Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Caramel Fudge Cake Recipe

Caramel Fudge Cake

Serves: 16-20

This is the perfect cake to take to church suppers or family celebrations. Just bake it in a sheet cake pan with a plastic cover and transport it in cooler. Yummy!

1 (18.25-ounce) box German Chocolate Cake Mix (plus additional ingredients listed on package)
1 (12.35-ounce) bottle caramel, butterscotch or butterscotch-fudge sauce
3 cups lightly sweetened whipped cream or Cool Whip
1 cup crushed Heath bars or Heath Bits'O Brickle toffee bits

Prepare cake mix in a 13-by-9-inch pan according to package directions. Remove from oven and while hot, poke holes all over with the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour sauce over surface of cake, making sure sauce gets into the holes. Cool and refrigerate. When cold, spread whipped cream or Cool Whip over the surface and sprinkle with crushed Heath Bars. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fresh Asparagus with Curry Dip



Wash and trim asparagus.
Drop into boiling water for 1 minute only.
Immediately plunge asparagus into ice water.
When completely cold, drain well and keep cool.

Curry Dip:

1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated onion

1 red bell pepper

Combine Miracle Whip, curry powder, lemon juice and onion
in a small dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill well.

Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise, remove the core and seeds.
Serve the curry dip in "pepper bowls".

Serve with the chilled asparagus.
Also good with other veggies or assorted crackers.

Lemon Whippersnappers Recipe


These cookies are easy to make, light, and perfect with afternoon tea.

1 pkg lemon cake mix
12oz.container of Cool-Whip,thawed
1 egg, beaten

1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

Combine first 3 ingredients. Beat for 3 minutes.
Dough will be very sticky.
Cover and put in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease cookie sheet.

Form dough into small balls.
Roll balls in confectioner's sugar.
Place on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake 10-12 minutes.
Let cool on sheet for a couple of minutes, then remove.

Note: I always use 2 cookie sheets, they seem to cook better
if the dough is put on a cool cookie sheet.

Makes 4-5 dozen cookies. Depends on how big you make the balls.

Another note: I have left the dough in frig for up to 3 days.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Scones and Strawberry Jam for Afternoon Tea

This recipe and photo comes from Laundry, etc. I read her blog as often as she publishes and long to own all of her books. She is an amazing English woman! I can't say enough good things about her recipes and her blog!


All homemade - scones, clotted cream and strawberry and vanilla jam

fruit that is as fresh as possible and just ripe or very slightly under
ripe with no bad bits or discolouration. This jam is relatively low in
sugar resulting in a soft set and strawberries also have a low pectin
content, which is the ingredient needed for jam to set. Adding lemon
juice, which is high in pectin, helps boost the pectin content. Make
sure that jam jars and lids are clean and dry and sterilise by placing
them in a warm oven for 20 minutes and always pour hot jam into hot
jars, never cold. Those cellophane circles and elastic bands used as
jam jar lids are all well and good and a lovely traditional touch, but
screw-on lids are much more practical.

Makes 1.4kg

1 kg strawberries
1 vanilla pod
750g sugar
juice of 3 lemons

wash the fruit unless you really must and do so with the stalks in
place taking care not to bruise the berries then dry the fruit
thoroughly. Remove the stalks then cut large fruits in half and leave
smaller fruits whole.
Place the fruit in a bowl, split the vanilla pod in half lengthways
and scrape out the seeds from the middle then add the seeds and pod
pieces to the strawberries, tucking the pod in amongst the fruit. Tip
the sugar over the top to cover the strawberries and leave, covered
with a plate or a tea towel, for approximately 12 hours by which time
the juices from the fruit will have oozed out into the sugar.
the contents of the bowl into a preserving pan and add the lemon juice.
Heat slowly stirring gently now and again until you are sure that the
sugar is completely dissolved and so that the fruit stays intact. Bring
to a rolling boil and after 10 minutes test for setting point. Keep
testing at 5 minute intervals as necessary till setting point is
Take off the heat and remove the vanilla pod pieces. Leave
the jam to cool for 10 minutes, stir to distribute the fruit then pour
into hot jars, filling the jars right to the top. Place a greaseproof
paper circle on the top, seal with a screw-top lid and leave till cold
with the jars inverted.

The best scones come
together really fast. Here sour cream is used to make them extra moist
and rich but you can substitute buttermilk,mascarpone , yogurt or just
milk mixed with the egg, really whatever you have handy at the time.
Soured milk was traditionally used for scone making.
Makes about 10 scones

225g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
75g butter
30g caster sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp sour cream

Pre heat the oven to 220C (425F) Mk7

the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and rub it
into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar.
Beat the egg with the sour cream and add it to the mixture, keeping a
tiny amount back for brushing on the scones and working quickly with a
fork to form a dough which is soft but not sticky. Bring the mixture
together with floured hands and press it onto a floured surface so it
is about 2.5cm thick.
Cut out scones with a 5cm diameter cutter and
place them onto a greased baking tray. Pull the dough offcuts together
again and cut to make more scones. Brush the tops with the last of the
egg mixture and bake for 10-15 minutes until they are risen and just
starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

When the scones are cold, split them and serve filled with clotted cream and strawberry and vanilla jam.

Elder Flower Cordial Recipe


Makes about 2 1/2 pints
20 fresh elderflower heads
3 1/2 pounds sugar
1 1/2 citric acid
2 unwaxed lemons, thinly sliced
2 oranges, thinly sliced

Place the sugar and 2 1/4 pints water in a large pan and warm slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Add the flowers, bring again to the boil then remove immediately from the heat. Add the citrus fruits and citric acid, stir together, then leave covered in a cool place for 24 hours to steep.
Strain the cordial into clean dry sterilized bottles with clip tops or corks and label with the date. The cordial will last for a month or 2 unopened in the fridge. Once opened keep refrigerated and use it within a few weeks. You can freeze it in plastic containers, in which case it will keep for 6 months or more in the freezer.
Serve diluted with still or sparkling water to taste or use this syrup to flavor jams, desserts and icings.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney

Baked Brie with Cranberry Chutney

One of the best appetizers we have ever made! The chutney is also wonderful served as a relish with poultry or ham.


1 wheel of Brie (approximately 15 ounces)


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 + 1/3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic, chopped

Chutney: In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Boil slowly, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until chutney begins to thicken. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place brie on a baking sheet lined with foil. Spread chutney on top of Brie. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with crackers or French bread.

Serves: 8-10

Vintage Vine Border Instructions

This border is formed of circles in tatting and crochet leaves, which are joined together by rows of crochet work; a narrow border in tatting forms the lower edge. Omitting this edge, the border forms a strip of insertion. You will need to be skilled in both crochet and tatting to complete this project.


1. Begin each of the rosettes or circles in the centre. Work first 2 double stitch, 1 purl, repeat 9 times, join the stitch into a circle.
2. Work at a small distance a smaller ring. This should consist of 3 double, 5 purl, divided each by 2 double stitches, 4 double.
3. Draw the cotton through the purl of the first circle. Repeat 8 times more, only each following circle must be fastened on to a purl of the preceding circle after 3 double stitches. Having completed each circle, the thread must be drawn through the purl of the first circle, which forms the centre of the rosette.
4. Knot the beginning and the end of the thread together.
5. Create the border. For the tatted border, make at short distances 1 loop with 5 double, 1 purl, 5 double. After having worked a sufficient number of such loops, wind another thread round the thread between the loops, turning always 1 loop on the right side and 1 on the left.
6. Begin the crochet part with the leaves. Make for each of these a foundation chain of 12 stitches, crochet back over this chain 2 double in the last stitch but one, 1 double in the next stitch, 1 treble in each of the following 7 chain, 2 treble in the next stitch, 2 treble, 1 long treble, and 2 treble in the next following stitch of the foundation chain.
7. Work on the other side of the chain the same pattern, only the reverse way. Then 3 double in the point of the leaf thus formed.
8. Edge the whole leaf with a round of double stitches. Always work 2 double in each stitch of the preceding row, and 3 in the long treble stitch. In working this last round, the circles must be joined to the leaves by taking up the purl stitch of the circle before casting off the corresponding double stitch of the leaf.
9. Work the stem. This joins the 2 rows of circles and leaves with a row of chain stitches, on which a row of double is worked.
10. Create the border which forms the upper edge. Make a row of chain stitches, joining leaves and circles together. Then work 3 rows of treble, work 3 more rows over the tatted border:

* First row: entirely in chain stitches. After every fourth stitch take up the purl of the loops on one side.
* Second row: 1 treble in the middle stitch of the 3 chain, 2 treble, divided by 3 chain.
* Third row: 1 treble, 1 chain, miss 1 under the last. In the last row the leaves and circles must be fastened on the border, as seen in illustration above.


* A double stitch is formed by passing the thread over the back of the hand, and then passing the shuttle upwards between the forefinger and second finger, and drawing it up, then work a stitch of plain tatting; this completes the double stitch, and whenever so many double stitches are directed it means the 2 stitches.

Things You'll Need

* Tatting and crochet cotton in desired colours
* Tatting shuttle
* Crochet hook

Vintage Rose Doily

A vintage rose doily to crochet. This pattern is originally from The Ladies' Work-Book, a nineteenth century needlework book.
Crochet section a. With cotton No. 20 and hook 3-1/2, work 13 chains: make it round and in loop 24 d.c., 1 d.c. on d.c., 7 chain, miss 2, repeat 7 times more; in 4th chain stitch of 7 chain, 1 s.c., 12 chain, 1 s.c. in 6th chain from hook; 7 chain, 1 s.c. in same at last s.c.; 5 chain, 1 s.c., in same as last s.c., 5 chain, 1 s.c. in next chain stitch to 1st of 12 chain; 5 chain, repeat 7 times more, fasten off.
  1. Crochet section b. With cotton No. 18 and hook 3-1/4, work 10 chain, make it round, and in loop 24 d.c. * In 1st d.c. work 3 chain, 3 long, 3 chain, 1 d.c., miss 1, and repeat * 7 times more. Those only in the last, 2 long, join to 4th chain stitch of 7 chain of a, 1 long, 3 chain, 1 d.c., fasten off. Make 7 more b, joining to the 7 chains of a.
  2. Crochet section c. With cotton No. 16 and hook 3, **1 s.c. in the centre of the two 5 chains of a, nearest the foundation: 7 chain, 1 s.c. in the centre of 5 chain; 5 chain, 1 s.c. on 2nd long of 1st division of b; * 3 chain, 1 d.c. on next division, repeat * 5 times more, 5 chain; 1 d.c. in next 5 chain, 7 chain, repeat ** 7 times more, fasten off. D.c. all round the chain and fasten off.
  3. Crochet section d. With cotton No. 28 and hook 4, * 7 chain, 1 s.c. in 1st chain, and in round loop 1 d.c., 4 long, 3 chain; join to d.c. stitches where the two 5 chains are found together, turn, and on the 3 chain 1 d.c., 3 long; then in round loop, 4 long, 1 d.c.; then join to the d.c. on the opposite side, and fasten off. Repeat * 7 times more.
  4. Crochet section e. With cotton No. 18 and hook 3. Where you left off in d, join on No. 18 cotton; 9 chain, 1 s.c. in 5th chain; then in round loop ** 1 d.c., 5 chain, join to 5th d.c. from where you joined No. 18 cotton on; 5 chain, turn, and on 10 chain, 1 d.c., 9 long; 1 d.c. in round loop, 7 chain join to the top d.c., 3 chain. 1 s.c. in the 7th chain, 3 chain, 1 d.c. in the 7th chain; * 2 * 5 long, 1 d.c. in same as 1st d.c., 1 d.c. in round loop, repeat ** from ** without joining the 10 chain twice. The second time only work to * 2 *, work 3 long, join to 5th d.c. from where you joined No. 18 cotton on; 2 more long on 7 chain, 1 d.c.; then 3 s.c. down the stem. Make 7 more joining in the same way: fasten off.
  5. Crochet section f. With cotton No. 16 and hook 3. In 14th d.c. of c from where you joined No. 18 cotton on, * 1 d.c., 4 chain, join to 1st 3 chain of e of 1st section, 4 chain, join to 2nd 3 chain of e of 1st section; 8 chain join to 1st 3 chain of e of 2nd section, 3 chain, join to 2nd 3 chain of e of 2nd section; 8 chain, join to 1st 3 chain of e of 3rd section; 3 chain, join to 2nd 3 chain of e of 3rd section; 4 chain, repeat all round; d.c. all round.
  6. Crochet section g. With cotton No. 16 and hook 3, 10 chain, make it round and in loop; 8 d.c. join to the same place, where you began the long chain of f 5 d.c., * 5 chain join to 8th d.c. of f from where you joined the d.c.: 6 chain, turn, 1 d.c., 7 long, 1 d.c., miss 1, 1 s.c. in next d.c., repeat * 4 times more. Join in the same place only to last petal. In the last petal work down the chain as follows: 1 d.c.; 4 long, join to 8th d.c. from where you joined the 1st d.c.; 3 long, 1 d.c., fasten off. Make 7 more. Joining each as you make them.
  7. Crochet section h. With cotton No. 16 and hook 3, 15 chain, 1 s.c. in 1st stitch: then in loop; 24 d.c., * 1 d.c. on d.c., 7 chain, miss 2, repeat * 7 times more, then in each 7 chain, 9 d.c., except the last, which work as follows: 5 d.c. join to 3rd point of g, 4 d.c. in same 7 chain.
    • The next h, join in the same manner to point of f make sufficient to go round, joining alternately to g's and fs.
  8. Crochet section i. With cotton No. 14 and hook 3, ** 1 s.c. on 5th d.c. of 1st division of h, * 5 chain, 1 s.c. in next division, repeat * 5 times more, 9 chain join to next point of g "9 chain," 1 s.c. in next point of g, 9 chain, repeat ** from all round; d.c. all round, and when you have come to the end of "9 chain" 4th d.c. join to the 9th d.c.; * 7 chain, miss 2, 1 d.c. in next, * repeat 9 times the 10 and 11, join to the other side and fasten off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot Ham and Cheese Spread

I'm giving a little dinner party this weekend and drug this out of my recipe box. I haven't made it in ages, but it's a keeper!

1 pound thinly sliced deli ham, sliced into thin strips
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 (1 pound) loaves cocktail rye bread

In a slow cooker, combine the ham, cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup and cream of celery soup. Stir in the Swiss cheese. Cover, and cook on Low until cheese is melted, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve on cocktail rye slices.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Banana Split Cake


Four layer Banana Split Cake - made from scratch with fresh strawberries, sweetened whip cream, pineapple, peanuts and fudge ice cream topping. This cake is well worth the trouble needed to make it. Keep the cake in the freezer or an insulated container if you're taking it to 'dinner on the ground'. Yummy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (3 medium plus 1 more for garnish)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice- drain well
1 (11 ounce) jar chocolate fudge topping
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)


Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder. baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Add to flour mixture banana, buttermilk, shortening, eggs and vanilla.Beat on medium speed 3 minutes.
Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.

Finish cooling completely.
Using a long serrated knife, cut each layer of cake in half. Set aside.


In a chilled mixing bowl (clean and free of any grease) combine 1 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat with chilled beaters of mixer on low to medium speed until soft peaks form (tips will curl). Do not over beat.

Divide whipped cream in half. Fold strawberries into one half and drained pineapple into the other half.

Heat and stir fudge over low heat until just warm.


Place 1st layer of cake on platter, top with strawberry cream spreading to the edge.

Place 2nd layer on top of 1st. Spread 1/2 of warm fudge,let some of it drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle with 1/2 of peanuts.
Place 3rd layer on top of 2nd. Top with pineapple cream spreading to edge.

Place 4th layer on top of 3rd. Spread remaining warm fudge over, again letting some drizzle down sides. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts. Garnish with last banana sliced.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flowery Star Fish

One of my latest acquisitions here at Ragg Baggs is the flowery star fish. The colors are bold and beautiful and will make magnificent focal pieces. Keep watch in the weeks to come for these little beauties to be offered as finished jewelery on my Etsy site.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine,we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

Laura Childs - "Eggs in Purgatory"

I have just finished reading Laura Childs' latest book "Eggs in Purgatory". The tale takes place in a little country town named Kindred. The book doesn't say, but it seems like the town is in the Minnesota area.

The story is set in a delightful little restaurant called the Cackleberry Club. The characters are a bit confusing at first because there are so many of them, but they become more recognizable as the book moves along. To quote from the back of the book -

'Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lost their husbands but found independence - and, in each other, a life raft of support, inspiration, fresh baked foods, and their own business. But when the Cackleberry Club open its doors in the town of Kindred, who'd have guessed that the cozy oasis would become the scene of a crime?

Suzanne's lawyer is found in his car behind the Cackleberry with egg on his face and blood on the dash. Suzanne's taking the crime personally. The murder reveals a scandal in her late husband's past and brings a stranger fleeing a messianic sect for her help. Now, discovering the link between the dead man with secrets and a runaway cultist may be putting Suzanne's own life on the line.'

The characters run the gamut from sweet to snooty and, like any small town, everyone knows everything about everyone else.

I have only two bad things to say about the book. The first is the bad language used in the book. There isn't much, but other, more polite, words could have been used to convey the message.

My second objection regards the 2 hair dressers in the story. They are both men and, while, no mention of the word is used, they seem to be homosexual. They serve no other purpose in the story line. Since there is no attempt to condemn homosexuality, the 2 persons could have just as easily been a heterosexual couple, so why drag up such a nasty subject?

All things considered, I will anxiously await the 2nd volume of the series, while drooling over Ms. Childs' wonderful tea series. I highly recommend the tea series with no reservations whatsoever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Top anti-inflammatory herbs and spices

Top anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:

By incorporating these herbs and spices into your diet, you get great flavors with healing properties. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found, for example, that basil has anti-inflammatory activity compared to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin!

Black Pepper