Chocolate fudge cake donuts with vanilla and chocolate icing. 6 toppings: left to right on the vanilla: shaved chocolate, coconut, crumbled chocolate chip cookie, crumbled peanut butter cookie, choc chip cookie, sprinkles w/ chocoate, colored sprinkles

I like challenges. They can’t be soooo hard that I categorize them as “near impossible and probably not worth the effort”. They need to be attainable. I also like feeding people, I like being able to give folks ‘special’ gifts, and in general I like to do things that will make others happy. As I’ve mentioned before, most of my baking needs to be sugar-free so that my husband and brother-in-law can enjoy the product. I know that my brother-in-law LOVES donuts. They are one of his favorite treats. My understanding of donuts is that they are fried, not baked. Then last August I saw a recipe for BAKED donuts on the King Arthur Baking blog! I printed it and saved it in my recipes book (yes, I know that’s extremely old-fashioned – printing out recipes and saving them on paper in a notebook). I figured that some day I’d have time and energy to make them.

Wilton MEGA donut baking pan – you can make a lot, but hard to flip over to remove the donuts 🙂 I managed

My brother-in-law’s birthday was last week. I of course waited until the last minute to see if I had all the ingredients to make donuts. I was in great shape except for a donut pan. Well OF COURSE it requires a special baking pan! I ordered from two different sites, hoping ONE of them would deliver before his birthday. The big W came through the day before, the big A delivered on the birthday. I hadn’t realized how HUGE the one pan was from W. To be honest I didn’t read either description much – all I read was “donut pan” and the delivery date. 🙂 The other thing I was lacking was sugar-free toppings. I knew I was going to modify the chocolate fudge cake recipe to have a white icing on some, besides the chocolate icing. I ran to the local store to get some SF toppings. Totally useless grocery store – NOTHING SF in the cookies. Really???? Sigh. So I gathered toppings that had sugar and headed home to bake and ice and top. I think they came out well. My husband did the taste testing and he liked them. I saved out a whole donut (we’d split the first one- half for us to taste just the plain donut and then half to taste the icing) for him and it vanished quickly. 🙂 I made a total of 16 donuts and brought 14 of them to my brother-in-law, who promptly ate one, no pause. Happy birthday!

Wilton donut baking pans – MUCH easier to manage than the big one

Only Needs Sun, Rain, and 36 Years

May 22

This was one of the very first plantings we did when we moved in 37 years ago. That fall my sister and I went to the nurseries (and there used to be many more than there are now) and we picked out 2 white azaleas, a rhododendron, and 2 Andromeda bushes. Only 1 of the white azaleas could hold its own against the rhododendron. There is an Andromeda bush (I think) still hanging on behind the white azalea. The other Andromeda bush thrives at the front corner, well away from the rhododendron. A friend has told me she wants a rhodo like mine. All she needs is another 36 years. 🙂

May 13
May 15
May 16
May 18

FINALLY!!! I Had Visitors!

Oh my goodness gracious! FINALLY! Had both my shots, passed the 2 week wait, the governor said we could gather in groups outside. Obviously the word has gotten around and I had TWO visitors this week!!! The first was the swallowtail butterfly, who wouldn’t stop flitting here and flitting there. I’m not sure which version of swallowtail but definitely a BUTTERFLY! And then as I sat outside relaxing, enjoying the warm sunny day – a Tufted Titmouse dropped by!!! (I only know THAT because TT was much more cooperative about having a picture taken. I could text it to my sister the bird expert to find out who had dropped by.) Wonderful to FINALLY be entertaining guests once more!