Friday, December 28, 2007

3-Ginger Gingerbread: seasonal yum!

A recently attended wedding featured this delicacy as the wedding cake. cake...ever. I brow beat the bride in to sharing the recipe. OK, I just asked, but that's not as dramatic. It looks complicated at first glance, but it's not! Note: our local brewery was out of stout when I made this, so I substituted porter and it was just as divine. Basically, you want a full-bodied, toasty, oaty brew for the liquid, not wimpy American horse water. Support your local brewery!3-Ginger Gingerbread Cake

From “The Great Scandinavian Baking Book” by Beatrice Ojakangas

With a few modifications by the Bride (Cindy)

Bring to a boil in a medium (to large) non-reactive pan over high heat:

1 c Guinness stout
1 c mild unsulphured molasses

Remove from heat and whisk in: (it will foam up a lot… keep stirring)

t baking soda

Let stand 1 hour or until cool.

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter three 8” cake pans, line bottoms with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Lightly flour the pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together:

2 c all-purpose flour
2 T ground ginger
1 ¼ t baking powder
¾ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t freshly ground nutmeg
⅛ t ground cardamom

In another bowl, whisk:

3 large eggs
½ c sugar
½ c packed dark brown sugar

To eggs, whisk in:

¾ c vegetable oil

To eggs/oil, whisk in:

The Guinness mixture

Gradually stir the liquid into the dry.

Stir in:

1 T minced fresh ginger
¼ c minced crystallized ginger

Divide between prepared cake pans. Bake until cake pulls slightly away from the sides, and tester comes out clean – about 25 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes, then invert onto racks. Peel off paper.

Keeps at least a week (at that point we had eaten all that was left!!)

Cindy’s Glaze: brown sugar + sour cream… measure out as much sour cream as you think will be needed, then add brown sugar until it tastes right.

(A touch of vanilla goes well, and sprinkles of minced candied ginger is always good over the top, although we did not use either on the wedding cake…)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Green eggs (no ham)!

This won't be a big deal to anybody but me, but I just collected a green egg from my henhouse. Lobelia, my fluffyheaded Auracana, is laying again! All of my "older" birds stopped laying months ago, for some reason. Except Emma the crabby Gold Sebright (banty). She's been laying right along...until she went broody on me a couple of weeks ago. Now she just sits on everybody else's eggs and screams at me when I take them away. She's a little goofy.

Anyhoo, right now I'm getting 5-6 eggs a day at least, what with the new Rhode Is. Red, Sophie, in the mix. I have 3 dozen in the fridge because I can't seem to find takers for my extras. Methinks it's time for pickled eggs: yum.

The Lurking Jingle

Oh, yes, pity those who work in retail. Especially at this time of year...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cavalcade of Bad Nativities 2: Electric Boobaloo!

I've been remiss in posting the link to this. Bad me. I'm getting a lump of coal now, I just know it.

Just so everybody is on the same page, and before I get irate comments from a well-meaning Christian: I am a Christian. I am not anti-Jesus or anti-Christmas or anti-creche, k? What I am, is anti-schlock, anti-dreck, anti-cheesy quasi Christian trash "art". I applaud this documentation of bad "art" and pass the savings on to you.

Oh, and, yes, that is an aggressively Irishy leprechaun-y nativity scene. The mind reels (pun intended).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's Christmas! Christmas, I tell you!!!!

Tired of all of the bland, generic "holiday" nonsense? This gentlemen has a nice response to emulate. He calls it "Merry Tossmas". Thanks to Will for the heads up!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Do NOT go after my chickens or I will SO blast you with my, um, air gun.


My chickens are really stoopid. That's a redundancy, I know, like "annoying children" or "smelly dogs", but they will keep wandering out in the pasture where we no longer have a giant dog-eating draft horse. The current horses, when they actually notice the coyote walking right past them, pretty much say, "Huh, lookit the coyootie."

I've been very remiss about lining our board fence with wire mesh, to keep bird in and predators out. I'm slowly getting there, but my wonky back limits me to about an hour of fence work at a time. Feh. So, anyhoo, a short while ago I heard a commotion involving squawking barn fowl out in the pasture, and glanced up to see my gang of "teenage" hens fly-running in the general direction of the henhouse or the neighbor's pasture, depending on your perspective. I bolted for the kitchen door, jumped into my wellies, grabbed a rifle from the stack, and ran out along their angle of escape. Sure enough, there was a pile of yellow feathers under the cedar trees. I actually yelled "Aaaaagh!" as I poked the clump of fluff, looking for blood. Nothing. I still figured I was down one Buff Orpington. Of course I couldn't see a dog-shaped anything anywhere, although it was probably peering at me from the brush at the edge of the back pasture.

I found Roxanne (the barred rock) in Gallant's, the neighbor's thouroughbred, stall. The other girls were all, yes all, under a stack of tin roofing next to the stall. With the help of Mrs. Neighbor, who wondered what I was doing peering under her roofing materials, we flushed out the birds and I herded them back to their yard. One of the Orpies is missing a dog mouthfull of feathers from her left "hip", right in front of her tail. There's a bit of tearing, but I'll just put some antibiotic goo on it tonight when she settles down. It looks clean and she's not limping. Poor baby. I've seen worse, though, and maybe they'll stay closer to home now.

Note to self: do more target practice and learn what all those darned guns next to the kitchen door actually are. Even if I had actually seen the offender and shot at it and not missed, which I always do, I'm not sure an air gun would have dropped it. I loathe the idea of merely wounding an animal. No suffering, please, and fewer predators, double please. Sound cruel? Sorry, Mrs. Neighbor also informed me that the reason Mrs. Goat Lady, another neighbor, is down to one goat is that the coyotes got the female. I shoot to kill. If you're a dog, and you're in my pasture, I will, and I quote Capt. Mal Reynolds, (try to) "end you".

Sunny...and still windy

Woke up to blinding sunshine this morning: OW! The wind, which was supposed to slack off by 1900 last night, is still going strong. My parents' basement flooded yesterday when they were out, of course, so they came home to a swamp. Love that wall-to-wall carpet. My brother and I pitched in to move furniture and shop-vac up the water. It's going to be fine, but it was just too much work for a couple in their 70s.

Here's Granny Cat toasting herself in the sunshine today. Usually she toasts outside on the roof of the garden shed, but today the wind would probably roll her off. I don't know why my chickens haven't blown away like fluffy tumbleweeds, but they haven't. Maybe they grasp the turf with their claws like Spider Man climbing up a wall. Hm. Anyway...

The power never went out, which is probably due to the fact that the power was constantly going out last year at this time and all of those branches and bad poles came down already and/or were fixed. The local infrastructure has been beefed up with taller, stronger poles and a new substation down the road, so we're in much better shape.

Aren't adults boring? "Weather" blah blah blah "electricity" blah blah blah. Gah, I sound like my Civil Engineer dad!

Well, I'll have you know that I'm only masquerading as an adult! I'm really irresponsible and spend way too much time fooling around on my computer, so there.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Yes, it's Washington, but rain here is usually pretty wimpy. It's a total deluge at this point. Every watercourse is flooding or about to. Culverts are over capacity. There are landslides, washouts, and standing water in general all over the PNW in general and our county in specific. My parents' basement has flooded and I spent the evening moving everything out of a bedroom so the carpet could be pulled up before it molds, while my brother vacuumed up vat after vat of water with his super shop vac.

The power could go out at any moment because of the high winds.

Can I have the snow back?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


It's snowing right now. Big, white, wet, floofy flakes. I predict broken branches about the area in the next few hours. It's just not cold enough for good dry snow that looks nice but doesn't do damage. I let the horses in because they were turning in to yetis. The chickens didn't want to walk in the snow from the under the porch to the henhouse, so I carried them one by one. Birds.