Chocolate Dump Cake

Chocolate Dump Cake

I rarely make a recipe that IS REALLY difficult and complicated.  I’ll be browsing through cookbooks or magazines and come across a recipe title that sounds so intriguing and then as I begin to read it, I realize there’s no way I’m going to assemble the 35 ingredients and the 15 steps required to produce some epicurean delight.  I just like to cook good food, make easy but tasty dishes.  Now that I’ve just finished watching Season 5 of Master Chef, the competitive cooking show in which home cooks vie for the coveted Master Chef Trophy and $250,000, I am totally in awe of these contestants.  Actually I almost find it hard to believe that they REALLY are just home cooks;  I mean who cooks with pig’s ears and octopus, and without a recipe can whip up a Boston Cream Pie, A New York Cheesecake with Strawberry Coulis and a Key Lime Pie!!! I mean, seriously, seriously???

OK enough of what turned out to be a rant (unintentional) – Today is about taking the easy way out.

A PureWow Original Recipe


2 cups sugar

¾ cup brewed coffee

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a Bundt pan with nonstick spray.

2. In a medium-size heat-safe bowl, combine the sugar with the coffee, chocolate, cocoa powder and butter. Heat the mixture in the microwave (about 1 to 2 minutes) or on the stove over a pot of simmering water (about 3 to 4 minutes), mixing occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are melted and the sugar is dissolved.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

4. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth and fully combined.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

6. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then remove it while it’s still warm by inverting it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Original Pure Wow recipe

I think I have a bundt cake pan (from my other life) and if I can find it, I’ll make this cake this weekend.  I find cooking usually therapeutic, not necessarily relaxing because I tend to be driven in the kitchen and sometimes I look frantic BUT it all comes out on time and fine.  Baking, however is another thing as evidenced by last semi-disaster – see a previous blog post:  http://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/i-goofed-and-made-honey-glazed-cornbread-fudge/.

Besides baking being a science not to be trifled with, the ovens in both my homes are lousy.  The repairman said about the gas going on and off and never really maintaining an even temperature;  Well there you have it, how can anything bake properly in that oven.  Oh to have my electric oven back again….

Bringing back an old friend today.  Been so long since we did Six-Word Memoir Monday, I thought, ‘well why not try again?’

For those of you who have forgotten or are new to my blog, let me give you  a little background on this project.  My Six-Word Memoir Monday is my way of unofficially participating in the Smith Magazine project.  I am going to post an article from their web site which describes the idea and origin of the project:  “…We quickly popped in a new idea we had been kicking around: giving Hemingway‘s legendary six-word novel (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”) a personal twist. We combined the classic storytelling challenge with our passion for nonfiction confessionals and dubbed it “Six-Word Memoirs.” Then we called up some guys we met at a tech conference about this new thing called Twitter and asked if they wanted to partner up to send one daily short life story to anyone who followed our @smithmag feed.   Four years and more than 200,000 Six-Word Memoirs later, we continue to be blown away by what people are capable of saying in just six words, the ways that others have adapted the form, and — not to get all Chicken Soup-y here — the unexpected little gems and gifts that launching this project has brought into our lives.   In classrooms from kindergarten to graduate school, educators have found the Six-Word Memoir an inspiring writing lesson. From a third-grade classroom in New Jersey, we heard “Life is better in soft pajamas” and one student’s precocious Zen observation: “Tried surfing on a calm day.” In Charleston, South Carolina, a creative writing teacher named Junius Wright makes a series of Six-Word Memoir videos with his students each year.”

There is a lot more about this project that you can read about on their website; Just google SMITH magazine.  Articles extolling the fun, creativity and virtue of this ongoing project have appeared in the New York Times and New Yorker magazine. The idea and concept has grown and expanded into many forms such as the third-grade teacher in New Jersey and in college classes across the country.

That’s the gist of it, let’s give it a go!  Remember it’s Six Words, No More, No Less!

“Missed the meeting, late to office”

“Rain Saturday, Sun Monday, Not Fair”

“My get-up-and-go, went”

“Lazy Sunday morning slid to Monday”

“Monday is a four-letter word”

Well there you have some examples of just what I’m talking about – and this time I made MONDAY the theme.  I would  love to see some entries from my readers.  So easy, just put your thoughts, inspirations, cares, sorrows, loves into six words.  Distilling our story into just six words, no more, no less.  The subject matter is up to you – my theme was Monday, what’s yours?

You know, you gotta hand it to Starbucks; You may not like their coffee, you may think it’s over-priced, some say bitter buy hey just look at how they’ve grown.  According to Wikipedia, Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 23,305 stores in 65 countries and territories, including 13,049 in the United States, 1,909 in China, 1,555 in Canada, 1,089 in Japan and 927 in the United Kingdom.

The first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971, by three partners who met while they were students at the University of San Francisco: English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker. The three were inspired to sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment by coffee roasting entrepreneur Alfred Peet after he taught them his style of roasting beans. Originally the company was to be called Pequod, after a whaling ship from Moby-Dick, but this name was rejected by some of the co-founders. The company was instead named after the chief mate on the Pequod, Starbuck.

The Starbucks store at 1912 Pike Place. This is the second location of the original Starbucks, which was at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971 to 1976.

The first Starbucks cafe was located at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971–1976. This cafe was later moved to 1912 Pike Place Market; never to be relocated again. During this time, the company only sold roasted whole coffee beans and did not yet brew coffee to sell. The only brewed coffee served in the store were free samples. During their first year of operation, they purchased green coffee beans from Peet’s, then began buying directly from growers.

BUT WAIT, this blog post is about a wonderful invention.  One, I personally find it to be a brilliant idea and every day I use it with my Grandé Americano.  I’m referring to ……


Simplistic in design, ingenious in concept, readily available (except when they run out) (so I keep one in my handbag), inexpensive to produce and FREE to you and me!

Image 1

Look Ma, No Spills!

We’re not talking Jersey Tomatoes here – No sir, this is all about those red plump stuffed cloth tomatoes.  My grandmother had one, my mother had one and I had one.  It ends here no doubt.  I know my daughter doesn’t have one and wonder how many of her friends do?  Not likely!  Wonder if any of them have the pins or needles or thread that also go into this homemaker’s essential salad?

Well be that as it may, I was surprised to receive an email extolling the virtues and the origin of this at-one-time-ubiquitious household tool.  The Sourcerer strikes again – twice in one week!!! Thanks to Gail who tipped me off about my mentor Martha’s article about pin cushions, tomato pin cushions to be exact and her take on 21st century examples.  

The following is excepted from Martha Stewart’s web site:

Pincushions come in all shapes and sizes, but the tomato is the design that prevails as the classic. But why a tomato of all things? Turns out it’s not random: There’s actually a reason for the tomato design, and it dates back to the Victorian era.

The first-ever documented mention of a generic pincushion dates back to the Middle Ages. Of course, in those days, they were more whimsically called “pimpilowes,” “pyn pillows,” and “pin-poppets.” The pincushion was invented as a practical aid for storing pins and needles, but it also showcased one’s collection of pins and needles. (Needles were costly, after all.) But the less-iconic shapes of dolls, birds, and prettily-packaged boxes left something to be desired.
Enter the time-honored tomato. According to tradition, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new home ensured prosperity by warding off evil spirits. When tomatoes were out of season, people weren’t totally out of luck: They simply improvised with red material, sawdust, and a little bit of ingenuity.

A lady of the Victorian era would take immense pride in a parlor room stocked with shelves upon shelves of pincushions, but the tomato was always the crowning acheivement of her collection. Since then, we’ve been piercing our pins into stuffed fabric tomatoes without question. But it’s “sew” much more fun to know where they come from, am I right?

In this case a picture is really worth 1000 words:



household hints, shoe polisher, stainless steel cleaner, breath freshener, B vitamins

One Slice Does It All

I never know what an email or Facebook post from Gail is going to bring!  I do know that most likely it will be something so interesting that I’m going to want to put it on my blog and today is no exception.  I should save this until next Tuesday and use it in place of a recipe for Tasty Tidbits Tuesday BUT I can’t wait that long.  This is one incredible performance.  Now I call it performance because the man is an artist and what he creates is art.

I was so impressed with his skills and of course his knife, I just had to post this today.  I’ve never seen a knife like this and can’t imagine how sharp it must be!  Well you will see for yourself in this mind-blowing video.  There is no background music or dialogue, much like the painter alone at his easel or the writer sitting in his garret.

Thanks and a shout out to Gail, the best sourcerer I know.

The summer is quickly waning, I always know that when the Lariope  blooms its purple flowers, it won’t be long before nothing is blooming.  But last week I got a real treat from Mother Nature – a beautiful fragrant red and white rose blossomed.

This weekend we’ve had intense heat and sunshine and rain – a perfect combination to breathe  some extended life into the rose bushes and the geraniums.

My friend, Sarajane visited us at the cottage and she is the credited photographer for these beautiful photos.

Face Forward

Face Forward


Close Enough To Smell

Close Enough To Smell

Reaching For The Sun

Reaching For The Sun

Looking back over the years and some many things have come and gone from the life I knew!  Throw Back Thursday is the perfect time to show those readers of this blog that are younger than 55.  Personally I’ve had or used every one of these vintage items which only goes to prove I’m a woman of a certain age.

I have such vivid memories of these metal wire pants stretchers.  My father’s work pant were put on them right out of the washer and when they dried they didn’t need to be ironed.

Pants Stretcher

Pants Stretcher

Rubber pants went together with cloth diapers and have the way of them too.  Pampers came along and combined the absorbancy of cotton and the water-proofing that the rubber pants provided and eliminated the stinky diaper pail too!

Rubber Pants

Rubber Pants

We had pencil boxes, rulers, protractors, erasers, library paste AND Mucilage, aka LePage’s Glue.



Wherever did the tradition of bronzing baby shoes go to?  My baby shoes were bronzed and I bronzed my son’s first baby shoes, now I see them at Flea Markets.  I think parents should start doing this again, they’re really cute.

Bronzed Baby Shoes

Bronzed Baby Shoes

If you had straight hair growing up like I did, then at some point you probably convinced your mother to give you a perm, a Toni, to be exact. It NEVER came out the way they showed it on television.  I always had frizzy hair for months and it smelled too.

Shirley Temple Curls

Shirley Temple Curls

Neil Sedaka sang about them, many of us wrote in them daily, kept them hidden in our underwear drawer, filled with teenage angst.  Mine was pale blue, what color was yours?



Now there are rows and rows of hair products in every drugstore, discount store and supermarket.  Way back in the dark ages of the 50’s there weren’t quite so many BUT there was Dippity-Do and a couple of colors too!

Sticky Icky Dippity-Do

Sticky Icky Dippity-Do

Summer Glasses

Summer Glasses

We had iced tea in these cool looking glasses and we only used them in the summer.  

Speaking of glasess, I received a set of these glasses in their own wire carrier as a wedding gift in 1968.  We all had fancy Highball glasses.

Wedding Present

Before computers, tablets, and iPads, all of my friends and myself carried 3 ring notebooks to school.  You could fill it with a hundred sheets of paper and divide the paper into sections marked with plastic tabbed dividers.  There was a mechanical snap lock that you would press hard to snap open the the 3 rings and remove a piece or two of paper.  Sometimes you weren’t careful and one of the holes tore through.  Gummed Reinforcements to the rescue.                                  


Mucilage “Gummies”   


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