Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cake FAIL!

Pillsbury put out a Supreme Collection Red Velvet cake mix. I made it today. The cake itself is OK, BUT the cream cheese filling didn't sink into the middle and stayed mostly on top. It was difficult to get the cake out of the pan and the exposed part of the filling is rock hard, now on the bottom of the cake. I iced it anyway and we will eat around the hard stuff.

When I went to the Pillsbury site that particular mix isn't shown in the product listings nor is it found at all when I did a site search. No wonder.

Yes, I followed the directions EXACTLY.  I'm not in the mood to file a complaint, but was hoping it would look like the front of the box picture. Disappointed today. Very disappointed.

I found this in a review!! It wasn't ME!!
"The cake mix was a fairly standard cake mix that had a bright red color to it even before some liquids were added. The filling mix was dry and made with powdered cream cheese, which is what made it shelf-stable enough to be packaged with a cake mix, and you simply needed to add water and vegetable oil to it to rehydrate it and make it a little creamier.  To put it together, you simply poured the prepared cake mix into your bundt pan and added the filling in a ring on top of the batter. The magic of getting the filling into the center of the cake happens in the oven.
Unfortunately, my filling didn’t quite end up in the center of my cake. I used a tube pan, which is usually a great substitute for a standard bundt pan and has the same baking times, and my filling sank all the way to the bottom of my cake during baking. It did, however, stay in the cake and I had no problem turning it out of the pan and keeping the filling in place – I just didn’t get quite the same dramatic look that was pictured on the box. I’m willing to admit that it might not have sunk quite as far if I had used a bundt pan, although the box gives many suggestions for alternative pans and my results with the tube pan do make me question how well the filling will center itself in any shape pan."

This is MY cake. My filling didn't sink at all!
It stayed on top which is now the bottom.

click on image to view larger
The big piece is for Patty who mailed to me a box of books from Ohio.  She knew my need to read!

Friday, January 27, 2017


It was a wonderful thing two nights ago when the power went out at 12:15 AM. We know the time because the Mister woke up for a bathroom trip and the dresser clock was blinking. He said it wasn't blinking five minutes earlier when he first looked at the time.

The greatest thing about the power going out is that the back up generator took over after about 3-5 seconds and he went right back into bed without worrying about it.  That power outage lasted until 8:45 AM the following day. The coffee was hot and ready and the tap and toilet water flowed freely, plus the TV and telephone (landline) worked. The cable didn't go out at all. (this time)

OLD Generator
Normally he would have had to push the old generator over to the pole with the special plug, gas it up, start it, come back into the cabin, disconnect the main power switch, go back out and plug it in to take over the operation. Then he'd worry about it stalling, or running out of gas before morning and not be able to sleep at all. It was noisy!  A nighttime failure in the past was a very difficult time. 

The next day we saw that a tree had fallen across our dirt road, downing the wires. The power company must have cut it up unblocking the road and repaired the line. 

All is good here! Since July 2015!   Generator Story

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


A few days ago I came across an ad within a local rummage sale group on the internet. I belong to this group as I like to browse and view things people have for sale or are ISO "in search of." This ad grabbed my interest. It read: "Looking for a heavy wool blanket. 100% wool is a must. Military surplus blankets from Poland, Germany, Italy, also Hudson Bay and Whitney Point are my target. Want a heavy camping blanket. If you have an old blanket and not sure what it is, shoot me a message and we will figure it out. Willing to pay $100 for the right kinds/quality."

I have been storing two for many years that may come close to his search so I unpacked them, spread  them out on the LR floor and measured. Then I got back to the person and wrote him what I have, giving measurements and attaching my pictures. I had noticed a label attached to the larger one and then got into some intensive research. 

The reason I went digging for information is because my great grandmother's maiden name was Ayres and these two items came to me from my mother. See this label which is on mine that started my quest.
e-Bay had several listed and I was able to get an idea of their values. Here is an image from an e-Bay ad.
Here are photos of mine.
The tartan doesn't have an attached label as does the one I saw on e-Bay but the plaid is an exact match for sure. Below are two images from e-Bay. 
The fun part of today's 'work' was finding a bit of the only history I came across about the Ayers blankets. It has left me wondering but I'm not searching more for determining a real connection to my great grandmother. Some things I have to let go. 
And, yes I do have ancestry information on the Ayres, but I'd rather just look at photos and imagine that there was a connection and they were well off! There is no need to prove anything today. And if the person ISO wool blankets is interested I may not consider his offer after all.
Malinda A. Ayres (Folkner) b. 1850
Father John H. Ayres b. 1824

James Marshall Folkner and wife Malinda Ann
click on image to view larger

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Going Nuts

Yes, these cookies are full of macadamia nuts and white chips. They are the "easy bake" kind - all prepared and I just put 12 on a tray, bake for 11 minutes at 350° and repeat the process to have 24 very nice treats. The only thing missing is a real butter flavor, but there is absolutely no cleanup in the kitchen area.  They are thick, chewy and very flavorful on which to munch at a cost of about 10 cents each.

 click on image to view larger

Monday, January 23, 2017

You MUST Bake This!

No kidding! I have NEVER tasted such a good cake. Plain ingredients, plain looking, awesome texture and taste. Come on... BAKE THIS CAKE!
Click on image to view larger
Our daughter shared a piece, sending it home with us after Christmas dinner at her home. I just now got around to making one of our own, fully remembering how tasty hers was. Come on....just do it! Bake your own. 

Buttery Almond Cake

Makes one 8” or 9” cake
BAKE IN SKILLET - Heat Skillet First

3/4 C melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. Pure Almond Extract
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C flour
  1. Line 8 or 9” iron skillet with aluminum foil 
  2. Put skillet in oven and preheat oven to 350°
  3. Combine melted butter with sugar in bowl
  4. Beat in eggs one at a time - beat well
  5. Add salt, almond and vanilla extracts
  6. Stir in flour and baking powder
  7. Pour into hot skillet
  8. Sprinkle topping (2 tsp. sugar and 2 T. shaved almonds)
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and tests done.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cars of Yesterday

Has anyone else noticed how boring the cars look today? It used to be that I could identify the make and model of every one that came down the road. Today's have stinko style. I don't even try to name the maker anymore and it was a fun thing to do when I was younger. 

My past car memories mostly come from old family photos. I do, however, remember being left in an old car on the brown plush (picky) seat when the other passengers left and walked up a grassy hill. I believe it was to attend the burial of a relative. The shades in the car were pulled halfway down so the sunshine wouldn't make me too hot and the tassels were fun to play with as I handled them. There was some sort of tilted foot rest on the floor below my seat that could be moved forward and backward. The ceiling was of soft material to the touch of my little hands, and I had to stand up to feel it. 

I learned to drive in a 1935 Ford with a floor stick and clutch. The first one of my own I bought from a boyfriend when he went into the Marines for $50.00. It was a 1940 Ford. We were always a Ford family, and my mother wrote a lengthy story about each car she could remember them having.     See 1989 story below..... 

Here are a couple of photos that show OLD cars of my family. 
Picnic Anyone? Great Uncle John 'seated'
 Goin' on a honeymoon in 1934
 My Dad is the top circle photo and the left side picture of the 1934 ad
My Mother's Written Story
The Evolution of a “Ford Family”

“There’s a Ford in your Future” was true for me long before the slogan of the Ford Motor Car Company became seen in ads and on billboards.

It probably all began back in 1916 when my dad was given a ride in a friend’s new Ford touring car on one bright Sunday afternoon. So enthused was he that very soon he decided that he and my mother would just have to have one. They purchased the “latest model” and planned a trip from New Jersey to Florida. This rash decision, to drive this great distance, horrified his neighbors, particularly since they were taking me along with them, as I was a child of only two. With the aid of the trusty old “Blue Book,” courage, and perseverance they conquered the sandy roads, the red brick ones, and yes, even the “corduroy” ones. Without serious mishaps, “Lizzie,” side curtains and all, brought us all safely to a warmer climate, mostly for my benefit, as I had recently recovered from a severe bout with pneumonia. Pressure of business did not permit sufficient time for my father to drive back to New Jersey at the end of the season, but Lizzie was carefully loaded aboard a ship and transported safely homeward along with her proud owners. My mother became one of the first women drivers in her country hometown, and continued to be an excellent driver for many years.

The year 1922 brought improvements in cars as well as my parents’ finances. They could then afford the convenience of the closed sedan. This was an amazing comfort after years of fumbling with side curtains in all kinds of weather. By this time, I was developing a fondness for riding and often watched my dad on many Saturday afternoons clean spark plugs, then wash and polish the shiny black sedan. This whiz of the 20’s served the family well. When still in grammar school I was beginning to beg to be allowed to “just steer a little.” This my mother occasionally granted when we went out for a short drive along the lightly-used roads in the local park on Spring afternoons. The thrill went very deep and all I could think of was the day that I could be old enough to get my driver’s license. On my 17th birthday, Father allowed me to apply for it. My father (shame on him!) had suffered from an attack of prosperity and bought (sh-hh) another make automobile which I soon learned to drive and successfully passed the exam.

In another part of the state, a young man, enthusiastic about his first steady job, bought his first Ford, a 1929 gorgeous dark blue roadster. So pleased was he with it, that he bought a 1930 and then another…a 1931. Then he, too, was the victim of the same prosperity bug, and (double shame on him) went to a larger and flashier car. (This may or may not have been a part of my courtship.) Wedding plans were made and in 1934, starting off on the right foot again, he bought a brand new black Ford coupe for the honeymoon.

This was the real beginning of our Ford Family. The Fords came along, one after the other as did the Children; first Daughter, then Son and finally Twin Girls. The Fords, each doing its share in molding the 1936 “60” many miles before failing eyesight forced him to give up driving just a year before his death.

New Ford Families had begun to take shape. Our daughter, while still in high school had bought, all on her own, her first car—yes, you guessed it—a 1940 Ford that she paid for out of her first earnings from her first job. She dolled up the little Ford with loving care, aided and abetted by another boyfriend, himself a mechanic and Ford fan and naturally driving one of his own at the same time as well. She and her boyfriend rebuilt the motor themselves. His hobby had always been working on older cars. Before long the boyfriend became our Son-in-Law and can now count no less than nine Fords to his ownership. The pattern is now complete. They graduated to a heavier, though still a Ford Motor Car product, but guess what—that past summer my husband found a perky little 1951 for her to get around in while Son-in-Law worked. This little ‘51 was actually a two-family Ford all summer while members of both families used it as needed. Six grand-children were added to our ever branching-out Ford Families, and used to beg to ride in their grandpa and grandma’s big “Wagon.” Our daughter’s family bought a wagon as well and she and her offspring have owned many other Fords and Ford products to date.

Now we come to another member of the family. Our son, as soon as he was old enough to drive (even before that, if the truth was known) was able to handle Father’s Fords like a veteran. Sure enough, as soon as he had his license he was not content to use the family car and soon found one for himself; this time a 1949 “six.” Wouldn’t you just know what happened! After serving his required time in the service, he returned home to start looking for a newer and slightly heavier car. Still loyal to Ford products, he, too, found what he wanted and, like all young men who love cars, enjoyed working on it and was fast learning the pleasures and privileges which ownership can foster. He has since also owned a ‘54 Mercury, ‘37 Ford, ‘70 blue van, ‘75 tan van, ‘79 green van, ‘34 truck, ‘54 blue truck and a ‘63 F-100 plus several others.

A new note entered the picture with the twins. The girls could hardly wait until they were old enough to drive. When they were seniors in high school, their father was especially lucky and found for them a good substantial 1950 model, which answered their needs for school and after-school jobs. Both paid for not only the original cost of that car, but its upkeep as well…even the insurance and licenses. Their father insisted on this routine with all of his children before they were allowed to buy a car, as he felt, and rightly so, that the experience of buying and maintaining a car would be a valuable one in molding their characters. One of the twins went into nurse’s training after high school and her need for a car was temporarily halted, but you can be sure that both girls have had many Fords, Mercuries and Thunderbirds since, as have THEIR five children!

“A Ford in Your Future” – indeed there was. As you can see, this wasn’t the end of the Ford Family, but rather the beginning of at least four more Ford Families of the Future. If the reader had a pencil and paper at hand he would now have counted at least 37 Fords or Ford products at this writing. I never did mention our ice blue or white Lincolns, did I? Today I drive a 1987 Mercury Colony Park (9 passenger) Wagon. I especially appreciate the ease of loading groceries and we feel quite secure in this large and heavy car. We’re not done yet!!!

Pauline F. Nulton
✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇ ✇  
Guess what car we have today? 
 🚘 A Ford Escape, of course!  👍

Monday, January 16, 2017


The lyrics are sung after a 50 second introduction by the artist.
In My Life
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life, I love you more

In My Life lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Friday, January 13, 2017


I had all of the ingredients so decided to bake another pie. The coconut was left over from a self-crust lemon pie that I made last year.  Lemon Impossible Pie Recipe

This recipe is my own combination of a few I found on the internet as I have never before made one of these. 
 Don't forget to click on the image to view larger

Guess what! It was wonderful!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kitchen Activity

It seems that I just cannot stop the cooking and baking. Today I made a potful of homemade soup using broth I created with some frozen chicken bones and skins that I had kept from several dinners. The red, orange and yellow pepper strips that I cut and froze this summer were added, along with my chopped and frozen celery and onions. I added a few leftover green beans as well. Since my rice has walked off, I had to use elbow noodles but it was all good! 

Our daughter who lives nearby stopped in and joined us for the soup lunch. She even got into the pickled beets and egg jar that I had just filled, not caring that it is supposed to be used after a three day aging period. We worked on her picture frames and some 8 x 10" prints I made for her last week. I sent her home with some chili, meatballs, split pea soup and an extra chap stick! It was snowing as she drove off. 
The pumpkin pie that I recently made is gone. No, change that, it was devoured. 
please click on image to view larger
Tomorrow I have another project in mind. Stay tuned......

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year Blues

OK, it's a pity party for me. On the 30th of December I injured the shin of my leg when a large tempered glass cutting board fell forward and skinned my shin. It was purely a clumsy act on my part because I had put it there and then walked into it.
It has been 9 days. During the first three the bandage stayed on but when removed, partially stuck. Ow! The following two days the new bandage stayed on but stuck again when I removed it! After that I left it uncovered two more days and hoped it would dry with only Neosporin applied around the injury. Two days ago I visited my doctor because the surrounding area was getting warm, tight  and pulling. I was afraid cellulitis was setting in. He gave me a 10 day antibiotic prescription and suggested I return if it wasn't looking better in three or four days. He said I did everything correctly as far as protecting it and treatment, but shin injuries are notoriously difficult areas to heal as there isn't much flesh there. He also suggested I elevate it as often as I can. That is not being done as it is already elevated 10-11 hours every 24 hour period during the combined hours of sleep and nap.  

Time will the way it is difficult to wash my hair under the low level faucet in the kitchen sink as a full blown shower is still out of the question. I may have to call a plumber to have one of the higher types installed. 
Or maybe not! They are costly!!

        If you are queasy about looking at injuries, go no further.        
Day 9 - Looking downward
Day 9 - Looking straightforward
(photo by the Mister)