Saturday, June 25, 2011


I am happy to report that I am no longer doing laundry by hand!  We put the word out in church that we needed a washer and dryer and a family said they had some washers and dyers in their garage and weren't sure they worked.  The next day they called us and said that they'd tested them out and they had a working set for us.  They even delivered it to our house!  And the best part?  They gave them to us for FREE!  Laundry is SOOOOOO much easier to keep up with now!  I do one load every day.  I once heard "A load a day keeps the chaos at bay." So I just do a different kind of load each day and make sure to catch up on everything on Saturdays.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chocolate Lentil Cake

This one is a good one!

A few years ago my mom told me about this recipe for chocolate lentil cake, my first though was "what's a lentil?"  I had always avoided beans or any bean-ish thing because I didn't like the texture and I didn't like the taste of the canned beans.  Lentils are awesome because they don't require soaking, and they cook in like 45 minutes!  I made some on Monday, but it was devoured before I could remember to take a picture!
First you need to make lentil puree.

Lentil Puree
1 Cup lentils
2 1/2 cups water

Rinse Lentils.  Cover with water in saucepan.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until lentils are very tender (40-45 minutes).  Drain lentils, reserving stock. 
When cool (it doesn't have to cool all the way, just enough that you can handle it without hurting yourself and it won't burn you if you get some on your skin), transfer lentils to blender or mixing bowl, whip on high speed for one to two minutes.  As puree forms, stop and scrape the side of the container.  Add some of the stock as needed and continue whipping until lentils form a smooth puree the consistency of canned pumpkin.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for later use.  Makes about 3 cups.
Puree can be substituted for pumpkin in many recipies calling for canned pumpkin.

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil (less if your like my husband an want to dip the cake in milk)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups lentil puree
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt (I use just over 1/2)

Cream sugar, oil, and eggs on medium speed of mixer for two minutes.  Add lentil puree, water, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute.  Mix dry dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture.  Beat for two minutes at medium speed.  Divide batter betweent wo well-greased 9 inch round cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in middle.
Cool and frost as desired.

Cheater tips: I sometimes just put it all into one greased 9"x13" pan, only if we're going to serve it right out of the pan though.  I also am too lazy to mix the dry stuff separately, and I don't like to do extra dishes if I don't have to, so I will generally just add the dry stuff right to the batter, with the baking soda LAST because it will start the leavening process as soon as it gets wet and we want it to do that leavening IN the oven!

I love this cake because it is so moist and it's a good way of sneaking some extra health into your diet!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer-y Dress

I only have a small amount of dresses, plus a few skirts and nicer shirts, enough to change things up for church every now and then.  But the thing is, just about everything is made of a thick and or/synthetic fabric, and mostly with long sleeves.  We're in Texas, where we've been getting temperatures in the nineties on and off since early April, and lately we've been getting close to or above 100!  Can you see how well insulated clothes are extremely impractical?  So a more summer-y dress would be appropriate, don't you think?  Unfortunately, I don't have much money in my budget for a dress, and even the options available for a reasonable price show WAY more than I want to show!  Enter creativity!
Several years ago, I purchased this Simplicity pattern from Walmart, I've seen it recently too, which makes sense because it's a fairly easy project!
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 5189 Misses Dresses, UU (16-18-20-22)
I made the longer one with the long sleeves with he flounce when I first got it, and although it turned out all right, I was newly pregnant with my second child, who would end up coming out over 10 pounds!  So you can imagine how that dress didn't fit me for long.  Then we moved and had to get down to bare bones everything, so the homemade dress didn't make the cut.

Fast forward to this "spring," though it's felt like summer for months now!  I really wanted to make a more summery dress and this pattern goes nicely with my very limited sewing skills.  Then I looked through my bag of tricks and found a bed sheet that we had gotten at Walmart for $3 a while back, and had intended to make curtains out of it, but we moved and our window needs changed.  I really liked the color, so I spent a day and a half (with many interruptions) making this:

This is before I thoroughly ironed it, but it was so breezy and kept me so cool, did I mention on the day I wore it to church, and then all day and outside for a long walk it got up to about 103 degrees!  And I wasn't nearly as sweaty and miserable as I would have been otherwise!
You know the most tedious part about this dress?  The tie straps!  They tie in the back since it's a pullover dress (no buttons or zippers!  Yay! But I think I sewed the fabric for the straps with a little too much of a seam allowance, so they were a PAIN to turn inside out!  You could also omit the straps entirely and just wear a nice looking belt, or have a little more leeway in the form of your dress. 

I plan to use this pattern again to make a more casual dress with a floral print and regular short sleeves.  I may have to wait a while since I don't have and florals in my scraps, so I just have to fine some floral sheets or some  $1/yard fabric.
I'm really happy that I saved that pattern!