Saturday, June 21, 2008

Red Velvet Cake

The Red Velvet Cake
Sorry - this is the best photo I have of this cake!

Tomorrow is my birthday which means that right now I'm engaged in my normal birthday eve ritual. I'm making Red Velvet Cake. My mother made it for me every year as a child and now I make it for myself. I'm teaching my children to make it so they can make it one day for me (she thought dreamily).

Red Velvet Cake was supposedly called that because the cocoa in it made it look red. Today it comes about because of a bottle of red food coloring. I'm normally very picky about artificial colors in my food but I've tried other methods and I have yet to find something that tastes as good as my mother's. So I tell myself it's only once a year and indulge.

Now, I can't give you my mother's recipe. It's a secret. But I can tell you there is a recipe that looks really good here. You can also cheat like I do sometimes and buy a boxed Red Velvet Cake mix (Duncan Hines) and make the frosting youself. It will tastes pretty close. But you must absolutely chill it before you eat it. It isn't nearly as good at room temperature. That's why I make it on birthday eve.

I hope you'll try Red Velvet Cake yourself and let me know if you like it. A large glass of milk (another thing I don't drink often) is required. I think you'll thank me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Food

I'm doing a lot of cooking on the grill this year. We are trying to keep our thermostat set higher and I really don't like to heat up the kitchen with the stove. So I'm always looking for good ideas for grilled food.

I also happen to have a really wonderful 1968 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. My mother thought I was going to sell it on eBay for her...but I'm having trouble parting with it. Thumbing through it today I found this:

There are some great ideas for camping food on here too. Nothing like donut holes in the great outdoors. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mothers and Daughters At Home

I committed to joining Mothers and Daughters At Home hosted by Graceful Girlhood. Last month my daughter and I did something together but I didn't get my act together enough to post about it! So this month I want to fulfill that commitment.

Yesterday my husband set off with my son to his hometown. Perfect timing since this was the day of the Mothers and Daughters challenge! My daughter had a couple of projects in mind so instead of the proposed theme for this month, we did our own thing.

My daughter is 10 now and really interested in making some money. She had originally wanted to start a cupcake business but Mom and Dad deciding to change our eating habits made our home a bad environment to start mixing up cupcakes and frosting! But luckily she found another idea in this month's American Girl Magazine. Dog Treat Muffins!
The recipe was simple enough for my daughter to prepare on her own with just a little bit of help from me. She baked them in cupcake papers and then gave them to a few neighborhood dogs (we don't have any as the males in our family are allergic) for her test market. Then we went to the craft store and purchased some bags to sell them in. She's hoping in the future to expand her line to other dog treats and some cat treats too and sell them at our local farmer's market.

It wasn't a big or elaborate event, but just spending time talking to her about her dreams and helping make them a reality was priceless. Since I am her teacher as well as her mother it's nice to have an opportunity to just hang out with her doing something she likes instead of pulling her along to do what needs to be done.

So I recommend that you check Graceful Girlhood for other ideas and take some time to just be with your daughter this week.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Free Pilgrim's Progress Audio! offers one of the books in their stock free every month. They have some interesting books. I just previewed this selection and the narration is excellent. And it is unabridged. But it's only good for ONE month. So hurry over to get it and then sign up for their mailing list so you will know firsthand what's up next month.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Uncle Ray on Ants

Another old clipping I found stuck in a book. Here is some info on Uncle Ray if your interested. I wish this column was in my paper. Then maybe I would subscribe!!

Praiseworthy Book: From Seed to Plant

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Fairest Month

I love June. June starts out with my sweet daughter's birthday. It's the month I became a mother! She will be 10 tomorrow. Then we celebrate my wedding anniversary. There is Father's Day of course, and then my own birthday. A month of celebrations.

It's also the month of my favorite wild flowers. Tiger Lillies, Queen Anne's Lace, and roses. This has been a fantastic year for roses and just today I saw a huge wild bush spilling over a fence dripping with gorgeous pink blossoms.

I like this poem and the thought that June's sweetness would comfort the grieving. A time when all the world seems at peace and we have just a glimpse of the garden we left behind. By the way, Bryant did indeed die and was buried in the month of June.

I gazed upon the glorious sky
And the green mountains round,
And thought that when I came to lie
At rest within the ground,
"Twere pleasant, that in flowery June,
When brooks send up a cheerful tune,
And groves a joyous sound,
The sexton's hand, my grave to make,
The rich, green mountain-turf should break.
A cell within the frozen mould,
A coffin borne through sleet,
And icy clods above it rolled,
While fierce the tempests beat--
Away!--I will not think of these--
Blue be the sky and soft the breeze,
Earth green beneath the feet,
And be the damp mould gently pressed
Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long, long summer hours,
The golden light should lie,
And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell
His love-tale close beside my cell;
The idle butterfly
Should rest him there, and there be heard
The housewife bee and humming-bird.
And what if cheerful shouts at noon
Come, from the village sent,
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon
With fairy laughter blent?
And what if, in the evening light,
Betrothed lovers walk in sight
Of my low monument?
I would the lovely scene around
Might know no sadder sight nor sound.
I know that I no more should see
The season's glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me,
Nor its wild music flow;
But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,
They might not haste to go.
Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
These to their softened hearts should bear
The thought of what has been,
And speak of one who cannot share
The gladness of the scene;
Whose part, in all the pomp that fills
The circuit of the summer hills,
Is that his grave is green;
And deeply would their hearts rejoice
To hear again his living voice.
- William Cullen Bryant