Archive for August, 2009

Mandarin Orange Cake

This is a great summertime dessert!  The fresh citrus taste of the mandarin oranges in the cake work great with the cool creamy pineapple topping.  It also makes a great pot-luck dessert.  There are usually no leftovers!

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

11 oz mandarin oranges, undrained

4 eggs

20 oz crushed pineapple, undrained

4 serving size vanilla instant pudding mix

1 cup Cool Whip


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom only of a 13×9” baking dish.  In a large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, oranges (with juice), and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour into pan.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.


To make the pineapple frosting, stir together pineapple (with juice) and dry pudding mix.  Gently fold in the whipped topping, then spread on the cake.  Store in the refrigerator.

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Wordless Wednesday




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It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

Oh, wait…it is a BIRD!  About an hour ago, I heard loud squawks outside.  I was still about half asleep and thought I must be dreaming.  C came in and said you have to see this.  Sure enough, there had been squawking and C had found the source. 

A gaggle of Canadian geese had flown low over the house and landed in a freshly seeded field across the road.  Sorry, C’s Dad!  It had just been seeded yesterday! How’s that for timing?


Yesterday afternoon was very productive around here.  C & I put lights and edging in the landscaping in front of the garage.  Only about 13 more lights to go around the porch and down the retaining wall!  C’s dad also leveled out the 3 piles of dirt that we acquired back in the spring.  Thanks again!  It all looks so much better!

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After all this and cooking supper and washing dishes, we called it a night.


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Banana Pancakes

Last Saturday night, I had no idea what to fix for supper.  I didn’t want take out, but the cupboard was pretty bare at home.  That afternoon I was catching up on a little blog reading and found this recipe.  Thank you, www.mybakingaddiction.com!  You saved C & I from a boring supper.  Just about every time I cook pancakes, I burn the first one, but not with these beauties.  Every one of them were perfect!  I even had a few left over for breakfast the next morning.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 shakes of cinnamon (or a little more if you like)

1/2 tsp vanilla


Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.


In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil, vanilla and bananas.


For some reason, this part of the batter looked a little gross to me, but don’t worry.  It all turns out great in the end.

Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.  As Alton Brown says, we are using the muffin method.


Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.  I was lucky enough to receive an electric griddle for Christmas a couple of years ago.  Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake.


Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides and serve hot.  Oh, and add as much butter and syrup as you can stand!

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Le Creuset

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Wordless Wednesday



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C & I love to eat at The Great Steak and Potato Company.  This is my first effort to make a steak sandwich similar to theirs.  My recipe was based on one from the Alton Brown show “Good Eats” on the Food Network which is my favorite show on that channel.  Mister Brown’s recipe Chain of Bull Cheese Steaks looked so good, I tried the recipe.

I could not find the exact cut of beef that he used, so sirloin was used as a substitute.  The steak should have been pounded thinner, but the taste was still pretty good for a first try.  C said that it was really good for a first try.  The fries were my own concoction, and one of C’s favorites.  I have to tell on myself…the recipe said to toss the meat with the olive oil before putting it in the hot pan.  You will see below.  Forgetting that olive oil has a very low smoke point, I poured the oil in the pan while it was heating.  I set off 2 smoke detectors with this, so I told C that I was going to name these “Two Alarm Steak Sandwiches”!  Ha, ha! Remember, this is not the exact Alton Brown recipe.  His was used for a basic guidelines, so this will be different.

Let’s make the sandwiches first.

For 2 sandwiches:

appr. 1/2 lb sirloin steak (the package I bought had .62 lbs which was fine)

1 tsp olive oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 hoagie rolls

4 slices provolone cheese


Remove the beef from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat a skillet over high heat.  Lightly pound the steak until it is an even thickness throughout, the thinner the better.


Toss the meat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to your taste.


Once the pan is hot, place the steak in the pan and sear on both sides until cooked through, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove the steak from the pan and wrap in aluminum foil to rest for 5-10 minutes.

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Slice the beef into small pieces and divide evenly between the 2 hoagie rolls.  Pour any juice from the meat onto the hoagie as well.  Top the meat with cheese and wrap in aluminum foil.  Place in a warm oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  My oven was still warm from cooking the oven-baked fries.




Seasoned Oven-Baked Fries

3 Idaho potatoes

2 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp seasoning salt

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch sticks and place in a bowl.  Add oil, seasoning salt, salt & pepper to the potatoes and toss to coat.

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Spread potatoes on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.


Bake for 10 minutes, stir fries, and bake for 10 more minutes.  Broil for 2 additional minutes to get a crunchy fry.  Serve with steak sandwiches and enjoy!

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Chocolate Syrup Cake

For chocaholics like me, I’m not sure if there is any better smell than this cake when it is baking.  It is like you have stepped into a chocolate dream!  This is one easy, awesome chocolate cake recipe.  ENJOY!!!

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 lb. can chocolate syrup

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13×9” glass baking dish with the butter wrapper.  Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs one at a time.


Pour in the chocolate syrup and vanilla.  Then add the flour and baking powder.

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Pour in the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.


1 stick butter, softened

6 tbsp milk

4 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 lb powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer.


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Wordless Wednesday


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I just picked 17 more ripe strawberries off of the 25 Tribute plants that I have and there are many more to come!  I highly recommend these!!!

Order yours next spring from Miller’s Nurseries at www.millernurseries.com.

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Let’s Hear It For…

I have tried several new products this year and have had some good luck and bad luck.  Today is all about the good luck!  I love strawberries, but have trouble eating the ones in the grocery store because of some preservative that is used on them.  I swell up like crazy when I try to eat them, but I can eat all of the home-grown ones I can find.

I usually buy 1 or 2 gallons to freeze, and still did that this year as well, but I also wanted fresh ones to eat throughout the summer.  I decided to grow a few of my own.  My mom recommended Miller Nurseries, a mail order company specializing in fruit plants and trees.  What a success!

I ordered 25 Tribute strawberry plants and planted them on May 13th.  Tributes are ever bearing strawberries with perfectly shaped, strongly-flavored bright red berries.  Just in the last 2 days, I have harvested 24 berries, with many more green ones on the plants.  I have also potted several of the runners to make new plants.  I highly recommend these berries!


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Also, this spring, C & I decided to install 4 rain barrels in the back yard.  First, we ordered a set of 2 English-style rain barrels from Gardener’s Supply Company.  There was a special deal for 2 barrels and a free linking kit to hook them together.  We liked the first two so well, we ordered two more.  We have had more rain than usual this summer, so the barrels stay full and we have not had to use one drop of “city” water on our plants.  I think it shows, too. 


If you are in the market for strawberry plants or rain barrels, in my opinion you can’t go wrong with these!  Happy gardening!

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