There are two things my cat loves to do with me: sleep and watch birds. Today, for the purposes of remaining productive, we are going to discuss birds. For my birthday last year the husband gifted me this book, For the Birds: easy to make recipes for your feathered friends by the editors of Birds and Blooms. (Found at Lowes and online). When we moved into the house, my herb garden came with a bird feeder. Last year I enjoyed looking up all the species that stopped for a visit. My favorite bird watching always occurred when the woodpeckers would make an appearance.
Loosely following a recipe found in the book (mainly because I was trying to utilize what I had on hand), I created my own suet-style cakes! If you buy these treats in the store they can range from $1, on sale, to $3+. I made this entire pan for under $3.
On the stove I gently heated some veg shortening until it was liquid and removed it from the burner. I stirred in about a cup of peanut butter until combined. Then I added corn meal, corn flour, and about 3 cups of bird seed until it was the consistency of a thick brownie batter.
I sprayed the loaf pan with cooking spray and poured the batter in. I placed it in my garage (which stays just above freezing) for about an hour. I should have stayed out longer but I got inpatient. The cake easily removed itself from the pan and I made my first 1'' slice. And as you can see it crumbled to pieces! Since it formed back together like cookie dough I figured I didn't let it sit long enough. So it went back out into the garage for the rest of the day. That did the trick. Mostly. I think I am going to have to watch my ratio's on fat/flour more carefully next time to make sure it stays in a solid clump. This loaf pan yielded 8 slices.
I packaged some of the cakes into little gifts! Wrapped in wax paper and twine I added a little hand stamped tag to give as little hostess gifts. They were well received! And, of course, I had to see if the birds preferred my cakes over the store bought kind. And I am happy to report that the birds have eaten through 3 of my homemade cakes while a store bought cake is still in the feeder. Proof that the birds love me more!