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Something new


It seems like several times a week as I take inventory of what's on hand in the refrigerator or freezer I discover various odds and ends that need to be used. Earlier this summer I discovered another recipe which uses a half block of cream cheese. The recipe was for a regional staple: Pimento Cheese. (Not all recipes call for cream cheese, and some people may be horrified at the thought.)

We did not eat Pimento Cheese when I was growing up in Ohio. I don't actually remember the first time that I tried it, but I do remember a friend in grad school who had just gotten married who was greatly relieved as a newlywed when her groom told her that she didn't need to plan lunches for him because he could "just eat a pimento cheese sandwich", as he had undoubtedly done while living with his parents or on his own.

I heard on the news last spring that Pimento Cheese sandwiches are sold every year at the Masters' golf tournament in Augusta, GA. Their version contains several types of cheese, including blue cheese. Here's an interesting article about it.

We went to a Farmer's Market this summer where a vendor sold several varieties of Pimento Cheese; some without pimentos, some made with smoked cheeses, and some with caramelized onions. I think the beauty of these spreads is that you can customize them to your taste preference.

Here are the ingredients for the recipe that I have been using, followed by the recipe:

Pimento Cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
dash paprika
2 oz. pimentoes, drained

Mix in a food processor the cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, and paprika. Then add the drained pimentos and pulse briefly. Chill before serving. If this seems to stiff after chilling stir in a little milk.

Rob likes to eat this on crackers or as a dip for vegetables. My favorite way to eat this is on a slice of whole wheat toast. It is good as a sandwich by itself or in combination with ham. I often make ham and pimento cheese sandwiches on a bun for Sunday night after church. I wrap each sandwich in foil and then put them in the crockpot right before we leave for church. They are nicely toasted by the time we get home.

My latest dilemma is what to do with all those cute little empty jars. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you like Pimento Cheese? What's your favorite way to eat it?

Becka

Kansas


My husband drove through Kansas last summer with a friend hauling a U-Haul trailer and they had to drive somewhat slowly on a very windy day and they also encountered a blinding dust storm. As a result he didn't have a very fond remembrance of the state.

We did spend quite a few hours travelling through Kansas on our trips this summer. Fortunately the weather was nice and there were no storms. I rather enjoyed seeing the vast fields of wheat and the many, many windmills.

We stopped at a welcome center and I picked up a booklet about Kansas. While looking at it I noticed an article about a restaurant which sounded like it would be the perfect spot to stop for lunch. We were able to find Al's Chickenette in Hays, Kansas without any trouble. It did not disappoint--our meal was delicious and our waitress was very personable. If you are ever in Hays plan to stop there. ๐Ÿ™‚

After visiting our friends in Colorado, on our way back east, we spent the night at a bed and breakfast called Abilene's Victorian Inn in Abilene, Kansas.

We had planned to stay there and visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library but decided we didn't have enough time to enjoy it fully. We did stop and peruse the visitor's center and looked at his boyhood home.

The Victorian Inn was charming. The owners thought of every detail, including a gourmet breakfast cooked by Adrian, who is a professional chef. It was less expensive than most chain hotels and was a wonderful place to visit. We stayed in the Eisenhower Room.

We arrived there in the afternoon and the Innkeepers suggested several places we might want to go for supper. We chose to eat at the Brookville Hotel.

The dinner was a bit of a splurge, but was delicious. It was a family style chicken dinner. We shall always think fondly of Kansas for it's delicious chicken from now on. ๐Ÿ™‚

The town of Abilene had many beautiful old homes and several were available for touring if we had had the time.

After this trip Rob has a much better opinion of Kansas. ๐Ÿ™‚

Utah


Last summer when Rob was helping our friend drive the U-Haul back to Greenville from Oregon the two of them stopped and camped overnight near Arches National Park. They both hiked to the famous Delicate Arch and were awed by the many beautiful sights there. When we began planning our trip to visit our friends in Denver Rob discussed the possibility of once again visiting Moab with our friends Steve and Karen. Neither of them had ever visited that area and we were able to go with them.

When we told people we were going to Utah many people strongly encouraged us to also go to Canyonlands National Park.

We drove into Moab on a very scenic highway where the views were just beautiful. On that highway we passed the campground where Rob and David had camped last year along the Colorado River. We arrived in the afternoon and checked into Moab Beds and Bagels where we were spending the night.

Our hostess advised us to grab some sandwiches and drive directly to Canyonlands where we could watch the sunset. We were very glad for her advice. Canyonlands was breathtakingly beautiful and was the highlight of the trip for me.

The next morning we ate a quick breakfast in our rooms (bagels and other easy to grab and go type foods were in a small refrigerator in each room), then we headed out to Arches National Park. Pictures cannot do Arches justice. All of the rock formations are much larger than they appear in our photographs. We didn't do any of the strenuous hiking that Rob did last summer but we did pull off of the road often and did hike up to observe some of the points of interest. We were all awed by the unusual rock formations and the beauty of God's creation.

The two days we were in Utah the temperatures were in the low 80's, which was unusually cool. We were very thankful. If you ever have an opportunity to visit I would encourage you to take it. You can enjoy these two parks immensely even if you are not interested in strenuous hiking. There were beautiful things to see and contemplate for miles in every direction.

Summer adventures


We recently returned from a two week trip visiting friends and family out west. We had a wonderful time and I wanted to share a bit about our trip here. I will be writing about our adventures state by state rather than as they occurred.

We visited our dear friends, Steve and Karen who live near Denver. They hosted us wonderfully and we had a great time in their home and as we traveled with them. We were able to visit their church on the Sunday we were there and to hear their son, Ryan, preach and to meet his wife and children. We spent a few days in their home before starting off on a road trip.

One evening we took the train from their town into downtown Denver. We ate at The Spaghetti Factory Restaurant and then strolled around town. They showed us the office buildings where they used to work.

We traveled with them to Utah (which will be another post) and on the way back stopped to spend the night at the Hotel Colorado, which is reportedly the oldest hotel in Colorado. Teddy Roosevelt stayed there and there are pictures and a statue of him on display and the gift shop sells many kinds of teddy bears in his honor.

The hotel does not have air conditioning but fortunately the temperatures were quite comfortable the night we were there. The hotel is in the town of Glenwood Springs and is located right across the street from a hot spring pool where you can soak in the hot, mineral laden water. We had considered doing this but it was pretty expensive so we decided to forgo the experience. We did eat at another Italian restaurant called Italian Underground.


We ate breakfast in the hotel dining room and at the recommendation of the waiter we tried the French Toast which was coated in Corn Flake crumbs. It was delicious and is a technique I want to try to duplicate here at home. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a wonderful visit with our friends and were so thankful for their gracious hospitality and many kindnesses. We had a great time visiting places which were new to all of us and seeing places which were special to them. Our one regret is that Colorado and South Carolina are so far apart!

Oreo Cake


I've been in a purging mood this spring and while going through a file of recipes recently I came across the recipe for this Oreo Cake and realized that I hadn't made it for many years. To remedy that situation I've made it twice this month. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made it the first time for a church function and then made it again for our dessert on Mother's Day.

It's a very tasty cake and I find it easier to put together than a frosted layer cake. In the past I have made it with a cake mix but when I went to make it a few weeks ago I realized I did not have a chocolate cake mix so I made it using Hershey's Chocolate Cake.

Hershey's Chocolate Cake
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
dash salt
1 3/4 cup milk

Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans. Line with waxed paper and grease and flour that as well. Set aside. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Blend in eggs.
Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Blend well and then portion into the two pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out onto racks to cool.

Oreo Cake
2 layers of chocolate cake

Filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of cool whip
12 oreos, crushed

Beat cream cheese and sugar until blended. Stir in Cool Whip and the the crushed cookies. Layer cake, filling, cake. Top with glaze.

Dream Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsps. butter
1 Tbsp. corn syrup

Melt butter in small saucepan then add chocolate chips and corn syrup and heat while stirring until chips melt completely. Spread gently on top of cake and then chill before serving. Keep refrigerated. This makes a very pretty and tasty cake.