Posted in The Party's in the Kitchen

Clean Enough

dirtydishesI received this memo today via Facebook. Thank you for the reminder, Sharon.  So often we find ourselves caught up in the if you just knew my life excuses when it comes to sharing hospitality. The graphic actually brought to mind that little potty training book Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi. This plotless little story states the inevitable—Everyone is the same on a very basic level. We are all very much alike.

Yes, we all know people that seem to have it all together. Their homes are beautiful. Their bathrooms are sparkly. Their kitchen looks as though it was the housekeeper’s day in. Ah. . .perfection. Or is it?

We usually visit others on their good day, meaning: they knew you were coming so they tidied up. If we happened to stop by on any other day, we might find piles of laundry to be folded, dishes waiting to be loaded and just general everydayness happening. Their house, like ours, would be a testimony to a life full of living.

There used to be a saying that hung on everyone’s wall that goes a little like this—Our home is clean enough to be healthy but dirty enough to be happy. Perhaps we should take that to heart. Do not miss out on any more opportunities to enjoy a happy gathering with friends or family even if there are dishes in the sink. Their sink probably looks just like yours.

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like

shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”

Phyllis Diller


Here’s a quick little recipe that requires no mixing bowl for your sink yet yields a pretty delicious dessert.

Dump Cake

  • Fruit, fresh or canned. [If fresh, peel, core and slice into a size you would like to bite. You may want to add sugar for your desired sweetness.] Two 15 ounce cans or approx. 4 cups. My very favorite is a combo of apricots and pineapple.
  • Yellow cake mix
  • Cube [1/2 cup] of butter. Two is actually better but this is totally up to you.
  1. Spread fruit in bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Top with dry cake mix.
  3. Thinly slice butter and cover the top of the dry mix. You can melt the butter to drizzle if you like. Both methods work fine.
  4. Bake in 350 degree oven until top is browned. Thirty to forty-five minutes.
  5. Ice cream is a must when it cools enough to serve.

Enjoy!


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Posted in Baked Perfection

It’s the Icing on the Cake

I am known for my cakes.  If there is a gathering, it can be heard, “Let Patty bring the cake!”  In fact when my youngest daughter married a few years back, it was voted that we have a cake bar because no one could decide which cake to offer, so we offered a variety.  This just caused a frenzy among friends.  Now, what to choose?! “Choose them all,” I say. Life’s too short to pass on the sweet parts.

Isn’t that what cakes represent–the sweet moments of relationship?  Be it a wedding, a birthday, or a new baby, cakes seem to be involved. Cake shows up to funeral dinners to comfort and at doorsteps of a sick neighbors to encourage. Cake brings community together, not for the sake of cake, but for the pleasure of doing life side-by-side in good times or bad.  That is the icing of life–the sweet fellowship of friends.

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Cake bar at my daughter’s wedding. Cakes were created by a wonderful baker friend, Julia, and myself. Pictures above the table are family wedding pictures.

This is one of my most requested cake frostings. I first discovered it in Better Homes and Gardens years ago. It is called a Candy Bar Cake. It had a homemade cake to go with it but I quickly ditched it for a boxed mix.  The frosting is the star anyway.  The original recipe called for chopped candy bars to be sprinkled on the top. On occasion, we still include them but it takes it to an extreme level of richness. I use this recipe on yellow or carrot cake but please do try it on your favorite and let me know how you like it.  This is my version. It is slightly different from the original.

Browned Butter Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 pounds powered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. Melt butter over medium low heat.  Continue to cook, keep a close watch,  until butter becomes golden in color. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. In mixer, beat cream cheese until creamy.
  3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour in melted butter.  Beat until smooth.
  5. Continue mixing, adding powered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beating briefly after each addition. Add a little milk to keep frosting at a mixable consistency.
  6. Add vanilla beating until incorporated.
  7. Get in on the cake before you eat it all with a spoon.
  8. Enjoy!

Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration,

ends with something sweet, a cake and people remember.

It’s all about the memories.

~Bubby Valastro

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