7.03.2017

Our Take on the Tornado Cake

    As our readers, you know Peggy and I are foodies.  We love to cook, and actually met in a cooking chat room. Today we see hundreds of photos of what we call "food porn" posts on our Google and FaceBook timelines, and I hasten to add, we are guilty of contributing, as well. 
    Most of the main courses or side dishes leave us unimpressed, 'cause we both enjoy well-seasoned, spicy food. On rare occasions, we'll try a recipe, but then dr. it up with our own Cajun spice blend, etc. "turning it up a notch".  
   Desserts, however, are another thing. I always say, "I'm not a sweet person", meaning I can take or leave desserts, and for the most part I do leave 'em. But then...one day a dazzling, seductive array of photos came slowly gliding down my timeline that made me sit up straight in my chair and drool all over my keyboard. It had me...I was caught; it contained three of my four favorite dessert ingredients:coconut, pecans and pineapple. It urged, "try me, big boy, you won't be sorry." Although I knew instinctively that it was going to contribute to the delinquency of our waistlines, I emailed the slideshow to Peg.
   My loving wife was "all in" on da deal! Before she had a chance to change her mind, I ran to the store and brought back the supplies for our decadent tryst in the kitchen.

 Since Peggy, can't have wheat or gluten, we still managed to make it work. We substituted coconut flour, instead of regular flour and played with the recipe, 'til we were satisfied.  
Here is how we made it.
In a mixing bowl we added 2 cups of coconut flour.
To trick the coconut flour into acting like regular flour we had to add:
1 teaspoon of  xanthan gum, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a cup of milk.
(If you are going to use regular flour, omit the xanthan gum, milk and baking powder.)   Next came a teaspoon of baking soda.

Add 2 cups of sugar,
2 large eggs,
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract,

and a 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, not drained.
Once we mixed that up good we poured it into a well buttered 9"x13" pan,
leveled it off, then

 stuck the cake into a preheated 350 degree oven for the 45 minutes that the recipe called for...but since we used coconut flour, it took a bit longer, checking with the toothpick test...it took about an hour.
While the cake baked, we made the icing ("frosting" for you Yankees, and Peggy.)

In a sauce pan we started with a 1/2 cup of butter 
To that we added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla,

2/3 cup of evaporated milk,
and 1 cup of sugar (Domino, grown right in our neighborhood).

We brought these ingredients up to a boil, and when the cake was about ready to come out of the oven, we added 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of coconut flakes.
When the cake did come out of the oven, we poked holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Then we poured the frosting over it.
Which will bring us back to this!
This dang cake was truly amazingly delicious and easy, just as promised. And now we are of two minds, decadently satisfied and yet, having guilt pangs for letting it get in our pants...they are now tight(er). We just couldn't keep our hands off it! Oh, it is friendly alright, but definitely not diet friendly. But you know what? You really should try it. Now, if this wasn't decadent enough, I'm already thinking of a way to bring in my 4th favorite ingredient: chocolate! And I have to say, I really don't know why they call it 'tornado cake' 'cuz it hasn't flattened anything on us.



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5.22.2017

A Sunday Spring BBQ 2017

  The weather this month has been wonderful, so we've been playing in the yard a lot. Sunday I figured it was high time to fire up my old pit and "Q" up some meat. I planned to go "low and slow" this time, so I set my ol' pit fire up in the wick method.
 I placed a split hickory log (bark removed) at the far left, against the wall by the air intake, then put unlit charcoal spread out by the log.
I lit my chimney using wadded up pieces of the charcoal bag to get the coal lit. I've owned several of these charcoal chimneys over the years, but I can't brag enough about the Weber chimney in da picture that Peggy got me for Christmas this last year. By far the easiest lighting, best drafting, quickest chimney I ever used and I highly recommend it.  
I poured the lit coals on top of the log, which got the log lit and smoking, and also the charcoal I had next to the log. This technique gives me a nice long-lasting fire that stays hot for five hours.
Next, I placed a piece of a brisket (I had gotten on sale) onto the pit. (It's just me and Peggy, so when I get a brisket on sale, I cut the thin end off for the pit and make three or more pot roasts out of the thick end for Sunday dinners.
To keep the brisket company I invited some pork strips to the party.
After a couple of hours of nice low, slow smoke I threw on a pack of cheap weenies for appetizer treats for us and da dawgs.
The brisket tail came out wonderful, tender and delicious.
Sorry...when I fixed ya a plate, I forgot the brisket but ya have pork, weenies corn on the cob, Peggy's wonderful coleslaw and when I wasn't looking, she piled a load of 'healthy' California blend on top. Hope ya enjoy it, cause Lord as my witness, I sure did.
 
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Thanks and may God bless you and yours. 

5.09.2017

Peggy's BFF, Louise


 
  Readers of our blog have heard so much about our good friend, Smokin' Sam, but very little about his beautiful wife, Louise. Since people have asked about her, I think it's long overdue that I tell you who she is. She's the mother of three.


 
 

These are her two daughters, Kim and Alana and their daughters. In the photo on the right is their son, Stan and his wife, Kelly.

  




She's also the grandmother of five precious Grandchildren.


 


   Personally, I think Louise is an angel. She loves the Lord and has a heart for people. I've never heard her say one negative word about another person and she does not gossip. Now when does that ever happen? She's the nicest, sweetest woman I have ever met. Before I even met her, Sam told me, "She's sweet; you will love her." He was so right. She's funny, intelligent and talented, as well. She's helped me out of several jams and we have a lot of silly fun together. I call her my "Lucy/Ethel the-Brains-of-the-Outfit". It seems to often happen while out shopping. I search and search and can't find what I'm looking for, so I ask her to help. She looks at the shelf right in front of me and says, "Uh...here." Doh! Good thing she's patient and kind as well. Once I dragged her to western NY State by train during winter. She had always wanted to see Niagara Falls. I'd seen them all my life, having lived there until sixteen years ago. It was FREEZING the whole time she and I were there and snowed most every day. She wasn't used to walking in snow, and it was about three feet deep that year. She found herself unceremoniously plopped down in snow banks several times as she tried hard to negotiate unshoveled pathways. I told her, "As long as you're already down there, go ahead and make some snow angels", but she laughingly refused, so I accused her of making "angel butts" every time she got the chance. Well, she finally did get to see Niagara Falls...the top part of them, anyhow. The bottom three fourths was solid ice surrounded by dense fog. We got to hear them tho', behind the thick, misty fa├žade of white.
  She'd never experienced that kind of cold. It was misery just standing there.

(Not that she was thinking of this.)

Now, when I say she's talented, I mean she's very talented. She has artistic talents and can draw very well, but her favorite "media" is yarn, which she uses to crochet her works of art. I wish I had a photo of the cake she crochet'd, or the food, like fried eggs, she made for her grandchildren. I love the delicate, intricate Cross Bible bookmarkers she makes; and she made several of them, many multicolored. I use mine every single day and think of her when I do. 
I cannot knit or crochet, but I certainly know how to appreciate the talent that goes into making quality handcrafts. The only way I know how to show you what she's done is to put it in a video; so, enjoy, friends.    video
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5.05.2017

Our Puppy Jolie` Got Broken

    We finally got Jolie' to the vet. After two failed attempts to actually get her there, we began to fear she would go into her first heat before we could get her "fixed". I never understood why they refer to it as "fixing" pets. Since nothing is broken, why do they call it that? Well, anyhow, it's done; we got her "broken".
  The veterinarian instructions were the usual, "no running or jumping or playing".  

                                               Busted!
 That's no halo she's got on her head up there. As soon as we turned our back on her, what does she do? She somehow got herself way up on the back of my chair, her favorite perch. (I think she learned this from BeauxBear...this being a regular place for most bichons to sit. It was bad enough when the bichons sat there, and I guess it might have been okay for her to follow her brother's example when she was a little puppy, but now that she's a Lummox...sighhh, well, we just don't have the heart to tell her "No"...shrug...so sue us.)
 
Always on patrol, the dogs all like it up there because they can see out the front door window, the back door and most of our small home.   (for those who aren't squeamish, like Peggy, if you look close in the picture below, you can see her incision.)
Poor pup was none too happy and kinda moped around for the next day or two.
BeauxBear seemed a little worried about her, but I'm sure he was enjoying the lull in the terrorizing of him, which she does in her attempt to love him to pieces...and she DOES love him, but if you ask BeauxBear, I'm sure he'd call it "rough love".  She loves all her toys, too, but each one has been gnawed into almost unrecognizable submission. So, for a while there when she was medicated, she was nowhere as playfully rowdy as normal, but she was never too medicated to not keep an eye out the front door window in case the FED-UPS guys showed up.
It wasn't long, tho' before she perked up as she was healing nicely,
and her smile returned.
It was tough on all of us keeping her cooped up for the heavy thunderstorms followed by a very soggy pond-like yard. Not that she didn't have fun barreling into all of us with that neck cone on her head. We've all got crescent shaped black and blue marks on our legs. BeauxBear spent most of her recuperation growling, "Stay away from me with that...that 'thing'!" More than once she'd send him flying across the room. It was like the running of the bull-in-a-china-shop for him.
 
Finally today we let her run and play outside, so she's having a ball galloping around the yard woofing at neighbors. Tomorrow we get her stitches out  and then she can lose the dreaded collar but til' then our little "cone head" makes quite the racket in and out the doggy door but, awwww...look, she is back to her sweet self.

4.27.2017

It Was Da Pits

   While I was having my morning coffee and watching the weather news the other morning, I heard the weather person say that today might be the last day in the 70's for this Spring. The return of the southerly flow bringing the steamy heat was soon approaching.
   I told Peggy, "you won't have many days like this, you need to enjoy it" and persuaded her to come outside with me, which she did and pulled weeds, while I started the bbq pit and the fire pit.  I planned a lovely evening for us.  I cleaned out the ol' fire pit to get it ready.
Then I took a steel brush to Old Smokey's grill and got it ready.
While Peggy pulled weeds, Jolie' was on guard in one of her favorite lookout spots or she was up and about monitoring traffic and children in the neighborhood, or digging around in the yard. I took a few minutes to pick a batch of beans from our li'l sq. ft. garden. Just a really, really nice day.
   Once the fires were lit we settled down for a wonderful evening of "bbq-ing" and beer drinking (me...Peggy's pretty much a tee-totaller) and backyard fun. After the prep work it was time for the first beer. 
Below here is a video of some of the relaxing evening activities that you'd see if you were here with us. By the end of the video, tho', ya might just be glad you weren't :-D
We had a ball enjoying the evening and the bbq'd pork came out great. Coupled with some steamed veggies and a salad, it couldna been mo' betta.
We stayed out 'til after dark enjoying the fire and the surprising lack of bugs. Right when it was going great, I mentioned to Peggy it might be good to put another few logs on da fire. (She'd been sitting there with an ice cube, holding it on fire ant bites on her hand, which she'd gotten while weeding the garlic bed...she'd thought the dark on her hand was dirt, but too late, discovered it was angry fire ants.) Some time ago, I had made her a long fire-poker out of a long metal re-bar. Just so happens, as you can see in the video, I had another two 8 ft. tall re-bars temporarily leaning against the shed beside her fire-poker. As she grabbed for her trusty fire-poker, she accidentally knocked down one of the spare re-bars.
 "Oh no!" she wailed, "It landed right in my pretty four o'clocks!"
    Away she went to retrieve it and lean it back up, but her right foot landed in a hole...(a small pit that Jolie` had dug between the shed and firepit.) That threw her off-balance, causing her left foot to land on its ankle with a popping sound. Uh oh. Trying hard not to fall, she flung her other foot out of the hole, slamming her leg into a metal grating leaning up against the shed, which has sharp metal rods on its side which then embedded in her leg.  She made a quick grab for the shed to steady herself, but ended up grabbing the standing re-bar and her fire poker, twirling them around and almost falling down onto that dangerous metal grating with her body. Thinking quickly, she reached down and tossed it aside, letting the re-bar go wherever it would and still out of balance, she was stumbling and staggering around near the corner of the shed, and almost fell, but grabbed a heavy board that leaned against the side of the shed about waist high. Instead of giving her any stability, it fell along the shed, catapulting her forward faster, and away she went, arms outstretched and flailing, she awkwardly reeled headlong until she came to the lawn mower, grabbed its handle and dragged it along to the neighbor's tall wooden fence, which she gave a good body slam. Whump!
   When she realized she was still standing, despite a couple of trickles of blood running down her leg, she started laughing.

I hollered over, "I'd give that about a 9!"
 She started back, but stopped and started loudly "Ouching!!" Her sandals were back where the melee had started, having been lost in the fray, so now she was standing in a bed of grass that has sharp tiny, painful needles that we, who live in our area, call "Pee-cawnts."
  Well, after that performance, I asked her, "HOW in the WORRRRLD could you step in that hole!? You knew it was there! Even if I was drunk, I'd never do something so stupid!" 
   Well, I don't know why that made her angry, but she growled and limped off into the house, leaving me to sit and drink and sing off-key the rest of the night. I even had to go in the house to get my own beer.
   On the way back out, I tripped over one of Jolie`s toys in the dark on the patio and found myself running across the grass to keep my balance and ended up grabbing the trellis to keep myself upright. I noticed the fire was going down, so I headed over to the woodpile to restock the flames and stepped directly into Jolie`s hole and sprawled out flat on my face! Shhhhh...don't tell Peggy.
   Well, I got my wits about me, put wood on the fire and decided it was a beautiful night to lay in my hammock and look up at the stars. The first thing I noticed about them was that they looked and FELT very much like prickly grass and were right there in my face! Hold on a minute...I was laying under the hammock now. Whatna!? I grabbed a handful of the hammock's rope netting and pulled myself up, but once I got upright with my weight hanging onto it, it was swinging so wildly that it knocked my legs out from under me and dumped me right down into it. Not the most graceful way to get into a hammock, but there I was, hanging on for dear life, and once the crazy rocking settled itself, I got myself comfortable. So comfortable that later on, my own snoring woke me up.
Wow! What a nice evening it had been despite all the minor mishaps.
   Taking a deep refreshing breath of the delicious cool night air, I got up to toddle off to bed, tripped on one of Twitchy's roots and fell headlong alongside the darkened firepit. Letting out a deep sigh and shaking my head, annoyed again already, I reached out to pick myself up one more time, but I grabbed bricks that were still hot and burned my hand. "Sssss....don't tell Peggy."
       Well, I felt so bad about the whole thing that the next morning I did tell Peggy. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but while she was at the doctor with a swollen ankle that she couldn't walk on, I was still feelin' a little bit smug, cuz I had fallen in Jolie`s pit, too, and had been through a lot more than she had, but I was still in one piece.
Well...there went my peace. That air of victory didn't last long; the results were: a badly sprained ankle for Peggy and a week of staying off'n it, and I get to wait on her hand and foot. I told her again, "You won't have many days like this, you need to enjoy it." She smirked, "Oh I am...I am..." 
Now, Aint dat da pits?