Monday, November 24, 2014

Rod's Mexican Sheet Cake

I went to a little pot luck get together last night.  I didn't want to go to the store and buy things to make a main dish (I had originally thought of making gnocchi del Cassentino), so I decided to bake a cake. I mean, if there's anything I am in the cooking department, it's a cake baker. I figured I had everything to make Dad's Mexican Sheet cake. I measured, and I only had 4 Tbl. of cocoa. Oops. I had to go to the store anyway to buy cocoa powder. Still, this cake is easier than gnocchi.  The cake was a real hit last night and I promised to post the recipe. So--full credit to my dad, Rod Burton, who perfected this recipe (and of course I still mess with it).

Rod's Mexican Sheet Cake
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
1 c. water
6 Tbl. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar (I skimp a little)
2 c. flour
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla (preferably Mexican)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. pasilla chile
1/2. tsp. chile arbol
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I omit this sometimes and just throw in some other kind of chile powder)
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray.
3. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil.
4. Add sugar and flour and mix to combine.
5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
6. Mix in vanilla and spices.
7. Stir baking soda into buttermilk and to chocolate mixture.
8. Mix thoroughly.
9. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
10. Nom. Nom. Nom.

For the fancy lace top: use either a paper lace or lace fabric and lay it on the cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake/lace--I use a fine mesh thingy and tap it to sprinkle the sugar.  Then carefully remove the lace. Don't put too much sugar, or it will go everywhere when you try to remove the lace. I use a lace shirt that I have to do the design. Last night I was really tempted to add black pepper to the cake, but I decided not to. Maybe next time.

If you like this cake you might like my Chocolate Pink Peppercorn Honey Cake. I used my dad's sheet cake recipe as a base--along with a ginger cake that I've made before. I guess I really like pepper.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Limerick and Bo: Moving In

We had our first freeze last night. We moved Limerick and Bo into the house, along with everything else from the front porch, and of course Gingie. I also moved all my jades and cacti away from the windows. Limerick's limes are ready to harvest. I think we will pick them tomorrow and make limeade.

Flashback Friday: Stepping Out

This photo was taken May, 1996 in Austin, TX. Sometime around my college graduation. My fine fashion is from JC Penny, where I was working at the time. My strappy sandals are Nine West and I thought they were the bomb. I think Ross is wearing my sunglasses. This was before I had surgery. And before I had my teeth fixed--but my smile looks pretty good here. Dang, my hair was long.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bo's One and Only

Earlier this week as I was leaving for Yoga I noticed that Bo's one fruit had fallen to the ground. It had been raining and the wind had been blowing. The outside of the orange was yellow and green, and the inside was yellow and pink (not yet blood red.) Because this was Bo's first and only fruit I really wanted to try it. I peeled the orange and tried a few segments. I was pleasantly surprised that the fruit was not sour. I only ate some of the orange--unfortunately part of it has started to grow mildew.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next year Bo will bear more fruit.

Flashback Friday: Virginia Beach

In April of 2000 Ross was doing wind tunnel testing in Virginia. I flew over to visit. I'm pretty sure this was the first time I touched the Atlantic Ocean. I loved those 100% linen Laura Ashley pants so much. I still miss those pants.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Flashback Friday: Halloween 2009

This is my all time favorite photo of Ross and Julia.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My First Sweater: Completed

I started knitting this sweater in January. It went very quickly, then I got distracted. I picked it back up, finished the body, then got distracted again. When I finally started the sleeves I didn't like them and ripped them out. I restarted the sleeves in July, but didn't work on them much. In September I resolved to finish by Halloween. I knitted, knitted, and knitted the sleeves longer. The original pattern has a shorter body and short sleeves. I didn't see myself wearing it if it was a super short crop top and a short sleeve sweater is kinda strange, so I knitted the body longer and made the sleeves extra long. Of course all that added to how much and how long (time-wise) I knit. On Monday I finished knitting the sleeves. I washed and blocked the 3 pieces (body and 2 sleeves) on Tuesday. Yesterday and today I sewed the shoulder seams and sleeves. That was the first time I really had to sew anything knitted. After the experience on the first sleeve I think I did a better job on the second sleeve.

The sleeves had stretched to be TOO long when I blocked them so after I finished piecing the sweater together I washed and blocked the sweater again. It didn't really help, so I sprayed the sleeves with water and put it in the dryer for 10 minutes on high heat. Voila. Perfect length sleeves.

The sweater can be worn 3 ways. I don't see myself wearing it wrapped around my neck much, unless maybe under a coat. It is just hard to get it to lay nicely while it is twisted. At least I knitted it big enough that I don't feel like it is choking me and it doesn't look too much like a boob sling.
So here is the first way to wear it: with the drape in front.
This is how the back looks with the drape in front.
Here is the twisted version.
Wearing it backwards with drape in back.
This is how it looks with the drape in back.

I got really warm during the photo shoot--and I was only wearing a camisole underneath. The yarn is a wool/silk blend and very soft and warm. I'm pleased with the end product and I'm looking forward to wearing this--I'll have a chance soon, as I'll be off to Massachusetts next week.