Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's up with me...

Well, first off, I'm typing this post from my new MacBookPro.  I have been a PC user for years, but I'm game to try and learn a new system.

A fun thing will be happening to me very soon.  Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.  I will be in the air headed to the West Coast to visit my sister and sister-in-law.  No doubt there will be many interesting things happening that I will eventually blog about.

T.D. will be taking me to the airport and will be keeping an eye on my house while I'm gone.  I'm hoping that keeping an eye on will include installing a tile backsplash in my kitchen and if I'm gone long enough, he might have time to install new lighting in my living room.

In any event, I may make a post while I'm on vacation, but if I don't get to, fear not - I'll be returning soon with new pictures and amusing stories.

Until then here is a fiery sunrise taken from my studio window this week.

The saying "red at morning, Sailors take warning" may apply, as we had snow storms all day long after this gorgeous sight.

Hope you like my first attempt at posting from my new computer, which may have involved using iCloud to import this photo from my iPhone.  I'm really not sure just how I did it.  Slowly, but surely, I'm learning.

Any way, I'm already packed and if I forget anything, I'm just going to replace it when I need it out there.

Short version, I'm probably going to be taking a break from blogging while I'm relaxing in the warmth that is California.  So try not to miss me too much.  I'll be back in a week or so.

Take care and stay safe and warm.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Here I am trying to post a video...

How can I ever start doing more youtube videos if I can't figure out how to even record the crazy things.  Here's hoping this works.

Sorry, but at this point I was getting tickled because I kept flubbing things up.  I do not envy celebrities that have to do this on a regular basis.

In any event, here is a one minuted video of me say hello.

Friday, January 3, 2014

It's a new year!!!

It is a new year and I'm feeling so positive.  I shook off all the self-imposed rules that I had inexplicably put in place this past year and now I feel great.  I have the best sisters in the world and I have made some wonderful new friends and really re-connected with some old ones.  It is going to be the best year in a long, long time.

One of the old friends that I have reconnected with has been calling me every week to talk while he (yes, he) goes about his business, doing whatever he happens to be doing at the time.  He mentioned to me last night that the only kind of cake that he likes is pineapple upside-down cake because he doesn't like something he calls frosting (I suppose that's Yankee speak for icing).  Ever since he mentioned this, I have, of course, been craving this yummy dessert. 

With this in mind, I decided to go the easy way (read cake mix here) and whip one up.  Just for grins and giggles, I decided to photo blog the process.  I'm sure there may be someone out there who doesn't know how to make this Southern favorite that my Connecticut transplant of a friend is so fond of, and taking pictures is what I do, so...

I gathered the ingredients ahead of time and as I always do, let the eggs come to almost room temperature.  This took several hours of watching SVU to happen, so don't be in a big hurry.

I preheated the oven according to the box directions and placed the equivalent of half a stick of  butter in the 9 x 13 cake pan and tucked it in the oven to melt.  After the butter is melted, I added about one cup of brown sugar on top of the butter.  I forgot to take a shot of this, but you get the picture, even if you don't actually get the picture.

Here you see the fruit (pineapple slices and cherry halves) placed on the brown sugar and melted butter.  Next comes making the batter for the cake.  You can make the cake strictly according to package directions but no, not me... I drained the juice from both cans of pineapple slices and used it in place of the water required to make the mix.  If you don't have enough juice, just add sufficient water to adhere to the package instructions. Baking is a science, so stay focused, y'all.

After mixing according to direction on said box, you carefully pour with one hand while taking the photo with the other...

no wait, that's just for posting on the blog, you can actually use both hands and it really is a lot easier.  Then you bake it according to the package instructions (or your recipe, if you are making from scratch) and it comes out looking like this...

Looks like a regular cake right?  Well, this is where it gets fun.  Before gathering all the ingredients together, I covered a piece of board with freezer paper, shiny side out...

You can use Masonite if you are like me and have it on hand, or you can tape several pieces of corrugated cardboard together to make a sturdy cake board.  Don't use printed wrapping paper, unless you cover it with plastic wrap, by the way.  (Now, if you already have a platter large enough to accommodate a cake this size, of course you would certainly skip this entire step.)  This is a trick I learned back in the 70's when I took cake decorating classes and it has served me well, especially if you don't want to lose that favorite, just the right size platter that has been handed down for generations.

Anyhoo, after the cake is baked and cooled FOR TEN MINUTES ONLY, you run a knife or spatula around the edges of the pan, place the board covered side down on the cake and...

boldly flip the cake onto the board.  It's a little bit scary, but if you are careful, you will be just fine.  Don't be scared of your tools, let them do the work for you.

Then you lift the pan off of the cake, it's probably not hot enough to burn you, but be cautious nonetheless.

If you did everything right, you should get this...

OK, now this is picture perfect, but in all honesty, two of the pineapple rings stayed in the pan so I had to quickly pick them up (they were hot) and (remembering to flip them over) place them in the spaces on the cake.

Now I'm sure some of you are yawning by now and for that I do apologize.  The thing that makes this cake different is something I learned from the World Wide Web.  I read that if you cover the cake while it is still warm with plastic wrap and NOT wait until it is cooled completely, that it will be the moistest pineapple upside-down cake ever...

After placing the wrap on the cake, I wasn't satisfied with the way it looked, so I carefully removed it and stuck toothpicks all over the cake to allow more room for the steam to gather (and to keep the plastic from sticking to the rich gooieness that this cake is all about).

I haven't tasted it yet, but you better believe that I'm headed to the kitchen, right now, as we speak. (Well, after I finish this post, actually)

I have several other things planned for all of my bloggy friends out there this year.  I'm going to be photo blogging even more cooking and baking techniques, and perhaps some arts and crafts... AND I'm going to be doing another youtube video here and there.

So stay tuned and remember what my blog is all and art and how everyone of us is indeed an artist in our own right.  From cooking, to sewing, to training your doggie to get in your car, we are all artists and we will not be challenged by our art, for, after all "it's just a walk in the park".

Love you all and hope this little blog touches you in some way.