Monday, June 30, 2014


The peaches that I bought a little over a week ago finally ripened in the paper sacks. I had checked them about mid week last week, but they had still not ripened. Saturday when I opened the top of the sack, I smelled peaches. I knew they were ripe.

This morning I decided would be a good time to make a batch of jam/preserves. Today the forecast high is 91 and the last time I checked that was exactly what it was. I knew it would be easier to do them before the house heated up and it heated up outside.

I managed to make 4-1/2 pints of the prettiest peach jam who have ever seen. (See picture below.) It took 12 peaches to make that much but I still have plenty to do something else with....and manage to eat one ever so often. I found a recipe for a peach cake that I am going to make in the morning to take to Hillcrest Thrift Shop. Good friend N.C. and his wife are moving on the 7th to OK and we hope to do something special for him tomorrow. I think they will like this cake. I will be sharing it later this week.

I usually only go into Hillcrest of Tuesdays, but I have signed up for Saturday, the first shift, a couple of times lately. Last Saturday was one of those times. Since I have to be there by 9:45, I knew I would be rushed to make something then, so I decided to make some cookies Friday evening.  

It was so funny when I saw Jerry, he asked me if I made the cookies. When I told him I had, he said smiling, "I knew you did because they are so good." Mark came up to me at the register and asked, "What did you make and bring today?" Oh my gosh, can I ever go again and not take something? 

Anyway to the recipe. This was Charlotte Banks' contribution to the Home Cookin' cookbook from our church in Ventura, CA, College UMC. I'm not sure who Helen Olson was but she did know how to make a good cookie. Charlotte is another one of the dear, sweet ladies from the church who is no longer living. She always made me feel so special and that she was really glad she had gotten to see me. The only changes I made in the recipe was to use brown sugar blend thereby reducing the amount of sugar and I did use whole wheat pastry flour.


2         sticks margarine (1 cup), softened
1-1/2  cups brown sugar (I used 3/4 cup brown sugar blend)
2         eggs
2         teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2   cups whole wheat (pastry) flour
2         teaspoons baking soda
2-1/2 to 3 cups oatmeal (I used 2-1/2 cups quick oats)
1         pkg (12 oz) chocolate chips (I used a 10-oz bag of dark cacao chips)
1-1/2  cups chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the margarine, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer.

Combine the flour, soda, and oats and add them to the mixture.

Add the chips and 

Mix well.

Drop by teaspoon; press down. (I used my cookie scoop and 

did pressed them down with my fingers.)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. (Since I used the parchment paper, I only baked mine about 10 minutes.  Check them at 10 minutes. Mine weren't very brown but the bottom was when I checked them. My oven also heats a little hot too, I think.)

Remove immediately and cool on wire rack.

Here is a picture I took of my peach jam. I did a tutorial last year showing how easy it is to make this jam. You can check it out HERE. It is a popular post of mine.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Just got back from a fun day with Friend Janice going to estate sales.  Saw a lot, bought a little.  Enjoyed "touring" some of the homes.  One was built in 1925 and faces Ward Parkway.  It was probably the highlight of the day.

I did get home in time to share the recipe I made Tuesday to take to Hillcrest Thrift Shop.  The recipe is another one from Home Cookin', from the Kitchens of College UMC in Ventura, CA.  This one was contributed by Gladyce Manville.  The cookbook was compiled in 1991 and so many of the ladies are no longer living.  I am enjoying trying the recipes and remembering the lovely ladies.

Remember if you want to print the recipe using the print friendly button at the bottom of the post, it will allow you to remove the images.


3/4       cup margarine
1-1/4    cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar blend)
1/4       cup white sugar (I used 1/4 cup stevia)
3          eggs or 2 eggs + 1 egg white
1/2       cup buttermilk or sour milk
1          cup quick oatmeal
1-1/2    cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1/2       teaspoon orange peel
2          cups flour
1          teaspoon baking soda
3/4       teaspoon baking powder
3/4       teaspoon salt


1/2       cup butter or margarine
1/4       cup milk
1          cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar blend)
1-3/4    cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 2 square pans or 1 rectangular (9 x 13-inch) pan.

Cream margarine and sugars.

Add eggs and orange peel; beat well.

Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) alternately 
with buttermilk. (I usually do this three times always starting and ending with the dry mixture.)

Blend in oatmeal and bananas. 

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake 45 minutes for the rectangular pan and 35 minutes for the square ones.

Cool in pan on wire rack.

Prepare the icing:

Melt margarine in saucepan.

Add the brown sugar.

Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in milk.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Cool to lukewarm.

Add the powdered sugar 
and beat until thick enough to spread.

Spread over cooled cake.

Nuts may be sprinkled on top.

Store covered to keep the cake from drying out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Today has been one of those "catch-up" days for me. Yesterday there was nothing on my calendar for the day. My husband got up at 6:15 to go play golf. That meant I would have the complete morning to myself.  

As I couldn't go back to sleep after the alarm went off, I mentally planned out my day while still "asleep" in bed. I have known since the beginning of the week that one thing I had to do today was some of that "daily" cleaning that never gets done at my house on a daily basis .... cause I don't enjoy cleaning. Don't get me wrong, I really like a clean house, I would just rather spend my time doing something else with my time. BUT since I have been sick for about two weeks and during that time we went away for my husband's high school reunion, I knew I would have to spend at least part of today, cleaning. 

Last night we went to HyVee and bought another 4 lbs of strawberries before they went off sale at the end of the day. SO I remembered that and knew I needed to make some preserves today with them.

There was also an estate sale starting today close to Friend Janice's neighborhood and I had sent her an email last night about possibly going.

So as I laid in bed, I realized my day was getting full.  

Since it was supposed to get down in the 60s last night, I decided I should take advantage of the cooler temps and make the strawberry preserves first. I wrote a post last year about how easy this is to do. You can check it out here. .

So when my husband left at 7, I got up and started on the jam.  By 8:25 I was finished with four and a half pints. They sure did look pretty.

Since I hadn't heard from Janice, I decided to send her a text. So 20 minutes later, I was meeting her to go to the estate sale. She didn't buy anything, but I got a necklace ($5) and a Longaberger Bread Basket Brick ($3).

After I got back home, I couldn't think of anything to do to distract me from cleaning, so .....

I did stop at 11:00 to try this new way of "baking" sweet potatoes. I think I saw it on Facebook.  (Sorry my memory is getting bad.) I didn't know what else I was going to cook to go with them for dinner but at least it was a start. Well....skipping ahead to dinner ... they turned out so good. They were cooked thoroughly and were also really sweet. I was thinking of sprinkling a little brown sugar on mine, but after taking a bite, I realized they didn't need any. I don't know if it was the method of cooking or if the potato was just really sweet. Anyway, I loved the results. I used to cook mine in the microwave, but they were never done enough. Baking them in the oven is nice in the winter (helps heat up the house), but not so nice in the summer. Well, I will never bake them any other way. That's for sure.

Here is what I did.....


*Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes.

*Using a sharp knife (like a paring knife), quickly stab around the potato. ( stab close to top, near middle, and near bottom - four times around the potato)

*Place potatoes in your slow cooker.

*Cook on low for 6 hours.

*Here's the really nice thing....if you aren't really to eat, just turn your slow cooker to "keep warm".

They were perfect!

I did get quite a bit done...washing 3 loads of clothes and doing some of that other boring cleaning. And best of all I called and talked to my cousin Carol for almost an hour to wish her a happy birthday.

It turned out being a busy, but good day. I have to have one ever once in a while. Tomorrow I am back to a New Neighbor gathering in the afternoon ... playing canasta. That should be fun (especially if I am on a winning team). What?  At least, I'm honest. 

Until next time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


"Fantastic! Wow!"  That was Friend Fran's daughter Sheila comments after tasting this Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing. That just about says it all.

I am back in College United Methodist Church's cookbook Home Cookin' with another scrumptious recipe.  This one contributed by Eleanor Songer is so yummy.  How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate? The cake is so moist and light. (Don't tell anybody, but I liked it even without the icing.) BUT the icing is one of those "better than...." icing.

Eleanor intended the cake to be a layer cake, but since I was making it for a picnic, I decided to make it in a Bundt pan instead. It worked out perfectly.  I had a lot of icing, but that just meant I really layered it on.

The recipe called for 2-1/2 cups of creamy peanut butter.  I bought an 18 - oz jar and it was about 1/2 cup short.  I ended up adding some natural peanut butter to it, but was shy the 2 cups for the icing.  Personally, I think the 18 - oz jar would be enough.  At first I only used half of the milk that the recipe called for, but ended up using the rest. In hindsight, I think, next time, I will add a little more milk and make it a little bit thinner and easier to spread.

It definitely was enjoyed by others at the picnic Sunday.  Friend Marilyn asked me if it was on my blog.  (She is having company this week and wanted to make it for them while they were here.)  I had to tell her not yet, but that I would get it on as soon as I could. Hope your family likes it, Marilyn.

Remember if you want to print the recipe using the print friendly button on the bar at the bottom of the post, it will allow you to remove the images.  If you don't see the "printer" link, you need to click on the post title so that you are just seeing this post.


1         pkg. yellow cake mix
2-1/2  cups creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or fresh ground) (I used an 18 - oz jar of reduced-fat creamy peanut butter.)
3/4      cup chocolate syrup (I used sugar-free chocolate syrup.)
8         oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 1 cup chocolate chips.)
1         cup powdered sugar
1/4 +  cup milk
chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Use two 9 - inch round cake pans, greased and floured. (I used a tube pan, greased and floured.)

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding 1/2 cup of peanut butter during the last minute of beating.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, if making the layer cake.  Pour batter evenly in the tube pan, if using a tube pan.

Bake til a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes for the round cake pans.  I cooked mine 35 minutes in the tube pan (as directed by cake mix box.)

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out on racks and cool.  I turned my tube cake onto the glass cake plate I was going to serve my cake from.

For the icing, combine the chocolate syrup and semi-sweet chocolate in a heavy small saucepan.

Stir constantly over low heat til chocolate is melted and mix is smooth.  (Doesn't take too long.)

Transfer the chocolate to a large bowl.

Stir in 2 cups of peanut butter (or the rest if using an 18 - oz jar), powdered sugar, and milk. I started using my wooden spoon, but decided it would be easier using the mixer.

Blend with mixer on low speed until smooth.  Fill free to add additional milk if the icing is too thick to spread.

If you made the layer cake, Eleanor says, " Place 1 cake on platter. Spread top with  1- 1/2 cups icing.  Top with second cake (layer). Spread top and sides with remaining icing. Garnish with chopped peanuts."

I had plenty of icing since I had made my cake in a tube pan. This allowed me plenty of icing to spread in the hole and around the bottom of the cake.  As I said earlier, the icing could have been a little thinner (for spreading), but it tasted just great.


Friend Carol told me today when she is adding peanut butter to recipes, she places it in the microwave and heats it for about 30 second (1 cup of peanut butter).  This thins it enough that it is then easy to mix.  I will try this next time.  Thanks, Carol.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Have you ever had a cookbook for years but then one day rediscovered it?  That's exactly what has happened to me.  Home Cookin' is a cookbook the women of College United Methodist Church in Ventura, CA compiled and sold in 1991. 

We had only been in CA about 3 years when the United Methodist Women started compiling the recipes. I have had success with several recipes in it, but recently I picked it up looking for a particular recipe.  Well, I haven't been able to put it down.  I started writing down on an index card of recipes I wanted to try.  Funny thing is, every time I pick it up I find a recipe to make that I didn't have written down on the card. The pineapple cookies I made and took to Hillcrest Tuesday is one of those.

This recipe simply called Impossible Pie is one I had written down.  It was contributed by Doris Smith.  I would have included "coconut" in the title but Doris called it "Impossible Pie" because it is one of those pies that when the pie is done, it will have a bottom crust, custard middle, and a coconut top.  I absolutely love coconut pie especially coconut cream pie, but didn't have the ingredients to make that.  Since I like custard pie, I decided how could I go wrong.


4       eggs
1/4    cup butter/margarine (1/2 stick)
3/4    cup white sugar (I used 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of truvia baking blend)
1/2    cup flour
1/4    teaspoon salt
1/2    teaspoon baking powder
2       cups milk (I used skim milk)
1       cup coconut (I used unsweetened coconut)
1       teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  I used a glass 10-inch pie plate so I reduced the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order given.

Blend until mixture is smooth.

Pour into 10-inch pie plate 

and bake for 1 hour.

As the pie cools (on wire rack), pie will sink.  That's to be expected.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta, is the picturesque and historic city of Rome, GA. We recently spent a delightful weekend there to celebrate my husband's 50th high school reunion.  He hadn't been back since going off to college.  I had never been there.  

It was a beautiful drive from the Atlanta Airport (officially called the Hartsfield -Jackson Atlanta International Airport).  From the I-285 loop we were able to enjoy the view of downtown Atlanta without having to deal with too much of the traffic.

We did have some showers that we drove in and out of, but by the time we got to Rome, the sky only had a few dark clouds but no rain. I am not sure what I expected Rome to be like, but I wasn't expecting to see the Roman arches that greeted us as we entered the city. This wouldn't be the last reference to that other famous Rome though that I would see before we left on Sunday.

The story of how Rome got its name is an fascinating one to me. The city of Rome, founded in 1834 by five men each had their own idea about a name for the city.  They put the five names - Rome, Pittsburgh, Warsaw, Hamburg, and Hillsboro - in a hat and "Rome" was pulled out.  Turns out that was a lucky selection as it also sits among seven hills as does Rome, Italy.  An added treat is the three rivers that cradle the city. 

The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham where we stayed is a renovated 1890s warehouse with original hardwood floors and outside-brick walls. The center of the hotel is a three-story sky-lit atrium. We would definitely stay there again. 

Another great advantage is its location.  It was just a block off Broad Street, the main street of downtown Rome. Downtown Rome has to be a favorite to me.
With a lot of work (we were told) the city has brought back downtown with four blocks of speciality shops that brought back memories of Santa Barbara, CA  to us.  
It wasn't easy to find a parking spot on the street showing how successful this renovation has been. There are additional parking lots but since we were so close, we were just able to walk down there.

Since we had Saturday free (the reunion dinner was Saturday night at the Coosa Country Club) and both share a love of history, it was really easy to spend our day visiting all of the historical sites that Rome is known for.  Right after a filling complementary breakfast at the Hawthorn, we started by walking to the Rome History Museum on Broad Street. 

Greeted by an enthusiastic director (?), we learned that East Rome High School, my husband's alma mater, is referred to by everyone as "K-Mart" because the high school was torn down and a K-mart was built on the site.  West Rome High School, the other high school when my husband lived there, is referred to as "Wal-Mart" since, you guessed it, Wal-Mart built there when the high school was torn down. Everyone in the places we visited used these store names when talking about the schools. She also told us that contrary to popular belief that the statue of the Capitoline wolf and Remus and Romulus (yes, like the one in that other historic city) that's in front of city hall was not given to the city by that other historic city.  It was actually an advertisement gimmick of a business. (sorry I forgot the business). I found that fact funny because my husband had already told me that story as we drove around the city the night before. I wonder how many other people still believe that story. I invite you to visit the museum's website to learn more about it.

I did get a picture of the City Hall and Auditorium because that is where the class graduation was held back in 1964.  Since I didn't get a close-up of the "famous" statue, I made the picture extra large so maybe you can see it down in the center front of the building. 
According to Rome History Museum, the area of Georgia where Rome is located has a native American history dating back to ancestors of the Creek who lived in the area until around 1600. The Cherokee moved into the area in the late 1700s. By the 1820s the Creek had left the area, but the Cherokee continued to live there until their official removal by the government beginning in 1835. (This mass removal is known as the "Trail of Tears" because nearly 5000 Native Americans died on the 1000 mile march to Oklahoma.)

Because of its location during the Civil War the Confederate army set up hospitals in Rome. By 1863 there were four Confederate military hospitals. In May, 1864 when the Union army captured the city, they also maintained hospitals there.

Driving around we found the United Methodist Church my husband and his family attended.

Nearby, was The Clock Tower and museum.  The tower is 104 feet tall and dates to 1871. The museum wasn't open so we couldn't go up to the top, but the plague on the building said, "Since 1872, the original, mechanical clockworks that serve as the centerpiece of this museum have been keeping time in Rome's most famous landmark, the Old Town Clock. The City Clock, as the tower is popularly known, houses a 250,000 gallon water tank that once served the residents of Rome. It was an impressive structure beautifully landscaped on one of the seven hills.

Our next stop was at the Chieftains.  The sign out in front of this beautiful house reads, "At this house's core is the 1790s log home of Major Ridge (c.1771-1839), a leader in the Cherokee Nation.  His 223-acre plantation supported numerous outbuildings, orchards and slaves while the family served as ferryboat operators and merchants. It was here the council negotiated the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, which promised the Cherokee land compensation for voluntarily moving to Oklahoma.  Their forced removal became known as the "Trail of Tears". Ridge knew death was imminent for selling tribal lands but believed the treaty to be the only mans to save his people.  He, his son, and nephew were murdered in 1839." Heather, the director of the museum, told us Ridge and his family moved to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) four years earlier to settle. Ridge, his son, and nephew were killed by embittered survivors of the "Trail of Tears".  

The additions on both ends of the house and the columns were added at a later time. The house was actually used as a residence until the 1960s.  Inside the house you can see the log walls of the original house as subsequent residents simply covered over the logs with wooden planks.  The house was named the Chieftains later by residents to pay homage to the significance to Native American history.

You can read more about the Chieftains and Major Ridge at their website. 

We have to thank Heather at the Chieftains for recommending lunch at the Harvest Moon Cafe. Another one of the downtown renovations, the food was great and I loved the decor. 

Tummys full, we were then off to the Myrtle Hill Cemetery. It is just a couple of blocks south of the historic downtown area on Myrtle Hill. 
A narrow road that spirals around the hilltop allows you access to the entire cemetery. 

It is home to a Nathan Bedford Forest monument, 

a monument dedicated to the Confederate Woman.
and the graves of almost 400 civil war soldiers , both Confederate and Union. 

There is also the Veterans Plaza dedicated to the veterans of America.

President Woodrow Wilson first wife is also buried there.  

If you are interested in learning more about this historic cemetery, visit its website. It has quite a history.

Our last stop was to the Oak Hill Museum, the original home for one of Rome's most famous residents, Martha Berry, an inspirational educator and social worker. We arrived just after the last tour group was taken up to original home of Miss Berry but enjoyed touring the museum and learning about her and the many Berry schools she was responsible for starting. Visiting the website made me sorry we weren't in time to visit her home.  I know it would have been an unforgettable experience.

Before we left Rome on Sunday, we drove around the beautiful Berry College, a 27,000 acre liberal arts college just north of Rome that Miss Berry established. 

We also drove out to see the baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves farm team, the Rome Braves.

Before we left town Sunday, we thought we would drive by the former high schools. First we drove over to West Rome to the Wal-Mart (former WRHS) and found a nice granite monument for WRHS. 

On our way back over to K-Mart, the former ERHS, we first had to stop and get some ice cream at Bruster's Real Ice Cream. Any thing so colorful just had to have good ice cream. And boy, did they. They make their ice cream fresh each day.  I got peach ice cream.  Tasted just like fresh peaches.    

After that delicious distraction, we were off to the K-Mart to find the bench my husband was told was there recognizing the former ERHS.  (pictures on the right were taken by previous class reunions) We must have driven around in the parking lot and in front of the store 3 or 4 times looking for the bench, but we never saw it. Not sure why. Maybe it was being repaired or something.

So just a little disappointed, we left Rome and headed back to Atlanta to return the rental car and check into the Gateway Marriott for our return flight home on Monday.

Even though I was sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection, the weekend was a delightful surprise.  I didn't attend high school with my husband so I didn't know anyone at the reunion (except my husband, of course).  But everyone was so friendly and welcoming and I didn't feel left out of any conversation.  The dinner at the Coosa Country Club was so good, the D.J. played songs that were popular during the early to mid 60s, and I enjoyed watching several of the couples "shag dance".  That was a totally new dance concept for us.  One man asked me if I shag danced (my husband was talking to one of his classmates) and I had to tell him regrettably that I didn't.  We will have to learn how to shag dance before we go back for the next reunion. 

I am ending this post with pictures of one of my favorite trees especially in bloom. Rome was full of magnolia trees and it made me feel like I was back in sourtheast Arkansas. You see the magnolia blossom was my high school class' class flower.