Coconut Lovers Beware

I haven’t been blogging much lately in case you haven’t noticed.  It’s hard juggling work , family obligations and all those other things that mess up having fun.  Blogging had to wait – and I have missed it!  I am going to try and do better!

The first Saturday day in May is kind of a big deal.  It is Derby Day in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The run for the roses!  All kinds of derby activities happen across the state.  I started the day doing something I have never done before…a 5K event.  No – I didn’t run.  A friend and I walked – and even if we were in the last group to cross the finish line,  we didn’t care.  We did it!  We have been walking together and trying to get healthier since February.  We will most likely never run a 5K – but we can now say we have done it!  One check off that bucket list.

Also on the agenda was a Derby Party with our Sunday School class.  We gather every year and have all kinds of good things to eat.  We watch the derby together on a big screen TV.  I usually take a Coconut Cream Pie.  It is almost a requirement for me to be allowed to enter the door.  But…..guess what?  This year I decided to change things up a bit.  I haven’t been baking much and I was in the mood to make a cake.  I decided on a Coconut Pound Cake.  After all, I think it is closely related to Coconut Cream Pie.  Anyway, I think they liked it.  My family loves it.  I even had to freeze a piece for one of my daughters until she could get home to have a piece.   I thought I would share the recipe with you.  I got this recipe from my friend, Donna, who is an excellent cook.  She served it at a Christmas Brunch and it was a big hit.

Coconut Pound Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup crisco shortening

5 beaten eggs

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. coconut flavoring

1 cup flaked coconut

Directions:

Cream sugar and shortening in mixing bowl.  

 

 

 

Beat the eggs.

Mix eggs into the shortening and sugar mixture until creamy.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

 

Add flour dry mixture alternately with the one cup of sour cream – to the creamed shortening mixture.  Blend, but don’t mix hard. 

 

 

Stir in coconut flavoring and flaked coconut.

 

 

 

 

Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.  Lower your top rack for baking this cake as you don’t want it to brown too quickly. I usually lay a flat piece of aluminum foil on top of the cake the last half of baking to keep the top from becoming too brown.  

Use the toothpick method to make sure cake is done.  Warning – this cake will fall if not completely done when you pour the hot glaze over the top.

 While cake is still hot and in the tube pan – poke holes in cake and pour glaze over the top letting it soak into the cake. 

Let set several hours (overnight is even better).  Flip cake out of the pan – and enjoy!

 

Glaze:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup hot water

1 tsp. coconut flavor

Boil 1 minute – and then pour over cake.  I added some buttercream frosting flavored with coconut oil and frosted with shredded coconut just for the presentation. 

Yum, yum….

While I am at it …. I think “I’ll have Another” piece.

I’ll Have Another is on the way to the Triple Crown…having won in the Derby and Preakness!

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Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart!

Thanksgiving… a time of reflections and giving thanks for all the blessings in our lives.   We typically celebrate it by gathering with friends and family and eating the traditional turkey and dressing with all the fixins’ and top it off with all kinds of pumpkin pies and desserts.  The turkey isn’t the only thing that is stuffed on Thanksgiving – we do it to ourselves as well!

An afternoon of football games on the TV, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in the morning and now add the “early” black Friday sales.  I love the Thanksgiving holiday – not only because of the reminder to give thanks for our abundant blessings- but for great food and fellowship with our families….and don’t foget a four-day weekend!   I don’t do the “black” Friday shopping frenzy.   I don’t like shopping crowds and I don’t know of anything I need bad enough to fight for it.

We have always traced Thanksgiving Day to the celebration for their harvest that the Pilgrams had in Plymouth Rock.  I have learned that Thanksgiving in our earlier nation took place with a church service giving thanks to God.  It didn’t start out as a feast.    I am sure someone later (possibly Baptist as they are known for their casseroles…and yes, I can say that since I am Baptist!) decided food was needed  and started the covered dish potluck.

As I reflect on my blessings and give thanks, I am so thankful for family, friends, my health, my country, my church, and all the little things we all take for granted each day – like a roof over my head and food in my belly!   My wish for you is a safe, comfortable and blessed Thanksgiving. 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generationsPsalm 100:4

Just a few pictures of my “Thanksgiving” season decorating.  I love the fall colors and  enjoy the simple “things” of this season more each year.

 

Paula Deen…..Make Room for Mrs. Wilkes!

If you haven’t been to Savannah, Ga – put it on your “bucket list”.  Savannah takes you back in time and gives you many reasons to love visiting.  The history of the City, the beauty of the trees with spanish moss, the beautiful squares, the fountains, River Street, cobble stone streets and the unique shops are just a few of the reasons I love this city.  And now I have a new reason to love Savannah  – Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room.  I heard about Mrs. Wilke’s – (sometimes referred to as Mrs. Wilke’s Boarding House) from many friends who highly recommended the entire experience.  Most of my trips to Savannah have been afternoon or night visits while vacationing on a nearby island.  Mrs. Wilke’s is only open for lunch so my family had been unable to find a time to give it a try. 

A work-related conference in Savanna allowed me to explore the City for 4 days recently.   Many of the meals were included in the conference, so I had to pick and choose carefully where to eat during our “free-time meals”.  The choices of restaurants are unbelievable.  A lot of people at the conference wanted to go to Paula Deen’s Lady and Son’s Restaurant.  I had eaten there a few years back – so I wanted to try something different.  After all, I am not as big a Paula fan as I once was.  I really liked her before they started air-brushing her portraits on the magazine covers and before she started being so “polished” on her show instead of down-to-earth.   Don’t get me wrong, I am still a fan.  I love her story of where she came from and the obstacles she overcame to be who she is today.  I also admit I have most of her cookbooks and I have had the opportunity to attend two of her personal appearances.  I just wish she would stick to food instead of trying to sell furniture! 

On my list of “to-do” on this trip to Savannah was to eat at Mrs. Wilkes.  Believe it or not – there are no promotional brochures in the tour racks for Mrs. Wilkes.  I had to get on the internet to find out the details.  Mrs. Wilkes is only open from 11 am until 2 pm Monday thru Friday and she doesn’t take reservations.  Her website indicates customers just start lining up in front of her restaurant a little before 11 am each weekday.  You are called in by the host to be seated according to how many seats are available at a table.  Unless you have enough people in your party to fill up a table, you sit with people you don’t know.  The food is already ready on your table when you sit down in bowls, served old fashioned family style.  You spend the first part of the meal passing bowls, and believe me that took a little while as there are plenty bowls to pass.  We were there on a Tuesday and they served fried chicken, barbeque shredded pork and beef stew.  I passed on the beef stew – but the other two meats were good enough to write home about.  The side dishes – well, in order to sample everything, I could only allow a little more than taste of each dish…. cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, creamed corn, lima beans, green beans, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, okra and tomatoes, cucumbers, and rice.  I am certain I missed a few…it was overwhelming.  I tried not to overload my plate – but as you can see, I wasn’t too successful.   Opps, I almost forgot to mention the cornbread and homemade biscuits.   Sweet tea was the token drink, after all we were in the south!      

I get hungry just looking at this picture.  Close your eyes and you can even smell the goodness!! 

After consuming the main meal, they had offerings of banana pudding and peach cobbler.  I was only able to take a bite of the banana cobbler.  I just couldn’t hold anything else!  

I will admit, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of sitting with complete strangers and breaking bread.  But….it was ok.  In fact, it was better than ok.  We ate with two couples from Florida, one couple from Ohio, and another lady from the northeast.  We exchanged stories of our favorite restaurants, foods, and moaned together as we started filling up!  You can bet my next trip back to Savannah will include Mrs. Wilkes!

Time for a Pintervention!

I have a new addiction.  It is called “Pinterest.com”.   They say the first step to healing from an addiction is admission.  Step one complete.  Why am I addicted to this website?  Below are some of the pros and cons for you to review.

PROS:

~It involves boards – much like a bulletin board – but it is a virtual bulletin board.

~It allows me to pin my areas of interest such as tutorials, recipes, decorating ideas,   fashion ideas, cute sayings, DIY projects, pictures of rooms, etc.  

~It keeps me from over-loading my favorites folder on my computer.

 ~It keeps me from watching TV (which is not a bad thing).  Besides, I have to have    something to do when the hubby is hogging the remote.

~It might motivate me to organize if I would quit pinning and start organizing.

 ~It provides wonderful recipes that are healthy (like Weight Watchers Italian Breakfast    Casserole or Weight Watchers Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes).

 ~It allows me to search for favorite subjects. 

~It allows me to repin  ideas pinned by other members.  Repinning another persons   pin is not even considered stealing…it is called sharing! (Credit your source)

 ~I can invite my friends to join.

~I meet new friends….from all over the world.

~It is an elite site.  I had to be invited.  But I got to invite myself!  

~I can get several hours of computer experience to use on a resume.  🙂

CONS:

~It sucks away time without your knowledge.  I start out checking my email and just one      quick peep at Pinterest and the next thing I know I have lost 2 hours.

~It keeps me from actually doing the things I have pinned because I am too busy     pinning new ideas.

~It causes hearing problems – I don’t hear anything when I am pinning.  (Ask my   husband.)

 ~It makes me want to go to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby every day. (Good thing I have to    drive out of town to find either store!) 

 ~It provides wonderful recipes that I don’t need to make like White Chocolate    Smores Gooey Cake Bars or Lordhavemercy Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins.

~It allows me to be nosey. I can follow other peoples boards to see what they are pinning.

 ~Other people can also be nosey – and follow me.  

~I now spend more time on “pinterest.com” than I do Facebook…and I love Facebook.     Pinterest.com is a much better way to waste your time.

I think that sums it up pretty well – and the PROS win – 12 to 8.  I am ready for my pintervention.  I have my facts ready in defense! 

Some other interesting tidbits about Pinterest.com –the site has rules but they are reasonable, like….

             *Be Nice (we learned that early)

              *Credit your Sources (Don’t take ownership of someone elses work)

              *Avoid Self-promotion (This is not etsy.com)

              *Report Objectionable Content (I have seen only a few pins that would fall under                “objectionable content”.)

Working in workforce development for years, I couldn’t pass up the job opportunity page.  They have several job listings on their site – the only one I might qualify for would be head of recruiting given my work background.  I might be tempted but I don’t think I can relocate to Palo Alto, CA.  It would be too far from my grandkids!

Positions listed are:

     Product Designer

     Lead Engineer

     Search and Data Mining Engineer

     ios Engineer

     Head of Recruiting

If you are interested – send your resume to jobs@pinterest.com.

Tell them I sent you!  In the meantime, join the addiction of pinning!  Get on the website now and invite yourself!

 

8so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”  1 Thessalonians 2:8   NIV

Making Muffins

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

My first week in the blogging world and it has been so hot that I haven’t done anything more than what I have had to do all week.  I can hardly remember a day as hot as Wednesday!   Temperatures nearing 100 degrees each day plus the wonderful addition of the Kentucky humidity, and has the energy for cooking, crafting, or sewing??   It isn’t a good time to turn on a hot oven!    (Or so my husband says!)  However, I did manage to bake up a batch of Strawberry Lemon Muffins early one morning.   I love muffins and I am always searching for a good muffin recipe.   I recently ran across a wonderful blog while searching for muffin recipes.  You must check out  http://jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com/.  Jamie describes her blog as a family friendly food blog housing scores of fabulous recipes.   Most of her recipes even include instructional pictures!  I can’t wait to try more of Jamie’s recipes.  Find the instructional pictures and recipe details for these yummy Strawberry Lemon Muffins at http://jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com/2011/06/strawberry-lemon-muffins.html.  Make sure you don’t take a shortcut and use bottled lemon juice over fresh squeezed lemon juice with fresh lemon zest. Trust me – the fresh lemon addition makes these muffins heavenly….and don’t forget the addition of fresh chopped strawberries.  Bake up a batch of these, and you will be humming the old song – “Have you seen the Muffin Man“.  By the way, the featured blog for “Jamie Cooks It Up”  today is Cookie Dough Brownies – Oh my!  Warning, “Jamie Cooks it Up”  is not a good site to visit if you are trying to restrict your diet!  Just sayin…..

Since we are talking muffins, I have to share a couple more of my favorite muffin recipes.  I found the first one on a bed and breakfast website years ago and  I really can’t remember where I stumbled across the Banana Scotch Muffins – but they are both keepers! 

Pineapple Cream MuffinsThe Lamplighter Bed and Breakfast                                    Makes 15 muffins -Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers -even better cold!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 ounces instant vanilla pudding
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream (regular or low-fat)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pudding mix, and stir in brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Fold in the pineapple and oil. Add the egg-pineapple mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Batter will be thick.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Banana Scotch Muffins

 3 ripe bananas                     1/2 cup oil

2 eggs                                  1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar                         1/2 t. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder            1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Mash bananas and set aside.  Wish eggs in a bowl and pour in the oil.  Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl.   Stir in egg and oil mixture, followed by mashed bananas.  Fold butterscotch chips into the batter.  Spoon into the muffin liners.  Bake for 20 minutes.  You can susbstitue the butterscoth chips and use chocolate chips if you have a chocolate fanatic at your home!

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”  Psalm 34:8