Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the fungus among us

So I'm sure that I have mentioned our near-constant rain this summer...

Well, it suddenly stopped.  We haven't had any rain for three days, and it's been nice and sunny.  Mushrooms have been popping up all over...

Even my houseplants have been getting into the action.  First I saw this yellow fungus:

A few days later, he was joined by two friends.

The sun, too, has brought out new flowers.  A large plant that I had designated a type of hosta earlier this spring budded out...

...and bloomed.

The leaves and stalks resemble canna lilies, but these flowers don't really look like cannas to me.  They survived in the ground all winter, too, unlike cannas, which you have to dig up.

Whatever they are, they're lovely!

Insects have been more active in the hot, sunny weather too.  Hornets have been nosing around the base of a large tree by our driveway.

Our tree has a wound, which is oozing sap.  Hornets are drawn to it.  We've been careful, though, and haven't had any stings. 

I brought in some leaves and flowers recently, and noticed some debris underneath the bouquet.

I'd accidently brought in a Yellow-Striped Army Worm along with the greenery.

He was easily relocated to greener pastures.

The deer, too, have suddenly become incredibly active, jumping our fence and decimating my hosta garden (grinds fist into palm).

If anyone has a good deterrent, let me know!

I've been doing some crafty things, too.  I'm knitting again.  I'm trying to use my paper cutters when I write letters, instead of notebook paper.

I'm embroidering, too.  I'm not very good at it, and I prefer knitting, but I do love the pre-stamped pillowcase kits.  That way you can embroider around the lines, which magically dissolve in the wash.  A slow start...

...but I'll eventually get here:

It's a gift for a childhood friend who's getting married.  I hope it turns out!

I've done some baking, too.  Actually, I've been meaning to post this recipe for a long time.  This is my new favorite bundt cake, and the only time I've ever said, "Wow, this is good without frosting!"  Of course, if you feel motivated, a cream cheese glaze would be delicious.

Blueberry-Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake
From Brown-Eyed Baker

2 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1¾ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup regular milk soured with a tablespoon of white vinegar)
3 cups blueberries or other mixed fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your bundt pan.  Whisk together the 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, zest your lemon and pour in your sugar.  Use a rubber spatula to press the lemon into the sugar until it's incorporated.

Add butter and cream for about 5 minutes, until very fluffy.  Reduce your mixer speed and add your eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and mix.  Finally, add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and barely combine.  Fold in 1/2 of the buttermilk, mix, and then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, and repeat.  Separately, mix together your fruit and the held-back tablespoons of flour.  This will keep your fruit from sinking to the bottom of the bundt pan and tearing off the top of the cake when you try to remove it from the pan.  After your fruit is coated, fold it into the cake mixture.

Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake 50 - 60 minutes, until golden.  Let it cool a bit, and then pop out your cake.  Give it a light dusting of powdered sugar.

It's sweet, lemony, fruity, and delicious.  Try a slice soon.

Have a great week!

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