Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Busy Day Cake

My mom was a busy woman.  She was a stay at home mom with 4 kids with a self-employed husband.  Being small business owners, that meant even though she "stayed at home," she always had something going on.  From business related tasks, household chores, kids to take care of, kids to pick up from band practice/football practice/church meetings/boy scout functions, not to mention her own craft projects, mom always had something going on.

Even though she always had (and still has) something going on, she would always make time to cook dinner for the family and on Monday nights have an activity and treat prepared for family night.  I don't know if this cake was ironically named or was something she came up with, but it is super yummy, fast and easy.  This made from scratch cake recipe is almost as easy as opening a box of cake mix, but with the satisfaction that you made it yourself and it is much tastier!


1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup self rising flour
3/4 cup milk

additional 1-2 Tbsp Milk
1/2 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Place shortening in a mixing bowl.  Add sugar, egg, vanilla and mix until moistened.

2. Gradually add flour and milk at the same time.  If desired, add extra milk and blueberries and gently stir until incorporated.

3. Bake in a greased and floured 9x9x2 pan for about 25 minutes.

Just a quick note.  If you do not have self rising flour, you can make your own by sifting together 1 teaspoon baking powder for each 1 cup of flour

Mom's Banana Muffins

Growing up, my mom loved (and still does) to go blackberry and blueberry picking.

Near dad's shop there was an area that grew tons of wild blackberry bushes that we would go picking in.  The thing was, there was a barbed wire fence up from when there used to be cows in that particular area.  We had to carefully climb through the barbed wire, avoid stepping on small pear cactus (or old cow pie), and then (watching out for rattlesnakes) we would hike around looking for juicy blackberries to fill our buckets.

I don't remember a summer that I didn't have scratches and pricks all over my arms, lol.  We would go out several times, usually a day or two after a really good rain shower, and gather pounds and pounds of wild blackberries.  Mom's bucket was always a lot more full than ours since she seemed to have the willpower to not eat every sweet, juicy berry she came across.  It is funny to recall how the kids mouth's and mom's fingertips would be stained purple.

Blueberry picking was a lot more fun for us, no prickly bushes at least.  We didn't do this too much since we usually had to find a "U pick" place.  We didn't always have the money to pay by the pound, so we made do with just getting a little bit when we went and gathering more blackberries.

After a morning of picking we would go home, wash the berries and pick out any twigs and leaves, then bag them up to be labeled and frozen.  Mom would make amazing pies, muffins, just about anything you could think of, even when the berries were out of season.

I am not sure when my mom started making these muffins, but they are a family favorite.  After a while she had to start doubling the recipe because they went so fast.  The recipe calls for blueberries, however, occasionally instead of blueberries she would substitute blackberries.  Mmmm so good.


2 extra ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup blueberries/blackberries
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/8 cup flour
1 1/8 cup wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
handful or so chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Puree the banana in a blender/food processor, should be about 1 cup.

2. In a medium bowl, combine banana puree, eggs, sugar and applesauce until well blended.

3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until evenly moistened.

4. Spoon the batter into well greased 2 1/2 inch muffin cups.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean.

These really are best served warm.

This recipe yields 12 muffins.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


So I finally figured out that keeping an actual recipe binder is very difficult, not to mention dangerous.  I have had to re-do several pages due to spills, splashes, drops and other messes that get made when cooking.  So I decided that I would back up all my recipes to my computer.

That got me thinking about the computer before I had this one, how it crashed so hard nothing could retrieve my files or even get the thing to acknowledge that the power button was being pressed.  I definitely don't want to go to all the work of typing up my recipes, formatting, etc just to lose them because my machine gets an attitude.

Thus, why this blog was born.  It would be pretty hard to crash the world wide Internet compared to just my computer.  Not to mention, I enjoy sharing recipes and cooking tips with others!  Nice solution, I think.

I also figured it would be a great way for me to sit down and type out my thoughts, ideas and other ramblings.  It is very helpful, for me at least, when I want to do something or get too much going on in my brain to sit down and brainstorm it out.  The problem is, I don't have an organized way  of doing so at the moment so I can go back later if I need to refresh details of something or remind myself how I came to a certain conclusion.  Now I sound like an idiot, lol, I'm just really easily distracted.

Speaking of easily distracted, I have to share an adventure I had with one of my cats (I have 2), Bouncer aka "Fat Tony."

                             Socks (on the left) and Bouncer (on the right) chillin' on the sectional

I got my two kitties at the Washington County Humane Society.  They are great.  Bouncer likes to eat, eat, eat, get petted, sleep and then go eat some more, thus the nickname.  Socks is shy, and has just learned that she can kick Bouncer's butt when he tries to steal her breakfast (which makes for some funny early morning antics in the kitchen).

So anyway, I work 3rd shift, so in the morning when I get home, I feed them, feed myself, shower and go to BED!  Without fail almost EVERY morning, Bouncer sits in the stairway and starts meowing (kind of howling is a more accurate way of describing it).  It sounds like he is yelling "He-llo, HE-LLO" and even "MAMA" on occasion.  I wouldn't have believed it except my significant other heard him one day and gave me a funny look. "Did he just call you mama?" LOL.

So anyway, usually this racket is made in the stairway.  Just a few nights ago, I awoke to a cold nose and rough tongue on my forehead.  I startled and moved my face back to see Bouncer, who yelled at the top of his lungs "He-LLO ... MAMA."  Wow, being at ground zero of that, just coming out of a deep sleep is quite a shock.  Apparently I forgot to give him breakfast and he was letting me know.

Rich (significant other) and I joke that people try to get their kids to talk for the first 2 years of their life then try to get them to shut up the rest.  I didn't teach or encourage my cat to talk, but he certainly learned how!  And although it makes me laugh sometimes, I really wish he would un-learn!

So anyway, I have rambled enough for now.  I was charged with making tacos for dinner (yes at 1am, 3rd shift workers keep an odd meal schedule) and I should get to that task.  Adios!