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A new coffee cake


Recently I saw an interesting recipe on one of my very favorite food blogs, The Iowa Housewife. This blog is written by two sisters who enjoy cooking. Their archives are chock full of lovely pictures, great recipes, and helpful cooking tips. Anyway, the recipe that interested me was for an overnight coffee cake. This appealed to me on a number of levels:

It would be very convenient when we have overnight guests.
It would be very convenient when we need to take something for an early morning breakfast or brunch.
It would be very convenient because I am not at my best early in the morning. My mind tends to function more clearly after about 10 A.M.

I've mentioned before that Rob bakes something for our breakfast nearly every Sunday morning. He tried this coffee cake a few weeks ago and we both agreed that it was very tasty and had a nice texture. It has been added to the file and will be pulled out on future occasions when we need an early morning treat.

Here is a link to the recipe. They have very conveniently given you ingredients for both an 8" pan and a 9" x 13" pan so you can tailor it to the size of your group.

Here is the cake ready to go in the refrigerator overnight:


This recipe made me wonder if other coffee cakes leavened with baking powder and baking soda could be prepared the night before baking. Have any of you heard of this or tried it before?

Some special treats


While perusing the aisles at Aldi last week I noticed they had cans of cherries--both sweet dark ones and sour ones. It had been several years since I have purchased cherries because they are normally out of my price range. The ones at Aldi were much more reasonably priced so I bought a couple of cans and made a cherry pie on Saturday. It was such a treat! Both Rob and I commented that it had been far too long since we had had cherry pie.


One of my readers asked for the recipe I used, so I am adding it here. It's from an old Betty Crocker Cookbook.

9 Inch Cherry Pie

Pastry for a two crust pie
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour (I actually used Clear Jel)
2 cans (1 pound each) pitted red tart cherries, drained
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsps. butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry. Stir together sugar and flour; mix with cherries and add almond extract. Turn into pastry lined pan. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut slits into top. Seal and flute. Cover edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake pie on lowest oven rack for 35-45 mins. or until crust is brown and filling starts to bubble.

The second special treat of the week was an email from the library telling me that the newest book by Alexander McCall Smith was in. If you have never read any of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels you should head to the library and check them out. The author has a delightful sense of humor and the books are great fun to read. The main character, Precious Ramotswe, is the first female detective in Botswana, Africa. The books do not contain bad language or a lot of violence. The cases that Precious tries to solve are more interpersonal in nature. You can also learn a great deal about the customs and life in Botswana. The book is in high demand at the library since it is new on the market so I can only have it for two weeks but I am trying to read it slowly. Sometimes it's the little things. 🙂


Have you had any small treats or blessings recently?

Grandchildren update

One of the local grandchildren has a bad cold and unfortunately Rob and I seem to have caught it. We were commenting that if toddlers had ebola it would spread like wildfire.

It's been a while since I have posted much about the grandchildren so I thought I would do a little update. Drew, who is seven and in second grade called Rob one night and said a few phrases in French and sang a French song for us. His class was studying different cultures around the world and he wanted to share what he had been learning with us.


Maddie, who is two, had a hard fall at church a few weeks ago and badly sprained her knee. She spent several days lying on the couch with her leg propped on a pillow. She is normally a very active little girl so her parents knew she was really in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully she is back to normal now.


Ryan is three now and he, his dad, and Rob all went camping for one night recently. They had a beautiful weekend for it and all three of the guys enjoyed hiking, cooking over the open fire, and hanging out together.


He also loves music and he was thrilled one morning when Aunt Nora and little Della came by and Nora played the piano for him.


Avery is fifteen months old and is learning to communicate. She will repeat nearly anything you say to her and gets very frustrated if you can't tell what she's trying to say. She will often take me by the hand and lead me to what she wants to play with. She loves animals and enjoys playing with some animal magnets that we have. She also likes to toss all of her books behind the rocking chair and then sit back there and look at them.


Little Della is nine months old and is crawling and trying to pull herself up around the furniture now. She too has found her voice and can be quite vocal at times. Nora made her this cute little costume for Halloween. They had a dress up time at our local Farmer's Market this weekend so she got to try it out.



We are truly blessed by each of these children and are thankful for them and their parents.

Some fall favorites

Each fall we look forward to driving up to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy the changing scenery and to purchase some of our fall favorites. One of our favorite things to buy are the large heads of mountain cabbage. We eat coleslaw all year long and I have quite a few different recipes that we enjoy. Here are links to a few of them:

Ginger Bacon Slaw

Ray's Coleslaw

Mennonite Girls Cole Slaw
My son-in-law who does not care for mayonnaise liked this one. It also keeps very well.

We also enjoy cabbage soup, bierocks, and cabbage rolls. I tried something new when I made cabbage rolls and thought I would share the tip here in case it might be of help to someone else. I removed a few outer leaves from a head of cabbage that we purchased recently and steamed them for a couple of minutes in the microwave, cooled them, and then froze them. I removed them from the freezer a few days ago and used them to make cabbage rolls and they worked just fine. I like to use fairly lean ground beef in the cabbage rolls and I don't always have any on hand so it was good to know that the cabbage leaves freeze well and can be used at a later time. You can also prepare the cabbage rolls and freeze them to cook at a later time.


Here's an idea for one of our more recent fall favorites. Did you know that if you mix peanuts and candy corn and eat them together it tastes like a Payday candy bar? It's really a good combination.


I was also surprised when I went to purchase a bag of candy corn that there are quite a few flavors to choose from now. One of the most unusual that I saw was Carmel Macchiato. Have you tried any unusual flavors of candy corn? Do you have any favorite cabbage recipes?


My poor neglected blog

I haven't intentionally given up blogging, it just seems that way. 🙂 I've been keeping busy with a variety of projects and have decided that if I am going to keep blogging I need to focus on short posts with fewer pictures until I get back into the habit again. I have written numerous blog posts in my mind for the last few weeks and now it's time to write them here in the computer.

One blog-worthy event occurred a couple of weeks ago when we were able to have a blog friend here in our home for a visit. Several years ago our friend Betty, who lives here in town, told me that her sister, Deb, had a blog that I might enjoy reading. I began reading her blog, Mountain Musings, at that time and have really enjoyed it. She is a quilter and a gardener and often writes about her family and their travels. Her two daughters have their own businesses and post on the blog from time to time as well. Her son is building a house at the moment and some recent posts have described some of that process. I had met Deb briefly when she visited here in town a while back and have wanted to invite her to our house to get to know her better. It worked out so that Deb and Betty could come for supper when she was here recently.

Deb and Betty's mother, Mildred, is a basket maker. She crafts beautiful, unique baskets. I have always admired some of the baskets she makes with potato mashers for a handle and I was able to purchase one from her a few weeks ago.


When Deb came for dinner she brought us a gift of some of the hand made soaps that her daughter Hannah makes. I have been using the Lavender soap and have enjoyed the fragrance and the fact that it is not drying to my skin. Don't tell my grandson Drew but I ordered him a bar of "Dirt" scented soap for Christmas. Deb has information on her blog about ordering Pleasant View Soaps and Granny's Baskets in case you are interested.


We had a nice evening and it was fun to get to spend time together instead of just commenting back and forth on our blogs or by email.


Deb wrote about her visit to our home on her blog if you would like to read about it from her perspective.