Under Angel Wings


Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, in Honor of Our Troops

And I'm proud to be an American

Where at least I know I'm free...

And I won't forget the men who died,

Who gave that right to me!

Lee Greenwood

God Bless The USA Music Video

Our Birthday Celebration

This weekend my friend Candy had a wonderful celebration for our birthdays at Lake Tahoe. I was born on May 30th in California, and she was born on May 31st in Illinois, just one day apart. She is the closest person in age to me that I have ever met! Needless to say, we have a lot in common, and our husbands have a lot in common as well...they are both engineers, love tools, and love to golf, so we all have a great time. We both are wearing our birthday heart key silver necklaces from our friend, Janet...thank you, special friend!!

On Saturday evening Candy had a lovely dinner party with delicious food and wine. Turkey, dressing and all the trimmings, and everyone else brought dishes to share as well. Candy is such a kick...she decided to make little biscuits so we could all have a bit of hot bread and enjoy the last of my homemade pomegranate jelly. They were tiny, piping hot, and we decided to call them 'Petit Biscuit.' Here she is cutting them out with a wine glass! You know, when a woman reaches a certain age, she can pretty much change the rules to suit her fancy, at least I think she can!

With Candy lifting her glass for a toast, we were ready to taste the best bread pudding you have ever eaten, hot with a Whiskey Cream Sauce over the top. It was de-licious! One day soon I'll give you the recipe on this blog. Janet is seated facing the camera between her husband, Tom, in the blue shirt on the left and Candy's husband, Ray, in the black shirt on the right. My husband, David, is taking the photo!
                        Yankee, born in the USA of German sire and dam, in the ring working out...

On Sunday, my birthday, we went down to her ranch in Reno so Dave and I could visit her beautiful horses. (See this blog, May 31, 2009.) Two weeks ago Candy and Yankee, her stallion, had a serious mishap and Candy was badly injured, but she is bouncing back fast. Candy was attempting to get up on Yankee on the spur of the moment, but somehow it didn't work well as he was already moving, and her spur touched his back so he ran fast, and she was accidentally thrown down onto the ground, then she bounced and landed about 10 feet away!

Ray was somewhere else working with another horse when suddenly he turned around and there was Yankee loose behind him, and no Candy in sight. Ray found her on the ground and very slowly got her up to go to the ER. After a CAT scan they found that she had broken a rib, and several other little things of which I don't remember the names...

Candy has another horse, a fabulous, big black gelding named Nevada who is 17.2 hands high, one of the biggest most beautiful horses in the state! He is a French Selle Francais, about 9 years old. I have never in my life seen such a huge horse, and so magnificent when he runs. He got jealous when we were over visiting Yankee in his stall, so Nevada started running all over the pasture, and got himself all worked up into a sweat until we came back to him. Candy took me into the pasture with him on a lead, but I am very cautious around him. One false step and he could really injure you, even though he wouldn't mean to! The pictures do not do justice to the size of him...He weighs 1200 pounds!

Today is Candy's birthday, so one last "Happy Birthday To You!!" As we left Tahoe to beat the traffic home this morning, Candy and Ray were leaving to attend a surprise party for her. What a celebration!! Thank you Candy, so much, for a great birthday Memorial Day weekend, and here's to another wonderful year for the both of us!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fancy Fruit Basket Cake

My sister and I grew up on the family farm, and our mom was a good cook who put three hot meals on the table year round. Our desserts were mainly fruit pies and puddings such as tapioca or chocolate, with an occasional cake for a birthday. One that was especially delicious was mom's white layer cake with sliced bananas between the layers and whipped cream frosting.

Our local supermarket has a wonderful cake they call the Fruit Basket Cake. It is a white layer cake with sliced bananas and sliced strawberries between the layers with whipped cream frosting. It is really tall with all the fruit between the layers, and really expensive as well!! We have indulged in this cake for two or three very special celebrations, but you can make one at home for a few dollars compared with spending a small fortune at the bakery.

Here is the cast of characters: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White Cake (or any white cake mix), oil, water, egg whites, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, bananas and strawberries.

Grease the cake pans including the sides. These pans are my old faithful Bake King pans with the arm that slides around to release the cake after it is baked. Very, very handy!! :D

                                                                         Add some flour...

                                                            Shake the flour around the bottom...

                                                                        And the sides...

Now that the baking pans are prepared and the oven is preheating, let's start making the cake. Open the bag and pour the mix into the mixer bowl.

Add the water...

And the egg whites...OOPS! One of the yolks fell in...No worries, it didn't make a bit of difference to the quality of the cake. :D (It's challenging to add ingredients with one hand and take photos with the other!)

                                                                             Add the oil...

                                                             And mix according to directions.

                                                  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake.

    Take out the baked layers and set aside on racks to cool while you whip the cream and slice the fruit.

   Pour the whipping cream into the mixer bowl. I used three cups, one pint box and one 1/2 pint box.
It is always better to have more whipped cream than less so you can cover the cake. Any extra can be used in your morning coffee...better than Starbucks!! Oh yummy...

While whipping the cream, add some powdered sugar to sweeten it. I added three scoops, but my family likes it sweet! Gosh, I'm giving away all the family secrets...

Now I can just hear my mother admonishing me to not whip the cream too long or it will turn to butter!
I actually had that happen once...so I had to send my hubby to the store for more whipping cream. You want the cream to be whipped with stiff peaks so it will stay on the cake, but you don't want butter!! :D

Put a doily on the cake plate and start to frost the bottom layer with the whipped cream. As our 9 1/2 year old great-niece Elizabeth said recently, "Everything looks better with a doily on the plate!"

                                                       Ummmm...it's starting to look like a cake...

                                                                Slice a banana thinly and evenly...

           And lay the pieces carefully on the top, then spread a little more frosting over the bananas.

                                                 Put the second layer on top and start frosting it...

                                                   Slice the strawberries thinly and lay on a plate...

                       Shake on a sweetener that you use: regular sugar, Splenda or in this case, Stevia...

                                                Lay the sliced strawberries on the top of the cake...

                                     And frost the top layer with the remaining whipped cream...

                                               Don't forget to do a good job on the sides as well...

When I was slicing the strawberries, I noticed that one of them looked like a red heart, so I saved it for the top of the cake...I made it for my Aunt Dorothy's 97th birthday, so Happy Birthday Aunt D.!!

        Be sure to refrigerate your cake until you serve it. Then enjoy, enjoy, and make some memories!
Note: For a red, white and blue cake add some blueberries between the layers. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Little Quiches


When my daughter, Olivia, and her best friend, Katie, were young I had a children's cookbook with some really good recipes in it. One that was a particular favorite of the girls was Little Quiches. Now that our great-niece Elizabeth is about the same age, we have gotten out the same cookbook to try some of the recipes!

The great thing about quiche is that you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and appetizers. Elizabeth was new to quiche so she was learning the process without ever having seen it or tasted it! :D

The Cast of Characters includes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, milk, eggs, butter, ketchup, salt, onion, Canadian bacon, and grated parmesan cheese. To make 12 little quiches, the recipe calls for:

1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (8 rolls)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 T. ketchup
1/2 t. salt
1 cup diced ham or Canadian bacon
2 T. diced onion
4 T. butter
6 T. grated parmesan cheese

Begin by setting the oven to 375 degrees. Spray Pam in each of the 12 muffin cups. We use the spray outside the kitchen slider to keep the cloud of oil out of the kitchen.

The tube of crescent rolls is pre-divided into 8 triangles. This turned out to be a great math lesson for Lizzie because we needed 12 sections of rolls for the muffin pan. We rolled out the dough, and made our own two cuts on the dough, instead of following their one perforation which divided the dough in half. 

With our two rows cut, we divided the dough into three sections of four rolls each. With a little additional pinching off here and adding there, we got 12 pieces of dough that were roughly the same weight. Don't be too concerned about this; only a small piece of dough is needed for each quiche.

Put a piece of dough into each cup, flattening them to cover the bottom and working up the sides a bit. Take a fork and poke little holes around in each piece of dough. Put the muffin pan into the oven to pre-bake the dough for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned..

                                                        Dice the onion into very small pieces...

                                         Dice the Canadian bacon or ham into small pieces as well.

                                               Put the butter into a frying pan and add the onion.

Add the Canadian bacon or ham and saute together with the butter and onion. Right about now this dish  is starting to smell really good!

                                         Now go over to the mixer and crack the eggs into the bowl.

                                                                        Pour the milk in...

                                                                          Add the salt...

                                                                        Also the ketchup....

                                                        Mix all together into a custard-like filling.

                                                       Add in the sauted meat, onion and butter.

Ladle the filling into the muffin cups, being careful to scoop up a portion of meat at the bottom of the bowl into each ladle full.

                                Shake enough grated parmesan cheese onto each quiche to cover the tops.

Pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, until lightly browned and cooked through. Then you'll have to pop one onto a plate, and pop a bite into your mouth as quickly as possible, because honestly, these little quiches are really yummy!!

Here is the Pillsbury Doughboy dancin' for us: