Smooth Chocolate, Gritty Men, and Knickers

He cooks.

My nephew visited for the weekend.  Anyone who spends more than five hours in my house in a row is required to help with the cooking and cleaning.  Guests get bored unless you give them little jobs to do.  It makes them happy.

The trick for getting 13 year-old nephews to cook and clean is to give them the sharpest knife you have and let them use the water-sprayer thingee on the side of the sink.  Yes, water was everywhere, but that’s what (holey) towels are for.  (Dishwasher still isn’t working.  Sob.)

He cleans.

These picture are for my sister-in-law to have proof that her son knows how to chop vegetables, wash dishes, and make dump cake.  You’re welcome!

He bakes.

Then we let him play on the treadmill.

Oh no, I’m like my evil grandparents! “Here, kid, play on this treadmill if you’re bored.”


Eaten while blogging:  A gift of Belgian chocolates from a friend back from a European business trip.  (Lucky dog!!)

European chocolate is creamier than American chocolate.  I’m not sure I like it. It’s slippery, like boiled okra.  (Lady fingers, I think?, for my British followers.)  I like a little grit in my chocolate.  My mother said that when they lived in England for 2 years, she got tired of refined British men.  She couldn’t wait to get back to America just to see a few gritty Marlboro men.  At the time (in the 70’s) England had James Bond, but America had Clint Eastwood—her favorite actor.  Now that’s a gritty man.

Gritty chocolate, gritty men.  That’s what makes America great.

Speaking of James Bond, Daniel Craig makes for an excellent James Bond, but what happened to the James Bond theme music?!?!  I am so disappointed.  It’s just not a James Bond movie without the James Bond music.

I used to read James Bond books when I was a kid.  From what I remember, James Bond was described as stocky and muscular, and I think he had dark hair.  And his eyes were the cold remorseless eyes of a killer.  Are Daniel Craig’s eyes cold?  I’m not sure.  I think I need to go look at some pictures to check out his, uh, eyes. Research for The Blog you know.  I’m dedicated like that.

Here’s a great little article about what James Bond looks like according to the books.

I’m sure that Daniel Craig would never throw a dodge ball at me.  Do they even play dodge ball in England?  That seems like a gritty American invention.  Then again, those British are a little peculiar.  When my family lived in England for those two years, I was 5 and 6 years old.  During gym class we didn’t wear gym uniforms. We would simply strip down to our underwear.  (Knickers.)  Imagine playing dodge ball in your knickers!!  Ghastly!  I’m pretty sure that Knicker Dodge Ball was what our Founding Fathers were thinking of when they outlawed “cruel and unusual punishment.”  Drawing and quartering weren’t even on their radar.


The clouds were great today, so I attempted the picture of the brambly mailbox again.  I still don’t really like the way it turned out–there’s a discoloration from the sun around the mailbox.  Before I could spend too long tweaking the camera, the 41 mph wind gusts and 26 degree wind chill chased me away.  I think I’ll try again in spring when the mailbox is covered in something pretty.  And it’s warmer.


Had dinner with friends.  Nephew came, too.  He was afraid he’d be bored, but ended up having a great time.  This table is gorgeous and the food was scrumptious.  We brought the dump cake.


Dump Cake

1 can crushed pineapple

1 can apple pie filling

1 box of white cake mix

1 stick butter

8x8x2 size pan, or something somewhat equivalent.

Turn on oven to 350.

Drain the crushed pineapple.  This will take you a lot longer than you expect.  A lot longer.  Use the lid to squeeze out the pineapple juice.  Done?  No you’re not.  Smush down the lid at a different angle and lots more juice comes out.  Keep smushing at different angles.  When you’ve done this for about 3 minutes, and when the pineapple is so smushed that it fills only about 1/3 of the can, then you’re done.

Spread pineapple on the bottom of the pan.

Spread the pie filling over the pineapple.

Spread the dry cake mix over the apples.  DO NOT MIX THE DRY CAKE MIX INTO THE FILLING.

Use a butter knife to slice the stick of butter into paper thin slices and spread it evenly over the dry cake mix.

Bake 30 minutes.  The butter will melt (oh, drool!) all over the cake mix.  The pie filling will bubble (eye flutter).  It’s up to you if you want it in there longer.  I like the edges to be a very light brown.  Darling Husband likes them darker, so it’s up to you how long you bake it.

I like to eat it hot.  Darling Husband likes to eat it cold.  Again, up to you.


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