Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grossed out!

So Spring brought us many surprises. Most of them unwanted and unloved. First we have the annual spider fest. This year we had huge ones in the basement about palm size. Really gross I never took pics because well I am terrified. I couldn't let them escape so I scream until someone comes to kill it or if my hubby isn't home which is most of the time I find the closest book, shoe, magazine, heavy toy, whatever is near me and literally throw it at the spider. This tends to work well until I have to then clean up the smashed spider and if the weapon can be thrown out it is. Otherwise I have to put on my big rubber gloves and get to disinfecting.

We also have a family of frogs living outside a basement window. My little monkey loves these. In fact whenever we go outside he has to quickly run over and find the "foggy". When it isn't there he gets upset and shrugs his shoulders. I would have taken a pic today, but they weren't there maybe tomorrow.

Outside a side basement window on two occasions there was a snake. A small one, but nonetheless spooky enough to run away. I know I have a pic somewhere, but can't seem to find it. Will post it if it comes along.

When it rains bugs, worms, and other things get lost and find their way into my pool. One day I discovered hundreds maybe more seeking refuge on a leaf. I scooped them out before I ran to grab my camera so the pic is a little hard to see, but if you look close they are everywhere. Definitely gave me goosebumps.

Today I got a wonderful surprise. A lovely creature taking a leisurely swim in my pool. It got me thinking why are there so many movies cartoons and other entertainment out there that portray these creatures as cute and friendly and cuddly? Perhaps it is a conspiracy because in reality they are "GROSS". Even my monkey who thinks that the "foggies" are cute kept repeating to me, "Ewww yucky, Ewww yucky". I agreed that it was gross and got out the nice long pool net and scooped it out throwing it far away from my yard. I know it sounds cruel. It probably was cruel, but in my defense it was really gross. Here is a picture of what was in my pool. Do you think it is cute?

Now that it is officially summer I am hoping that more surprises are in store. Only I hope that they are the good kind of surprises.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red Velvet

So I was just thinking it seems no one here has heard of a red velvet cake. Or I should say even if they have heard they haven't ever eaten one. You can't even find red velvet cake mixes in stores. So I thought maybe it is just a southern thing. I think almost anything requiring buttermilk must be southern. So as I was saying I thought I would do some research and see if I could come up with the best red velvet cake. Although it had to be cupcakes because my hubby doesn't eat sweets and it had to be something I could share easily.
Well a camp fundraiser was just the platform to share my concoctions. I actually took like 3 different recipes and adjusted them to make the cupcakes I did. And I have to say they turned out really well. I was crossing my fingers the entire time thinking I hope they taste good and aren't too dry or tasteless. Plus when you add a lot of food coloring to get that gorgeous red color sometimes it alters the flavor of the cake. I don't think it changed it enough to effect the flavor of the goodness. From feedback they turned out wonderfully and my cream cheese frosting got kudos all 'round. So I guess I will share the recipes with you as I believe in sharing knowledge and all. I think the raspberries on top sold them. So don't forget to dress your cupcakes they look much more enticing that way. Best fresh, but was still yummy after 2 days!

Red Velvet Cupcakes


2 1/2 C Flour
2 C Sugar
2 TBSP Cocoa (generous scoops)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup oil (1 1/2 for a cake)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 container of red food coloring (I used a small container, but you may need up to 1 oz. depending on how red you want it.)
1Tbsp vinegar + 1 tsp baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat oil with sugar, then add eggs and vanilla.
3. Mix dry ingredients together minus the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
4. Combine slowly with egg mixture switching between the dry and the buttermilk.
5. Add the food coloring.
6. Mix the vinegar with the baking soda. It will fizz so be sure to have a large enough bowl so it doesn't run over.
7. Add mixture to the batter.
8. Bake 20-22 minutes for cupcakes and 30 minutes for a cake.

Meanwhile you can make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting


8 oz. cream cheese softened
1 C butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
4 C icing sugar or powder sugar
Shredded coconut
Raspberries or sliced strawberries


1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Add vanilla.
3. Add sugar in batches until smooth.

The recipe makes plenty so be as generous as you want. I piped mine on for a more even texture. Sprinkle top with coconut and add fruit as a decoration on top. Keep in fridge if not eating immediately. If you are making a cake using the round pans you can cut the cake is half and have a four layer cake. Enjoy!

The batter after it has been all mixed.

Fresh out of oven. Cooling to get ready to ice.

Finished product. Ready to be devoured... I didn't get a chance to take a pic whilst eating because they were gone so fast!