My new version of the amazing carrot cake creation that I've made up myself. :)

Fully-Loaded Carrot Cake and Recipe!

I’ve always wanted a carrot cake that has everything.

The ultimate.

I knew it was out there, but never, ever, could find a recipe. At last I found one that came very close. It even gave options. Then I read the recipe directions which explained when to add the eggs, and I noticed the ingredients list did not include eggs.

Hmm…

So I gave up and wrote my own. Yeah. It is the only way to go, isn’t it!

I made up this carrot cake recipe for my mom’s 75th birthday because she had said carrot cake, with everything in it, was her favorite cake. (I guess I get it from her, right?)

Well, she ate it all in one week.

I used this scrumptious cake recipe again for the groom’s cake at the wedding of one of my sons. At his request. (He probably gets it from me.)

It did not last through the entire serving time.

It may be fair to say I am too proud of this recipe. I absolutely love when a cake turns out right, and friends, this is IT!

So just when you finally decided to “go keto”, here comes a carrot-cake-reason NOT to!

Enjoy!

Fully Loaded Carrot Cake

Pinterest pin for Fully Loaded Carrot Cake Recipe¾ cup butter, melted
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (8 oz) drained crushed pineapple
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped nuts (recipe calls for walnuts, but we grow pecans, so…)
1 cup flaked coconut OR 1 cup golden raisins

Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl until lemon colored, beat in sugar, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Stir in pineapple, nuts, carrots, and raisins or coconut (I’ve added a full measure of both before.)

Pour batter into greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes until cake tests done with a toothpick.

I frost with cream cheese frosting. But if you wanted to ease your keto-conscience, you could frost with stevia whipped cream! 😉

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Rosemary Pound Cake Recipe photo

My Big, Beautiful, Rosemary Pound Cake!

It’s finally happened. I’ve let myself get talked into sharing this amazing recipe I only had in my head.

I had the rudiments of it on paper, but it was inadequate. You know. Lots of things I did differently than the person who shared her own version of it. Lots of changes I made, if I remembered. Lots of special things I made sure of, that no one could have known by reading the recipe.

Rosemary and me…

Cozy up with something warm to drink and let me tell you all about it!

Is rosemary the world’s most favored herb? I don’t know; maybe not. However, it is one of my faves, and in my cooking adventures it shines like a star. I love it so much, I grow my own so never to be without.

If you were to visit my herb gardens, you’d notice two robust rosmarinus bushes (alba and sativa) both in easy reach. I like to think they are hefty branches to guard the doors to my kitchen, but really they mostly supervise the frolics of the latest kittens.

They say the size of a rosemary bush carries great significance. Supposedly it indicates the strength of the woman in her home.

I’m not sure about that, either.

I have landscaped around my house with the useful, herbal plants, for over 20 years. My gardens have varied from move to move. There was the glorious stand of dill in a raised bed. For my birthday, once, a son helped me set in a semi-circular hedge of 70 lavender plants. And when we spent a short time in Mississippi, I created an entire enclosed convent garden featuring a beautiful nighttime white-garden section. (That one did let a few non-herbals in for the sake of the flutter-byes.)

But the four-inch diameter twisted trunk of the rosemary right by my back door remains my favorite expression of my love for herbs: Always at hand. Shelter to cats. Exuberant. Generous. What more could an herb lover desire in a true friend?

Rosemary in the kitchen…

We eat lots of Italian food; that is an understatement, really. However, even when we cook something as simple as a pot roast, or baked chicken, a lot of rosemary goes in. It’s the natural additive, here, to the point that when my son’s friends thought the lavender cookies I had sent him smelled like pizza, he just chuckled, knowingly.

How few guess the redolent education that is inherent to owning rosemary!

Now. It’s not as though a cookie with rosemary could not be astonishing in its goodness, but today, we are going to make a cake, a simple pound cake, and we’re going to make it astonishing. So read on . . .

Rosemary in a cake?

I’ve mumbled and fumbled my way through many a delicious pound-cake recipe, including this one, and the variations I offer here I have acquired on the journey. I lost the original recipe, even, and have had to concoct this current iteration from memory and by refashioning a few I had lying around.

Funny, it turns out to be the best. I think you’ll like the results.

In my opinion, there is nothing in the kitchen that compares to creating this cake. The satisfaction is complete.

Noticing recipes for cakes with a sugar crust built in to the pan coating, I dared myself to try it. Using butter instead of shortening or oil would surely add perfection to the immaculate flavor of a fresh pound cake. Doting on its plainness, I realized it would play well with a hint of rosemary and the playwright in me took flight.

This cake is not hard, at all and it will leave you speechless.

My first attempt was not impressive. The recipe I used to build this project had faults. I do not appreciate that when it happens.

  • First, there was nothing in the recipe about the absolute importance of having all ingredients at room temperature. I’m telling you now; it’s absolutely important if you want the ingredients to mix well, and if you want a high cake with delicate crumb.
  • Next, the oven time was simply wrong. I kept checking and checking until I thought surely it was burned up, but no. I’ve corrected the time, now, realizing any cake this full of goodness would need at least 75 minutes to reach perfection. Also, I devised a method for you to know if your cake is done (toothpicks and such just do not work) and I’ll explain that soon.
  • Finally, the directions were not explicit enough and I actually made it wrong on the first try. It did make a cake, but I had a time keeping it all on the counter, at one point. (Sort of a Julia Child moment, that.) I’ve fixed it so you cannot make the mistake I made and you can thank me later.

So the first one fell just a smidgen—it came out of the oven too soon, I am sure, and there was that episode all over the counter…. It was scrumptious and everyone loved it—especially the slightly-fallen-cake-lovers—but I was not proud.

I might be a bit too proud, now.

However, this cake is a hit everywhere it goes, its lovers stealing extra pieces to take home for seconds the next day, then later confessing and offering huge compliments to get back into my good graces. So I’ll make one again, soon?

I just laugh—it’s a life!

And now is the time to make this darling, since rosemary is blooming right now and that’s the best time to harvest, so here goes!

(Oh, and you’ll need a stand mixer and a Bundt pan or other tube pan.)

That Scrumptious Pound Cake.

For the Crust. (Have ALL at room temperature):

1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) (Should be almost soft enough to shed oils.)
1 cup sugar (approximately)
the leaves from two 5” sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed well, and DRIED


For the cake. Have ALL at room temperature. I’m not kidding:

A mixture of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, poured into 1-cup liquid measure with milk added to fill the cup. This mixture will be divided, later.
1 ½ cup butter, not margarine (3 sticks)
5 large eggs
3 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon soda
3 ¼ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon vanilla


For the glaze (optional). Have ALL at room temperature:

1 small can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ cup powered sugar


First: Prepare pan.
Slather butter thickly over all interior pan surfaces. The goal is to create a surface to which the rosemary leaves and sugar can stick. Do not ignore the hollow core part of the pan.
Sprinkle the rosemary leaves randomly over the butter. They will stick pretty well if the butter is very slicky-soft.
Over that pour about 2 Tablespoons at a time of sugar into the pan and twirl it around gently, to spread sugar all over, trying to keep leaves in place. If one or two rosemary leaves dislodge, it is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of sugar and spreading until absolutely no more sugar will stick. May take even more than a cup; that is fine. Set aside in a cool place such as an unheated room, or near a window, but not the fridge.


Second: Prepare the batter. (Pre-heat oven, now, to 350 degrees.)
Milk and vinegar should be well-combined, and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar, gradually, until all is incorporated, beating until fluffy after each addition.

Add eggs to butter, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Stir and divide milk/vinegar mixture, putting half into a 2-cup bowl. (The 2-cup bowl is mandatory.)

In a small dish, combine baking soda with one tablespoon of water, stirring well, then add to the ½ cup milk in bowl. Stir well. This will gradually foam up to about one-cup size or more, so watch it, being ready to place a plate under the bowl, if needed.
Add vanilla and mix well.

Beginning with the flour (!) add flour to egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time, alternating with the soda/milk mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until soda/milk is gone, continuing with the rest of the milk/vinegar mixture until all is mixed in (beginning and ending with flour!) Beat very well, until completely incorporated, after each addition.

Ease batter into prepared Bundt pan or tube pan, using a large spoon to place batter directly into bottom of pan, and not disturb sugar/rosemary coating. Place pan in middle of oven in all directions. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes.)

The test for doneness is to notice that the top of the batter will crack part-way through the baking. When the raw dough that is revealed in these cracks, begins to brown, the cake is done, especially if the cake is pulling from the sides of the pan. See photo:

Rosemary cake, showing baking step: checking for doneness.

This cake is beginning to brown inside the cracked places and to separate from the pan, indicating doneness.

Cool cake for ten minutes, in pan. Turn onto plate to finish cooling.


Mix orange juice concentrate with powdered sugar to desired consistency and serve as topping for cake, if desired.

Rosemary cake with glaze ready to eat!

You can thank me now! 🙂

Delicious catfish dinner

On Top of NOT Spaghetti!

Where I guest post about another of my silly home-made recipes that I love…

If you’re interested in catfish, at all, but resent firing up the huge fryer thing.

Or if you are looking for yet another low-carb recipe.

Or if you are totally bored with the usual and just want something different.

And delicious!

Head on over to the Arkansas Women Bloggers page and check out my latest guest post there, where they are so generous to allow me to contribute sometimes.

You will find precise instructions for a dish I mentioned once on this site, and love to use to surprise people’s taste buds. In that one, I used swai, but in the new one, I’m going with catfish because I like it better, by far.

You’re welcome! ❤

 

Love Frozen Over!

Save the berries!

Save the berries!

Here’s the inside scoop on really neat tricks to make you fall in love with your freezer even more:

  • When you harvest elderberries, pick the whole stem, freeze the whole stem inside a plastic bag, and remove the berries frozen. You get more juice into your recipe and less running down your elbows.
  • If you have a problem with fruit not ripening all at once, freeze the early pieces and combine them with the later harvest for your larger recipes.
  • Save juice for jellies, frozen in recipe size batches, in freezer safe cartons, until sugar is on sale. Allow 24 hours for a gallon to thaw at room temp.
  • Start a sourdough bread business, offering a discount on frozen surplus.
  • Make your own brown and serve rolls out of any favorite bread recipe by baking the rolls at 275 degrees for 40 minutes, instead of the usual directions. Cool, bag, and freeze. Or if they are individual rolls, freeze on a tray, first, then bag. Then use as needed, right from the frozen state, baking on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  • Rescue cheese by grating and freezing it. Use frozen grated cheese straight from the freezer in recipes.
  • Freeze milk while on vacation. Leave 2 inches for expansion.

Okay. You know you’re here for the RECIPES!

That Exquisite Dish

1 chicken, cleaned and skinned
2 qt. Pure water
½ c. fresh sage leaves
¼ c. fresh lemon basil leaves
2 stalks celery, chunked
1 onion, chopped, divided
1 T. salt
1 cayenne pepper
2 c. brown rice
½ stick butter
½ c. whole wheat flour
salt  to taste
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, grated
1 pt. “rotel”, mashed in juice

Simmer chicken in 2 qt. water, sage, basil, celery, ½ onion, 1 T. salt, and cayenne, until meat separates from bone. Drain, reserving broth. Refrigerate broth until fat congeals. Remove fat. De-bone chicken. Chop meat slightly, to make bite-sized pieces. Chop cooked seasoning vegetables finely.  Mix with meat. Do not mix meat until it disintegrates – just stir some.

Bring one qt. broth and rice to boil. Cover and simmer until tender.

Cook remaining onion over medium heat, in butter, until clear. Remove from heat. Add flour and stir. Mix in carefully over medium heat with wire whip, enough broth to make medium thick sauce. Add water if necessary, salt to taste.

Layer in 9×13 glass casserole as follows:
rice
chicken
sauce
cheese
Repeat.

Pour jar of mashed Rotel over all. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and bubbly. Or cover tightly and freeze no more than 3 months. Uncover, place in 350 degree oven, bake until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Serves 12.

Watermelon Ice

½ leftover watermelon
1 lemon
honey
other fruit (opt.)
milk or condensed milk (opt.)

Remove seed from melon. Puree fruit in blender. Add other pureed fruits or milk if desired. Add juice of lemon. Add honey to taste. Freeze in shallow glass pan or bowl. Stir twice while freezing. Or try freezing in sealable bag, kept upright in freezer, and mashing instead of stirring. Serve as sherbet.

Frozen Dampened Laundry

1 bu. assorted shirts
1 c. powdered soap
2 tubs water, divided
1 unpredictable day
1 unbelievable week

Mix shirts, soap, and 1 tub water. Heat and stir well. Drain. Place shirts in second tub water. Stir well. Drain. Hang shirts to dry outdoors in sun. After 5 hours, condensation will form and fall from a small cloud immediately above shirts. Remove laundry when only slightly damp. Fold and roll as for French pastry, bag, and freeze. Keeps indefinitely. Calories: minus 560.

Just Like B’sketti! – A Recipe of Sorts

Homemade spaghettiHow to cook. How to cook. How to cook for little ones who may not like my cooking . . .

Part of me felt like the character in No Reservations played by Catherine Zeta Jones, who was accustomed to satisfying finicky eaters by scrounging for ever more obscure ingredients, and faced with the dilemma of feeding a small child who did not feel like eating at all.

And part of me felt like just doing my thing and if there was a problem, they would eat once they got hungry. That part of me won out.

The children had expressed curiosity when we were shopping. I selected mushrooms, and they had not ever noticed raw ones before so asked what they were. When I told them, they made faces.

My turn.

For supper, I fixed the best marinara I could imagine and used some of those mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil, along with a large clove of wild garlic from our field, also sliced. We still have tiny onions left from our overheated garden, and I included a few of them, sliced. As all these paper-thin slices were beginning to brown, I added small chunks of a bell pepper a friend had brought me, along with one of her jalapenos, whole.

While some of the oil in the pan was still available, I tossed in freshly-crushed basil and oregano, and stripped a few leaves off a fresh stem of rosemary. All was sizzling along nicely when I remembered the soup base. I actually made soup base this year, which is merely whole tomatoes, washed and cored, and tossed into a blender, skins, seeds, and all, to be liquefied for a thicker sauce than we can obtain from just juice. I prefer the muskier taste the seeds lend and the redder coloring the skins contribute. It is the only way I will deal with only a gallon of tomatoes. Cleaning out my Victorio tomato strainer just kills me, if it’s for only a few quarts of juice.

Once the fresh rosemary had softened a bit, I tossed in a quart of the soup base. It sizzled just a bit, as it landed in the pan. Perfect. Since one of us cannot eat many foods without some Worcestershire sauce, I dolloped some of that in, too. And a bit of catsup for sweetening.

I slowly brought it to a boil.

Lastly, I added a whole bag of Great Value frozen 5-cheese ravioli. Yep. You may cringe at that, but I have read labels, and it has nothing in it but foodstuffs, all pronounceable. Probably not very organic, though.

Once it returned to simmering, I turned down the heat and covered it. Then I prepared a small lettuce, tomato, and carrot salad. The children had been impressed that the grape tomatoes I had bought had come “all the way from MISSOURI!” That seemed so exotic to them. I figured they’d at least eat the tomatoes.

After all was dished out and cut to bite-size, the littlest one sampled the ravioli and looked up at me so sweetly to comment:

“It tastes just like b’sketti.”

Kudos to the cook, I suppose.