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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mandarin Orange Cake

Welcome WEEC is today's recipe.


(A fresh light Spring cake)

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (11-oz.) can mandarin oranges with juice
4 eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Combine cake mix, oranges, eggs and oil. Beat 2 minutes at highest speed of mixer.  Reduce speed to low and beat one minute. Pour into 3 greased and floured round 8" cake pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove to cake rack and cool completely.


1 (12-oz.) ctn. Cool Whip, thawed
1 (5-oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 (20-oz.) c. crushed pineapple, drained reserving juice

Combine Cool Whip, pineapple, and pudding. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add enough pineapple juice to make frosting spreadable. Frost between layers, then top and sides of cake. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Note: I love to serve this light, delicious cake in the Springtime. Garnish it with piped swirls of whipped cream, well drained mandarin oranges and fresh mint for a beautiful presentation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chocolate Delight

Have I mentioned that I hate surprises??  I guess it is a control issue.  I always want to look at the very least reasonably decent when someone comes to see me.

Now I have 4 levels of clothing in my closet.  My very best that I am not ashamed to be seen in, my daily casual clothes, also OK for wearing out and about , my comfortable around the house clothes that I prefer NOT to be seen in, and my cleaning -the -house clothes. To coin a phrase- I wouldn’t want to be caught dead in these!!!

My friend Leah had tried to surprise me in the past, but told my husband of the plan…and he of course, spilled the beans to me.  So, actress that I am, I was able to pretend that Leah from OH showing up on my IN doorstep was a huge surprise.

Of course, the house was clean, I had a meal prepared, and was wearing a decent outfit.  It was a fun surprise!

I made the mistake of introducing my good friend Leah in OH to my good friend Pam from IN.  I’m kidding about this…it wasn’t a mistake, and the 2 really enjoyed meeting each other.  But when my husband was out of town on business, they conspired together to surprise me with a visit on my birthday.

Of course, the house was disheveled, I had on no make-up, and a frozen pizza was on the menu that night.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I was pretty irritated at their little impromptu party where I was caught looking like something the dog dragged up.  It took a few minutes, but I got over my pride.

It is true that had I known they were pulling these shenanigans, I would have been better prepared, but the end result was good. We talked, laughed, & ate chocolate.  I knew they loved me just as I was.

 You know folks, Jesus is coming back unannounced.  The bible tells us to live our lives in such a way that we are not caught off guard at His return.  If you have accepted Him as Savior, He will take you as you are.  But honestly, wouldn’t YOU rather be prepared for His coming and unashamed at how he finds you.  I sure would.

 I want to talk, and laugh, and perhaps even eat chocolate at the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

Here is the recipe for Chocolate Delight.  It is heavenly!!
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 c. pecans
3 pkgs. instant chocolate pudding (four serving size box)
1 c. all purpose flour
24 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
4-1/2 c. milk
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
Place nuts into food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add in flour and melted butter. Pulse to combine. Press crust into 9 x 13 sheet pan.

Bake in a preheated 350° degree oven for 12-18 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.

In mixing bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners sugar and beat.
Scrape down sides and beat until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Mix the pudding and the milk until well combined.
While still fluid, pour the pudding over the cream layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. Before serving, spread the remaining whipped topping and garnish with chocolate shavings.
Note: This recipe has been around for years and it is one my daughter wants for her birthday instead of cake. Once I served it to a friend who had never had it before and I declare...he swooned!! Substitute lemon for the chocolate if you wish. It's sooo good!!
Confectionately Yours,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pennsylvania Potato Salad

I recently had the privilege of helping some friends welcome home a beloved son.  He had been away for quite some time.

Friends and family gathered together for a relaxed, happy day.  The hostess of the gathering wanted good friends, good food, and joy at her party.  Her prayers were answered.  What a wonderful time!!

I was asked to help with the menu for the day.  The event was an open house meaning that the food would be sitting out for 4 hours. 

Keeping food at proper temperatures - indoor and out - is critical in preventing the growth of food borne bacteria. The key is to never let your picnic food remain in the "Danger Zone" - between 40° F and 140° F - for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F.

I made a recipe I call Pennsylvania Potato Salad that day for the party.  It calls for cooked bacon & I had smoky maple bacon on hand and baked it in the oven until crisp.

I got so many comments on the subtle maple flavor in the potato salad that I think I will make sure it is always in this dish from now on.

That’s my hint for today. Bake your bacon.  It will cook evenly, and lie flat.  If it splatters and you have a self cleaning oven-well, clean up is easy.  I line the cookie sheet with foil, Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes until crisp. I save the bacon grease for cooking, storing it in the fridge indefinitely in a mason jar.

This recipe came to me from a former pastor’s wife who confessed that she didn’t make it often because it is so good, she couldn’t stop eating it.

It starts with red potatoes boiled until tender, and cooled completely.  The dressing is a flour, milk, sugar, and egg mixture, cooked on the stove, then cooled.  Miracle Whip is added to this making a sweet creamy dressing.  Cubed cooked potatoes, boiled eggs, chopped onions, and cooked bacon are gently folded together.
5 lbs. red potatoes
1/2 c. onions, chopped
6 eggs, hard boiled
1/2 lb. bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
In large pan, cover potatoes in salted water and cook until fork tender. Drain and cool completely. Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cover pan and turn off heat. Leave eggs for 45 minutes, then rinse with cool water and cool completely before peeling. Peel potatoes, if desired, and cut into chunks. Cut up eggs. Combine dressing with above ingredients and chill until serving time. Yield: 20+ servings.
Potato Salad Dressing
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
 2-1/2 T. margarine
2 eggs
2 c. Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 c. milk
4 T. all purpose flour
In a saucepan, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Mix eggs into dry ingredients.
Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Add margarine and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cool completely. Add Miracle Whip. Combine with potatoes, eggs, onions, and bacon.
I admit I was not too impressed with the dressing until I added the Miracle Whip. It suddenly changed from yuck to yum! Recipe makes a LARGE amount.

 Confectionately Yours,

Serving Picnic Food: Keep it COLD / HOT

Keeping food at proper temperatures - indoor and out - is critical in preventing the growth of foodborne bacteria. The key is to never let your picnic food remain in the "Danger Zone" - between 40° F and 140° F - for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to food borne illness.

Instead, follow these simple rules for keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot.


Cold perishable food should be kept in the cooler at 40° F or below until serving time.

  • Once you've served it, it should not sit out for longer than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90° F. If it does - discard it.
  • Foods like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.


Hot food should be kept hot, at or above 140° F.

  • Wrap it well and place it in an insulated container until serving.
  • Just as with cold food - these foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour in temperatures above 90° F. If food is left out longer, throw it away to be safe.

·         Platter Warning:
Prevent "Cross-Contamination" When Serving
·         Never reuse a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for serving — unless they’ve been washed first in hot, soapy water. Otherwise, you can spread bacteria from the raw juices to your cooked or ready-to-eat food.

·         This is particularly important to remember when serving cooked foods from the grill

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Banana Bread

Hi all,

I love quick breads!!  They can be dessert, a pick-me-up with coffee or tea, or a great snack. They freeze well for 2-3 months, so when the urge to bake hits, I take advantage.  I am never sorry I have an abundance of goodies to tuck into a lunch box or provide something for an unexpected event.

I like to put peanut butter ON my banana bread.  (If you like PB & banana sandwiches, you will love PB on banana bread!!)

This recipe came to me from a friend years ago.  The buttermilk makes a huge difference to the flavor.  I freeze leftover buttermilk in recipe ready sizes.  A true Southerner always has buttermilk in the fridge, but I know that for many, it is not an 'on-hand' ingredient.

The coconut called for was not in the original recipe, but I added it one day on a whim, and I never make it without now.


1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 c. sugar  
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
3 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. coconut
walnuts or pecans, optional

Cream oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in buttermilk, bananas, nuts, and coconut. Spray loaf pans with non stick spray.

Fill 2/3 full and bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes until loaf tests done. If using mini loaf pans, cooking time will be approximately 25 minutes. Batter will make 7 mini loaves or 2 regular loaves. Insert toothpick into middle of loaf. If it comes out clean, bread is done. This is a very moist loaf that freezes well.

Note: Got some overripe bananas and no time to bake right now? Put peeled bananas in Ziploc bags and freeze. I put the amount needed for recipe in individual bags, label and date. Bananas can be thawed in microwave for this recipe. Yes, it will be a mushy mess, but it works well for this recipe! Keep in freezer 3-4 months.

'Confectionately' Yours,


Ultimate Lemon Bars

Hi all...I'm a little late in posting this recipe for those WEEC listeners.  Thank you for you patience with me, and your perseverance in checking in for my recipes.


1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. confectioners sugar
1 c. all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, then flour. Press dough into 8 x 8 pan.
Refrigerate crust 30 minutes. Prick crust with fork; then bake 30 minutes in a preheated 325° oven for 20-30 minutes or until brown.
Cream cheese filling
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and lemon extract. Spread evenly over crust. Top with lemon curd.

Lemon curd
4 egg yolks
1 T. cornstarch
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. lemon peel, grated
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T. butter, softened
Blend egg yolks with cornstarch. Place on low heat and whisk in water and lemon juice. Increase heat to med-low and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens enough to cover the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat. Add lemon peel and butter; cool for 10 minutes. Spread lemon curd evenly over cream cheese layer. Bake 30-40 minutes or until edges begin to turn light brown.

Cool to room temp. Chill 1 hour before cutting. Dust top with confectioners sugar.

Note: These are the ultimate lemon bar. When recipes call for eggs, use large eggs unless otherwise noted. Large eggs are the standard in baking. Also 1 large egg usually = 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons), so you can successfully half a recipe that calls for 1 egg by beating the egg, measuring and removing half.

"Confectionately" Yours,


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Roots of Bitterness.....and a recipe

Hi, everyone!!  Today's Confectionately Yours segment was about rooting out bitterness that creeps in our lives.  I likened it to a garden.  When the weeds are small, they come out easily.  When allowed to grow a while, they can develop a thick stem that requires significant digging/pruning to come up!!

I still have few in the yard right now that need a shovel to kick their stubborn selves out of my flower beds!!

When I think of gardens, tomatoes always come to mind.  I LOVE fresh tomatoes...and salads with everything but the kitchen sink added to them.  :-)

Today's recipe is for Thousand Island dressing.  Before the days of Hidden Valley Ranch, Thousand Island reigned supreme.  It is the perfect topping for Taco Salad. 

1-1/2 c. mayonnaise2-3 T. pickle relish, drained OR 2-3 sweet pickles, finely chopped
6 T. chili sauce
1 egg, hardboiled and finely chopped

MIx mayo and chili sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients. Yield 2 cups

Note: Homemade tastes so much better than the bottled kind. Don't leave out the egg, it really makes a difference. Chili sauce is found in the ketchup aisle and keeps in fridge indefinitely.


1 loaf french bread                            1/3-1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 c. butter, melted                         Italian seasoning, to taste
garlic salt, to taste
Cut bread into cubes. Place on cookie sheet in a single layer. Preheat oven to 350°.
Toast bread, stirring every 10 minutes, until bread is firm on all sides. Move bread to a large bowl. Mix butter and seasonings. Pour over the dry bread cubes and stir gently to coat.

Sprinkle with the parmesan. Taste for seasonings. You might need to add more butter/seasoning mixture, season with salt, or cheese. Return croutons to oven
and heat until crisp, about 10-20 minutes. Be sure to stir every 5 minutes or so.
Allow to cool, then store in airtight container.  These may also be placed into the freezer for 2-3 months.
Note: These are so good. I have even used leftover garlic bread, cut up and toasted for this recipe with great results. Even the most plain salad is special. You could also sprinkle ranch dressing mix in place of the Italian seasoning for a different flavor.

Confectionately Yours,


Monday, June 6, 2011

Texas Tortilla

Hi all....I shared today on WEEC how I overcame a bitter attitude over living in Texas in spite of the many blessings I experienced there.  This recipe is one of them.  :-)


2 T. margarine
1 tsp. each:ground cumin, chili powder, & lemon pepper
non stick cooking spray
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 c. flour
5 c. rich chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, finely chopped oil for frying
6 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 lb. boned, diced chicken (partially frozen dices easier)
8 corn tortillas
Sour cream & grated cheddar for topping-optional

Prepare all vegetables in advance. Dice chicken last to prevent cross contamination

from meat. In a large soup pot, melt margarine and add chicken. Spray liberally with

nonstick spray. Cook, stirring often until chicken is no longer pink. Add onion, celery,

carrots, and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add a little broth if needed to keep from

sticking. Stir in cumin,chili powder, and lemon pepper. Add tomatoes and 4 cups of

the broth. Mix remaining broth and flour together, then stir into the rest of the

ingredients. Simmer 20-30 minutes until soup has thickened and vegetables are

tender. Using a pizza wheel, cut tortillas into thin strips. Fry in oil until golden brown.  Watch carefully, these cook pretty fast.
To serve-Top soup with tortillas, grated cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Makes 2 quarts. Corn chips are a quick substitute for the fried tortillas.

Note: After trying this soup in a restaurant, I requested and was refused the recipe.

My understanding waiter (I left a big tip) gave me the ingredients. After a little bit of tinkering, I came up with this soup, which I think is even better than the one I remember. It's a great way to get your veges and I make it for my friend Leah almost every time we get together. It's her favorite!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Circle Of Friends Recipe

Recently a close friend of mine came down with a really bad case of the flu.  I found out about it when the worst was over and she was ready to face eating something.  I love to cook for my friends and I love the challenge of using what I have on hand.

Hmmm….what to make?  I realized I had a frozen rotisserie chicken leftover in the freezer.

 My friend loves brown rice and I know that is gentle food to an irritated stomach.  A few basic steps, and this soup was born.  It is now her new favorite.

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

Rotisserie Chicken-(leftovers are fine)
water 4-5 cups
1-2 T. Chicken Soup Base
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
½ cup celery, chopped
1.2 c. carrots, chopped
dried parsley

I simmered the entire chicken, bones and all, in a large stock pot with about 4-5 cups water for about a hour.  The broth was not concentrated enough to give me the flavor I wanted, so I added to taste a product called Chicken Soup Base.  I use this a lot!! Find it in the soup section of the grocery store. It comes in other flavors like ham and beef, too.  It is more concentrated and less salty than bouillon.

Strain the broth. I added a tbsp or so, to taste, to the strained broth to make a rich stock, then cooked the brown rice in the chicken stock 2 ½ c to 1 c dry brown rice. Set aside the meat to chop up and add to the finished soup.

Simmer about 45 minutes.  Toss in chopped celery and carrot during the cooking time for extra flavor, color contrast, and nutrition.

Add some dried parsley and the chicken.  The leftover broth and ¼ cup all purpose flour was mixed together and added to thicken the soup.