Friday, September 04, 2009

Brown Sugar Cake

Gram's Best Brown Sugar Cake

I made this last night and it was sooo good. I even messed up and put in 3/4 cup of sour cream instead of 2/3 cup and it was still DELICIOUS! Enjoy!


1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix 1 pkg.
3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
4 eggs
2/3 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
2 tsp. powdered sugar


HEAT oven to 350ºF.

BEAT first 6 ingredients with mixer 3 min. or until well blended. Add brown sugar and nuts; mix well.

POUR into 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto wire rack. Remove pan; cool cake completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Kraft Kitchens TipsSize-WiseYou'll know it is a special occasion when this cake is served at a party or family gathering. It's guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!Special ExtraSprinkle pan with combined 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon after spraying with cooking spray. Then fill with batter and bake as directed.

Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce

I am on a chipotle chili kick this week. I made the following 2 recipes courtesy of Everyday Food and they were instant hits! If you've never had them before they are smoky and spicy without being too hot. They add a unique flavor to recipes. Give them a try. You won't be dissappointe.

Chipotle Chicken and Rice

Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced large
1 cup long-grain white rice
Lime wedges, for serving
Chopped cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)


1.In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides, about 6 minutes total; transfer to a plate.

2.Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot (if necessary, add a bit of water to release browned bits).

3.Add garlic, cumin, and chiles; cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup water and return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 25 minutes.

4.Remove several pieces of chicken and stir in rice, making sure it is completely submerged in liquid. Replace chicken, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes more. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro if desired.

Southwestern Steak Salad

Makes 4 servings
1 pound skirt steak (1/2 inch thick), trimmed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 hearts romaine lettuce, torn
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced small
6 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1.Heat a large skillet over medium-high; cut steak into 4 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Let rest 5 minutes, then thinly slice.

2.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

3.In a small bowl, combine chile, lime juice, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Gradually whisk in oil and any accumulated juices from steak. Pour dressing over salad and toss; add steak and toss again. This dressing was unbelievable good. So good I want to bottle it up.

I hope I've inspired you to try chipotle chiles. Let me know what you think.

Fall has arrived

in my house at least. I know the calendar says it is still summer. And no one more than I wishes it could stay summer forever but with school/work starting next week, I needed to get this done now. If I wait too long, then we get busy with school/sports/work, etc. that I end up decorating for fall for like a week. LOL! This is what I got so far.

This is my entry hall table. I am not in love with this display. I think I may have to take off some family photos and add some more fallish type stuff. WDYT?

This is my sofa table in the family room. That acorn was a dollar store find. I usually put fall wrapped candy in there. :)

I got these adorable little owls from Yankee Candle. The big one holds a votive candle and the small one holds a tealight.

Close up of my dollar store pumpkins. Good Lord I love the dollar store. :)

I still have to take a picture of my mantle. I'm still undecided about what I did up there.

Have you decorated for fall yet?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I need your help!

I interupt editing and posting of vacation photos for some home decorating help. We are in the middle of sprucing up our kitchen and need help choosing a paint color.

The colors in descending order are:

Crowne Hill Yellow
Yellow Raincoat

Our cabinets are white with stainless hardware. We have bluish/grey countertops and all stainless steel appliances. The kitchen and eat in area open up to our family room which is painted a lovely shade of green called Rosemary Sprig. The entry way is a neutral color called Monroe Bisque.

We all like different colors. I like the top one in the daylight but the middle one at night when the lights are on. Natalie likes Semolina no matter what time of day. Dylan likes Yellow Raincoat and Crowne Hill Yellow. Stew likes the top 2 and not Yellow Raincoat.

What's a girl to do!? The painters are going to want to know what color to buy any day now and I really need your help.

So what do you think?