Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Monday, September 30, 2013

the babies went into the oven first, while the mama patiently waited for her turn

Now that I have your attention, I'll confess that I'm baking baby cakes, not baby humans.

want to see how it went?

okay then...I visited my daughter K and noticed a few bananas getting a bit over ripe on her table. I suggested she make banana cake. She said she was planning a different sort of cake (triple berry upside down cake), and suggested I take the bananas home.
Good idea.
No, great idea!

So here's how the day went:

First, prepare your pans.

see those three smaller pans? They're mini loaf pans, 10cm long by 5cm wide.

Then assemble your ingredients...

 on the left, half a cup of self-raising flour mixed with one cup of plain flour.

 in the middle, three quarters of a cup of raw sugar creamed with 4 ounces of butter.

 on the right, one quarter cup of plain yoghurt mixed with two mashed bananas.

 in front, one egg.

Set your oven at 190*C. Mine is fan forced, so I set it at 180*C

Add the egg to the creamed butter/sugar, and mix well.
alternately mix in the flours and the yoghurt/banana mix, stir just enough to combine. 

Spoon mixture into prepared pans

  and bake until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
Normally I just do one loaf pan and it takes around a half an hour or so.

But I had the new small loaf pans to try out,

so the babies went into the oven first,

then the bigger pan.

here are the golden brown baby cakes

10cm long

5cm wide and only about 2cm high, so I could have put more mixture in each mini loaf pan.
They're a nice snack size like this and I wrapped each one individually and froze them for a later date.

Here are all four cakes. The biggest one is also not very high, since almost half the mix went into the mini loaf pans.
I sliced the big one and had a slice for afternoon tea and froze the rest.

This is a cake that freezes really well and thaws reasonably quickly. It keeps for a couple of months.
Maybe it would keep longer without freezer burn, but I've usually eaten it within the couple of months, so I'll never know.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Selections # 139

Welcome back to Sunday Selections!

This once-a- week-meme was originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs.
Kim spends more time writing at The Shake these days.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to me, River, somewhere in your post
3. leave me a comment so that I know you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. hop on over to The Elephant’s Child to see more of her wonderful photos.

Kath and Andrew often join in as well, although Kath has been quite busy lately and unable to join us.

I usually go with a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week I'm continuing with some photos of my new vegetable beginnings.

remember this from a few weeks ago?

baby rhubarb

look at it now!  See that one on the left?

it already has a tiny new crown forming off to one side!
look at those lovely red stalks.
They're only a couple of inches long, it will be a couple of years before I can safely harvest any.

the beans have begun...

the garlic is going well....

even the mini cucumbers in mini peat pots have started growing.

I also have mini tomatoes, (cherry or grape I can't remember which) and mini lettuces in mini peat pots, but nothing is happening with those.
Possibly the seeds are too old.
I have newer ones, I'll try those if nothing happens in the pots by next week.

Just to top things off, I've been seeing butterflies this spring. Lots of butterflies. I went to the mailboxes one day last week and there were half a dozen of them all lined up on top, but I didn't have the camera. I did manage to get photos a day later of one on my front table and again yesterday on the front door.

this is yesterday's butterfly above.

this is last week's butterfly.
I followed him a bit as he learned to fly...

then I lost sight of him in the trees.

almost forgot, my neighbour Pat watched me plant the seaside daisies last week and offered me some seeds of a dwarf sunflower. Naturally I said yes....

one has already started growing!
See that blurry red shoot with the seed still attached to its head?
Dwarf Sunflower. I can't wait for these to bloom. Pots of sunshine.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

last week's flash fiction prompt

The prompt from Delores, from Under The Porch Light,  was woven threads of gold and silver in silk and satin dreams.

Some of you who accepted the challenge managed to use the sentence as a whole. I couldn't make it work for me, so I broke it up and wrote this:

Woven threads of gold and silver in silk and satin dreams

Eileen stared at the dress in the window of the antique shop.  It was the most beautiful wedding gown she had ever seen. At first glance the lines of the gown seemed simple, plain even, but the more you looked, the more detail you noticed. The exquisitely designed bodice with tiny seed pearls, lace and impossibly tiny crystal beads.

75 years ago Eileen had seen this very dress throughout its creation in the back rooms of a small boutique named ExtravORganza.
The front of the shop sold organza party dresses with ribbon sashes for little girls, ball gowns for their mothers and sisters, wedding gowns and christening gowns. The back of the shop had a small room with shelves stocked with bolts of fabric and an alcove with many tiny boxes holding all the ribbons, buttons, beads and laces.  A larger room held the cutting tables and the brand new treadle sewing machines.  No more hand stitching of long seams now.

Here, Eileen's mother and grandmother lovingly sewed every item that was to be sold in the shop. 

Here, 75 years ago, the Mayor's 20 year old daughter was engaged to be married and she had commissioned a dream of a dress in silk and satin, to be woven with threads of gold and silver, decorated with seed pearls and crystal beads. And then ordered a miniature of the same dress in the softest satin to be used as a christening gown. 

Eileen had been twelve years old at the time, just learning how to sew on the pearls and beads the shop was famous for, keeping the thread firm, but not pulling too tight, and making sure the knots were tiny and invisible. She'd been stitching on a sample piece of satin, listening and watching as her mother and grandmother discussed the design of gold and silver threads that would circle the satin hem of the skirt in a deep border resembling a flower garden. The same flower garden was to cover the entire bodice.
It was to be a spring wedding and the Mayor was sparing no expense for his only daughter, Mary Colleen. The dress alone was costing 500 pounds and it was rumoured there would be real champagne at the reception!

Eileen had been beyond excited when she had been instructed to wash and dry her hands thoroughly and then help to spread the skirt so the design could be examined carefully. Any mistakes would have to be corrected now, before the final pressing. Both seamstresses breathed sighs of satisfaction at seeing the dress finished and perfect.  Now was the time to repeat the entire process in miniature.  And there was to be a christening bonnet too! 

The owner of ExtravORganza and Eileen's family had not been invited to the wedding, but the Mayor had paid handsome bonuses and they would stand outside the church to throw rice with the rest of the townspeople.
After the wedding, Eileen had dreamt for years of silk and satin gowns woven with gold and silver threads, stitched with the tiniest of seed pearls and crystal beads.

Now, 75 years later, in 1953, in a London antique shop window, here was the dress, still in perfect condition, with an impossibly high price tag attached.

Eileen wondered about the little christening gown. Was it still with the dress? Why was the dress being sold? It had been worn in turn by both of Mary Colleen's daughters, two grand daughters and a great grand daughter. The christening gown had been worn by every baby born since the original wedding. Family heirlooms they were now. Or should be. Why was the dress here in an antique shop? 

Eileen pushed open the heavy door and went to the counter to enquire about the christening gown.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesday’s, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a meme which she calls
“Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.
I'm hopeless at poetry, so I do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. spasm
2. uneventful
3. trek
4. early
5. limestone
6. felt

Here is my short story:

After an uneventful night, Nicole woke to the smell of coffee wafting down the hall from the kitchen. Dave was getting breakfast. 

As she got out of bed, Nicole felt the spasms of early labor beginning.  She'd had Braxton Hicks for a few weeks now, but this felt different and she knew it was the real thing this time. 

Today would be the day she and Dave made the trek to the beautiful old limestone hospital at the end of the street. 

Baby Zak was on his way and Nicole was more than ready to finally meet him in person.

This week, Delores has once again favoured us with two selections of words, so here we go again:

1. bland
2. curious
3. reeks
4. indefinite
5. morning
6. fulminate

Here is my short story:

Kevin sat calmly in the chair, keeping his expression as bland as possible. He wasn't curious as to why he was here, he knew exactly what was going on.  
 "This whole mistaken identity thing reeks of Bob", he thought. "Another of his weak plots to keep me out of class". 
Mr Franks had informed him this morning that he had been spotted leaving the school grounds without permission and he was to sit and wait outside the Principal's office. 
Principal Johns appeared to have an indefinite schedule, seeming to come and go as he pleased, and he was well known for keeping his "victims" fulminating for as much as an hour.  
 Kevin wasn't worried, he had witnesses to vouch for his presence in the school library from 2pm right up to 3.30pm yesterday.   
"Bob just can't seem to stand the fact that I pass every test with ease, while he has to swot and study every single day. There's nothing I can do about it, the work just comes easily to me."