Monday, December 15, 2014

~ Monday Musings ~

I haven't been around to visit as I'd like, nor have I posted. It's been a busy time plus my back has been such a problem.  I go for injections in the morning, however, that's just a temporary fix. Not sure what is next but I plan to see a Neurosurgeon after the first of the year. Surgery is a last resort as far as I'm concerned and my spine Dr said it would be hard for me. I do know that I can't continue with this pain and the limitations. There's so much I want to do but have to schedule special events with other activities and take pain meds. Not fun!

In the mean time, I've barely decorated for Christmas. I did put up a small tree and it looks pretty good!  :)   I'll post photos of it later...I still have to decide on a skirt for it. It's been so difficult to get into the holidays since Abby's been gone. She absolutely loved Christmas!  I know she would be very disappointed if I had not put up a tree. :) I chose a small white one this year and used gold and silver decorations. I have to say that I really love a green tree with white lights though...just seems more like Christmas!

I've really enjoyed celebrating my birthday!  I choose to celebrate from Thanksgiving to New Year's! This photo is from a brunch that my daughter and my "adopted" daughter gave at Patrizio's in Dallas on Saturday, the 6th. There are more photos to come ~ great friends, wonderful food and so much fun!

Bellini Birthday Cheers!  :)  They do serve the most incredible Bellini's ~ love them!

Last Thursday, my daughter treated me to an evening at the Fair Park Musicals in Dallas. We saw "A Christmas Story" and it was fantastic!  She and I arrived early and had a glass of champagne while we waited for friends to arrive. We all had dinner and it was delicious!  It was such a special evening and I'm so grateful we were able to do it.

I feel so blessed to be able to do these things and they are such treasured memories.

In the midst of my fun, a special friend passed away on the 4th. He was my "first love" and his birthday was Dec.3rd, same as my mother's. Unfortunately, his family was taken by surprise by a sudden illness and then losing him.  Another friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy last Friday. A dear friend that I used to work with lost her Dad last week. He was 97 and lived a full life. He had had some health issues recently but was doing better. He was in a retirement/assisted living facility, came down for lunch and just passed away while sitting there. Best way to go, IMHO!

Even though Christmas is not the same without Abby and my back has been driving me crazy, there are so many blessings overall. We have to be grateful every day, for everything!

I need to get to bed, not only because I'm tired but also because I have to fast now. :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

~ A Birthday and an Italian Cream Cake ~

This cake is my very favorite and my mother always made it for my birthday. My special day was Monday, the 1st. At this point in life, it seems better to look forward rather than think about all the years that have passed. :) I actually bought the ingredients to make the cake for "me" but my back has been such a problem that I haven't felt like it. My mother hadn't been able to cook or bake for several years prior to her passing away but one thing that hit me hard was missing this cake. It's the little things that add to our treasured memories when we lose someone. Her birthday was today, December 3rd. She would have been 100! Can you even imagine?  There are many out there though that are over a hundred and I'm always amazed to find out about those that are still active, mentally alert and enjoying life.

I've always said that my mother, her siblings and most of the people of that generation were made of different stock. :)  Of course they worked hard physically as so many were farmers or they had their own businesses, etc. They did have wonderful food from their gardens ~ not all the processed and fake foods that are out there today. They usually had cattle, hogs, chickens and perhaps goats. These sources provided milk and eggs as well as meat. No antibiotics in meats or milk, no chemicals used in their yards or gardens and certainly not all the preservatives that food items contain today. They had such a different life style with no stress job wise. I'm sure they worried about the weather, the crops and their animals but not the usual 9-5 hurry, run, climb the ladder, living at 35,000 feet every week, fast food, activity laden schedules of today. They didn't try to keep up with the Jones's with their homes, cars, vacations, etc. It was certainly a kinder, gentler lifestyle. I feel very fortunate that I grew up in the 50's and 60's.

Back to the cake! :)  I feel sure that most of you have had this incredible dessert at some point and you may have your favorite recipe for it already. I just felt compelled to share it as it's such a wonderful memory for me!

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar 
large eggs, separated 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4  tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
1 cup flaked coconut

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

2 packages Cream Cheese, softened  (one 8 oz and one 3 oz)
1/2 c. butter, softened
3-3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans (toasted)
1/2 c. or more coconut (optional)
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in pecans and coconut. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Press pecans onto sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator. 
  • Yield: 12 servings.

I'll share a bit more about my birthday celebrations later ~ :)

Sharing with ~

Thursday, November 27, 2014

~ Be Thankful ~

Wishing each of you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

~ Pumpkin Trifle ~

I shared this recipe last year, however, I thought perhaps there might be new peeps that might like to try it. Great recipe for a crowd!

This is a dessert that everyone will love!  You must try it and see if you agree.

1 box / bag pumpkin bread mix (such as Pillsbury Pumpkin Bread Mix or Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread Mix)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 15 oz. can pure Pumpkin
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup Grand Marnier
¼ cup water
1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Bake bread as directed in a bread loaf pan.
  2. Let cool completely before slicing into ½” slices.
  3. While bread is baking, beat whipping cream, vanilla and sugar on medium - high speed until it forms peaks.
  4. Add softened cream cheese and mix on low until well blended.
  5. Fold in pumpkin with a large spoon. Refrigerate mixture until ready to assemble trifle.
  6. In a saucepan, combine syrup, Grand Marnier and water over med - high heat and bring to low boil. Turn heat down to medium - low and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes.
  7. To assemble, form a few bread slices around bottom of trifle dish (filling in little holes with bread pieces).
  8. Lightly coat bread slices with sauce using a pastry brush.
  9. Spread pumpkin mixture evenly over bread.
  10. Repeat layers up to three or four times depending on size of trifle dish.
  11. Garnish top of pumpkin trifle with pecan pieces. 
  12. May serve immediately or refrigerate several hours before serving.
There are a few steps to making this but it's absolutely worth it! It feeds a large group, believe me. Just look at the ooey gooey goodness that's layered one on top of the other!  :)

I added pecans to the pumpkin bread mix also...of course, I love pecans!  The directions did not state where to add the cinnamon and my bread was already baking when I realized this. I just added the cinnamon to the Grand Marnier mix! This recipe was adapted from Amy @ My Texas Today. She's delightful and has lots of great recipes for you to try!

Joining ~