Vacation fun

This past week was a totally awesome week for me! Many, many thanks to my children for taking me on a mountain get-away week. My fun week started the morning of the 12th when I left my home to go to Devine to my family. The trip was uneventful, with some traffic but not so much that I was miserable. When I got to my son’s home, I found out that it was truly a family vacation, as my youngest grandson and his family were going to be with us also. There were a dozen of us in a gorgeous five-bedroom house located over 5,000 feet up a mountain. The trip up and down took about 30 minutes because of all the curves and also the speed limit of 25mph because of the up or down grade. Monday started out as a “Monday” with the power going off just after full daylight. We managed to get breakfast and everyone dressed, etc. Then it was down the mountain for us, some plans had to be changed as the power was out over the whole area! We were pretty flexible and worked around the problems and had a wonderful time together. That evening, back up the mountain, we were planning an evening of games. My granddaughter looked out the window and told her dad that someone was getting into our car. Turned out the “someone” was a bear who managed to get into and out of the car with no problem, after stealing the Sour Patch candy and a bag of cashews. Of course, all of this was caught on the trail camera my son had set up. Talk about exciting! The rest of the week, we went sightseeing, had a picnic, took a walk around a beautiful little lake, went horseback riding (not me!), my son, his wife and the younger couples with a couple of the small children went hiking to the top of the mountain, and had to be brought back by the bus they use up there, the ski lift was not functioning due to the weather. The weather interfered with our plans several times. On Wednesday night, a different car had a bear visit! This time none of us saw it, because it was the middle of the night, but the camera caught him and we saw it the next day on film. And it also began to rain intermittently, and this was absolutely beautiful, you could see the mountains and suddenly there were no mountains to be seen. Then Friday, when it cleared up for a while, we all went to the ski lift, rode it to the top, which was another 5K up in the air and a truly fun adventure, the view was spectacular, as were most of the ones we were seeing. Part of the group were playing Frisbee golf on the course that is marked off, and the rest were waiting for the zip line to open. I watched most of this from a beautiful deck at the very top of the mountain, yep, I’ve said “awesome” so many times that even though I tried to find a different word, I couldn’t. OK, my times up, I have a meeting at 1:00 and I’m not completely dressed. Next week, I’ll tell you more about my trip! Thanks again family for a wonderful week.
Chocolate Coca Cola® Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 tablespooons Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup Coca Cola®
½ cup buttermilk*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Mix together flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Heat butter, cocoa and Coca Cola® to boiling and pour over flour mixture. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla and marshmallows; stir together until combined. (This makes a rather thin batter, and the marshmallows will float to the top. Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake until cake tests done with a toothpick. * You can use whole milk, just pour about 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice into your measuring cup and add the milk to the ½ cup line, stir to mix and allow to stand a couple of minutes and it will thicken.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly as you make the frosting:
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons Coca Cola®
1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar
1 cup pecans
Place butter, cocoa and Coca Cola in a saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour over sugar, add nuts and beat until creamy. Spread over cake.
Now, for those of you who can’t eat chocolate for whatever reason, here is a chocolate-free version of the Coca Cola® cake.
Chocolate Free Coca Cola® Cake
1 package yellow, butter flavor golden cake mix* (no pudding added type)
1 package (4-oz size) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup flake coconut
1 cup pecans
10-oz Coca Cola®
Grease and flour a 9×13 pan OR grease the bottom of the pan and line it with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Heat oven to 350ºF.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine cake and pudding mix, oil, coconut, pecans Coca Cola® and eggs. Mix well and pour batter into prepared pand. Bake about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from and cool thoroughly before frosting. *This recipe is from when cake mixes were 18.25 ounces. The new ones are 16.25 ounces, so you can add about 3 Tbs. baking mix (i.e. Bisquick or Pioneer Baking Mix) to the cake mix and this will give you about the same amount as the larger box of cake mix would be.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese
1 pound box powdered sugar (sifted)
In small bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together, continue mixing and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until fluffy.