
1 heaping tsp. instant coffee
8 T. (1 stick) butter
2 oz. (1/2 bar) German's sweet chocolate, grated
3 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 T. water, if needed

1. Place the milk and instant coffee in a small glass measuring cup. Place in the microwave oven on high power until the milk is ot enough to dissolve the instant coffee, 30-40 seconds. Remove and stir until the coffee is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

2. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and add the coffee and grated chocolate. Blend on low until the mixture has softened, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioner's sugar. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed ot medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in up to 1 T. water is the frosting seems too stiff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want (but sometimes you do!)

If time, money, and my husband's sense of style were no object, this is what I would do with my kitchen:

• I would paint my honey oak 1990s cupboards a nice creamy white. This would appall most of my family. They all still believe oak is the be all and end all of woods and painting it is a terrible sin. But someday, I may just whip out the paint brush anyway.

• I would install a dark stained hard-wood floor

•get new counter tops (not sure what kind) with a (what's it called?) "rimless"/sunk-in sink

• I would buy these appliances and such…

I did get something I've been wanting for a while the other day. Heather (from Merry Moon) & I traded cupcakes! Here's is the one she designed for me. It looks very sweet in my kitchen.

Janice, from Pug Yoga has tagged me to tell you about some of my (many) quirks. Here's the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about yourself
4) Tag six other bloggers by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

So…my quirks…

1. I am ALWAYS cold! I cannot drink anything with ice in it or I'll start shivering. I earned the nickname "Super Emily" at my last job because I would walk around with a blanket tied around my neck (over my three layers of clothing).

2. I love learning about plagues and epidemics. I research these things for fun. My favorite books are the Hot Zone and The Demon in the Freezer. So scary, but so fun to read. I dream about writing a book set in a tuberculosis hospital in the early 1900s or about the 1918 influenza epidemic. (I'm not a novelist. It's never gonna happen, but its fun to think about). I used to think maybe I wanted to be an epidemiologist or virologist, but I don't really want to get my hands dirty I just want to learn about these things from afar. Maybe the CDC needs a graphic designer?

3. I DESPISE matching up socks. Matched pairs never seem to get put in the same load of laundry. So when I'm folding clothes I throw the unmatched pairs in "the sock basket". We have a huge laundry basket of unmatched socks. When someone needs a pair, they have to go dig for two that are at least the same color.

4. I hate green vegetables

5. Every night, before I get into bed, I have to lift up the sheets and check for spiders.

5. The smell of cantaloupe makes me want to puke! I think it smells like a garbage dump. GROSS!

Okay, I'm passing this on to…

She's Sew Slye
Lulu Carter
Elfie and Me
Potty Mouth Mama
Practically Neccessary

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Guess Fall is the Season of Change

I've got a new job.

Since starting my own cupcake/cookie business was not something I could do immediately, I decided that I (at least) had to find a job that offered a little (actually A LOT) more flexibility than my job at the cookbook publishing company. So, that's what I did! I'm working for a much smaller, much more flexible and family friendly company and I think I'm going to be much happier. I'm now a graphic designer for a small lighting company. Not only will I be working on their catalogs, fliers, brochures and other publications, but I will also be drawing up some lighting plans and sending out quotes (using a bleepin' PC). So…I've got a lot to learn and man-o-man my brain is fried. I've been so mentally exhausted lately that all I want to do when I get home is some mindless veging.

Excuses aside, I'm starting to feel likes one of those people who talks about doing a lot of things and never really does them! I'm referring to this earlier post in which I talked about structure and all the things I planned on posting about starting in September.

I will share:
•cupcake and cookie recipes and decorating ideas
•treats I've made with my boy
•random stuff (business planning, etsy, fun products, etc.)

I will not:
•podcast interviews…yet… the learning curve is just too big and I don't have time to do the research right now… unless… there's a podcaster out there (who's conducted interviews over the phone) that would like to be my mentor. : )

So…I guess this is the "random stuff" post.

No matter how busy, exhausted, (whatever) I am, I can always find time to go junking. That's what I did last weekend and I found some great new things to put in my etsy store. Since Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, I decided to load up on Fall things. (see photo above) I'm working hard to get all those things (and more!) listed, a little at a time.

Labor Day also marks the beginning of total chaos in our household. It starts with my daughter's birthdays this month and doesn't end until after Christmas. My dad asked me if we had a weekend open for a family get-away. I checked my calendar. Nope… NO available weekends 'til after Christmas. (Huge sigh) Woe is me…