Friday, June 26, 2009

Maybe a Mulberry?

We have this mysterious tree in our backyard that my husband affectionally calls "the weed tree" because it seemed to get much bigger much faster than any other tree in our yard. Somehow between this spring and last spring it's become a huge tree while we weren't looking.

Over the years I've been curious what kind of tree this us but I've never been able to find out. Every spring it gets white berries on it that look like raspberries.

There are tons and tons berries and to be honest it's kind of annoying- they fall all over and make a big mess. The berries are constantly falling so you can't walk under it until they're gone without getting bonked on the head (you can imagine how the picture taking went). The birds love to eat the berries which is nice... but I guess that also causes another problem since we don't have a garage to put the car in.

This year I started the search again- and I've found enough pictures online to suggest it's a mulberry tree. At first I thought that was kind of cool- that's a useful berry right? I've never eaten one but thought I've heard of mulberry jam and muffins before. From the pictures I found I was pretty sure it was a mulberry tree but was hesitant to try a berry from a plant or tree I wasn't 100% sure about.

Then I started to read more about mulberries and found some articles saying if you eat unripe berries they can make you sick and even make you hallucinate.

I wish I knew if this was really a mulberry and if so- if it's really true that the berries can make you sick.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Worst Cake Ever

I decided to try a low cal recipe for banana walnut muffins. For some reason (that made sense at the time) I also decided to double the recipe and make it into a bread or cake. At the moment the logic in this escapes me but really I know somewhere in this plan there was some reason that made sense.

While adding the ingredients I noticed there seemed to be mammoth amounts of things like flour, buttermilk and eggs. Since I was doubling the recipe I even cut back on some flour and leavening but still there seemed like a lot. And it was giving me an uneasy feeling.

I started the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl but soon I had to switch to the mixer because no bowl was going to be big enough.

My husband (perhaps seeing where this was going) kept chuckling at the "amount" of cake we were going to have. And I admit it probably took a small army of chickens and a cow or two an entire week to produce the amount of eggs and buttermilk I was using.

Finally all mixed- the doomed cake went into the oven. It looked really good at this point but still I had a nagging feeling that this would not turn out well.

Soon the batter rose way up over the sides of the pan- living up to it's monster cake status.

After 45 minutes I hoisted it from the oven (practically needing a small crane to get it out it was so "dense") I let it cool a bit and cut off the parts that rose out of the pan so it could be turned out onto a plate.

Turned out and still cooling the cake looked really pretty-

that is until I tasted the bits I'd cut off. Yuck! All I could taste was flour- no cinnamon, no banana, no vanilla, just flour and once in a while a bit of walnut. Now I've made plenty of other banana breads- I know those ingredients have strong tastes but this cake just seemed to suck them all up into a bland flour tasting black hole.

But my husband assured me he liked it- and what's more wanted to eat it (yuck). I have a few theories about this:
  1. He was being nice
  2. He didn't want to waste that much cake
  3. Apparently I could cook him anything because he has no working taste buds.
Since there was no way I was eating this cake, no way I was serving it to other people and really no way he was eating a huge cake by himself I cut 3/4 of the cake into slices and froze them so my husband can eat a few slices at a time whenever he wants (If they sit in the freezer I'll know it was reason number 1 and I'll slowly get rid of it so he doesn't start eating it again to prevent reason 2.)

I took the 1/4 I left out and did the last step in the recipe which was to drizzle it with a tiny bit of chocolate, just enough to have a chocolate taste but not enough to pack on the calories.

Incidentally, figuring that nothing with chocolate drizzled on it could remain bad I tried the cake again... this cake is the one exception to that rule. It was bad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

We've had what seems like a zillion days of rain in a row... and everyone just seems so "blah" about it (including Lucy who has taken up residence on the couch in front of the window). I've gotten almost nothing done around the house. (I thought it was supposed to be the nice weather that made you want to neglect the inside tasks.) And what's worse- I don't think I could tell you much of what I've done for the past week. It seems like just yesterday I did that last post about the garden. I haven't been doing any crafting, and I can tell you for a fact that my house isn't any cleaner. I really have no idea what I've been up to.

Between storms I did get a few pictures of some flowers just after the rain. It was pretty with all the puddles rain drops everywhere, it's just enough already.

Today was the first day since my last post that it hasn't been raining. I've checked on the garden a few times during all the showers and nothing was happening. Today when I got home I went out to check on it and I swear everything must have grown an inch or two while I was at work (including the weeds). I think everyone's been starved for the sun. It was nice to have it back- even if it was only for half the day.

To be fair- when the rain started I was actually pretty happy because I had new rain boots. But a week of wearing them walking to and from work was enough Novelty over. I hope the sun sticks around for a while.

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