Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Super Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Okay, so I had a box of yellow cake in the cupboard - a leftover from Easter when I planned to make pineapple upside-down cake and didn't.  Sunday, I got a wild hair and decided to make the cake.  But I had no frosting in the house.  The last time I made chocolate frosting, it didn't turn out so well.  This lead me to the internet where I located a yummy looking recipe for chocolate frosting.

baking cocoa
powdered sugar

Easy peasy.  Right?

I knew I had all the ingredients. Would've been nice if I'd checked the amount of the ingredients before I started making the frosting.  The recipe called for 3 cups of powdered sugar.  I didn't have quite that much.  :shrug:  Powdered sugar... powdered cocoa... dry ingredient = dry ingredient in the whole scheme of things, right?

So, there I am, melting the butter in a saucepan.  I put the powdered sugar into a big bowl and began to add the cocoa powder.  Then I got the wild idea to mix the last 1/3 cup of cocoa in with the melt butter.  Cool.  I sifted together the 2 2/3 cups of powdered sugar with the 2/3 cup of cocoa powder while I waited for the butter to melt.  Then I added the 1/3 cup to the melted butter.  Then I looked at the recipe again.  Whoops.  I was supposed to add ALL the cocoa powder to the butter and THEN stir it into the powdered sugar.  :shrug:  Too late now.  I beat the melted mixture into the dry mixture until it was smooth, then I put in the vanilla and mixed that together.  Then I went to the fridge for the milk.  Whoops.  Not much milk left and Hubs does like his cereal in the morning.  But wait!  I have heavy whipping cream leftover from when I made potato soup the other day.  That'll work.

I dribbled some into the bowl and beat it in.  Added a little more, beat that in.  Added and beat until I had the consistency I thought would work for frosting a cake.  Damn and whoa, there was way more frosting than usual for a standard frosting recipe.  No matter.  I slapped it all on the 9x13" cake. 

OMG.  It was awesome.  Never have my mistakes worked out so well.

Okay, so now that you know how I put it all together, here are the measurements:

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup baking cocoa (divided 1/3 & 2/3)
1 stick of butter
1 tsp vanilla
approx. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Have fun!  And enjoy! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 16

I wish I could say it was a productive week.  Ummm... errr.... no.

I read a lot.

I got my refurbished computer and set that up.  Not quite as big a pain as a new-new computer, but setting up any computer has some PITA elements.

Finished my bathroom.

Got the guest room ready for our first guest.  The Kid is coming to visit in two weeks. YAY!

Spent a large chunk of yesterday looking for my MS Image Composer installation CD.  I haven't seen it since I got my last new computer in 2010, but, since I never throw anything out, it has to be around here somewhere.  Soooo, I sat down in the storage closest and began sorting through boxes.  I found all sorts of neat stuff.  I also found my tax paperwork from 1998-2000.  Umm, yah.  After a few hours of that, I gave up and ordered a new-to-me CD off ebay.  The seller has 100% satisfaction over almost 500 customers, so I hope I don't get screwed.  I also hope I don't have to finally break down and learn a new image manipulation program because that would truly suck.

I took a lot of walks last week.  I think I only missed one day.  Which reminds me...

I haven't done a 'do something active every day' update in a while.  I missed 7 days in the last month and a lot of the days I hit were either cleaning or painting.  Still, I stepped on the scale Friday.  189.  Down 6 pounds since the beginning of the year.  I ain't shedding pounds Biggest Loser style, but that wasn't the point of this anyway.  I'm more active.  That was the point.  The decrease in poundage is just icing on the cake... mmm, cake... I want cake. 

Looking ahead at the week, I need to get my newsletter set up and ready to go out next weekend.  I also need to get a blurb written so I have something to say in my newsletter.  I will be unveiling the cover for FG.  (Thank goodness it's done or I'd be so screwed without my image program.  Ugh.)  And other fun stuff... or I hope it's fun stuff... I never know.  Thanks bunches to those of you who actually read it.  :hugs:

How were things for you last week?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday This n That

I feel like someone beat me all night long.  I asked Hubs if he was beating me while I slept.  "Only part of the night."  ;o)

After three years of living here, we finally have a bed in the spare room.  It's weird having one in there.  And right now, it kinda looks like a room in an old folks' home.  I'm gonna need to do something to make it less so.  I'm thinking funky pillows or something.  We'll see what kinds of kitsch the thrift store has.

We went for a walk at dusk the other day.  It was kinda cool.  And we heard coyotes off in the distance.

Things are blooming all over the yard.  My bugle weed plants are taking over the shade bed, but they're so pretty right now, I can't bear pinching them back.  My iris beds are coming up purple and white.  No blues yet.  My azaleas are awash with white and red blooms.  Some of my wildflowers are blooming.  The peonies are covered in ants and the buds are looking like they'll burst open any day.  The columbine is sending up stalks with dark purple flowers. The grass is a sea of wild violets. I love Spring so much.  Oh, and my hydrangea has two buds!  So happy.

One of the cows in the pasture we walk past regularly had a 'fresh off the assembly line' calf with her a couple days ago.  So cute.  So tiny compared to the other calves.  Around here, they don't bother timing the breeding so all the calves come at the same time.  Which means we have new calves showing up whenever.  It was weird to me because in Michigan, they'd better all be born in the Spring or they won't survive the winter.  Here, it's all higgledy-piggledy. 

That's it for me for now.  Whatdya have for me this morning?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

Just 'cuz.

1) I collect unusual coins. That's like anything from another country. I have coins from China, Australia, Mexico, etc. I also have old coins from parts of Europe before they went to the Euro. Also, I hoard odd coins from the U.S. - like those gold dollars everyone hates.  None of them are worth very much, but they amuse me.  I've been doing this since HS and started with an old coin I found in the dirt while I was looking for fossils out behind the house. Most of the identifying marks are worn off, but I think it's from Brazil.  How it ended up where it ended up has always been a source of mystery to me.

1a) I also collect fossils and other interesting rocks.

2) I don't like George Clooney.  I never thought he was attractive. I don't think he's funny or talented or witty.  I do think he's kind of a pompous ass and I wonder sometimes if Rosemary is turning in her grave over some of his antics.

3) I do this unconscious thing where I adopt the accent of the person I'm talking to.  It's a family trait.  Dad did it, too.  Since I can do this, it makes it really easy for me to mimic those accents for my own amusement and the amusement of others.  I used to be able to send the Kid into gales of laughter with my 'little old Jewish woman' shtick. On the other hand, it makes it really inconvenient - especially around here where loads of people have an Ozarks accent - when I start out talking like myself and then end up sounding like I'm making fun of the other person.  I'm not.  I just can't help myself. 

4) I have always loved Jimmy Durante.  Just thinking about him makes me smile.  If you don't know who that is, I feel sad for you.

5) My favorite gem is Emerald, my favorite color is green, and my favorite season is Spring.  Sensing a theme there?

That's about it for now.  What don't I know about you?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 15

Okay, this is apparently the post for the right Week 15.  Somewhere along the way, I must've gotten my numbers screwed up.  Big surprise there, eh?

So, the big update is that I painted my bathroom.  Pictures will not be forthcoming.  I didn't take 'befores' so 'afters' would be pointless.  Besides, I haven't put everything back together yet and I still need to paint the cabinet fronts and the drawers.  (Thank you to Hubs for his infinite patience as the drawers take up space in the garage on the lovely painting area he created for me to do this.)  It does look very nice.  Clean.  All the smudges from previous owners are gone.  All the smushed bugs - which were impossible to clean off of whatever paint the previous owners had used - gone.  And that little, weird stain near the bottom of the door which looked suspiciously like a part of the male anatomy is obliterated.  Today, I will do the clean up work, put the doorknob back on the closet, and wash the floor. I also may rehang the hardware for the towel holders, and put the art back up. Then, maybe, I'll paint the cabinet fronts and drawers.  We'll see how I feel.  I'm pretty sore and my fingers look like sausages.

I read some stuff this week.  Moonstruck: Secrets by Silver James - not sure how I missed reading this when it came out.  Totally derp there.  It was awesome.  Then I read a weird little dystopian.  Then I read Kerry Anne King's Closer Home. (Kerry Schafer's alter ego)  It was a break from her usual supernatural fare and I loved it.  Now I'm reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - because I've never read it or any other Mark Twain, and I'm still trying to read classics I somehow missed over the years. 

And we just had a power burp* that shut me down and reminded me that I will be getting a new computer soon.  This poor old workhorse was making so much noise rebooting I thought it might explode.  It calmed down once it got to Windows, but it's definitely time to put the old girl out to pasture.  I'm thinking of going with a refurbished 'puter this time.  They're less expensive and I can get one with Windows 7, so there's no learning curve.  I hate HATE hate learning new software.  I spent too much time doing that in my old incarnation as a software trainer/tech support.

Let's see... where was I?  Oh, yes, updates...

Both books in the Once Upon a Djinn series are now available for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.  The expanded distribution experiment was a bust.  But the KU pages haven't really been bonza either.  We'll see how it goes.  And if nothing else, I can play with free days or countdown deals now.

And that's it for me.  Got any updates to share?

*probably fried squirrel on the line

Update: I ordered the refurbished computer.  It'll be here Wednesday.  Until then, I'll be sporadic on the internet while I baby this thing long enough for the other one to arrive.  Curiously enough, this computer is playing nice this afternoon.  Silly thing.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

This n That Thursday

I'm still in a writing funk - which has spread to marketing, editing, and talking to other people about writing.

I saw a hummingbird yesterday!

I also spent most of yesterday preparing the bathroom for painting.  Total caulk and spackle extravaganza.  And the discovery that the boobshits who owned this house had used a rather long nail to put up the towel bar hardware.  (Something like this.)  Once I got that pulled out and had dented the damn drywall, I found what I thought was another nail in the wall behind the hardware.  I couldn't pull it, so I called in a man.  Hubs finally got it pulled.  It wasn't a nail.  It was a really long screw someone had cut the head off of.  (Sorta like this.)  After which the wall was a freakin' mess.  AND, while I was prepping the surface for drywall repair, I found that they'd tried to repair it once before - with CAULK.  Ugh.  Anyway, I got the holes repaired and everything that's supposed to have spackle or drywall repair has that, and everywhere that's supposed to have caulk has caulk. 

Time for a PSA, Please, please, please, for the sake of all you hold holy, don't use caulk to repair holes in drywall or plaster.  Spackle is cheap.  It comes in a squeezie tube or a little bucket, and it's so much easier to work with before and after.  Once caulk dries, it turns into something like rubber and it sticks to everything.  You can't sand it, and you can't remove it without tearing a big hole in the wall.

Today, I will be sanding (because the repaired area looked like it was spackled by a child), and I will be taping.  I hope to get to painting shortly thereafter.  The walls will be Cappuccino Foam and the moldings / cabinets will be Soft Wool.  Off white on off white.  And now I feel like Shelby in Steel Magnolias. "My colors are Blush and Bashful." ;o)

Of course, now I want to paint all the rooms in the house.  Seriously.  Everything needs a fresh coat.  To which Hubs says "When you have a paintbrush in your hand, everything looks like it needs painting."  He so funny.

There are also several other spots that need drywall repair...

Ah, the joys of home ownership.  ;o)

What's on your 'this n that' tap today?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 15

Okay, so it's Week 15.  Week 3 times 5. Week 30 divided by 2.  Whatever.  Here we are again.

I finished this edit pass on Fertile Ground yesterday and sent it off to the Awesome Wonderful Editor.  She'll have it back to me by the 1st. 

I have the cover done.  It follows the same general feeling of Dying Embers now.  Yay.  I'll show it off in my newsletter at the end of this month.  Have you subscribed to the newsletter yet?  There'll be a snippet of the book in there, too. 

Since I was pretty much all about getting Fertile Ground done, I don't have much else to report.

Oh, I saw a bald eagle on Friday!  I thought they'd all already gone north, but nope.  There's still at least one around here. 

This week, I will get back to work on my bathroom.  Tomorrow, I'll finish patching and caulking. I'll probably also start taping things off.  Haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do about the damn mirror.  The bathroom has a huge mirror covering most of one wall from the counter to the light bar, and all the whatchamadoodles that hold it to the wall are clear, so I have to paint behind them without getting paint on them or without trying to move that whole big sheet of glass.  (Because moving the mirror will definitely result in mirror breakage.  I know me.)  I'm thinking I'll remove one thingie and paint behind it, wait for it to dry, move another thingie, etc.  Or maybe move every other thingie and paint behind all those so I don't have to wait so much.  We'll see.  If you hear the sound of shattering glass, my idea didn't go so well.  ;o)

And that's about it for me today.  How's things with you?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

This n That Thursday

I finished the line edits for Fertile Ground last night.

I also figured out some basic ways to address the things in my editor's letter.  This occurred right before I fell asleep for my nap, so I promptly forgot them. 

I take a nap every day. 

Some days I am unprepared to face humanity.  Yesterday was one of those days.

I identified the big tree off the backyard.  It's another black cherry.  I think the reason I was unable to identify it before was 1) all its leaves are at least 20 feet off the ground, 2) I hadn't noticed it blooming or fruiting in past years.  I think the gnarly vine growing up it had prevented the poor thing from living up to its potential because this year it is very obviously blooming.  (If you remember, I spent some major time last year eradicating vines.)  The blooming made identification way easier. 

Hubs and I cleaned the grill the other day.  Inside, next to the propane tank, sat a gray tree frog.  I rescued it and put it in with my irises.  It spent most of the day over there, happily clinging to the broad flat leaves or hiding near the fat bulbs. 

The world has gone pretty much batshit nuts.  Which is probably why I am unprepared to face humanity some days.  And why I spend a lot of time talking about nature and hiding in my hermit hole.

I have ants on my peonies!  If you've ever had peonies, you understand why I am excited about this.  If you haven't, peonies won't bloom without ants to help by eating the bud covering.  No ants last year = buds but no blooms.  Here's hoping my pretty peonies give me loads of pretty flowers this year.  Lord knows I have enough buds.

What's up with you today?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 14

Welcome to your regularly scheduled Sunday Update.  On Sunday and everything. 

Okay, so I gave myself a good talking to on Wednesday over on Outside the Box.  That didn't work.  So, I bitch-slapped myself mentally during the wee hours of Saturday morning.  That seemed to do the trick and I am back on track with editing Fertile Ground.  As of last night, I have 180 pages left to edit - after I edited 50 yesterday.  If I can get through 50 pages of edits a day, I will turn this in on time.  Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but I can do this.  If I stop frittering away my time with other stuff.

I spent part of last week prepping my bathroom for painting.  Spackled holes, took down pictures, removed that ghastly and useless shelf above my window, spackled some more, bought paint and more spackle, began to think about caulking...  STOP.  My bathroom is now a shambles and will remain that way until I finish this editing pass.  I'm leaving it all right where it is so I can stare at the mess I made every time I go in there.  I believe it's irritating the crap out of Hubs - even though he hasn't said anything - but I need to do this the way I'm doing this.  The sooner I finish MY WORK, the sooner I can have a nice bathroom again.

I spent part of last week getting the spare bedroom ready to be a guestroom because the Kid might be visiting in May.  I bought a new bed, and sheets, and moved stuff so when the furniture arrives I can just put it in there.  There's some patching work that needs to be done in there, too.  I was getting ready to wash the walls... STOP.  I have 6 weeks to get that done.  I only have 7 days to finish this editing pass.  The room will be ready when she gets here, but not this week.

Hubs is refurbishing the deck.  He bought nice new boards to replace the crappy ones and painted all those yesterday.  I offered to help him paint the railings... STOP.  He knows I have work to do, so he turned me down. 

The iris beds are looking awesome.  I just thinned them last summer and they're already looking ready to thin again.  Plus, I still have bulbs in a bucket, looking for a home.  We decided to put them along the south wall of the garage.  All we have to do is dig up about a foot wide patch... STOP.  I told Hubs that was a great idea, but not this week.  (See?  I'm getting better at this.)

My daily activity routine suffered this past week.  Scattered focus will do that to a gal.  I really only exercised twice and took a walk one day.  I got back on track yesterday.  This will not be a stop because I need this.  I feel better when I do something active like dancing rather than sitting on my arse all day.

What do you have to update this week?