Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cake flop

 Last month I was looking through the Southern Living magazine and saw an article about one of their most requested recipes in the history of the magazine.  The recipe is for Hummingbird Cake and I knew I had to make it -- Sarah's birthday was coming up soon, my grandmother used to make Hummingbird Cake, and the cake has cream cheese icing!  I had no choice, but to try it.

The cake has simple ingredients, and this version has 4 layers with a custard filling between the layers.  I made the custard the day before so it could spend the night in the refrigerator.  My layers came out of the pan cleanly and the custard tasted delicious.  I stacked the cake together:  cake, custard, cake, custard, etc.  Everything looked great.  Then, I turned to whip up the cream cheese icing.  It was delicious, too! 

I was creating a masterpiece!

When I turned back to wrap the cake in cream cheese deliciousness, this is what I found:

 It was funny, I tell you!  I got the camera to capture such a beautiful swan dive, then got back to work salvaging the remains.  It is more fun than you may know to have your hands covered up to your wrists in cake and custard!  I slapped the cake back in its place, anchored layers together with toothpicks, and quickly sealed the whole disaster in a thick coat of cream cheese icing.
The result was still a little sketchy so I topped the whole thing off with flowers.

The flowers helped, but the sparkler birthday candles saved the day. 
That, and the smile of the birthday girl!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wild hog run

Picture from
I went out for a jog this morning. 
Usually, I go to an exercise class at 5:30 on Tuesday mornings, but my shoulder has been giving me some trouble so I decided to give it a rest for a few weeks.  I still need my exercise, though, so I got out and ran.  The weather has been beautiful this spring and I love being outside as the sun comes up.   I am a slow jogger, but speed has never been my goal.  Running is difficult for me and I am always proud of myself just for keeping at a trot instead of slowing to a walk. 
When I left home I wasn't sure how far I would go.  I just headed out, one foot in front of the other.  As I got on the main road, a little more than a mile from home, I started to think about how much farther I would go.  Up to the next driveway would give me about a 2.75 mile round trip, a little more and I would get in a 5K.  So, head down, calculating how many more steps to run, I was in my own little jogging world.
Just then, I heard a sound like a loud growl.  My head jerked up and I saw what looked like 2 or 3 wild dogs crossing the road in front of me.  I gave a silly little scream and realized that I was seeing a family of wild hogs run from the wheat field on one side of the road into the woods on the other side.  They ran in a straight line -- big hog, baby hog, bigger hog, big hog, baby hog -- until 10-15 of them crossed the road.  Wild hogs are known to be vicious and I had no idea what they thought of me being so close. It was a growling sound that had woken me from my reverie.  Not a happy-muddy-pig-in-the-sunshine sound.
I stopped dead in my tracks, stood still just long enough to gather my wits, turned around and ran back towards home.  My total distance this morning was 2.69 miles, not as far as I had planned, but I made it back alive.  And that seems like a major accomplishment for today!
I use Endomondo to track my workouts.  The program uses GPS to map my runs so I can see my speed, distance, and altitude.  When I got home this morning I was curious to see what my adventure looked like as pure fact on a graph. I could see that at the halfway point I stopped and then there was a spike in my speed as I ran faster than I had the whole time.  I remember thinking that I didn't want to run too fast so that the hogs wouldn't sense my fear and come after me :) 
Next time I get out to run -- tomorrow -- I think I will bring some protection from the wild varmints lurking in the wheat.
 Ahhh.... country living at its best!