Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Banana-Berry Smoothie Muffins

Okay, I know it's not a food blog, but I've been on a bit of a baking binge recently, and it's only fair that I show you some of it: the good, the bad and the ugly.

I'm a little bit pleased with my odd wee brain for the way it came up with this one. I'd just set out to whip up a quick and easy batch of berry muffins, but the berries were huge and very frozen, and adding a cup or so of those would probably amount to one berry per muffin.


So I got out the blender, thinking to break them up a bit. Also pointless. It just shaved round the edges so that I had about a dozen rocks that were a bit smaller, and some mush coating the sides of the blender. Worse than before! Also, it meant I had to clean the blender for no reason, and we can't have that, can we?

I could probably make a smoothie then, I thought. And then it occurred to me, I could probably use that smoothie to make the muffins! Brilliant, if I do say so myself. And judging by the speed at which they were devoured, there seemed to be some agreement.

Here's what I threw in the bowl:
*1 egg
*2 cups of smoothie (mine flavoured banana-berry but you could use just about anything)
*1/4 cup oil
*1/2 cup sugar
*2 cups plain flour
*4 heaped teaspoons baking powder
*2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon

And then you:
Whisk all the wet ingredients together in the bowl and then stir in the dry.
Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 200C for 15 minutes or until golden.

Easy peasy!

Then you spend half an hour trying to get a decent picture of one - first by starting out with it on a non-sunny bench where the pictures were too dark to see, and then keep moving when you push the button on the camera (quite the photographer, me) to make sure you get blurry ones. After 50 goes, there's sure to be one that's usable.

All baking and photographic tips gratefully received!!

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Freestyle Baking: possibly the ugliest pin-wheels ever!

About six months ago, we lived about a kilometre up the road from a bakery that made really addictive spiced pin-wheels with custard in them. Then we had a house fire (I'll get to that story one day) and had to move about 40 kilometres away, and I haven't been back to the bakery since. Now and again though, I want one of their rolls, and finally that's coincided with the desire to bake.


Now, because I'm a bit lazy by nature, I didn't really want to look for a recipe I liked and follow it step by step, maybe running out of one ingredient or another, or perhaps being asked to wait over night for them to rise. Lazy and impatient - so sue me. I'm not scared of freestyle baking; mostly it turns out edible.

So I started out with a basic pizza dough, the same as the one on this post, except that I added a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I get impatient waiting for the yeast to rise too (and mine is a little old and slightly dead) but whamming it in the microwave for 45 seconds on high helps it along nicely. If it's still not as high as you want to see it in ten minutes, give it another 45 seconds - too easy.

While waiting, I set to making the fillings:
*A couple of tablespoons of melted butter mixed with a cup of brown sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon.
*A handful of sultanas.
*Custard. I wasn't a hero: I used custard powder and made it in the microwave.

Well, if it's pizza dough I'm using, I might as well make it like a pizza, I thought, so I stretched out the dough and added the filling. The dough was too thin and the fillings were too great, but I didn't care. It looked pretty.

I even poured the custard into a snap lock bag and snipped the corner off so that I could pipe it evenly onto the top. I didn't want huge globs of custard here and there just in case one of the rolls missed out. Also, I wanted it to look pretty for you - Aww, see what I do for you guys?

This is the last time it looked pretty though (it was worth it.)

I thought ahead a bit: see how it's rolled out onto baking paper? I knew it would be a pain in the bum to roll without that there, and I'd have been right. Even with it, and with the perfectly even rolling I did, filling started to ooze everywhere. There was no panic though - that puppy was stuffed full anyway.

Cutting caused more oozing and general fiddly stickiness. It was fun and gross at the same time. At that point, I wondered if I shouldn't have used a sweet scone dough, but then it wouldn't have been as bready and I wanted that. I chucked them (ten of 'em) in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes, at which point they felt cooked and bread-like and also had an unexpected toffeeish coating. Bonus!

They're in no way as good as the bakery's, I'm afraid, but still totally edible. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so impatient with the rising and whatnot. But then we'd have had to wait, and who wants that?

As Mr. Me so rightly said: "Tastebuds don't care how ugly food looks."

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Terror Lies in the Clean Spot

Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! You know what the clean spot is... Please tell me you know what the clean spot is and that it's not just all in my head? Maybe we call it by a different name? I'll explain then, just in case.

Imagine, say, that you have a little kid. And said little kid perhaps gets up from enthusiastic messy play, and runs to the bathroom to get clean (look, I said imagine, alright?). On their way into the bathroom, they pass through two partially closed doors and have to push them open. Now each door has a cute, muddy hand-print. Perfectly formed, miniature art.

There's a choice to be made now. You can leave the muddy hand print there. It'll dry. You'll look adoringly at it each time you pass, knowing that those little fingerprints are fleeting and maybe if you wipe these ones away, you might not get the chance to see the perfect little replicas in such an impromptu way again. But then your inner critic (and sometimes outer critic!) kicks in and exclaims about how lazy you are for not wiping it clean.

I have one of these spots on the glass of my back door.

The second choice is to wipe it and risk the clean spot. You thought the door was clean and white, and now there's a spot on it that's just a little more white than the rest. Worse, is when you squirt it with spray and a bit runs down the length of the door. Now you have a clean spot and clean drip-marks.

I have one of these spots on the door between my laundry room and hallway.

At this point, there's yet another choice to be made (kind of like a pick-a-path book, isn't it?) and it's not an easy one.

You can walk away. Basically, I only ever walk away for two reasons: to spite myself, or because I just can't be bothered. The second one is OK. It's clean, that's plainly obvious, and that's what you set out to do, and that's what got done, so shut up already. Perfectionism be buggered, leave the clean spot there; it's proof you do things at all. Yeah! If you clean the whole door, who's going to know it was dirty in the first place? Check out my cool rationalisations for "can't be bothered". I'm an expert.

If I walk away to spite myself, it's not because I can't be bothered. It's because I "know" the over thinking going on in my head is completely bonkers, so it's a punishment of sorts. Not the most gentle way to look after delicate little neural pathways.

Or you can clean the door. The whole, stinking door, for a six centimetre wide smudge, and you know that clean spot is going to stay ever so slightly cleaner than the rest. You'll be able to see it for years to come. I don't know what causes this phenomenon, and if anyone else does and knows how to fix it, PLEASE, I'M BEGGING YOU share your magic knowledge.

This may sound a little bit trivial, but the truth is, as convoluted as I made it, I chose an easy example. Doors don't take too much, even though it's completely true that I have a muddy hand print, a clean spot and several doors containing spots that are ever so slightly cleaner than the rest, and yes they do all mock me. But what if it was a wall? What if you got rash one day and decided to clean the baseboards, and accidentally made a clean spot on the wall? And it's glaringly obvious. Probably not to anyone else, but you'll keep looking back at it using the same compulsion that forces you to bite a mouth ulcer or poke a bruise, just to see if it still hurts.

It's too dangerous. It's OK to vacuum the baseboards, or dust them, but water can't be involved. Because terror lies in that clean spot that might occur. That fine line between perfectionism and things being "good enough". And accepting that good enough is better than nothing at all, or even, "not good enough but still better than it was" is better than nothing at all.

A drop in the bucket is worthwhile, because the bucket of water is made up of thousands of drops. One is not more important than the others. But add enough singular drops and it overflows. Each of those drops is one little clean spot, and, I guess, one more spot you don't need to clean.

I don't know. They're still pretty scary. Does anyone else have this problem with clean spots?

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Handprint photo source

Friday, 5 October 2012

Shower Paranoia

I don't know who to credit for this picture; it's floating around facebook. I didn't make it, but I love it!

I love how apparently not alone I am.

Because preschool kids have ESP, don't they? They can be in the deepest stage of the deepest sleep, but the second your toe hits the bathwater, they're on full alert.

I recall doing it myself to a point. In the car, I could sleep through the majority of a road trip and magically open my eyes and be wide awake just as we were pulling into the destination. I still don't know how I did it; it's not as if we weren't turning sharp corners or coming to a stop at other points in the journey.

Now that I'm not a preschooler, I've lost the skill.

Now that my older two kids have reached double digited age, they have lost the skill of desperately needing my attention the second I think I have a safe moment to shower or visit the loo.

The preschooler I do have, only has that skill when it involves his Daddy. I'm off the hook there! (Be grateful you can't see the sly happy-dance.)

Nope, I'm sweet as. I can shower without hearing a child crying - almost any time I like! Unless you count the imaginary crying. The ghosts of ESP past. The post traumatic stress of about seven years of constant interruption. Of dripping down the hallway with a headful of apple-scented lather. Of sometimes keeping that headful of apple-scented lather for an hour and a half, before wading back through the lake of now cold water on the bathroom floor, because I didn't take the time to dry off before stepping out.

I expect to hear crying.

It confuses me when I don't.

So my brain invents it for me.

Either that, or some sneaky cat with ESP is wailing outside the bathroom window just to mess with me.

In any case, I'm not alone. At least one person was afflicted enough to make the picture. Hundreds of other people could identify with it enough that they shared it!

And now, I suddenly feel very normal.

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Monday, 10 September 2012

10 Ways To Bug Your Neighbour

Assuming I'm your neighbour!

If messing with your neighbours is where your heart lies, let me give you some advice from neighbours I've had through the years...

In no particular order:

Bulk buy fireworks during the week they're on sale then spread the use of them out over the year.

I used to have a golden retriever who was about as far removed from a gun-dog as you could ever imagine. He would try to sleep under us during thunderstorms and on Guyfawkes night he needed sedation. Random fireworks did not a happy camper make.

Mow your lawn at sun-up to get back at another neighbour who partied all night.

I'm neighbours with both of you! Why must I be subjected to two forms of torture?

Park your car in front of your gate so that it blocks the footpath.

Especially if you live on a busy road. Mothers with strollers and toddlers, who act like greyhound puppies on uppers, love nothing more than to meander into the middle of the road to get past your vehicle! (Public service announcement - you're welcome)

If you live in an apartment above someone else, be sure to wait until they have swept their balcony before you do your own.

That way, your special brand of dust and dead leaves will be sure to make their work a waste of time. Extra points if they have put out a clothes airer full of damp clothing.

Play your favourite porn on a continuous loop with your window open.

Because no one else must be allowed to sleep with their windows open. Nosir.

When you leave for work at 6:00am, be sure to honk your horn to get your partner's attention because you forgot your phone. Honk as you drive away, in thanks for them bringing it out for you.

Let's face it, if you're up and about then everyone else probably is too, right?

Store up your garden rubbish and mix in your old plastic paddling pool. Wait until there's a good stiff breeze in the direction of your neighbour, and their washing is on the line. Light a bonfire, drink beer and sing loudly.

At this point it's fun to listen for loud cursing and then call your friend and laugh about it.

Watch as your dog takes himself for a walk, slowing down traffic and defacing people's gardens. Don't call him back unless a car honks its horn.

Extra points if you growl at the dog as if it was his fault and not yours.

Play basketball in your driveway until 10:00pm.

Better if you start playing at 8:30pm so they just have time to get the kids to sleep and relax on the deck with a glass of wine. Nothing is more relaxing than the echoing toing! toing! toing! of the ball bouncing, interspersed with the clatterclatterclatter of the backboard whacking against the garage.

For best effect do this every night.

If your car is on its last legs anyway, don't bother repairing it. Just let the screaming of the fanbelt be an audible expression of the last nail in the coffin. Use this car often.

Oh wait, that was me... No one ever complained about that. Not to my face, anyway!

What have your neighbours done that drove you bananas?
Got any good stories?

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Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Gym is Stalking Me!

I joined in July. It was AWESOME! Especially the buying new workout clothes part. I fully recommend that. You get to feel virtuous while procrastinating and spending money all at the same time. It's inspired, especially when you don't think too hard about what happens next.

I went religiously for a week - every day for cardio in the morning and twice in the evening for Zumba classes. It kicked my arse. I kicked it back, oh yes I did!

This is the new me, I decided. The fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny. I still felt virtuous and was still spending money (unfortunately, membership isn't free). The best two out of three - even though if I could find someone to pay me for it, I'd be a professional procrastinator.

It's often said that school-age children have the attention span "years of age = minutes of attention" before you have to direct them back to the path they were travelling down.

Apparently, my attention span is a week.

Oh, I wombled along the side of the path for a while, going in once or twice a week. There was even that one session with a personal trainer that left me crippled for three days, which might have centered me on the path, but I was still walking wonky and fell off before long.

It's been two weeks since I've stepped foot in the gym. The procrastinating and spending money is there... not so much with the virtuous.

Now I see the gym everywhere! The swipe-in tag on my keys taunts me daily. I've filled in a form with a borrowed pen with their brand on it. Someone's dropped appointment card littered the supermarket carpark (which happens to be across the road from the place itself, but that hardly counts). The kids turned TV on after school today and the show they watched just happened to shoot a story in the skate park my gym overlooks. The mirrored glass windows practically screamed at me you should be watching this from a treadmill, not a sofa!

I almost listened, too. Almost. I mean, I had to cook dinner, right? I'd go right after dinner... and after I'd procrastinated a bit more. Maybe. After I take this call, from a number I don't know, on my cell phone...

Okay! I freakin' get it, Universe!

I now have an appointment with a personal trainer tomorrow evening and my gym's number is no longer "unknown" on my cell phone. And I promise now to again be that fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny and feel virtuous.

But can someone please remind me in a week?

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