The Recipe

I still don’t have a copy of the photo that went in the paper of my three kids holding their ribbons for our winning cake, but I will go ahead and “share” the recipe.

This cake comes from a recipe card I received in the mail after Mark and I had been married for about 2 years. I kept the recipes and tried them, but I didn’t order the whole set of cards. I made this cake regularly for company before we had kids (and I had more time for more extravagant baking). The first time I made it, I had a little hand mixer. It turned out well. But about 2 weeks later I received the wonderful gift of a Kitchen Aid mixer from my in-laws. I wanted to try out the new Kitchen Aid. The improvement in the cake was so remarkable, it was like it wasn’t the same recipe. This is not to say the cake can’t be good without a Kitchen Aid, it is just, well, phenomenally better with one. (Yes, I know this sounds like a commercial for Kitchen Aid.)

Enough already . . .

Decadent Fudge Cake

1 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C sugar
4 eggs
1/2 t baking soda
1 C buttermilk
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C semisweet mini-morsels, divided
2 (4oz) bbars sweet baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1/3 C chocolate syrup
2 t vanilla extract
4 oz white chocolate, chopped
2 T plus 2 t shortening, divided

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed or an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Dissolve soda in buttermilk, stirring well. (It helps for this mixture to sit for about 10 minutes). Add to creamed mixture alternately with flour, beginning and ending with flour. Add one cup minimorsels, melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, and vanilla, stirrring just until blended. (Do not overbeat.)

Spoon batter into a heavily greased and floured 10-inch bundt pan. Bake at 300 for 1 hour 25 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Invert cake immediately onto serving plate, and let cool completely.

Combine 4 oz of chopped white chocolate and 2 T shortening in top of a double boiler, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and drizzle white chocolate mixture over cooled cake. Melt remaining 1/2 C mini morsels and 2 t shortening in a small saucepan over low hear, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool; drizzle over the white chocolate. ( I use the microwave for all this chocolate melting).

The most impressive thing about this cake is how it looks. My kids were sure that was why it won!

Small town victory

Generally, I have found small-town life challenging. But sometimes there are some unique opportunities to be found in small farming communities. Today, the kids and I were able to take advantage of one of those opportunities. We entered a cake we made together in the parent/child division in the agricultural fair for the northern part of our county They enjoyed doing it, but I told them not to get their hopes up about winning. As it turned out, we won 1st place for our category and Grand Champion for the whole division. The cakes are auctioned off as a fundraiser for the ag fair after they are judged, and people pay exorbitant amounts for them. An elder from our church paid $120 for it! Amazing!

The kids are really excited with their $3.75 prize and their blue and purple ribbons. However, they don’t yet know that we will be getting a check for $100 for winning in the division.

One other note that is sort of interesting is that I have been a judge in the fair cake contest during the previous 2 years, so I know that a system of blind judging is used.

It has been suggested to me that I include a photo and the recipe for our prize-winning cake on my blog. I hope to do so in the next week or so.

Ebay’s amazing

In preparation for homeschooling, I, of course had to buy curriculum. A friend of mine suggested looking for used curriculum on ebay. I would never have thought of this. So over the last week, I have spent some time bidding on some of the curriculum I wanted. Thanks to ebay, I have managed to get 75% of what I need for about half the price of buying it new. I’ve always been a big bargain hunter, so this was pretty fun for me.

Reblogged from 2003-08-12 16:15:11

Actually this is “just” Mark. We had some control panel confusion and I don’t see anyway to switch back authorship without deleting and reposting and thus losing comments…. So just know that the entry below was actually written by Jennifer (just as this is actually written by me–but the text above was cut and pasted from a now deleted entry so that it is actually from Jennifer….)

stupid Mom Tricks

Today was the first day of school for my 2 middle children. My husband was occupied with caring for the baby and taking our oldest son to his first homeschool activity. So I was on pre-k and K opening day duty. At their school, the first day involves a theme and several “play centers” for the children to enjoy. Most children have at least one parent or grandparent with them for the big day. Since Mark was otherwise occupied, I took both children to their first day, and I popped back and forth between their two school rooms so I was theoretically with both of them.

The theme in both classrooms was “A Visit to the Farm.” (The irony of this theme is that at least 50% of these children actually live on farms and the other 48% have family within 5 miles of their homes who have farms.) Back on topic . . . One of the activity centers for both classes involved the children making their own little grass pastures. Each child was given a square tray in which to put their pasture. They poured dirt in the tray, added some seed, covered the seed with more dirt, added water, a plastic farm animal, and popsicle stick halves for the fence. This was a fun and popular activity for the kids.

At the end of class, the children were to carefully carry their pastures out to their cars to go home. When I went to pick up Nevin, I found he had put his pasture in his backpack. Hmmmmm . . . fortunately, his teacher quickly told me they had secured their pastures in plastic bags. Phew! One catastrophe averted. So off we went to the car, with me carrying my camera (of course) and Evangeline’s backpack so her hands were free to carry her pasture. We got to the car, got in and headed off to the post office to check the mail.

After the post office errand was completed, we headed home. When we pulled up in front of the house, I said, “Evangeline, where’s your pasture?”

She said, it’s up there with you Mommy.”

“No,” I said, “It isn’t. Oh. I know where it is.”

“Where, Mommy, where?” she asked excitedly.”

“It’s on the ground in front of your school.”

You guessed it. I placed in on top of the car so I could get everyone safely buckled in, and I drove off, allowing the newly planted pasture to fly from my car.

Evangeline said, “You did that on purpose!” (She was reprimanded for this little attitude issue.)

I assured her that it was a mistake and grownups make mistakes sometimes. She has forgiven me, but I am planning to ask her teacher for another tray and seeds so we can recreate her pasture.

Update to Pseudophedrine Blog

I was wrong about the law in Oklahoma not being standardized. Apparently, the limit to how much sudafed one can possess is set in grams, and retailers set policies for how many boxes they sell at a time based on that information. Here is a quote I pulled from a DEA website:

House Bill 2316 passed both the Oklahoma House and Senate in May 2002 and went in to effect on July 1, 2002. This new law puts a 24 gram limit on all cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. The charge carries a five year maximum sentence. If a retailer knowlingly distributes pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine with the knowledge that it will be used to manufacture methamphetamine, the sentence carries a maximum of ten years incarceration.

This information doesn’t change my feelings about the law. A person can still purchase more of the over-the-counter medication than the law allows by skirting the policies of retailers. I just wanted to correct my original blog with accurate information.

Housewife Buys Too Many Boxes of Sudafed–Details to Follow

There are countless articles like this on the web. Missouri is not the only state that has passed laws regarding the purchase of all cold medications containing sudafed. Oklahoma has a real meth lab problem, so I understand the concern. However, the law really does little to help with the problem.

I began thinking about this after an early-morning trip to the grocery store today. I got up before the children today to go get groceries for the week ahead. It so happens that the whole family has colds, and we are nearly out of cold medicine. So I went to the cold medicine section of the store as soon as I got there to stock up on a few items. Now, I knew there was some restriction on how much sudafed I could buy, so I tried to restrain myself. I put one box of regular sudafed into my cart to use for our children. I put one box of generic alka-seltzer like cold medicine, as it is what my husband prefers for cold symptom relief. Finally, I chose one box of sudafed mixed with a pain reliever and another box of sudafed with pain reliever and an antihistamine for me as my symptoms sometimes vary. There you have it–middle class housewife attempts to purchase 4 boxes of cold medications, but she is stopped in her tracks by the clever checkout clerk! Store policy (in place because of state law) is that customers can only buy 3 products containing sudafed. The clerk stopped scanning items when her register gave her a notice of my attempt to go above the limit. She looked at the register tape, and promptly put one of my boxes of sudafed to the side. She didn’t even tell me what she was doing. So I asked her, “What’s the problem? Did I go over the limit on sudafed products?” She said, “Yes. You can only buy 3 at one time.” I said, “Can I at least look at the one you tossed aside to decide which one I would like to do without?” She handed me the box. It was the one I picked up for the kids. Then I said, “Is there anything to stop me from coming through the line again just to buy the one box of sudafed?” She said “No.” I said, “Well, then, the policy doesn’t do much good, does it?” So I paid for my groceries, went over to the pharmacy area, and picked up the sudafed I needed for the children, and paid at the pharmacy check-out.

Here’s my thought on this. This is a stupid law. Meth dealers who really want to buy their supplies from their local grocery store can go to the store with several of their buddies, and they can all buy the limit. Then they can go to another check-out stand and buy some more. Then they can go down the street and buy the limit at the local drug store. But I, a housewife and mother of 4 who has legitimate reasons for buying multiple packages of sudafed products, am forced to extend my trip to the grocery store by having to go through the checkout line a second time. It wasn’t that big of a hassle, but it still was irritating. If I hadn’t been paying attention to the clerk, she would have just trown my box to the side, I would have driven 14 miles home, and found that I didn’t have all the cold medicine I needed. Then I would have been really ticked.

Here’s the thing. It is like gun control laws. They don’t work because the only people who are really hurt by them are the law abiding citizens who get their guns from the gun dealers, filing proper papers, registering their guns as the law requires. Do criminals really get hampered from committing heinous crimes by the law requiring guns to be registered? No. Criminals get their guns by other means. They steal them. They buy them illegally on the streets. It is the same with meth makers and dealers. They get their supplies by going around the law–which as I proved–is really quite easy. In the meantime, law-abiding citizens like me get hassled at the grocery store for buying one extra box of cold medicine on the off chance that I might be a meth lab owner/dealer. The other crazy thing about it is that the rule is not standardized across the country. Some states allow customers to purchase only 2 boxes of sudafed, while others, allow customers to purchase 3 or 4. Another wrinkle in the law is that there seems to be no limit to the number of pills per box that are allowed. In other words, I can buy 3 boxes containing 8 sudaphed pills, or 3 boxes containing 24 sudaphed pills. How can laws like this really help to stop the production of methanphetamines? In reality, they can’t and they don’t. They just soothe the collective conscience of the lawmakers that they are “doing something” to put a stop to this crime. So while legislaters are patting themselves on the back for curbing the drug problem in America, I am having to spend more time in line at the grocery store and drug dealers and quite easily getting around this bogus law.