While cleaning out some old files I found this OLD Christmas picture from a million years ago, well maybe not a million, but a really LONG time!
Today would have been my dad’s 80th birthday I can’t believe he’s been gone 25 years. I still sometimes pick up the phone to call him and talk before I realize…
ANYWAY I digress. My cousin also passed away back in 1998 and her sister and I bake a cake for her every year on her birthday – most times we even make significantly different flavors, but I always make the same one on daddy’s birthday, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, his favorite.
This year I decided to try a new recipe from Damaris Phillips – I just LOVE her. She is so much fun, and REAL, plus she likes to experiment so I know she’d be okay with the changes I made to her recipe.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
Total:1 hr 15 min Active:25 min Yield: 8 to 12 servings
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
20-ounce can sliced pineapple, drained and juice reserved
20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pineapple rum
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 QUALITY flaked coconut
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice (from the cans)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1 LARGE egg
Combine the cake ingredients in this fashion:
NOTE: YOU CAN NOW USE THE LEFTOVER RUM FOR A COCKTAIL WHILE YOU WAIT!
As I was scrolling through facebook this morning I ran across this post from 7 years ago. I found it speaking to me as it still describes life so well. I’m also pleased to say that even though there have been MANY (cancer, 5 surgeries and The House from HELL just to name a few of the BIG ones) curve balls thrown at me since then, I have de-cluttered my life really well, for the most part. So I offer you a rerun of that post below.
As many of you know I have spent the last 7 1/2 months helping out various family members around the country. First it was my elderly in-laws (MIL just turned 90) who begged us to come help them sell everything including the house and move them closer to family (we all know how that went – FIL is still trying to assign sentimental prices to everything in sight) and now it is my aunt & uncle. My aunt has end stage Parkinsons disease, such a sad disease. My aunt is extremely artistic and a beautiful painter – or at least she was. The Dyskinesia from the Parkinsons disease has robbed her of that ability. My uncle recently saw the Oprah episode on hoarders and has decided that my aunt is one. Trust me, she isn’t. I once worked for a real estate company as a stager for homes and they would send me in to work on homes that were similar to those on the Oprah show – those were horrible. So ask yourself, what is my (your) happy medium on the stuff I’ve (you’ve) accumulated? My theory? If you have a place for each item and it’s in its place, you’re NOT a pack rat or a hoarder. I do offer you the definitions below.
You know how we plan things and also plan on them going the way we want them to? LOL That truly doesn’t seem to happen around here. We’re getting most things done, but I’m not accustomed to moving things down the list every single day.
I LOVE to cook. It’s just that plain an simple. I also believe one of the best things I can do for my family is to make things from scratch. I’m a HUGE believer that just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should as in buying a canned product versus making it from scratch.
Our son will be here for one night only and then my uncle will be here the next night. Both nights are weekend nights so we’re eating in to avoid crowds and noise. When we asked what our son wanted to eat he very definitely said BBQ! So today I began my homemade BBQ sauce and Old Fashioned Boston baked beans ala Texas. Both taste better if they have a few days to let the flavors meld together.
OLD FASHIONED BOSTON BAKED BEANS
1 pound Navy beans, washed and sorted
1/2 pound salt pork, diced small
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup JALAPENO ketchup
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup PURE maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
If you type in Aji Queen into google near the top of the list is my cousin, Beth who owned and operated Peppermania. Beth made her life ALL about peppers, from seeds, spices, hot sauces, earrings… right down to her panties LOL and this is why she was known as the pepper queen. Unfortunately if you read that link you’ll see it’s a tribute to her passing. I’ve been wanting to make a recipe that was a tribute to her without using one of her spices or peppers that I can no longer get or replicate. I miss her all the time and that will only intensify soon, but that’s another story. So for now this recipe is for her.
ROASTED PEPPER BEEF GOULASH
1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak cut diagonally into 3-4 inch strips
3 pieces bacon, cooked crisp, save grease
1 large Walla Walla onion, halved and sliced thin
8 small sweet red, yellow and orange peppers roasted and sliced* (save a few for garnish)
4 cups beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Penzey’s Sweet Paprika
1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes halved
1 tablespoon Avocado oil
Fresh ground salt and black pepper
*Roast on the BBQ or over an open flame.
NOTE: When I’m in a hurry I halve the potatoes in advance and store them in the broth mixture. This is also good using egg noodles instead of potatoes.
TRICK: I like to use 2 pans so the meat and the sauce art are ready about the same time – the meat can get tough otherwise.
All our lives Jenn and I loved gathering shells on Galveston Island. This trip was no exception. We were literally getting blown away, but had so much fun that day!! I’m pretty sure this was March 1998. This is the last picture of us all together having fun so I keep rewinding to stay in the moment.
This week I’m looking backward, way backward to the first grade. At least I still had my front teeth for this picture. I also still have a pocket off this dress in my sewing basket.
Every family has their black sheep. I’d like to say it’s my crazy aunt Ginger, but the fact is, she’s just crazy. Now in her 70’s, but acts like a kid and not always a in a good way. When I say she’s crazy, I mean in an oddball way.
When she came to my dad’s funeral (her big brother) in 1993 she took tons of pictures and mailed them out to family. No, she didn’t take pictures of the family and friends that gathered to mourn his passing. She took all sorts of pictures of him in his casket and then sent them to us. As we approach the 20th anniversary of his death, the thing I always remember is crazy aunt Ginger – eccentric and odd forever!
You can just see the teenage angst in my posture alone. I started out looking for a picture of a Holly Hobbie dress for Martha to see and have yet to find it, but I now have found so many others I don’t even know where to start. I do remember that the hat I’m wearing and I were never far apart for quite some time. It looks like I was about 15 and obviously didn’t want to go Sequoia with my parents, kid brother and eccentric grandfather.
Here is your chance to get all nostalgic, photographically! Maybe it’s a photo you took with your first, cheap camera when you were 12 years old. Maybe it’s a photo you just took of a person, place or thing from your childhood. Maybe it’s something from longer ago or farther away than that: a castle or cathedral you photographed on a trip overseas, a dinosaur skeleton, or a distant constellation of stars, the light from which has taken years to reach us. If it was long ago or far away or both, it counts! All I ask is that it be a photo you took yourself, whether it was 40 years ago or five minutes ago.