Posts Tagged ‘memories’


Dave ( my brother ) took me to see The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey today. We’d worked all of our scheduling out in advance, and after a delicious lunch prepared by Mom and a time for Dave of visiting with Mom and Dad (while I worked on a side project) we were off! Off to see the 2:40PM showing of The Hobbit. We’d called earlier to double-check the time, not thinking to ask what version the 2:40 showing was going to be. Chagrined, we listened to the clerk rattle off that the 2:40 showing was for the IMAX 3D HD faster-frames-per-minute version of the film.

Card 1

That, was unexpected.  I really had no desire to see the faster frames, have never been a fan of 3D or HD, and only have seen the IMAX film documentaries at the Smithsonian.  Plus, the price was rather outrageous. Dave however, took it all in stride and popped the $14.99 a piece price down on the counter, waiving off my attempts to pay for my own ticket.  “I told you, it’s part of your Christmas present.”

He waved the tickets around some  for good measure before handing me mine. I was reminded of my wonderful card, and also “special Christmas bear” he gave me which is *void if ingested* (uh-huh, I’m not the only one in the family with an off beat sense of humor). People were looking at us as if we were nuts. Well we were, but it  was not polite to stare unless they thought we were  wax works and if they thought that they should have paid us. Lewis Carrol said so.

We walked in through the double doors, surrendered our tickets, and claimed our glasses. As we walked up the ramp to the seats Dave sighed.

“You sure you’re going to be all right with this?” he asked and I nodded.

“I know the trick, take the glasses off and shut my eyes if I get dizzy or nauseous” I assured him.

“I know, but I wanted this to be really fantastic.”

“It is going to be fantastic because” I said looking at the nearly empty theater “I’m seeing it with you, and that makes it fantastic. It’s been a long time since we shared something this epic.”  He grinned, and we moved through the vast emptiness to find seats. We were careful not to sit in front of anyone. It’s a pet peeve of mine, people sitting in front of me in a nearly empty theater.  If you have nearly the entire theater to choose from, DO NOT SIT IN FRONT OF SOMEONE ELSE. I don’t care if it’s stadium style seating or not. It’s RUDE.

There were six people in the whole of the theater yet some where sitting right in front of others. I told myself, they had to be family or some such thing. But, over heard bits of conversation made that seem unlikely. As did the fact that one pair moved  so they were not behind another pair of film watchers. We settled ourselves up in the nose bleeds (always a precaution in the 3D movies) and I pulled out  this;
BestJust in case Gandalf had misplaced his copy. I mean, it’s important that Thorin have his key.  Kinda hard for the heir to the “Kingdom Under The Mountain” to access his inheritance without it.  David grinned and shook his head “I think the Wizard will remember to bring his copy.”

The previews started (some in 3D HD and some not) and we spent the next forty minutes ribbing them. Star Trek looked ‘meh’, and the others were so non-memorable that I sighed and said “It’s going to be a long year.”

David chuckled. “Just wait till Disney(TM) starts on Star Wars.” I rolled my eyes behind my oh-so-fashionable 3D glasses

Cake, like  most of the  best things in life, doesn’t just happen. For cake to happen successfully you need a  plan, a plan and two other things: time and a reason to make one.

Earlier this month, Mom and I had both. I had a friend who was going in for gall bladder removal surgery, and a day off with nothing pressing on me to be accomplished.  I had asked Mom earlier if I could make a meal for my friend as she has kids and I thought that a home cooked meal complete with cake would be just the thing to say ‘I’m thinking about you and hope this makes you smile as you recover.’

Mom helped me pick out which meal to make (roast beef, carrots, potatoes) and then I added a 1-2-3-4 cake. This is an old family recipe that most bakers have passed down in their family. This is a fantastic cake, it’s easy to make and so tasty. You can change it up and add things to it to make it more luxurious or serve it unadorned with coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy the simple goodness.  It’s called a ‘1-2-3-4’ cake because its how the original users of the recipe remembered the main ingredients.  You use:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 teaspon of baking powder
1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of  vanilla

It’s so easy! It’s been my family’s go-to cake for three generations. I remember my grandmother making it when we’d come down and visit during the summer, and Mom would make it for birthdays, and any time we needed a cake.  You can use it as a layer cake or as a sheet cake. You can pare the recipe down or double it as needed. It’s like the Swiss-Army Knife(TM) of cakes. It also makes amazing cupcakes.

The first step is to add the sugar and the butter together. According to MomMom’s notes (that’s the paper on the counter there) it’s called creaming . I don’t know why, I just know it’s the phase of the cake that makes me the most nervous because the mixer suddenly decides it’s tired of being a mixer and wants to know what life is like  as a mechanical bull.

Yee-haww git along lil tastebuds.  For those who are interested, the mixer is more than 30 years old, and still works amazingly well, other than the aforementioned dreams of rodeo glory. It is my grandmother’s mixer, passed down through the family.  After you cream the sugar and the butter together you start adding in the eggs, one at a time.

Baker’s tip: don’t ever just  crack the egg into what you’re making, when you add in eggs. Break it instead into a smaller container or pitcher. If egg shell, blood, or mutant chicken are present, you’ve saved yourself the heartache of having messed up your whole project.  When you’ve verified that there’s nothing wrong with the egg, then add it into your cooking project. You’ll save a lot of heart ache this way.

This shot is after two eggs were added and this yoke was being irritatingly illusive. I had to shove it into the beaters with the spatula. But look how creamy the batter’s getting! Ah, but it’s only for the minute. You still have to add in the flower and baking powder. In a separate bowl combine the flour and the baking soda. I used a whisk but you can sift it too. You just want to combine the flower and the powder evenly. If you have self-rising flour you don’t have to do this step but I can never find self-rising flower and so I have to add the baking soda in.

Now comes the time of testing and patience. You have to add the flour/baking soda to the rest of the mix  slowly.  I suggest half a cup at a time, maybe a little more if your mixer’s newer than mine. Too much too soon, and you’ll be covered in flour. And so will your kitchen.  I alternate pouring the milk and the flour in as well. It helps things combine nicely.

It’s impossible to get a shot of the milk pouring while holding a camera, it just can’t be done, at least by me it can’t.  So there’s the milk, sitting up on top of the batter instead of looking elegant as its poured in. When all the ingredients come together just right, this is the final result.

From there, you take the batter all lovely and smooth, and pour it into the cake pans, which you’ve all ready greased or lined.

But before you do that, don’t be like me. Don’t forget to add the vanilla! Very important to add the vanilla! Right. Onward.

Another baking tip: pick the pans up and drop them on the counter (not far, a quarter of an inch does it) to get the air pockets to brake up so you won’t have as much settling and falling when you take them out of the oven.

Then, it’s time to think about how you want to dress your cake. Or if you want to dress it. I did. I decided on chocolate icing.

Chocolate icing recipes abound, and I don’t remember which one I used, but I do know that I used unsweetened baker’s chocolate, not cocoa. I didn’t take pictures with the icing simply because other things were happening. Things like this:

So I was a tad busy while making the icing.  Mmm, I love vegetables cooked with the meat. They just melt. Anyway, so I was busy in the kitchen while I was making icing. Then, the cakes came out and it was time to assemble them using the delicious sticky chocolate glue.

That is almost the end of the story. The very, very end, is that my friend loved the meal, her kids adored the cake, and every last pan came back lovingly cleaned. Though my friend said that really, she could have given them back unwashed, they’d been licked spotless.

What undertakings have you started, to help someone else when they were in a low spot? Did you wind up getting the most out of it, like I did?  If you try the cake recipe here let me know. Or if you use this one too, let me know!

Coram Deo Scribes.