Creative contemplations on the possibilities in life.
Gratitude Day 28: Great Aunt
I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from two of my nephews, their wives, and two of my great-nieces today. We had several hours together, just hanging out and talking. Well, you know me, that would be talking and taking pictures of the kids. I love all my nieces and nephews. Being an aunt is the greatest thing ever. Nothing brings me more joy than "auntie time." I'm grateful for wonderful nieces and nephews who generously share their lives and families with me so I have lots of family too. I am so blessed!
If I had to be a vegetarian I would be in big trouble because I'm not all that keen on eating veggies, especially those nutritionally important leafy green vegetables. I'll pass on plain wilted or steamed spinach over and over again, but I could sit down and eat all of this spinach casserole and smile. Yes, it's that good. Best of all, it's super easy to make. Portion sizes of the ingredients are totally forgiving, so if you use a little more or a little less of something, no worries!
Crunchy Spinach Casserole
1 pkg. (12 oz.) frozen chopped spinach 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, melted
1/2 pkg. (~7 oz.) Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat an 8 x 8"ovenproof glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.Cook spinach in medium-sized pot according to package directions. Drain well and return to pot.Add cream cheese, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir until com…
Another Saturday night and it's time for another pound cake! This time I went for a chocolate sour cream pound cake -- something I've not made before. I trust my vintage Southern Living magazine recipes (this one is from 1992) and this one is another winner. I tweaked the recipe just a tiny bit and added a glaze. Here's what I did:
For the cake:
1 c. unsalted butter, softened, plus additional to prepare pan
2 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
6 lg. eggs, at room temperature
2 c. all purpose flour (plus additional to prepare pan)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. cocoa
8 oz. dairy sour cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10" Bundt or tube pan and set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda and set aside.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. …
Persistent (adj): lasting or enduring tenaciously.
Every year at the time I take my camera out to find wildflowers. I look for them everywhere, but I have specific locations where I know I will find the flowers. One of those locations, a nature trail through old growth forest, was one of those places affected by the Chimney tops 2 wildfire last fall. The fire, once small and well-contained, was whipped up by hurricane-force winds to wreak much devastation in the Smokies. All winter wildflower lovers asked themselves, "What about Cove Hardwood, what will happen to the wildflowers?" In my first foray up the trail after it's reopening this week, I found the flowers. They were small and many were a bit bruised and banged up from recent rains and storms, but they were there. Persistent, against the odds, despite fire's wrath -- they rose up. I admired the tiny blossoms, doing what I am afraid to do at times, and said to myself: "Be like the wildflowers -- be persisten…