Monday, July 25, 2016

Zucchini Cake for gluts, funerals, and dog days

swinging bridge :: sugar baby watermelon :: green heron :: reflections :: hitching post

The outdoors has about got us beat. The weather is in the upper nineties day after day. Our little bluebirds fledged the nest this morning and I'm convinced it was most likely because they were so tired of sitting on top of one another in this heat and not really because they were curious about being in the world.

These are the days of my childhood when we would lay around on the floor of the front room, watching soap operas and eating Cheetos while mom would insist that all the house's curtains be drawn for the duration. Farm chores were only possible in the earliest and latest hours of the day, except of course the chores that required liberal use of a water hose. 

While I am not experiencing my own zucchini glut {I'd give anything for enough rain for a glut of anything} I know someone somewhere has a surfeit of squash. Here is my go-to recipe for extra squash and/or zucchini and/or apples. It freezes beautifully unfrosted, so you can bake as many as you can muster in July and August and enjoy them for later holidays, babies, and funerals. By contrast, if you cannot bear the idea of turning on the oven, just shred your squash, zucchini and/or apples, freeze them in batches of about two cups, and bake when the time is right for holidays, babies, and funerals. 

Susan's Zucchini Cake 

* I am not privy to the details of this recipe's provenance, I only know that it came by way of a family friend, Susan. I loved the cake when we enjoyed it together, mailed her one of my recipe cards, and she wrote it out and sent it back. I feel a person's recipes are so much more special if captured by their own pen. 

3 eggs, beaten
1 c vegetable oil
2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c grated zucchini {drained if super wet, seeded if super large, peeled if very tough}


3 c all purpose flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour bundt pan. 
2. Combine and mix well all ingredients from top of list in one bowl. 
3. Combine all ingredients from bottom of list in one bowl. Sift or whisk to combine. 
4. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Mix gently using spatula or wooden spoon, only just until mostly combined. (Think Alton Brown's "muffin method.")
5. Pour evenly into prepared bundt pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until done. 
6. Turn out and allow to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting or wrapping well and freezing. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Yarn Along - photo dump

button jar :: rabbit's foot :: garden whimsy :: JR Footbridge :: broad-winged hawk 
 the gap :: swinging bridge :: sunset light :: sprinkler :: sugar baby

This summer is busy but not very busy. It is productive, but not too productive. I am impressed with myself for knowing that it is Wednesday before getting halfway through the day and realizing everyone else is yarning along.

For pictures of my knitting, check Instagram (@littlehousebigwoods) but otherwise I hope you enjoy a few slices of life seen here.

I am listening to Call the Midwife on audio and loving every single word. Having watched every episode of the show to date, I think the book just adds to the show that much more, reinforcing that the show's casting and script couldn't be more perfect. It also depicts a very interesting time in London, when the impact of WWII is still profoundly felt but society is advancing at a break-neck speed. Read it. You'll like it.

Want to play along? Join Ginny and share what you're knitting and reading on your blog or Instagram!

*** Follow along on IG and when I get a batch of yarn dyed and in the shop, I'll do a podcast to tell you all about it!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Back to back

It's been a two weeks now since I first took to my bed with back pain. I threatened my body with a trip to the doctors office and woke up a week ago feeling much better, though still stiff. The experience has been a bit of an eye opener for me, for a few different reasons.

I still struggle with assigning my self-worth by how much I get done in a day. My childhood had quite a bit of jump-up-and-look-busy and I still fight the need to do so to keep some imaginary peace. After nine years together, I still feel a flood of relief when Julian walks in the room to find me resting or doing something I enjoy and he isn't bothered by it.

In addition to not feeling well physically, I have felt quite low emotionally over the fact that Julian has been up and working around the house while I languish in bed, not sleeping, or pace the floors like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I've been so bored. This creates a nasty cycle of medicating myself so I feel better so I can do more work, so I can feel better about my accomplishments but then I feel poorly for twice as long because I'm pushing my body beyond the boundaries it has set for me.

It has also become clear to me how much neglect my body has seen. So many women struggle with a negative perception of their bodies. I am the opposite. I grew up strong and beautiful, thin and flexible, fast. I am not that way anymore and I want to make a change, but objects at rest stay at rest, no?

Tomorrow morning, I will head to the orthopedist and have an x-ray just to be sure. I'm having lingering numbness in both legs and a feeling like bugs crawling on the back of my calf. I hope there is something to do to help. I'm a little concerned they will say it all looks normal.

Why does 33 have to feel so very different than 23?

*it's ok for all off you who are more advanced in age to roll your eyes at me now*