Pound Cake of the Month: Lemon-Lime Pound Cake

IMG_2574This pan started my obsession with pound cakes. Sure, I’ve always enjoyed eating them, and I’d tried making them, but everything changed when I received this pan as a gift from Meghan. Why? Because now I could make a cake that LOOKED like those pictured in Southern Living. No more picking stuck pieces of cake from the pan!

I’ve baked three or fours pound cakes each year since unwrapping this gift, but this year one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to bake a pound cake every month – twelve different recipes. I know that may seem to contradict the resolution to lose five more pounds to reach my final weight lose goal, but I’ve also learned the secrets of freezing cake so there’s no need to eat the whole cake. And of course, I can always share with others.

When the February edition of Southern Living arrived earlier this month, with a Lemon-Lime Pound Cake pictured on the cover, I knew this was more than a subtle reminder to get started on my resolution. So last Sunday I flipped through the magazine, studied the recipe, and made a list of ingredients to pick up after church. The surprise ingredient: lemon-lime soda, I used Sprite.

Lemon-Lime Pound Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used Swans Down cake flour. 3 cups + 6 Tbsp.)
  • 1 cup lemon-lime soft drink (I used Sprite.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat at medium speed 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at at time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon zest and extracts.
  2. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with lemon-lime soft drink, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased (with shortening) and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. (I just sprayed the pan with Baking Pam. That’s why I love this pan!)
  3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil after 45 to 50 minutes to prevent excessive browning. (At 1 hour and 5 minutes, my cake was done! I’ll check at 1 hour next time. I guess my oven cooks hot.)
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove cake from pan to wire rack.
  5. Spoon Lemon-Lime Glaze over warm or room temperature cake.

Lemon-Lime Glaze

Whisk together 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp. lemon zest, 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice in a bowl until blended and smooth. (I used Realemon brand lemon and lime juice instead of squeezing fresh.)

For a thinner glaze stir in an additional 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. at a time, if desired.

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Southern Living posts the recipes featured in their magazine on their website, but you won’t find the Lemon-Lime Pound Cake recipe yet. I did find a recipe for a Red Velvet Marble Pound Cake that may make a future Pound Cake of the Month. I’d also love to try your favorite pound cake recipe…so share!

 

 

FETC Date Night

Image 3It’s been more than fifteen years since my last trip down the aisles of the exhibit hall at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC). In the ’90s, you could find me not only in the exhibit hall, but in the sessions from sunrise to sunset on all three days of the conference learning about the newest technology and how to use it with my students.

Budget cuts not only eliminated conference registration fees, but reduced funds for technology purchases made the annual trip to the Orlando Convention Center impractical. However, last week an email announced free registration for the exhibit hall portion of the conference with access to over 400 vendors including learning lab sessions for the duration of the conference.

The exhibit hall opened at 5:00 on Wednesday, (date night) so John and I both registered for our free exhibit hall passes and planned for an unusual date.

John and Mobi...Eighth Street students will be jealous.
John and Mobi...Eighth Street students will be jealous.

 

Leaving at 3:30, we arrived as the exhibits opened and cruised the aisles looking at the new “must have” products. We dodged all vendors hawking testing, test prep, or test analysis products, eliminating close to half of all displays.

Our first stop: Virco – school furniture. Not only cool chairs for students including ones that rock, but the perfect chair for my treadmill desk, just the right height for use with the desk when I take a break from walking.

 

Student chairs that rock!
Student chairs that rock!
Desk chair for me?
Desk chair for me?

On to Renaissance Learning and a 15 minute presentation on their updated products for both reading and math. Yes, I sat through the presentation just to get a T-shirt.

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Then another T-shirt (with only a 2 minute demo) from Typing Club. I’ll be sharing this website with my students. They desperately need keyboarding practice.

 

Of course, we couldn’t pass up the cool robots, erector sets, or the 3D printer making a model of the Statue of Liberty.

 

The best surprise – Historia, a web based computer game designed to teach World History. Again, my students win since they can access the game FREE this year while it’s still in the testing phase, and then they can provide feedback that will be considered for the final product which rolls out in the fall.

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We came home with two bags full of pens, magnets, stickers, car chargers, T-shirts, and some ideas to use with students…a unique but fun date night.

 

 

Weigh-in Wednesday: January

I’ve been on my own for a month now after faithfully posting my weight loss progress weekly for a year. Since my weight has fluctuated up and then back down two pounds for a month, I decided I better start recording publicly to hold myself accountable.

I earned the 2014 Starting Off on the Right Foot Badge for logging in Lose It, but I haven’t logged consistently and too many excuses have interrupted exercise routines.

The last Wednesday of each month, I’ll be weighing-in and writing about my successes or failures for the month. January should have been much better, but at only a pound heavier than in 2013, I’m sure I’ll get back on track. Back to logging, back to regular exercise, and back to sharing.

After all, it’s nearly time to buy a bathing suit.

 

Florida Spelunking

IMG_2413It’s not necessary to travel a great distance to spend the day as a spelunker. The Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna offers guided tours to visitors providing up close encounters with stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and other limestone formations created by tens of thousands of years of weathering.

Small groups explore the cave in tours lasting about 45 minutes. IMG_2452Led by volunteers, the guides explain both the history and the geology of the caverns.

But the park offers more. Created in the 1930’s as a CCC project, the park’s visitor center houses exhibits on the formation of the cavern, the bats it inhabits, as well as the park’s history.Image

Hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders enjoy a variety of trails as a way to take in the scenery of the park. Don’t miss the Tunnel Trail, but make sure you watch your head as you waddle through the Tunnel Cave!

Other activities available at the park: fishing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, and boating. And believe it or not, the park also has a 9-hole golf course!

Somehow, I missed the Geo-seeking activity. From the park’s website:

GEO-SEEKING

The Florida State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Geotrail is now at www.Geocaching.com. Nine parks were built by the CCC and Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Search for all nine caches and end at the CCC Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park and receive a commemorative geocoin.

Looks like we’ll need a return trip so I can earn that geocoin!

 

Don’t Leave Things on the Roof of Your Car

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This seems to be an epidemic! Just last week we assisted two people who put wallets on the top of their cars and then forgot and drove off.
On Tuesday, while walking in Ocklawaha, we found a wallet laying in the road and after stopping at the owner’s house twice without any luck, we tracked the owner down by going to the county’s student database and finding a student with the same last name and address as the owner of the wallet. Three phone messages later, we finally made contact with the owner who was not aware his wallet was missing. We easily saved him $100 – $50 cash in the wallet, $31.25 replacement cost of a license, and the cost of a new wallet – not to mention the aggravation of cancelling and replacing credit and debit cards.
Then two days later while preparing to turn on 22nd Avenue we encountered a woman backing up because she noticed that her wallet fell off her car. She was lucky to have seen it fall, but she wasn’t lucky enough to have everything stay in the wallet. Money and receipts were blowing in the street and her credit cards scattered in the road. I pulled in the road and stopped to block the traffic so she could gather her things.
We’ve returned two other wallets found in the street in the past. It seems we have a knack for finding these lost items.
You may remember Steven lost his wallet in the same way only a few weeks after his 16th birthday. He too, was lucky that the person who found it returned it, but not before he’d spent hours backtracking in an effort his wallet; and he’d already gone to the DMV and paid for a replacement license by the time his wallet was returned.
Of course, wallets aren’t the only things lost by their owners when left on the roof or bumper of the car. Keys (Sarah, is that how you lost your keys in Tallahassee?), purses, and phones disappear in this way as do numerous cups of coffee. I know I lost a baby bottle I placed on the roof while strapping one of you in the car seat. At least I never put any of you on the roof…something I’ve heard about in the news.
Maybe the solution to this problem is to not go to the car with more in your hands than you can carry. Maybe this is just another example of rushing, in which case slowing down may solve the problem.
Don’t put things on the roof of your car! It’s time consuming, expensive, and frustrating to replace whatever you’ve lost…and since you don’t live in Marion County, you can’t count on us to find the items and return them.
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Mom

So Much to be Thankful For

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

So Much to be Thankful For

So much to be thankful for—                          

            So little to regret.

I gave thanks for

            Life itself;

A touch from someone who loves me;

The joy I feel that is beyond my understanding.

A burst of color across the western sky

As a full moon rises in the east;

Safe flights;

Awareness of truth without knowledge.

I have so much to be thankful for.

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A Wedding in an Airplane Hangar?

Yes, Emily and Brian’s wedding took place at the Apopka Airport in and around a hangar. A common question I’ve heard for the past year, how do you have a wedding in an airplane hangar? Well, the detail pictures are in (thanks to Mike and Ann Studios) so everyone can see how Emily’s vision transformed the hangar into a beautiful venue for a wedding.wpid16863-waters-details_Orlando_Wedding_Photographer_WB23The other question: why an airplane hangar? Is she marrying a pilot? No. Do they skydive? No. What connection do they have to an airport? The only connection to an airplane…Brian proposed on a flight to New York.

So why at an airplane hangar? Food trucks. Since Emily and Brian wanted the reception catered by food trucks, one of the few places willing to accommodate this request was the Apopka Airport. And of course, a hangar provided a space Emily could make their own.wpid16853-waters-details_Orlando_Wedding_Photographer_WB18The ceremony on one side of the hangar and the food trucks on the other made for a unique setting for a unique couple.wpid16855-waters-details_Orlando_Wedding_Photographer_WB19But to really see the details of the airplane hangar venue, you must check out the blog of Mike and Ann Studios. They’ve posted pictures and written about the details created to make an airplane hangar a perfect place for a wedding.wpid16867-waters-details_Orlando_Wedding_Photographer_WB25And when looking at the pictures on Mike and Ann’s site, don’t forget to check out those terrific tassels! Did I mention I made them?

 

 

Undercover Food Critic

yelpI’ve officially joined the ranks of mystery diner providing reviews of meals eaten at any and every restaurant. After relying on Yelp and the advice of other diners, I decided it’s time to return the favor.

Before eating at a restaurant, checking it’s rating and the comments of others has become automatic, especially when away from home.

Yelp reviews led us to Timoti’s Seafood Shak and Tasty’s Fresh Burgers and Fries in Fernandina Beach as well as the McLeod House Bistro in Inverness. And I wish we’d heeded warnings about The Lost Parrot in Mt. Dora, but it looked like a good place to eat…the reviewers know best.

My first two reviews have been posted. I’ve become an undercover food critic. Thanks to all who post to Yelp and help me make decisions. I hope my reviews assist others.

Maybe I've found a use for all those food pictures!
Maybe I’ve found a use for all those food pictures!

Welcome…Don’t Steal the Towels

IMG_2408Upon check in at the Comfort Inn in Marianna, we were greeted by a welcome sign in the bathroom reminding us that if we need an essential toiletry item, we should contact the front desk for assistance. Welcome to Comfort Inn.

But when I turned around I noticed a second sign that’s not so welcoming.

IMG_2409I get the message…don’t steal the towels! This is Comfort Inn. No one wants to buy Comfort Inn towels. John describes their towels as good boat towels…ones he would use to dry the seats on the boat, not ones anyone would buy for personal use. IMG_2412

Sure, there are websites by Hilton and Westin Hotels offering towels, robes, and bedding for sale to their guests, and in fact, our mattress and pillows were purchased from the Doubletree site. What better way to “test drive” a mattress than to sleep on it. After sleeping well on a Doubletree mattress on more than one occassion, we ordered the hotel mattress so we could sleep as well at home as when on vacation.

But this isComfort Inn, and no, I do not agree with your policy. If a towel is missing from this room, check with your housekeeping staff. I did not steal a “boat towel”, and I do not agree to any extra charges for missing linens.

What do you think? Do you find the offer to buy linens offensive or is it just a way to offer a product to guests?

 

Save Our Water

It’s good to see water making headlines. This week the Governor announced he’s putting $55 million in his proposed budget for springs restoration and protection, but the even bigger news comes in the form of an announcement regarding Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign. According to their website:

The Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration is a positive vision to inspire people to work together to create a new water ethic, find solutions to Florida’s water quality and quantity problems and send a clear message to our water managers that the people of Florida demand clean water. Over 150 different civic and environmental groups, and over 300+ citizens got together a few months ago at UCF to help start this campaign. It will take everyone we know to make this reality. We are making history together here, for our lovely state. This will be our legacy. For our future generations. We need clean water now more than ever.IMG_2033

Today a state-wide event will kick-off the campaign at Lake Eola in Orlando. Amazingly, this truly is a non-partisan event with Senator David Simmons (R) and Representative Linda Stewart (D) joining forces to sponsor the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act with the express purpose of  protecting the quality and quantity of water in our springs and aquifer.

A wide variety of organizations have signed on as sponsors of the campaign including Community Business Association of Central Florida, Withlacoochee Area Residents (WAR), Save the Manatee Club, Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society, and the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Join me in supporting the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign. Visit their website to learn more about their efforts, like their Facebook page,  and sign the petition to support protecting Florida’s water. From the petition:

The people of Florida have an inalienable right to:

1. Clean drinking water whether that water is drawn from public sources or private wells.
2. Safe lakes, streams, springs, rivers, canals and coastal waters for swimming and fishing.
3. Protection from water pollution and its effects.
4. Know the sources of pollution that threaten Florida’s waters.
5. Protection from water privatization and its effects.
6. Abundant water for drinking, fishing and recreation.

After all, what’s Florida without water?