We Whooped it up…and Whipped it up! A Celebration…and Vee’s Italian Cream Cake!

Well…Poppy’s birthday came and went. There was celebration of another year…along with celebrating a Great Niece’s visit and our Brother-In-Law’s race victory. He competes in the NMCA (National Muscle Car Association).

So we Whooped it up…and Whipped it up!

Whoopie…Whoop it up!

There was Victory…

Les’ Beautiful Camaro!

And there was cake…

Top it off with coconut and pecans…how Southern is that?

And there was cake!

We celebrate…a birthday, a visit and a race victory!

My husband loves coconut…

coconut cake…

coconut cream pie…

and he loves that Paula Deen Coconut Cake (it is a poke cake), but it is a bit too sweet for me. For his birthday cake this year…I decided I would make an Italian Cream Cake. After looking up a recipe and then making an assessment of the ingredients that I didn’t have on hand I came up with this alternative. There are only a few recipes that I make using a cake mix…but I did happen to have a cake mix on hand. So…I went to work on creating a semi-homemade version of Italian Cream Cake, a Southern favorite (which has to be about the coconut and pecans).

This cake is…the Bomb! It is so moist and creamy…it is out of this world…really! Poppy wanted me to keep this recipe a secret…but I am sharing…and I hope you’ll try it! Those that we have shared the cake with have also said that it doesn’t get better than this! One of my co-workers said that she buys Italian Cream Cake for special events from a Gourmet Bakery…and THIS was the best she had ever tasted! I love making things that others enjoy as much as I do! That is sweeter than the sweet! 🙂 It is a Victory!


Here is a printable version of the recipe:


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The slideshow will give you a bit of a tutorial for preparing…Poppy’s new favorite coconut dessert!!

As far as Victories go….

They are always the result of faith, dedication, determination, talent and skill.

Celebrate your Family…

your Victories…

and always remember….

It’s always just…

A Piece ‘O Cake!

Wishing you Victory and Celebration in your life today…

and ’til we meet again (and I promise it won’t be as long next time)

Happy Trails!



Thunder over Louisville! Kentucky Derby Days are here…let’s make Derby Day Brownie Pie!

Thunder Over Louisville marks the beginning of the festivities for the Kentucky Derby.

Rated as one of the top 100 events in North America, the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies were definitely worth attending…even in the freezing cold weather.

The day-long event kicked off two weeks of events that are part of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival. The Thunder Air Show featured more than 100 planes, including some amazing night aerobatics with fireworks.

It is the beginning of fun and food…

A Spectacular Show!

And Spectacular Pie!

We waited for the fireworks show, in the cold, brisk wind…watching a variety of planes fly over throughout the afternoon.

My favorite plane…The F-22 Raptor. This plane is amazing! The U.S.air Force claims this plane to be un-matched by any known or projected fighter.

The Spectacular Raptor!

Due to high production costs and other factors this plane is no longer in production. The final F-22 rolled off of the assembly line on 12/13/2011.

Impressive plane…impressive maneuvers by the pilot…loved it!

And then nightfall…fireworks!

Waterfall Fireworks….2nd Street Bridge in Louisville KY

The breath-taking show (nearly 30 minutes) featured Thunder’s signature one-mile “waterfall” effect off the bridge.

The pictures from my little camera do not do the show justice. It was, by far, the best fireworks show that I have ever seen. They just kept going and going…so many different shapes and colors…impressive!

Here are some interesting facts that I found about the show:

For the past decade the show remains the largest annual pyrotechnic display in North America. Seen by approximately 1-million U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense civilian employees and their families stationed in 176 countries and aboard 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea via a July 4th rebroadcast on the American Forces Network, it is the state’s pride. A Discovery Channel documentary on fireworks shows says it best, “Thunder is the Grand-daddy of them all!”.

The big Grand…Daddy!

Lots of Oooo’s and Ahhhhhhhhhhh’s! It felt like the 4th of July!

To help ring in the festivities…it is, of course, appropriate to make a famous pie…that I shalll call Derby Day Pie (it is called something else but I’m not allowed to call it that)! I am so happy that there is always a reason to bake something!

It makes this ‘Flour Child’ feel like wearing flour in my hair…I mean flowers in my hair! Remember the song…If you’re going…to San Fran…cisco, be sure to wear some flour in your hair…oops, flowers in your hair?

As for the pie…

I found a couple different versions of this pie. You can use walnuts or pecans…and Bourbon or no Bourbon. I am going to try both.

Today…Walnut, no Bourbon.

Walnut Version…Derby Day Brownie Pie

You will need a single pie crust.  I made a double pie crust…and froze half of the dough so that it is ready for the next version when I need it.

Single Pie Crust

You can use a ready-made frozen crust, of course, if you wish.

I always make my pie crust…and there are a few recipes that I use.

Today I used Barefoot Contessa’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe…from The Food Network.


It is always flaky…a good recipe.

Now for the rest of the…

Derby Day Brownie Pie

Filling Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1/2 c. flour

1 stick butter

2 large eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1  1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk chocolate or a mixture of both)

1 teaspoon vanilla

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar and flour. Melt butter, add to flour and sugar. Beat eggs lightly and add to the flour mixture.

Add vanilla.

Add chopped nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour into pie shell and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Very Tasty Pie!

This is a very delicious, rich and sweet pie! If you love Pecan Pie…you will love this pie. The pie forms a crunchy topping while baking and ends up with a chocolate layer and a creamy layer.

I’ll keep you ‘posted’ on the other versions…soon!

In closing….

I hope your day is spectacular,

and that you’ll wear some flour in your hair… make the pie!


Our Daily Bread…today…Southern Style Bread Pudding!

Give us, this day…’Our Daily Bread’.

I thought I would share some of  ‘Our Daily Bread’ that Poppy and I enjoy! Today we enjoyed bread pudding…Southern Style!

I make bread every week for  Poppy’s lunches.  I made too many loaves last week so I decided to make some bread pudding. What a great thing leftover bread is!

This is such a simple but delicious dessert and I can’t believe I didn’t like it when I was a kid!

What was I thinking?

I have made Southern Style bread pudding, many times, with whiskey sauce, but never with buttermilk (in the whiskey sauce). I am loving this one! It is wonderful! I am so happy that my Brother-In-Law left his Jack Daniels at my house! He won’t miss it, right? I might have to make him some of this when he comes back to get his whiskey! I made some oh so delicious gravy with it once too. Hmm…I might be in trouble!

Southern Style Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

The Recipe for Southern Style Bread Pudding…from the Range:

I used 11 cups bread crumbs…combination of  whole wheat/oat bread and a couple of leftover rolls from Easter.

5 cups milk (canned and whole milk combined)

4 extra large eggs

2  teaspoons vanilla

1   c. granulated sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

dash of salt

3/4 cup pecans, chopped (and additional nuts to sprinkle over the top…about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)

3/4 cup raisins

To Make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 in baking pan.

Tear the bread into medium and small pieces and place in a large bowl. Mix sugar, dash of salt and cinnamon together and mix into bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, mix together…milk, beaten eggs  and vanilla and pour over bread crumbs. Mix well, allow the bread to soak up the liquid for 5 – 10 minutes.  Fold in pecans and raisins. Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with a light layer of pecans . Bake at 350 degrees…for 30 -40 minutes…or until lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm with Bourbon Sauce

Recipe for Bourbon Sauce:

1  1/2 cup Granulated sugar

9 T. Butter

3/4  cup Buttermilk

2 -3 Tablespoons Bourbon / Whiskey (I used Tennessee Whiskey)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1  1/2 T. white Corn Syrup

1  1/2  teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add all other ingredients and boil for one minute. Let set for a little while before serving (it will thicken up a bit).

Drizzle over bread pudding and…if you like, ice cream.

(I discovered a new flavor of  Breyer’s Ice Cream…Vanilla Caramel. It accompanies this dessert quite nicely!)

Poppy…and I…approve!

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! 


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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