Monday, September 28, 2009

Pounds of powdered sugar

Since my Celiac Disease has caused me to be allergic to corn as well, making icing with powdered sugar has been a challenge.  Allergy Grocer used to carry a corn-free version before they collapsed with the Great Recession.  After their demise, I bought a coffee bean grinder on the advice of my friends at GFCFrecipes to grind granulated sugar into powdered.  It works, but the frosting is still grittier than it would be with commercially prepared stuff.  And since my coffee grinder gives dire warnings about only doing 1/4 cup at a time and only two cycles per 5 minutes, it seems to take me a week to grind a couple pounds of powdered sugar.  I'd heard that Trader Joe's carried a corn-free variety, but when I asked last spring I was told it was "seasonal".  Seasonal?  Do people only make frosting at Christmas?  Aren't there birthdays requiring cupcakes all year round?  Since I bring DS's cupcakes to school for all kids' birthdays so he'll have a GF option, we seem to go through a lot of cupcakes. 

So, why am I posting now?  Well, today DS, DD, and I were strolling through Trader Joe's when what should I spy?  CORN-FREE POWDERED SUGAR!!!  Yippeee!  Apparently, 'tis the season!  We gleefully loaded up the cart with all 15 packages they had!  So if you need this product, check out Trader Joe's NOW!  Well, not my Trader Joe's now, since they're out, but you get my meaning. 

The very hungry caterpillars

A few days ago when making pesto I found a green inchworm on the basil.  What type, I wish I knew.  SOOO glad I found it before putting the basil in the Cuisinart!  This is the part of home gardening that makes we want to just buy prepackaged stuff.  But the disgusting truth is that I probably find more of the bugs before consumption than the mass producers do!  shudder

DS, of course, wanted to keep it.  So we put it in a 4 oz jar with some basil leaves.  The next day, the basil was gone and the bottom of the jar was covered in caterpillar poop - small blackish balls.  I never knew what caterpillar poop looked like!  We had to pick more basil leaves for the caterpillar and put it in a bigger jar without poop.  I'm happy to report that DS decided on his own that the caterpillar wouldn't like to be enclosed with a bunch of poop.  Empathy is a good quality to develop!  Anyway, we were very surprised how fast that hungry caterpillar could eat through the basil leaves.  No wonder my basil looks ratty.

Then yesterday I was inspecting my tomato plants.  Some were looking suspiciously leafless.  Hummm...  Looking on the ground there seemed to be a lot of little black balls that looked remarkably like caterpillar dung.  Hummm...  Looking closer at the plant...  yikes!  Two caterpillars.  DS of course wants to put them in with the inchworm.  Then, we find another.  Ok, 3 in with the inchworm.  Looking more.  Find one staring me in the face and so big that I shriek in surprise.  DS shrieks in surprise - in a remarkably prolonged and ear-piercing manner.  Wonder where he got that from?  He insists we must not put this enormous one in with the "babies" for fear it will eat them.  So we got a bucket.  Found two more that were too big to go in with the babies.  Tonight took another close look at the plant and found the biggest one yet.  Despite the fact that I'm looking for them, they startle me in a creepy way when I find them.  Happened to mention the tomato hornworms to DS's preschool teacher today who said, "Bring them in!"  They already have our figeater beetle larvae as pets and tomorrow they'll get 7 hornworms and an inchworm.  Lucky preschool teachers.  I put some tomato plant leaves and partially hornworm-eaten tomatoes in with the hornworms, but I bet they'll tear through them pretty quickly.  Those are some hungry caterpillars.