Monthly Archives: November 2011

Weekend Baking

I was not meant to cheat on my diet this week. The cool weather inspired thoughts of holiday baking and I figured a pan of bars would be so easy and go perfectly with the chocolate ginger pear sauce I made last week.

 HA! The Diet God was watching me. He saw the batter forming in the mixer and watched me put the pan in the oven. Yum. Thirty minutes and then a few more to let it cool and I have treats for home and some to take to work this week.

 I was folding laundry when I smelled the brown sugary goodness coming from the oven. Twenty minutes. Time to perform the first toothpick check. Beautiful!  The dough had risen to the top of my glass pan and was beginning to turn a golden brown on top. I slid the rack out a bit and saw a Jello-like jiggle come from the center of the pan. Nope.  Not set yet. Closed the oven and went back to the laundry.

 Wow, I can really smell it now. It’s been five more minutes, maybe I’ll check again. I turned the corner and went into the kitchen and saw a curl of smoke coming out of the crack around the oven door. I opened the door quickly. The batter had risen up an inch out of the pan and had oozed down the sides of the pan. At least there used to be a pan in the oven. All I saw was a huge puffy giant. Drips of batter were hanging like stalactites from the bars of the oven rack. A lake of burnt goo was welding itself onto the bottom of the oven. I watched in horror as a big glop plopped on the heating element and a smokey plume began to rise.

  It’s Alive! I have my very own horror movie monster taking over my oven. Can I stop it before it oozes onto the floor and takes over the kitchen?

 Quick, turn off the oven and click on the exhaust fan and open the porch door wider. Whew! The smoke alarm didn’t go off. But how to get it out of the oven? Hot glass pan in the sink will shatter. I decided it would be best to let it cool in the oven and put a cookie sheet under the pan to prevent further drips.

 Back to laundry and then I guess I’ll clean the oven.  No cheating this week…

A Celebration of Fall Color

Last night was the first cold night which means this morning was my day to go looking for signs of fall. Grabbing my camera and a sweater, I headed out the back door and was surprised to see tiny white and purple flowers at the edge of the woods. Wandering down the path a bit, I found some crunchy, rusty-looking leaves and pinecones in the dying green grass. There is a flowering tree that starts out coral-orange and turns gold to yellow as the temperatures drop. It is my favorite of the fall plants because it mimics the colors of the Iowa trees in October. The kudzu is still mostly green and an interesting foil to the palm trees and pines.


 The woods is near a chain of retention ponds. I decided to wander over to see if anything interesting was happening near the water’s edge. Dandelions! In November? Who knew?  

 But the biggest surprise were the bunches of yellow flowers beside the reedy plants and mixed in with some orangey-brown branches. A small fish jumped as I was walking away. Wonder where I can wander tomorrow?