Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello poke cake

I lurve this cake; it's an oldie and a goodie.  Usually these cakes are made with a white or yellow cake mix and a standard flavored Jello, like lime, lemon, strawberry, or raspberry.  I decided to go a little outside the normal box on this one.

I used a strawberry cake mix and strawberry daiquiri Jello.  It's a seasonal Jello - they usually come out with it in the summer, along with margarita and pina colada.  Did you know that they used to make a celery and a mixed vegetable flavor? 


Nope, can't do it.  I realize that these flavors were probably for those people who enjoy a savory gelatin experience, but I have to say that I am not one of them.  Ick.

Anyhoo, here is what I used to make the cake:
Basically, it's the cake mix, the oil and eggs to make the cake, and the Jello.  I didn't show you the pictures of the water, because...well, that would just be silly.  Those are fresh eggs straight from our chickens!  So cool!

Make the cake according to the directions on the box and bake.
When the cake is done, let cool for about 15 minutes, then poke holes in the cake.  I used a wooden spoon handle and it works perfectly.  Make sure the holes go all the way down into the cake.  Make the Jello according to the directions on the box.  Pour the Jello into the holes in the cake and then all over it.  (I had a picture of the holes and of me pouring the Jello over, but they seem to have disappeared very mysteriously.)

Refrigerate for several hours so that the Jello is well set.  Frost with as much Cool Whip as you can stand (we like LOTS) and serve.

This was a HUGE hit with everyone.  It is so moist and super yummy; it would make a nice dessert after spicy food, or on a hot day.  Or, you know, whenever.

I have been told that I am allowed to make this on a daily basis, and have been given carte blanche to experiment with flavors.  I want to do a lemon/lemon combo (I love lemon), and we have a pineapple cake mix that I have been dying to play with.  We have this funky weird grocery store in Chehalis called The Shop 'N Kart, in the Yard Birds mall; they have all kinds of interesting, not usually carried elsewhere kinds of stuff.  It's an odd place: a combo of grocery store; a "mall" where people sell anything from used books and VHS tapes to clothing and athletic shoes; a kind of expo area where there are large rummage sales, livestock sales, plant sales, MMA fights, you name it; an area you can rent for large parties; and even a kind of campground where you can park your RV and stay a while.  There is also a small movie theater, a barber shop, and a few other little odds and ends.  The picture below was taken in the mid 70's, but not much has changed.
New and Current Store
At the bottom left, you can see a huge, 60' tall back and yellow bird that was the mascot for, well, forever; that is until one fateful day in 1976 when it burned to the ground.  Apparently a car had an engine fire and it spread to the bird that was just freshly varnished.  Poof!  No more bird.  There is a different one now; it kinda looks like a sitting duck.  Anyhoo, the grocery store is cool because they have a lot of ethnic stuff that you can't find anywhere else, and I think that sometimes they buy out stock that is either being discontinued or something - hence the pineapple cake mix that I have never seen anywhere before ever. 

Wow, that was a long story to tell you about a cake mix, huh?  I'll be sure to let you know what I do with it.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Our funny little babies

I love our little doggies.  True, sometimes having five small dogs can be...urm...challenging.  Yeah, we'll go with challenging.  Like when they are all barking hysterically at the top of their lungs because - good LORD - the next door neighbor has the audacity to go out into their own yard!  But you see, it's in their line of sight, so it's their yard, their road, their see where I'm going with this.  I go out into our yard and everything is fine, but I go out the gate - they SEE me go out the gate - but now I'm on the other side of the fence and they don't know who the heck I am and I MUST BE DESTROYEDBY BARKING!

But, mostly, they are sweet and snugly.  Sam has come so far from when we first brought him home.  Having him neutered made a HUGE difference.  Jim kept saying that it wouldn't matter, he's too old for it to change his behavior, but boy howdy was he wrong.  Sam is so much happier now!  He plays more, snuggles more, runs hysterically around the house more, is less "on guard".  Sis always called him her "little warrior" because he was always at the ready for attack.  You could see in his face his doubts about why you wanted to pet him or scratch his belly.  He had finally started to relax just a little and actually lay on his side and present his belly to you, but only about once every few days or so.  Now, you just look at him and he flops at your feet onto his back and wags his tail for all he is worth.  It makes my heart so happy!  He has even started sleeping on his back, unattended, and that is definitely a sign that he feels secure.

Sleeping with one eye open!

Mrs. Weenie is the biggest snuggler of them all.  That dog can curl herself into the tiniest and tightest of balls; it's almost like she doesn't have any bones!  Her absolute favorite spot to sleep is anywhere on Les.  Les spends a lot of time napping in the recliner, so she is usually in seventh heaven, as the following pictures will show (these pictures were taken over a 45-minute span):

Many times, it starts out like this, in the neck-roll position

But sometimes it starts out like this

Which then leads to this

And this

Which results in this

And sometimes, we even have some of this going on
Sam, Sis, Bruiser, GiGi

We love our funny little babies.


Monday, July 2, 2012

I lurve brownies

Ah, brownies.  My first choice when it comes to plugging my sweet tooth.  Mmmmm...

I decided that I wanted to do a few food posts; I don't cook very often, so I suppose this is a way of proving that I do actually break out the measuring cups from time to time.  I also wanted to show off some of our "wanna-be farm" fresh eggs!  We have chickens and ducks that lay; we get a lot more duck than chicken eggs each day.  The duck eggs are fabulous; thick orange yolks and whites that could be used in place of super glue.  They are quite a bit larger than chicken eggs (I suppose they might be the size of Jumbo chicken eggs, or maybe just a hair larger than that) and are just a tad bit richer.  We feed them to the dogs once or twice a week.  They are excellent for their coats and skin, and they love them!  If you decide to do this with your dogs, please be sure to cook the eggs.  Raw eggs are not a good idea for dogs because an enzyme in them interferes with the absorbtion of a particular B vitamin.  Otherwise, it won't poison them or anything.  Many people do give raw eggs to their dogs, but most of the information I've found says not to.
Those are a couple of our chicken eggs.  Aren't they purdy?  This picture doesn't show it very well, but the egg on the left is actually a nice light olive green.

Anyhoo, back to the brownies.  I found this recipe on; everyone said it was the best one and I tweaked it just a little.  Here are the ingredients I used (not showing the sugar or flour because, please, do you really need to see those?):

Mmmmm Mmmmm Better Brownies
Makes 1-16 brownies, depending on how much self control you have

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp espresso powder

Get your oven heating to 350; grease a 9x9 pan (we don't have one, so I used an 8x8).

Mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla together.  Beat in the eggs.  (Note: always break your eggs one at at time into a seperate dish or bowl.  I use a liquid measuring cup.  This way if one of your eggs is yucky, you don't have to scrap your whole recipe and start over.)  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a seperate bowl and gradually stir into the egg mixture, until well blended.  Pour into your greased pan.

Lick spatula, mixing bowl, and mixer paddle clean; put brownies in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the brownie edges start to pull away from the pan.  I baked mine closer to 30 minutes since I was using a smaller pan, which makes the brownies a little thicker. 

Let cool on wire rack before cutting into squares.  Or burn yourself cutting one out of the pan if you can't wait.

Mine came out very rich and chocolately with a nice crisp edge, thin crunchy top and soft but not quite gooey center, but not very thick.  I think that is because my baking powder is old.  But, they were excellent just the same.  I could have eaten the whole pan with a gallon of milk!  But, sadly, that is why I also have a weight loss blog.  So, I just had one.  Ok, it was big, but it was just one!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'm DOING it but I'm not DIGGING it

  • Uninsured
    • Unmedicated
      • Unmotivated
      • Unhappy
Just wanted to say, "Thanks!" to Laurie for the nice comments on my last post; I really needed them!

I'm glad that I'm coming across as happy; the truth is that most of the time, I'm not.  But I try to see the good stuff and try not to whine; although it's getting harder and harder every damn day.  Maybe I'll address that some other day.

On the bright side, we do have more feathered friends in our little wanna-be farm: we have about 15 Buff Orpington chicklets out in the container shed, along with five little ducklets.  Jim made ingenius use of a truck bed box that was not being used to house them in until they are big enough to go outside.  Luka has been very good and very protective of them; when I go out there and pick one up and they start peeping away, she runs in to see what's wrong.  Here are a few pictures of her with them:

We just got three teen-ager ducks (which means they are about 8 weeks old) for free yesterday from some nice people on Craig's List.  Jim was bummed because he ordered some baby turkeys (turklets?) and some silkie chicklets but discovered that his checking account is over-drawn and couldn't afford to pick them up.  Fortunately, when he called the store they said that they wouldn't be in for about two more weeks, just in time for Jim to get his SS $ again.  Jim is going to have to build more coops and fences as we are about to be over-run with chickens and ducks!

Oh, and I just HAD to post these next pictures; when Jim went and got the very first chickens and brought them home, Brusier and Luka had been hanging out in my room.  One of my windows looks out directly upon the area across the driveway where the pens are, and Brusier was beside himself trying to get a look out the window.  Finally he jumped up on my desk chair to get a better look:

Luka thought that was a capital idea, and decided to do it to!  I am so glad I got a picture of it, because no one believed me without it!

Sis and Les have been down south for the past week and a half.  Les is staying with his brother in Vancouver, and Sis caught the crud from Sal and was sicker than a dog.  She was so sick that she could not come home last week, so they all just stayed down there again.  It's been quiet here without everyone!  Sis had a dream last night that Brusier wouldn't come to her because he didn't recognize her anymore.  So sad.

Since they've been gone, Mrs. Weenie and Snoopy sleep in Jim's room with him (since they are his dogs), and Brusier, GiGi and Sam sleep with me.  Actually, I should say that they allow me to sleep in the bed with them.  It's like sleeping with three toddlers in the bed - they all sleep sideways, diagonally, and every which way they can to keep me on the outside 3-1/2" of the bed without pillows.  If Sammie gets in the bed before me, I'm screwed.  Trying to shift him is like trying to shift a 500lb bag of wet cement.  But, he and I are now super snuggle buddies, and he follows me all around the house.  Where ever I am, there he is; at my feet, on my lap, or in a bed or on the floor nearby. 

This sleeping arrangement started mostly because GiGi was in heat and Sam was not neutered.  Oh, how fun those three weeks were.  Not.  Not even a little bit fun.  Seriously.  Sis had planned to get GiGi spayed right after we got her, but for some weird reason was thinking she might be pregnant.  I kept telling her that she wasn't, but Sis wanted to "wait to be sure", and then the money kept getting spent on stupid things like gas for the car, food, etc.  Then one day I noticed that after GiGi came in my room to wake me up, there were little spots of blood on my blankets.  I looked at her rear end and thought, "Ohhhh poop on a cracker.  She's in heat."  Cue my sister wigging out.  It took Sam a good week to finally notice her, and then it was like white on rice.  We could not keep that dog away from her.  Sis and I cut holes in some diapers we had left over from Monty and put those on GiGi, but it would take her all of 0.0012454785 seconds to pull, rub or chew them off.  We then used an ingenius onesie-type device that Sis made to keep Monty in his diapers, and it worked somewhat moderately not well at all.  Needless to say, I spent three weeks of keeping GiGi in her diapers and Sam out of GiGi.  If you get my drift.  One of the pluses of this was that Sam became attached to GiGi, and she thought he was pretty cute as well, so she didn't mind his attention.  It's a good thing, too, because his attentions went from, "Dang girl!  You are so dang irrisistable for some reason!  I will follow you around and stick my nose in embarrassing orifices every chance I get!" to "Dang girl!  You are so fine that no other living mammal may look in your direction without my permission lest they feel the full extent of my wrath!" to "OH GOD HELP ME!  I MUST BE TOUCHING SOME PART OF YOUR BODY WITH SOME PART OF MY BODY 24/7!!"  I managed to snap the picture below of Sam "sharing" GiGi's bed.  The word sharing is in quotes because basically she had no choice, and if he would just lie next to her instead of on top of her, then she was willing to let him do it.  Note the look on Sam's face.
When Sis is home, Brusier sleeps with her.  Luka used to sleep with me but since we got all the birds, she likes to stay outside and keep the coyotes, etc. at bay.  The other four dogs just slept in the living room because Les sleeps out there in the recliner.  But, when Sis is gone, Brusier sleeps with me.  And since Les could not be counted upon to keep Sam from getting to GiGi during the night, we decided that Sam would sleep with me too.  That lasted one night.  Sam would not stay in my bed, and just stood with his nose pressed against the door, whining and pining away for GiGi, certain that Snoopy was having his way with her.  So the next night I had GiGi come in the room with us.  That was better, but I still had a hard time keeping Sam off of her.  The next night I put a leash on Sam and that was great.  He wasn't as happy as the rest of us were, but GiGi was finally able to get some sleep, I could let Sam be close enough to her to allow him to rest his head on her side, and I could sleep for more than 2.785 minutes at a time.  We just kept this arrangement until Sam finally got snipped.  I believe that GiGi went out of heat approximately 3.5 days later, but Sam and GiGi are still good friends.  Oh, and they both still sleep with me in my room. 

But something changed for Sam; I was honestly terrified that he wouldn't want any more to do with me since I was, of course, the one to take him to the vet.  But I was gratified to see that he ran straight to me, tail high and wagging hard when Sis and I went to pick him up the next day.  He is much less aggressive, and now wants to snuggle and play with the other dogs more.  Here is a snap of Sam and Brusier sharing a bed a few days ago:
He seems to be much more relaxed and happy, which makes us more relaxed and happy.  The dogs think he as been replaced by a pod person.

6/22 was Sis and Les's 10th wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately, they spent it apart down south with Les at his brother's house, and Sis staying at Mom's trying to surpass the world record for coughing up phlem.  I wish I could have done something, anything, for them, but being completely broke makes that difficult.  So I dug out what few craft supplies I have here at the house and made them a card.  Here is the front: 
It is a 6" square gate card.  As you can see, the brown backdrop piece only shows on the left half; this is because the other half is tucked underneath the right side, and the right top edge of the sentiment panel is tucked under the bottom wings of the butterfly, keeping the card closed.  This is what it looks like when it's open:

That picture was taken on their wedding day back in 2002; I used Photoshop Elements 6.0 to age it, then framed it with a vinyl sticker.  The sticker is copper; it's hard to tell from this picture.  I think it turned out pretty nice.

Well, I'm going to try to wrap this up.  So much for blogging more often with shorter posts.  Oh well.  I'll post more pictures and stuff soon.