Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Look at This Zebra Cake! - 31 Days

Since Wednesday will be a busy day for me, I am switching the writing prompt for Thursday (LOOK) with the one to be announced on Wednesday morning.

This is a completely different topic than anything I've been writing on.  Once again I am stretching the prompt, but I will stay within the five minutes.  I will, however, be doing some proofreading so that I don't mess you up.


Over the weekend I baked this really cool zebra cake:

I baked this from a mix, but now that I know the technique, next time I'd make it from scratch.

The box says it makes one 9-inch layer, but it looked like a lot of batter.  I used a 3-inch deep pan so it wouldn't overflow.  It might have been okay in a 2-inch deep pan.

So the idea is this.  Make half-batches of chocolate and white cake batters.  You should have enough batter to make TWO 9-inch layers, so plan accordingly:  you will get more stripes if you use 2 tablespoons of batter per circle rather than 1/4 cup.  I haven't tried it.

But this is how I did it.  Pour 1/4 cup of the chocolate batter into the center of a greased, floured round pan.  Pour 1/4 cup of the white batter into the center of that.  Working quickly, keep alternating until you run out of batter.  You'll have something that resembles this:

Bake according to the original recipe.  Cool the layers and frost as you like.  I'd fill and frost it with vanilla buttercream or Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting (because it's more of a pure white than buttercream made with butter and vanilla extract.)

What do you think?


If you'd like to catch up on my 31 Days posts, please click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sharing the Love - 31 Days

Monday has been a hectic day, so I'm totally going to stretch the writing prompt for Tuesday.  I'm taking a SECOND to tell you about some of the best bloggers I've met through 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and 31 Days.

This post took quite a bit longer than five minutes, because of interruptions and the links I'm including.  I'm giving myself some grace, and I'll get back to the five-minute limit tomorrow!  Here we go:

Somehow I didn't meet Kristin, who participates in Five Minute Friday, until now.  At the incredible k she's writing a series for her Encourage Daily Campaign.  She's sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always encouraging.

Anita at Blessed but Stressed is writing a series called 31 Days of Encouragement for Caregivers.  Even though I'm not a caregiver, I've been appreciating her posts.  Yesterday she posted about hope, and it's been one of my favorites so far.

Just recently I've discovered Jen at Growing in Faith.  She's writing 31 Days of Moments in Africa.  She's a real storyteller, and I think you'll like her, too. Don't miss her post about the spider.

And then there's Abby, whose series is Snapshots:  Soul of a Nation -- Hungary.  She shares stories and photos that go far beyond what you would find on a tourism website--stories about real people, real trials, real joy.

Finally, I can't forget about Kate Motaung, who is hosting 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.  She's writing 31 Days of Life in South Africa.  So far she's shared about her arrival in South Africa, the theft of her car, her wedding, and more.

I hope you'll check out some of these bloggers, if only just to say Hi!

If you'd like to catch up on my 31 Days posts, please click here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Clean Slate - 31 Days

Today I'm only loosely using the writing prompt FEAR, because I wanted to write about something that's been on my heart.


I would be embarrassed if you knew what I did when I was 12.  Or 19, or 21.  Or 30.  Especially 30.

Thank the Lord that Jesus has wiped the slate clean and I needn't be fearful of standing before Him!
He has removed our sin as far from us as the east is from the west. (Ps. 103:12, NLT)
Oh, the stories I could tell!  But I think we glorify our sin when we keep recounting the stories.  (Exceptions exist, such as in counseling.)

I can imagine Jesus, seated next to the Father, sadly shaking His head at our lack of understanding.  After all, didn't He tell us it's so?

My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin. (Job 14:17, NIV)

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19, NIV)
So ... Oh, the stories I could tell!

Let me tell you how the Lord rescued me from the depths of depression.

Let me tell you how He's given me joy even in the midst of trials.

Let me tell you how He knows my every thought and loves me in spite of it all.

Let me tell you my story.


photo credit: elleinad. via photopin cc

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Honorable Life - 31 Days

Today the writing prompt for 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes is HONOR.  That word reminds me of a well-known or accomplished person getting an award or a hero receiving a medal.  Instead, I'd like to tell you about another extraordinary person.


She stirred the sauce and glanced at the clock.  Soon her family would be home for dinner.

Elizabeth could not know that, just a few blocks away, her husband lay crushed under a locomotive.  He'd been a conductor on that train.

Suddenly widowed, she had four children plus one on the way.

Five months later, my grandfather was born.

Elizabeth raised her five children, then two of her grandchildren.  To make ends meet, she took in a boarder and worked as a housekeeper.  She was known as the one who cooked for everyone.  She was the one who fixed up the cuts and scrapes of the neighborhood kids.  I have never heard that she complained or bemoaned her "bad luck."

I hope to meet her in heaven someday.  I hope she'll tell me how she did it--how she handled her abrupt loss and how she endured the years of unrelenting work of raising children as a single mother.

I hope I have the opportunity to tell her just how extraordinary I think she is.

Who is an extraordinary ordinary person in your life?


Note:  This is a true story, except for the part about stirring the sauce.

If you'd like to catch up with my 31 Days posts so far, here's the full list.  I'm going to try to keep this list updated, rather than copying it into every new post.

September 29:  Intro
October 1:  Which Way Are You Moving?
October 2:  Views (breast cancer)
October 3:  Shiny New
October 4:  Learning (breast cancer)
October 5:  Stuck
October 6:  We Think We Know (breast cancer)
October 7:  Just GO
October 8:  Say It (public speaking)
October 9:  When It's Hard to Join (public speaking)
October 10:  Why Do I Care?
October 11:  One-Way Street
October 12:  Rest For My Soul
October 13:  Housework:  Friend or Foe?
October 14:  Getting Away
October 15: Twenty-Five Seven
October 16: Life Adjustments
October 17: The Longing
October 18: Taste: The Carb Debate
October 19: An Honorable Life
October 20: A Clean Slate
October 21: Sharing the Love
October 22: Look at This Zebra Cake!