Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Bakery Visit In Texas

Another bakery that we visited last weekend in Texas, was "Nothing bundt Cakes". It was here that we(her husband and I) purchased our version of her birthday cake. The store was very pretty and had lots of fun extras for sale to go with the bundt cakes. There were three different sizes of bundt cakes that we could choose from...large, medium and small individual ones. In the store was a big clear container with taste testing made available. This helped us choose the flavors that we liked. We chose to buy 5 individual cakes. with different flavors, and with a small sik flower in the center of each one. We arranged them on a plate, added candles and it was a perfect way to serve dessert.

My favorite was the red velvet, although the spice cake was good too. We all had our favorites, but what a fun way to serve the cake and candles.

The small silk flowers certainly added color and beauty to the plate of cakes. They had a big flower in the middle of the big bundt pans.

Of course, this visit made me want to go home and make one of our families favorite cakes, except this time I would use a bundt pan. So I baked this, a yellow cake mix, following all of the boxed directions, except I add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanlla.

I usually use a straw to punch all of the holes in, all over the top of the cake. This skewer stick worked, but not as good as the straw did. After baked, cooled for 10 minutes, inverted onto serving plate, I jab holes over the top of this cake. At this point, I take one small box of any flavored jello( I used strawberry) and follow the box directions for jello(except letting it gel). I use a measuring cup and pour this liquid jello, very slowly, over the top and partial sides of the cake, cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for a few hours.

For the icing that I drizzled over the cake; I took one small container of instant vanilla pudding and added it to a small container(or 3 cups) of lt cool whip, along with 2 teaspoons of dry jello mix(the same flavor as added to the cake). Stir together until everything is blended. I liked the light pink shade of this topping which happened because I used strawberry jello.

I put icing into a zip-locked plastic bag, squeezed it all into one corner, and snipped off just the tip of the corner, in order to squeeze the icing out in drizzle fashion.

The most time consuming part of this cake is the baking time. Everything else is quick and easy.

After adding some pink decorating sugar, and a washed and dried silk rose, this is my finished version of a bundt cake., and it did not cost as much. I will keep this cake in refrigeration until Sunday afternoon when I will share it at a small get together with friends, for the "Super Bowl". Oh, I know it looks more like "Valentine's Day" than the Super Bowl, but that is okay with our group of friends.

I cut this incredibly moist cake ahead of time, so that you could see the color inside. It did not show up quite as good as using a straw. Next time, I will stay with using the straw instead of the stick. Either way, I look forward to Sunday afternoon. The choses are endless for the combinatins in creating this cake. I use this cake recipe, doubled and baked in a large heart pan for wedding showers, and I am always asked for the simple recipe. And, if you are ever in a city with a "Nothing Bundt Cakes" bakery, stop in. It is a real treat!

Beyond The Rain(tear)drops

"An elderly Chinese philosopher was approached by a young woman who was grief stricken because of the loss of her only son. "I will be able to help you," he assured her, "if you will bring me some mustard seed, but it must be obtained at a home where there has never been any sorrow." Eagerly the woman started her search. In every place she visited, however, there had been trials and loss of loved ones. Returning, she exclaimed, "How selfish I have been! Sorrow is common to all." "Ah," said the elderly sage, "you have now learned a valuable lesson and acquired a wealth of wisdom which not only has eased your own grief but also has prepared you to sympathize with others." ----unknown author

"Believe me, every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad." ---Henry W. Longfellow "Shared sorrow is half sorrow." ----Danish proverb A heartfelt thank you to all of my blogging friends for all of your kind and caring words regarding my grandma's passing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Oh, Give "Us" A Home, Where The Buffalo Roam"...

Even though the big guy on this picture leaves for work everyday to the corporate office, a part of his heart will always be on the wide open range. In hopes of sharing this part of his heart with his little sidekick, he brings home small purchases to start the"ranch dream" with him...which went exactly as he planned, even down wanting the EXACT pose. I could not help but share these pictures with you. I know theywill always remain some of my very favorite pictures of all time.

Being a father to three daughters, you can imagine his delight of now having two grandsons to share his dream with.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Simple Valentine Touches at Home

I do not do lots of decorating for Valentine's Day. Just a few simple touches, because it is one of my favorite times of the year. I took my cake pedestal, wove a pink ribbon through it, placed the pink pillar candle, added heart candies, my mini clear glass bubbles, and some crystals to make this display, which I use as a centerpiece for my kitchen table.

In my bathroom shelf, I placed my heart shaped soaps(which I keep from year to year) in a pretty glass dish(a Christmas gift from my daughter), a glass "love" votive holder and a mirrored heart frame. For some reason this display brings a smile each time I see it, possibly because of the simple beauty of it.

This heart box was created for me, for my birthday, by a dear friend. The year she gave it to me was 1993. How can I possibly remember that date? Well, she lined the inside of the box with the local newspaper of the day of my birthday, the year she gave it to me. How cleaver!! This beautiful heart box sits on the shelf above our bed. It is a reminder to me of the significance of homemade gifts and the people who so lovingly create them.

This coffee cup holds a few hand stitched hearts and sits on a counter in my kitchen. The little sign is a good reminder of what Valentine's Day is all about. I do enjoy seeing the many touches that all of you in the blogging world are creating and displaying. What works of art!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Good Bye" Dear Grandma

After 96 years on this earth, you went home last evening. You...were the best, kindest, most caring, most accepting, least judgemental, hardest working, and most fun grandma to me and to all of your family. We will miss you so much!! -----pictured above with one of her great, great-granddaughters

Five generations. How blessed we were to have you with us for so many years. "At dusk, a little girl entered a cemetery. An old man who sat at the gate said to her, "Aren't you afraid to go through the cemetery in the dark?" "Oh no,", she replied, "my home is just on the other side." --Henry Dwibanville

Monday, January 26, 2009

Icing On The Cake

We arrived home late last night, from a brief, action packed few days, visiting our middle daughter and her husband in Texas. My husband and I and our youngest daughter thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Our daughter, her husband and their good friends took us to a very popular, trendy bakery near their hometown. They told us that most of the time, people are lined up, out the door to visit this place. It was unique and the cupcakes were so delicious and fresh tasting. I am sharing some pictures of our visit.
Trays and trays of beautiful looking cupcakes. They even had cupcakes for your dog.

When you are in school, studying to be a pastry chef, this visit proved to be so exciting!!

Canisters for sale, of every flavor of cupcake that they make. Included in the canisters was the mix, ingredients for the icing, and the sprinkles for on top, for a dozen cupcakes. They sold for $14.00 each. Oh, the creative minds that come up with these ideas.Our daughter and one of her dearest Texas friends. They live 10 minutes apart from each other.

Decisions, decisions.....

Here we all are, standing in line waiting for our turn to choose cupcakes.

We only bought four of them, and divided them. "Banana" was my favorite.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cowboy Country

Just a quick visit to the Longhorn State to visit our daughter and son-in-law. Having a great time!! Be back soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter!!

For 24 years you have blessed our lives. Your middle name "Joy" certainly depicts your personality. Even with the distance between us, your pressence is felt by all of us, everyday, through phone calls, emails, texting, cards and pictures. Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Was It Worth It?

"Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. Was it worth it? Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." ---Corrie Ten Boom
"An old man was asked what robbed him of his joy the most in his lifetime. He replied, "Things than never happened."
"You can't change the past, but you ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future."
"Don't worry about tomorrow. Remember, God is already there."
Needed reminders to me as I begin a new day. ----photograph by my Uncle.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Yearly" Sticky Bun" Tradition

For many years, on the day of my husband's birthday, I have been making this "sticky bun" recipe, for him to take into work. I realize that the term "sticky buns" is probably a name given to cinnamon rolls, here in our county. My mother started this tradition for my dad years ago. Her version of "sticky buns" was so much more involved than mine. She worked with an amazing yeast and mashed potato recipe, that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. When my father retired, the people at work requested that I continue the tradition for my husband, who happens to work for the same company. I have continued it, although my version is so simple, and far less time consuming than my mother's version. I took these pictures of my simple process, so that maybe when you have a special birthday coming up, you'll want to try it. The night before baking these, I started out with a bag of frozen dough balls, which I put into a large "Pam" sprayed roasting pan(which happens to have been my grandmother's pan when she was a young bride). I arranged the dough balls in the bottom of a pan.(if you prefer raisins or walnuts, you put them down first, before putting in the dough balls). I did one pan with chopped walnuts and one without. As to the amount of frozen dough balls, I cover the bottom of the pan.

This recipe requires 2 boxes of butterscotch or vanilla pudding(NOT instant pudding) Sometimes I use one or the other, depends which I have on hand. From the comments received, I think they are equally good.

Into a glass bowl, I add two boxes of dry pudding mix, 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Stir together.

Spoon dry mixture over the frozen dough balls, spreading the mix evenly in the pan. Melt 2 sticks of butter in another glass bowl and spoon over dough balls, and dry mixture.(as you can understand at this point of the procedure, I only make these on extra special occasions).

Cover the pan with "Pam" sprayed plastic wrap. The wrap is sprayed to keep it from sticking to the dough when it rises. At this point, you can go to bed, letting the pan(or pans) sitting on the kitchen counter overnight.

In the morning, after the dough sits all night, this is how the pans of dough will look. I did one of these pans with butterscotch pudding and one with vanilla pudding, which is the reason for the different shades of dough. At this time, I place the pans in a preheated 350 degree oven, on the racks that I have placed in the middle of the oven. I do this so that the bottom of the rolls do not bake too quickly. I bake them for 25 mins. or until the dough is browned on top and rather firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, lay a jelly roll pan on top of pan of rolls and invert.

Here is the final product. These pictures were taken 15 minutes after being taken from the oven, and 15 minutes before they went out the door with my husband. The people are waiting for them and they let him know. As you can see, it is a simple process with delicious results.

Just for your information, most of the times when I make these, I make only a single recipe, which I do in a 9 x 13 inch pan, instead of the big pan I used today. I do 6 frozen dough balls down and 6 across, filling up the pan. In the bowl I add 1 box of pudding and 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tea. cinnamon. Stir together and sprinkle over the rolls. I melt 1 stick of butter and pour over the rolls, cover with sprayed plastic wrap, set on counter overnight and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Invert on tray, pour the coffee, share with a friend....then head for the gym.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 21st...An Important Day!!

Tomorrow is... Happy 57th Birthday, to one very special guy!! You fill so many roles in life, and you do it with such kindness, caring and fun. You are a joy to live with and a blessing to many. I feel so thankful to be a part of your life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Unexpected Beauty Of Tonight's Snowfall

I stepped out the back door into the quiet evening. Off in the distance I could hear children's laughter as they sledded down a neighbor's hill. Aside from that, all was peaceful and still. Describing the beauty of it all, would not be possible. I took these few pictures to share with you what I saw. The icicles lined the awning, reflecting the softly lit window candles.

The sky had a pinkish cast to it, adding to the snow covered scenery.

It was a perfect way to end my day.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Listening With Care

"Listening, not imitation, is the sincerest form of flattery." ---Joyce Brothers. Listening...a skill her father taught her well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by my new friend , at Charli and Me. It's a picture tag and this is what I am to do....choose the fourth folder where I store pictures on my computer. Select the fourth picture in the folder. Explain the picture. Then tag four other bloggers to do the same. This is the fourth picture in my fourth folder. It was taken on an absolutely gorgeous fall day. My brother, his wife, our dear mutual friends, my husband and I rode our motorcycles to a park overlooking a scenic river. We each packed a picnic dinner, found a table and had the joy of sitting and eating together, on a picture perfect evening. For both my husband and I , it is one of our very favorite ways to unwind.

"Don't Wait!"

I sat through the Memorial Service of a friend recently, and listened as many shared all that this friend meant to them throughout their lives. Kind, heartfelt sharing took place that day, in the quaint looking sanctuary. I thought to myself as I was driving home and feeling the sadness of the morning, if her friends had taken the time to share all of those from-the-heart sentiments with her, while she lived her life on this earth? It served as a perfect reminder to me then and now, to once in a while, let those I love and care deeply about, know it. I have had this happen to me throughout my years here, and I can tell you that it was the best way to turn an ordinary day into an extra-ordinary day...just by a simple message of friendship and love. Is there someone in your life who adds "joy" to your existence? "There are two kinds of people--those who cause happiness WHEREVER they go and those who cause happiness whenever they GO." A small package of "Almond Joy" bars and a note along with it, might just brighten someone's day.

How would you feel if you found this package sitting at your desk, or placed on your bedside table?

Simple note, with a BIG message...taped to his mirror, or their(children or grandchildren's) mirror, or to the mirror of someone very special to you.

A plain wooden sign, purchased at the dollar store, sprayed black and messages of friendship tied to way to let your friends know what their friendship means to you. I took this as a hostess gift when I visited a dear friend's home recently. I just set it on her shelf for her to find after the party was over. All of these are only one of many, many small ways of letting those who are truly special in our lives, know it, before it is too late to tell them. I close on this bitterly cold Saturday morning, with this quote I read one time, "One kind word can warm three winter months". An old Japanese proverb.


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