Friday, February 25, 2011

Aunt Mary's Birthday Cake with Two Cream Frosting

When I was growing up, we were fortunate to live near my Aunt Mary and Uncle John's family.  Aunt Mary and Uncle John had ten children and our family had five children.  We celebrated many birthdays together; we also played countless games of flashlight tag together.  During the game, one could hear "One, two, three I see Joni" or "Olley olley umphrey all home free."  Those of us hiding would taunt the person on goal with noises or calls of "hootie - whoo."   

When we went to Aunt Mary's home (Uncle John died when I was very young), it seemed to me that we would always have a three layer birthday cake.  I always loved it.  Later in life I talked to Jacqueline about Aunt Mary's cake, and she said it was just a three layer cake with whispped cream and bananas.  I have made my  version of "Aunt Mary's Birthday Cake" a couple of times for my family and we love it.  Aunt Mary's cake definitely didn't have a two cream frosting, but this frosting works so well with this cake.

Aunt Mary's Cake makes an impressive party cake.

For the white cake, this time I used a recipe from a Better Homes and Garden's magazine -- it was a delicious, moist white cake!  Aunt Mary always colored her layers:  white, pink, and green.

This photo provides a better shot of the bananas peeking out.

My Version of Aunt Mary's Birthday Cake

You will need three layers of white cake, 2-3 bananas, and a batch of Two Cream frosting.

Recipe for Classic White Cake

The secret is to make sure you don't over bake your cake.  Take the layers out a minute or so before you "think" they are done.

6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2-2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups buttermilk

Separate eggs.  Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (reserve yolks for another use).  Meanwhile, grease three 8 x 1-/2 -inch round cake pans.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper and lightly flour pans; set aside.  In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined.  Add egg whites all at once; beat on medium-high for 3 minutes.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low after each addition just until combined.  Divide batter into prepared pans. 

Bake in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted near centers comes out clean.  Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove layers from pans.  Cool thoroughly on racks.

Two Cream Frosting

1 cup Whipped Cream
1 cup Sour Cream -- don't use low fat
5-6 tablespoons sugar

Whip cream in a medium bowl and then gradually add the sugar.  Fold in sour cream. 

Assembly of Cake

Place one layer of cake on cake stand; frost top of cake and add sliced bananas.  Place second layer on top of first and frost top of cake and add sliced  bananas.  Place third layer on top of second layer then frost all layers of cake.  For stability, you may wish to insert three to four thin wooden dowels or skewer.

Refrigerate cake two hours before serving.  This will allow the frosting to harden.  The cake also tastes marvelous the next day.  Because of the cream, any leftovers must be refrigerated.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hope of Spring Tablescape

All year long I have been complaining  commenting on the fact that we haven't received any snow; I have missed the snow and's what we got over the weekend.  Finally snow --- when I am thinking about Spring!

Talley, our youngest, sledding down our little hill.

I have four of these lovely plates and matching teacups, saucers, and a teapot.   

I love the color yellow on a table, how about you?

My world through a "bubble glass" view.

The whole table view.

There aren't too many  things that beckon to you more than a tall cake on a cake pedestal.  It calls saying to you, "You really want to cut into me and take a piece."

It called and I listened -- a cut piece of cake.  This is a adaptation of a cake that my Aunt Mary, mother of 10, used to make on her children's birthday.  She made her layers in pink, white, and green.  I always loved going to her home to celebrate birthdays.  Today, mine is just white.

Table Information;

Placemats, silverware:  Wal-Mart
White Square Plates, Bubble Glasses:  Tai Pan Trading
Green Plates (no, you didn't see Fall leaves embossed on them!) -- Smith's Grocery Stores
Yellow Floral Salad Plates -- Robert's Arts and Crafts
Napkins:  K-Mart
Napkin Rings -- Style Sisters

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winner of CSN Gift Code

Hi everyone!  I want to thank you for your good wishes on my 1st Year Anniversary of Blogging.  I also want to thank CSN for their generous support of bloggers by offering fabulous giveaways in blogland.  After giving all those that qualified two chances, Random. Org picked the number 78.  The winner of the $75 CSN Gift Code is Comment #78.  Beth, hostess of the blog "Food as Art."  She said in her winning comment, "Joni I am a follower and would love to win the CSN gift code.  Blessings, Beth."

Congratulations Beth and happy shopping at the over 200 stores at CSN! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scripture Power: Revelation 20: 4 -- Balm for the Loss of a Son -- Kevin 1993-2011

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:  for the former things are passed away."
Revelation 20:4

Yesterday my sister Jean and her family had to bid farewell to their son Kevin who came into their lives over 17 years ago.  While Jean was expecting Kevin, she was told that he would never make it to birth.  But, live he did for over 17 years!  He survived many illnesses and incidences through those years but for the past four years he enjoyed relatively good health.  This time, he was not strong enough to fight off the pneumonia.  His body was wracked with cerebral palsy-- he was never able to walk or talk.  Though not strong in body, he was strong in spirit.  He loved his family and had a smile as wide as Texas and loved to give "kisses."  People from all walks of life felt Christ-like love radiating from him.  Kevin was a huge blessing to their family. 

They derive comfort that because the Savior died for us, we shall all live again.  They will see and live with Kevin again -- they are an Eternal Family!

May peace and comfort be with their family as they grieve and mourn the loss of their son Kevin.   


Friday, February 18, 2011

Gingernap Workhorse Cookies

Click HERE to enter my CSN $75 gift certificate; it ends tonight at 10 pm MST.

This gingersnap version is good for any occasion; that's why I call them the "Workhorse Cookies."  My sister Jeannie made them years ago and I just loved them; they are soft and yummy and such a good looking cookie with their defined cracks.  I asked her where she found the recipe and much to my surprise she said, "Betty Crocker."  I made them recently for my Activity Days group of girls and for my son's church activity.  As you can see, only two, well kind of, are left!

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening -- do not use butter or margarine
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teasoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.  Cover and regrigerate at least 1 hour.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls.  Dip tops in granulated sugar.  Place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake cookies just until set, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slow Cooker Taco Cheese Soup


Welcome to my Red Couch where you will want to enter my $75 CSN online stores giftcard giveway.  Click HERE to enter.

Do you like Velveeta?  I am not exactly a cheese snob or connosisseur ---though I did grow up in Wisconsin....  I don't think I remember ever buying or using Velveeta cheese in my married life.   But the other day I found a recipe I had printed out from Yvonne's, Stone Gable, blog.  The soup was an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe.  Yvonne called it "Paula Deen meet Stone Gable!"   Even though I am not used to cooking with Velveeta, I thought, if it is good enough for Paul Deen and Yvonne, it's good enough for me!  They were right -- it was the best taco soup I have ever eaten. 


It makes a HUGE batch, so make sure you use a large crockpot, if you go that route. I have some leftover soup tucked away in the freezer for a night when I am too busy to cook; leftovers are like money in the bank!  This is a very hearty soup great for a cold winter evening.

Slow Cooker Taco Cheese Soup

2 pounds ground beef -- I used ground chicken.

2 cups diced onions

2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups frozen corn

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 (14 1/2-ounce) jar mild salsa

1 -32 ounce box beef broth

2 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix - use low-salt if desired

1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix

1 medium pkg mild mexican velveta cheese, cubed -- I used about 1/2 large package of Mexican mild

Sour Cream
Grated Sharpe Cheddar Cheese
Green Onions, sliced
Tortilla Strips -- See below.

Baked Tortilla Strips
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut tortillas in strips.  Place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with oil and salt and bake for about 10 minutes.  You may want to flip them about half-way through baking.


Brown the ground beef or chicken and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, beef stock, taco seasoning, velveta cheese and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove (if cooking soup on stove omit cheese and add at the end of cooking time- stir in until it melts) . To serve, top with sour cream, cilantro, cheese, green onions and crispy tortilla strips.


 “Come join Soup-a-Palooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers.

I am also posting this with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday where the letter of the week is "S" for Slow-Cooker Taco Cheese Soup.  Posted with Foodie Friday, Tidy Mom

Monday, February 14, 2011

Royal Icing Chocolate Valentine Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Click HERE to enter my contest for a $75 CSN Gift Certificate 

I hope that you are spending this day with someone you love!

My daughter Tati and I made these royal icing cookies over the weekend.  She is taking some to her friends at school   They are fun and turned out so well.  We love the chocolate cookie with the royal icing; it tastes like a brownie cookie.  We have made these cookies before and love them -- they contrast well with the pale colors of the royal icing.

Recipe and Instructions for Chocolate Sugar Cookies

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder-- this is a lot, but it makes for a rich, dark cookie
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1 egg

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or put in freezer for 15 minutes or until firm and ready to cut out cookies.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Dough is sticky so be sure to add more granulated sugar to the rolling surface as needed. Place cookies 1- 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing -- Instructions for Royal Icing were borrowed from my sister Jacqueline at Purple Chocolat Home.

The secret to the icing is to get the Royal Icing thin enough that it melts back into itself as you count to 5.

3/4 C. warm water
5 T. meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 1/4 lb. powdered sugar

In mixer with paddle attachment, mix the water and meringue powder on lowest speed until well blended. Add the cream of tartar. Then a dd the powdered sugar and set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Mix with paddle for 10 minutes.  This gives you the typical royal icing.  You will want to thin it down significantly.Add an additional water 1 T. at a time. We added about 9-10 more tablespoons. It should be thin enough to form a ribbon that disappears back into the mass of the frosting by the count of 5. It has to hold its shape, but not too much.

Color your royal icing.  We left some white and colored some a bright pink.  We used gel colors.

Then pipe around the outline of the cookie.  This is a lighter pink; we decided we liked the darker better.

Work on one cookie at at a time.  Then fill in the cookie with more royal icing.  I used a small rubber spatula to do this.

Then with the white royal icing we made dots in a heart shape.

Then with the blunt end of a wooden skewer we dragged the hearts together and voila!  Sorry didn't get this step on film!

Don't forget to enter the $75 CSN Gift Card Giveway!
Enjoy and Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted with the following:

 Made By You Monday, Porch Club Bake-Off, Tidy Mom

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Love Pizza Tablescape and Homemade Heart-Shaped Pizzas

Click HERE to enter my giveaway for a $75 CSN Gift Certificate.  

Welcome to my WE LOVE PIZZA Tablescape and Homemade Pizza Dinner!  Today we had an early lunch/ dinner of homemade heart-shaped pizzas.  It was my pre-Valentine dinner for my family.  We often make homemade pizza, how about you?  My kids love to roll out their dough and make individual-sized pizzas, however today I made all the pizzas myself.

Welcome to Lynn's, Happier Than a Pig in Mud's "Favorite Appliance Day! I yak about my favorite appliance toward the end of the post. 

It's time for pizza!  Isn't it always a good time for pizza?

Here's the individual place setting.  I put in a red bowl, because I always have to have a little RED-- it just makes me happy.

The red hobnail-type bowls are a new acquisition -- just so fun and festive.

When I use the bubble glasses, I always include a view.

Here's a full view of the table.  Sometimes I have used my Lazy Susan for all the pizza ingredients. Ooops -- one napkin is out of place and it is too late to retake the photo.

What do you want to put on your pizza?  There is also Italian Chicken Sausage to top the pizzas that is not pictured.  Have you ever had Sunshine Market's chicken sausage?   It is very flavorful and low in fat.

I totally stole borrowed the heart-shaped pepperoni idea from Lori, the hostess of  I Have A Big Story to Tell.  Aren't they so cute?  Lori, thanks for the great and simple idea!

I don't use a pizza stone; we are usually making so many individual pizzas at once that a pizza stone just doesn't have enough room for all our pizzas.  I do think a pizza stone provides a better crust.  I put a little cornmeal on a cookie sheet and lay the crust on the sheet; this helps raise the crust off the cookie sheet.  I traced around the removable bottom of a heart tart pan to get the heart-shaped dough.

Here's the heart-shaped pepperoni pizza waiting to be baked.  Once again, here are the cutest little pepperoni hearts.  You just fold the pepperoni in half and cut it like a paper heart.  I saved the scraps and put them on  another pizza; I don't like to waste! 

Pizzas waiting on the rack to be eaten.

Another tempting shot of the pizzas.  I made six different pizzas today.  Pizza does taste good the next day.  I made a double batch of dough which yielded 6 tart-sized heart-shaped pizzas and one mini pizza.

A cooked pizza plated.

I made one individual pizza that my husband ate before dinner.

Everyone it's time for dinner! The pizza is getting cold!

Lynn at Happier than a Pig in Mud is holding a "My Favorite Kitchen Gadget" party on Valentine's Day.  I always use my Bosch Mixer when making pizza dough.  It really is one of my favorite gadgets.  It also comes in really handy when making a triple batch (3 loaves) of whole wheat bread with 11 to 12 cups of whole-wheat flour; it is a real workhorse.  My husband totally surprised me one Mother's Day with this mixer.  Before I used the Bosch, I couldn't make 100 percent whole wheat bread that I was satisfied with.

I like to make my pizza dough with a mix of fifty percent white flour and fifty percent whole-wheat flour.  I've tried to make it with 100 percent whole wheat and the crust is a bit heavy.  Today I made my crust a little bit thicker to allow me to transfer the crust from my counter to the cookie sheet. 
Pizza Dough Recipe

1-3/4 to 2 cups warm water -- start with 1-3/4' cup first and then adjust.
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups white bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Add water, yeast and salt together in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add the flour and mix all ingredients until fully combined.  Adjust water to make a workable dough.  Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes or use the Bosch, or another heavy duty mixer, to do both the mixing and the kneading.  Let rise until doubled; punch down and let rise again.  Roll out pizza dough and then add toppings.  Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8 to 10  minutes -- watching to make sure you don't overcook.  This has been adapted from a recipe from my sister, Jacqueline, at Purple Chocolat Home.

Everyone enjoyed the pizza and I loved the little heart pepperonis --just perfect for Valentine's Day!  I hope you have the best time and enjoy the day with the people that you love!

Table Information:
Placemats. Silverware, Cakestand, Napkin Fabric:  Wal-Mart
Pizza Salad Plates and Serving Plates:  Albertson's Grocery Store last year
Red Hobnail-type Bowls -- Michael's Arts and Crafts Stores -- on clearance recently
Bubble Glasses:  Tai Pan Trading
Red Lantern:  Pier 1
Red Clock:  Robert's Arts and Crafts

Posted with the following:

Made By You Monday, Porch Club Bake-Off

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Maraschino Cherry Valentine Cake and One Year Blogging Anniversary CSN Giveaway

CSN $75 Gift Code Giveaway
To help celebrate my One Year Blogging Anniversary I am hosting a $75 CSN gift code giveaway, compliments of CSN the online company that  has over 200 stores where you can find anything you need whether it be swingsets, cookware, decorating  items and much more. You can use your gift code on anything at  any CSN online store, but please check out the selection the Swingset Store has for your children and grandchildren!  SEE BELOW FOR CAKE RECIPE.

Welcome to Pink Saturday!


Contest Rules

1.  Open to residents of the United States and Canada only.
2.  Giveaways is a $75 gift code, provided by CSN, to use at any of their over 200 online stores.
3.  You must be a GFC follower (on left hand of blog)  -- new or former --  to be eligible to win.  I do check this.
4.  Contest ends on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10 pm MST.
5.   Winner will be decided with the aid of Random.Org.

Two Chances to Win:
1.  Make a comment on this post, letting me know you are a follower -- this is mandatory.
2.  Click HERE to view the CSN Swingsets and More web page.  Since the swingset site is sponsoring this giveaway, look around the site and let me know in you comment what, if money were no object, you would like to buy. 

One Year Blogging Anniversary and 210 Posts
 I want to give lots of blogger love back to you who have been soooo kind and encouraging.  In a world where you can find a lot of negativity, it is nice to be able to escape to blogland and be inspired and be surrounded by positivity.   I love visiting your blogs you are creative, inspiring, and many times very humorous.  About a year ago, my then 13-year old daughter Tati, Polka Dot Pantry Sweets, asked me to help her to set up a food blog. One weekend she was planning to go to a movie with her friends.  Right before she was supposed to leave, I  checked the reviews online and realized it wasn't an appropriate movie for a 13-year old.  With exasperation in her voice she said, "Well,  if I can't go to a movie, can you help me start a food blog ? "  So I helped her start her blog and it looked so much fun that I started one myself.  Tati has found it hard to blog, swim on the high school swim team, dance, and take piano lessons...oh, and school too.

Maraschino Cherry Cake
So to celebrate my one year anniversary and for Valentine's Day, I made a very special cake.  I have a very warm memory of my mom making this type of cake for my father for Valentine's Day.  I only remember her making this once, but I loved it.  My husband has asked me to make this cake again, this time for for Valentine's Day, and then hide it  for a day while the flavors mature.  If you are so lucky to have any cake left on the second day, you will find that it does taste even better on the second day.  The Maraschino cherries and juice give this cake a delicate cherry flavor and color.  I sprinkled our cake slices with Maraschino Cherry juice, but I think a little chocolate ganache drizzled  on it would also be good.

Recipe and Instructions for Maraschino Cherry Cake

Cake Ingredients

2/3 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
5 egg whites
2 -2/3 cups flour, unsifted
2 -1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Maraschino Cherry Juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
16 Maraschino cherries, cut into eighths
1/2 cup chopped walnuts -- You could add more if you would like.

Grease and flour two 9-inch pans.  I used my heart cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs for 3-4 minutes using a heavy duty mixer.  Set aside.  Don't cheat on the creaming time.  In another medium-sized bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix milk cherry juice, almond extract together.  Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture, alternating with milk and cherry juice mixture, in thirds.  Stir in, by hand, chopped cherries and nuts.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  It's important to not over bake.  Take it out of the oven a few minutes before you think that a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake would come out clean.  The cake recipe has been adopted from a recipe on Cake Central.

Maraschino Cherry Juice Butter Cream Frosting
Blend together 1/2  cup room temperature butter, 4 cups powdered sugar 2 teaspoons almond extract, and 4-5 tablespoons Maraschino Cherry Juice. You may need to add extra cherry juice, depending on how thick you want it.   Make sure you don't make a dry frosting.  I added a little bit of cocoa powder to the frosting to pipe the "Be Mine."  I also sprinkled a bit of powdered sugar on the cake.

Thanks for dropping by and helping me celebrate my one year of blogging at Red Couch Recipes!   Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

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