Monday, August 31, 2015


I know I have at least one friend from our Farkle group who is waiting for this post. Why? Because the last words out of Friend Sue's mouth when we all left were, "You'll have the recipe on your blog, won't you?" I've kept her waiting a week so I can't make her wait any longer.

Friend Barb served us this Scandinavian Almond Cake for dessert and everyone couldn't quit oohing and aahing. It was fantastic.


1-1/4       cups sugar
1             egg
1-1/2      teaspoons pure almond extract
2/3        cup milk
1-1/4      cups flour
1/2         teaspoon baking powder
1             stick melted margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray pan with cooking spray.

Beat well the sugar, egg, almond extract, and milk.

Add the flour and baking powder.

Add the butter.

Mix well.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 - 50 minutes. Edges must be golden brown.

Cool in pan on wire rack before removing. Cake will break if you remove it too soon.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Slice and serve with fresh fruit and a little whipped cream.

This is what the pan looks like that Barb used. In fact the recipe came with the pan.

I don't have the special pans she used to make it, so will be trying it in a different pan. I have a loaf pan that I got at an estate sale that is long and slender like this that I will try first. If you decide to try it before I do, please let me know how it turned out.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I love quilt patterns with stars. In the past I have been hesitant to even try them because of my fear of making perfect points on the stars. (It's terrible being a perfectionist.)

This friendship star though is so easy and is so popular. I see it all the time when I go into quilt shops that display quilts. I even saw it in a quilt at the Missouri State Fair that my husband and I attended last week.

I made a table runner with mine, but you could use the block in any project.

I have learned that quilt blocks that look scary (aka difficult) aren't if you break them down. That's exactly what I did with the friendship star; then the points weren't scary at all. I noticed that all the block is .... is a nine patch with four of the nine squares being half square triangles of prints A and B, one square of print B, and the other four squares from print A.

I think the secret is measuring once again before you start sewing the rows together and making sure each square is "square". Trim off any excess especially on the half square triangles. Once you have the three rows sewed together "square up the block" again.

This is what my table runner looked like finished.

I ended up making four friendship square blocks and then put a border around them. Instead of adding a binding, I cut the backing the same size as the top and sewed around the edges with right sides together (batting that I cut a scant 1/4 inch smaller all the way around was pinned to the wrong side of the top) leaving a few inches in one end and then turning it.

For the quilting I machine stitched along the blue strip with the small stars on the border material and then outlined (sewed 1/4 inch inside the seams) in print A around the friendship stars.

Here are some pictures with a little explanation that I took while I was making the table runner.

I prefer to make my half-triangle squares by cutting the square 3/8 inches bigger and then cutting the squares diagonally to make the triangles. I know there is a speedy method for making half-square triangles, but for me it isn't speedy.

 For my project I cut 8 squares from the red print (B) 3-7/8 " from a strip I cut 3-7/8 " x WOF (width of fabric) 

(*Note....When I cut the 8 squares, I had about 10+inches left. I cut 2 pieces 3-1/2 inches wide 
and then trimmed the other side down so that it would measure 3-1/2" x 3-1/2". Then I just needed to cut two squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" squares instead of cutting another strip.)
and then cut the squares diagonally to make 16 triangles
 I repeat this with the light print A. Because I needed to cut 16 squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2", I cut one strip 3-7/8" x WOF and 2 strips 3-1/2" x WOF.
 All my triangles ready to sew together (rights sides together)
 Here is a useful tip when you start to make a chain of half-square triangles. Take a piece of scrap the same thickness and start sewing on it first
then you don't have the "chewed" ends that sometimes happens when you don't have much material for the "foot" to grab a hold of.
 Cut the thread between the squares and then press the triangles open pressing the seam toward the darker print.
"Square" them up when you have them all sewed.

All 16 half-square triangles, 4 squares from B, and 16 squares from A - enough to make 4 friendship blocks

Then you are ready to rotate the half-square triangles to form the star

The finished block...

I forgot to take a picture of the backside, but it is important that you press the seams a certain way so that the seams "nest" together nicely when you sew the 3 horizontal strips together. Hopefully this picture will help.

Don't forget to trim the block to make sure it is "square".

I made four of these blocks and then sewed them together to make the table runner.

I used a striped print for the border so I didn't have to sew a bunch of strips together. I placed the strip of the four stars over the material to decide the look I wanted for the border and then cut strips 3-3/4" x the length of the panel + a little "just in case". 

After I cut the border I sewed the border down the length of the table runner first and then trimmed the ends.

Finding the border pattern again in the material I was using for the border, I cut two pieces 3-3/4"  x the width of the runner with the two side borders added + a little extra. Then I sewed the ends on the runner and trimmed them.

The finished top

If you are going to sew the backing on and turn the piece instead of sewing a binding on, cut the backing and the batting a little larger than the size of the top. 

With the batting underneath the top, pin it (from the top) to the wrong side of the top with large safety pins. Then trim the batting even with the edges of the top...

Then turn the edge of the top back and cut a fat 1/4 inch off the edge of the batting. You don't want to catch the batting when you sew the top and back together so cut the batting a "hair" more than 1/4 inch smaller. I am using the shorter ruler on the right to measure the "fat" quarter inch. When I remove it, my longer ruler is on the left side, so I can cut with my rotary cutter on the right side.

Here is what it will look like when it is turned over. 

With the backing right side up on the cutting table, lay the pinned top and batting on top with right sides together.Trim the backing to the same size as the top and batting.

You can pin these layers together if you like to hold them in place when you stitch 1/4 inch around leaving an opening in one end several inches long for turning the work inside out.

I like to sew these layers together with the batting side up. I turn back the batting to make sure it doesn't get sewed in the seam. When I am finished, I can see if I need to trim the batting anywhere. Remember I want it to be just slightly smaller than the finished top....the safety pins I used earlier will keep the batting in place when it is turned.

Turn the work through the opening and then slip stitch the opening closed.

I removed the safety pins after I did the machine quilting outline and pressed it flat. (I discussed the machine quilting earlier in the post.)

Here is what it looks like on the backside.

Amount of fabric you need to complete this project:

3/8 yd of print A
1/4 yd of print B
5/8 yd for border unless you are using a striped print like I used. Then you will need 1-1/4 yds.
1-1/4 yds for backing
piece of batting 46" x 19"

You can easily cut the stars from a fat quarter or

If you want to make a block in which each star is different, you just need a piece(s) to cut 2 squares 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" and 1 square 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" for the star and a piece(s) 4" x 24" to cut 4 squares 3-1/2" x 3-1/2" and 2 squares 3-7/8" x 3-7/8" for the background.

If you have any questions about anything I did, please ask me in a comment below or you can email me at . I try to make sure I am thorough in my explanation, but since I know what I am doing, I might omit some step that a newcomer especially needs to see or hear about.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


My schedule at Hillcrest Thrift Shop has changed back to working the second shift at the register. I thought I was going to be picking up my granddaughter from preschool and taking her to daycare on Tuesdays and so I changed my schedule. Turns out plans changed and a mother of one of the students in the class is taking her. I was excited about seeing Maddy every week. So now I have the morning to make whatever I am going to share with the volunteers when I go in on Tuesdays. 

This week I had so many choices, but finally settled on a cake called Take-Along Cake. It used a chocolate cake mix and I know how much the volunteers like chocolate. I didn't have the Swiss chocolate cake mix the recipe called for but I think any chocolate cake mix would work, even a sugar-free one (It was pretty sweet tasting.)

Well, sure enough, it was definitely a winner with everyone. I brought home the crumbs in the bottom of the pan.

The recipe came from a booklet for Duncan Hines called B*A*K*E Your Best. (1990) I found it in a tub full of "booklet" cookbooks at an estate sale for $. 50 each. Like I said, I have marked half a dozen or more recipes in it that I want to try.

It may remind you of a cake called an Earthquake cake, but this one is different.


1       package chocolate cake mix - Use your favorite - even a sugar-free one if you like. (I used a German chocolate cake mix)
1       package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1       cup miniature marshmallows
1/4    cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2   cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2   cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 - inch pan. (I really missed my HOMEMADE Pan Grease. It makes this so easy. I need to make me some more.)

Prepare the cake mix following the package directions.

Add chocolate chips and marshmallows to the batter.

Pour into pan.

Drizzle the melted butter over the batter.

Sprinkle with brown sugar

and top with nuts.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. (I baked mine about 47 minutes and tested it with a toothpick. It had started pulling away from the sides of the pan at 45 minutes but the center was soft to the touch.)

Cool on wire rack.

Cut into squares 12 - 16.


The chips do seem to drop to the bottom and the marshmallows stay on top giving the top the special look with the brown sugar and nuts. Make sure you grease and flour the pan well as the chips will tend to stick to the bottom.

Remember if you want to print the recipe using the print icon below, you will have the option to remove images when the print window opens. If you do not see the print icon, you need to tap/click on the title of this post and it will take you to just this post. Then you will see the print icon with the share buttons. Home will return you to my blog's most recent posts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Hard to believe it is still August here in the Northland. The temperatures have dropped to the 50s and 60s at night and only in the 70s and 80s during the day. With the feeling of Fall in the air, I hope this doesn't mean we are going to have an early Winter. They are predicting above average snowfall for most of the country, us included.

Monday afternoon was the regularly scheduled meeting of the Northland New Neighbors League Farkle group. I got up and got right to coring a bushel of apples we bought Saturday at the Farmers' Market in Parkville to make applesauce in three of my slow cookers. Then in my fourth one, I put some green beans and new potatoes to cook for dinner. I totally had forgotten about Farkle. Thankfully Friend Janice sent me a text and the plans for the rest of the day were placed on hold.

Nine of us gathered at Friend Barb's house for a fun afternoon. She had quite a "spread" for everyone to snack on including this Fruit Salsa. Dessert was also fabulous but I will share that in another post. This Fruit Salsa came from her Betty Crocker cookbook.



If you plan to chill this salsa more than 6 hours, stir in the strawberries just before serving.

1       cup finely chopped strawberries
1       medium orange, peeled and finely chopped (1/3 cup)
2      large or 3 small kiwifruit, peeled and finely chopped (2/3 cup)
1/2   cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or one 8 - ounce can crushed pineapple (juice pack), drained
1/4   cup thinly sliced green onions (2)
1/4   cup finely chopped yellow or green sweet pepper
1       tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1       fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1       recipe Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the strawberries, orange, kiwifruit, pineapple, green onions, sweet pepper, lime or lemon juice, and if desired, jalapeno pepper. 

Cover and chill for 6 to 24 hours.

Serve with Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps.


1       12 - count package of 7 - 8 inch flour tortillas. 
1       teaspoon cinnamon
1/2   cup sugar (Barb uses Splenda)
melted margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each tortilla lightly with melted margarine.

Combine the cinnamon and Splenda to make cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle over each tortilla.

Cut tortilla into 8 wedges.

Place wedges on cookie sheet as closely together as possible and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Barb bakes hers about 6 minutes. They are lightly brown, dry, and crisp then. 

Serve with fruit salsa.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Saturday my husband and I went to Parkville's Days in nearby Parkville. We especially wanted to go to the Farmers' Market, but everything else was enjoyable also. We ended up buying several things ---some lotion made with goat milk and a jar of mulberry jam from the vendors and even a few things from a merchant in Parkville. At the Farmers' Market, we got some fresh green beans and new potatoes, and a bushel of #2 apples to make some applesauce, and then my husband bought an Italian cucumber because he had never seen one before.

I plan to put the apples in the slow cooker tonight and let them cook all night to make the applesauce. I'll let you know how it turns out. After the lady dumped the apples in two big plastic bags, I saw that there were a few different red apples in there mixed in with the green ones. 

Since we didn't have anything sweet in the house, I decided to try something with some of the red apples. That's when I found this little spiral cookbook that contains recipes from Stephenson's Restaurant. I don't think any exist anymore, but anyone who is from the area is familiar with the Stephenson Orchards and Restaurants. 

When you are mixing this up, you will wonder if I left out some ingredients. When the recipe says "(batter is thick)", they aren't kidding. In fact, I would hesitate in using the word batter. BUT the results are really delicious. It didn't say to, but I decided to serve it with ice cream. I think that is a necessity.


1/4       cup shortening
1           cup sugar (I did use stevia)
1           egg
4          cups chopped apples (about 4 medium apples)
1           cup unsifted flour (I used 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1           teaspoon baking soda
1/8       teaspoon salt
1           teaspoon cinnamon
1/2       teaspoon nutmeg
1/4       teaspoon cloves (I omitted because I didn't have any)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 - inch square baking pan or equivalent. (I used my 8 x 10 inch pan)

Cream shortening and sugar. Mix in egg.

Add apples (to coat)

Sift together the rest of the ingredients.

Add to apple mixture. (I used a rubber spatula.) Mix well (batter is thick). You actually just end of coating the apples as there isn't really much batter.

Spread into pan. (I dumped the mixture in the dish and then flatten it out using fingers I had wet with a little water.)

Bake about 45 minutes. 

While warm cut into squares.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. (I did forget to do this with the first servings but did it later.)

You might want to check out their Banana Bread recipe also. It is possibly the best Banana Bread I have ever eaten. 

Remember if you want to print the recipe using the print icon below, you will have the option to remove images when the print window opens. If you do not see the print icon, you need to tap/click on the title of this post and it will take you to just this post. Then you will see the print icon with the share buttons. Home will return you to my blog's most recent posts.