Jello Eggs

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Every year for the past fifty, I have colored Easter eggs. This year I decided to do something a little different. Jello eggs.

First of all you need an egg mold, which I ordered from Jello. Mine looks a little messy, as I just unmolded the red jello eggs.Photo on 3-30-13 at 2.26 PM Then you whip up a batch of jello. I boiled two cups of water and then stirred in one large raspberry sugar free jello package and one small strawberry sugar free jello package. I added three ice cubes and then poured the liquid into the little holes on top of the mold.

In just a few hours the eggs were just right. Very cute and tasty too.Photo on 3-30-13 at 2.24 PMNext year I may make a few batches in various colors, but for now these will do just fine. They would look cute in an ‘ice’ basket on the table.

To make an ‘ice’ basket, get two bowls that are a set, one a little smaller. Spray the inside of the large bowl and the outside of the smaller bowl with non stick spray. If you want your bowl to be colored instead of clear, simply put a few drops of food coloring in the water.

Fill large plastic bowl half with water, set smaller plastic bowl inside and weigh down with something heavy, like a couple of potatoes or cans of soup. The water will rise up on the sides to the top. If it is not deep enough, add more water. Freeze overnight.

Separate the bowls and you will have an ice bowl. (Pour a little hot water over the outside of the large bowl or inside the smaller bowl to help loosen) If you want to get fancy, you could add a bow and handle using ribbon with wire. Fill with the pretty jello eggs.

And if this sounds like entirely too much trouble, just set them on a pretty plate.

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Vodka Cake

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Today I will tell you how to keep cake from spoiling.

The secret is vodka. Any old kind will do. I buy the big bottle of Whatever is on sale at Longs. Usually I keep vodka in the freezer, but for cooking purposes, this is not necessary.

When you are going to bake a box mix cake, instead of adding water, add vodka and orange juice. If it calls for one cup of water, you could go 50/50 or 60/40.

Your cake will be very moist and stay fresh until you are done with it. If you put it in the refrigerator it will last a loooong time. NO, you do not taste the vodka.

If you are making a chocolate cake and like the flavor of coffee, you could put kahlua or coffee liquor instead of the orange juice.

If you want it more chocolaty, add Bailey’s instead of the juice.

When you are making a lemon cake, add triple sec or Galliano to the orange juice/vodka mixture. Then for a great glaze, mix the orange liquor, vodka, melted butter and powdered sugar. Add some lemon zest and pour over the warm cake.

This frosting WILL taste like a Harvey Wallbanger. In fact this is called a Harvey Wallbanger cake. If you want it to taste more ‘down home’ add a couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds to the lemon cake batter.

For a more sophisticated cake, make a mixture of brown sugar, melted butter, and chopped pecans or walnuts and sprinkle over the top of the cake. This will become the ‘bottom’ when you unmold it from the pan.

Or you can put half the batter in pan, then add nut mixture  (leaving a border on both edges) and then top with the rest of the batter. You will have a nutty center in each slice.

I always use Duncan Hines mix and the bundt cake recipe on the side of the box. Doctored up, of course. Devils Food or Lemon Supreme.

Always use four eggs, half cup oil, one cup of vodka etc., and box of instant pudding (lemon or chocolate/vanilla. This is always a big hit and tastes very home made.

I usually use the regular instant pudding but I have used the sugar free/fat free type and this works OK too.

Nightmares

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The condo I live in has decided that after forty years, the window glass in the two forty story towers needs to be replaced. Last year the ceilings adjoining the windows had be scraped and this involved moving everything within five feet of the edges of our apartment.

Now, a year later, the big day is looming on the horizon. This time is even worse. I have no idea where I am going to move all the items, as my condo is full of collectibles. Worst of all is my sixteen room doll house mansion. It happens to be on a buffet which is two feet from the main windows.

Not only is the one ton buffet with marble slab top going to have to be ‘moved’, but the doll house on top will have to be totally taken apart. The thought of this alone is giving me nightmares.

I lie awake trying to figure out just how to do this. Do I put all the furniture, little dishes and artwork in separate bags per room? What a mess! It took me two years to get it just like it is now. I have one month to figure out how to unassemble it.

Then there is my crystal collection on six glass shelves in front of another window. I will have to pack up all the crystal objects. How? I think laying them on towels and rolling them up, and then putting the towel rolls in suitcases will be the best solution.

Then someone, not me, will have to move the glass shelves.

My kitchen is another big problem. Hanging in front of the kitchen window is a huge steel pot rack. It hangs on chains from the ceiling and it will have to be taken down, along with about thirty pots. Where will this go?

Over my sink are two glass shelves, that each weigh about forty pounds. This is were I keep all my bottles of kitchen oils and sauces.

When the windows are removed the house will become one huge wind tunnel. Everything on every shelf will have to be stored somewhere. My desk with all my papers, my craft department, my entire kitchen will have to be covered with tarps, weighted down or ???

The worst part of this whole ridiculous event, is that no one can be in the condo while this is being done. This means I have to pack for a couple of days, move out into a hotel and then come back and put my house back together again.

We live on the third floor and ocean views are not a big issue. But the higher floors used to have gorgeous ocean views. I say used to. I heard some women talking in the elevator. Evidently their condos had already been converted to the new windows.

Whoever approved the new thicker windows chose them for sound proofing. The thickness and bronze tinting of the glass has spoiled the view. It is not as clear and vivid as before. How stupid is that? A multi million dollar project, which instead of increasing the property value, will probably wind up decreasing the resale value of the prime view condos.

Meanwhile, I am having nightmares about how to prepare for this onslaught. If I begin about one month in advance (next week) and do one shelf or area a day, I will be able to get it ready in one month. In the meantime, my living area will be a mess for over thirty days.

Or if I just do it one week in advance and work about four hours a day, I could do it that way. In any case, I have a few days to decide just what to do.

In the meantime, I will probably continue to have nightmares.

Flight Home

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Never book an airplane flight at 9 a.m. This means you have to be at the airport at 6 a.m. Which means you have to wake up at 4:30 a.m.

Most people in Las Vegas would just stay up all night, rather than go to bed at one or two and get up two or three hours later. Not me.

My grandson was fast asleep at 4:30, let him sleep till 5 a.m. Still fast asleep. Putting socks on a sleeping child is not easy.

When we got to the taxi, he freaked. Where were his stuffed animals? He travels with four, which he has had since birth. My son went back to the rooms and did a search, but came back empty handed.

They must be in the luggage. No, they were not. After several frantic calls to the hotel lost and found from the airport and then when we got back to Honolulu, they were found.

Hooray. But as it was a Friday, they would not go out till Monday and so did not get back to their ‘owner’ until today, Tuesday. Fedex, overnight.

Big reunion. All’s well that ends well. For those of you who think eleven is too old to be so attached to baby toys, I just read an article about how blankies and favorite toys relieve stress.

It also said that 25% of young adults who go off to college take a favorite teddy bear or pillow or blanket with them.

Last Night in Vegas

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Last night. Best for last. Gordon Ramsay Steak House. In the Paris Hotel, where we were staying. What a restaurant!

The restaurant is just off the casino, which appears to be outside, but isn’t. The sky above gives the illusion.photoSteven was wearing his ‘signature’ ear phones and carrying his iPhone in the photo. He is eleven, proud Dad, my son is 54.

The place was packed to the gills. The music was loud, but perfect. Our table was the best in the house. Facing the bar and the kitchen.

The drink menu was on an iPad with video photos of each exotic drink. photo copy 4

Very modern decor, all black and grey with red neon chandeliers.

It was my son and I and my grandson. He has eaten in fine restaurants all over the world and so when we ordered the Tasting Menu, he wanted that also.

Ours came with wine pairings, but his did not. First course was a Scottish quail egg, rolled in pork crumbs. He popped it into his mouth, said it was fabulous and asked the waiter if he could have another one. (Unusual for a child, but earlier in the week, he ordered iced oysters on the half shell.)

My son asked if they would bring him one more and just put it on the bill. In a few moments a platter came to the table with six of these morsels. Each was in it’s own ‘nest’.¬† “Compliments of the manager”.

My son and I each had another, as it was so delicious, and my grandson ate four more.

From there we had beet salad, and then the ‘main course’, Beef Wellington. Pear Tartin was the dessert. Each course was served with a fine wine.

The dinner came with a beautiful bound copy of the menu and a signed photograph of Gordon Ramsay. HK…Hell’s Kitchen.

Very expensive. Usually the symbol for very expensive is $$$$. For this restaurant, I should have to say the symbol would be $$$$$$…

The Blue Man Group

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Day Three: Las Vegas

I had never seen The Blue Man Group and this was the show choice of Steven, my eleven year old grandson. Luckily we did not sit in one of the front rows.Image 5

All the people in the first four rows were given plastic ponchos with hoods to wear during the entire performance. There is lots of noise and banging of drums.

For the finale, huge rolls of toilet paper were shot out of pressure streamers into the audience. Everyone in the front dozen rows was covered in tangles of toilet paper.

Not really my kind of a show, but Steven loved it. Afterwards he got to shake hands and have his picture taken with the lead Blue Man. (note toilet paper on floor) 20130319_173808

David Copperfield!

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St. Patricks Day in Las Vegas.

Day two of my Las Vegas vacation was highlighted by the David Copperfield show at the MGM Grand. If you are living on this planet and do not know who he is, he is the world’s greatest illusionist.

Not your average magician, he is a true wizard. I was visiting Las Vegas with my son and my grandson, which was fitting, as the first time I saw DC was at my son’s 18th birthday party in 1976. (He and my son are the same age, 54)

DC was playing at the Pagoda Hotel here in Honolulu. He was a teenager himself and was already a very accomplished magician. His father had disowned him for pursuing magic as his career and wanted him to get a ‘real’ job.

Over the years I have seen him several times at Caesar’s Palace. This was a very special performance to a packed audience. We sat in the third row and had a totally unobstructed view of him at all times.

He performed dozens of illusions and had everyone in the palm of his hand. One of his more spectacular feats was making a vintage automobile appear on stage in the air, supported by four steel posts. Two seconds earlier, the car wasn’t there.

He had people from the audience holding the posts prior to the automobile appearing. Then he turned the key in the ignition and you could hear the engine roar and see the tires spin.

He chose people from the audience totally by random. He threw huge balls from the stage and they bounced around the crowd. When someone caught one, they were ‘it’. My son caught one of the balls.

He was one of a dozen to go on stage, sit in a chair on a raised platform and then David Copperfield covered the whole group with a parachute type cloth.

When he removed the cloth, all twelve people had disappeared. My grandson looked very worried. But in a few moments all twelve were in the back of the theater, waving to the audience.

He gave each participant an autographed photo of himself and I’m sure my son will never forget the entire experience. Neither will I.

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