Sunday, July 26, 2009

Butter Pound Cake

I bet you all thought I had forgotten about my blog. No way, I couldn't forget about it or my readers. I was on vacation this past week and my husband and I went camping at a State Park not far from here. Once the rain stopped and the fog cleared, the views were spectacular.

Oh yeah, did I mention rain? Not just rain, but pouring rain all day on the day we arrived. We knew the forecast and had prepared for it, or so I thought. Once we arrived, I donned my poncho and my husband unloaded the tent and we started putting it up. Suddenly, I hear a naughty word come out of my husband's mouth. It turned out that he forgot to bring two of the tent poles. We went over our options, but the only one we came back to was to go buy a new tent. We drove to the nearest town and to Target and bought a new tent. We opted to go for a smaller one since we were on a budget and we figured the poles were at home somewhere.

The rain stopped the next day and we had wonderful weather. It was even cool enough to sit comfortably around the campfire that night.

I bet you're wondering what all this has to do with Butter Pound Cake as the title of this entry suggests. Well, while we were camping, I didn't have much to eat that was sweet because I have been trying to diet. We all know about those cravings when we diet and by the time I got home, I wanted something sweet. I probably should have stuck to my diet and made an Angel Food Cake. I had even left the box of mix on the counter to fix when we returned. But no, I wanted something sweet and not on my diet. I went through my recipes and decided on the Butter Pound Cake. This is a delicious cake and so easy to make.

Butter Pound Cake
1 C. butter
1 3/4 C. sugar
5 eggs
2 C. flour
1 t. vanilla

Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Add the eggs, beating well after each one. Add the flour and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan or angel food cake pan. Bake for about 1 hour at 325°.

This cake is good just itself, but I've seen it with a variety of flavored icings. You can drizzle a powdered sugar glaze over it, or heat a tub of chocolate store-bought frosting in the microwave just to the pouring point (make sure you have removed all of the foil lid before microwaving) and pour on top of the cake, letting it run down on the sides.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I have to be brief today. My mother and I are will be to a book swap today and she'll be here to pick me up soon. I've started a diet.... again.... yes again. You wouldn't think pancakes would be good for a diet to lose weight, but it depends on the pancakes and what you put on them.

This morning, I made whole wheat pancakes. Lots of fiber and very little fat, and that's a good combination. Most people put maple syrup on their pancakes, but honey can be just as good. From what I understand, both are about the same when dieting, but the amount makes the difference. If you make medium size pancakes, you can probably get by with about 2 tablespoons of syrup or honey and it will taste fine. The alternative would be to top your pancakes with fruit, preserves, or sugar-free syrup. Whichever you try, dieting or not, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk (1% if dieting)
3 large egg whites
2 t. oil (I used olive oil)
1 T. sugar or honey
1/4 t. vanilla
cooking spray

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well until there are no more dry ingredients. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and spray lightly with cooking spray. Pour enough of the mixture to make a medium pancake. When the pancake starts to bubble, turn with a spatula. Continue cooking until done.

Top with fruit, preserves, honey, syrup, or your favorite topping.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I want to take a quick minute this morning to thank everyone that has left comments on my posts. I do appreciate the feedback and hope that at least some of my ideas and recipes have helped. Thanks.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

An interview with Rick Mitchell

Today, I have the honor of introducing all of you to a friend of mine, Rick Mitchell. Rick is an Event and Wedding Planning and is also a consultant for Pampered Chef. I've known Rick for almost ten years, having met when we worked together planning a fan convention in Los Angeles.

Rick, thanks for taking the time for my questions. Could you tell my readers a little bit about yourself and what you do for a living?

Thanks Carol, I was born and raised in Michigan, but have traveled around quite a bit during my time in the military. I now live in Columbus, Ohio and have the wonderful opportunity to be doing what I love to do. First, I help people in their kitchens by bringing my knowledge of cooking and spectacular kitchen products from Pampered Chef. I show them how to use wonderful tools to make their kitchen time quick and easy so they can get back to their families. Also, the recipes from The Pampered Chef makes it truly easy to eat on a budget with is needed so much these days. As well as being a Pampered Chef consultant, I am a full time Event and Wedding Planner and owner of Amare Planning, LLC. I help clients plan amazing events by making sure they not only miss no details, but I also put them in touch with high-quality vendors that will make their special event truly memorable. (and they get to take the day of their event off, since I also manage the event for them when they hire me.)

What types of events have you put together in the past?

I have planned all types of events of every size. The first event I helped plan was actually with you, Carol, when we planned the Celebrity Fan event in Los Angeles, California. That particular event ( is now in its 10th year and is still the one event that is 'my heart' when it comes to planning. I have planned smaller events such as birthday parties, holiday parties, and even baby showers. Often I've worked with clients to plan their child's graduation celebrations. I've even done a few corporate events, such as a team building seminar for the local Social Security Administration office last year. While this is a large variety of types of events, the majority of my clients come to me to help them with planning their wedding day. More and more, brides and mothers-of-the-bride come to me because they are busy and realize that they don't have the time to make sure the money they spend on this one day is well spent. Also, most want very much to be able to step back the day of the wedding and just relax and enjoy the day and have myself and my staff manage their day and worry about all their details.

Does a wedding have to be a certain size before a wedding planning will handle it? Is there such a thing as too small of a wedding to plan?

The short answer is "no." However, the determining factor in whether a bride can hire a wedding planner really is the overall budget for the wedding. The national average for spending on a wedding planner is between ten and fifteen percent of the overall budget. If a bride comes to me and my set fee is more than that average, I am honest and guide her to a smaller package (such as simple event management and not pre-event planning) so I feasibly fit within her budget. Or, if the available budget is small enough I simply tell her that she would be better served by putting that money elsewhere and that a Wedding Planner might not be feasible for her. Unfortunately, there are "wedding planners" out there that will work with such brides on extremely tight budgets, and charge truly under-priced fees. I would warn brides everywhere in such a case - "You get what you pay for." An event and wedding planner that is experienced and a true professional is worth the fees they charge, and most times, can show you ways you can save at least the amount of their fees elsewhere in their budget.

My daughter recently got married right before her husband deployed to Afghanistan and they are planning a wedding reception after he returns next summer. Is there one thing she should be aware of when planning this reception?

First, I would ask her what the three most important things she wants for her reception are. These are items that we will then not "skimp" on.

Next, I'd tell her to be frugal in areas that aren't as important to her. If you don't need to have the top designer label for your dress, then look in places that will offer a better deal and yet still get you an amazing dress for the evening.

I could go on and on, I'm sure, with tips and such, but these are the two that will set the bar for everything else.

It's unusual to see a man selling Pampered Chef, but you seem to embrace doing it. What made you decide to become a Pampered Chef consultant?

For 10 years I was an avid Pampered Chef customer. I kept buying all the products and finally one day I realized I could be the person making the money off of me. (I am sure I made some decent paychecks for the consultants I'd worked with in the past. LOL) I've also come to love the fact that I can bring an evening of enjoyment to people as they invite their friends and family over for a night when I do the cooking and they get the credit for having a great party! My skills as an event planner only enhance my hosts' experience when they book a show with me. I've been told so many times, "I've never had an in-home party quite like this before. This was great!"

Do you have one Pampered Chef product that is your favorite?

My stoneware is the end all and be all of my kitchen. My favorite piece of stoneware is my 6 mini-bundt stone (now a retired piece through Pampered Chef). I love making small cakes and decorating them up and serving them to friends and family. Its always great to have a cake and it be personal size. My most used stone is my Deep Covered Baker. We jokingly call this the "Magic Pot" because you can do so much with this stone. I love that is can make a large meal and yet I don't have to turn on my oven since it fits in a microwave. There's even a recipe to make a pork tenderloin in ten minutes in the Deep Covered Baker. Truly Magic!

How can someone contact you about your Event/Wedding Planning or about Pampered Chef?

For event and wedding planning, you can reach me at or or by calling my office at 614.593.3547

For The Pampered Chef you can view our catalog and even order, 24/7, at my site at (there's also a contact page there if you have specific questions.)

Since this is a blog about food and one of my favorite things about Pampered Chef are their recipes. I can't let you finish without asking you to share your favorite Pampered Chef recipe.

I'm actually glad you asked for a recipe. The Pampered Chef, along with all their wonderful products, has a huge collection of recipes and for the vast majority of them, they focus on quick, easy and most importantly, economical meals. Many Pampered Chef recipes make meals that cost less than $2 per serving. Imagine feeding a family of 4 for $8 for the meal! One person can't go out to eat a meal for that.

Here is one of my favorites that is not only cheap to make, but you won't heat up your kitchen to make this hot meal!

Mexican Chicken Lasagna ~ made in our Deep Covered Baker ($65 ... but you can get this for FREE when you host a Cooking, Catalog or Online Show)

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese

1/4 C lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

2 C (8oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce

12 (6 in) corn tortillas

3 C diced or shredded cooked chicken

2/3 C chopped onion

Additional chopped fresh cilantro leaves (opt)

1. Place cream cheese in Classic Batter Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 30-45 seconds or until very soft. Add cilantro and 1 1/2 C of the Monterey Jack cheese; mix well. Spread 2/3 C of the enchilada sauce over bottom of Deep Covered Baker. Pour remaining enchilada sauce into large bowl; set aside.

2. To assemble lasagna, dip four tortillas into enchilada sauce in large bowl and arrange over sauce in baker using Sauté`Tongs, overlapping as necessary. Scoop half of the cream cheese mixture over tortillas, using Small Scoop; spread evenly. Top with 1 C of the chicken and 1/3 of the onion. Repeat layers one time. Dip remaining four tortillas into sauce and arrange over second layer. Top with remaining chicken and onion. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over lasagna and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C Monterey Jack cheese.

3. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 12-15 minutes or until center is hot. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro.

Rick's tips for this recipe - To add a bit of unique flavor to this dish, grill your chicken off on the bbq with your favorite grilling spices. Then chunk or shred the chicken and add to the recipe. It’s a small step but makes a big difference over canned chicken or pan grilled.

Yield: 8 servings (at $2 a serving, you can make this dish for less than $20 (price may vary slightly depending on market))

Again Rick, thanks so much for answering my questions.

You are welcome. Its been a pleasure. And, as always, I love working with you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wasp Nest Cake

I've never made a Wasp Nest Cake, but a friend gave me the recipe and my co-workers at the office tomorrow will be the guinea pigs. Apparently, it is supposed to look like a wasp nest when it's done. I just don't see it. Ah, but I love butterscotch, my house smells sooooo good right now, and this is a super easy recipe. Give it a try and you be the judge.


Wasp Nest Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box ready to cook or instant vanilla pudding
2 c. milk
1 12 oz. bag butterscotch chips

Mix the pudding mix and the milk thoroughly. The batter will be very thick. Pour the mix into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle the top with the butterscotch chips and bake for 30 -35 minutes at 350° f.

Before baking:

After baking:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Harvesting the Garden

I canned green beans this morning. I didn't get as many as I had wanted, thanks to the rain. My husband had picked a bunch of beans earlier in the week, not thinking that I wouldn't have time to can until today. Many had to be thrown out because they had become too limp, or just not good enough to can. I must remember to remind him not to harvest the garden until late in the week. Oh yes, back to the rain. I was just putting my shoes on this morning to go and pick more beans when I heard the downpour. It rained all morning and now it's too wet to get into the garden. Oh well, there's always next weekend.

When doing home canning, I have to refer everyone to the Ball Company web site for proper instructions. I have a book that Ball company gave away for free that I got years before the internet was available. It gives instructions and recipes on preserving just about any food. You can also check your local library for books on canning.


p.s. I love hearing those jars "pop" indicating they have sealed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Old Time Cooking

Happy Independence Day to my American readers!! How are you spending your celebration day, parades, cookout, festivals? Me? Well, my husband works on weekends and holidays, so my day will likely be spent at my mother's, where we, along with my brother, will enjoy a traditional 4th of July lunch.

Yesterday, my husband and I went to Corydon, Indiana, Indiana's First State Capital, for the first day of their annual Indiana Territorial Festival. The festivities didn't actually start until 7 pm and we were there at 4:30, but that was okay. We actually went so my husband could visit some of his friends that are re-enactors that were participating in an encampment on the town square next to the First State Capital building. My husband is also a re-enactor, but for the 1700's and Indiana's settlement was during the 1800's.

The encampment was a snapshot of how people lived in Indiana at that time. The thing that I like most about encampments is everything they do is period correct, right down to the food they eat. At least it's as close to it as they can come. I know because I usually help my husband get his food ready for his treks and I know that sometimes "near-enough" is good enough. For instance, the night before he leaves on his encampment, we sometimes baked a couple Cornish Hens. The next day, he wraps them in brown paper and then heats them up over a fire during the re-enactment. If any visitors ask him what he is cooking and they usually do, he can call it just about whatever small animal is native to the area.

My recipe today is an old time recipe for Bread Pudding. Back in the early days, it would have been cooked in a Dutch Oven (see photo above) in a fireplace at home. This isn't something that frontiersmen would have cooked on their treks, but instead as treat to prepare at home. My recipe is for the home oven. Enjoy and Happy 4th of July. Have safe holiday.

Old Time Bread Pudding

4 slices buttered toast
1/2 C. raisins
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1/2 C. sugar
1/8 t. salt
2 C. milk, warm
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
4 T. sugar

Preheat over to 350° f. Cut toast into quarters and place in a greased one quart baking dish. Sprinkle raisins on top. Mix together the eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla. Pour over the toast and raisins. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Combine the cinnamon and the remaining sugar and sprinkle on top of the pudding. Bake for 30 minutes.