Amazon is encouraging me to request that those of you who have purchased the Kindle version of Princess on the Porch to please write a review at the end of the book. Thank you to all of you who have done so already.
Just can’t wait any longer, I am ready to celebrate temps falling below 100. And with that celebration comes pumpkins of all sizes and shapes. Peter Pumpkin (aka Randy) is just pacing the floor until I give him the go ahead to begin bringing all the boxes from the garage that store the Fall Trees and pumpkins that are just waiting to have a place in the house.
We have invited some friends over tonight to join us in celebrating It’s Almost Fall! Because I still had some fresh oranges, I decided to make an Orange Cake for dessert after we go to Smash Burger.
Thought I would share how easy it was and how fresh the cake layers taste with substituting orange juice for the water.
One Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix
Mix the cake mix according to directions except substitute half of the water called for with orange juice. I used fresh squeezed, but using orange juice is just fine. I used the zest of one of the oranges and added that to the cake batter. Mix well and pour into 2 (9″) round cake pans. Bake about 24-25 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool and frost with Orange Butter Cream Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting (the CC Frosting was posted yesterday with the Key Lime Cake recipe)
1 stick of softened unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup of Crisco Shortening
5 cups of powdered sugar
1 teas vanilla
zest of an orange
Enough orange juice to make frosting to spreading consistency.
Whip up the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest and the orange juice, (about 1 tables at a time).
Maybe the cake will get Peter in a festive enough mood to start bringing in the boxes!
Just watched Trisha make this cake on her program. It sounds so good and will be perfect for the last weeks of hot weather. The frosting is, of course, cream cheese frosting. So don’t forget the 3 oz box of lime jello at the grocery this weekend.
1 (3 oz) box of lime jello
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teas salt
1 teas baking soda
1 teas baking powder
1 1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 Tables lemon juice
1/2 teas vanilla
5 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350
Mix the lime jello, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder & baking soda in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix oil, orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla and the beaten eggs. Mix well and then pour over the dry ingredients. Beat until batter is smooth and mixed well.
Pour into a 9×13″ greased pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 25-35 minutes or until cake tests done when pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes before turning out on a plate. If you are leaving cake in pan, wait about 5 minutes and then pierce cake with a fork and drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to sink into the cake.
Glaze for Cake
1/2 cup Key Lime Juice (about 25 small key limes or 4 regular size limes)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Mix the key lime juice and powdered sugar and stir until mixture is smooth.
Allow cake to cool completely then frost with Cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 (1 lb) box of powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups)
Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until sugar is well incorporated. Spread over the top and sides of completely cooled cake. (Or the top, if you left it in the pan)
Just put a lemon pound cake in the oven and am waiting for the cupcakes that I made with the left over batter. We sat down to watch AGT and realized that we didn’t have any dessert to eat during the millions of commercials. So while the lemon buttercream frosting sits while the cupcakes finish, I thought I would post this recipe that has so many of the favorite flavor combinations of the dessert world: peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallows.
4 (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
1 1/3 cups butter, softened and divided
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs
2 cups flour, divided
1 teas vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teas baking powder
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups lightly salted roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 350. Microwave chocolate in microwave safe bowl at Medium (50% power) for about 1 1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir until smooth until all chocolate is melted.
Beat 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar at medium speed dwith mixer until ight and fluffy. Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended. Add 1 cup flour, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 13×9″ pan.
Beat peanut butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar at medium speed with mixer until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir together baking powder and remaining 1 cup flour and add to peanut butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended.
Spoon peanut butter mixture over brownie batter; top with remaining brownie batter and swirl together.
Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minu or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows and peanuts immediately after removing so the marshmallows will melt.
Prepare chocolate frosting and drizzle over brownies. Cool completely.
Melt 1/4 cup butter with 3 tables unsweetened cocoa and 3 tables milk in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat an whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar and teas vnilla. Beat until smooth.
What a great recipe to serve at a luncheon (especially at Christmas because of the gorgeous colors) alongside any type of meat, or even combined with a couple of different salads for a beautiful plate of salads. Taken from Frisco Style Magazine, this one caught my eye.
2 red bell peppers
7 oz feta cheese (I will probably use the herb & garlic feta crumbles for extra flavor)
20 cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tables pesto
2 tables water
ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Halve the peppers, cutting right through the stalk. Scoop the seeds out of the cores of the peppers. Brush an oven dish with oil and place the peppers on it. Dice the feta cheese and add it to a bowl with the halved cherry tomatoes. Mix the pesto with the water before adding it and the ground black pepper to the bowl. Stir the mixture before spooning it into the pepper halves. Bake the peppers in the oven for about 15 to 18 minutes or until they bubble and are heated thoroughly.
Taken again from the Gooseberry Recipes, a great pie for the cooler days that will soon be here. Surely, cooler days are coming, right?
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2 unbaked pie shells
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tables flour
1/2 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas nutmeg
1 Tables lemon zest, grated
5 cups Granny Smith applies, peeled and sliced
4 tables butter
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add apples and stir to coat. Turn into one of the pie shells and dot with slices of the butter. Top the pie with the remaining pie crust and cut a 2″ slit in the center of the crust for the air to escape while pie bakes.e ( usually sprinkle a little sugar over the pie crust before putting it in the oven.)
Bake for 10 minutes at 425 and then 30-35 minutes at 375. While the pie is baking, cook the crème sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 tables lemon juice
3 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
In a saucepan, combine eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add cream cheese and sour cram. Take off heat and stir until well combined. Pour over slices of the apple pie when serving.
I just can’t help myself. When I know that Fall is almost here, I start to pull out pumpkin recipes. Today, I even pulled out an orange shirt in honor of the first cool day being just around the corner (probably 40 to 60 days, but we will take it when we can get it). Orange shirt…orange pumpkins! Randy knows what this means. That the time is very near when he will be bringing in the boxes of Fall decorations from the garage. He is so excited! I told him that this year, I will find him a pumpkin t-shirt to get him really in the festive mood for our week of bringing all the pumpkins out. Does life really get any more joyous?
1 egg yolk
1 extra large graham cracker pie crust
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (your preference, I use 3/4, does this really surprise anyone?)
2 eggs, room temperature
15 oz can of pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie filling but just plain pumpkin)
1 1/2 teas cinnamon
1/2 teas ginger
1/4 teas cloves
Garnish: whipped cream and toasted pecan sprinkled over the top, if desired
Beat the egg yolk and brush on the pie crust. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Set crust aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar.. Add the pumpkin and remaining spices and mix until throughly blended. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes or until set.
Cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight (covered after the first couple of hours of cooling)
Top with whipped cream and crushed pecans
This is one of the recipes that I “stole” from Dee’s house, from a Gooseberry Cookbook that she had out. What a great soup and a very easy soup to have on hand during the fall!
1 lb mild Italian sausage, casing removed
1 cup onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
6 cups beef stock
1 (16 oz) can tomatoes, drained and chopped
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teas dried basil leaves * (see below)
2 teas oregano
8 oz cheese tortellini
Brown sausage and remove from skillet. Drain drippings. Add onion and garlic and saute about 5 minutes. Combine the meat, onion and garlic, beef stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini, carrot, green pepper, wine and spices in a large pot. Simmer about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add tortellini. Cook until tender. Serve with the Parmesan cheese and a loaf of hot garlic bread.
During our vacation in California these past 4 weeks, I had time to go through a friends stack of cooking magazines (which is one of my favorite things to do) and ended up taking a armload of them to make copies! So I came home with lots of new recipes that are on my “to make” lists. Thanks Dee for all the new recipes! This one came in a book from Southern Living: New Fall Recipes
1 (2 lb) butternut squash (about 2 cups chopped, which I now see at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores already cubed in a bag)
2 tables olive oil
1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/3 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 cups loosely packed arugula
Preheat oven to 400. Peel and seed butternut squash and cut into 3/4″ cubes. Toss squash with olive oil to coat. Place in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined jelly roll pan. Bake 20 minutes or until squash is just tender and begins to brown. Do not overcook, stirring once after 10 minutes. Cool completely after baking 20 minutes, total.
Toss together cannellini beans and next 3 ingredients with squash in a large bowl. Add the Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing and cover and chill about 2-4 hours. Toss with arugula just before serving.
Whish together 2 tables balsamic vinegar, 1 large shallot, minced. Add 1 teas minced garlic, 1/2 Tables light brown sugar, 1/4 teas sea salt and 1/4 teas seasoned pepper. Gradually add 1/4 cup canola or olive oil in a slow steady stream. Whisking until well blended. This can be made a day ahead and allowed to stand, covered in fridge.
We just returned last night from a month of being in California and Arizona. What a wonderful time we had…but we are back to reality of grocery shopping, washing clothes and going through piles of mail. As we drove through Arizona and New Mexico, we had lots of time to reflect on this past year and a half of living back in Texas and the things that we love about Texas and what we miss about living in California. Of course, we are so thankful to be living near some of our family and precious friends that we missed while living in California. We were excited to come back to Whataburger, Pappadeux and Paciugo! Our home church of Prestonwood has a choir that is makes me feel like I am standing in Heaven and hearing the angels sing. It is nice to be familiar with the area and not have to wonder if we are on the right street for the Driver’s Liscense Dept.
But we were just as excited to drive up to different friends homes out in California, where we enjoyed so many evenings of laughter and fellowship and food, food, food! It was such a blessing to go back to our Sunday School class there in Pasadena and see the people that we love so much and enjoy worshiping together with them. Even after a year and a half, they make us feel like we are still a part of their family. That was a highlight of our trip.
We ate our way through California, Arizona and New Mexico. Of course, we had already sent our list of favorite places that we wanted to go back to while in CA, and everyone there was sweet enough to be sure that we visited each and every place we had listed. Randy told me that if they didn’t want to go to all those places, they should not have ask where we wanted to go while out there. Isn’t he just so precious! So off to New Moon & Panda Inn (the original) for Chinese, Porto’s for the best desserts in Glendale, Guadalupes for Mexican food and Mama Patrillos for one of my favorite salads that is only available during the summer months with awesome pizza and spaghetti. This time I was sure to buy some of their salad dressing to bring home so I could make my own. It is so interesting that when we moved back to Texas, we both couldn’t wait to get back to Tex-Mex food but after we got here, we both realized that we had really begun to like the Mexican food better at Guadalupes. Their sauce was just so good that is poured over all the enchiladas and then sprinkled with cheese and placed into the oven to melt. It oozes into the rice and beans and just creates this masterpiece of Mexican flavor that we haven’t found here. Isn’t it weird that the slogan, “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is so true. When we were out there, I couldn’t wait to get back here to go to Pappadeux and when I am here, I can’t wait to go back to Guadalupes and New Moon. Because of the extreme heat this summer back here in Texas, we took our time coming home. Some friends offered their home while they were gone to their cabin in the Segoia National Forest. So that is exactly what we did. We “house sat” for them for a week. The weather in California that week was just gorgeous so we would sit out on the patio and have our quiet time, our breakfast and even dinner, all the while teasing our family and friends back in Texas with pictures of us being able to sit outside in August, while they were melting here and not venturing outside until after dark, to try to escape the heat.
We were paid back the minute we arrived to see our kids in Phoenix. We were met with a monsoon, our first night there and then the sweltering heat wave of record breaking heat for the next few days. I won’t ever tease about being “so cold sitting out having dinner that I had to go put on a sweater” EVER EVER!!!! We simply melted. I thought for sure that some of the new found pounds that had poured on during our eating tour of California would have melted off, but NO!!!! this morning, when I got on the scales, I had gained weight this last month. Doesn’t it just seem that driving should burn calories? Or having to hold going to the bathroom, when you didn’t stop at the rest stop and have to go another 120 miles before you see any type of road side rest stop out in the desert? I am telling myself that it is the humidity that is making me fat. Out in CA and AZ, where it was so dry that I had to pour coconut oil over my face just to put my make up on, I could easily zip my new capris.
I already texted our friends who we sit by in church every Sunday that they might need to sit in front or behind us as we will need a little more room on the pew this week. I guess that all of our “oh, I just have to go to Panda Inn one more time and go get a Tiramisu from Portos to snack on in the car” caught up with me. All the restaruants which we have found on previous trips in towns that we drive through and “just had to go back to”…the pounds just kept adding up after each stop. These great little cookies from Paradise Bakery in Phoenix….well, how can cookies so small have so many calories? Where do they put the calories when the cookie is that small? That is a Google question I guess for this evening when I am caught up with all the laundry and am having some of the chocolate that my daughter-in-law sent me from Ethel M in Vegas.
All this to say, that after going back and reading this post, it appears that our lives certainly center around food and special places where we love to gather around the table with friends while sharing some amazing food. Our home in California had an artist that had painted this across the end wall of the kitchen. “Alls Well That Ends With a Great Meal”
That is the best way to describe our lives, no matter the town!
The Power of Story
Low Budget Meals and Ideas
Doing Life Together
Donald on Dining in and Out.
Celebrating food and all the joy that comes from creating and eating it.
The Cricket Pages
Recipes, Life Laughs & Hospitality Hints
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
How to cake decoating — cake decorating, Fondant, Buttercream recipe, butter cream recipe, Gum Paste, Recipes, cookie cuttes, molds, wilton food color, Ameri food color rolling pins, matts, boards, cake drums, making boards, sculpting animals, how to make boxed cake taste homemade, what you can add to differnt cake flavor, Tips, Tricks & Techniques Cake Decrating.
All things made with love, from my heart and hands to yours!
A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.
15 Minutes(ish) of Blame - Official Site(ish)
Our Travel Log
A spoonful of inspiration and a dash of creativity
culinary adventures in my little Michigan kitchen
Inspiration and Recipes for Growing Families
Passionate about cooking and baking and love to share.