Archive for January, 2016

Italian Cream Cake

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

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Italian Cream Cake

The other cold-to-the-bones, dismal, misty night, Mr. Fix-It said he was really, really, really wanting a dessert. We aren’t eating many desserts since the discovery of my thyroid issues. Of course, Mr. Skinny Fix-It can’t eat anything if I can’t eat anything, right?!

So, with the wood stove finally blazing, to make the house toasty warm, dogs sacked out around it like stuffed animals tossed aside, I decided to be nice and make him something special – an Italian Cream Cake. Ever since Sir Flying Ace’s and Miss Amelia Air-Heart’s wedding, Mr. Fix-It has been wanting another Italian Cream Cake. Only, he wanted it the way their wedding cake was – no coconut. It does make a difference – especially for those who aren’t crazy about coconut!!

Now, you know me. I had to find out the background on Italian Cream Cakes and so I researched and researched and guess what. There IS no background on Italian Cream Cakes. This is the best I could come up with from and a recipe book:

“While the Italian Cream Cake has its roots in renaissance Italy, the first written record of it is first seen in Canada in 1913. It is not until 1937 that the first recipe of Italian Creak Cake surfaces in the Plano News from Texas. Over the years the recipe has grown more complicated, though it is adored for its endless flavor combinations.”


“Not much is known about the origin of the Italian cream cake. The recipe apparently first appeared in the southern part of the United States and was the creation of an Italian baker who had moved to the U.S.”

Evidently, we rednecks are more crazy about this cake than are Italians. That would make sense since it is all about butter and pecans!

So here is my version of the Italian Cream Cake. And just a note, I use my own, homemade bourbon vanilla which I’ll show in an upcoming post.

Italian Cream Cake

Preheat oven to 350º

1 stick real butter
½ cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
5 eggs separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
(regular recipes add 3 oz of shredded coconut – not me!)

1 stick real butter at room temperature
1 (1 lb box) powdered sugar (approx. 3 ¾ cup)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla

Printable Recipe

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In a small bowl, mix together the stick of butter that has been melted, cooking oil, sugar and vanilla

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Separate eggs and lightly beat egg yolks

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Add yolks to sugar and butter mixture

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Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl

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Add buttermilk to the mixture and stir

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Add all of the dry ingredients including nuts and mix on medium speed until well mixed and smooth

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Whip the egg whites until stiff

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Fold in egg whites by running the spatula around the outside of the batter, pulling it in over itself and the egg whites. Continue to do this until egg whites and batter are blended. Evenly divide the batter between three greased and floured 8″ round cake pans (grease and flour even if nonstick). Bake at 350º for 20 -30 minutes

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When the layers are done – a toothpick comes out clean – allow to cool on racks. If they are higher in the center than around the edges, take a serrated knife and gently cut across the top to make an even surface for stacking.

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Make the icing by mixing, on high, all of the ingredients together, slowly adding the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Ice the bottom layer and stack the second layer on top. Ice the second layer and place the top layer on last. To keep layers from sliding you can strategically put toothpicks down through the layers to hold them in place. Complete icing the sides and top.

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The finished product. Place in the refrigerator to set the icing before slicing.

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So rich, you’ll only need a skinny slice. This cake can be frozen whole or sliced and frozen for a quick dessert later

Happy Baking!

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Not Old Yeller – A Dog Story With A Happy Ending!

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

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Not Old Yeller – A Dog

Story With A Happy


Hi y’all! Hope your new year of 2016 has started with a bang and that the cold weather has made you want to create something warm and wonderful in your kitchens! It is hot tea and muffins weather for sure!!

I thought that I would tell you a really happy story – one that I hope will encourage somebody out there with a similar situation. It’s about a dog. Yep…a good ol’ dog story.

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No, this isn’t a dog. I know. This is Sway

I haven’t talked much about our menagerie of pets here at our Okie digs, but we seem to be animal magnets for other people’s animals. We inherited a cat, named Sway, from a newly married friend of the daughter’s way back around 2005 when the new hubby decided he hated cats. Of course, we were assured, “If you’ll only take him for a week, we’ll find him a home.” I don’t think that children, adult ones included, have any concept of time. Really.

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And then, of course, we have our precious Ellie, who ran in front of our car when we were on a trip to visit friends. We almost hit her and she was so very little (around 12 weeks old) and pitiful that we stopped, took her to the house from whose yard she bolted, only to be told that she had been dumped a half hour previously. She was so covered in fleas that it was like her skin moved and she was so thin and dehydrated that we were not sure she would make it. She had short hair on her body, but her tail and ears had long hair. We determined that she was a purebred, long-haired dachshund – probably from a puppy mill – but that because she had such an atrocious overbite, she had been dumped as unusable – unbreedable. We drove all the way back to Oklahoma City with this creature in a box and on arriving at home, dumped her into a tub of warm water, flea soap and oils. We washed her three times in fresh water and soap. She became a beautiful dog and has been the joy of our lives. She is in her waning years, with heart trouble, but is still a doll.

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Ellie would be show dog material except for her overbite!!

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And then, a year ago, along came Mustard. Mustard is a very miniature short-haired dachshund who jumped into my car one day, in a busy intersection. He was running back and forth between cars, looking up into the windows as if looking for his owners. I finally found his owners, after canvasing the neighborhood for hours but they informed me that they didn’t really want him and that their pit bulls didn’t want him either. Mr. Fix-It was NOT amused when I showed up with another scared, little dog but as is always the case, he and Mr. Mustard are inseparable.

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No task, including painting trim, is easy with such a needy dog!!

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Belle, in the best of health this past summer

Finally, there is Blue Belle – better known as Belle. Belle, a blue heeler/Catahoula Leopard mix is “Sir Flying Ace’s” dog. When he and “Amelia Air-Heart” married, they could not have a dog where they lived and so we inherited Belle for the time being. She is getting older – around 10 years old – and is slowing down. There is a feeling of extra responsibility when taking care of someone else’s dog. Kinda like taking care of your grandchildren!!

So, anyway, when Mr. Mustard bounced off of the couch one night, right onto Belle’s back, causing Belle to literally let out a scream, there were definitely feelings of consternation on the part of me and Mr. Fix-It. But after Mr. Fix-It left the next day for a week in Houston and I tried to get Belle out of her kennel for her morning constitutionals, the feeling changed to horror. Belle was paralyzed from behind her shoulders down. She could pull herself forward on her front legs, but her back legs dragged behind her dead and useless. I couldn’t believe it and immediately called the vet. I carried this 40 lb dog, by myself and on a bum ankle, into the vet and cried when I was told that she would not get better. According to the x-ray, she had two ruptured discs at the top of her spine. Without a $5000 surgery, that might not even work, she would have to be put down. I took her home and spent the next few days carrying her outside and manually helping her to use the bathroom, then laid her on a mat in the dining room and administered muscle relaxers and pain meds to see if maybe, by some miracle she would get better. She was eating and drinking great but I could tell that her kidneys and intestines were starting to shut down. I called my son and asked what to do. He said to do whatever I had to. Mr. Fix-It wanted to come home, but had meetings and I insisted that he stay put. By Thursday morning, Belle was worse, and I was resigned to having to put her down. However, acting on a suggestion from a close friend, I called a chiropractor in a neighboring town to see if he ever had worked on dogs like this.

Dr. Hanson was totally positive. He told me to have Belle sedated and muzzled and to bring her up that night, along with x-rays. I carried Belle into the office, among patients who had evidently been told the story. Everyone was so supportive and cooed over Blue Belle, who isn’t really a very friendly dog to strangers!! (she’s a blue heeler, don’t you know!) And by this time, trust me, I had developed some muscles!! Dr. Hanson viewed the x-rays and said that no, there were no ruptured discs, they had misread the x-rays, but that there was a disc down by the hips that was rotated almost to upside down. He showed it to me and said, “I can fix this.” He was very aggressive at working on her spine and she squalled. I was told to bring her back the next evening, which was a Friday.

On Saturday, Mr. Fix-It arrived home and I had carried Belle out into the sun to warm and in hopes that she might go to the bathroom while lying in the grass. As we were talking, I looked out and Belle was standing at the foot of the steps, looking up at me through the windows as if to say, “You gonna come get me?” I squealed, “She’s standing up !!!!” Mr. Fix-It had not seen her at her worst and so I’m not sure that he quite understood the miracle that I was witnessing but I ran out and gently hugged that dog. She simply stood there and did not move, but by jove, she was standing. Mr. Fix-It carried her in and put her back onto her pad.

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Still in a little pain

After a total of 6 sessions at the chiropractor, at $35 per session, Belle was running outside. She could wag her stump of a tail and all of her bodily functions were completely back in sync. And she is still running a month later. The chiropractor said that we would need to watch her and if she starts to limp to bring her in for an adjustment every so often. We have told Sir Flying Ace to find a chiropractor who will work on dogs down in his area just in case. There are bunches.

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Today, Belle surveys her domain with pride and legs that work!

So this is to encourage you to try chiropractic on your paralyzed pets BEFORE you make such a serious decision to have them put down. I can’t say enough how much we appreciate Dr. Hanson’s efforts. Pretty awesome!!!

Happy Barking!

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