So many squash so little time

8a075e50-ec1c-430f-9116-983ed0dd1edaI love summer and all the fresh foods that it brings: tomatoes, zucchini, ocra, corn, herbs, and SQUASH! Lots and lots and lots of squash.

I love to cook-it-down in bacon grease in an iron skillet or slice it, toss in corn meal and fried it along side onion rings in hot grease.  I’m drooling as I type!

However, sometimes there is just SO MUCH SQUASH with only a limited number of ways that my family will not only EAT but ENJOY!

A few years ago I found a great recipe that my whole family loves and, admittedly have tweaked it a little. It is easy and, strangely enough for our clan, HEALTHY–of course, anything is healthier  than all my bacon grease and canola oil…

Go ahead, print this one out now.  I tried to make it the right size to fold and put in your recipe box but who knows what the In-ternets will do to it!
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IMG_1141FullSizeRender-1I also love growing and cooking with herbs.  So, I was able to jump off my porch and harvest (fancy word for pinch off) some basil and thyme.  And yes, I washed it first.

Most of the other ingredients came from the local grocery store, but our squash, zucchini and tomato plants are growing as fast as they can so it won’t be long before I have fresh ingredients for my kitchen.

I also took the above photo of the veggies on a cutting board that my son made with his own two hands. So proud!

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Oh, well. That’s it!  Please let me know if you make this recipe–or even if you print it out.  Heck, let me know if you even read this.  What joy it would bring to my beatin’ heart!

Hugs! Summertime, summertime, I do so love summertime!

 

 

 

 

TIE-DYE CAKE, SIL!

My sister-n-law (SIL, as we both sign our emails) is like the ultimate hostess.  She is always timely with her invitations into her always crisp, clean, smelling-good home and serving menus that are always perfect and varied.

She has always made it easy on my husband (her brother) and me as we buzzed in and out of town for family functions.  But, since we have moved to Atlanta, I feel like it’s time that I ante up—maybe put forth, at least, a little effort—maybe make a cake!  Yup, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll bake a cake.

And today, during her birthday lunch, I told her just that.  It went something like this:

SIL:  Hey, I want everyone to come over my house for Easter lunch.

Me: I’ll only come if I can bring something.

SIL: (spoken in an authentic and sincere southern drawl) Noooooo….don’t be ridiculous….

Me: Nope, I’m putting my foot down.  If I can’t bring something, I won’t come. (I felt so tough.)

SIL: Of course you’re not bringing anything. (She waved me away with her lily white southern hand.) Just come.

Me:  Ya’ll are gonna believe me when I don’t show up!!  Cause if I can’t bring anything, I’m not coming.

SIL: OK, bring the pound cakeMy pound cake never turns out. (Not true.)

NOTE, that it is not a pound cake but, the pound cake.  The Dilbeck’s have their own pound cake recipe that, early on, I figured out how to master. (Yes, I said ‘master.’  Little old ladies have asked me what my secret is.)  I even have the rest of the women in the family snookered into believing that I can make it better than them.  I have cosmic brainwashing powers that obviously work.  But I digress…

Back to conversation.DSC_0054

Me: (SMH) Nope, no pound cake.  Have you ever seen a tie dye cake? (Not waiting for answer) I’ll bring a tie dye cake…IT IS WONDERFUL!!

I went into a detailed description of how to make one, but no one really cared at that point.  After all, there was real-time food right in front of us. So, I’ve decided to share this wonderful recipe with my 12 subscribers.

DSC_0003Tie Dye Cake

2 boxes of Duncan Hines WHITE cake mix

4-pk food coloring (I like the neon’s the best)

2 containers WHITE frosting (you know, the lazy kind in the paper cans)

Colored sprinkles (Optional)DSC_0006

Directions:

  • Grease and flour four round cake pans
  • Prepare cake mixes according to cake mix directions.  (Oh, you may need eggs…)
  • Separate prepared mix into four medium sized bowls.
  • Add ½ bottle (give or take) of each dye into one of the four bowls of the divided mix.DSC_0008
  • Alternately spoon colored mixes into the prepared pans (note photos)
  • Slip knife through mix in circles or zig zag motion.  Don’t over do this part.
  • Bake according to instructions on box (either of the two boxes instructions will do…)
  • Let cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.
  • Cool till cool.  Soon it’ll be even cooler.  Get it??
  • Frost with white frosting. Colored sprinkles permissible. (This DSC_0010adds to the anticipation of the presentation!)
  • Take to your sister-in-law’s house for Easter!

PS Happy “and holding”

 Birthday, Susan! 

You’re the best!

White Cake Mix DSC_0039

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GO EAT WORMS

Worms 'n Dirt: the best!My specific goal was to charm my way into two particular boys’ lives.  This would be our first meeting and I wanted to leave an impression…preferably a good one.

I have learned over the years that using food is a lot quicker and a lot less work than charm alone.  So I reached into my back pocket and pulled out one of my oldest and most reliable food-tricks: Worms ‘n Dirt.  This appealing and enticing dessert is ridiculously easy: pulverized Oreos, pudding, whipped cream, and worms, preferably of the gummy nature, all cleverly disguised in a flower pot.  It works.  Every time.

The destination? The home of our good friends, Lisa and Tague Harding.  They have seven children.  To me, it might as well be seventeen.  Their age-range is six to 28.  In real life that translates to kindergarten or elementary school or high school or college OR military or marriage.  Wow.

The two youngest, Phillip, almost 8, and Zach, 6, were adopted in 2008 as babies from from Amani Baby Cottage in Jinga,Uganda.  They were my target. But first I had to make the Worms ‘n Dirt.  Easy greasy.

Here’s the recipe:The Goodies!

  • One clean red 8″ plastic flower pot (ok, you can change the color, but it has to be clean)
  • 2 large (5.1 oz.) boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 large tub of whipped topping (off brand is fine. Who’ll know?)
  • 1 large family package of Oreo’s (Oreo brand only. They’ll know.)
  • 1 bag of gummy worms
  • 1 99-cent plastic flower of any color from Walmart (ok, it doesn’t have to be from Walmart)
  • 1 clean plastic garden spade (optional.  not the cleanliness part, actually having a spade)
  1. Let the tub of whipped cream defrost (or whatever it does in that 4 hours it’s suppose to sit in fridge.)
  2. Clean the flowerpot.  Really.  Not to is just gross.
  3. Make the 2 boxes of pudding according to directions (Don’t try to be chintzy on the pudding like I did or you’ll regret it when you don’t have enough to fill the flower pot. Experience speaketh.) Chill in fridge.
  4. Grind all but four (4) of the Oreos in the food processor.
  5. Set up your assembly line: Prepared Pudding, Defrosted Whipped Topping, Ground Oreos, WormsLayering can be messy until the end
  6. Layer the stuff from the assembly line in the pot, being creative and especially neat with the last layer of Oreos and worms
  7. Carefully stick the flower into the center of the mess you’ve created
  8. Add the clean spade if ya wanna. It makes it even cuter!
  9. Eat the four Oreos that you didn’t grind.
  10. Impress all your family, friends, potential friends, and neighbors.

This really is a tasty, fun dessert and tends to always leave it’s mark.  Recently Aaron Stewart of Montgomery, Alabama, a newly engaged, full grown man, informed me that he “still remembers” me bringing Worms ‘n Dirt to his crawling-with-chillun home when he was just a kid. (YES, YES, YES!!!)

Goal achieved!But back to the task at hand:  We arrived at the Harding home and were greeted by Tague and Lisa, youngest daughter, Ruth, Phillip, Zach, and Mayzee, the peppy puppy.  I obnoxiously announced in a too-loud voice that I had brought a flower to Lisa and then turned to ask the boys what they thought of that.  “It has worms,” was their only reply.

The flower pot stayed on the counter while we enjoyed our delicious home-made soup and gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches. Lisa then brought the flower pot over to the table.  I watched the boys as their curiosity peaked upon realizing that the worms were edible along with the dirt in which they  resided.    We each got a big bowl of the goop, including daddy-Tague, a Delta pilot, who threw caution to his cholesterol-fighting-diet that he had been diligently following.  (I guess I impressed him, too!)

It was later that week, though, that I learned that my goal of making a good impression had been attained.  Lisa and Tague were getting in their car to come to our house;  they were skating and Lisa was leaving them last minute instructions to obey Ruth while Mom and Dad were gone.  When they asked where they were going, Lisa replied, “to Mr. Tim and Miss Karen’s house.  You know, the one that brought the Worm’s ‘n Dirt.  Whining promptly followed when they realized it was an adult only gathering.  YES, YES, YES!!

Ah,making good impressions is such tough work!