Friday, July 11, 2014

Bucket List Amtrak Adventure

So when I lived in Mississippi my family frequently took the train to New Orleans. The City of New Orleans runs from Chicago to New Orleans and we used to play spoons and eat a picnic lunch on the four hour trip. The very first time I rode "the City" I was in the first grade.  My class went on a field trip from our school in Magnolia, MS to Osyka, MS.  It was only a ten mile trip but I was hooked on trains from that day. That was way before Arlo Guthrie made our train famous.

I boarded a train with my family today...22 hours from Seattle to Sacramento. This trip had been on my bucket list for years and I finally did it.  We flew to Seattle three days ago and visited with my oldest niece. The weather was amazing - not a cloud in the sky for all three days. Took photos at the very first Starbucks. Bought t-shirts at the U of Washington.  Ate lots of seafood and walked many miles which was a good thing because on day two I bought a dozen cupcake minis at Cupcake Royale and the five of us ate every one after lunch.

The Amtrak Coast Starlight was very nice and the service was excellent...sleeper car 1132. A big thanks to our car attendant Paul - he took great care of us.  We had a wine tasting in the afternoon and dinner with white linen tablecloths and napkins. We spent most of our time in the Parlour Car taking photos as we passed through large and small-town America. Which reminded me of my first grade trip and Magnolia...our small town with a famous train running through it.

Lunchtime assault 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flights & Flip Flops

So I am at the gate waiting to board a flight to Seattle....and am totally shocked at the number of people wearing flip flops and heels. Don't get me wrong....I love a beautiful pair of shoes as much as the next goddess but what part of running from a burning aircraft don't you understand? I will absolutely sprint past you in my New Balances while the flames are melting the Havaianas to your feet. Mother of Pearl people! Wear tennis shoes and put on your fashionable footwear after you land. I have been a flight nurse for 16 years and the medical crew receives intensive aviation safety training. This includes emergency egress (also known as "get out the plane is on fire").  Maybe the next new reality show could focus on shoe selection in emergency evacuation situations. I would pay to see that.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Banana Pudding & Fireworks

So nobody out West quite appreciates banana pudding....can I really call this place my home?  A Mississippi July 4th celebration cannot be complete without banana pudding. And not the cooked custard kind with mile-high meringue. A silky smooth Jello pudding cloud loaded with vanilla wafers and bananas that had black spots on the peels - because everybody knows they have the best flavor.  My grandmother was a banana whisperer....she instinctively knew the exact moment a banana would turn from perfect ripeness to a mushy mess.

The recipe my mom is famous for is easy and takes less than five minutes to make because you just dump all the ingredients in one big bowl. Nobody really remembers where her recipe came from but it was served after nearly every Sunday dinner (a meal the rest of the world calls lunch). Her recipe was probably cut out of the newspaper or came from one of those mini cookbooks that kids make at church for Mother's Day gifts - the ones with construction paper covers decorated with crayon drawings and pipe cleaners.  I miss making those almost as much as Sunday dinner after church.

1 large Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding
3 cups whole milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 box vanilla wafers
5 ripe bananas (or however many you like)
8 oz. Cool Whip

Make the pudding according to box directions. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Add the Cool Whip and whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla wafers and fold in bananas. Chill for at least 6 hours. 

Carpe Cupcakes! is 5 years old today...Carpe Independence!

July 4th is Independence Day in the United States...but how our nation started is a story for another blog.  Our nation has been through many changes since the first July 4th, and Carpe Cupcakes! and I have been through a lot of changes since that first post 5 years ago today. And so I am changing the format once again.

So another year on the planet comes to an end I am not sure where my next life adventure will take me....a story told through the batter of cupcakes past and present and cupcakes yet to come.