Oct 20, 2008

Marvelous Monday Update 10/20/08

Calling All Chocoholics!
Several weeks ago, Cynthia shared a recipe for chocolate cake in a mug. I tried the recipe as posted and it didn't take quite right to me, nor did it have the airy texture of cake. It was more like a heavier bread. So, I played around with the recipe until it was more to my liking. This is perfect for one, and could be a fun thing to do with kids.


1 microwave-safe coffee mug
4 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
3 1/2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. chocolate chips (optional)

Add dry ingredients to mug; mix well with fork. Add egg; mix thoroughly. Add milk, oil, and vanilla; mix well. Optional: 3 Tbsp. of chocolate chips may be added at this point, but they sink to the bottom of the mug. Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes on 1000 watts. Cake will rise above top of mug -- This is normal. Allow to cool a little; tip onto plate if desired. Enjoy!

• I tried it twice with chocolate chips and didn't like the results. The chips sink to the bottom of the cup and tasted like they were overcooked.
• I was thinking that some melted frosting drizzled over the top might be scrumptous, afterall... with all those calories, what's a few more?!

Per Serving: 982 Calories (holy crap!); 62g Fat (53.5% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 106g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 218mg Cholesterol; 100mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 11 1/2 Fat; 5 Other Carbohydrates. 23.6 points on WW
• Cutting down to 1 T oil changes it to: 741 Calories; 34g Fat (39.1% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 106g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 218mg Cholesterol; 100mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 6 Fat; 5 Other Carbohydrates. 16.45 points on WW.
• Substitutions 1/4 c. eggbeaters for egg; 1/4 c. applesauce for oil. Per Serving: 451 Calories; 7g Fat (13.8% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 93g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 113mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat; 4 Other Carbohydrates.

Dad Saves The Day!
A few weeks ago I had a "slight" problem measuring and cutting the doorsweep for my front door, resulting in major frustration on my part. Disgusted with myself, I left everything laying on the floor. My Dad came to visit me last weekend and being Mr. Fix-It/DIY (now you know where *I* get it from), he asked what I was "working on". I told him the whole sordid tale, upon which he said, "Well, will it fit the backdoor? They're usually smaller than the front door." Huh. We checked to see if the "too short" doorsweep would fit the backdoor. Sure enough, Dad was right. Dad's are SO smart, aren't they?

So this week, I put the sweeps against each door and drew lines with a black marker... rather than relying upon my measurement skills, as we all know how good I am at that... and drove to my parents' house to have Dad cut them with the proper tool, tin snips. It was a 2-minute job, but at least they don't look like the ends went through a shredder. Both sweeps are now installed and look pretty darn good!

I also bought and installed some of the white, inexpensive plastic/rubber doorsweeps for my French doors that lead to the four season room. Since the doors are white, they blend right in. Last winter, I noticed a lot of cold air came from that room. No trouble with those -- cut with scissors, peel and stick! Can't get much easier than that.

Worth The Investment
Seven years ago, I'd moved into an apartment where the landlords said they just had the carpets cleaned. Looking at the carpets, I didn't believe them and bought a Bissell ProHeat Steam Cleaner (II is on the market now). It did a marvelous job -- I had to go over the carpet at least 5 times before the water in the bucket was somewhat clean. To think the landlord *just* had the carpets cleaned. Uh huh.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I cleaned my living room carpet... the only area in my house that has carpet. Even though I cleaned it a year ago when I moved in, it (apparently) got quite dirty. I went over it 3 times with the deep cleaning solution, and then once with vinegar to deodorize. Since I had to carry it up from the basement, I figured I might as well clean my sofa too. I could definitely tell a difference after I was finished with both.

The Bissell ProHeat Steam Cleaner is one of the better carpet cleaning models on the market. Over the years, my parents and I have tried various consumer grade cleaners and they didn't do as good of a job and didn't hold up over time. One of the best features of this cleaner is this: It offers an onboard heater. The water stays hot and works to remove carpet soil. It's fairly easy to assemble, and not difficult to use. A 2-in-1 bladder/bucket is filled with water and a smaller container is filled with carpet cleaning solution -- this is also where I put white vinegar.

It's recommended that two or more passes will be needed to thoroughly remove all the soil and moisture. Dirty water is then collected in the bladder and when full must be dumped out. Thorough cleaning of very soiled carpets can greatly add to the anticipated time to clean a room, so be sure to set aside an hour or more to clean one moderately sized room.

The ProHeat also has an onboard attachment that can be used to clean stairs and upolstery. I haven't used it to clean stairs, but I have used it to clean my sofa several times. The attachment can also be used to apply Scotchguard to fabrics.

I used mine a couple times a year when I lived in my apartment where every room was carpeted. Since my current home only has one carpeted room, it doesn't take as long but I use it just as often. After having used it for 7 years, it still does a great job -- definitely a good investment.

Hangin' Up There
It's a good thing I decided to do this project because I found that the window behind my headboard was open about an inch. All of last winter, whenever the wind blew, I heard rattling outside my bedroom window. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it wasn't *outside* the house! I have double hung windows and the previous owner(s) had opened the top of the window about 3" and with the blinds pulled, I never knew it. So ALL winter, the window in my bedroom was open and the rattling I heard was actually the bottom of the blinds banging against the window sill. Since it was behind my headboard, I never saw it. No wonder it was so COLD in my room all the time! So *what* project am I referring to?

I spent several hours installing decorative rods and hanging drapes in my bedroom. For the past year, I've "lived" with the blue floral valances that came with the house. I unpacked the drapes and swags I had in my bedroom at the apartment -- since they've been in a box for a year, wrinkles galore permeated each and every piece. Out came the iron which made the job last even longer, but can't have wrinkled drapes, can we?

I debated about whether to expand the drapes behind the headboard to match the width of the headboard, or leave it centered over the window and wall (like it shows in the photo). Opinions?

I still need to paint the room to add a bit of color, but that's going to have to wait for another year.

I finally took some time to pull out my vegetable garden. All that's left is an empty plot covered with mulched leaves. Next year, I am investing in a mini-cultivator rather than turning the soil with a shovel. My planters still look pretty good. I'm amazed at how HUGE they've gotten!

July 2008

October 2008

Stitchy Stuff
Not much stitching this past week. I have two ornies sitting on my diningroom table waiting to be finished into actual ornaments. One is for me, one is for an exchange.


Karen said...

Wonderful update, as usual, Meari! Thanks for all the great tips, and your bedroom is lovely!!

Shari said...

you have been a busy little beaver!!
As far as your garden, I HIGHLY recommend a Mantis Tiller!!!! They are SO WORTH the money!!!! We have one & I love it!!! It is small enough that I can handle it & it does an amazing job! We tore out our veg. garden this weekend too & then took the big tiller & the mantis thru it, getting it ready for winter!

Anonymous said...

Hey I am going to try that cake tonight with my patient I bet she will love it and it will take her sweet craving away. LOL Your plants look great still. Dusty Millers last a long time. Mine are still going strong by the mailbox. I love them. Your bedroom looks great. Thanks for the update and hope you have time to get more stitching in. Many Blessings and Happy Stitchings Carla

shutterbug said...

Yea! finally an update from you! I was thinking about emailing you to make sure things were ok. After all, it's been a week since an update! That's not like you at all. :o) After reading your post, I can see you've been busy. :o)
We have a small rotatiller that we got at Sears last year. It's really tiny but does the job. My opinion on the curtain in the bedroom is to leave it as is. If you make it fit the bed, when it's light out you would notice the difference anyway. I really like how you did the windows, very pretty. I bet your room was cold with the window partway open! Yikes! Good thing it was double pane or you would have woke up in the snow the way last winter was! :o)
Hugs, Elaine

Sadie said...

Your bedroom looks great. Here's to a warmer winter this year!

Barbara said...

You are always such a busy person. Hope you'll be warmer in your bedroom this winter. I like your drapes and I think I'd extend them to match the width of the headboard - JMO. I still haven't tried the cake in a cup, but will update the recipe to the one you've given. Have a great week.
Barb in TX

Terry said...

Gee, I wonder why you didn't get any stitching done with all that extra time you had this week....NOT! I don't know how you had the time to work with all the home improvements you did. We have a nice carpet cleaner that hubby purchased a year or two ago but he is the only one that knows how to run it. I'm going to remedy that soon as our entire house is carpeted and in dire need of a cleaning!! Take some much needed "me" time this week so you can sit and stitch or just relax.

Gabi said...

My husband read over my shoulder and LOVES the sound of that cake. Following Mike chocolate chips are never ever optional. Your bedroom looks great. Amazing how creative you are. :)

Vicki said...

The kids and I will have to try the cake in a mug...sounds like just the cooking project for them.

I love the curtains in your bedroom... they are beautiful!

Patricia said...

So glad you got your door sweeps around your doors I bet you will find it makes a lot of difference. I have the Bissel carpet cleaner as well, I bought it and I have done all my carpets and this weekend want to try it on a chair I had given to me. Love your ornaments they are very cute, I just about finished another as well.
Take care HUGS

Dawn B. said...

Your DIY skills are difenatly better then mine. Love the little garden you have going. The sqaures are really cute.

Kristin said...

The chocolate cake in a mug sounds wonderful...yum.

I would either center the bed on the window or extend the drapes to fit the headboard. It looks a bit unbalanced right now.

Cute stitchy projects.

Carolyn said...

You are one busy camper! Love all the home decor tips! Would love to try the cake, but I'm off caffeine for the moment (we'll see how long that lasts!). Plants are beautiful.

Alberta said...

Meari...you are so right about the Bissel ProHeat! We've had one for a few years and I love it! Don't know what I would do without it...except go buy another one.

Terry said...

BTW, congrats on the Blog of the month award from Stitching bloggers! Yeah!!

Erynne said...

So you garden too....cool! I love your container and the way the Lamium just seems to spill over!
You just reminded me that I need to mulch...ugh, my least favourite task. I'm waiting on my neighbor to suck up all of his leaves and mulch them up for me...he says he'll dump them wherever I point, haha. I only have one deciduous tree on my acre that's worth collecting the leaves for(oak)....the rest are coniferous monsters!

Diane said...

The cake sounds great, I can hardly wait to try it.

I recently inherited a Bissel ProHeat and a full-sized Dyson Ball. I haven't tried out the steam cleaner yet, but the Dyson sure picked up a lot of "stuff" that my smaller vacuum had left behind.

As for the bedroom situation, the window treatments are very pretty, but I think I'd break out the tape measure and sone graph paper to figure out if there was a way to reorient the bed to be centered under the other window. It looks like you couldn't go any farther to the left on the wall that the bed is currently on, but you might be able to put the bureau on that wall instead. This is without knowing what other furniture you have and the full layout, though...

Sharon said...

Meari, you are just full of such lovely projects today! Love that cake in the cup-will have to try that one with my kids.

The drapes are pretty-I too think you should try to balance it out if you can. I am also glad you got your door sweeps straightened out.

Pretty flowers and ornaments too!

Mylene said...

wow! you sure been busy, Meari!
The chocolate cake sounds yummy! and cute ornaments you finished lately.

Debra said...

Meari, wow girl you got a lot done over the weekend.
Debra in Indiana

Cynthia said...

Your version of the cake sounds better...I agreee the original was "off" tasting. Try coating the choc chips with a tsp of the flour before adding to the batter, helps them not sink. Also, use LESS choc chips...did "I" say "THAT"???

WTG on the blog, and getting so much use out of your Bissel.

Center/extend the drapes over the bed headboard. They look odd the way they are!!

Nancy said...

So that's what's been keeping you busy! We have a Mantis and it's great. That would be a great buy for you next spring. They are easy to handle and do a great job. Glad you got your doorsweep problem fixed. I knew that would be eating at you! And the window....is it worth the effort to change it?? How many people will really see it and comment...."that's off center" ? I'd rather spend my time on more important things, like stitching! LOL

Janine said...

Wow, You certainly fill your life. I so enjoy reading about your life. I would extend the curtains behind the bed. I love the curtains btw. What a gorgeous little house you have and the garden is just lovely.

Anonymous said...

Grrr, I just posted a long comment and blogger ate it all up, like that scrumptious cake! Congrats on being blogger of the month!
You definitely stay busy!

Deirdre said...

WOW! You are always so productive!

Debbie Jo said...

Congrats on all your projects. Nothing like doing things yourself for the sense of accomplishment. Freecycle has sure lost a good moderator for their group asking you to be a "member". Stitching looks wonderful! Great work.

stitcherw said...

What cute finishes, the two Joys will make lovely ornaments. Your room looks wonderful too, what a pretty window finish. That's great you found the window being slightly open, that will make this winter a lot warmer in there. Also, I think the window looks fine the way it is, I don't think it needs to be extended to look centered behind the bed. The cake looked very yummy, I think I may need to go digging in my cabinets to see what ingrediants I might have.

Beth said...

I'm no choholic, but I will have to remember that for my mom.

I think you might try to expand that rod behind the bed. It would make the bed look more centered in front of it. From the picture, it looks a little awkward because it's off to one side of the headboard. I've seen designers do it all the time. If you don't like it, you can always move it back.