Posts made in July, 2012

Garden Lament

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in New | 1 comment

Garden Lament

MP has been lamenting over his garden.

The preparation and planting began in the late winter months.

The harvest began in April and May.








Sweet snow peas








Layers of lettuces








Stubby carrots








Petite green beans








and beet-ful beauties








spilled over our platters.

The June gloom was sporadic.








We hailed summer and








hiding squashes.








Beautiful bells








that rotate to red in the sunshine.








Welcome August








Greet us with  tomatoes.








Red ripe,








and succulent.

No need to lament.  There is plenty of summertime left on the calendar.



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Hello Dolly

Posted by on Jul 29, 2012 in Desserts | 4 comments

If you could clone someone who would it be?








Madelynne called me on Saturday afternoon to see if I wanted to "hang out".

We had been texting about a new cupcake creation to fill the pink zebra liners.

Given that a cupcake with a surprise inside has grown to be the darling of desserts, we opted for a miniature peppermint patty.

Our cake?








Straight ahead chocolate sour cream cake.








Sift together








the flour, cocoa,








baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


















Cream together the butter with the sugar before








adding the eggs one at a time.








Pure vanilla extract








Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the sour cream








ending with the dry.








A little foothold for the peppermint patty.








Four hands.  Two photographers.








Fifteen cupcakes.








Pink frosting?  No, we decided it was too juvenile and may look like toothpaste or medicine.  We chose a sour cream buttercream with a hint of pure peppermint.

The end result was too sweet and too thin to pipe.

MP to the rescue. We sent him to the market for heavy cream.

The ultimate icing was a slightly sweetened cocoa and peppermint whipped cream which tasted (to our delightful astonishment) like a peppermint patty!










Piping 101















We loved the dappled beige blush hue...








I would clone a pure heart.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

~~ Matthew 5:8











Peppermint Patty Cupcake








-- adapted from






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Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in New | 2 comments


Peace comes when there is no cloud between us and God.  Peace is the consequence of forgiveness, God's removal of that which obscures His face and so breaks union with Him.  The happy sequence culminating in fellowship with God is penitence, pardon, and peace -- the first we offer, the second we accept, the third we inherit.

 -- Charles H. Brent


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Chiller Challenge

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Salad, Side Dishes | 6 comments

Chiller Challenge

Now and then we all stand in front of the refrigerator and wonder what to prepare for dinner.

Not me.

I plan every meal.

I measure.

I weigh.

I desire consistency.


Only just recently, I set control aside and allowed myself to look through the remnants in the garden, the pantry, and the “fridge”.  I keep random notes of ideas inspired by celebrity chefs or recipes I spot in magazines.











My niece, Holly calls her challenge “Freezer Fright Night”.  That truly alarms me!

When Ty was only a small boy my mother was watching over him.  I needed some bread crumbs for a meatloaf.  When I picked him up I asked her if she had breadcrumbs to loan me.  Of course she did.  Mom handed me a baggie from the freezer.

After all these years I remember her busted chuckle when I bemoaned how disgusting the meatloaf tasted.

Have you ever added graham cracker crumbs to meatloaf?

Tofu Tuesday transformed into a Chiller Challenge.

Jacqueline gave me a jar of  Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous before she returned to Montana for the summer.

I forgot to take a picture of spinach.  You know what baby spinach looks like.









Yellow cherry tomatoes from SoCo Farmers' Market and a jar of roasted red peppers.

Fresh Mint, Feta Cheese, and Smoked Paprika were standouts in a salad I saw Giada make with pearl couscous.

I believe Smoked Paprika needs to be heated to release its true depth of flavor.

















For the dressing, I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 20-30 seconds; added the smoked paprika for another few, until it was heated through, then set it aside to cool.









Red wine vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in my wooden vinaigrette bowl.









Paprika oil goes in...









I have a secret.  I always add a little water to my vinaigrette.  It stretches the dressing without having to load it down with more oil.  Make sure you adjust it to your liking.  It may need more seasoning, vinegar or honey.









Toast the couscous in oil for a few minutes before









adding water (or broth) and a pinch of salt.

Cover and cook until the water is evaporated and the tiny pasta pearls are tender. Let them cool while you go somewhere until dinner time.








Chop the spinach, fresh mint, cube the peppers and slice the tomatoes in half.

See how red tomatoes would get lost?  Multi-colored heirlooms would be pretty too.

Add half of the dressing to the couscous and half to the vegetables









before tossing the whole thing together.









Garnish with Feta.

Whole Wheat Couscous has a dark nutty texture which MP and I find satisfying.

The fresh vegetable salad has an inexplicable complex smokey, salty, and bright flavor.

MP asked me to make it with orzo or quinoa sometime.

PIcnic? Potluck? Dime A Dip?

Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing


  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (to taste)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat pearl shaped couscous
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 4-5 ounces baby spinach, chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 basket (8-12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and cubed
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta


  1. Add olive oil to a small skillet with paprika. Heat the oil and spice for 30 seconds or so. Set aside to cool. Add to remaining ingredients and adjust seasoning.
  2. Heat the oil over moderate heat in a large saucepan. Add the couscous and cook stirring frequently until toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the water and salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer; cover and cook until the couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, tomatoes, red peppers, and mint in a large bowl. Toss the couscous with half the dressing. Toss the salad with remaining dressing. Combine the couscous with the salad. Place the salad on a serving platter. Garnish with feta.
  4. Serves 6-8
  5. --adapted from Giada De Laurentiis




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Ice Cream Cake?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Desserts | 2 comments

Ice Cream Cake?

My cousin, Dorothy sent me a recipe penned by her mother.

Her message said:

This recipe was written by Wanda Urich from a recipe of our great grandmother, Alice Irene Ashbaugh Wilkinson. Mom and all brothers and sisters called this an Ice Cream Cake. For them at the tender age of 6 or so apparently that is what it tasted like.  The secret to this cake is to mix butter, buttermilk and sugar with your hands.   No temperature or time was mentioned.

Ah, okay.

So...I set out butter to soften and followed Aunt Wanda's directions.

Scant.  My mother often used this term too.  It means "just barely" or a little less.

I always wondered how much less?

My camera is still in for repairs so I shot with the small Canon here.


















creamed with brown sugar.








Buttermilk and baking soda









mixed with eggs.









I honestly used my hands...









to a point.









I used the mixer and added the flour.









The batter was ruffled and surprisingly luxurious.

Bundt? 9x13? Hmmm.  Why not cupcakes?

The batter made 18 little cupcakes.  Since the recipe seemed to have its roots in the South, I put together a penuche icing, which is a mixture of cooked butter, brown sugar, and milk.  I expected the petite cakes to be solidly sweet!









What a loveable delight!









At tasting time the little cupcakes were reminiscent of something that waited on a tabletop on a Sunday afternoon, iced by a grandmother hoping for someone to drop by after church.

Smooth topped cupcake.  No piped icing required.

I cut one in half.  It was delicate, soft and sweet with a melt in your mouth old-fashioned butterscotch swoon.

Maybe it tasted like my mother’s favorite ice cream-- Butter Pecan.

Maybe the Planetshakers ate them after church...  I left them in the Green Room.


Is this cake in your memories?

Brown Sugar and Buttermilk Cake


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter (scant)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (scant)
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 cups flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar together with fingertips.
  3. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and eggs. Add buttermilk mixture to sugar and combine.
  4. Using a handheld mixer add the flour and beat until smooth.
  5. Spread batter into a baking dish and bake until the center tests done.
  6. If making cupcakes, line tin with 18 cupcake liners. Distribute the batter evenly and bake for 13-14 minutes or until done.


Penuche Frosting


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour in milk and boil 1 minute. Pour sugar mixture into a medium bowl and cool 10-15 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

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