Food Archives - 2 Dads with Baggage
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Pistachio Pudding Cake Recipe

Pistachio Pudding Cake Recipe

From my mom’s kitchen comes this incredibly delicious and easy to make Pistachio Pudding Cake recipe. If you like pistachios, this one is for you. I updated it a bit since the recipe is from when I was a kid ( a looooooonnng time ago) but all the goodness is kept intact.

The best thing about this Pistachio Pudding Cake is how moist it is without getting too dense. Trust me, once you make this cake it will be one of your family favorites. I made it when the kids were little, and now they beg for it all the time. It’s officially been elevated to Special Occasion Status!

Ingredients for Pistachio Pudding Cake.

Sometimes I feel a little sheepish taking shortcuts, and then I remember how much time it saves thanks to my friend Betty.

Pistachio Pudding Cake

Ok first of all, do NOT give me a bad time for all the shortcuts in this recipe. Seriously, can’t we all use a little more time in our lives for things other than making cake batter from scratch? Besides, my good old friend Betty Crocker has been looking for a comeback.

Quick Pistachio Pudding Cake recipe

This Pistachio Pudding Cake is so easy and fast to make, you can have it on the table in a couple of hours.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease and flour a tube pan and set aside.

Pistachio Pudding Cake recipe ingredients

I updated Mom’s recipe by adding a roasted/salted pistachio nuts for a little savory and sweet combo.

Mix together:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 2 boxes of pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl for about 2 minutes. Do not overmix or the cake will get turn out tough and dense! (I learned this the hard way, and the first bite practically bent my fork).

Making Pistachio Pudding Cake

Sometimes the kids get into the act, like Ava helping me mix the Pistachio Pudding Cake batter.

Bake for 45 minutes until top is cracking in several places. Remove and cool.

Pistachio Pudding Cake freshly baked

Fresh from the oven, the Pistachio Pudding Cake is cracked on top and delicious inside.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 box pistachio instant pudding mix

Beat ingredients together in a bowl until thick and spreadable. Frost cooled cake and serve with a sprinkle of roasted and salted pistachios for the sweet/salty combination. Or not. We like it both ways.

Pistachio Pudding Cake

My Mom’s recipe for Pistachio Pudding Cake is one for the books.

Honestly, there is not a person I have served this to that isn’t surprised when they taste this delicious cake. See for yourself!

Dean and Anne Bailey 1974

My Mom and Pop on their wedding anniversary in 1974, about the time this cake recipe was brought on to the scene. Get a load of that pantsuit, but man was Anne Bailey a great cook!




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Making Christmas Dinner for Homeless People

Making Christmas Dinner for Homeless People

On Christmas Eve this year, we volunteered to help make Christmas dinner for several homeless service providers with a fantastic group in San Diego called Just Call Us Volunteers. It was a rewarding experience, and one we won’t soon forget.

Prepping meals for the homeless and a little nervous about playing with knives Prepping meals for the homeless and a little nervous about playing with knives

Whenever we can, Triton and I try to make sure our girls have a proper perspective on our fortunate lives. We have a roof over our heads, beds to sleep in and plenty of food to eat whenever we want it. So many people in the world cannot count on these things that we sometimes take for granted.

When my friend Julie Darling asked if we would like to help, we said YES right away! Little did we know we would be assisting in the kitchen with some of our area’s greatest chefs, including Hanis Cavin who is famous for his wildly successful Carnitas Snack Shack restaurants around town. All in all, there were seven professional chefs in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, so we just shut up and followed their lead. Who knows? Maybe we learned a few kitchen tricks in the process!

We seasoned turkey and popped it into the oven. (It was hilarious to see the girls handle raw poultry – their grimaces told a thousand stories).

Chef Hannis gives instruction on the proper seasoning of turkey Chef Hannis gives instruction on the proper seasoning of turkey

We peeled and cut sweet potatoes that would soon be layered with brown sugar and marshmellows. (We dads looked on nervously as the girls handled the sharpest kitchen knives).

We even prepped the marshmellows.

Every wonder how many marshmellows are needed to feed 300 people? Yeah, a lot. Every wonder how many marshmellows are needed to feed 300 people? A lot.

But the best part was knowing we helped make some delicious meals for people currently at organizations like San Diego Center for Children, Rachel’s Womens Center and Alpha Square.

It felt good, and we’re already planning to go back and help again soon.

The kitchen ran a smooth and professional operation The kitchen ran a smooth and professional operation

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Mexican Paletas Are So Darn Good

Mexican Paletas Are So Darn Good

There is something about the flavors of Mexican paletas (popsicles) that makes them both exotic and delicious. In fact, the flavor options have American varieties beat hands down. On a recent visit to Mexico, we felt it our obligation to sample several of these delicious icy fruit pops on a stick.

Paletas in Mexico A plethora of Mexican paletas ready for sampling (photo courtesy of


I mean, who wants a boring old Missile when you can slurp on one of these favorites:

  • mango with chile
  • cucumber with chile
  • creamy pistachio
  • chunky pineapple
  • coconut milk
  • dulce de leche
  • Mexican chocolate
  • watermelon
  • tamarind
  • lime
  • jamaica (hibiscus flower)

Paletería in Huatulco, Mexico Making tough choices in the Mexican paletería

There are literally dozens of other flavors we have yet to try. Back home in San Diego, a local paletería called Viva Pops caught our eyes at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market one Saturday morning. They do make a very delicious salted caramel paleta, yet still our family likes the traditional Mexican ones better.

Guess we’ll just have to travel back to Mexico to keep sampling all the favorites! Oh darn.

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The Dance of the Summer Camps

The Dance of the Summer Camps

During summers, we try to keep the girls entertained, out of trouble and away from staring at their various screens by booking them into summer camps. Over the years, we’ve tried Campfire Girls’ Camp Cahito to explore nature and the great outdoors, science camp at the Natural History Museum, the call of the wild at San Diego Zoo camp, and water sports at Mission Bay Aquatic Center to learn how to sail, kayak and water ski. For those of you parents out there, you know this is as The Dance of the Summer Camps.

The Dance of the Summer Camps starts around March, the angst of choosing camps you predict they might enjoy – months from now. Hurry to sign up, the websites scold, or there might not be a place for your child during the week you really want. We’ve done sewing camp, art camp, theater camp, museum camp, yoga camp, camping camp – you name it, and we’ve tried it.

I even know parents who build complicated excel spreadsheets to manage camp schedules for their kids, tracking calendars against camp bookings, times for drop-off and pick-up, even best friends whose schedules have been consulted to coincide with yours in an effort to keep kids in camps together. The carpooling and ride sharing is enough to make your head spin.

So when we found sleep-away camp options at the YMCA, we jumped at the chance to book both our girls for the same week. Plus, the added bonus of Triton and I having a quiet, kidless week was something else to look forward to. While booking camp in one browser window, I was already clicking through another to OpenTable, arranging dinners at trendy new restaurants each night.

Ava learns the fine equestrian arts at Camp Raintree in Julian, CA Ava learns the fine equestrian arts at Camp Raintree in Julian, CA

Horseback riding camp for a week was fun for a couple of summers, and then it got a little old. But Camp Surf at the beach for a week? Ava and Sophia couldn’t wait to go each year!

Sophia learns to ply the waves at YMCA Surf Camp in Imperial Beach, CA Sophia learns to ply the waves at YMCA Surf Camp in Imperial Beach, CA

At least Ava couldn’t wait. Evidently Sophia could, and did. After much consternation and negotiation, Sophia cancelled her plans for surfing camp this year. Ava was still excited to go, along with her BFF. But what to do with Sophia?

And like a call from the heavens, one of Sophia’s besties called to ask if she would like to go with her and her dad to Hawaii for a week. WOW – Hawaiian vacation with her friend for a week!?! Just like that – both girls gone the same week, as originally planned.

I scrambled to get those dinner reservations uncancelled. Brian Malarkey, here we come!

Our fav new foodie hang, Herb & Wood Our fav new foodie hang, Herb & Wood by Top Chef-famed Brian Malarkey and partner Chris Puffer