Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year To You
May every great new day bring you sweet surprises.
A happiness buffet.
Happy New Year to you
And when the new year’s done,
May the next year be even better,
Full of pleasure, joy and fun.

By Joanna Fuchs

The holidays are coming to an end. I love the new year. A new beginning and a fresh start. Posts will be scarce for a while as the new year always brings hope for healthier eating habits and the goodies are put away for only special occasions. I'll be visiting everyone's blogs though checking on what everyone else has done.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jamaican Jungle Bread

This recipe surely does not count as a holiday recipe, but it is something I happened to have the ingredients for and have had in my to-try file for a very long time. I've been slacking this week for something to take to work. I just have not been inspired and running a little short on time this week. Hopefully this will do the trick.


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 8 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 eggs

In a large bowl stir together the first 9 ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix bananas, pineapple, oil and eggs. Add all once to oat mixture. Stir just until liquid is absorbed. Do not overmix. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes until brown. Check center to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Cool in pan.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow in Texas!

A totally crazy week for weather down here this week. We were 72 degrees on Tuesday. A cold front started blowing in on Wednesday and by 5:00 the northern part of our area was starting to see snow flakes. By 10:00 in the evening the front yard was completely covered with snow. A beautiful site. Unfortunately my camera batteries decided to take a siesta and went out. My friends to my rescue though. Knowing I love hearts my friend took a picture of the top of her hot tub with a heart (thank you!) Another friend sent me this beautiful photo from her front porch. (thank you too!) This is such a phenomenon for us. The last time we had snow was in 2004 -- a white Christmas -- but I was living in California at the time and missed it. Before that it was forever since we had seen it. Of course today it was back to close to 60 -- go figure. We get all goofy down here when it snows because it's such a rare treat. I love snow. It's so beautiful.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Butter Pecan Cookies

This week's cookie to take to work were these Butter Pecan Cookies. I've had this recipe for years but had not made these in a long time. They were very well received and not a crumb left.


1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans. Drop dough by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I use a small cookie scoop.) Bake at 375° for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cowboy Cookies

Last year I took cookies to work every week during December for the Christmas holidays. These are my treat to take tomorrow to start the month off. I've been looking through cookbooks today to see what I'll make in the upcoming weeks.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats (not quick)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. In another bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, coconut. Add these to the wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Scoop tablespoon size balls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

100 Things I Love

I've seen a few of the lists on different blogs and I thought I'd do my own list. You would think it is an easy thing to do, but the number 100 takes time to achieve. Anyway, for what it's worth, here are 100 things I love.

1. Fresh sheets
2. The smell of bleach
3. A soft afghan or blankie
4. Cold weather
5. Rainy days
6. Thunderstorms
7. Full moons
8. The smell of freshly mowed grass
9. Christmas tree lights
10. My grandsons laughter
11. Used book stores
12. Libraries
13. The first cup of coffee in the morning
14. Typing
15. Picnics
16. Reality TV
17. Cookbooks
18. Cooking magazines
19. Porches
20. Swings
21. Bubble baths
22. Biscuits
23. Baking
24. E-mail
25. Reading blogs
26. Hearts
27. Parks
28. Trees
29. Candlelight
30. Painted toes
31. Wisteria
32. Purple
33. The feel of cool grass on my bare feet
34. Kisses
35. Palm trees
36. Romance
37. Washington State
38. The cold side of a pillow
39. Turning the clocks back one hour
40. Fireworks
41. Cleaning house
42. Washing dishes
43. Big fluffy clouds
44. Words
45. Word games
46. Music that makes you want to turn up the radio or dance
47 My computer
48. TIVO
49. High speed Internet
50. Honeysuckle
51. Watermelon on a hot day
52. Popsicles
53. Kitchen gadgets
54. Counted cross-stitch
55. Crossword puzzles
56. Pizza
57. The look on my grandson's face when he catches a ball
58. The sound of the wind in the trees
59. Bundt pans
61. Other people's photography
62. Reading
63. Dancing
64. Snow
65. Valentine's day
66. Easter
67. Making birthday cakes
68. Taking treats to work
69. Yanni
70. Rivers
71. Lakes
72. Mountains
73. Ice cold soda pop in glass bottles
74. Bread of any kind
75. Pot luck meals
76. Blogging
77. My friends
78. My family
79. Shaved legs
80. Being in love
81. Dogs
82. Travel
83. Keeping my checkbook balanced
84. Neil Diamond
85. Michael Buble'
86. Christmas music
87. Hugs
88. Ralph Lauren Blue cologne
89. Satellite television
90. Ceiling fans
91. Wind chimes
92. Wildflowers
93. British Columbia
94. Making lists
95. Bargains
96. Upstate New York
97. Good writing pens
98. Being organized
99. Debbie Macomber books
100. Dorothea Benton Frank books

Give it a try. Make your own list. It's fun to think of these things.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Recipes

I don't have to cook a full blown Thanksgiving meal any longer since it is just me at home. I will be taking a few things to add to the Thanksgiving meal at my daughter-in-law's family. Here are few things that have been traditional for our Thanksgiving meal.


Make the following cornbread a day early so it can dry out a little.

3 cups self-rising corn meal
2-1/4 cups self-rising flour
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs

Mix all ingredients together and bake in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted in middle comes clean.

The next day:

Crumble cornbread in a large bowl. Saute 1 large chopped onion, 1/2 stalk celery diced fine in 1 stick of butter until translucent. Add this to the crumbled bread. Add 3 cans of chicken broth (or can use stock if you have it). Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 egg. Mix well. Add salt and pepper, garlic powder and extra sage to taste. Spread in a roasting pan and bake at 400 degrees until brown.


1-1/2 cups rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 large bag frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 large onion chopped
1 stick butter
1 can mushroom soup
1 pound Velveeta cheese
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

To make rice, place rice, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and put on low for 20-25 minutes until rice is done.

In a large dutch oven, saute 1/2 large onion diced fine in 1 stick of butter. Add 1 can of mushroom soup and 1 pound of Velveeta cheese to make a sauce. In the microwave steam the chopped broccoli according to the bag. Add rice and broccoli to the sauce.


2 small packages raspberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 large can crushed pineapple with juice
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add cold water. Add pineapple and cranberry sauce and pecans. Can be put in cupcake liners to make individual molds or one large bowl. Place in refrigerator to set.


1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix all together and pour in unbaked pie shell. Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicken-Stuffed Manicotti

I usually make this dish as chicken-stuffed shells. My grocery store was out of them so I chose manicotti noodles as a replacement. The shells are much easier to stuff and serve, but the filling is still the same.


1 box large shells or manicotti noodles, cooked and drained, rinsed and cooled.
1 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, boiled with seasoning of salt and pepper, garlic powder -- cool and shred
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or make your own if you like)

Mix together everything but the pasta. Stuff shells or manicotti noodles with cheese and chicken mixture. Pour about 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Lay the stuffed shells or noodles down in the pan. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until bubbly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving at Work

We had our Thanksgiving lunch at work on Thursday. Oh my, what a feast we had. There was turkey and ham and all and I mean ALL the trimmings. We were hurting before the day was done. We have had some rough times in the last few months with the hurricane other issues that it was nice to get together and celebrate something and be thankful for what we have. I made a dessert which was a Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe for Carrot Cake Cheesecake. I think it was a winner. I also brought deviled eggs. I made two kinds (the normal, ordinary kind) and another kind that I call 'loaded'.



4 8 oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs

Carrot Cake:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 1/2 ounces can crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside. Prepare carrot cake: In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and nuts. Spread 1 1/2 c. carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9- or 9 1/2" springform pan. Drop cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter by spoonfuls; top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife. Do not marble with a knife. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting. Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting: In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving. Note** This took all of the 65 minutes to bake.


1 dozen eggs boiled and peeled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup spicy mustard
10-12 Spanish olives diced
2 green onions
1/4 cup bacon bits
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Cut the boiled eggs in half and scoop out insides. Add the other ingredients and stir until smooth. Fill eggs. Enjoy.

Thousand Island Dressing

When I was growing up we never had bottled salad dressings. Usually our salads were just a chop salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes dressed with just mayonnaise. Special occasions would mean the glass oil and vinegar set would be on the table. My mom was a waitress all her life and in one of the restaurants she worked they had the best thousand island dressing. My mom would make this on rare occasions, but how we loved it. It has an odd addition of a boiled egg in it, which might put some people off, but it makes it taste just like I remember.


1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cocktail sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 hard boiled egg

Put all ingredients into a mini-chopper or blender. If mixture is too thick, add a little milk or cream to it to make it just the right consistency.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I made pizza on Halloween before the trick or treaters came. I used to use Pillsbury Hot Roll mix for my crust, but decided to try my hand at a home made one. I had saved a crust recipe that I found on the Hillbilly Housewife blog as it didn't use a food processor or big stand mixer (which I do not own believe it or not). I added my usual toppings and it was a good pie.



2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry yeast
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil

In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and yeast. Stir it up to distribute the salt and yeast evenly. Add the water and oil. You may need a spoonful or two more of water if the day is dry. Mix the dough with a wooden spoon until it forms a big ball in the middle of the bowl. It will be a little stiffer than biscuit dough. Knead the dough about 10 or 12 times and then form it into a ball. Place the ball in the center of 16-inch pizza pan, or a 9 by 13-inch rectangular pan. Use your hands and a rolling pin, to press the dough into the pan. The dough will be a medium thickness.

Top the crust with a sauce and toppings of your choice. Bake at 400° for about 15 to 20 minutes. Eat and enjoy. Makes 1 pizza.

These are the toppings I used for this pie:

1 can of tomato sauce (can use tomato paste)
I covered the sauce with about a tablespoon of dried Italian herb blend spice
About 1 teaspoon of garlic powder sprinkled over that
About 1 pound of ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and some finely chopped onions. Cooked and drained. Good to use some Italian sausage also.
About 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can of sliced black olives
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni slices

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is comfort food for sure. It is one of those 'cold weather' foods. We haven't had much cold weather yet but this is worth repeating if it does happen. This has a good basic filling. I think next time I will try puff pastry for the crust for a change.


2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice cold water

Mix flour and salt together. Cut in butter and shortening until well incorporated into dry ingredients. Add ice water. Mix just until just together. Split dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

2 cups boiled chicken, chopped (I used boneless chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup onion, diced fine
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas, steamed for 5 minutes
1 small can carrots, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk

Saute onions and mushrooms in butter. Add flour and stir until no longer white. Stir in broth and milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in chicken, peas, and carrots. Salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out pie dough and place in bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Add filling. Roll out top crust and place over filling. Cut slits in top to let steam escape. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Fall Y'all

Fall really hasn't arrived here, but I can wish. We're still in post hurricane mode. Things are moving along, but everywhere you look there are piles of debris and the landscape has a 'tilt' to it that comes from light poles and signs having been bent by 100 plus mile an hour winds.

Another birthday at work, so I went in search of an apple cake recipe. Prior to reading blogs I read food-related message boards on AOL (still do). Someone recently posted this recipe for an apple cake that looked good.

1 cup oil
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (I did not use this)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups apples peeled, cored, and chopped fine
1 cup chopped and toasted pecans

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan. In large bowl mix oil, sugar and eggs. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and salt. Blend into oil mixture. Fold in apples and pecans. Pour into pan and bake for 55-60 minutes. Remove cake from pan to cool. For icing, bring brown sugar, butter and milk to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Beat with spoon until icing is cool. Icing thickens up as it cools. Drizzle over cake.

Friday, October 17, 2008


You may have noticed a little widget on the left side of my blog titled 'FoodBuzz'. Thanks to Carla over at Chocolate Moosey who gave me an invite to join, I became a member. Here's a snippet from their recent media launch. It's an exciting program and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Check them out!

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the "tastiness" of each piece of content by voting and "buzz" the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.

"Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe," said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc. "

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Citrus Burst Muffins

I had some Craisins that needed to be used up. I looked at the Ocean Spray website and found this recipe. I love the combination of orange with cranberry. Ocean Spray also has a new flavor of Craisins with Orange in them. I haven't tried them yet, but they sound really good.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, optional
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 cup Craisins
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin. Combine flour, both sugars, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Combine milk, orange juice, oil and egg in a separate mixing bowl. Add liquid ingredients to dry, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Stir in Craisins orange zest. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full of batter. Sprinkle tops of muffins with pecans and sugar. (I just stirred in pecans and did not add the sugar). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in muffin tin. Remove muffins from tin; cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Operation Baking Gals

Last month I was surfing blogs and came upon Operation Baking GALS (Give A Little Support). This is a group of bakers dedicated to sending goodies to soldiers serving in Iraq. I'm always looking for a good reason to bake, so thought this would be a great one to get involved with. I missed the first few rounds but asked to be included and got a team this time around. My team is hosted by Stephanie of Mostly Useless Drivel . Our team is Team Daleske and the link will take you to a story about our soldier. Just amazing what the blogosphere will make happen. I'm happy to be a part of this endeavor. I'm sending along my chocolate chip cookies and hope the guys enjoy a little bit of home while they are doing such a brave job of defending our country.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Texas Sheet Cake

Another birthday cake for work. This was the first recipe I ever made on my own. I made it in 8th grade home economics (that's what they called the class in the dark ages -- LOL). I'm not sure how Texas got to be the namesake for this cake, but it's a good one and very easy to make.


2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Mix together the sugar, flour, baking soda and set aside. In a saucepan melt 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Add the melted cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, stirring until you have a smooth, rather thin batter. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

Mix the milk and cocoa in a saucepan. Add the butter and over medium heat stir until the butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the pecans. When the cake is just out of the oven, spread the frosting evenly on the hot cake.

Italian Cream Cake

Before Hurricane Ike made his unwelcome visit we had a couple of birthdays at work. The birthday girl requested this cake, so voila.


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks butter)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
2 cups coconut

For frosting: 8-ounce package cream cheese softened, 1/2 stick butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1-pound box confectioners sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup pecans (toasted)

To make cake layers: Preheat oven to 375°F. and lightly butter and flour three 9 inch round cake pans, knocking out any excess flour.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Into another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture alternating with buttermilk until combined. Add vanilla, coconut, and chopped pecans. Beat egg whites in another bowl until they just hold stiff peaks and fold into batter gently but thoroughly. Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops, and bake about 30 minutes until cake layers test done. Cool cake layers in pans on racks and cool completely.

Make frosting: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, beating until creamy, add coconut and nuts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Recovering From Ike

Thank you to everyone who asked about how I was during and after Hurricane Ike. This picture was taken yesterday on the Causeway to Galveston where many, many boats came up on the highway. Oh my goodness, what a storm that Ike was. I live about 15 miles inland from Galveston and I evacuated into North Houston thinking that would be far enough away. This storm was hard to get away from. I was very fortunate and only lost a big tree in my front yard that thankfully fell the right way and not against my house. I lost most of my fence in the back yard and my pool was very full of debris. I lost power for a week and still do not have Internet access other than dial up (remember how slow that was??) Lots of challenges, but I feel completely blessed in comparison to so many others. Life gets better day by day and improvements are starting to be seen. Still thousands of people without power or water and much rebuilding and cleaning up to do. I haven't had a chance to catch up on everyone's blogs so will have a lot of catching up to do. Take care and hope to have something good to blog about soon.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Swan's Down Whipping Cream Pound Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. My son and daughter-in-law made dinner for me. My daughter-in-law made an amazing chicken parmesan that would rival any Italian restaurant. My son made my birthday cake and it was so good. I've had lots of pound cakes in my life, but I have to say this is the best. It's not overly sweet and the consistency is just awesome. It comes from the Swan's Down Cake flour box. He made it in the Nordic Ware Rose-Shaped bundt pan and it was so pretty. He made the glaze out of whipping cream, lemon zest, butter and powdered sugar. It was great.


3 cups granulated sugar.
3 sticks butter, at room temperature
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups cake flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream butter and sugar with mixer until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding the flour and whipping cream, ending with flour. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased bundt pan, and bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool completely. Glaze or just dust powdered sugar over the cake.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Peach Quick Bread

I froze those wonderful peaches I bought on my trip to the hill country a few weeks ago. When I thawed them out, I didn't realize how 'mushy' they would be. They still tasted wonderful and are just great to eat plain but I don't think they would have worked as well in a cobbler or a pie. So I just made some quick bread.


1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
2 cups fresh peaches pureed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

In a bowl mix sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and peaches. Mix well. Add together the dry ingredients and mix in with the wet mixture. Pour into a greased 9 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Check the middle to make sure it is done.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spinach Pie

This not quite a quiche because it has no eggs in it, but it's a quick little main dish pie to throw together.


1 box Stouffer's Spinach Souffle (thawed)
1/4 stick butter
1/2 large onion chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
6-8 slices Swiss cheese
1 9 inch pie crust (your favorite recipe, a frozen one, or already made)

Saute the onions and mushrooms in butter until soft. Add seasonings. Put about 3-4 slices Swiss cheese to cover the bottom of the pie crust. Add mushroom and onion mixture. Top with 3-4 more slices of Swiss cheese. Spread thawed spinach souffle over top. Bake at 400 degrees until crust is light brown (about 20-25 minutes).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Something New

It's amazing what you find out in the blog world. I had been seeing several blogs that had cute little signatures on their posts. So off I went to Google about it. So I came across this beautiful blog One Child at a Time and I thought what better way than to get a signature and do a good deed?

And then quick as a bunny, my new signature was done by Diana at Custom Blog Designs. Diana donates a portion of all her earnings to Starfish Foster Home for special need orphans in China. I just love the blog world -- it opens so many doors and puts you in touch of some amazing people.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Texas Hill Country Trip

I made a whirlwind trip to Austin, TX this weekend and thought I'd post a few pictures and comments on my trip.

I flew into Austin Friday and arrived around 11:15. My friend was already there that week for conference for her job and picked me up. We drove around a little bit and decided to check into our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Town Lake (Town Lake has been renamed Lady Bird Lake after the late first Lady Bird Johnson). We went up and got settled in our rooms. I had a beautiful room -- with the worst view I think I've ever seen being level with the roof and looking out at the satellite dishes and electrical and air conditioning stuff. I got a great rate and wasn't going to be in the room all that much, so no big deal.

After freshening up and getting settled, we decided to meet downstairs and have some lunch. There was a nice buffet in the hotel so we just decided to eat there.

So we headed out to the surrounding area. We started driving through the hills and came across this cute little bakery which had the most clever name, I thought. It wasn't open, but I grabbed a quick picture of the sign.

The next stop was the Salt Lick -- a barbecue place. We got a few ribs and some coleslaw and potato salad and sat outside and had a little picnic. I took this picture to prove that this restaurant was 'Food Network' approved, as they had a picture of Bobby Flay in the case. The barbecue was not too bad. The sauce was a mustard-based sauce which I do not care for. Also their coleslaw and potato salad are more German and use a lot of vinegar -- a taste I would have to get used to.

Next, we were heading to a little town named Wimberly. We stopped at the Wimberly Pie Company and bought a slice of pie. They had some beautiful pies there. It was a small little place, but I'll just bet they do a great business.

We found ourselves along the Blanco River on a road aptly named River Road. This was such a beautiful road. The river was so low that people were out in the middle having a picnic right in the water! One guy even had his whole tent set up out there. I could have spent a long time here as it was so beautiful and peaceful.

This was one of the prettiest parts of the trip. I could have stayed right there, but we had to make our way back to Austin and to the hotel as we have a concert to attend this evening.

After getting cleaned up we headed out to One World Theater to attend a performance by Ottmar Liebert. This theater was absolutely beautiful. It was up on a hill and was very Spanish looking with lots of wrought iron and stone. There was a 'piazza' where you could sit and have wine or something to eat before climbing the stairs to get into the theater. Just gorgeous. Ottmar Liebert is a German-born Flamenco/Spanish guitar player -- some call his music New Age also. His music is just beautiful and it was my first time to see him perform live, although I've listened to his music for a long time. The performance was just wonderful.

By this time it was almost midnight and we decided to go to Katz Deli as we knew it was open 24 hours. So we we headed downtown. Although it was almost midnight, there were so many people and we couldn't even find a parking spot. It was nice to see the Capital Building all lit up though (thank you to the Austin City website for the photograph), so the trip downtown wasn't a total waste. (I think we have a beautiful Capital Building). We settled on I-Hop for a bite to eat before we headed back to the hotel (not a great experience).

Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel. We did not want breakfast, so we hit the road and headed to Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg is well known for its peaches. We saw many peach stands along the way and stopped at one and bought some things. I had some peach cider which was cold and so refreshing. I had only had apple cider before -- this was so good. I bought some peach butter and some pecans and we headed out once again.

This isn't a peach tree, but it was a nice copse of post oak trees that I thought was so pretty. The post oaks are such pretty trees and there are lots of them along the way.

Back in the car and on to Fredericksburg. Along the way we came upon Wildseed Farms. This is a place that grows wildflowers for seeds that they sell. There are acres and acres of fields. I can only imagine when they are in bloom that it is beautiful. I'll have to go back to see that. There is a market to shop where they sell the seeds and all kinds of food items. It's really a beautiful place. There was a Salsa Festival going on, but we decided to carry on and besides, it was so darn hot, I don't think we could have managed walking around in the sun -- near 100 degrees -- UGH.

Next stop was into Fredericksburg and we stopped for lunch at the Peach Tree Tea Room. This is a beautiful, quaint little tea room that has a beautiful gift shop in it. The owner has several cookbooks she has published. While waiting for our table we shopped and I got a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons (I love hearts). For lunch I ordered a sandwich that was made on home made bread that was full of sunflower seeds and grains. The sandwich was made with herbed mayonnaise, Gruyere cheese, avocado, purple onion, and spinach. It was served with a beautiful house salad. My friend had a spinach quiche with Italian sausage in it and a cup Calabacita soup (which is a cheese soup with green chiles and summer squash). I got a taste and it was very good -- kind of spicy. For dessert we shared a peach crepe. Oh my goodness, this was the best thing we ate on the trip. I tell you, Georgia has nothing on Texas peaches. This crepe was filled with sweetened cream cheese and covered with peaches that had been sugared and a hint of almond extract. Those peaches were the freshest I had ever eaten. A definite five star dessert.

After eating those peaches we definitely had to stop at a peach stand and buy some. I hope I can make something good with them.

Now it was time to begin heading home, but we still had a few stops along the way to make. First up, the ever famous Luckenbach, Texas. Waylon, Willie, and the boys were not there, but I did take an opportunity to take a picture of 'Uptown Luckenbach'. We tried to go to 'Downtown' but it was too crowded and we just drove by.....

Next stop -- San Antonio, Texas. I wanted to go into the Mercado and buy some Mexican vanilla. My friend is the absolute Queen of shopping in the market and knew exactly where I could find it, so she dropped me off while she parked the car. I went right to it and bought it and by the time she came in we made quick go around to a few shops but decided to head home. The market would take several hours, even for the veteran shopper.

My friend does what she has labeled the 'South Texas Barbecue Tour' so along the way we had stop and get barbecue at one more place (this was better than the one at Salt Lick). Luling, Texas. This place -- Central Market -- is a no frills place. You walk in and go to the back and walk in a screen door where the actual pit is -- talk about SMOKE. You order there and they place your meat on freezer paper -- slap a few pieces of white bread on there -- your choice of pickles, jalapenos, and onions and out the door you go to a table to dine. These ribs were amazing. The best I've had.

One final stop across the street from here was a vegetable stand to buy home grown tomatoes, canteloupe, and purple hull peas.

Straight to Houston then to stop and get my car at the airport, unloaded all my treasures, and headed home.

This was a quick trip, but I don't think I could have seen or done more in such a short time. It helps to have a friend who is in the 'transportation business' who is a Road Warrior and has no boundaries when it comes to taking the 'path not taken' and going down any little road you can just to see where it takes you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Another birthday at the office, so I made this cake. I haven't made one of these in a long while.



1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1 large can pineapple rings, drained
Marischino cherries
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk (I always use buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9 x 13 pan melt a stick of butter and sprinkle brown sugar over. Place pineapple rings and put a cherry in the middle of each. Can use some crushed pineapple to fill in the spots if you like.

For the cake: In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream the butter and eggs together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Add vanilla and any remaining crushed pineapple left from the topping. Pour batter over topping. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until center of cake is done. Place a tray over the cake pan and invert.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Potato Salad

After a rainy start to the 4th it cleared off and we were able to celebrate. A good time to make some potato salad to go along with some grilled burgers. Strawberry shortcake and watermelon for later and then some fireworks -- a great 4th of July.


4 very large Idaho baking potatoes
4 green onions
4 boiled eggs
1/2 cup chopped Spanish olives with pimento
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Boil potatoes in skins until a knife goes through them. Set aside and cool. Boil eggs according to your own method. Set aside. In a large bowl, when cooled, peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir. Add chopped eggs. Add green onions and olives. Mix mustard and mayonnaise together and add just a little olive juice to thin it out. Pour over potato mixture and mix well. Refrigerate.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

I haven't taken a treat in to work in a long time. I brought home an empty plate, so I think these went over pretty well.


1-1/2 cups oatmeal (quick cooking or old-fashioned)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking pan (I lined it with foil to make it easier to remove after baking).

To make crust:
In a bowl, combine flour, uncooked oats, 3/4 cup brown sugar and butter. Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1-1/2 cup crumbs for topping. Press remaining crumbs into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

To make filling:
In a bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over crust.

To make topping:
In a bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and cranberry sauce. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool at room temperature. Refrigerate before cutting into squares.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jello Poke Cake

This is an easy cake to make on a hot summer day. No matter how many times I make this cake, it never tastes as good as a friend of mine (who will know who she is when she reads this). Guess something always tastes better when someone else makes it.


1 box yellow or white cake mix
1 small box strawberry Jello (can use any flavor you like)
1 small tub Cool Whip
1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix

Bake cake according to package directions in a 9 x 13 pan. Poke holes in the cake with a fork or with the end of a wooden spoon to make holes. Boil 2 cups of water and dissolve Jello. Pour over cake. Refrigerate 30 minutes or so. Mix dry pudding mix with Cool Whip to make frosting. Frost cake. Refrigerate. You can make the frosting with a large Cool Whip and it will be a bit fluffier -- the smaller one makes more of a dense frosting.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Family Reunion Cakes

We recently had a family reunion and I took a couple of bundt cakes as I had to travel a ways and these would hold up well. This picture is of a coconut pound cake and I also made a hummingbird cake (not pictured).


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla (or can use coconut flavoring)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans (toasted)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs at medium speed until well blended. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla (or coconut flavoring), beating well until well combined. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Gently stir in the coconut and pecans and blend well.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake 60-65 minutes or until tested done.

You can glaze this cake with a glaze made of 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut flavoring. To make the glaze bring the ingredients to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour glaze over cake while it is still warm and in the pan until the syrup has been absorbed before removing from pan.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into a 10-cup bundt pan that has been greased and floured. (Can use 3 layer pans or 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for 9 x 13 or layer pans). Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

This can be frosted with a basic cream cheese frosting if you like.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cooking Magazines

Carla at Chocolate Moosey wrote about receiving a copy of Taste of Home Magazine from me. It seems the only magazines I subscribe to lately are cooking magazines. I think all of Reiman Publications are exceptional - no advertising. I also subscribe to Paula Deen's magazine which I think is one of the most beautiful cooking magazines around and the recipes are very good. I also subscribe to Rachael Ray's magazine which is pretty good and Bon Appetit (which was a free subscription and nice to look at, although I doubt I'd make too many of the recipes. )
Recently I got a postcard for a trial issue of Taste of the South. I'm definitely going to subscribe to this one. I think I'm starting to look at magazines more than cookbooks because of the pictures.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Layered Mocha Brownie Dessert


1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix (or recipe of home made brownies)
1 3/4 cups cold milk
2 (3.3 ounce) packages instant white chocolate pudding mix (I only had chocolate on hand)
4 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons warm water
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee bars, chopped

Either make a pan of home made brownies or prepare brownies according to package directions. Bake and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch cubes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mix until mixture begins to thicken. Dissolve coffee granules in water and stir into pudding mixture. Fold in whipped topping.
(This mixture is thick since you don't use all the milk called for -- kind of like a mousse).

In a glass serving bowl, layer one-third of brownie cubes, one-third of pudding mixture and one-third of candy. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used. Chill 30 minutes in refrigerator before serving.