Easiest Cake. Period.

Hi all. Took three rounds of trying to get this post in place. Somehow the formatting wound up mixed up. I won’t fight with software, but I might have happened on some understanding about plain text vs. HTML. Honestly, almost everything I’ve ever learned about a computer has been incidental.

Let’s move on, folks. I’ll celebrate later.

Hope those of you who celebrate had a hoppin’ Halloween! With trunk-or-treat in my neighborhood, I didn’t see a somewhat steady stream of trick-or-treaters until almost 6:30 PM. And I never thought I’d miss taking kids out candy-seeking, but… 😦

Kids on halloween 2013 My older guy–2nd in from the right–and his buds turned a friend’s garage and lawn into the neighborhood haunted house and ghouled it all themselves. Have a feeling a lot of little kids lost sleep that night. Some though, walked right up for candy, no apprehension at all! 

So one of my favorite teacher friends brought in a cake for our teachers’ Halloween breakfast–ever eat pudding by holding it in your hand?

I’d say that’s almost what this was. A texture like I’ve never had. My teacher friend kept asking about how to top it.

 It.

Needed.

Nothing. 

Cake mix. Canned pumpkin pie mix. A ‘little’ evaporated milk.

Of course I had to try it. Of course I made my tweaks to the recipe. (Drives hubby nuts but he doesn’t eat most of my stuff anyway, whether I stick to a recipe or not.)

Then Stacey asked about it, so…

Here’s my version:

One box white cake mix (yellow tastes too strong for my preferences)

One 15 oz can of pumpkin. (Pumpkin pie mix is already sweetened. Figure using the ‘mix’ will yield a much sweeter dessert.)

I added, IDK, 1/8th cup of buttermilk to make it easier to stir?

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and stir until fully combined/incorporated. Batter will be thick. You’ll probably need to scrape one scapula with another to get the batter into a pan. (I used an OVAL 9 x 13 pan; didn’t have the 11x7x2 one of the recipes I read called for. It worked fine.)

Bake at 350 about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sprinkled brown sugar on top when done and covered with waxed paper to retain moisture. Tastes even better the next day, but then again, most things pumpkin do.

pumpkin cake I gave almost half away. Had to.

I’m thinking this would be awesome with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I mean, is there an easier dessert for Thanksgiving?

Have a great day,

Joanna

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This One’s Trouble! Cheesecake too!

Okay, I had to do it. Wasting delicious food is a no-no, right? Especially when it’s cheesecake related?

I’m blaming my online quick-cooking-from-scratch guru Stephanie (modernchristianwoman.com) for this one. She posted this awesome and ridiculously easy no-bake individual blueberry cheesecake recipe. Of course I tried it and had to play with it. (The recipe did lose out a tiny bit on the ‘from scratch’ end–but there are easy ways around that with a little creativity, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.)

First: I did the math and came up with a 9-inch pie version: two blocks of softened Neuftachel (makes for a firmer pie since this is a no-bake); 3/4 cup of sugar; vanilla and a squeeze of lemon/orange/lime–your choice–to taste. Mix on medium speed until creamy and well-blended, about 5 minutes. Spread it in a 9-inch prepared graham crust–or one easily made from scratch from 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. (Toss together then spread in a glass pie pan.) Top with fresh fruit and/or chocolate chips, chill for a few hours and you’re good to go. (I suppose you can freeze it too.) Positively perfect for a super-quick and elegant dessert in a pinch!

Second: Here’s what I did with the leftover cream cheese mixture. I spread it on store-bought oatmeal cookies and topped each with half a fresh strawberry. Done! Like I said, you can’t waste it! BTW, I’m sure homemade oatmeal, chocolate chip or sugar cookies would work as a base, as would graham crackers.

So, special thanks to Stephanie for inspiring me in more ways than one! And to my iPhone-touting son who takes photos for his mom and emails them to me on the spot. (Even though I took the top photo, lol.)

Look for another super-quick recipe next Friday–perfect for back-to-school breakfast!

Have a great weekend. Please feel free to SHARE! Thanks!

Joanna

Another Coincidence? You Decide!

Hello friends,

Hope this posts finds you all well!

Okay, I know I’ve written the everything-happens-for-a-reason blog at some point in my blogging career (uses term loosely :)), but I had an incident recently that’s just too much of a coinkidink? Judge for yourself!

Beginning sometime a few Thursdays ago (3/1/2012, to be exact—date isn’t significant; I just happened to remember it, lol), I had this ridiculous craving for white or yellow cake (homemade, as in box cake) with classic chocolate frosting on it. I was convinced I had the frosting in the pantry but couldn’t find it. I also forgot to pick it up at the market on my usual Friday trip there.

The weekend passed, and I didn’t make that cake. Almost got one of those Entemnan’s Chocolate Frosted Golden Cakes late Saturday night but passed b/c I swear, I’d have eaten almost all of it myself. Would have made one Sunday night, but we had no eggs and I was too lazy to go to the convenience store to get some. (Nor do I care for the brand of eggs they sell and I was really trying to NOT make this cake, darn it!)

Of course, Monday comes and I’m still craving this stupid cake. After dinner, I took a chance I had some leftover chocolate frosting in my spare fridge (in the basement) and headed down there to look.

Mind you, this came on the heels of a very weird smell I’d noticed (and hadn’t been able to pinpoint or locate its source) over the weekend prior. By Sunday night hubby thought maybe we had a dead mouse (or worse???) buried somewhere near the alcoves under the stairs leading to my basement. (I store toys and games for school there, kids’ shoes, etc. My younger son plays his video games down there, too.) After I ran the dishwasher though, the smell seemed to have dissipated and/or disappeared.

Back to my frosting: there was none in the downstairs refrigerator—which had switched off.

Odd.

It’s one of those models that needs to be manually defrosted. (Yep. Those archaic things are still around. Hubby bought it for his apartment prior to us meeting; it’s 19 years old.) The ice had fallen onto the few bags of frozen chicken in there, so I didn’t have to toss them. (BTW, I learned frozen pierogi and stuffed shells are much more delicate in texture and flavor when cooked after defrosting, thank you very much.)

The circuit breaker wasn’t out, so that wasn’t why the power had switched off. One look at the power source gave me the heebee-geebies: The supposedly heavier-duty three-outlet power strip—into which ONLY the fridge was plugged—had burned almost through one side. That weird smell had been rubber melting, though it wasn’t a typical odor. How we avoided an electrical fire is something I’ll never know. Having lived through the aftermath of one—more on that in this post—I’m beyond grateful that I don’t have to do that again. (Something also tells me my outlet has been rendered useless but until an electrician checks that one out, I won’t know for sure.)

Ridiculous how a quest for chocolate frosting led me to such a discovery, isn’t it? Chances are, the only connection between the two is in my head, but here’s one final coincidence. Last night, I found the container of chocolate frosting I’d believed I’d had all along—in the pantry and exactly where I’d expected it to be. (Of course that was AFTER I finally made it to the market, got another container of frosting and made my cake. My craving has been satisfied–until the next one ;)!)

Your turn: share your story about a coincidence that maybe wasn’t?

Like the content? Please take a second and click on a share button below! That tiny little action has such potential in it, but only YOU can make it happen. Thank you!

Until next time,

Joanna

Reese’s Pieces Sundaes on a Saturday

Happy weekend, friends. Hope the first of 2012 is relaxing and joyful!

Today, I’m having some fun.

Sometimes you realize something ridiculously simple has memories attached to it that you’ll carry always. Hopefully, those make you smile.

That’s what a Reese’s Pieces sundae at Friendly’s does for me. Took my son there last night. Of course I asked for the smallest but the waitress told me it wasn’t worth it over their junior size. I’d just take home what I couldn’t finish, right?

Uh huh. My son and I were both scraping the sides of our cups but that’s neither here nor there. As I dove into my sundae—with extra peanut butter sauce, thank you very much—I realized I have very specific memories associated with that dessert.

The first ties to a friend with whom I am still in touch. Her daughter was two at the time and I was invited to tag along. Mom ordered the Reese’s Pieces sundae for her little girl, who dove under the table shouting, “Pieces!” every time one fell out. (Think they put a lot more candy into the dish then.)

Another time I ordered the junior version (three scoops of cookie dough) but wound up being handed the regular (five scoop) size. The waitress told me they’d charge me for the junior but suggested I keep the large since they’d probably toss it otherwise. I left one spoonful of ice cream in that bowl-on-a-pedestal.

 (www.friendlys.com)–the 5-scoop version :). Awesome, isn’t it?

I also recall a time I got one to go. Don’t ask why but I put that container at my feet directly under the heater on my side of the car. At home I pulled a container of cold soup into the freezer—I mean, if it were lousy after it refroze I could toss it then, right? Fast forward a few days: my best sundae ever. All those flavors came together in the most amazing way. (I still lick my lips thinking about it.)

Yes folks, I had to get in a post, lol, and meet that personal, two-blogs-a-week goal. It’s also Saturday and hopefully, a laid back day for many. (I’m blowing off the house and looking to sneak in two dates with hubby.)

Now how about some of you sharing a light and fun memory? Do you have a favorite dessert, or something you think about when engaged in a specific activity? (Like a teacher/coworker who, when I met her, told me, “I know you from the back!” Not my best side, I promise, but turns out she frequently drives past my house and often saw me working a small garden just outside my side gate.)

Did your memories make you smile? I certainly hope so. Take care and ttys next week!

Joanna