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How I make myself happy

I start by making the kids coffeecake for breakfast.

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But then…. and here’s the tricky part… instead of using a plastic cereal bowl and fork to mix up the crumble topping, I break out my old robin’s egg blue pyrex mixing bowl. And the pastry cutter with the red wooden handle. And then halfway through the mixing I place them on my rickety step stool with the slipcover I’ve made to match the kitchen curtains, and then I step back to admire the effect.

And then I run and get my camera so that I can share it all with you.

Sharing the love, that’s what I’m talking ’bout. Yup.

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The recipe

Yesterday Jenni asked me if I’d be willing to share my Nana’s recipe for Tomato Soup cake. I said, “Why yes Jenni. I’d be happy to!”

And since I’m always good for my word… here it is!

Nana’s Tomato Soup Cake

Sift two cups plain white flour with

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

In a separate bowl cream until soft 1/2 cup butter

Gradually stir in 1 cup sugar and cream the two together.

Stir the flour mixture in three parts into the sugar mixture, alternating with

10 and ½ ounce can tomato soup

and stir until smooth after each addition.

Finally, fold in 1 cup raisins

and 1 cup walnuts chopped

Bake in loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes in the center of the oven.

When thoroughly cooled, cover top of loaf with cream cheese frosting.

Beat 4 ounce package of cold cream cheese with

2 tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla until combined.

Gradually add 1-1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar.

Continue to add powdered sugar until the consistency is right.

 

For the first time this year, I’ll be making up several extra batches of tomato soup cake to share with neighbors, church friends and probably the gals over at Mamie’s house.  Wonder if they’ll even take a bite once they hear the name…

cuz let’s be honest: it really sounds quite disgusting.

But it’s not.

Oh my goodness, no.

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Millen gets into the holiday spirit.

Using this recipe and following the recommendations of her favorite vlogging chef-stress, Millen made some Christmas-time treats.


Then we drizzled them with white chocolate and finished ‘em off with sprinkles and colored sugar.

Lots of sprinkles and lots of colored sugar.
Because you can never have quite enough of that kinda stuff.
Nuh uh.


And then, she packed them in these little boxes.

16 in each box.
4 layers separated by
4 little red squares of tissue paper.
4 candies in each layer.
16 candies to a customer.
And then she wrote out the names of some of her favorite folk on these little sticky labels (she is her mother’s daughter, after all.)

And now, we get to deliver them.

We are very excited about this.
O yes we are.

In other news, today’s blogging chore is writing and rewriting, which I do best in peace and quiet. Seeing as how I’ll be at Mamie’s today and seeing as how things are rarely peaceful and quiet there, I might need your prayers… if you can spare a few, that is.
Oh my.

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Such a nice little lunch

Little custard cups filled with macaroni and cheese, a few teensy tomatoes plopped on top, and then into the oven for fifteen minutes they go…. yanno, just until they’re good and hot all the way through and the top gets toasty hot and bubbly.

And O, what joy! Everyone gets their very own dish…

…pink for Millen,
yellow for Amelia,
blue for Noah
and green for me
,
o’course
.

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The best part

Sure Thanksgiving dinner is great, and turkey all freshly roasted and crispy skinned is delish. We don’t turn up our nose at the gravy and the mashed potatoes, or the pie and Nana’s tomato soup cake, that’s for durn sure. But really, for us, the Thanksgiving thrill is in the leftovers. Leftover cake and strong coffee for breakfast the next morning. Turkey and stuffing sandwiches on white bread please. And thrown together, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants dinners like this turkey, gravy and biscuit casserole, with a side of still crisp steamed beans and some of the best cranberry sauce you’ve ever tasted.


Oh, and speaking of that cranberry sauce, it’s not only sooper yumm, but also just about the easiest thing in the world to prepare. Amelia says it’s so simple a four year old could make it. If four year olds were permitted to use the stove, that is.

You want to make some of this cranberry sauce don’t you?

I thought so… I could see it in your eyes.

Alrighty darlin’s, here’s what ya do: In a smallish saucepan over medium heat, put one cup of orange juice and one cup of sugar. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved, then dump in a bag of cranberries (that’s twelve ounces for all of you persnickety gals who insist on measuring these sorts of things. SHEESH.) Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until cranberries burst and about half of them become mushy. This’ll take about fifteen minutes. Transfer to a dish. The sauce will thicken up as it cools…

if it lasts that long.

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Uh. Oh.

Step one: prepare to make Raspberry Coffee Braid for Monday morning breakfast.


Step two: discover that one has accidentally purchased FAT FREE cream cheese- more commonly known as

The Abomination of Desolation.

Step three: fret and stew for approximately 27 minutes, then go ahead with baking. Add extra butter….

cuz…
yanno.


Step four: receive no complaints.

Whoa.

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Opinions please!

Okay, so I’m thinking of this wallpaper for my kitchen…


Cons:
It might be a bit too trendy for this chubby old gal.
It clashes in the most horrifying manner with the current curtain fabric,

and I absolutely adore that fabric.

It also clashes horrifyingly with the wall art I had planned to use,

which I also happen to adore.

It’s so…. different… from the rest of my house.

Pros:
It’s cute.
It’s coffee-related… nuff said.
The yellow will perfectly match the non-negotiables in my kitchen, specifically the yellow tile backsplash. It even kinda-sorta matches the linoleum.
Background color is jade-ite green. BE STILL MY HEART.
It’s a great quality designer paper for an incredible price.
It’s so…. different… from the rest of my house.

Alrighty now, whadda you think?

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I am so far beyond excited it’s not even funny.

It’s serious. Seriously.

It started out like this.
And now it looks like this. In a coupla more days it’ll be a thing of beauty and a joy forever… and in my very own backyard too. Sigh.

Rejoice with me sisters. Rejoice!
Okay, for all those unskilled in the art, discipline and sport of guessing,
here’s
a hint.

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I am in love.

with these labels.


Yeah, they’re supposed to be for canning jars and yeah, I originally bought them for my canning jars and okay, so yeah I have yet to use a single one to actually label a canning jar (if you wanna get picky about the whole thing. sheesh.)

But lookie how cute they are!


And they stick like the dickens and wash off sooper easy. And a whole pack of sixty labels is only like $1.89. And I’ve been labeling everything in sight and it’s all gone quite to my head.

True love will do that to a girl. Mhmm. Yup.

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New cookbook. New recipe. New dinner.

New favorite!


Last night we tried our first recipe from my new cookbook, 500 Best Ever Recipes. Oh my goodness… so good we cleaned our plates. We cleaned the platters. We were sopping up the dregs of the dressing with the crusts of our bread. This one goes directly into the summertime dinner rota. Oh yeah.

Try this at home girls… thinly slice:
6 ripe red juicy sweet smelling tomatoes (the riper and redder and juicier and sweeter your tomatoes the better your salad will be, so go all out! Go to town! Beg, borrow or steal* some home grown ‘mates, your family will thank you for it later. Mmhmm.)
8oz mozzarella, preferably fresh
1 large avocado
and layer on large platter, then top with:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts

To make dressing combine the following:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar (we didn’t have any so we used rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
pinch of sugar
salt and black pepper to taste

The original recipe called for this to be topped with a cup and a half of farfalle (bow-tie) pasta, however the day was sweltering, I didn’t want to heat up my kitchen by boiling water and we just happened to have some good crusty bread on hand. So we had our salad with that good crusty bread and were the better for it.


Good crusty bread, drizzled with rich tasty dressing scooping up sublimely seasoned vegetables… it’s our new favorite. Oh-my-goodness-yes.

*Did I just say steal? No, I didn’t! I did? I couldn’t have! I did?? Really???

OOPS. Scratch that.

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