Thursday, October 31, 2013

What I've been up to including but not limited to baking

Once again I ate a soapy piece of food. Usually this mistake keeps within the cake bake circle of things but today it found its way into my pancakes. I wanted to make a cornmeal pancake of some sort so I searched the internet for a promising recipe. Everything looked fine and tasted great dripping with syrup but a piece on its own had that all too familiar taste of having eating a particularly unnatural bar of soap (though really I have no reference, thank goodness :) You would think I learned from my previous mistakes but while I was adding soda to the batter I did think it was a bit much and did it anyway. My hubby had doubts I didn't make a mistake and looking at the recipe again he was right. It wasn't supposed to be baking soda but baking powder.... grrr. It was a good recipe though, you can see it HERE.

Banana Pumpkin Bread
Luckily a lot of recipes of late worked fine. I made some great pies for my mother-in law including a nice banana pumpkin bread so the baby had something sugarless to snack on. I'll add that recipe later. All the guests on her birthday commented on the nice pies but really I didn't care much because I LOVED them. Both were from Ken Haedrich's book Pie, which as you might know is the best pie book ever! I had chosen a Pumpkin Cheesecake and a Mocha Ricotta as I know my in laws don't like anything too sweet. The Mocha came with a great rich Mocha Chocolate sauce too, yummy!
Left a Pumpkin Cheesecake, Right a Mocha Ricotta
Yesterday we had nice tiny quark cakes, like cheese cake but made with quark (obviously). I also made a great banana bread that I sadly don't have the recipe of. I thought I could remember it but I didn't.

I have also had some non bake related projects going on of which I'll post some pics soon. I've made my baby a cute winter coat. Ever shopped for a day for 1 article of clothing and come back empty handed because they just didn't have your vision? My baby needed a new coat but somehow every girls coat is either pink, too frilly or has texts like "I'm the cutest girl you'll ever see" which is true but not something I want my 1 year old to wear. So I searched through my stash of fabric (which has become surprisingly large) and found a cute purple wool felt. I used it to make a coat for myself a few years ago and thought it would be perfect for her. It's now waiting to have the sleeves shortened and then it will be ready for winter.  

I've also become a web editor for the anthropologists professional association where I hope to become the main contact person for all universities and institutes related to anthropology in my country anyway. Also I get to blog, which is just fun!

Lastly I started restoring one of my oldest dolls today. She's been with me since 1989 and she has soft skin, pretty eyes, curly hair, a cute button nose and sweet dress. Her name is (don't laugh...) Pipi (pronounced pee-pee, I was 5 don't judge ;). Her face was dirty but I didn't know how to clean it, also I had no idea who she was or who made her. So I googled the only terms I could think of: '80's dolls'. And TADA! there she was. Pipi is my My Child doll, produced by Mattel in the 80's. They have quite a hardcore fan club and I have seen some awesome OOAK make over dolls. I found a site that had directions on how to clean her and fix her hair so I did that today. She now sits on the couch in front of the heater to dry.
I cannot believe she is 14 years old. I can still remember standing in front of a huge row of My Child dolls in what must have been a Toys R Us. They had so many different ones, with different skin colors and clothes and hair. The funny thing is all those choices and I did actually choose my child. Pipi is pale and blond in a pretty pink dress. If she's had blue eyes instead of brown she would have been a perfect likeness of my real child.
Pipi is looking nice and clean again with soft hair, but it's not as nicely curled as I've seen in some pictures of restored dolls. I wonder how she looked right out of the box and hope to find some pictures when I'm at my parents tomorrow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

With a love of food comes responsibility

Did you see photographer Peter Menzel's series of one weeks of groceries from around the world? It's all over the internet and you can check it out HERE if you haven't seen it. Beware, it's a reality check.
I started at the top thinking 'Wow Mexicans eat a lot of fruit and veggies, good for them! Though it might be wise to cut down on the coke dudes...'. USA's huge amount of junk food I found quite shocking, would they eat that every week?? Yuck. They also drink a disturbingly small amount of water... just like Australians eat way too much meat and that German family must be drunk most days... At first I found it funny to just see the difference in what people from different countries eat, every family is different of course but it gives a nice comparable overview. When I got to Mali my gaze shifted to the amount of food versus the number of people and when I got to Chad it just made my heart ache.

Looking at the difference we must be able to eat less. How much do we not need. We don't need to eat chips, drink fizzy drinks or put sauce on everything. However I can live with that difference if only we would do something about the waste we in the (mostly) Northern hemisphere create. Look at the packaging! After Chad has eaten all it's food (which definitely does not take long) it just has a few sacks left which they most likely reuse. Japanese on the other hand probably have more waste than food. Ever wonder where that goes and what that does to our atmosphere? Not only does Chad's population not have enough food while we so clearly have too much, we are polluting their air while they don't even know it. Our concern with other countries also clearly shows when, as I look at the pictures, I know where all the countries with lots of food are... I had to look up Chad.

Bottom line: Waste as little food as possible, recycle, have a compost bin in your yard and also one for rain water, try to keep your fast food intake to a minimum and bring your own bags to the store. Instead of paper or plastic, you can say: Here use mine!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2 minute chocolate mug cake, no eggs, no butter

Ever sat on the couch in the evening wishing you could devour a piece of chocolate cake? Now you can! It's quick, easy, not much mess and really good! From searching through your cupboards for ingredients to eating you scrumptious cake takes 10 minutes max. :)

2 minute Chocolate mug cake

What you will need:

- a microwavable mug

- 5 tablespoons of selfraising flour
- 4 tablespoons cane sugar or caster sugar
- 2 full tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt

- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (no olive oil, I like to use rice)
- 4,5 tablespoons water

Add the dry ingredients to your mug and mix well. Make an indent in the flour mix and add the wet ingredients. Stir until you have a smooth batter. Microwave on high (800 watt) for 2 minutes. Done!

Top off with powdered sugar, frosting, whipped cream or chocolate chips. Cute to look at, great to eat!

This also makes a really good housewarming, birthday or shower gift. Buy a suitable mug for the occassion, add the dry ingredients. Add some chocolate chips for a decadent touch. Put the wet ingredients in a sealable bag. Make a nice card saying how to make the cake and attach together with the wet ingredients to the mug handel. Wrap in plastic foil and you have a cute, inexpensive gift!

Make it pretty!

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