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Archive for September, 2008

Mug Cake

You might have seen this recipe on the loops recently.

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour(that’s plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to share!)

I decided to try the cake and hubby and I both enjoyed it for our dessert, served with yoghurt.
It’s quite a dense cake because there’s no baking powder, but it definitely rises. A little too well. If you make it, put a plate under your mug when it’s cooking in the microwave to save on cleanup. Also make sure you clean your plate and mugs straightaway because the mixture adheres rather well! I mixed the egg, oil and milk in a separate mug and added to the flour mix. Hubby and I also decided that one mug cake was enough for two.

I decided I’d try a variation:

Leave out the cocoa and chocolate chips. Grate in the rhind of half a lemon and add a handful of berries. I added raspberries because I like them but blueberries would work. Mix in the same way with all the other ingredients. Once your mug cake is cooked – squeeze half a lemon into a cup and mix in two teaspoons of sugar. Stir and spoon over your cake before eating. Serve with cream, ice cream or yoghurt. This was yummy!!

A third variation would be replacing the chocolate and chocolate chips with instant coffee and a few chopped walnuts.

Enjoy!!

National Parks in America

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen National Parks I Visited Recently

1. Yosemite, California – just beautiful. I’d visited before but it was much quieter this time due to both the petrol prices and a recent fire that had scared visitors away. We had a perfect day with excellent visibility.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona. This canyon is awe-inspiring.

3. Petrified Forest, Arizona. My husband and I both enjoyed our first visit to this park. The petrified forests were fascinating.

4. Mesa Verde, Colorado. Hot and dry. Busy but well worth a visit for the peek into the cliff dwellings of the Puebloans.

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5. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado. I didn’t know anything about this park until I visited but I loved the black rock and the deep canyons. It was stark and beautiful.

6. Rocky Mountains, Colorado. We didn’t have the best weather here. At the top of the pass it was freezing and sleeting. Ranger Michelle answered some of my many questions while I was here and we saw lots of animals at the lower levels before it started raining. A lot of trees are dying here after being attacked by the pine beetle.

7. Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. We walked around the base and saw our first snake here.

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8. Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana. An interesting place to visit although, man was it hot on the day we visited!

9. Yellowstone, Wyoming. This is a huge park and you need to spend a few days to explore it fully.

10. Olympic, Washington. This park covers both forest, lakes and mountains as well as part of the coast. Crescent Lake was gorgeous and we also enjoyed exploring the coast.

11. Mt. Rainier, Washington. I loved my visit here. The spring flowers were in full bloom and it was really pretty.

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12. Lewis & Clark, Oregon. We didn’t know much about Lewis and Clark and after visiting Fort Clatsop we came away much wiser. This pair of explorers had great people skills and seemed well liked by everyone.

13. Crater Lake, Oregon. One of my favorites. It’s so pretty here. I could look at the lake for hours.

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Crater Lake National Park

Our holiday is almost over and I won’t post again until we’re at home. We’ve had such a great time and seen so many wonderful places.

Yesterday morning we wandered around the gardens at our hotel. Here’s a sunflower shot. I like sunflowers. They always make me smile when I see them.

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Crater Lake is beautiful. Mr. Munro and I have visited before and this time we stayed at the lodge. A forest fire made the air hazy but it was still very pretty. We wandered along one of the trails and relaxed, soaking in the views. It’s a lovely place to chill out.

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Mr. Munro has caught the flu and spent all night (or what felt like all night) coughing, sneezing and blowing his nose. He’s a little better today. Hopefully he’ll shake the worst of it off after a good night of sleep. We’re driving back to San Francisco tomorrow to catch a flight home. I can’t believe how quickly the last six weeks has gone.

Covered Bridges and Lava Fields

Another short post today. Yesterday we drove from Prineville to Cottage Grove, passing through lava fields and in the afternoon driving around to see covered bridges. We’re staying the night at a lovely resort called Village Green. We have our own private garden plus there are 14 acres of garden for resort visitors to wander around. It’s really lovely and deserving of a post of its own.

Here’s a shot of the lava fields. You can see where they have flowed around some trees, leaving them standing while the rest of the area was destroyed.

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And here’s a shot of the Stewart Covered bridge with our rental car. The bridge was constructed in 1930 and restored in 1996.

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We’re off to Crater Lake National Park tomorrow. Unfortunately there are wildfires around and some of the roads have been closed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

The internet link is really slow today but I think I can load one photo. We visited the John Day Fossil Beds yesterday, which were really fascinating. Scientists are still discovering new species of plants and animals on a regular basis.

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This is a shot of one of my favorite beds. The minerals in the soil (from volcanoes) make the rocks look blue/green in color.

We’re off to look at covered bridges today. Guess what will be in the next blog…