A few years ago, I made a fabric box, quilted and embroidered, for my daughter who is an avid knitter, cat lover and Chicago Cubs fan. Her old cat, Snickers, has grown more eccentric as she ages (as we all have) and now insists on positioning herself on the box.
The box has suffered a bit …
…but Snickers shows absolutely no shame.
I just realized my 10 year blog anniversary was on September 16 with this post about pumpkin pie. I started quilting when I was 70, started the blog when I was 75 and started knitting at age 83. Of course, I’ve been cooking for decades and the blog has been a good way to remember old favorites and to meet new people. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts. It’s been such fun.
A PERFECT DAY FOR PUMPKIN PIE
This September Sunday morning is cool, crisp and autumn-like with trees starting to show color and fall decorations beginning to appear on front doors. It’s a perfect day for pumpkin pie. My recipe is pretty much standard except for a few variations in spices. I heard Garrison Keillor quote one of his radio characters, saying, “The best pumpkin pie you ever tasted isn’t that much better than the worst,” but I don’t agree. Homemade pumpkin pies are really good and a super-easy pie to make. I prefer to make my pie crust but certainly frozen ones are available.
Over the past weekend, I celebrated my 85th birthday. One of my gifts was a shawl from my younger daughter. She used a pattern for a Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl by Sarah Bradberry, found on ravelry.com
Her yarn was a Caron Big Cake in the Toffee Brickle color. As a special treat, she bought a key ring from the Red Cloud Indian School Heritage Center, made by one of the students, and converted it into a shawl pin.
The pin is particularly dear to me because my daughter and I regularly knit for the children of Pine Ridge in South Dakota.
I’m very happy to have this beautiful addition to the collection of shawls my daughter has made for me. It’s so nice and warm!
I decided to make this wonderful cake for Sunday dinner – the first time since I blogged about it in 2011. It’s always been a family favorite and I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It is easy to bake, makes a large cake and stays moist and delicious for several days if it lasts that long.
NORTON’S RUM CAKE
To make the cake:
- 18.25-18.5 oz. box of yellow cake mix (I use Betty Crocker Super Moist)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup dark rum (Bacardi)
- 1/2 cup oil (canola)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 315 degrees F
Grease and flour a 10-cup tube or Bundt cake pan
Place all ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 10-cup tube or Bundt pan and bake @ 315 degrees F for approximately one hour until a tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
With cake still in pan, allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges and tube portion to loosen. Invert cake onto rack.
While cake is cooling, make the Rum Glaze:
- 8 Tblsp. (1/4 lb.) butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark rum (Bacardi)
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Then stir in the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rum.
While cake is warm, poke holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the sauce over the cake. It will take several minutes for the cake to absorb the glaze – just wait a few seconds and ladle on some more sauce until it is all used.
Let cake cool completely before cutting and serving.
After my father was gone in the 1970s, my sister (a die-hard round dancer) persuaded my mother to get out more and to take up round and square dancing. Mother fought the idea for awhile, but finally got up the nerve to venture out on her own and met the most wonderful man who became her dance partner and a friend of the family for many years to come. Norton was always the perfect gentleman, soft-spoken with a dry wit, a great dancer, and a good cook.
The dances were always the occasion for good food contributed by the club members and Norton’s favorite item to bring was his famous rum cake. Although alcohol was strictly forbidden at dances, everyone looked the other way when Norton walked in with his cake. Erma Bombeck wrote about the joy of being at a PTA meeting and having someone bring in anything with…
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My daughter passed on to me a link to a free pattern to make a “simple asymmetrical scarf … intended to display gradients in handspun yarn”. I didn’t have any handspun yarn, but I did have a “Sweet Roll” cake of yarn from JoAnn’s and decided to give this a try since it was all in easy garter stitch. It starts out with 5 stitches cast on and ends when you run out of yarn. This is how my scarf turned out.
My daughter used a Caron cake with about twice as much yarn and made a gloriously long and swervy scarf.
It’s a nice pattern to really show off the colors in these cakes. The sections of each color are large so you need a big project to display them to best advantage.
Here’s the free pattern:
MAGIC RAGLAN SWEATER
“A simple fill-in-the-blanks method for making a raglan sweater that is knit from the neck down, in one piece, to fit anybody.”
I like patterns that are really formulas with blanks to fill in measurements plus yarn and needle information to make an item of any size. This is an interesting pattern that can be adapted for any size from infant to a full sized man’s sweater. I chose to make two sweaters for a child 2-3 years old and one baby cardigan.
I like the concept very much but would like to develop a better neckline. It still makes sturdy sweaters for the little Lakota children of Pine Ridge, SD.
I’ve been making a version of this kuchen for many years. Originally, it was a German recipe which used quark, something that is not available in most of our Cincinnati-area grocery stores. I’ve found that sour cream or yogurt are good substitutes. This is very easy to put together with a variety of fruit toppings, not too sweet and a consistency that I haven’t found in other cakes. This was a good version with some leftover blackberries and a big Bartlett pear.
Blackberry Pear Kuchen
3 Tblsp. sour cream
3 Tblsp. milk
3 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup + 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup blackberries
1 cup pear slices
Cinnamon-Ginger Topping: 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
and 1/4 tsp. each of cinnamon and ginger, mixed together
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch baking pan
In medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, oil and sugar.
Mix together the salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda, and gradually stir into sour cream mixture. Place batter in greased pan. The dough will be stiff and somewhat sticky. Dampen your hands with water and then press the dough into the pan.
Arrange the blackberries and pear slices over the top of the cake.
Bake @ 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle Cinnamon-Ginger Topping over top of cake and continue baking for 5 more minutes.
Place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 servings.