Earthquake Cake

Earthquake Cake

Several months ago, while visiting my mom, I attended Wednesday night church with her. One of her good friends, Inell, had taken an Earthquake cake and was kind enough to share the recipe with me. However, months later when I wanted to make the cake I could not find it.  This has happened to me more than once! In all honesty, it’s probably in the bottom of a purse somewhere, but for now, I took to the web.

This Earthquake Cake is super moist, extremely easy and crazy delicious! Inell’s cake and the one I made used a chocolate cake mix, however, while searching the web I found several variations including red velvet and pumpkin. I love the coconut, but it is totally optional and works well without it.

Earthquake Cake
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (15.25-oz.) box Chocolate cake mix (I used German chocolate)
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. flaked coconut
  • 1 c. chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1½ c. chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of the dish, set aside.
  3. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package. Pour the batter evenly over the pecans, do not stir.
  4. Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter until mixed well. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Fold in coconut.
  5. Drop coconut mixture by spoonfuls randomly over the batter. Using a butter knife, lightly swirl through the batter.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake come out clean.
  8. Cool to room temperature then serve.

 

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Spiced Apple Scones

Spiced Apple SconesMost of us look forward to vacation. We make reservations and plan for months, even years in advance. However, have you ever noticed how nice it is to come home, whether you have been away days, weeks, or months?

Webster’s says that home is a place where one lives; a residence, the physical structure within which one lives, such as a house or apartment, a dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it; a household. In reality, home means so much more. It is the place we relate to love, family, and special memories.

I don’t even have to be in the driveway. I can see the house in the distance and breathe a sigh of relief. At my age, with a home of my own, there is still something special about going to mama’s house too. I recently visited mama for a few days, and we went on our annual Ellijay apple trip, with a pit stop at the Dawsonville Pool Room for a Bully Burger, yum! This year we had five extra family members join us, which was fun.

Scones are one of my favorite foods. With apples galore, I adapted my blueberry scone recipe to make these fabulous scones. With cinnamon, nutmeg and loads of apples, these scones are precisely what a crisp fall morning breakfast should be!
 
Spiced Apple Scones

Spiced Apple Scones
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen, and grated with a cheese grater
  • ½ c. whipping cream
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ to 2 c. peeled and diced apples (I used a combination of Granny Smith and Braeburn)
  • Spiced Glaze:
  • 1 c. confectioners' sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • ¼ c. whipping cream, use more if the consistency is too thick for dipping
  • Glaze for piping:
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. whipping cream (you want this stiff enough to pipe onto scones without it running, as mine did)
Instructions
  1. For the scones:
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Place the butter in the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and shred, using a cheese grater. Return the shredded butter to the freezer until you are ready to use.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the whipping cream, egg, and vanilla.
  7. Add the frozen shredded butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers to coat with flour.
  8. Stir in the egg mixture just to combine. Transfer dough to a well-floured board and dust top with additional flour. Working quickly, knead the dough a few times. Flatten the dough, using your fingers, into a 12" x 12" square. Sprinkle with apples and lightly press them into the dough.
  9. Fold ⅓ of the dough over, then the other ⅓ over the top of that piece (fold like you would a letter). Press the ends together and shape, if needed into, a 12" x 4" rectangle.
  10. Cut crosswise in the middle, then again in the middle of each piece. You should have four even squares. Cut each square diagonally into two triangles. Place on prepared pan.
  11. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.
  12. For glazes: In the meantime mix up the glaze mixtures. Brush the spiced glaze onto each scone using a pastry brush. Cool for a few minutes.
  13. Spoon white glaze into a ziptop bag. Snip off a small section of the corner of the bag. Pipe the glaze on top of each spiced glazed scone.
  14. Allow glaze to air dry at room temperature then serve.

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight

peanut butter chocolate delight 33

Wikipedia describes a potluck as a gathering where each guest contributes a different and unique dish of food, often homemade, to be shared. We all like to prepare a dish that is going to wow the crowd. Some of my favorite recipes came from potluck dinners.

I recently made this fantastic Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight for a potluck at our church. This four-layered dessert comes together in very little time. The bottom layer is made with crushed Oreos, topped with a cream cheese and peanut butter layer, then chocolate pudding, and Whipped Topping. With the chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups on top, this will be everyone’s favorite on the dessert table at your next potluck!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 36 Oreo cookies
  • ⅓ c. butter, melted
  • Peanut Butter Layer:
  • 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1½ c. whipped topping
  • Chocolate Layer:
  • 2 (4-serving size) boxes instant chocolate pudding
  • 2¾ c. milk
  • Topping:
  • Whipped Topping
  • Chopped mini Reece's Peanut Butter Cups
Instructions
  1. For crust: Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add melted butter and pulse until blended. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch dish and place in the refrigerator.
  2. For the peanut butter layer: Beat cream cheese and peanut butter with a mixer until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping.
  3. Gently spread peanut butter mixture over the crust. Place in refrigerator while you prepare the pudding.
  4. Chocolate Layer: In a bowl whisk both boxes of pudding mixture with milk until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and gently spread. Place in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
  5. Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with chopped Reece's peanut butter cups.
  6. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

 

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Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad

 

Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad

I can remember when I was ten years old, wishing that I was thirteen. I wanted to be a teenager because I thought that was way cooler than being ten. Then like most, the next significant milestone was 16. I think I may have counted down the days until my birthday that year. I wanted a car but I did not get one.  It continued after that;  being impatient for graduation, first real job, wedding date, birth of a baby. Many other important dates that I looked forward to with anticipation that I now look back on with nostalgia.

Now, God willing, Greg and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary in November. I look forward to celebrating that date because I am proud that he has been able to put up with me for this long! However, if life has taught me nothing else, it is to enjoy the moment. I’m still a planner, and I look forward to special days, but I am trying to place more emphasis on the here and the now than the tomorrows. After all, I’m not promised tomorrow. My very wise mother always told me, “don’t wish your life away.” Well, Mama, after fifty-three years I’ve started listening to you!

It’s a bit difficult to transition from serious to pasta salad, but here goes.  😂 My family enjoys anything with a little spice. We love anything with buffalo sauce, and we enjoy some Mexican and Southwestern food too! I recently tried this Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad, and my family went nuts. Even if you prefer your pasta salad with little other than pasta, this dressing is amazing! The lime juice and cilantro are the key ingredients in my opinion,  but leave the cilantro out if you don’t care for it.

Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12-oz. rotini pasta
  • 1 can (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt.
  3. Add cooked and drained pasta, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro to the dressing and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

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Chicken Caprese Salad

Chicken Caprese Salad

 

It seems like we have had some pretty healthy years around our house. Some sniffles here and there, but mostly healthy, until this year! It has been our year to make up for lost time!

It all started when Wes came home sick. After that Greg and I both ended up with pneumonia, and I was sick well over three weeks. I do not wish that on anyone!

Thankfully, Savannah never got sick! After all, we needed someone to take care of us! When I finally had an appetite, Savannah made this Chicken Caprese Salad, and I am now obsessed with it! It may be the best salad I have ever had!

I have always loved the freshness of a Caprese salad, but I had never thought about using the same ingredients in a green salad. Everything about this salad is delicious, from the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil to this incredible balsamic dressing!

Chicken Caprese Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Salad:
  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 5 c. Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • ¼ c fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
Instructions
  1. Whisk vinegar, oli, brown sugar, garlic, dried basil and salt together to combine. Place uncooked chicken in a shallow dish; pour a small amount of dressing over chicken and toss around to coat. Reserve unused dressing for later.
  2. Heat grill or a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through, set aside and allow to rest.
  3. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and chicken. Top with fresh basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing; season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve.

 

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