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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cake in Mug

Last night the Conductor and I wanted some dessert but all we had were store bought cookies and candy.  Not very exciting.  I persuaded him to revive a pregnancy favorite.  I didn't blog at all while I was pregnant with the Sprout.  But there was a period of about a week where we had the following conversation:

Him:  Do you want anything from the kitchen?

Me:  Yes.  A piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Him:  Do we *have* any chocolate cake?

Me:  No.

Him:  (Rolls eyes at my crazy pregnancy logic).

My Mother-in-law had loaded us up with Christmas treats and before we could finish those, the Girl Scout cookies came.  Seeing as how we were already overloaded with goodies, I didn't want to buy a cake and with the pregnancy fatigue I wasn't about to bake one.  So we just repeated the futile conversation over and over until one night when the Conductor remembered and NPR interview he heard with a man who had written a microwave cookbook.

One of the recipes was for individual cakes in a mug where you mix the ingredients right in the cup then bake in the microwave.  They are all over the internet but here's an example.  Here's the finished product:

It makes a pretty large portion so two people could even split it.  We topped ours with some nummy Sanders fudge sauce (made in the Conductor's home state of Michigan) and some raspberry sauce that I made with berries from our yard.  (Just a saucepan full of berries and a handful of sugar cooked down to liquid).

It was delicious!  Now that we've had it a few times, some tips:

Stir the ingredients with a fork to blend better.  Don't add more batter than called for (I tried making individual cakes with a box mix and poured in WAY too much and it overflowed,  making a mess).  Keep the cook time to 2 minutes.  Anything more and the cake will get dry.

Great for a pregnancy craving...or a chocolate craving...when you don't want an entire cake sitting around.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Garden Shoes

Wow!  My maternity leave is just about over with.  The Conductor got two weeks for daddy leave.  He took one week of his FMLA leave after the Sprout was born and we wisely decided to use his other week about 2 1/2 months in.  This gave us time to get to know our little one's quirks, how he is in restaurants and on car rides and so on.  We were hoping to do some family vacation type stuff and since we were blessed with a good baby, it was a lot of fun.

We didn't do anything too wild with an infant, of course.  But we did have a few over nighters. For our first one, we went up to Baraboo, WI, home of the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  My sister lives there so it was nice to have a visit.   And she's funny, but no, she's not a circus clown.

The Sprout got to have his first train ride.  The Conductor was in his element - he is the 257th most important man in model railroading, after all.

The train ride was at a historic site which also featured a blacksmith demonstrating the technique.  He had all kinds of doo-dads that he had made stuck in the ground and all super cheap!

I spied these things, which he said were tent stakes.

But I was thinking of my garden shoes.  I keep them on our enclosed back porch.  Although it's enclosed, we still get the occasional mouse.  Ew!  I have a perfectly reasonable totally irrational fear that I'm going to put them on and have my toe bitten off by a mouse that decided to turn my shoe into its nest.

So, the blacksmith said tent stakes, (at $2 a piece - can you believe it!) but I saw this:

So, for four bucks, I'm going to try hanging them from the tent stakes outside the porch door.  They're rubber shoes so they can handle getting wet.  I'm hoping it'll keep the mud and dirt outside.  Too bad it won't keep the mice out...