Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another party....

Those of you who have been reading along this week know that we have had THREE family birthdays since Wednesday!  So - there have been some good excuses to have a party - or parties - as has been the case here.:-)

The Husband's birthday was Friday, and Muncho Mom and family came to town for a short visit, as well as Country Girl and New Husband.  We enjoyed cake and ice cream with everyone then.

It was Saturday when City Girl came to town.  Her birthday (and mine, also) was on Wednesday, so this was a belated party.  Country Girl and New Husband once again came into town, and we had another party, complete with MORE cake and ice cream!  Thankfully I have already gone for my April Weight Watchers Weigh In, and the May Weigh In will be at least two weeks away.:-)

City Girl's cake, plate "A Proper Tea" designed by Susan Branch for Lenox.

As promised in another post, I am including the recipe for the chocolate frosting that I used on this cake.  I may have posted it earlier when I posted about the Groom's Cake for the wedding, but here it is again.  I have picked up some new followers who may enjoy finding it more quickly here.:-)


1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1# package confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup milk (as needed)
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla

-Combine ingredients, beating with electric mixer until smooth.  Add milk as needed, increasing the amount if frosting is too thick.

This has been City Girl's favorite cake for many years, and it was well-received this time, too.:-)  She will return to her place tomorrow.

Well, it is time for me to begin cooking for the adult day care at church.  That will keep me out of trouble for a day or two.:-)

I see there are new followers!  Thank you so much for joining in and reading along.  I really love reading your comments!

Next post - I will be including a recipe!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another time....

Do you remember the time when we would actually receive a telephone bill in the mailbox?  Just a bill for the telephone - no cable, no Internet, nothing else added on?  And - get this!  We could understand what all the charges were on the bill!! 

Well, it was during that "time" that this recipe came my way.  Our telephone company would include leaflets with recipes and other helpful hints with their bill.  This one sounded like a winner, and it has been enjoyed here ever since - probably the early eighties!

There are no pictures.  I will just have to let you  use your imagination to arrive at an image of how this cake must appear.  It is The Husband's favorite, and since his birthday was yesterday (27th), he was due a special cake as well.


1 package (18 1/2 oz.) butter flavor cake mix
2 cups sugar
1 carton (8-oz.) sour cream
1 package (12-oz.) frozen coconut, thawed (available only in the 6-oz. size at my market)
1 1/2 cup whipped cream (or frozen whipped topping, thawed)

- Prepare cake according to directions, making two 8-inch layers.  Split both layers horizontally after they have cooled.
- Blend together sugar, sour cream, and coconut, and chill.
- Spread all but one cup of the sour cream mixture between the four layers.
- Blend the remaining cup of the mixture with the whipped topping and spread on top and sides of cake. 
- Seal airtight in refrigerator for three days before serving.  Keep refrigerated after cutting.

Now, most of my baking, etc. is done from "scratch," with very few mixes or short cuts, but this is one recipe for which I will use a mix.  It is a really tasty cake, and EVERYONE who was here last night - and again today at lunch - greatly enjoyed it!

Muncho Mom, Macho Man, and the two Munchkins came yesterday around dinnertime, and Country Girl and New Husband joined us a little later.  It was a very merry time as we celebrated our birthdays.  We expect City Girl to arrive later today, and perhaps we will see Country Girl and New Husband again as well as we will celebrate City Girl's birthday.  The Muncho family has had to return home.:(

So - it's off to do that frosting for  City Girl's cake!  I promise there will be a picture of this one - before we eat it all!:-)

I notice I have some new followers!  Thank you so much for joining in with this little blog!  I appreciate you who are reading along and love reading your comments.

Next post - Well, I still need to cover that meal for the Adult Day Care program at our church.  I also think we are due a picture/frosting recipe for a cake.  Stay tuned....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back to the kitchen - again....

On this very day 39 years ago (on my 33rd birthday) our oldest child was born!  She has been a delight through the years!  We feel blessed to have her for a daughter.  So, Happy Birthday to you, City Girl! 

While we won't be seeing her today, we hope she will come at some point during the week-end.  Her favorite cake through the years has been yellow with chocolate frosting.  I haven't asked if that has changed, so that is what I will be baking for her.  I will bake the layers ahead of time and freeze them, then will frost the cake on Saturday, at which point I will hopefully remember to take a picture.:-)
The following recipe is the one I will use for the cake.


2 1/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soft shortening
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs

- Grease and flour desired pans (round layer or oblong).
- Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl.
- Add shortening and milk.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed with mixer or 300 strokes by hand.  Scrape bowl constantly.
- Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat 2  more minutes or 300 strokes, until well blended.
- Pour into chosen pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans; continue cooking on rack.

I have had this recipe in my files for many, many years, having clipped it from an elementary-age Sunday School leaflet!

I will be an "older woman" for only two days as The Husband's birthday comes along on this Friday!  If you've done the math from the clue above, then you know how many candles should be on HIS cake.:-)  We would probably set off the smoke detector if we lit them!:-)

I have noticed some new followers!  Welcome!  I appreciate you for reading.  Your comments are always enjoyed!

Next post - Time for lunch for the Adult Day Care at my church!  More cooking......

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Week....

I certainly had no idea that Earth Week would become so busy that I wouldn't have a chance to post on the blog until this morning!:-)  The Senior Chorus, of which I am a member, had two performances on schedule last week.  Along with bridge, a hair cut appointment, and preparations for a short time out of town, I simply didn't get back to blog!  I went away with good intentions, then landed in a spot without a strong Internet signal.:-(

It was very fitting that Earth Week would arrive, and I would be found already reading "All Creation Sings" by J. Ellsworth Kalas, a past president of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  This is a book that is on the UMW Reading List for this year, and I have set a goal to read as many from that list as possible.

It was also fitting that the brief time away was for a Conference UMW event called Spiritual Enrichment Experience.  With the setting at Lake Junaluska, NC, it is easy to be surrounded by the beauty of God's creation.

Gardens at Inspiration Point.

A cross on the grounds of Inspiration Point.

Some of the gardens and the view beyond.

Sculpture on the grounds of Inspiration Point.

More of the gardens.

The cross is the focal point of Lake Junaluska.

Roses just beginning to bloom.

Gardens near Lambuth Inn.

More gardens outside Lambuth.

Still more....

                                           ....and more.
Lake Junaluska is the official Assembly grounds for the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.  Our UMW event is held there each year, and it is always a good time for spiritual renewal.

It is our thinking that Earth Week initiatives are not limited to just this one week.  We follow many practices here at our house that we hope are contributing to the betterment of the Earth.  I will be mentioning them along in future posts.

I really appreciate those of you who are following along.  Your comments are much enjoyed!

Next post - Back to the kitchen - again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Artistic Salad....

A couple of weeks ago, a local cooking instructor appeared on an local morning television program with the following recipe.  I was inspired to give it a try.

          So - I printed the recipe off the station's website....
....and here we have the recipe for Artistic Salad! 


2 small (3-oz.) pkgs. lime Jell-O
2 cups boiling Sprite
8 ice cubes
1 #2 can crushed pineapple, drained
juice from drained pineapple
1 pkg. Dream Whip
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons flour
cheddar cheese, shredded
pecans, chopped

- Mix first 3 ingredients, then add 1 - #2 can of crushed pineapple (drained).
Save juice from pineapple.  Place Jell-O mixture in a 9 x 13 pan and allow to set until firm.
- Whip together 1 pkg. Dream Whip topping Mix according to directions on the box with 1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese.  Beat until smooth and spread on top of Jell-O mixture when it has set.
- Add enough water to the pineapple juice that you saved to make 1 cup, then add 3/4 cup of sugar and  3 beaten eggs, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 Tablespoons of flour.  Cook until thickened and cool completely.  When cooled spread over the Dream Whip layer.
- Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped pecans.  Refrigerate.

This is really tasty!  I did stir almost continually when making the custard, and there was no problem with lumps at all.

We had some more rain overnight, knocking The Husband out of a golf outing, but good for the garden!  Some cooler temperatures are predicted for us for the next several days.:-) 

Thank you for following along.  I really enjoy your comments.

Next post - Earth Week....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An outing....

As I have mentioned earlier, we were visited last week by Munchomom (one of our daughters), Machoman, and the two Munchkins.  It is always great fun to have them all around!  One afternoon, we went on an outing to an arboretum in a nearby town.  It is a really nice area for exploration, and we could have filled a day walking the trails.  It was not our goal to cover all of it, however, and we kept the walking limited to what the Munchkins would enjoy.

Flowers near the entrance.

Trees and plants along the trail.

More blooming plants.

Still more....

...and even more.

From the Marsh Area.

More from the Marsh Area.

None of us were walking faster than this.:-)

Munchkin was excited to find this, his sister not quite as excited.:-)
It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed stopping for frozen yogurt on the way back home!:-)

Thank you to those of you who are reading along.  I enjoy your comments!

Next post - Artistic Salad

Monday, April 16, 2012


I have mentioned earlier that we were treated to a visit from Munchomom (one of our daughters) and her family for a few days.  One of the things that Machoman and Boy Munchkin enjoyed doing was working with The Husband in the garden.  They seem to love digging in the dirt.

What better dessert after a busy morning in the dirt than Dirt?  This has always brought forth lots of chuckles when I have made it in the past.

                             Complete with worms!
In the above picture, you see that the dessert was presented in a flower pot and 2 smaller pots.  The recipe indicates other items for presentation.  I have also used a sand pail and shovel for serving.  The recipe is one I have had for many years.  It has been printed in several places, but this one comes from a church cookbook.


8-inch plastic flower pot
Garden spade
Tacky plastic flowers
20-oz. Oreo cookies
1/2 stick butter
1 (8-oz.) cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
3 1/2 cups milk
2 small packages instant vanilla pudding
12-oz. Cool Whip

- Crush Oreo cookies; cream butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese.  in another bowl, mix milk and pudding.  mix well, then add Cool Whip.  After mixing, add creamed mixture.  Tape Saran Wrap under the hole in the flower pot.
- Put layer of crushed cookies in pot, then layer of pudding mix and continue to layer with last layer being cookies.  Be sure cookie mix covers all of top to look like "dirt."  Wrap Saran Wrap around some tacky flowers and insert in top of cake.  Ask if anyone wants a spoonful of dirt and serve with garden spatula.

I have made this in previous years using vanilla sandwich cookies and called it "Sand."  The gummy worms always seem to be lots of fun, especially for children.  For a number of years this was City Girl's favorite dessert.   It can be made with a blend of chocolate and vanilla instant pudding, if that seems to be in order.  It was certainly a big hit here over the week-end.:-)

I am happy to report that our potatoes are breaking through the ground.  They were planted on the first Friday in April.

Thank you to the followers.  I really enjoy reading  your comments.

Next post - An outing.... 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One more thing....

The plate as served for the adult day care lunch.
As I mentioned in the previous post, there is one more recipe from the Adult Day Care lunch that I provided the first Tuesday of this month - Baked Salmon Croquettes.  This was the first time I had made this recipe, which comes from the cookbook from the church where Machoman served as associate minister for eight years. 


15 1/2 oz. can pink salmon
1/4 cup butter
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup crushed corn flakes (divided)

- Drain salmon, reserving liquid.  Add enough milk to liquid to measure one cup.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  Add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook one minute, stirring constantly.  Add liquid and continue cooking until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Set aside.
- Remove skin and bones from salmon.  Flake with a fork.  Add lemon juice, 1/2 cup corn flakes, and white sauce, stirring well.  Refrigerate until chilled. 
- Shape into croquettes.  Roll in remaining corn flakes.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes.  Makes 8 servings. 
- These may be made the night before and baked the next day.  Leftover croquettes can be frozen.  To serve, place in a foil pan and place in a hot oven until heated.

I must admit that, although these were good,  I actually prefer my "old standby" recipe for Salmon Patties, which I have used for years.  I have never tried to bake them in the oven, however, and this recipe simplified preparation for as many as 20 people.

Although we have had some slight frosty conditions a couple of mornings this week, everything that was blooming seems to have escaped any damage.  We have had plenty of sunshine, and Machoman, Big Munchkin, and The Husband have worked in the garden.  Several things have been planted/set out, so now all we have to do is wait to see how they respond.  If all goes well, we will have potatoes, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and onions. 

I really appreciate those of you who are following along.  I love reading your comments!

Next post - Dirt....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Back to the kitchen....

Happy Friday 13th to you!  Hopefully none of you are superstitious.:-)

This is a busy day here already.  The men have been working in the garden, and Little Munchkin has been sitting here in the chair with me, catching up on blogs.:-)  The current excitement is a skink found  in our back yard.:-)  It has a red head, so that means it is an adult.  I learn something new everyday when Big Munchkin is around.:-)

Last week, as part of the lunch I prepared for our adult day care at church, I baked English Muffins in a Loaf.  Of course, there are no pictures.  I don't know what I was thinking about that day.:-)  Here is the recipe, though, one I have had in my files for many years.  I believe it came from the yeast package.  What I like about it is that no kneading is required, and the rising time is not lengthy.  I plan to experiment with whole wheat flour the next time I bake it.


5 3/4 cups flour (about)
2 packages yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water

- Measure flour by spooning lightly into cup.  Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda. 
- Heat milk and water to 120 to 130 degrees F.  Add to dry mixture; beat well.  Stir in enough more flour to make a very stiff batter.  Spoon into two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Sprinkle tops with cornmeal.
- Cover; let rise in warm place 45 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees F. for 25 minutes.  Remove from pans immediately and cool.

Now, it would have been good for me to have some of this baked and ready for our company this morning for breakfast.  Instead, we had Ezekiel 4:9 English muffins.   They were good, too.:-)

There is still something left from that lunch that I need to post, so that will be the topic of my next post.  I hope you will follow along!

Thank you to those of you who are staying with following/reading.  I certainly do appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring continues....

Good Wednesday morning to each of you!

As is the case for many, we have had some very unseasonably warm temperatures for several weeks.  There have been many springtime flowers blooming early.  The dogwoods and redbuds have already bloomed at this point, and azaleas are blooming.

As we had feared, we had low temperatures last night, but thankfully no frost.  That may be a different story tonight, though, as the predicted low is near freezing.

The Knock-Out Rose bush is full of buds!

This little lilac bush, set out last year, is really doing great!

Azaleas along a hillside.

White azaleas bursting forth!
The wild blackberries on our property are blooming, and the blueberry bushes are full of those lovely green berries that will be turning blue!  Spring is marching right along.

Thank you so much for following along and leaving your comments.  I love reading them!

Next post - Back to the kitchen!

Monday, April 9, 2012

About those cookies....

                                   Easter eggs?
These are the cookies from yesterday's post.  They were what I prepared for dessert for last Tuesday's lunch for the Adult Day Care at my church.  I placed them in little Easter baggies and included a plain
sugar cookie rabbit made from a recipe I have already featured on the blog - Mother Jones Sugar Cookies.  These particular cookies are really supposed to be flattened by a glass dipped in sugar, as you will be able to see in the recipe.  However, I had the idea of shaping the dough into ovals, then flattened them myself to form something like an egg shape since it was time for Easter.


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup solid shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 (3-ounce) package any flavor fruit gelatin
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Combine sugar, shortening, butter, vanilla, eggs, and dry gelatin.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.  Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls.  Place 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes.
- Makes about five dozen.

These can be made any flavor or color you desire.  I tried several, as you can see.  I was hoping that grape would give a nice pale lilac color, but it came out rather dingy looking, although the flavor was good.

This recipe came from an unmarked newspaper clipping from many years ago.

As we suspected, we will have a taste of the weather we should have been having earlier.  This week's forecast indicates low temperatures nearing that frosty level.  The Husband is prepared to cover what needs to be covered in the garden, but the blueberry bushes, full of blooms, may be in trouble.  Hopefully not.  We may appear to have a backyard full of ghosts come Wednesday morning.:-)

Thank you so much for following along and reading.  I truly enjoy your comments!

Next post - Spring continues....


Sunday, April 8, 2012


It is a beautiful day here today, and it is a glorious Easter!  In our family, Easter is more than bunnies and lambs.  That doesn't mean we don't have a few of those around.

Giving a welcome to all who come to the door.

Presiding in a relaxed manner over all proceedings.

More interest in what's going on.

Taking their station in the middle of the table.  Do you suppose they plan to eat the carrot?

                           Atop the china cabinet.

While all the decor is fun, what really gives Easter meaning for us is being part of the worship service at our church.  We are "Easter people" with faith in the risen Christ.  What marvelous hope that gives all of us!

City Girl came to town yesterday for a brief visit.  Today, the Newly-Weds came to town as well, and we all attended church service together.  A special treat was being able to join the choir at the end of the service to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, a musical selection that both City Girl and I have learned for singing in choirs in the past.  It was really special to be able to sing it again.

                       A selection of cookies for dessert.
This was dessert today - along with some chocolate cake which we had from the recent wedding.  It has been waiting for us in the freezer.

                       Hairdo for Country Girl.
Here is one more wedding-related picture for you.  Country Girl had a friend who worked on her hair, and this is nearing the completion of the session.  It was really lovely.

If you are still "with me," I wish each of you a blessed Easter!  Thank you for following along and reading.  Also, I love reading your comments.

Next post - About those cookies....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back to cooking....

Today is Maundy Thursday, and I will soon be starting the process for Hot Cross Buns.  I will refer you to for my recipe.  She has posted it on her blog, along with some wonderful pictures.  She would love to have you visit.  The recipe is simpler than many I have seen, and what I like about it is that it is made to refrigerate overnight before baking.  That means you are able to have fresh-baked hot cross buns with a minimum of effort the next morning.:-)

For my post, I am including the recipe for Pasta Primavera that I served on Tuesday for our adult day care participants and staff at our church.  This recipe was in a recent issue of Dash, an insert in our newspaper.

You will need these ingredients.

12 oz. package of bow tie pasta
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (10-oz.) bag of frozen Italian-style vegetables
1 cup chicken broth (I used vegetable).
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

- Cook pasta until al dente; drain.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, saute garlic in 2 Tablespoons (I used less) olive oil for 30 seconds.  Add vegetables and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
- Stir in pasta, 2 Tablespoons basil, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Transfer to serving bowl.  Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon basil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
- I need to comment here that I added a large can of crushed tomatoes, simply because of the appeal of pasta with a marinara-appearing sauce.
- Also, I assembled this the day before, without the last amount of cheese on top.  The dish was then heated in the oven at church after sprinkling with the cheese.  It was well-received by the participants, so that was a good thing.  They like pasta with sauce.:-)

Currently, we are having a real downpour of rain.  Our weather information indicates that we are 3 inches above average for this point in the year.  It certainly does make for very wet conditions in the garden!  The Husband feels fortunate that he planted tomatoes today!  We hope it isn't too early, though we are prepared to cover the plants in the event of frost.

There are new followers, and I truly appreciate each of  you!  Thank you for your comments.  I love reading them.

Next post - Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interrupted by spring....

Happy Wednesday to everyone!  Rather than continuing on with recipes today, I am taking a break to show some pictures of spring  around here!

A couple of weeks ago, we headed to my alma mater for a special program and awarding of medallions to new Gold Club members, of which I am one this year! 

These were blooming along the Interstate on our way.

Blueberry bushes already blooming here!

Lovely blooms across the street from us.

Tulips, now all finished.

Our dwarf cherry tree in bloom.

Asparagus from our patch!

The medallion the members of my class will receive this year.
This has been a very warm spring here!  There have been a few record-setting high temperatures, so things have bloomed really early.  I suspect that is the story for many of you.  We hope this doesn't mean an even hotter summer! 

However, The Husband has planted potatoes and corn, with tomatoes waiting until just a bit later - just in case of that chance for late frost.  We also have had some treats from the garden already.

Swiss Chard that "wintered over" and has new growth this spring.

We have enjoyed fresh greens that have new growth, thanks to the mild winter.  So, there have been blessings from our mild winter.:-)

Thank you for following along.  I really appreciate you and enjoy reading your comments.

Next post - Back to cooking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cooking again....

Friends, today is the first Tuesday of the month!  Do you know what that means?  It is time for me to prepare lunch for the adult day care participants and staff of our church!  I have volunteered to provide this service on the first Tuesday of each month!

Today's menu included:  Baked Salmon Croquettes, Company Peas, Pasta Primavera, English Muffin Bread, and Easter cookies.  I forgot to take my camera with me when I left the house this morning, so I don't have a picture showing the plate at church, which had a slice of bread included.  Instead, I am able to show you THIS picture which I was able to plate at home since there were some leftovers.:-)

Lunch leftovers for dinner!

So, the recipe I will share with you tonight is one for Company Peas.  This is a recipe that I have had for around 35 years, one that was brought to a Tasting Party of a twins club event by a fellow mother of twins.

This is what you will need.


4 cups drained peas (I used frozen, lightly cooked).
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 jar chopped pimentos, small or large, depending on  your preference, drained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 Tablespoons butter
Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing mix

- Saute celery, green pepper, and onion in butter for 10 minutes.  Mix with peas, soup, pimento, and water chestnuts.  Pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with no-stick spray.  Spread stuffing mix on top, amount depending on your preference
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned on top.  Eight servings.

At some point I will share some pictures showing spring around here!  I actually do have a bunny or two in the house!  In the next post, however, I will continue with today's lunch recipes.

Thank you so much for following along with my little blog.  I truly appreciate you and love reading your comments.