Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Part of me loves lazy days, and part of me hates them. I love lazy days at home because they give me a chance to catch up on things I’ve been meaning to do, like the dishes. But I hate them because I simply can’t seem to get anything done on lazy days; I’m too busy doing nothing. I feel like I have a day off and I should get to sit on the couch all day and watch cheesy movies. On some lazy days it feels like I’ve accomplished something if I’ve taken a shower. So, I decided I needed to break my couch-potatoness and I walked the dog. Not only that, I showered. Hooray for me! If I’m feeling extra vigorous later, I might actually go through all of the stuff we brought back from our trip down to Fitzgerald and put it away/ wash it. Our going away bags and all the lovely presents we received are still sitting on the couch where we dropped them on arriving home Sunday afternoon.

I mentioned earlier that I walked the dog. In case you’re wondering what he looks like, this is Indie:

Indie is short for Indiana (as in Indiana Jones). Unlike his namesake, he is not brave and adventurous. In fact he’s terrified of just about everything and everyone. Or at least everyone until he’s in the room with them for about two hours (they must, of course, be completely ignoring him, even when he comes up for a stealth sniff and lick) after those two hours, you are his friend for life. He is sweet and loveable, goofy and while he can be very smart, he’s mostly pretty stupid. I can say that because I love him. He is a real-life version of Pluto, you know Mickey Mouse’s dog. He’s clumsy and silly. He thinks he’s actually a little dog. He will try to get in laps. Here is trying to be a little dog:

This means “pet my tummy”:

“Please pet my tummy”:

This position usually is accompanied by a strange grunting noise.

My cat, George, you’ve met. Here he is helping me with the laundry. See how he helpfully sits on the clean shirt. He’s getting hair all over it.

This position we call loaf cat. We call it that because you can’t see his feet or tail and he looks like a hairy loaf of bread with a cat head.

Here is loaf cat from the side:

Here is a true story that is very, very funny and for which my sister will most likely get mad at me for telling you. This past Sunday, my hubby and my sister’s hubby went to go see a movie; meanwhile, I hung out with my sister and her two kids. When the guys got back from the movie, we were all starving and decided to go to this Greek restaurant. Mmmm Greek food. So my sister, her hubby, my hubby, my two nephews (ages 2 and 5 months) piled into our cars and headed out. Never having been to this particular restaurant before, we were not aware that they had dinner and a show. In other words, they had a scantily clad belly dancer with sparkly fringe on her hips and chest that performed every so often. We sat down to eat and all was going well. The boys were very well behaved. Then, the music started, and the dancer started making her way between the tables. At first our little 2 year old nephew took no notice. Then she got closer. He turned and looked, and boy let me tell you his eyes took over his whole face. She stopped at our table right next to him, and he sat there eyes wide, mouth hanging open just staring at her. She, of course, thought this was just precious and she danced there for a while, clanging her finger cymbals and shaking everything she had. My sweet little nephew was just enthralled and everyone around was in tears laughing. The song ended and she left the floor. Then, just as we were finishing dinner, the music started back. This time my nephew knew what was about to happen and he started to point and laugh. Not a sweet little boy chortle, but a wild, crazy little man laugh. My poor sister hid her face, although I’m pretty sure she was still laughing. He continued laughing until the music was over, and then it was time for us to go. On the way home, we asked him what he liked about the dancer. His response, “She’s sparkly”.

Here is a recipe for red velvet cake. I love it because it uses oil rather than butter which makes it very dense and moist and fabulous. Every Christmas deserves a red velvet cake! (A word to the wise, do no be funny and try to make this green velvet cake. They made green velvet cake at Kroger and no one would buy it. It just looked disgusting)

Red Velvet Cake
Make one 9inch, 3-layer cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce) (I prefer to use the Wilton, no-taste, red gel food coloring)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pecan pieces for garnish

To prepare pans: Thoroughly grease 3 round 9-inch cake pans, it works best if you use vegetable shortening. Then, using the bottom of the pans as a guide, cut out three circles of wax paper to go into the bottom of the pans. Press them into the bottom, and lightly grease the paper. Then, flour the pans with the paper in the bottom until the sides and the paper are covered lightly with flour. Set pans aside. (this is a sure-fire way of keeping the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the sides with the pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using.

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