GREAT CAKE!

5 12 2011

Was texting with my daughter today and told her I was making Rum Cakes.  These are not for Christmas giving just yet although I will make some for that, too. But at our house we have four birthdays to celebrate next weekend, so I made four cakes as gifts for Happy Birthday!  Took me less than 2 hours to make all four cakes.  I will be making 8 more of these for Christmas next week.

Anyway, my daughter suggested I blog about the cake as it is absolutely and positively delicious.  Also very easy to make and everyone just loves the cake.  In fact, they ask me to make them another one  next Christmas.  One year, I made 25 because so many people kept asking for them.  Don’t do that anymore, but will probably make a dozen or so.

So here is the recipe for that delicious, scrumptous Rum Cake.   Combine in a mixing bowl – 1 yellow cake mix, any kind will do.  In fact, the cheaper ones usually make the best cakes.  1 small package vanilla pudding mix.    4 whole eggs,    1 cup water,   1/2 cup vegetable oil,  1/2 tsp Rum Flavoring.  Mix all together until smooth, then beat slightly.

Grease tube cake pan.  Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Make icing while the cake is cooking.  Mix together in small pan – 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Stick Margarine, 1/2 Cup Water and 1/2 Tsp Rum Flavoring.  Boil about 1 minutes.

When cake is done, leave in pan and prick all over with toothpick.  Then pour about 1/2 hot icing mixture over hot cake.  Let sit for a minute so cake can absorb all the mixture.  Then turn cake out upside down onto large sheet of aluminum foil.  Prick again with toothpick.  Pour rest of mixture over cake.  Wrap tightly with aluminum foil.  Wait about 4 days before slicing cake.  Delicious!

This recipe is extremely easy and makes you look like one great cook.   Enjoy!

If you like this recipe, you will really like my cookbook entitled Bet’s Cookbook.  It has 120 pages of easy, cheap, delicious recipes to wow everyone you know. Also has lots of tips that make cooking ‘easy as pie.’

You can order direct from me at P.O. Box 2249, Benton, AR  72018 for just $10 in check or money order.  Any three of my books are only $25.  Look up my books on booksbybet.com





EATING WITH KIDS

28 09 2011

I saw an advertisement today that pictured a child refusing to eat his vegetables.  This brought up memories in my mind from times long ago.  Fancy that!  Anyway, in my family when I was growing up, there were several picky and I do mean picky eaters.  Too bad as far as I was concerned.  I was in the middle of my family and got to see all sides because of that position.

My mother had cooked a good meal every day for many, many years.  No matter the temperature nor the temperaments, she still hung in there and we had a great 3 meals per day.  My father worked nights so we ate a nice breakfast every morning while he was asleep.  Then we had a big lunch because he would be going to work at 3.  Then we had a nice supper because we had good leftovers from that big lunch.  So I knew all the food was very good.  I was never a big eater, but I enjoyed all that we had.

We would sit down to eat and one of those picky eaters would say, ‘what are we having that for?’  or ‘you know I don’t like this or that’.  Or  maybe it would be ‘do we have to eat that?’.  I got sick and tired of hearing that when I was growing up and told myself I would never have that at my house whenever I had a family.  And sure enough I never did.

I raised a big family and cooked all those meals, too.  And I never, ever had anyone sit down at the table and say they didn’t like anything that was offered to them.  They were good eaters and although some of them might not like something, they never complained.  I made it quite clear early in their lives that we did not complain about our food.  And so we did not complain about our food.

Just as I had done, they learned to eat turnips and squash and pickles and tomatoes, and different kinds of breads and meats.  Never hurt them one single bit just like it had never hurt me.  Sometimes, they would even say, ‘boy this is really good, mom’.  And their father taught them to say, ‘that was a good meal,’ or ‘thanks for the dinner, mom.’

Just like money, nice dinners don’t grow on trees.  Your children should be taught to be open to trying all sorts of foods and you should be making a decent meal every night or every day or whenever you can.  Teach them to appreciate whatever they have.  And that brings up all sorts of issues for another blog sometime.  Like clothes and furniture and cars, etc.  Just teach them to appreciate you and what you do for them and all the other blessings in their lives.





BIRTHDAYS AT MY HOUSE

20 09 2011

Hi again:  We have a lot of fun with birthdays at my house.  We also have a good time celebrating Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and all other necessary celebrations.  There are a lot of people in my family and so we really enjoy the visits with one another.  Everyone has such a good time just laughing and teasing and talking and visiting about everything from politics to old times.

We only celebrate birthdays every 3 months.  And it doesn’t have to be any particular time during that three months.  We might have it on the first weekend or the last weekend.  Never know.  We just try to do it when the most of us can come.  And then comes the presents.  And those are some presents, too.  We trade gifts back and forth.  I usually give the kids some money, but it isn’t much.  Then everyone usually gets some candy or treats of some kind.  After that, it is ‘hold the buggy, betsy!’  You just never know what might be in that sack.

For instance, one of my daughters and I trade a cheap, ugly statue back and forth, so we are going to get that if it is our turn.  That’s for sure!  Another child and I have been trading an ugly puzzle that no one could possibly work.  It is all in shades of black and gray and not even a good picture.  He originally got it at the dollar store, but we trade it every birthday.  Then, one son gave me a bag of plastic balls and said, ‘have a ball’.  Another time, I got a gold brick.  I have also received a stimulus check in the amount of $2 million.  I am still trying to cash that.  It came from one of my grandsons.

So, as you can see, presents are just for fun.   There is no great expense to this.  No one has to spend much money.  Sometimes they even make their own birthday cards with cutouts from magazines.  Always fun stuff.   We don’t usually put a limit on the money for birthdays.  No need to.  No one is going to spend much anyway.  And it is well known that not everyone has to get a gift for everyone.  Sometimes we have a lot of birthdays and there is no reason for anyone to be obligated.  It is all just for fun anyway.

I buy a cake at WalMart and put everyone’s name on it  Then we all sing, Happy Birthday to Everyone.  After that, we enjoy visiting some more and have our ice cream and cake or ice cream cones or whatever all those kids want at the time.  We have colas or tea or coffee to drink.  And a great time is had by all.

We do this same thing on other holidays.  Only we usually have a limit of $5 for gifts.  When my own children were younger, there was a limit of $1 for presents for Mother’s Day.  No reason to spend more.  I didn’t want anything anyway.  I usually got typing paper or envelopes or something in that range.  One year, my daughter who had grown up and was working went to get me a present for $1.  She saw a mirror that stood up in the bathroom.  It said, ‘Hi Gorgeous’ so that was what she wanted to buy for me.  When the clerk took her money, my daughter was laughing and saying that she was buying it for her mother for Mother’s Day.  This made the clerk mad and she said my daughter had no respect for her mother and made my daughter feel really bad.  I thought that was truly ridiculous.  Since when did the amount of money spent for a gift have anything to do with respect.  I treasured that mirror for many years.  It was always one of my favorite gifts.

So, next time you are thinking of giving a family party, you might want to bring out some of these ideas and use them.  Makes for a lot of fun and a very close family.  Have a Happy Birthday and make it fun this year.





SALADS

17 09 2011

As usual thinking about times long ago.  Although to me, it isn’t long ago at all.  People just assume that everyone ate salads forever.  That is not true.  It was the early fifties before salads became popular.  It was then a popular thing to say about salads,  ‘I’m not a rabbit, you know.’    There might be a mixture of lettuce and tomato on the table now and then, but usually it was just sliced or cubed tomatoes as a side dish – and that’s a new phrase, too.  But there were no salads at all.  Then someone came up with the bright idea that we could combine some of those greens and lettuce and tomatoes and all that other good stuff and we would call it a salad.

My mother had been cooking for a good many years by that time.   So she gave this salad business a try.  Worked out pretty well, too.  Almost everyone seemed to like having a salad with our dinner.  Then it became the thing to do to have the salad before the meal.  So we did that for awhile.  There were only two kinds of dressing.  We could either have white – which was mayonnaise or white salad dressing sold in the grocery store.  Or we could have the yellow which was the only kind of salad dressing available to buy at the grocery store that was actually a salad dressing for actual salads. I really think it was a form of french dressing or perhaps thousand island.  There were a couple of off brand type salad dressings but we ate this on crackers or bread as a snack before salads came along.

We ate a lot of tomatoes that were locally grown and they were really really good.  Not like the ones of today.   Someone told me that all the acid has been taken out of the tomatoes of today and that is why the taste is gone.  Don’t know that is true, but it makes sense to me because the tomatoes definitely do not taste like they used to.  That someone also said that is why the tomatoes don’t rot as fast.  And also why if you are canning today, you have to add some sort of acid to the tomatoes you are canning or they will not can properly.   I didn’t know that one either.  Things sure have changed since my canning days.  Oh, I hate canning.  That was such a chore and kept me in the kitchen for days at a time. (You might enjoy reading my blog about jars, jars everywhere) My mother-in-law grew vegetables for me.  Then it was up to me to come get them, prepare them and can them.  And I always said very nicely ‘thank you’.  She was a wonderful gardener and could grow absolutely anything.  But I sometimes wished she hadn’t been so good at it.  I had all those babies to take care of and canning was not exactly what I wanted to do every day during the summer months.   But you should always be grateful for anything you have, so I was properly grateful and meant it properly too.

But getting back to whatever I was writing about before the tomatoes came along, I think it was salads.  It is very nice nowadays to go to the local store and pick up a package of salad to have for dinner or lunch.  I have never found any problem with any of the packages yet.  Just grateful and properly so for them also.  Glad someone else is doing the picking and the washing and the preparing these days.  And also glad there is such a good variety of salad dressings in the grocery store.  Whole shelves full of them.  How fortunate we are in this country.

Well, that brings up something else to write about another day.  I went to Russia one time and we are so very fortunate every day wherever we live in this marvelous country.  Will write about that one.  Also will write about dieting before diets became popular.  Have a good evening.





TELEVISION

10 09 2011

When the television stations first came on the air in my area of the country, it was probably late 40’s, early 50’s.  I am sure everyone has heard of the dancing toothpaste images with the jingle that went with them.   It was really something to see.  In fact, we were invited to my brother’s boss’ house so we could see television for the first time.  No one had a set then.  Just those privileged few who had dared to purchase one of those ‘things’.  And it was considered a real folly to do so.

The television set was very small, probably a 9″ size.  It was on top of a cabinet and all their family and all my family sat in the dark room in order to see it because with the light it generated, it was possible to see the images through all the snow.  And there was definitely a lot of snow.  It was very hard to see through it all sometimes.  And then the television set might start with those diagonal lines that were all too frequent and we might just miss seeing anything at all.

But this night at my brother’s boss’ house, we could see well enough to make out the dancing toothpaste images.  And we were all properly impressed.  I think we were probably watching the Ed Sullivan Show at the time.  Of course I had no idea who Ed Sullivan was nor what the show was all about.   But I was very impressed with those dancing tubes of toothpaste.   I had never seen anything quite like that!

Later on, my husband and I, being newly married and without any children on the way, bought our first television set.  Ours was small, too, but it was larger than what we had seen before.  And there was not quite as much snow anymore.  Besides that, you could actually make out most of the people on the shows and actually keep up with what was going on.  That was a big plus at the time.

We had so much company then that we almost had to make appointments for people.  It got so we couldn’t even go to bed on time at night because someone was watching the Dave Garroway Show in our living room.  But it was o.k.   We were young enough to take all that and still keep going.  And we were both working and making enough money to afford all the popcorn and colas and other snacks that we were serving every night.

After that ‘new’ phase passed though, we had less company.  Most of the people decided that this new fangled thing wasn’t so bad after all and they were buying their own sets.

I went to work for a firm of accountants in the early fifties.  None of my bosses had a television set.  But that Christmas, they all got one.  It was the happiest bunch of people I had ever seen.  They were all talking about having the sets delivered to surprise their families and how exciting it was watching their first shows and how the kids were enjoying all the kiddie shows.

At that time, we only had television during the evening hours.  So we all turned on our sets in the late afternoon and watched the test pattern until the shows came on.  Oh, we were really hip at that time!  But it was all a lot of fun.  And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

And speaking of the world.  Our world was never quite the same after that.  Such is life.  Progress, you know.

 





PAY YOURSELF FIRST!

7 09 2011

HI    When I was growing up – and here I go again – my Dad got paid in cash as almost everyone did.  There were no checks as such.  And certainly no checking accounts.  No one had even heard of such a thing.   Not even the banks.

Anyway, when Daddy got paid, he and my mother got all dressed up and went to town.  Daddy always said that was what he worked for – that paycheck – and it was his to do with as he pleased.  I think most people still feel that way.  But doing as you please usually involves a whole bunch of priorities.  But Daddy also always said, he paid himself first because he was the one who had worked for that money.  And that makes a lot of sense to me.  If you pay yourself first, then you at least get to accumulate a little bit of cash to call your own.

Daddy also said he had to pay the house payment the very first bill.  He said you always have to have a place to live.  Without that, you have nothing.  So he made a stop downtown and paid the house payment at the loan company.  Then he and mother drove over to the electric company and paid that bill.  Then it was down the street to the gas company.  After that one was paid, he then made other stops to catch up on all the bills they owed.

After they were through paying the monthly bills, they came home and changed their clothes back into their everyday things.  Then, they went through the cash to see how much they had left.  It was usually a fair amount.  But then mother had to have her allowance which was her grocery money.  And she had to have money in the house in case anyone needed to be paid during the month such as the newspaper boy and the milkman.  So she had a small stack of bills that were hers to do with as she pleased also.  She always had a pretty good grocery allowance and that allowed her to put those good meals on the table.  She was very stingy with that money and made it go just as far as it could possibly go.  For instance when margarine came out in the package, she insisted on scraping every bit of that margarine off the paper and using it.  And I agree with her.  I have done the same thing many a time in my life.

Of course she also had to pay the cleaning bill when she picked up the clothes from the cleaners.  And she paid for the gasoline for the car.  There was always someone or something that needed to be paid.  But first and foremost, Daddy paid himself.  This allowed them to accumulate enough money so that disasters did not happen at our house.  If someone got sick, there was enough money to pay the bill.  Might be tight for awhile, but it was possible.  And if there were any other unexpected expenses that popped up, it was not the end of their world.

Pay yourself first.  Always. No matter if it just $10 or even $5.  Put that money in an account somewhere and pay yourself first.  Then don’t touch it again unless it is really needed.  Not just for fun things.  But for real emergencies.  This is how you gradually accumulate enough money so that you, too, will not be faced with disasters in your life.  When you have accumulated as much as $100 or even $1,000.  you will feel much better about your life.  Give  it a try.

Pay yourself first!





MORE FUN STUFF

6 09 2011

While growing up, my parents told me it was a great honor to get to help with the dishes.  So at the age of 7, on my birthday, I was presented with a dish rag and told this could be my job from now on.  I was so excited and so happy!  Could not believe I would get to do such a wonderful job.  And I got to do that job for about the next 100 years.   My grandmother and I washed the dishes three times a day for years and years and years.  Except when I was in school of course and then I don’t know who dried all that mound of dishes.  I was the official drier.  I got so proficient at the job that I could dry stacks of plates in a matter of seconds, sliding the top one under the bottom one and continuing to dry all the time.  Oh, I was really good!

By the time my children came along, we had what was supposed to be a dishwasher but I’m not sure exactly what it was.  It was installed in the corner of the kitchen cabinet and was small and round.  It supposedly ran on water pressure.  And it seemed to do a pretty good job.  We used that all the time we lived in that particular house.  The house was built in the late 40’s and I suppose this was a brand new invention at the time.  However, it never took off as I have never seen another one anywhere.  I guess all the houses in our subdivision had one, but I don’t remember discussing that with anyone.  Anyway, it washed the dishes and whizzed around and around after dinner each day.  We seemed to have more than our share of vomiting problems during those years, but then everyone did.  Those new viruses seemed to come around pretty often to everyone’s house.  But I have since then wondered if some of ours was because of that hot dog dishwasher.  Never will know of course.

After we moved away from that house, we bought a portable dishwasher which we rolled in and out of the kitchen.  However, the propellor piece that was in the bottom that made the whole machine work did not have a cover over it and soon, a fork was dropped down there and it broke and then it wouldn’t run at all – for awhile – until we scraped together enough money to get it fixed.  After awhile, the lock broke on it and it would not run until the top was locked.  So my two year old daughter was lifted up and sat on top of the dishwasher for us while it ran.  She was very smart for her age and I never worried about her falling off.  She was quite content to sit there and be in the middle of all the commotion in the kitchen and I can still see her sitting there on top of the dishwasher proud as punch with the good job she was doing for us.

We were brok-er and brok-er during those years and could not buy anything new anyway.  We finally had to sell our  home and rent a house because we couldn’t keep our home.  Too much money going out and none coming in for awhile.  We drug that dishwasher with us of course and it ran for another couple of years.  After we got our feet back on the ground again, we moved to a better house which we eventually were able to buy.  There, we got another portable dishwasher and this one never had any problems.  And the lock actually worked too.  No more having someone sit on the top of it.

Next, we moved to a better house with a built in dishwasher.  This one worked beautifully until one of the kids sat on the door one afternoon and that was that.   After that, it was another dishwasher or else.  There were just too many dishes by that time for anyone to wash and dry.  Would have taken hours and hours.  And no one had hours and hours anymore.  Too busy driving cars and running all the time raising all those kids and driving those carpools and trying to prepare meals in between.

Next house had a new dishwasher and it got a run for its money for sure.  Then to this house and another new dishwasher.  So glad.  Just love those dishwashers.  Mine still runs twice a day. My daughter still empties it.  And we live a happy life ever after.