It’s Bourbon Appreciation Month! A great time to post a recipe share with my Aunt B! Bourbon Pecan Bars…yum huh!

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…. sunflowers

ok…I know, I know, I know…maybe you didn’t miss me that much but I missed being here! I love that song! Have you ever counted how many I know, I know, I know’s there are in that song?

If you enjoy that song like I do…you can give a listen here…

And…try to count those I know, I know, I know’s!

Well…back to blog post…

Summer is over, fall has arrived and…

It is Bourbon Appreciation Month here in Kentucky (and it’s almost over)! I don’t drink bourbon but I sure do love baking and cooking with it! One of my favorite recipes made with bourbon is a crazy buttermilk bourbon sauce to use on bread pudding or ice cream. It is soooo good…I always want to drink it! So…maybe I do like to ‘hit the sauce’!  I will do a post, later on, of a mean orange, cranberry bread pudding with that wonderful sauce! Meanwhile, before the month is over, I thought…what a great time to get back on the blog block and share a recipe that my Aunt B and I enjoyed together…across the miles!

Aunt B (a Southwestern Southern Belle) loves baking and searching recipes like I do. She sent me a recipe that she found, similar to the ‘Derby Day Brownie Pie’ that I made a few years ago.

Very Tasty Pie!

http://wp.me/p2e6iL-ay

The recipe that Aunt B sent was from Paula Deen’s site and was in the form of a bar instead of a pie. It sounded like a ‘winner’ to me! Aunt B and I got our bake on…and shared our treats via photos.

It was so fun and made me feel like I was sitting down to enjoy a treat with my dear Auntie!

The bars are delicious!

Here are some of our photos…

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Here is the link for Paula’s Derby Bars….

http://www.pauladeenmagazine.com/derby-bars-recipe/?

This recipe share sparked an idear…ok…idea…( I think I’m picking up a Southern accent) and I searched for recipe swaps online. There are several that come up but I couldn’t really tell if they are current. I also saw something about a recipe swap party on Pinterest…that has a tool….and tips on creating swaps.  Do any of you (if I have any remaining followers) participate in any online recipe swaps or know anything about the swap party on Pinterest? Please share any helpful information that you may have.

Meanwhile….

Wishing you…

Fond memories of summer…

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The splendor of fall…

Barn in the mist

And joyful I know, I know, I know, I know’s!

May you be blessed simply….

And simply blessed!

~Vee

My favorite barn..sweet!

Can anyone tell me…how many I know, I know, I know’s there are? 🙂

Remembering Honest Abe….his Kentucky home and favorite almond cake!

Today was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday!

I thought this would be a good day to post some pictures of Abe Lincoln’s Kentucky home. Poppy and I went to see Abe’s birthplace last fall. The grounds and surroundings are beautiful and we could imagine Abe running in those woods as a child.

Abe's Stomping Grounds, KY

Abe’s Stomping Grounds, Hardin County KY

There is a small log cabin, kept in a building for preservation, that was once believed to be the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.

The building is home to the little log cabin from Abe's era.

Home to the little log cabin from Abe’s era.

The staff explained that the log cabin is no longer thought of as Abe’s birthplace but is, rather, a log cabin from this area in Kentucky and from the 1800 era.

Log Cabin from the 1800's.

Log Cabin from the 1800’s.

Poppy reads the plaques outside the monument.

Poppy reads about an idyllic frontier.

Idyllic Frontier

Hey Poppy….who is that with you on the porch?

Poppy and Lincoln on the porch!

Poppy (Bud) and Lincoln on the porch!

Well….Southern gals find a recipe for every topic of conversation! So…to honor that tradition, and satisfy my curiosity, I looked up Abe’s favorite cake recipe…of course!

This is a deliciously moist, tender cake and has a delicate almond flavor…not overpowering.

Abe's Favorite Cake,Mrs. Lincoln's White Almond Cake

Abe’s Favorite Cake,
Mrs. Lincoln’s White Almond Cake

Here is a little bit of history ….an excerpt from LINCOLN HOME, National Historic Site

http://www.nps.gov/history/museum/exhibits/liho/printVersion.html

Food  and Entertaining Mary loved entertaining.

Mary’s main homemaking interest appeared to be cooking, especially  making sweets.  The  cookbooks she purchased after getting married are in the Presidential library  in Springfield.  Her white almond  cake was one of Mr. Lincoln’s favorite desserts.  She had brought the  recipe from her favorite bakery in Lexington, Kentucky.  Mary baked the white cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were  courting, as a Springfield housewife, and when she was First Lady.  Today, there are many versions of it,  including the one listed below.

The Lincolns purchased macaroon pyramids  (macaroon cookies stacked in a pyramid and covered with caramelized sugar  drizzle) from local confectioners when they had a big party. Mary often  served strawberries and cream, probably with cookies.  Oral tradition had it that the neighborhood  children were guaranteed a cookie or donut from Mrs. Lincoln when they played with  the Lincoln boys.  With Mary’s copious  amounts of sugar purchased, there were plenty of cookies.  During the course of one week in 1849, Mary  purchased 13 pounds of sugar!

Abe’s favorite cake…
Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake 

(Recipe from Lincoln’s Table by Donna D. McCreary was adapted by Janice  Cooke Newman)

1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they

resemble a coarse flour

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

6 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

confectionary sugar

  • Preheat  oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
  • Cream  butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter  and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well.
  • Beat  egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Pour  into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out  clean. Turn  out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top

A basic white frosting sprinkled with  almonds was also popular.

I made this cake with a few changes….I used toasted, slivered honey almonds, added 1 teaspoon cardamom (goes well with almond), buttermilk , instead of milk,  1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.  I frosted the cake with an almond cream cheese frosting.

A tasty slice of the past!

A tasty slice of the past!

We stopped in at the gift shop and visitor’s center and I purchased this very cute country style sampler.

Country Bear Sampler

Country Bear Sampler

Only after bringing it home did I see that on the tag it read…Made in China!

I’m sure we could find some Kentucky folk to make these! It just doesn’t seem to fit into the whole ‘Idyllic Frontier’ theme…does it? Oh well…such is life on the new Frontier!

Until we meet again….

Happy trails on your Frontier…wherever that may be….Kentucky, China…wherever!

Wishing you a day that is blessed simply….

and simply blessed!

Vee

Barn in the mist

Those Devils…Riding Horseback! A Derby Day treat…and our new Salsa recipe for Cinco de Mayo!

Today was one of those great ‘Combo’ days… The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo!

No lengthy post today about the history or traditions of either event or celebration…just something to ‘whet your appetite’…

Appetizers!

Derby Day….and Roses!

Although I didn’t go to Churchill Downs this year to enjoy the event (Kentucky Derby), there were treats to celebrate the day!

I am sharing a couple of appetizer recipes…

Devil’s on Horseback

in celebration of The Kentucky Derby

and…

Corn and Sweet Pepper Salsa, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo

Both are very easy to make and delicious! 

Devil’s on Horseback

Those little…..’Devil’s on Horseback’!

A popular appetizer from the 70’s…surprisingly good!

Ingredients:

1 package whole, pitted dates

1/2 cup cubed Asiago, Jarlsberg or Fontina Cheese (I used Asiago)

10 slices thick sliced bacon, cut into thirds

toothpicks to secure

To Make these ‘Little Devil’s…

Place a small cube of cheese into the center of the date. Wrap with a 1/3 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

All wrapped up and ready to broil!

Place your ‘Little Devil’s on Horseback’ on a broiler pan with a rack. Place the pan 4 – 6 inches from heat source and broil for 9 – 12 minutes. Turn twice during cook time.

Let stand for 5 minutes…and enjoy!

Tasty Little Devil’s!

A nice balance of sweet and savory!

And…

in celebration of Cinco de Mayo….

this is our newest Salsa recipe that we quite like!

Corn and Sweet Pepper Salsa

Corn and Sweet Pepper Salsa

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen corn

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2  red pepper, chopped

1/2 jalapeno chile, finely chopped

3 green onions, chopped

Juice of 1 large lime…or 2 small

1/2 teaspoon salt

a dash of cumin

a dash of chili powder

2 teaspoons olive or corn oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

(Sometimes I add two Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and then chopped.)

Fresh Ingredients for a Fresh and Tasty Salsa

To Make…

Place corn in a small bowl and allow to thaw.

When corn has thawed, combine with all ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl (non-reactive). 

Refrigerate.

Serve with chips for an appetizer or….

serve over taco salad, as a garnish on

enchiladas or savory waffles.

An excellent garnish!

Very fresh and tasty!

I hope you’ll give these a try. The ‘Little Devil’s’ were a hit at the party today…

and we really love the Salsa.

Derby Day and Roses!

There were many beautiful roses at the Kentucky Derby today. I hope you had opportunity to stop and smell the Roses…wherever you happened to be!

Happy trails to you….

Until we meet again!

Vee

National Bake Week…and Easter! What a week! Celebrate the goodness!

A Holiday coming up and National Bake Week!  What a great combo!

I have been busy baking..I wake ‘n bake! I baked nearly every day and so…time to get some of those wonderful goodies posted! I definitely wanted to share another childhood family favorite…Grandma Alice’s Gumdrop Cake. I have to tell you…Poppy is surprised at how tasty this cake is…gumdrops in cake? It is so delicious! This is a fun and festive cake. Very pretty. I just came by this recipe. Grandma liked making it for Christmas. But…I think it is just too pretty to wait until Christmas! No waiting!

Now…I have been accustomed to making goodies and dinner for loved ones that are now far away. It is almost like I’ve lost a limb or something…not being able to feed a crowd! I am testing out how and what to send in the mail (goodies, that is).

So…loved ones out West will be receiving from my Home…and my Range…a taste of my childhood memories…Grandma Alice’s Gumdrop Cake. I sure hope it arrives just as tasty as when it left my kitchen.

Grandma Alice's Gumdrop Cake

The Recipe:

1 cup butter

8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

1 3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 (7.5 oz) packages Dots fruit flavored gum drops (which will yield 2 cups sliced gumdrops)

1 – 2 tsp’s lemon zest (I use 2 tsp’s and even Poppy, not a lemon fan, loves it).

1 cup crushed pineapple (drained…but not dry…leave slightly wet)

To Make: (this takes a bit of time…but worth it)

Slice the Dots.

Using a lightly floured knife…slice the Dots into thirds. Place about 1/2 cup of the total flour into a container with a lid. As you are working…put the sliced Dots, as you go…into the flour, put lid on container and shake (the Dots, of course). Once you have all of the Dots sliced and shaken up a bit…pour them out into an even layer on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.Work through them with your fingers, separating any Dots that are sticking together and keep working them into the flour. They need to be well coated. Place them back in the container…cover…and shake them up every now and then. Let them sit and absorb the flour a bit. When you feel they are well coated and not sticking together at all…you are ready to prepare this luscious cake!

Preheat oven…set between 325 and 350…if you have a digital thermometer…set at 335 or 340 degrees.

Cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each is added. Add vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl…combine the flour, baking powder. Zest the lemon and add to the dry ingredients, then add… alternately, with the pineapple, to  the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition (always start and end with the dry ingredients). 

And now…

add those pretty little gumdrops (dump in the flour you were using to shake them up in also).  Mix well and pour into a well greased tube pan. Grandma also baked this in loaf pans. Bake  for 1 and 1/2 hours, or until lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack, slice, admire…enjoy!

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I hope your Easter basket is filled with the blessings of family…and memories (and some great goodies, of course)!

May your life be blessed…simply…and simply blessed!

Vee

Yes…we had dessert…Kentucky Spice Cookies…Yum!

Ok…you had the Taco Soup…right? Ready for dessert?

Ginger and Jam...tasty little gems, Kentucky Spice Cookies

We had…Kentucky Spice Cookies (with Vanilla Ice Cream)! They are tasty! If you love gingersnaps or gingerbread…I think you’ll love these snappy gems also. I found this recipe in my San Francisco A La Carte cookbook (go figure). According to SFALC… “The recipe for these marvelous morsels migrated to California with some old Kentucky families and have become a Western favorite.”OK…I lived in the West and the Southwest.  I didn’t know about Taco Soup…or a Western favorite cookie? I have to come all the way across the plains to found out about these things!  There are no eggs in this recipe (nope…I double checked) so they will be a tasty treat for my kids and grandkids that are vegan.

This recipe makes A LOT of cookies (more than 7 dozen)…so, next time I will cut the recipe in half…now that is not a half baked idea! 

KENTUCKY SPICE COOKIES (adapted from SFALC)

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

3/4 teaspon allspice

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons baking soda

1 cup dark molasses (no animals were injured)

5 cups unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup water

Sugar to roll dough in (approx. 3/4 cup)

Strawberry or Raspberry Jelly (I used Smucker’s Peach and Smucker’s Strawberry/Blackberry)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the sugar, shortening, spices, salt and baking soda. Add the molasses and blend well. Gradually mix in the flour. Add the water to make a dough of piecrust consistency. For each cookie, take 1 teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball, then roll (the ball, of course) in sugar. Place on  an ungreased cookie sheet, make a small indentation in the top of each ball and fill with a small amount of jam or jelly (less is better…and the cookies bake better and quicker with a smaller amount).

 

Now…the directions say to bake the cookies for 8 minutes. I baked them for 6 minutes…then rotated the baking sheet…and baked for another 3 – 4 minutes. They were crispier that way.  When the cookies are stored…the moisture from the jelly (or jam) will soften the cookie. The extra baking time worked for me and did not overbake the cookie.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with sugar if you like…and enjoy!

Allow to cool before storing.

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