Thursday, July 30, 2009

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (the most dangerous cake recipe in the world)

UPDATE: Since I posted this afternoon, a few people have mentioned that this recipe is well known and does the rounds on email on a regular basis. When I was given it as part of a flyer for our local school's cake stall, it was the first time I'd heard of it which is why I thought it was worth sharing, so I apologise if you've seen it before.
So, like me, if you missed it the first 50 times around.... Chocolate Mug Cake!
My thanks to the mystery donor of this recipe at Orange Grove Public School, from the bottom of my thighs...

4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

Splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug

1. Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a fork.

2. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract and mix again.

3. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). NB The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

4. Allow to cool a little, tip onto a place if desired.

5. Enjoy! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?

Because now we are only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's worse than being late?

I can't handle lateness. At ten minutes I will be understanding, twenty at a pinch, but after that I start to get mighty peeved. I consider lateness to be rudeness. I believe it's a show of disrespect for those who are expecting you, and sends the message that your time is more valuable than theirs.

To get down from my high horse for a minute, I also accept it is sometimes unavoidable, and even I am guilty of it from time to time. (Unbelievable but true.) When I am running late I get myself into such a hysterical state it's almost laughable. Especially when I arrive apologising and gasping and nobody had actually noticed I was late in the first place. But I try not to be, and generally speaking I'm a pretty punctual person.

And then sometimes good intentions go to the other extreme. Here's what happened on Sunday.

On Sunday we packed up the family for a small family friend's second birthday party, starting at 3pm. By 2pm we had everyone napped and fed. By 2.25 we had wrapped the present (having spent a sizeable part of the morning fighting off the crowd at the Target toy sale to find it), wrote on the card and everyone had a crack at signing it.

After the usual Benny Hill chase around the house with squealing half naked children, we finally got everyone clean, dressed nicely and looking respectable. It was 2.45.

We got in the car and Husband suggested a quick detour to his office to pick something up. No way! said I, that will make us (gasp!) late. Can we please go there after the party instead? Ok, says kind husband, sensing his wife is about to become completely neurotic. So we continued on, no detour, straight to our friends' house. We parked, unloaded, smoothed down skirts and put hair clips back in and, knocking on the door, made our entrance perfectly timed at 3pm.
A week early.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jumping on the weekday wagon

I've come to the conclusion that I am hitting the chardy just a little too hard, too often. I mean, is half a bottle a night considered excessive? Probably not, except sometimes it's more like two-thirds, and the fact that I'm rounding it down makes me concerned that I'm turning into a pisshead.

So, once again, I'm slow on the uptake but I'm going to have a crack at Dry July (midweek version). And yes, I am aware of the fact that July is now half over. How convenient.

I used to be a weekend only drinker but recently it's crept up on me and has become party time anytime. That's not to say I'm going to bed hammered every night, and I'm still up and out running every morning but I'm thinking about the health messages we are constantly hearing telling us to cut down, embrace alcohol free days and send our kids positive drinking messages. I guess it's sinking in, because I'm getting paranoid about how much, and how often.

As to how it's come to this, I blame my family (shame on them). By the time the day ends, the kids are fed, watered, cleaned and bedded, I'm ready for a bit of grown-up entertainment. Which usually means Masterchef, time to talk over the day with my hubby and a glass of wine. Or three.

I figured that if I blog on it, it's out there and I have to actually do it, instead of thinking about it and wagging my finger at myself but doing nothing. So here goes. I'm not promising an epiphany or any soulful revelations, but I think it's time to show a little restraint, midweek at least. I don't want to turn into one of those sozzled mummies who ends up in rehab and misses the school swimming carnival (I knew one from my school days). Or get to a point where I CAN'T have an alcohol free day because I truly need a glass of wine. Pass the mineral water!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Felt Like Teen Spirit

*Stunt double used for photo. The likeness is uncanny.

Sometimes I realise I'm about to miss something and then go at it full-tilt to get my maximum enjoyment in the short time I have before it passes me by. Case in point was yesterday's TripleJ Hottest 100 of All Time which was played for most of the day. While we were out driving with our CD player on (duh!) I missed many of the tracks that have formed the soundtrack to my life such as Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

So when I got home and had a look at Twitter I realised what I was missing. Mark threw on the stereo and we got busy catching up and making bets on who would be number one. By the time we got to Bohemian Rhapsody (6) I had the volume up, the cardie off and was swinging my hair like a crazed metal head. Jeff Buckley made me cry with Hallelujah (3) so I excused myself to go Tweet, and pulled myself together for The Big One.

Number 2 - Rage Against the Machine - Killing In The Name brought the kids running. It could have been because I turned it up so loudly the kitchen windows rattled. I was worried I'd scared them, but Lucy started shaking her hair and punching the air with her little fist (she's two). She's always had a bit of rock n' roll attitude, but this confirmed all our fears. I also suspect the famous line "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" from the song has special relevance to her. I am not surprised.

Sofie was jumping on the couch shouting 'yeah! yeah!' at the sight of her mother playing air guitar in a full lunge. Mark was jumping up and down on the spot, which meant he was dancing.

And then I had one of those amazing moments where the sound disappears and everything slows down just for a moment. I looked around the family room and saw my elated, crazy family Going Right Off. And it was wonderful to see us whipped into such a joyous frenzy, just having the most fantastic time doing something so great together. It wasn't Scrabble, or sport, it was our very own mosh pit. And it was gooooood!

By the time Number 1 was announced as Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit the kids were exhausted. Lucy obviously didn't agree with the consensus, announced "NO!" and left the room. Sofie followed. Which left Mark and I to relive the early 90's when we were just together, going to the Big Day Out and had no kids. It was right and perfect and we danced and shouted and punched the air. It's a good thing I didn't have the webcam on or we would have ended up on "Past-it People Looking Stupid" or some equally humiliating show.

Then, when it was over, we turned down the stereo, fed and bathed the kids and agreed that that was the best fun we've had in ages. We might be almost geriatric, but we rocked out.

I think I've poisoned the fish.

OK, so some who visit here (thanks, guys) already know we've recently acquired a fish tank. It's officially my daughter's tank, which was purchased by her adoring Grandad for her birthday because 'she's old enough to look after a pet now'. Which she does by instructing me on a weekly basis to remember to feed the fish. Which I do. Daily.

But I digress. We got the rogue snails under control and it's been all bubbles and relaxing aquarianism (is that a word?) here for the past month or two, give or take the odd cleanout a fish tank requires.

Last week I got fed up with looking at the brown stain that was spreading across the tank and decided the only way I was going to get rid of the slime was to dip the ornamental mermaid into diluted bleach. I figured it would kill the algae and restore the mermaid to her milky-skinned glory, which it did. After rinsing the mermaid with half of Warragamba Dam the tank has never looked better, the mermaid is smiling and everything looks lemony fresh.

Everything except the fish.

The big gold one is pretty robust, and I'd bet you couldn't kill him with an axe. 'Blackie' isn't looking too bad either. But 'Flounder' is looking decidedly unwell. He's taken on weird white spots since the cleanout, which have appeared on his tail and around one eye. I'm wondering if he's gone all Michael Jackson (is it too soon?) and just been bleached a bit, or if this is The Beginning of The End.

Naturally, I've Googled the symptoms and have come up with everything from Fin Rot (fatal) to Tank Damage (also fatal). Nobody said anything about bleach poisoning, but I suspect no-one who truly loved and cared for their fishy friends would actually use bleach in their fish tank (let alone admit it on a pet-care website), so it's a given that it might have an unfortunate prognosis. We shall see.

With a new puppy arriving in around a fortnight, I'm concerned about my nurturing abilities. Now I've cracked the bubbly and high-fived myself for getting two babies past the two-year milestone, am I dropping the ball? Have I forgotten how to look after small creatures? Is it time to get out 'Babylove' again and do a refresher course?

Time will tell. If the fish makes it, I'll relax. But until then I'm staring into the tank and holding my breath. If you can, say a prayer or offer up a thought for Flounder. I suspect he could use all the help he can get.