Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Fun Cake for Fall!

Hello, everybody! This here is a repeat from 2012 because as much many good intentions I have to blog ahead, most of the time I write my post at 6Pm on a Friday night! Tonight I didn't have anything to pull out of my hat (hard drive) because I just made secret recipe apple cake and posole, both of which I've done before. But I love this post because my kids look SO TINY. Even the teens! 

But rather than mope, I thought I'd post a retrospective as a bloggy sort of Psalm 148. (It's okay if you don't have it memorized, you can read it here... and then come back!).  Psalm 148
I want to go for one last glorious run through my backyard.
Fresh raspberries. Heaven on earth.
 Squash and zucchini from my friend Barb's garden.
 Piles of cukes from my stepmother's garden. We ate so many cucumbers, I'm surprised we're not green.
 Blueberries from Lampson Blueberries, just twenty minutes from our house, up in the hills. We picked over 150 lbs and they didn't even make it to October. Let's see: 8 people, 3 months, that's approximately 6 pounds of blueberries a month per person in our house. Not very much! Next year, we'll pick more. I say that every year.
Pears from my dad's pear tree. (Like my kettle? Very Pioneer-y.)
Peaches from one of our two peach trees. There were so many that I had to figure out how to freeze them. Ruthy's peach pie is my next project!
Our seedless grapes have finally rebounded from the drought of 2001. Had a wonderful crop this year and about 50 lbs went to a woman who made them into raisins. She bakes panattone for Christmas and ships it all over the US.
Pounds and pounds of perfect plums from my dad's orchard. The tree was so overloaded it was breaking its own branches. We must have picked a hundred pounds. My neighbors started pulling their curtains when they saw us coming with our bags of free plums. You can only eat so many...
Oops, how did this sneak in here?? We're supposed to be praising God's bountiful goodness. But I suppose zucchini bread with walnuts and chocolate chips is worthy of a little praise. :)

We also had bags and bags of our neighbors' goodies because we live in the sort of place that if you're growing it, you better share. It's just good manners. So we've had sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes and apricots, too.
I'm continually in awe of the massive blessings that God showers on us, for no good reason.
He's just that way. And this was a little 'taste' of the way He blesses us out here in ORYGUN.

 (And that pic was taken by Jeff Horner who works at our little hometown paper, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. The guy is brilliant. Who knows why he lives way out here in podunk east, but we're sure glad he does.)
But as winter closes in, I'll try to remember what Mother Teresa said. "Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."
When the memories of fresh raspberries and pears have faded and I'm staring out my kitchen window at the frost on the dead lawn, I'll just reach out and snag a toddler... and give them some loving. (Like this little dude, watching his cookies bake. He stared at them for a long time before they were 'done'.)
Hey, here's a cute one... And he's holding walnuts. Bonus.

Better yet, I'll snag a tweener or two. Hey, she looks hug-able...

This one is scaring me a bit. Too many ninja movies?
Oh, wait. This one really needs a squeeze. Cranky, naked toddler out of the bath stole her apple slices and then sat his naked tushie on her lap. Check out her face. She's thinking how much her life stinks right now. Long-suffering tweeners. Gotta love 'em.
So, to ease the transition to Fall, we're going to do what we do best. Make a cake!
Oh wait, I'm not good at cake. But I still like to eat cake, so I'll make one anyway. I've picked up a few tips over here on Yankee Belle Cafe, so let's go try them out.
I saw Hershey's has a chocolate cake recipe that didn't look too hard. And it's rated BEGINNER. I'll take that as a good sign...

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cupsall-purpose flour
3/4 cupHERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
· 2 eggs
· 1 cup milk · ( we were out but I used condensed, with some water. Am I just like a pioneer woman or what??)
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
   1 cup boiling water
So, I mixed everything together (really, just like that except for the boiling water and the Hershey's powder, those I mixed separately and then added them) and let Edna do her magic. (Check out that gleaming chrome. Go, baby, go!!)
I think it was Mindy who said to dust the inside with cocoa powder instead of flour. MMMMMM.

And then Missy had a great tutorial on when a toothpick comes out clean it means done. Really clean, not sorta clean, with blobs. THEN she said to let it cool completely before trying to pry it out of the pan. (*lightbulb*)
SUCCESS!!!! And now I stuffed foil in there so the aliens wouldn't mess with its chocolate brain.
No, no, no. I have a plan. and it involves real pumpkin stem. So out I go to the porch...
And mix some frosting until it's just the right shade of.... salmon pink. Whatever. Use your imaginations.
At least the green was okay. And now for the decoration... Because you know I live in a zoo.
Uh-huh. Eat your hearts out, ladies. Multi-colored sprinkles dumped on by a 3 year old.
And check out that shirt. HE's ready for Fall! Even if I'm not.
Even if I'm dreading the six month trek through socks and shoes and jackets and coats and mittens and runny noses and being trapped in the house all day. 
Because it will pass, and we'll have some fun while we wait for spring to come around again.
(My friend Patty Jones' pumpkins, straight from the patch! She sold them on the cheap and donated all proceeds to the Humane Society. She rocks.)
 So, I raise my cake and say a prayer for friends near and far. Because LOVE is a fruit always in season, no matter how long this winter will last.

Until next time! Pop on over to my facebook page at Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits where I have all my new book news, or to my blog The Things That Last


  1. Oh, this is even better the second time around! I love watching them grow! God bless them, they've been tucked into an amazing and wonderful family!

    And love is a fruit and a gift and a blessing.

    I have a very tired pre-schooler who just had a baby sister. He and 4 of his cohorts are here.

    He is awake.

    He shouldn't be.

    Let's pray he dozes off on the couch next to me. It will be best for all involved on a busy Saturday if he takes a little snooze.


    1. LOL. It will be best for all involved. HAHAHA. I know that feeling! "You need a nap for your own safety." My kids get so clumsy and accident-prone when they're tired.

      The picture of my youngest eating his older sister's apple slices made us laugh. He's out of the "I can take food out of your hands" stage. Now he has to get his own apple slices. We give babies such leeway sometimes. And then they have to grow up.

  2. Loved revisiting this. Can't believe how much your kids have grown! And all those pics were great inspiration for writing my shopping list before I go to the farmer's market. Haven't made zucchini bread yet this year and I'm armed with chocolate chips.

    1. We made it just last week! Looking at this post, I realized it looks exactly like my facebook pictures of the last month. The ONLY thing that has changed is the kids. They're older. Every single photo is the same. Crazy... or I just love to post pictures of fresh food. Probably the latter. :)

  3. Well I missed the first time around so this was great fun. Love all the photos and yes, your children have grown. How wonderful is that? The cake looks yummy.

    1. My youngest doesn't really look like a baby anymore, and he certainly wouldn't be pretending to watch blocks "cook", even though he still plays with a big toy kitchen I made. That was the best part- remembering how serious he was when he played. Now he knows he's playing. Big jump. :)

  4. I love how it magically turns into a pumpkin. :)

    Yummy. I celebrated release day with chocolate cake. Yum

    1. Happy first book birthday!! That first book is so very special. (They'e all special, but the first book and the first in a series is so special, at least to me.)
      I just checked in Walmart (made a special trip to look!) and your book wasn't there yet. The manager said maybe next week. Then I'll snap a shot of it "in the wild."
      Opposite ends of the country, same book.
      Tonight we were in Costco (first time we've been in over seven years) and I had to tag Adam Rex in a fb pic when I saw his book/movie "Home". My kids and I put our hands in the air, in honor. :)