February 17, 2023

Friday Night Photos #104

It's Friday again already?! And mid-February? It's actually scary how fast time goes. The older I get, the faster it seems to pass by, too.

Anyway, once again, I don't have many photos this week. I just haven't been taking pictures of anything! However, I do have a couple of longish stories to go with photos. (I think they're entertaining, anyway.)

Here are the few pictures from my camera roll this week...

Erin, my reader-turned-friend that I met in Indy for a reader meet-up a few years ago, saw these Friends-themed conversation hearts and thought of me. She sent me a bag of them! I planned to do something creative with them to give Jerry for Valentine's Day, but it wasn't going as planned. So, Jerry and I just went through reading the hearts, while quoting and talking about different episodes. It was fun!

My brother Brian's birthday was on February 15th, so I asked Becky if I could have Luke and Riley come over and we'd decorate a cake for Brian. I'd been wanting to make this vegan chocolate cake recipe for probably a year--however, I don't love to bake and I'm not great at it, so it sat in my recipe book for the longest time. I thought Luke and Riley would have fun making Brian's birthday special, so I figured I'd bake the cake and frost it, then they could decorate it (which is the fun part, anyway).

Since this was my first time making a vegan chocolate cake, I was curious how it would turn out--so, I took pictures along the way to write a review on my blog. I'll do that this weekend, but this is a funny story...

I had no problems making the batter for this cake. I used a stand mixer, so the only "work" is just measuring stuff. The batter looked thin, but the recipe stated that the batter would be thin, so I was glad that I hadn't screwed up measurements.

(I always put a little batter in a cupcake mold when I make cake so that I can taste the cake itself without cutting into it--especially when I've never made this cake before.) I poured the batter into the two pans (and the cupcake mold) and I was surprised that the volume of the batter seemed low. Again, I just trusted the recipe. I read through the recipe again, and I hadn't missed any steps.

After I stuck them in the oven, I started cleaning up and then I tasted the batter from the mixing bowl. It wasn't good at all--it wasn't sweet like you would expect from a cake. I couldn't figure it out--I looked at the ingredients to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I just hoped that the cake would work magic while it was baking and it would taste great when it was done. I was glad I made the little cupcake to try it though!

While the cake was in the oven, I started thinking about it and I couldn't remember putting the sugar into the batter. I knew I had gotten the sugar out (it's in the ingredients picture!) and I remember looking at the measurement in the book. That must have been when I got distracted or something, but after looking through the photos, I realized that I never actually added the sugar.


I let them finish baking anyway, because I was very curious how they would look and taste without sugar. I took the cupcake out and it didn't look bad. It was very flat and smooth; when I broke it open, it actually looked pretty good!

Well, that's where it ends, though. I tasted it and it was horrible! (If you're curious, this is what the cake looked like--very flat and smooth.)

Needless to say, I scrapped it and started over again. And I'll spoil the review now by saying that it turned out to be the BEST chocolate cake I've ever had--vegan or not. (I am 100% convinced that nobody would even know it's vegan.)

Shortly after I finished making the cake, Becky said that Luke was sick with a stomach bug, so the kids did not end up coming over. That meant I had an entire chocolate cake in my house.

I think I underbaked it a little because I was afraid of burning it--something I'm notorious for--but I really like chocolate cake that is just barely underbaked--it's so rich! But seriously, this was amazing. I managed to get right back to cutting out the sweets, despite how difficult it was to do so. A single piece of this caused major cravings for more sweets. So I'll go back to baking just a couple of times a year ;)

As someone who loves frosting as much as cake, it has to be a good ratio. This was thick with frosting and I didn't even use all of it! Anyway, I'll write more on my review, but here is the recipe if you're interested.

I decided to try growing sprouts again. I've always liked mung bean sprouts, especially in stir-fry dishes. The last time I grew them, I wasn't sure how to tell if they were ready to eat or not--they didn't look exactly like I was used to, so I waited. Probably too long. But anyway, I make stir-fry (a LOT) and I'm going to try this again so I can throw sprouts in there. This was yesterday when I started soaking them. I'm excited to watch them sprout :)

Phoebe is so sweet. She loves to lie in front of the heating vents or on an electric blanket or something like that--she's like me, always cold--but Jerry and I thought it was so cute when she started sitting on top of his computer when it's plugged in because it gets warm. She didn't want to move from that spot.

I already posted the recipe review for this Cashew-Bean Queso, but if you missed it, definitely give it a try (the queso, not the review, haha). It was SO good!

Last week, I posted a photo of the Wordle that broke my streak--I was so bummed! Well, the SAME THING happened again this week, with the word SOUND. I started with CLOUD, which wasn't bad! I got 3/5 letters, and the D was in the right spot. I assumed it would be _OU_D, and and N would fit into that fourth spot neatly. So I tried POUND. Then HOUND. Then MOUND. ROUND. WOUND. I still had FOUND, BOUND and SOUND to try! This was not a good idea for a Wordle word.

And I will end with a picture that may make your skin crawl...

After the whole nightmare of our pantry moths last year was over, I've been meticulous about keeping food sealed in airtight containers. I don't ever want to have to go through all that again. Today, when I was going to make dinner, I got out the container of brown basmati rice I bought less than a couple of weeks ago. When I'd come home from grocery shopping, I put it in an airtight container right away to put it in the pantry.

I'd seen a few dark brown spots in the rice, but I assumed they were grains of rice that hadn't been hulled. I find a few of those in every bag of rice I buy. However, when I got the rice out today and thought I saw a few more of them, my panic sensor almost went into full alarm. One of them moved, which absolutely caught my attention, and then I started really looking through the rice. There were probably about ten in there!

Then I realized that these HAD to be confined to the rice. The rice was relatively new and it had been sealed in the airtight container. I searched in the pantry very thoroughly to see if I could find any other evidence of them and there was nothing.

I found through a google search that these are called rice weevils. They're harmless, like the pantry moths, but they cause the same issues. And most of the time, the pantry pests are brought people's houses from a grocery item (makes me wonder how many we've eaten over the years and not known it!).

I cannot even express how THANKFUL I am to have started using the airtight storage containers after the pantry moths. I've been really meticulous with food storage, always putting things into containers right when I get home from the store. If I hadn't been doing that, the rice weevils could have contaminated everything in the pantry.

Okay, I'll leave you with that image. Have a great weekend! xo


  1. Whenever I buy rice, or dried beans, or flour (anything like that) I put the bags in the freezer for 24 hours before transferring to an airtight container. The freezer kills any eggs that might be in the bags. Gross, but at least they don't hatch into the bugs.

  2. Ewwww. Okay fine. Leave us with that. Also hahahaha about the sugar. But wow does that cake look delicious!! With the sprouts, it's much better to eat them too early than too late.

  3. After your whole incident with pantry moths last year, wouldn't you know that my sister discovered pantry moths in my mother's big pantry while I was visiting for Christmas? We went through everything in the pantry and ditched a lot, but fortunately they had not spread as much as your moths had. But my mother is infamous for keeping things in her pantry forever. She gave me a jar of pickles to bring home because I like them. Only after I got them home did I realize that the date they were "best by" was 2012! LOL!

  4. We're going to need a link to the containers you use. Please. We need it. :)

    1. Of course! I don't think they're anything super special, but they work great. Just a note: Make sure you measure the height of where you want to store them--the tallest container was too big for my mom's cupboards. I'm assuming the measurements of each container is on the Amazon page. Food Storage Containers (affiliate link)

  5. I have to recommend this heating pad to you: https://a.co/d/45O2MKb
    It is amazing - it's a heating pad for cats or small dogs that is always "on". When there's no one sitting on it, it's just slightly warm, but it gets warmer when there's weight on it. I bought this for my chihuahua more than 2 years ago and it has been plugged in nonstop for those two years and still works perfectly. She LOVES it!


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