That’s MRS. Betty Crocker to you.

December 28, 2008

I said that this next year was going to be my best year. I said that I  resolve to try new things and this is what happens when you actually do go for it.

I entered a cookoff today. I had only made this cake once before and had even modified the recipe so I gambled.

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It was a pumpkin-caramel cake with pecans on top and pumpkin/Cool Whip filling in between the layers.

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There were other desserts as contenders.

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There were lots of different types of entries.

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but people seemed to like mine.

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“You like me, you really, really like me,” was Sally Field’s most stupid line uttered so I didn’t say it.

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Betty Crocker called. She is not happy. She wants her cut.

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I hope everybody reading this blog takes the challenge to live the next year with more gusto and willingness to take that extra step and really involve yourself in living life. I refuse to passively watch others living life actively and enjoying it. I plan to go for it and relish every moment I can. It feels great to try and win, instead of not try and let life pass you by. May we all enjoy this next year as best we can.

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For Ruslan and my Other Friends up North

December 10, 2008

I am amazed at how much the readership of this blog has increased. I am now receiving feedback from all over the world and people are loving this blog. I will be forever grateful to JW, of the South Padre Network, for showing me enough about technology to have made this blog possible and glad I can bring smiles to so many people’s faces, all over the world now. That is amazing. This is for Ruslan, Matvey and Ludmila in Moscow, to show them that it is beautiful down here. The people are wonderful and we welcome you to our beautiful part of the world. Keep sending me emails at padreprincess23@gmail.com and send pics of your part of the world too. Thanks for all the well-wishers. I only learned how to blog in August so I only have few pictures in my gallery of photos. These are but a few.

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South Padre Island is an island that is next to the southernmost tip of Texas. We are celebrating the Christmas holidays right now. A local sandsculpting master, Sandyfeet, created this masterpiece for the public to enjoy.

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We even have a pirate ship docked here that is guaranteed fun.

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We have a beautiful lighted boat parade that people come for miles around to enjoy.

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We are right next to Mexico so you can get great Mexican food here.

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We have areas with beautiful wildlife close by.

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But when you are on Padre, the main draw is the beach.

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This was a Valley Christian High School outing that was so much fun to be a part of.

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The island has a beach side and a bay side. The beautiful sunsets over the bay are absolutely magnificent and awe the spectator.

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The colors meld together in an amazing fashion.

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The fishing is good. Gladiator II Offshore Adventures can take you on a private, personalized offshore or bay fishing trip.

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Fresh fish is delicious and many island restaurants will prepare your catch for you. This is a typical catch when you choose Gladiator II Adventures for your bay fishing trip.

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 The fishing is exciting and a learning experience here. These fish had a real bite!

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It is a very tropical scene and the most populous tree  is the palm tree.

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I am no photographer but this place is so beautiful anyone can take a gorgeous picture.

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Especially if the model is gorgeous.

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My dog, Princess, says come on down, the water’s fine! I only learned from my friend, JW, how to blog in August and these are just a few of the pictures I have taken since then. You can see the island through his camera eyes here. All I can tell you is that the people here are genuinely kind, friendly and helpful. The food is really good and affordable here. My other project of the best things to do in this area is a project in the works but you can see it here. I will post more later on but I have to help my daughter with a computer crisis. Know that if you choose to come here, you will have made a choice that your family will love!


Christmas Tree Decorating Party

December 6, 2008

Princess knew something was up when she heard a gaggle of giggles in the front room.

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You can’t have a Christmas Tree Decorating Party without popcorn.

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You gotta hook up the jams.

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The menu was very healthy and included: pizza, candy, chocolate cake, root beer floats, and sodas.

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These girls are the sweetest girls you could ever meet.

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Taking off the blue makes it shine in only silver now.

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We have a collection of ornaments that include family heirlooms.

 We don’t live in a fancy house or have fancy things but we have love and good friends and that is what life is all about.

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My awesome photography skills with my new camera make it look like the tree shoots lasers.

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Frikken lasers!

 This is Princess’ mom, Belle. Like I said there is lots of love in the house.

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The Showdown

August 26, 2008

A dear friend of mine said, “Here, do you want some of this cake?” before I left his house today. I said, “Are you sure?” He assured me that if I did not help him out that it would go to waste. Wellllll, far be it from me to leave a friend high and dry so I brought a chunk home. Cake is nothing but love in sugar form. It spurred a desire in me to go ahead and try something.

I had tried a new recipe last week called “Banana Pudding Cake” where you add a box of banana pudding and mashed banana to the cake mix. It did not turn out well. The recipe said to bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. The aroma emanating from the oven was so strong that after 35 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and took it out. I was right; it was done, overdone in fact, and beginning to blacken on the bottom. “Well, there went that recipe,” I thought and scratched it off the drawing board.

My friend’s generosity gave me an idea. I had seen a recipe for an upside-down banana cake. “Well, why not combine the two and see what happens?” I thought. I put slices of banana on the bottom of a cake pan and added brown sugar then drizzled melted butter over the base. I then added the yellow cake mix with the banana pudding and bananas added into the batter. I put it into the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. At the end of 35 minutes the top was browned beautifully but the middle was still fluid. I had to go to a meeting so I told my daughter to keep trying, not to check on it by opening the oven too much but to give it some time and to not worry if I ruined it. I told her that was not that expensive to try and sometimes we have to learn by making mistakes.

When I opened the door to the dining room, she smiled and said, “Mom, your cake came out.” I smiled back and said, “It did?” and it did, beautifully. Baked to a golden brown and flipped over to expose the golden brown sliced arcs of banana baked gently in a buttery brown sugar goodness the cake stood there in the light, the arcs forming little smiles saying, “Yea! I am a new creation and I am going to be good.”

Well, the first thing I did was have a cake-off. Yep, as spontaneous as spontaneous can be. I took the big chunk of pineapple cake that started this whole thing and cut it into three squares, one for each of us. Then I put a piece of banana cake next to the pineapple and took it to my husband. My daughter put a piece of banana on a plate and I put a piece of pineapple next to it while her back was turned and walked off with the plate at the same time she said, “Nooooooooo,” like an adorable Mr. Bill. Whoops, too late. I discovered that was her plate and her banana piece she had cut. She decided she was not going to participate in the cake-off.

So I made that disqualify me from having to serve her and she had to get her own plate then. I had such a hard time deciding which was the better recipe. I still can’t decide so I am going to take this to a picnic I have been invited to on Saturday and let the public decide. Pineapple upside-down cake will always be a classic as far as sugary, brown goodness is concerned, but this new banana-pudding upside-down creation is going to impress many, I believe, and compel people to make room on the table for this new treat.

My daughter said the secret to the cake is to lower the oven’s temperature. Here is the banana-pudding cake recipe. Remember to prepare the pan as if you were making a pineapple upside-down cake only substituting slices of banana for the pineapple before you put in the batter and you will have a new creation: a banana pudding upside-down cake.

Banana Pudding Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant banana pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup mashed bananas
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  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil and mashed banana. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tests done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To make glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and of a drizzling consistency. When cake is cooled, drizzle icing over cake with a zigzag motion. Sprinkle chopped nuts over wet icing if desired.