Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baking, anyone?

So, yesterday and today I've fulfilled the ever-present urge to bake. After all, I will soon have a captive group of tasters. Instead of trying something new I went with the ole tried-and-true crowd pleasers.

Coke Cake: This is the ultimate cake for ease of transportation and bang for your buck. Plus it's amazing. This recipe came from my friend Mendy about 10 years ago, and it's been one of my go-to's ever since.

Preheat oven to 350-deg and lightly grease a 13x9 cake pan.
Combine the following in a large bowl.
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar

Melt the following in a saucepan. When melted, pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well.
2 sticks butter
3 Tbl. cocoa
1 cup Coke

Add these ingredients to the bowl of chocolate heaven and mix very well.
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup marshmallows

Pour into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Don't overbake! The success of this cake depends on it being moist!

Now, the icing. Towards the end of the baking time, combine the following ingredients in the saucepan and melt to combine.
1 stick butter
3 Tbl. cocoa
6 Tbl. Coke
Remove from heat and add
1 box of powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans.
Mix well, and pour this icing over the hot cake when it comes out of the oven. Let sit for about an hour. Every hour it sits only makes it better and better....

Second, Bran Muffins, sometimes called Six-Weeks Muffins:
Supposedly this mix will stay in your fridge, unbaked, for up to 6 weeks. I've never tried it and can't imagine our family could wait that long. These usually get scarfed up pretty quickly. However, it makes a HUGE batch. As in, the biggest mixing bowl you have might not accomodate this recipe. So plan to be creative. You could buy a giant plastic popcorn bowl, or I use a giant aluminum bowl that's probably 18" in diameter. You can find these at Walmart, Target etc.

1 15oz. box of Wheaties or Bran Flakes cereal, or use Raisin Bran if you like raisins.
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 quart of buttermilk
5 cups flour ( I use white and wheat combined, about 1/2 of each)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in your gigantic bowl. Add beaten eggs, oil and milk. Mix well and store in tightly covered bowl or canister. Bake at 400-deg for 15-20 minutes. This will make about 4 dozen smallish muffins, so it's perfect for brunches or showers.

Tomorrow we leave for vacation, so I won't be posting for a while, only eating and hiking and fishing and drinking. Ta ta!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shutters are up!

No picture yet, I lost my daylight. Plus, I'm really hoping to get that door done in 2 weeks. That will be a much better "after" picture. (But they do look great!) We are exhausted from all the home improvements. I was thinking we were in terrific shape for laundry, packing etc tomorrow, then leaving on Wednesday. Then we actually talked and figured out what each of us wants to accomplish tomorrow, and the outlook is a tad different. I think I'm headed to bed right now, since there's a full day ahead tomorrow....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rain delay

Well well...never anticipated RAIN. Shutters are moved into the garage and are drying, with the help of fans. Hopefully I can paint today after all. My back is killing me after priming yesterday, and painting the porch rail. Marshall fixed the fence too, so we were pretty productive!

Last night we went to the boat club for July 4th festivities. It was really fun. There was a bluesy band playing, and hot dogs and burgers and all kinds of pot luck sides. Out on the dock it wasn't too hot - at least there was a breeze. We caught fireworks from 3 different locations over the lake, plus all the illegal displays along the shore of the lake. After Gillian figured out where to look for the fireworks (over the tree line), she narrated each and every color, for every one of the 30 minutes we watched. Love the little voice, tired of the frequency sometimes. Today everyone is very tired. We had a meager breakfast of freezer waffles, as somehow we've blown through all the groceries this week lightening fast. I blame Gabe, who we cannot seem to fill up lately. Probably a foreshadow of years to come.

We're looking forward to Big Cedar! Every day Gabe asks for the countdown. He has taken to randomly announcing to strangers how "We're going to Big Cedar on Wednesday!" I pray none of those people have robbery in their hearts, 'cause if so we'll be cleaned out on Wednesday. Poor little Tucker will have to hold down the fort.