fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Case of the Missing Chocolate Cake

I go on mad baking binges sometimes. Every now and again, for some unknown reason, I just feel the need to create something. To bake something. Last night was one of those times, so I made a cake.

It wasn't just any cake. It was a gluten free chocolate cake made from a King Arthur brand cake mix.  (Yummy!). The chocolate icing was one of my own recipes, made from scratch and absolutely delicious!

I took two small pieces out of the cake last night -- one for me and one for my wife. Otherwise, it was a completely undisturbed, happy cake on the counter. Or so I thought.

I awoke this morning with one thing on my mind. Chocolate cake! We all know cake is the ultimate breakfast food and I don't feel the need to delve into the details on that one. It is obvious, right?

So I went through my usual morning routine and then made my way downstairs. As I came to the kitchen, the crime scene came into full view.

The cake was missing. In its place was a nearly empty cling wrap container. I put my sleuthing skills to the test and began making observations. The details, as I saw them, were that there were no dogs to be found and no broken glass, so the dogs didn't eat it. Another detail was that my son is 17, and, while possible, it's not really feasible that he could have eaten an entire chocolate cake in one evening. Right?

It is possible that a 17 year old can actually put something up. I've seen it happen. I checked the refrigerator. I checked the microwave. I checked on top of the refrigerator. I checked the pantry. I checked the refrigerator again. Then I checked the 17 year old's room.

I woke him and kindly interrogated him, using his sleepy state to my advantage. Another dead end!

Then I remembered my wife telling me she needed a snack for her classroom. Though I fixed popcorn for her little second-graders, the clues were all pointing to my wife! Gasp!

An entire chocolate cake for snack time? Second-graders? A healthy breakfast does not a healthy second grade snack make!

I got to school and texted her. While I have yet to hear from her, I fully intend to extract a confession from the guilty party when she gets home from school today.

Case closed. I think.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lawn Mower Comes Down with the Flu

love this time of year! Warm weather. Shorts and flip-flops. Pools opening. Leaves finally returning to the trees. Flowers blooming. Grass growing...

Well, you can nix that last one for one simple reason -- lawn mowing season! Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a yard maintenance kind of guy.

"I hope your mower works," my wife said helpfully as I went to break out my lawn mower for the season.  "You know, you never got it winterized. And I don't know if you ever covered it properly for the winter."

The ailing, evil grass cutting machine.

I love my wife, but she says the silliest things! I walked with confidence to where I stored my lawn mower for the winter. Somehow, the cover had come off the self-induced torture device.

I pulled it out anyway. I brushed it off. I checked the oil. Check. I eyeballed the gas tank. Hmm. I topped it off. Check. Concluding my mechanical knowledge, I cranked it on up. Perfect.

And then it cut off. Hmm. Maybe I should have winterized it. I jiggled it to mix the old gas with the new gas. I cranked it up. Perfect. And then it cut off again!

I told my wife I was heading to the gas station to get some orange juice for the mower. "It has the flu, honey," I said, explaining that I was really getting fresh gas.

"Check the filter before you do anything else," she replied. There she goes acting like she knows machines again! Silly!

I decided to humor her and checked the filter. It was a little gummed up. Only a little, though. I cleaned it out and started the infernal machine.

Strange. It actually ran a little better. I managed to mow a majority of the yard with it cutting off in three to five minute intervals.

I managed to cut the grass, as well as the cursing and curses to a minimum as the mower's brief running intervals hummed happily longer. And then, it reached the end of its rope, so to speak.

I was planning to get a white candle to light on the mower while I perform a healing dance. My wife, however, suggested a lawn mower mechanic.

She's been lucky so far. I may just follow her advice.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Fuzzy, Black Dogs' Taste Test

I fairly recently had a birthday. In fact, I turned 47, thank you very much. So far so good, right? Reflecting upon that vast amount of time, I realized that, while I enjoy playing in the kitchen, I haven't always been the avid, amazing chef that I am today.

While my poor wife and son put up with a lot of my craziness, at least they don't have to suffer my cooking. I can make an excellent chicken tetrazzini. My sister-in-law particularly liked my spinach stuffed manicotti I made once. My father-in-law likes my cakes and most everyone likes my manic, mad cookie baking binges!

While I am enjoying tooting my own horn, I must admit that not everything I make is a masterpiece.

There have been some gluten free bread loaves that would make great door stops. Cardboard tastes better than some of my gluten free saltine crackers. I've made some gluten free pizza crusts that failed two out of three fuzzy, black dogs' taste test (Bob eats anything!).

And my latest cooking venture? It was simply titled Meatza Pepperoni Pizza. It's been several days since I attempted that creation -- I just can't call it a meal.

Instead of a typical bread crust, it uses ground beef in place of the crust. That's right. No bread, just meat. My recipe didn't call for anything that could be misconstrued as healthy. Instead, it called for sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Each of these ingredients simply go on top of the meat crust.

"Good gosh, Dad," my son exclaimed. "Are you trying to kill us?! What is this? Cholesterol spiking, heart attack in a cookie sheet?!"

Needless to say, I won't be going into details on the "four star" recipe we printed off the internet. I won't even bother with some of the other comments that were made, except to say that it did pass the fuzzy, black dogs' taste test.

I will say, though, that it sure looked a lot better in the picture than it did in my house!