Monday, January 21, 2013

Classic Tomato Soup Cake

My mom has this cookbook called:  'The Back of the Box Gourmet'.  She has had it for a looooong time.  In fact, she's had it so long, that I decided I wanted one of my own and a few years ago, I purchased my own copy.

BUT I CANNOT FIND IT ANYWHERE!  Ugh.   Don't things like that bother you so much?

I had wanted to try this recipe for quite some time.  I borrowed my mom's cookbook the other day and got to work.

Poor lighting? Of course.  Does it still look tempting?  I hope so!

Here is the recipe for 'Classic Tomato Soup Cake:
(I'll include the little diddy from the book as well.)

Sometimes called Tomato Cake or Mystery Cake, the otherwise fairly traditional spice cake gains moisture,a touch of flavor and an attractive reddish-orange color from the can of tomato soup in the batter.  When you think about it, it's no odder that using mayonnaise or salad dressing, now is it?

2         cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3   cups sugar
4         teaspoons baking powder
1         teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2   teaspoons ground allspice
1         teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2      teaspoon ground cloves
1         can (10-3/4 ounces) CAMPBELL'S condensed Tomato Soup
1/2      cup shortening
2         eggs
1/4      cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.  grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.  (I used a bundt.)

2.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients.  With mixer at low speed, beat until well mixed, constantly scraping bowl with rubber spatula.  At high speed, beat 4 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.  Pour into prepared pan(s).

3.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan(s) on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting if desired.  Makes 12 servings.  (I made a half batch of 5 minute frosting on the back of the powdered sugar box.)

5 Minute Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1      lb. box of C&H Pure Cane Powdered Sugar
1/4   cup milk
1      tsp. vanilla extract
1      stick salted butter (softened)

Beat with electric mixer 2 minutes, scraping bowl often.  For thinner consistency add milk a little at a time.  Frosts one 8-inch 2-layer cake.

GILDING THE LILY:  Add 1 cup raisins and/or 1 cup walnuts to the batter.  Frost with vanilla frosting.

**BTW this is soooooo good!**

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spirit Project

Last week, I got an e-mail from Netflix, which is normal, because I have long been a subscriber to their movie and TV show services.  But, this e-mail was different:

I sent along the following information and the photo below:

Name:  Tiffiny

Age: 28

I have been a Netflix subscriber for three years or so.

I am a high school Art teacher and I love working with my students, but sometimes, it is nice to open my mailbox, grab my movie and sit down and relax.  Netflix makes that possible by shipping the movie straight to me, which allows be to be as lazy as I want.  It is even better when my friend and I are catching up on 'True Blood'.  We can be watching disc one on her account and I already have disc two on the way!

I was thinking to myself, "Perhaps they will choose me.  I am hip and cool."  Ha ha.  Well, low and behold, they moved me to the next round.  I then had to make a video and send it along to them on YouTube.  Now, I have a YouTube account, but I signed up for it in 2010 and have never used it for videos.  I had my friend at work film me a few times, but it was really horrible.  I was nervous, even though I was speaking to her and my phone.  Awful, just awful!  That night I filmed my information twice and just decided to send my second video.  Now, I do not think it is great at at all and in fact, I did not think that they would choose me after this.

At this point, I was under the impression that it would be a Netflix commercial or ad.

Here is my awful video:  Tiffiny's Horrible Netflix Video

I was supposed to find out today, if I got the gig, but I found out last night.  

And...  I got the job.  I learned these things today when the casting producer called me:

1.  I was chosen out of thousands of submissions!

2.  It is not going to be a commercial after all.  It is going to be a video, to thank all Netflix employees.  What they choose to do with the material beyond this video, is up to them.  So, it could be part of an ad or something, in the future if THEY so choose.  This in house video will be seen by thousands of Netflix employees.  Crazy!

3.  I get 6 months free on Netflix!

4.  Here is what they said to me in my last e-mail:

Dear Tiffiny,

The Neflix producers loved you!  Please email me your phone number so I can personally call you and discuss filming Saturday and if you're available to come up from Redlands.  


All in all, this is a pretty exciting thing to take part in.  It is my goal to start a side career in commercials this year and this is the first step.

Here's to stepping completely out of my comfort zone!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


So far this year, I have:

1.  Seen the Rose Parade for the first time.  Only took me 28 years!

2.  Hung out with great friends.

3.  Made tinted mason jars.

4.  Started working on a quilt I began 5 years ago.

5.  Visited my good, dear friend Tamara in San Diego and got a bonus hang out with my other good, dear friend Nicki.

6.  Had a fun karaoke night with Tamara.

7.  Rested.

8.  Felt the urge to clean out my portion of the storage unit.

9.  Listened to a lot of music, as always.

10.  Had dance parties in my apartment.

11. Prepared myself to go back to work on Monday.

12.  Organized crafting/ painting/ sewing stuff.

13.  Had fun!!

2013 is off to a great start!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Loving Me Some Josh Groban

Josh Groban...

What can I say?  I have enjoyed his music since he first came out.  I have all of his major records.

For some reason, I just now discovered his great sense of humor and I must say that I quite enjoy it.  If you want some of his classics, check out his first two albums.  If you want a more modern take of his style of music, you will want to check out 'Illuminations' and his new album 'All That Echoes' comes out February 5, 2013.  Not too long of a wait!

Check out his first single from 'All That Echoes':

I really enjoy it and think you will too.

Here is a music video of his that I like:  'If I Walk Away' from Illuminations

I'll post about Josh Groban's Garden and the Find Your Light Foundation later.


NYC/ The Hobbit/ The New Year

I am currently on Winter break from my job and it is just starting to get calm, because last week, I was in NYC with my mom.

Traveling with my mom is always interesting, but always good, in the end.  We didn't have much planned for this trip, in terms of things we just had to see.  My gift to my mom was tickets to see 'Newsies' the Disney musical.  And her bucket list item was tickets to see the 'Rockettes Christmas Spectacular'.

Getting to NYC was not bad, we had no delays due to the weather or anything like that, which was great.

This is what went down.

1.  We landed and went to our hotel and we couldn't check in, because our room wasn't ready.  So, we dropped our bags off and then walked around the city and ended up at the Nederlander theater where we saw the Newsies.  A very good show.  The guys did some great dances and songs.  As an avid Newsies movie fan, I wasn't too excited with how they changed the story line.  Especially, by changing Bill Pullman's character into a woman and making a small love story.  I don't think it really enhanced it as a whole.  Nonetheless, it was pretty exciting!

2.  Christmas Eve.  I am a huge fan of the guys that started the bakery 'Baked' in NYC.  The last time my mom and I were in NYC, we were unable to go to the bakery, to check it out.  So, we made it a point to go there this time around.  The only thing is that they were doing construction on the subway stop that we needed to use, so we got off on one several blocks below that one.  My mom and I were thinking, "We've been to Brooklyn before, there is no reason for us to be concerned about this adventure."  So, we started out our walking journey, using google maps.  It was supposed to take us 31 minutes...

We walked for nearly an hour through some really sketchy parts of Brooklyn.  We passed some crazy people talking to themselves.  For most of the trip, my mom was the only White person around.  My mom was nervous about our current situation, so I walked faster.   I must state, that we did not ever feel threatened, or that our lives were in danger, but being there after dark may have been a different story.  Any way, we finally made it to Red Hook and walked into Baked.  It is a nice little bakery and the service was alright.  I wish the owners were there, they might have appreciated our journey a little more than their workers did.  My mom had an egg nog bar and she really enjoyed it.  I got the salted caramel bar.  It also was pretty good and a pretty big piece.  They are not too expensive either, which was really nice.

Luckily we could catch a bus on the way back, because we had some Rockettes to see.  The Rockettes were great.  They even included what Christmas is all about... being with friends and family, spending time with those who are important to you.  Not getting the newest, latest, and greatest _____.  They even included the Nativity at the end.  It was really great. The venue is fantastic as well.

We ate at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  The waitstaff are Broadway hopefuls and they sing the entire time they work (one to three at a time).

We later met up with one of my students and her family.  What are the chances that we would be in NYC at the same time?  It was pretty cool.  They had just come in from Canada and were hungry, so we took them to the Stardust Diner.  They enjoyed it and we had good conversation.  A neat experience.

3.  We wanted to eat food, so we tried to find a bunch of places we hadn't eaten before.

The Shake Shack-  People try to say it is better than In-N- Out... sorry, never going to happen.

The Redhead - hand made pretzels, with beer cheese!  Soooo goood!

Junior's- Great service, delicious food, not too expensive.

Serendipity 3-  Foot long chili dogs, peanut butter frozen hot chocolate.  Need I say more?

Pershing Square Central Cafe-  Not the best service, but the food was really nice and this was also not pricey at all.

Jekyl and Hyde-  We had eaten here before and enjoyed it.  We were trying to find their bigger location, but it has closed, so we just went back to this location and had another good experience.

Ellen's Stardust Diner-  We had a dinner, a dessert, and a breakfast here.  I think we liked it.  Food= Excellent.

The Hobbit was suggested to me by a friend, because he wanted to see the movie.  So, I decided that I would give it a shot.  I really enjoyed it.  I wasn't too happy with the ending, but I do realize that it is the beginning of the 'Lord of the Rings', so I won't be too upset about that.  I am going to see the movie this week and I am pretty excited about it.

I would suggest that you read the book first, because they are breaking the film into three parts and you might not be motivated to finish if you see the movies first.


2013 has come!  How do you feel?  I got to hang out with a good friend and her husband.  The husband went to a party and I stayed at the apartment with my friend and we just talked and then it was time for the ball to drop.  In the morning we walked a few blocks up to see the Tournament of the Roses Parade.  It was my first time seeing it in person.  I believe it is a five mile course.  Can you imagine carrying a tuba for that long?  Me neither.

After that, I came home and enjoyed the calmness of the new year.  I watched Jurassic Park on vhs and went to bed early.

I hope that your new year is off to a good start as well!