Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Luscious Lemon Angel Roll

It is so exciting to find a recipe that is easy, tastes delicious, and best of all - has knock out presentation appeal. Especially at holiday times when there is so much other baking/cooking to do.  This recipe from Pampered Chef is one of those recipes.  It looks like you fussed a lot when, in fact, it really couldn't be simpler.


1 Package (16 oz.) Angel Food Cake Mix
1 Cup Powdered Sugar, divided
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 Lemon
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
Strawberry Ice Cream Topping
Fresh Strawberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Line a bar ban with parchment paper, pressing it into the bottom, up the sides, and folded in the corners.  

Prepare the cake mix per the package and pour into the bar pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top springs back when lightly touched.  

While the cake is baking, completely zest the lemon and squeeze 1 T. of lemon juice.  Combine the cream cheese, 1/2 Cup of the Powdered Sugar, the lemon juice and zest.  Mix very well.  Fold in 1 Cup of the Cool Whip; set aside.

When the cake is finished baking, sprinkle the top with a generous covering of powdered sugar.  You may not need the full 1/2 Cup.  

Place a sheet of parchment paper and a cooling rack on top of the cake, then carefully turn over the cake.  Gently pull the parchment paper from the sides and bottom (which is now facing up) of the cake.  

Roll up the cake in the new sheet of parchment paper and let cool completely. 

When the cake has cooled, unroll and discard the parchment paper.

Spread ice cream topping  followed by the cream cheese mixture to within 1 inch of all four sides of the cake.  

Re-roll the cake.  Sprinkle the cake with more powdered sugar and garnish with piped whipped cream, ice cream topping, and a strawberry fan (press strawberry into an egg slicer to create a fan).  You could also add a few blueberries if you want a more patriotic look.  Cut with a serrated knife to serve.

This is a stunning dessert whether you 
serve it whole or plate it individually.

Isn't it pretty? 
It tastes just as wonderful!

Thanks for stopping by,


Great Tips for Avocados

Avocados are one of those super foods that are so yummy - and so good for you.  Yes!  I love foods like that.  Did you know that even though they are 3/4 fat - it is the good kind of fat that improves the memory function of your brain and reduces the bad LDL cholesterol while improving the good HDL cholesterol?  They are also loaded with insoluble fiber which helps digestion and keeps you from feeling hungry.

This is an avocado tree that grows right outside the front door of my 
friends in Quito, Ecuador.  What you can't tell is that these avocados 
are about 3 times the size of our large grocery store avocados.  

Here are a few tips I've learned along the way about avocados:

To remove the pit, sharply whack it with a large knife, then twist.  It should twist right out.

Rather than peel an avocado, just dice or slice it right in its skin.  Use a spoon to scoop out the pieces.

Bury the avocado pits in fresh guacamole to keep it from turning brown sooner.

As an alternative to guacamole, make an avocado salad using the same ingredients.  So refreshing and satiating - plus you can skip the chips.  I often eat this for breakfast.

If your avocado is too firm, just store on the top of your refrigerator until soft.  This often takes only one day.  Then store softened avocados in the refrigerator.  They should keep for several days.

A friend from Mexico showed me this:  peel a pit and then draw on it with a sharp tool like an ice pick.  As minutes pass, your marks will turn a bright rust color to make a fun little toy.

Grow a beautiful plant by poking toothpicks into a pit and submerging the broad end in a glass of water.  Keep the glass in a sunny window and change the water every 2-3 days. After about 3 weeks, you should see growth.  Your avocado tree probably will never produce fruit, but it will make a lovely plant.

And finally, my favorite tip:  put leftover guacamole in a glass or slender container.  Press it down to remove most of the air pockets.  Pour a layer of salsa or tomato sauce on top of the guacamole to seal it from air.  When you are ready for more, skim off the salsa or mix it in.  It's so nice to enjoy leftover guacamole without any brownish/gray yuck.

Are you hungry for avocados now?

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oatmeal Sweet Potato Pancakes

Have you tried sweet potato pancakes yet?  I had not until just a few months ago - but boy are they Yum-O!

Lucky me, I picked up about 16 cans of sweet potatoes right after Christmas.  They were marked down to 25 cents a can, and I figured since they didn't expire until 2014 - why not stock up?  Truthfully, I'm not overly fond of the canned variety because they don't taste very good without all the sugary toppings, but for 25 cents  - I figured I could throw them in some muffins.  That's a lot of great nutrition for pennies.

About the time I was wondering what to do with all the canned sweet potatoes, I took a bite of my husband's sweet potato pancakes at the Cracker Barrel.  That's all it took.  I knew I had to figure out how to make them at home - and with 16 cans in my pantry - Woot! Woot!

I started with a recipe I found on  My goal was to create a recipe that tastes more like the Cracker Barrels, but is also a healthy pancake.  Here is what I came up with:


1 40 oz. Can Sweet Potatoes*
3 Cups Oat Flour**
2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. Baking Powder
1  1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Cinnamon
4 Eggs, beaten
3 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup Canola Oil

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter

1 stick Salted Butter, softened not melted
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 or even 3 tsp. Cinnamon (start with 2)
Blend until well combined

Heat an electric skillet to 350 degrees.

This is a large batch and will make about 20 medium sized pancakes.  I matched the ingredients to the amount of potatoes in one can.

Drain, rinse and mash the sweet potatoes.  In a bowl, mix the potatoes with the beaten eggs, milk and oil.  In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  Pour the sweet potato mixture into the dry ingredients, and fold well.  You never want to mix a pancake batter too much, because that develops the gluten and makes the pancakes tough.  While oats do have gluten, it is a different kind so this is less of a concern with this recipe.  Also, if you let the batter rest for about 30 minutes it will be thicker and nicer to work with. This is not necessary, though.

Lightly grease the hot skillet.  Drop the batter onto the skillet using a 1/4 measuring cup.  Allow to cook until the surface of the pancake is bubbly, then flip.  I've found when cooking with whole grains that I've milled*** with my grain mill, a lower temp of 350 degrees works better than a higher temp usually recommended with pancakes.  

Even though the Brown Sugar Cinnamon is not healthy, the cinnamon is strong enough that you only use a scant amount on top of your pancake.  It really pleases the taste buds  because the spice and sugar are on the pancake instead of mixed into the batter.  Another tip if you use syrup is to pour 1-2 Tablespoons on your plate and slightly dip your bites of pancake.  Syrup has A LOT of calories, so if you're watching them - don't saturate your pancake with syrup. These pancakes are quite moist so you really don't need much syrup anyway, but I know, I know - they taste better that way.......

*If you don't wish to use canned sweet potatoes - freshly cooked or leftover are great.  Just be sure they are soft and mashed.  I would actually prefer to use the fresh, but you can't beat the convenience and price of my canned potatoes.

**Oat Flour can be purchased at the health food store.  Also, some people like to use a soak method and soak the oats in the milk for several hours or overnight in the blender.  When the oats have soaked a while, just blend and add the rest of the ingredients.  You will need 1  1/2 cups of oats (you may need to experiment with that amount) to equal 1 cup of oat flour.  

***I have a grain mill to grind my own flours.  This is a wonderful way to add whole grains to your diet because you are getting the grain in its most nutritious state, plus they taste much better.  My mill cost about $200, but it was well worth it.  You can make flour out of rice, oats, wheat, barley, flax seed - the list is endless.  

This recipe is a big hit at my house and the family cheers every time they find out Sweet Potato Pancakes are on the menu.  Honestly, they are a great way to get your family to eat sweet potatoes and whole grain oats - and if they are all going to cheer about it - you Score Mom!

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Really Love

Wow!  I certainly didn't mean to be away so long.
But honestly, if you had to choose between 
working on projects and writing a blog -

This was taken today  - Art and Soul Photography by Angel Porch

Or sitting and rocking this precious angel
Could you tear yourself away?

Also, some of my dearest friends are visiting 
from across the ocean.
I only get to see them in person every few years, 
so I'm soaking up every moment I can get with them.

This is a picture from the last time I visited them.  
It was an amazing trip and I really adore these people.

Life is just really good right now!  I can't bear to miss out on any of it.

So, while I think I'm back with the plan to start 
posting regularly again
If Paisley should need her Grammie.......
Well, it will just have to be Paisley time. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by - I'm so very glad you did.  
Oh, and I do hope you will come tomorrow.  
I have a recipe I think you might enjoy.  


Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm still here.......

Hi friends,

All is well - I've just been really busy helping with the baby and getting some new projects started.  I'll be back in just a couple of days.

Thanks for stopping by anyway.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Paisley Ann is Here!

It was the best of days.......It was the toughest of days.

My baby girl was overdue with her baby by a week, and with her gestational diabetes the Dr. decided to induce before the baby got too big.

They gave her the smallest amount of meds to induce, and it was enough to get things started.

She progressed nicely throughout the day and made it to 100%, but in the end her pelvis was too small.  She absolutely tried her best and pushed until she was completely exhausted, at which point the Dr. decided a C-section was necessary.

To have watched my Baby Girl labor for 12 hours but have it end this way was very disappointing - especially for her. Incredibly though, they let me come along to the surgery room AND TAKE PICTURES.

My son-in-law was a great encourager through it all.

I know C-sections happen everyday.......but not to my daughter!  As I was sitting and watching behind daddy, my brain connected that what I was seeing was indeed being done to my baby girl - and I began to see stars.  "Oh, Dear Lord - please don't let me pass out.  They will never let another Mom in the operating room again."  Well, God is good and He sustained me.  I moved my mask to get a few breaths of fresh air - and all was well.

7 lbs.  11 oz.  22 inches

I can't even put into words how amazing the entire experience was.  To have witnessed a birth is incredible - but to be part of the birth of my first grandchild.......I am humbled and feel overwhelmingly Blessed!

I was able to capture my Baby Girl 
the minute she first saw Paisley.

It will be hard not to post thousands of pictures 
of this little one on my blog - but I'll try.  

Holding her for the first time.  

To God who is the giver of all good gifts - thank you for this precious life, and for protecting the life of her mommy.  
My heart is overflowing with gratefulness.

Isn't she beautiful?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing this moment with me,


Monday, May 7, 2012

Filled Earring Frame

This is a project I shared with you last year.  
To see the instructions, go here.  
I thought you might enjoy seeing the earring frame 
completely filled.

It works really well, and all the earrings 
help hold the fabric nicely in the frame.

Oh, yeah.  Earrings are my favorite!
Thanks for stopping by,


Exciting Changes and A Hot Pink Mirror

Changes are coming!  All kinds of exciting new changes.

The first and most important is that tomorrow I will finally become a grandmother!!!  Baby Girl went to the Dr. today and there is still no dilation.  The Dr. believes that waiting another week is not going to make a difference for her, thus she is being admitted as I type.  Her induction will begin in the morning, which means we should meet Miss Paisley Ann sometime tomorrow!  Oh, Happy Dance, Happy Dance, Happy Dance!  Can you tell I'm excited?

The second change is that - I am now really into Hot Pink.  I have lived with it all these years because it is my daughter's favorite color, but now that she's on her own - I guess I must be missing that bright pink.

Just kidding!  I mean it is true that I'm having fun painting a few things pink to add to my backyard, but that's not really the other change.  I just needed something to pull in pictures of this mirror I painted ;)

The "real" other big change is that we have an event coming for our house in early July, and there is a bit of sprucing up that needs to be done.  While I still hope to post on some crafty projects here and there, most of what I post will be about the updating and fancifying of our home.  I don't think fancifying is really a word, but I bet George W. Bush would use it!  I'm a little nervous about getting everything ready, especially being Grammie and all, but it should be a fun ride.

Well.......that's all I've got for you tonight.  I'm too excited to think of much else to write, because all my thoughts are at the hospital.

Thanks for stopping by - and if you're a praying person, would you say a few for Paisley and her Mommy?  We appreciate it very much.



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Frenchy Clock Update

Yesterday I shared a basket for holding keys that I made by cutting apart a wire trash can from the Dollar Tree.  Today I thought I would share a clock that I updated using the top portion of that same wire trash can.

To see the instructions for this wire basket, go here.

Taking the top portion that I had removed, I cut off about another 1 1/2 inches to form a wire ribbon.  See the bow I fashioned from it above.  Next, I laid the remaining metal ring on a table with the cut wire facing up.  I began stretching and pressing the wire flat until it formed a nice wreath shape. 

This is a picture of the clock before I added the wire trim.

Using hot glue, I simply attached the wreath to the back of the clock.  This is how the clock looks after adding the trim. Just a fun little update using some wire that would have otherwise been trash.  I think it gives the clock a little extra French-appeal.

I have another idea of what to do with the wreath, but I'm not able to finish it yet - perhaps soon.

Uh-oh, would you look at the time (pun intended)?  My grandbaby is now 4 days overdue!!!  I guess I better run.  Where is she?

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, May 4, 2012

Upcycled Key Basket

I told you when I realized these wire baskets from the Dollar Tree were wire and not plastic - my brain went into overload with ideas.

First, I made this lampshade by just shaping and molding the basket until it resembled a cloche hat from the 1930's.

 Now, I keep thinking of things to make by cutting the basket apart.  This idea came from our need to have a basket by our back door to catch keys in.  I know I could put any number of containers there, but this seemed to fit just what I was looking for.

I measured up from the bottom of the wire trash can about 5 1/2 inches and cut all the way around the basket with wire cutters.  The wire is perfectly aligned from the top, so it is easy to figure out where to cut.

After I removed the top portion of the basket, I started bending the sides of the bottom into an arc.  I kept turning the basket in my hands, repeating the same bends and flaring the top until I was satisfied with the shape. 

This basket started out black, but I prefer antique white in this space - so I spray painted it.  I think some of the paint will chip off as keys are thrown in, but the antique white with black chips showing through suits me fine.

Edward inherited several hundred old postcards from his grandmother.
They are all very wonderful, and I'd love to share some with you from time to time. 
This one was mailed in 1903.  Look at the handwriting! 

I have another idea to show you tomorrow that I made from the top portion of the basket.  I hope you will come back to see.

Thanks for stopping by,


PS - I'm not finding the wire baskets at the Dollar Tree right now.  I did purchase some recently, but didn't find any this week.  I know they've run out before and then restocked.  I hope they will be back soon.

Parties I Will Be Linking To: