Wednesday, February 24, 2010

plenty of clouds

We had several sunny days last week in a row. All the way home from church we basked in the sun (through the windows of course, it was still 32 degrees outside, people) and talked about how mild this winter has been and I'll admit a tiny part of me believed it was over. I half-expected 3 more sunny days this week and even a brief appearance of cute shoes worn without socks.

This week snapped me back to reality in the form of 8" of snow and a very gray forecast. The newscaster on our local NPR station is fond of using the phrase "plenty of clouds" to describe days like these. One day I will give that man a good punch in the nose. Plenty should be used to describe something wonderful like smoked salmon or songs by Iron & Wine. Incidentally it also describes the number of Hostess "Donettes" I have foolishly consumed today. It is the antonym to the quantity of sleep I got last night.

*photo is from

Saturday, February 20, 2010

this alfredo is a lightweight

I know it's not authentic or anything, but this recipe makes a delicious sauce and does not call for a whole stick of butter or heavy cream. Even my kids like it.

Any Cheese Alfredo-ish Sauce

4 oz light cream cheese, cubed
1 cup milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese OR havarti/gruyere/other cheese, cubed
3 T butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook all ingredients in a saucepan on medium-low until cheeses have completely melted. Stir occasionally with a whisk.

I usually toss this sauce with 3/4 lb whole wheat rotini/penne and broccoli or zucchini. Top with more shredded cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

depression cake

Am I so depressed that I need a cake to fix me? If so, why? Is it because of the weather?(Crappy). Is it because of the state of my kitchen table? (Pictured above, in desperate need of refinishing). Is it the fact that dh doesn't believe in valentine's day? (I'm still making my peace with that). No, no, and no. I'm actually not depressed or anything but I've been making this cake on a weekly basis because it is fantastically delicious and moist and, incidentally, vegan (almost makes up for the 2 cups of sugar). I love that I always have the ingredients on hand and it doesn't have any weird chemical in it like a box cake. It's also sturdy enough to actually be frosted, unlike box cakes.

It's called Depression Cake because my great-grandmother Katie Pearl made it for my Nana when she was growing up during the great depression. My Nana's comment on it was, "This cake is good. Just like memories of my mother." Which is the cutest thing ever.

Depression Cake

2 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups cold water
3/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix for 30 seconds on low to combine, then 2 minutes on medium. Pour into prepared pans (I use parchment paper and cooking spray to line my pans). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes for two 8 or 9" rounds.

I frost it with sweetened whipping cream (whip 2 cups of heavy cream +3-5 tablespoons powdered sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla until sturdy peaks form).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

wedding photo time waster

Ah, snow days. Such a nice respite from the frenzied rush out the door, the running around town, the pressure to Get Things Done. A day for snow castles, snow angels, maple syrup snow cones, hot chocolate, clam chowder, and some fairly lame Disney channel shows.

I didn't do any of that stuff. My boys did, and I documented it with the camera and sometimes joined in. What did I do today? (Besides make clam chowder and tuck snow pants into snow boots). I trolled around on wedding photography sites. There are some really cool ones out there. I like carl zoch photography in particular.

I think I'm well past the point of adding photos to my wedding album. Not sure if I could fit in the dress. Pretty sure the wrinkles would show. Maybe some 13th anniversary photos? In super-soft focus?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

today I ...

... cleaned out the Bad Carb Graveyard. Wait, no, I didn't eat them all. Those unappetizing lumps are Chocolate Emergency Cookies. Remember those? Maybe not; I just learned that most people call them No-bake Cookies. No matter--they still look gross.

... scrubbed Super Q's skateboarding shoes. He left a note in my purse reminding me to do it.

... wore the Ugly Apron while I cooked up some teriyaki marinade.

... enjoyed this very cool card catalog my sister-in-law gave me. The drawers are just big enough to put CDs in (yes, I'm in my 30s, I still own some CDs).

... contemplated the meaning of these nautical posts (pilings, are they called? moorings? is mooring a word?) in my backyard. If a boat pulls up one day, it'll have a place to dock.

... took a lot of random pictures of little tasks. Feeling kind of done with winter.