Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Destruction Zone ~ I Am Learning A Valueable Lesson

This morning I woke to find that my main blog site had vanished.

Yes, vanished.

This is definitely a DESTRUCTION ZONE. And this one will take far more time to fix than any other that I've had to deal with.

That means that all of the links that say "View Complete Posting" are not working...because my content on the main site had disapeared into the abyss of cyberdom.

"That's alright, you made backups right?"

Uh, nope...I may be able to write, but when I read WordPress' articles on backing up your blog, it's like reading a foreign language to me. So I am left without a backup of my postings...and right now that REALLY stinks.

SO, unless my server can magically go back to a time before they did their maintenance yesterday, I'll have to try to put on my "Fix-It" cap and get into the mood for RE-blogging.

Say a few prayers for me, PLEASE! I'm not wanting to put on that cap...and I honestly just don't have the time now.

*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Personal Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

I have never really been a fan of the traditional pineapple upside down cake, neither has Charming...it's just too fruity sweet for us.

And then I had a brilliant idea...why not spice it up just a little bit? So, I did! Oh let me just tell you...the smells that your nose is treated with, they are just heavenly. And now we want this a couple nights a week...which is not a good thing for anyone's waistline, but perhaps it will become a monthly treat. So I start by preheating my oven to 350°F. (or whatever your cake mix box calls for a batch of cupcakes) Next, I tear into that cake box and prepare the batter per the box's directions.
Easy, simple...batter is done and ready to go.

Pull out some crushed pineapple and Maraschino cherries. It's a good thing that I hid the cherries from Charming, there wouldn't be any for the cakes if I didn't. I then pour the pineapple into a strainer and allow the juice to drain...too much juice and it would be a very wet set of cakes.

Next step, a light coating of cooking spray to prepare my cake pan. Once my pan is ready, out come the Marrachino cherries! Place one cherry in the center of each little cake mold.

Then for each cake I take aproximately 1 teaspoon of the pineapples and fill around the cherry.

Over to the stove now to heat up the sugar & spice mixture. Over medium heat I melt my butter and then add in the dark brown sugar (light brown sugar could be used too, I prefer the extra molasses in the dark brown for these cakes), cinnamon and nutmeg.

Then I give it a few minutes to allow the spices and sugar to be well blended. (2-3 minutes) It's still a bit grainy, but everything comes out perfectly after the upcoming bake session in the oven.

Spoon just a teaspoon of the sugar & spice mixture over the pineapple and cherry in each mold.

Then fill each cake mold to the middle of the mold. These are going to puff up quite a bit.

Into the oven for 19-22 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cakes. When the toothpick can be cleanly removed, they are done!

I give the cakes a couple minutes to just settle a bit, then take my cooling rack and a baking sheet and invert them onto the cakes. This way I can easily flip the mini cakes right onto the cooling rack...and keep any crumbs off of my counter. FLIP!

Just look at how scrumptious these little beauties are! And if any pineapple is still in the cake pans, just spoon it out and add it where needed. (and sneak a little treat too)

Remember how much they puffed up? At this point you will have a decision to make...leave the cakes as-is or carefully trim off the cakes to make a level surface. I like leaving them just as they are...who wants to bypass a little more cake anyway? Place into a pretty little bowl or plate and they are ready to be dug into. (or you could just pop them into your mouth)

Personal Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 19-22 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: 22-24 mini cakes

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) Butter
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, ground 2 cans Pineapple Tidbits or Crushed Pineapple (drained)
Maraschino cherries or candied cherries (optional)

Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
Prepared per box directions: 3 eggs, (per box directions for cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 350°F. (or whatever the cake mix directions call for cupcakes)
Prepare mini cake pan, or cupcake pan, with a light coating of cooking spray. (or butter or shortening)
Place one Marachino cherry in the center of each mold.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of pinapple around each cherry.

In a small saucepan melt butter, dark sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon of sugar mixture over pineapple.
Spoon cake mix over fruit.
Fill each cake mold to the halfway point.

Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted in the middle of each cake and removed clean.
Let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Place an inverted cooling rack on top of the cakes and flip the pan so that the cakes are now sitting on the cooling rack.
Give the cake pan a little jiggle to make sure that the cakes have released fully.
Gently remove the cake pan and allow cakes to cook.

Serve & Enjoy![/print_this]

My SITS Day Has Arrived!

Well Hello Ladies! When I found that my SITS was upon me I literally had to re-read the email...about 3 times. It wasn't a joke, the day had finally come! And what do I say to that? "WHOOHOO!"

A little introduction to myself, Tanya a.k.a. The Chatty Mom, is necessary...I am a Native Southern Californian of Norwegian descent transplanted into the Reno/Tahoe area, a Christian SAHM who is trying to start up her own freelance drafting business in the midst of raising two rambuncious little girly kiddles while keeping my wonderful hubby (a.k.a. Charming) a happy man. Yeah, it's a bit like a circus act here...but I love it! My Confessions area pretty much encompasses everything that my world throws into my daily life. (including The Destruction Zone, compliments of my kiddles) My girls and I love baking and cooking...but mostly love eating what we bake or cook. The artist in me loves to decorate and paint murals on my kiddles walls...it's my way of keeping in touch with my artistic dreams. (artistic dreams of grandeur I am trying to rebuild that I've put on the backburner for so many years) I've become addicted to entering giveaways and love sharing the ones that I come across! Hence the creation of my monthly Giveaway Link-Up! So grab a big cup of coffee and visit for a spell...I LOVE visitors! AND thank you to the SITS Girls! I love you ladies! If you are not already a member, head over to The Secret is in the Sauce to sign up. Once you are a member, get ready to be amazed by the support you will receive from the over 7,000 members who believe the secret to success in blogging is supporting through commenting and sharing ideas. Here's a little selection of postings you might enjoy ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinema Sunday ~ Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

This is by far one of my favorite movies...and it also happens to be my Halloween tradition. I turn off all of the lights, grab a big bowl of popcorn...and any candies I have on hand...and sink down into my couch to enjoy every moment of this classic. Frank Capra delivers a fine balance of the black comedy...hysterical moments coupled by the sense of the dark & sinister.

Cary Grant is probably my absolute favorite Classic Hollywood actor...he's been my dream man since I was a little girl. Funny, suave, tall, dark & handsome. I just love him! Anyway, let's get into this movie...it's set to walk you through a single night, which just happens to be the night of Halloween. Drama critic Mortimer Brewster (Grant) is a self proclaimed bachelor who has even published a book on the evils of marriage. Yet we find in the opening scene that Elaine Harper (played by Priscilla Lane) has captured his heart and even managed to get him in line at the City Clerk's Office to get their marriage license. And after a panicked bolt from the office, Mortimer is forced to deal with the fact that he is truly in love with Elaine and manages to go through with the secret nuptials. We are introduced to Mortimer's Aunts (The Brewster Sisters) by two cops making their rounds. Officer Brophy is showing the ropes to his replacement Officer Pat O'Harrah and makes the comment:
"I'm turning over to you the nicest, the best beat in Brooklyn...This whole neighborhood just stinks with atmosphere."
The camera then pans to a sign "ROOM FOR RENT" in the front yard of the two wealthy, do-good maiden aunts that live in a mansion of the middle-class block.
Brophy continues: "They're two of the dearest, sweetest, kindest old ladies that ever walked the earth. They're out of this world...They're like pressed rose leaves...Their old man left them fixed for life.."
We then enter the Brewster Sisters' home...and you can't help but like Aunt Abby (Josephine Hull). She is my favorite out of the two...bubbly, sweet and a round little bouncy thing is she. She's busy conversing with Reverend Harper over some tea when the officers come by. We are also introduced to Mortimer's younger brother Theodore "Teddy" Brewster (John Alexander), who we find is a bit off his keaster...you see, he believes that he's President Theodore Roosevelt...and that the staircase is San Juan Hill as he charges up it with a "CHAAARGE!" and a bugle blast. And just as the good Reverend Harper is leaving, in walks Aunt Martha (Jean Adair), who looks like she's walked straight out of a Victoriannovel with her lacy highnecked blouse. Elaine and Mortimer next show up at the house of his two elderly Aunts to let them in on the explosive news of their marriage. And we get to see the newlyweds frolic in the cemetery that sits between Mortimer's Aunts' house and Elaine's father's church/parsonage. (turns out that her father is the Reverend Harper and is not a fan of Mortimer and his anti marriage gibberish that he spews) Elaine heads into her father's parsonage to deliver the news and grab her bags for the honeymoon. And I always find myself feeling excited and a bit giddy for the new bride. We find out that these two dear old ladies have been up to no good...unbeknownst to Mortimer, or anyone else in the Brooklyn for that matter. You see, the take in lonely men, men who don't have anyone that loves them in the world, and poison them with their elderberry wine...that has quite a kick to it with its' extra ingredients of a teaspoonful of arsenic, a half-teaspoon of strychnine and a "pinch of cyanide". These darling women have been busy indeed. Mortimer mistakenly accuses Teddy of the cause for the corpse he discovers in his Aunts' window seat...which also throws him into a complete state of befuddlement, even pushing his new bride off to the side while he tries to figure out how to take care of the situation that he finds his Aunts have made. This only gets complicated even more by the untimely arrival of his other brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey) and his sidekick "Doctor" Herman Einstein (Peter Lorre). Jonathan has turned out to be a sadistic, cold-blooded murderer who also just happens to bear the striking resemblance of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein character...courtesy of Dr. Einstein's plastic surgery abilities and the doctor's overindulgence of alcohol at the time. They bring along with them a third party, Mr. Spinalzo who gets dumped into the window seat...which was vacated when Teddy went to bury the latest yellow fever victim in Panama (the basement). We get to watch as Mortimer tries desperately to get Teddy committed to Happy Dale Sanitarium. No one would dismiss the idea that the murders were committed by Teddy, after all everyone knew that Teddy was crazy. One thing leads to another and we watch as Mortimer gets bound and gagged...right in the presence of Officer O'Harrah. It's all so ridiculously chaotic...I just can't spoil the ending for you. You're just going to have to check it out for yourselves. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting TANGLED This Thanksgiving

I absolutely love the story of Rapunzel...there were many nights that I was read, or read to myself, that story...beautiful girl locked in a tower....

Yeah, I know it...I'm falling right back into my childhood. In fact, all of those silly little anxious feelings in my chest and tummy are there right now...just like when I was little and we were pulling up to the gate at Disneyland. I'm a kid at heart! I can't help it!

And only Disney would be able to bring Rapunzel's story to justice! (or at least a much more adventurous version of her story) This movie has had me on pins and needles since I saw the trailer back in, oh March I think it was...well, way back when they first let out the trailer...

View complete posting: Getting TANGLED This Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Family Pumpkin Carving For The First Time!

Well, it was the first time that my little family had done any pumpkin carving since Charming and I got married...and had kiddles. This year we decided that since we were finally in our own place, THANK YOU GOD!, we were going to do pumpkins with our girls. They were beyond excited. There was a countdown on the calendar that we did until the day that we went to go get the pumpkins. And when that day arrived it was off to Smith's Grocery Store to start picking through the pumpkins. They had already gone to the pumpkin patch with Grandpa & Grandma, and we weren't about to pay an arm and a leg for something that we were just going to hollow out and destroy...plus we got 2 pumpkins at Smith's for the price of 1 of Walmart! Woohoo! $5 saved! Then we went shopping for our tools. The girls really wanted to have their pumpkins look "pretty & nice"...and not scary. Alright...so we decided to get some of those stencils that you tape onto the pumpkins and then use the tools to etch onto the pumpkin before the carving begins. One of the lids from our many storage containers was placed on the coffee table and a large trash bag was right next to it. We were ready to get down to business! I took pictures...Charming got to do the taping, etching, carving and scooping. Rose helped me separate the seeds from all of the slimey pumpkin innards...and Grace graciously declined getting her hands all "icky & gross". It was so much fun...just watching how excited they were to be getting pumpkins. Every piece that came out of a pumkin was celebrated...I mean, EVERY piece.

Rose chose to have hers with a dragon on it...to be like "How To Train Your Dragon", her current favorite movie.

Grace chose to have...a cat. Yeah, go figure...cat girl who is going to be a leopard chose to get a cat on her pumpkin.

And then the flourescent light sticks got put in! Yeah, we decided that we were going to bypass the traditional candles...we don't need any fires and the light sticks allow us to change the colors whenever we want. And in the end here is the final outcome of our night of family bonding, scooping, sorting and carving. Unfortunately by the time Halloween hit our dragon was looking pretty frail and our kitty a bit psychotic & crazed. Once a few of those glow sticks were added... things kinda looked up a bit. Or at least our dragon looked a bit cooler with that red glow. Next year I think we're going to wait a little while longer though, perhaps the tools and carving will commence on either the 29th or 30th instead. (Maybe even the 31st) Oh well, we did pretty good for our first year though...and the kiddles LOVED it.

October Family Fun 2010

Here's a little collection of October's Family Fun that we had. There is already a list going of more events that we plan to do next October...I wonder how long that list will be by then?

The girls & I decided that a little homemade caramel apple concocting was necessary...

But the real fun was definitely eating the ooey gooey candy decorated apples...

Then there was the trip to the local pumpking patch...it was so cold that very few photos were taken. [caption id="attachment_7148" align="aligncenter" width="517" caption="Go figure that Rose would have to have a Strawberries & Cream Frapuccino when it's freezing outside."][/caption]

Grace finally decided that she wanted to learn how to rollerskate...when we told her that she could practice on the carpet first...

There was the big event...Trick Or Treat Time!

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