Thursday, August 17, 2017

Grandmother Vanderslice's Cake Mix Cookies!

Today we're welcoming guest blogger and cafe hostess and kitchen queen Jana Vanderslice into the cafe kitchen with a recipe she's been longing to share!

Grandmother Vanderslice’s Cake Mix Cookies!

My grandmother could do anything! She could dine at the Eiffel tower in Paris in her heels and pearls and put on her grubby blue jeans to take the grandkids fishing.

My first Thanksgiving with Grandmother & Big Daddy Vanderslice!
I’m the cute little baby in Grandmother’s arms!

She could bake a coconut meringue pie that would make heaven weep and then grab a hammer to hang Christmas lights. She gave me grit and gumption. She taught me courage and strength.

Grandmother Loved Christmas! The tree, the food, the lights, Jesus!

Most importantly, she loved me. And I loved her. She was one of my best friends. I miss her terribly, and I can’t wait to see her again in heaven.

She was so proud that all of her grandchildren earned master’s degrees.
She even lived long enough to see me get my PhD!

This month she would have been 100 years old, so today we celebrate…
Christine Gilley Vanderslice! My Grandmother!

Grandmother Vanderslice’s Cake Mix Cookies
My Grandmother was making Cake Mix Cookies before cake mix cookies were Cool!
These are easy and adaptable. Be adventurous! Have fun and be creative! You can’t go wrong with cookies!

1 box of cake mix (any flavor)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of shortening
2 tablespoons of water for crisp cookies OR ¼ cup of water for soft cookies

Mix eggs, shortening, and water together.
Add cake mix a little at a time.

Form the dough into roll on wax paper & wrap into a cookie log. Wrap the wax paper roll in foil. Label with the type of cookie dough & baking directions. Freeze.

Slice dough into cookies. Bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes. (*If using light colored cake mix such as strawberry or coconut, watch carefully so that they do not burn.)

And there you have it! Grandmother’s Cake Mix Cookies!!

Add white chocolate chips and sprinkles to strawberry cake mix cookies. Great for baby showers!
Try lemon cake mix with coconut & pecans. This was my grandmother’s favorite!
Use white cake mix and add in fruity pebbles, m&m’s, and chocolate chips. Sooo Good!!!
Make cookies with red velvet cake mix and smother with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
Fancy up german chocolate cake mix by add coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips. Delish!
Coconut cake mix is great with coconut, chocolate chips & nuts. They taste like Mounds candy bars!
For the holidays, use spice cake mix with oatmeal, raisins, and pumpkin pie spice OR a cup of mince meat. This is a Mom Pleaser!

 Jana, thank you so much for being here with us today! You rocked this fun recipe, and I love the pictures and the heartfelt tribute to Grandma... What a blessing to have known her, and a bigger blessing to know you'll meet again. And now I can't wait to try these cookies!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a Fairy Village, and Heirloom Tomatoes

Missy inspired me with her post last week from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

When we were in Maine in early July, we took a day trip to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is very different from what Missy showed and from what I'm used to in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. For starters, it's only been open for ten years. (Compare that to the for BBG which just celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Children's Garden.)

The CMBG is also a total grassroots organization. A group of local people got together in 1991 and decided Maine should have a botanical garden. They spent 16 years planning, fundraising, and building before opening in 2007. When we were there, they were under construction again as a huge expansion is in the works because it's been so successful.

The most noticeable difference, in my opinion, was in the types of plants. This is a garden devoted to the flora and fauna native to the area. You'll see from my photos that it's much more rustic.

There is a formal garden at the entrance, and a meditation garden near the water. You can take boat rides, or get a tour. We did it on foot.

Meditation Garden

They also had a section that completely enchanted me. It's called the Fairy House Village and children come and build their own fairy houses out of the natural materials. I took a ton of photos.

So, I've been on deadline and not cooking anything interesting. But the heirloom tomatoes have begun to appear at the farmer's market. There have been a lot of meals involving cheese, tomatoes and zucchini.

Simple but so good.