Banoffee pie with raspberries

banoffee pie slice

I recently learned that I can make dulce de leche by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for two hours and my life was forever changed. I ate a lot of dulce de leche during my semester in Uruguay (after gaining 10 pounds I was told “Now you look like an American!”) and ever since then I’ve wanted to recreate some of the fancy cakes that had many layers including cake, crispy meringue, dulce de leche, whipped buttercream, berries or chocolate, and by now a lot of nostalgia that will make the dessert extra delicious. Extra delicious, or disappointing because it’s not how I remembered it. As they say, you can’t go home again or eat a perfect slice of cake again from the Disco supermarket bakery down the street from your student housing in Montevideo.

I first saw this magic technique on ktmade’s banoffee pie post and I said out loud at my desk to nobody in particular “wait, really? That’s so cool!”

My pot was only deep enough to cover the can by three quarters of an inch so I set an alarm to go off every ten minutes to remind me to check the water level, adding more as necessary. I wouldn’t want this explosion to happen to me. I simmered the can for 2.5 hours and it turned out excellent. I ate some with a spoon throughout the next day and turned most of the rest into a banoffee pie.

Premade graham cracker crust baked for 5 minutes at 350, most of the dulce de leche, two bananas, a package of fresh raspberries, and quite a bit of Albertsons store-brand whipped topping, that completely processed confection made from hydrogenated soybean oil, corn syrup, and 1960s American dreams.

banoffee pie banana layer  banoffee pie raspberry layer

banoffee pie finished

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October 26, 2015. Tags: , . Links, Pictures, Recipes, Words. 1 comment.

Front yard mulch: Before and after

Front bed before and after

I decided to add mulch to the old not-actually-flower beds in front of my house that were now mostly dirt, old bark, weeds, and a sprinkling of cat poop. I walked into the closest big box store nursery section and asked the stocker to point me to the mulch section.

“It’s back in that corner. Or I have a few bags up here on clearance for a dollar-fifty,” he said.

“Sold!” I replied. There were three bags of red mulch sitting on a cart, exactly the number I needed in a red color that was just fine, marked down because of holes in the bag. A few minutes later and my house looked much nicer.

front side bed before and after

front house after

October 23, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 2 comments.

Doggie dinner station: Before & After

doggie dinner station before doggie dinner station after

My dog is a sloppy drinker. She splashes water and doesn’t have the excuse of prodigious jowls or floofy ears getting in the way or youthful enthusiasm that cannot be restrained. She’s just messy.

More than a year after getting the little weasel I finally made a doggie dinner station placement using a piece of this home dec fabric roll I got at Goodwill. I also moved it to a dedicated spot in the dining room so it’s not directly next to the garbage and recycle anymore. Same floor, just different lighting for a different appearance.

Doggie Dinner is the magic phrase and soon she’ll probably learn “supper” too, which is what I say when I want to talk about dinner without drawing her attention.

blue and white goodwill home dec fabric

October 22, 2015. Tags: , , . Dog, Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

1966 vs. 2015: Party Dress

Mom's bright blue and white dress 1966 - single picture

When I was a small child I would play dress-up with my mom’s vintage fancy dresses, swallowed by what seemed like yards of material. Sometime around middle school I stopped playing dress-up in the same way. Years went by and one day I opened the box of old, creased dresses to find that instead of them being much too big I suddenly couldn’t even fit into some of them.

In my mid-twenties my mom shipped half a dozen boxes to me, stuff that had been left behind when I moved out after college. She felt confident that I wasn’t returning to the nest and instead of tossing my boxes into the garbage she sent them to me halfway across the country, which was generous.(Thanks Mom!) One of the boxes was full of her old dresses, now mine.

I moved into a house this summer after 5+ years in an apartment. While packing the dresses for the move I eyeballed one, estimated that I might have a chance at zipping it up, and tried it on. Success! Somewhat constricted breathing in the very tight bodice, still success?

I wore it to a Hummingbird Society gala in Sedona, AZ when I knew it would be for just a couple hours. My mom designed and sewed this dress herself when she was in college in 1966.

Sedona, AZMom's bright blue and white dress 1966 - two pictures

mom dress blue and cream

October 4, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, Words. 1 comment.