I’m getting there! Warning: LONG post Ü

To a state of organization that is.  Slowly, VERY slowly.


These are my new cubbies in my studio. I call it my studio because it makes is sound like I do something in there 🙂  And take a gander at my birthday present from my children!  ADORABLE!


A fairy village!  I wanted it so much!  I had seen it first on pinterest and then in HearthSong catalog.  So precious!  And of course what studio would be complete with out this:


We had a big celebration over the weekend ~ my birthday, Hannah’s birthday, Jessica’s birthday and our 34th wedding anniversary.  Jerry whipped up an amazing meat roll to put on the grill. And we ate the last of it last night in a very delicious stew he made from the leftover. meatroll

I made a Persian Love Cake –


I was bound and determined to conquer this cake and after some tweaking and substituting it was quite delicious. My notes are at the end of the recipe.

The original recipe was not gluten free but I adapted it. And it called for candied rose petals for garnish but I had seen a similar recipe with pistachios and used them instead. I didn’t do the rose petals because I knew I nor my people wouldn’t like them. BUT if you want to do them, here is the recipe for them.

Candied rose petals

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Petals from 2 organic roses

Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.


  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (or regular all purpose if you aren’t gluten free)
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom ground

For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment.

Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth.

Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff.

Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)


  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

For frosting: Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes.

Chill until cold. Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with rose petals

NOTES: I made a few changes.  My cake fell a bit when I removed it from the oven.  I am not sure if it was my flour blend or if I beat the egg whites too long.  But for whatever reason, it was a little on the sad side. I had a box of Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix that I whipped up quickly and added a tsp of vanilla bean paste to the batter.  When it was baked per box instructions and cooled I layered it between the layers of the original cake and made the frosting which I quickly found out I was not a fan of SOOOO…I dumped that expensive batch 🙁 and whipped up a batch of Buttercream with a pinch of saffron and a little of the saffron infused cream I had left from the first frosting recipe and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. And I garnished it with chopped pistachios.   It was wonderful.  Everyone really liked it.  I think had I stuck right to the recipe the reception would have been less than favorable.  So all’s well that ends well.

It was a very very good weekend!  And now tell me, how is it Thursday already?  Jerry will leave for Malaysia on Monday and when he comes back home we will head for Vermont for our belated anniversary trip.  SOOO excited.  Even with the floods.  I am not about to cancel my trip unless something much worse happens between now and then. And I realize that is always possible. Either on that end or this one. But our plans are to go and dine and sight-see and spend our money just as if we weren’t butt deep in water 🙂 I think its very important to let the folks know someone who witnessed Katrina and made it thru Rita knows how it feels to a point and knows how important it is to trudge forth. It is devastating to a community when something like this happens and you have to “just get back on your horse and ride again”.   Besides its a little over 5 weeks and I have all the confidence in the world that most roads will be at least partially open, even if they are pig trails. I reserved an all wheel drive vehicle for our time there. I am sure there will be places I won’t get to take Jerry that I had hoped to, but we will still enjoy ourselves. Autumn in Vermont.  Squeeeeee!

Autumn country side in Vermont


Mexican Menu Thanks to Gooseberry Patch’s Big Book of Home Cooking

I know you thought I got lost somewhere!  It has been crazy busy as I know it has been for so many of you out there.  Be looking for a post in the very near future that will let you know about a little fund raising project I am working on.  I would appreciate your input and help with it when the time comes.

Last night was Mexican Buffet  night at our house! And I have (finally) a couple of  new recipes from Gooseberry Patch’s Big Book of Home Cooking.  As I said before it has been a busy week and these two recipes are PERFECT for that!  Quick, simple, on hand ingredients (at least at my house) and oh so delicious!   So give these a try, I know you and yours will love them too!  I made these two wonderful dishes and a big skillet of Spanish rice and it was all so YUMMY!


King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 8 ounce package sliced mushrooms*
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 10 3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup
  • 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T chicken broth
  • 12 six inch corn tortillas, torn into quarters and divided
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced and divided
  • 16 ounce package shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion, pepper and mushrooms in butter.  Add soups, tomatoes with juice, garlic, chili powder and broth.  Heat until bubbly and set aside.  Arrange half the tortillas in a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking pan.  Top with 1/2 the chicken, half the sauce and half the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Serves 6

* Left these out – a couple of us have severe reactions to mushrooms 🙁  Not so much an allergy as an aversion :/ But used the cream of mushroom soup since there are very few little bits of mushrooms.

NOTE: Why not double and freeze one!? You will have a dish already prepared and ready to bake for the next potluck or crazy busy week night!

I LOVE enchiladas and these are TOO easy not to make often!

Now this recipe is even more special because it already makes two pans of food so either freeze one or make sure you invited company for supper!

Easy Cheesy Enchiladas

3 pounds ground beef

2 1 1/4 ounce packages taco seasoning mix

1 cup water

16 ounce can refried beans

2 packages 10 inch flour tortillas

10 3/4 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

10 3/4 ounce can cream of chicken soup

2 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 1/2 pound pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed

Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, drain.  Add seasoning mix and water, simmer for 5 minutes.  Add beans, cook 5 more minutes.  Spread mixture down the center of the tortillas; roll up.  Arrange seam-side down in 2 lightly greased 13 x 9 baking pans; set aside.  Combine remaining ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until cheese is melted; spoon over enchiladas. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze, or bake, covered at 350 for 15 minutes, until bubbly.  Serves 12-16.

Garnish with a dollops of sour cream and sprinkle with sliced green onions just before serving.

NOTE: This is sooo easy and so good!  You will love it.  ALSO: I used 1/2 flour tortillas and 1/2 corn tortillas.  I put the other pan in the freezer for when I need a quick fix supper!


Now aren’t you hungry???!!!


All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of each post pertaining to this giveaway and Early Bird Review and consider yourself entered.  I will be posting at least  4 amazing recipes from this book over the next couple weeks and then on Monday September 12,  I will draw a name from the trusty mason jar and announce the winner.  So counting the earlier post which was really an introduction, you have at least 5 chances to get your name in the drawing!  Who knows, this book is so big (hence the name!) how many recipes I might get posted.  And of course it would be nice of you to tell your friends if you have facebook or a blog of your  own.

NOTE: This HUGE WONDERFUL book will be published September 20th…so if you don’t win, you better get yourself a copy!

Find even MORE from Gooseberry Patch online!

And if you like what you find here at my blog you can check out the right hand column and subscribe to my feed and follow me on twitter and facebook.

Thanks for stopping by!



September Calendars are ready!


Large 1200 x 800

Medium 1080 x 720

Small 800 x 500

Look for new recipes and reviews tonight!