Fall Is Falling Upon Us Quickly; Tidbit Tuesday

IMG_5833Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that I remembered that Tuesday is posting in bullet points…on Tuesday instead of 3 days later. So maybe all those vitamins are working! Or maybe it is the notes I have plastered all over the house to remind me to Tuesday Bullet Post. Whatever, at least I remembered to look at the reminders and didn’t just past by them, thinking that they were tags that were placed on furniture for which child gets what when they cart us off to the nursing home. But since it is Tuesday, I will stick to my promise and post in bullet points instead of paragraph form, which does make me look oh so hip. Speaking of hips:

1. I have noticed that when I get down on my hands and knees to clean up anything; lets just say that my next Amazon order will include a life alert!

2. This week, everyone around me is talking about getting all their Fall decor out of storage. I purposely have them on speaker phone so Randy can hear them talk about all their decor and how they might be tired of what they have and are going shopping for new items. I give him the look of, “see what a good wife I am? I use mine until the fake pumpkins look like they are ready for pumpkin graveyard and the wreaths are totally withered” He gets the message. One of my dear friends has 3 storage cabinets and an off site storage for all her decor. You know who you are! One of my favorite reminders to him when I want to go get new decor, is telling him that at least we no longer have an off site storage unit and that everything we own is right here so if we don’t buy the 24 roll of paper towels at Costco, there is a little more space under the bathroom cabinet that would fit a few more new Fall items.

3. This brings me to buying Fall decor. We ventured into Big Lots after a recent visit to DSW, down the way. Their pumpkins were arriving and were being put on the shelf as we walked in. After I promised Randy that I would be very selective in my new purchases, he left me alone (which scares him since I carry a credit card with me at all times) with an empty basket as he ventured off to go see if anything in the store interested him, while I mosied on over to the Seasonal aisle. All I can tell you is this, you need to hurry over while they still have a great selection of really pretty fall decorations. As soon as my basket was full, I went looking for Mr. Relax in Any Place He Can Find in a Store. There in the furniture aisle, was my husband on a fake leather couch, with his feet up, pretending that he had a drink in the cup holder. In no uncertain terms, I motioned for him to get up and I made him promise never to even think about bringing one of those home. But if he ever did, to just expect me to put up a velvet painting of Elvis on the wall over it. He quickly got up. Run, don’t walk to Big Lots! But don’t take your husband, they might bring home more than you bargained for. i.e. couches which take up more room than all my boxes full of Christmas decorations!

4. This week showed me that I am my mother. We ran around all day Saturday and got home about 4. After we rested our feet, we began to talk about where to go to dinner. We decided upon Mexican food and I went to get some nicer clothes on when I looked in the mirror and noticed something not quite right. As I looked closer, I realized that all day long, I had been out with a black shirt, black flats, black purse, back earrings and…navy blue shorts! And….Randy had let me out looking like that. I ran back into the living room and said, “do you see anything wrong on me?” He took a moment and said, “uh…you didn’t roll your hair the same way?” Quickly I reminded him that he is suppose to “be his brother’s keeper” and not let me out of the house without earrings or unmatched clothes. He reminded me that there have been occasions when, after being out all day, I look over to him and say, “personally, I wouldn’t have worn that shirt with those pants.” He always ask me why I wait until we get home to tell him that and I tell him I didn’t want to hurt his creative side so early in the day, so I just wait until we get home to hurt it. Isn’t marriage grand?

5. Had bunco at the house last night and served Ice Cream Cake. You need to make this cake. Isn’t it wonderful to have friends and family gather together to visit and eat? That is truly one of the greatest joys of life. Friends, Family and Food….so as we enter the time of year when (soon, hopefully very soon)temps begin to fall and pumpkins are showing up everywhere, don’t wait for Thanksgiving to gather. Make something simple or buy a Marie Calendar’s pie, if you don’t enjoy baking. Make a phone call and have someone over. It will bless you both!

Ice Cream Cake

IMG_5829August…ice cream month! So to celebrate that special time, I made an ice cream cake for bunco tonight. It is so simple, yet so flavorful and yummy! Layers of Klondike bars, intermingled with caramel, hot fudge, and Cool Whip.

4 packages of Klondike bars, (the flavors are up to you, but I use the double chocolate and original ones)

1 pint of cookie dough ice cream (or another flavor if you prefer)

1 (16 oz) container of Cool Whip

1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip

Jar of Hot fudge
jar or salted Caramel

4 sugar cones, broken up into pieces

Maraschino Cherries for topping

Using a deep dish 9×13″ casserole, unwrap 6 Klondike Bars and place them in bottom of dish. Either cut up about 2 more Klondike bars or fill in with some of the pint of cookie dough ice cream to fill in spaces. Microwave (took about 20 seconds) the caramel sauce until you can Drizzle caramel sauce over this layer of ice cream. Cover with the 8 oz of Cool Whip. You will then need a little of the 12 oz container of Cool Whip to completely cover the bars. Then place more of the Klondike Bars to make a second layer. Fill in with cut up Klondike bars or more of the pint of ice cream. Microwave (about 15-20 seconds) the hot fudge until you can drizzle it over the ice cream bars.Finish filling in any empty spots with the cut up Klondike bars or the rest of the pint of ice cream so that you have no empty spaces left. Cover with the rest of the Cool Whip. Top the Cool Whip with drizzling more of the caramel and hot fudge. Crush up 3-4 sugar cones and spread over the top of cake and then top this with maraschino cherries! Cover and freeze until needed. You might want to take the cake out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to soften it a bit before cutting.
Makes 12-15 pieces.

Tuxedo Cake

IMG_5814
We are having company this evening after going out to eat. When I was thinking about what I might bake, this cake came to mind, as it is really one of my favorite cakes. I know I say that about every cake, but really, this is one of my most favorite. It has chocolate frosting, almond flavored vanilla frosting and a gooey chocolate ganache topping that just tops it off beautifully.
All you need to do is make one Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake mix according to directions for the 2 9″ layers. Then make a Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake mix, following the directions for the 9″ layers, giving you 4 layers when you have finished.
Layer the vanilla/chocolate layers one at a time, frosting between them with your favorite chocolate frosting. If you need a good one, there is one of the blog. When you have all 4 layers (chocolate,vanilla, chocolate, vanilla) frost with the almond vanilla frosting, which is as follows.
1/2 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup Crisco Shortening
Heavy Whipping Cream to get to spreading consistency (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup probably)
1-2 teas of almond extract (remember, almond extract is stronger than vanilla so start with 1 teas and taste. If you desire a little more almond flavor, add a little at a time)
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat all ingredients until well blended and of spreading consistency. Frost sides and top of cake. Top with the ganache. I used Martha Stewarts ganache recipe. When it gets to room temperature, spoon over top of cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the cake.
This makes a beautiful presentation!

Tuesday (actually Thursday but I forgot on Tuesday) Tidbits

Why can I not remember that I have said on Tuesday I will post in bullet points? Actually, I was out of town and did not have a minute to sit down and post on Tuesday, so will do that today. We were in California for 13 days, but came home last night. What a wonderful time we had. OK enough paragraphs, here are the bullet points.

1. California ranks in top 3 places I like to visit.

2. Love that i can have my hair cut and colored for $100 and love the experience of visiting a old fashioned salon where there are still hair dryers along the back wall. AND…the stylists always have cookies or candy and there is always coffee or sodas. (Debbie if you are reading this, thank you for putting up with me, and my humor.)Poor Jerry, the guy who does my hair never knows what color I’m going to ask for every time I am in town. I take him brownies to make up for the trouble I cause.

3. Traveled to Doyle Springs where we stay in a house that is built over a waterfall and stream. There is nothing quite like sleeping with an open window that allows you to sleep with the sound of water cascading over rocks. LOVE IT!

4. Found out that I cannot eat homemade ice cream 4 days in a row, steaks, grilled chicken, ice cream pie, Lebanese food, chile rellano casserole, two nights of Panda Inn and not expect to only fit in Moo Moos and maternity pants.

5. Played Hand & Foot with 5 ladies while having lunch. Great laughter and fun playing cards…

6. Went crazy driving down interstate 5 frantically telling Randy we have to turn around and go back so I can take pictures of all the deer I saw on the side of the road. After he let me go on and on about never seeing so many deer out like that so close to the road, he finally tells me that they weren’t real.

7. Learned that I do like British Programs, got hooked on The Crown while staying at a friends house. Even Randy loved the series. Cannot wait until November when the next season begins. Have now watched all 10 episodes.

8. Came home in a mood to bake. So just finished baking a tuxedo cake, my favorite. It will be for dessert tomorrow night when 4 couples come over after we go eat at Singing Pandas. Yes, back to reality. Laundry, trying to decide what to make for dinner…but, was wonderful sleeping in our own bed last night. Nothing quite like being home! We love to go but always wonderful to get home and start planning the next adventure.

Thanks to our precious friends in California who always treat us with love and make us feel so welcomed. One of these days we might need to find new places to stay, I think we stay in the Smith, Duncans and Welches houses more than our own.

Streams of Silence

imageAs i sit on the back porch overlooking the most beautiful waterfall with rocks and majestic sequoia trees, it was just the perfect picture of Gods provision to us when we desire to be in the middle of the stream, with a goal in mind!  As i opened up my devotion book it read, “the law of His God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide” Psa 37:31.  Looking over the railing of our porch, there below were 2 fly fishermen walking the river trying to get above the waterfall! It dawned on me that in their desire to get above the fall, they had a choice to either walk over the slippery rocks in the water which is cold and moving very fast, or they could have climbed out and walked the ground above the water, both paths taking them to the same place…their desired destination! I began to think of my actions and the different paths that i take!!  Yes i sometimes tend to take the path that causes my feet to slide on “slippery rocks” when Gods Word promises me that “obedient-hearted men shall be sustained in every step he takes” (taken from Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith) “the Word of God has never misled a single soul: its plain directions to walk humbly, justly, lovingly, and in the fear of the Lord”.

It is my choice, to spend my days trying to live life without Gods wise council which would take me over slippery rocks without anything to hold onto or be obedient to His will and “walk along the great high road of His providence” * (cheque book of faith)

May I yield to His lead so that even in the days of unsure footing, I know that God will walk with me every step of the way

#CaliforniaDreamin Bullet Points

A couple of months ago I posted that I was going to write the blog each Tuesday in bullet points. Well, I did not do that. My only excuse is I’m old and forgetful. But for some reason today I remembered after several folks reminded me they liked the bullet points. So here we go again.

But first I have to tell you we are in California, absolutely loving our time here.

  1. So awesome that each time we come back here, our friends treat us just like we have never left and are still a part of their lives. (Maybe they don’t have a choice since we show up on their doorsteps with suitcase in hand)
  2. it is so much fun to return to visit our favorite restaurants here and find that they still are just as good as when we left 3 years ago. (Note to self,bring elastic waisted pants next trip)
  3. Love coming to California as a blonde and leaving with red hair! (and gray roots gone)
  4. Helping a sweet friend decorate her new home was such a blessing to me.
  5. Receiving a very special box from Donna, which held her husbands recipes, allowing me the privilege of keeping his memory alive, through recipes which Dave loved to make and eat.
  6. Such a wonderful treat to go back to our church we attended and worship with dear friends!
  7. Just sitting,, chatting, watching  TV and relaxing with special people who have become like family.
  8. Realizing that it is people which make the memories so special, and those special moments of sharing simple pleasures, with those who continue to bless our lives.
  9. Feeling grateful for our time we were able to live here in California and trusting God for what He has planned for us where He now has planted us.
  10. Excited to be heading up to Sequoia National Forest on Thursday with friends to enjoy the beauty and quiet of the mountains.

Cheese Twists

Yesterday while I was baking in the kitchen, I happened to turn on the tv. Pioneer Woman had a whole show focusing on Puff Pastry and using it for appetizers and desserts. I ran (ok, maybe I took the car) to the store and bought a box of the Puff Pastry Sheets and came home and made the cheese straws that I watched her make. They were delicious! We took them to our kids house last night since Jodi was having us over for lasagna. I did change up her recipe just a bit. I added some Italian seasoning and garlic. All of us thought they were so good that I will be making them and serving them with olive tapenade for bunco next month.

1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed (follow directions on box for thawing)

When the sheet is thawed and you are able to unfold it, lay it out on a piece of lightly floured wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the sheet a little to where it becomes a little thinner and larger  rectangle.

Using softened butter or olive oil, (i used butter) spread the butter or oil all over the puff pastry. I sprinkled some garlic powder over the butter. Spread about 1 cup of parmesan cheese over the sheet. Then using about 1 cup cheddar cheese, sprinkle that over the parmesan.  Shake some Italian seasoning over the cheeses. Then using the rolling pin, roll the cheese into the pastry sheet, so that the cheese sticks to the pastry more. Cut the sheet in half vertically, then horizontally until you get 12 strips. Twist each strip and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using an egg wash, (that is just taking an egg, add about 1 table water and stir until egg is blended with water) rub egg wash over the twist with a pastry brush to give the pastry a golden brown color.

Place in a preheated 425 oven for about 12 minutes or until each twist is golden brown.

Place on wire rack to cool and serve along side olive tapenade, or salad sticks or just plain as an appetizer.

 

Blackberry, Browned Butter & Almond Tart

Taken from Southern Living Magazine, this recipe caught my eye and with a sack of blackberries already in the fridge, it sounded too good not to try. It is also one of those rare moments when I have almond flour in the house, which I had purchased to make another batch of french macaroons.

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

8 large egg whites

3 1/4 cups unsifted powdered sugar, plus more for dusing

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 cup plus 1 tables all purpose flour, divided, plus more for pan

1 tables vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 cup fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12 ” round tart pan with removable bottom; place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high and cook, stirring often, until butter releases a nutty aroma and milk solids are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Immediately transfer butter to a bowl; ;cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Beat egg whites with a heavy duty electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add almond flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour; beat on medium low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla bean paste (if you don’t have vanilla paste, add 2 teas vanilla) and browned butter. Beat on medium-low speed until incorporated. Spread batter in prepared pan. Toss blackberries with remaining 1 tablespoon all purpose flour and sprinkle over the batter.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 42-45 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan and cool 30 more minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Squash Casserole

6 Tables unsalted butter, divided

3 lb yellow squash, sliced thick (about 5 medium squash)

1 medium size yellow onion, chopped

2 teas kosher salt, divided

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (8 oz) sour cream

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese

2 oz Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup mayonaise

2 teas chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teas black pepper

2 sleeves round butter crackers (such as Ritz),coarsely crushed

1 oz parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt 3 tables butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion and 1 teas salt; cook stirring often, until squash is just tender until liquid has evaporated, about 10 min.

Transfer mixture to a colander, set over bowl. Drain for 5 min; discard any liquid.

Stir eggs, sour cream ,cheddar, swiss, mayo, thyme, pepper and remaining 1 teas salt in a large bowl.  Gently fold in the squash mixture.  Spoon into lightly greased 11×7″ baking dish.

Microwave remaining 3 tables butter in microwave safe bowl until melted. About 15 seconds. Toss the crackers, parmesan cheese and melted butter until combined. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until crackers are golden brown.

*Taken from Southern Living Magazine

Squash Casserole Memories

Most of you probably remember the squash casserole that showed up at every Pot Luck or Family Reunion. When I received my new Southern Living magazine, I sat down with a glass of tea (sweet of course) and and began to read the new recipes. The back page of each SL is the first place I look. It is always a great story by Rick Bragg, which always takes me back to my dream of living in the deep South and also bringing back so many memories of things we grew up with. This month, he talked about tomato sandwiches. Before you say, “yuck” remember that there was a day when the word”cholesterol”  was not ever mentioned or heard of a sandwich that didn’t include mayonnaise. His story brought back a memory of my Aunt Gladys!…

Years ago, my Aunt Gladys, who lived with us after her husband died, would make herself a mayonnaise spinach sandwich. She was a rather large lady who made all her clothes, because back then, we didn’t have all the stores which had clothes if you were her size.  She  would place one of those mayo spinach sandwiches in each of the two front pockets and head to her room, where she would watch TV and snack on those awful sandwiches.  But I have to hand it to her, she was always the relative who came to my rescue when my mom would get mad at me for something by telling my mom, “now Hope, she didn’t mean to do that and after all, Trudy is so sweet, you can’t get mad at her for dropping that antique dish”.  She would rescue me from any lizard that would get in the house. She was a lady who made everyone laugh. Her personality was as large as she was. If you are wondering how I got off on her, it is because she loved squash casserole and when I began to write the recipe, her face just came to mind as well as her contagious laugh. She has been gone since about 1980 and there are so many things which still bring her to my mind. She gave me my first cookbook, which she collected from her old grocery store in Ardmore, OK. Each week, when she would go buy groceries, they would give her a whole section of the cookbook, which after about 16 weeks, would be compiled to make one complete wonderful cookbook. I wish I still had it. It was one of those huge books that weighed probably 5-8 lbs and I finally gave it away. I still have several more cookbooks that she had given me. One of those is a cookbook that she received from a friend who was a cook at the local school cafeteria. It has recipes in it that are for large groups because it was the recipes that the school used to feed the kids. I love that book. It is wonderful when I am trying to feed a big group of folks. Would have been such a great thing if she could have lived to have seen Princess on The Porch. How fun to think that she would be so excited to know that I completed a cookbook of my own.  It would be so easy to imagine her walking to her room, with the book in hand, already laughing at some of the stories and yelling back at me, “will you make me a brown sugar pound cake to snack on and let’s have squash casserole for dinner.  How does that sound Trudy K?”

Will post the recipe on a separate page so you don’t have to go through the story when you are trying to see the recipe. Got a little carried away today with memories! But isn’t it wonderful to have memories. How they bless our lives!