Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Birthday, Clark Gable!

Today in American history…Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio.

His most famous movie role would be as Rhett Butler in the classic movie Gone with the Wind which premiered on December 15, 1939.

Not only was he a world famous movie star…he also signed up for the US Army under the Army Air Forces on August 12, 1942. During World War II, he flew several combat missions and was promoted to Major in 1944. He rseigned his commission with the US Army in 1947 and was awarded several military honors for his service:

The Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

After his military service, Clark Gable resumed his acting career until his death on November 16, 1960.

Today in American History…President William McKinley was Born on January 29, 1843 🇺🇸

Today in American history…former President William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio to William McKinley Sr. and Nancy (Allison) McKinley. He was the seventh of nine children born into the family.

He was our 25th U.S. President from March 4, 1897 until his death on September 14, 1901.

Before he was elected as our 25th President, he was also:

On the battlefield at Antietam, as a member of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.

A Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio from 1877 to 1891.

Governor of Ohio from 1892 to 1896.

Some other interesting facts about President McKinley are:

The first President to ride in an automobile while in office.

The first President to use a telephone to campaign for votes.

During the Civil War, William McKinley’s commanding officer was Rutherford B. Hayes, who would go on to become the 19th President of the United States.

President McKinley’s portrait was featured on the $500 bill which last printed in 1934.

He had a parrot named “Washington Post” who could whistle to the tune of Yankee Doodle.

President McKinley’s inauguration on March 4, 1897 was the first presidential inauguration to be filmed.

President McKinley’s favorite flower was the carnation and he wore them as a good luck charm on his lapel. While attending the Pan-American Exposition on September 6, 1901, he greeted a line of well-wishers. He happened to pull his red carnation from his lapel and gave it to a little girl waiting in line and within seconds was shot. He passed away eight days later on September 14, 1901.

(National Portrait Gallery at The Smithsonian in Washington, DC)

National Chocolate Cake Day

National Chocolate Cake Day was yesterday, January 27th, so to celebrate this wonderful occasion what better thing to do than to make a chocolate cake. Any excuses to eat cake! 😋

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

My “go-to” recipe for chocolate cake is always the classic Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake recipe. You just cannot fail with this deliciously moist chocolate cake – and it’s so easy to make!

I’m more of a standard buttercream or cream cheese icing kinda girl but my husband loves chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. So…gotta compromise haha – so peanut butter butter cream icing topped this yummy cake (recipe below)

Here’s what you’ll need to make the cake

Hershey’s “Perfectly ChocolateChocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

2 Cups Sugar

1 3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

2 Eggs

1 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Boiling Water

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
Add boiling water to the cake mixture
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
Prepare your pans (grease, line with parchment paper and grease again!)

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Peanut Butter Butter Cream Icing

Ingredients

1 Cup softened (not melted!) Butter

2 Cups Confectioners Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Milk

Peanut Butter

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and confectioners sugar. Add a little milk a little bit at a time for a smooth consistency. Add the vanilla extract.
Time for the Peanut Butter! Make sure to use Creamy (not crunchy!)
Add a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter to the mixture. Can use a little more if you want more peanut butter.
After the cake is thoroughly cooled than it’s time to put the icing on. So much fun! I had miniature snickers and Hershey bars on hand so I chopped and decorated for garnish.
So delicious!

Thomas Jefferson’s Marinated Asparagus

My husband asked that I make something other than sweets (at least for today) – he can only indulge in so much! 🤣 So I decided on a much healthier recipe and, of course, it’s something very easy to make and you can make in your own kitchen too! Also, how cool is it to eat something Thomas Jefferson enjoyed.

At home in Virginia at his beloved Monticello, Thomas Jefferson had a large garden of different varieties of basically anything you can possibly think of. From herbs to fruit to the most luscious vegetables including asparagus which was one of his personal favorites.

I used the recipe here.

Here’s what you will need to make Marinated Asparagus
Trim the asparagus and then wash
Boil until tender (about 3-5 minutes)
Drain after boiling. Let the asparagus soak in cold water for a few minutes.
Prepare your marinade mixture
Pour the marinade gently to the asparagus. Add more eggs or parsley for garnish if needed.

Maryland Biscuits

In former First Lady Julia Grant’s personal memoir, she refers to the deliciousness of Maryland Biscuits and how they were a favorite in the Grant household. So…I thought I would make something that Julia Grant and her family enjoyed very much – especially since today is her birthday!

Here’s what you need:
Flour, Milk, Salt and Butter
After adding the salt to the flour…cut the butter into the flour. Use your hands if you have to!
Adding the milk to the flour mixture
Mix the dough really well. Then put onto a floured work surface.
Get those muscles ready to work out with a rolling pin 💪
Use a biscuit cutter to cut the circles
Place on a well greased baking sheet
Maryland Biscuits are fresh from the oven! 😋

Maryland Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients

4 cups unbleached flour*
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup lard or butter
1 ½ cup water, milk or cream

Directions

1: Place flour, salt and lard/butter in a mixing bowl. Cut (mix) lard into flour using finger tips until lard in mixed into flour.

2: Mix in a little of the water or milk at a time, mixing to create a stiff dough. Note, if dough is too dry, add a little more liquid. Too wet, add a little more flour.

3: Place dough on a work table that has been lightly floured.

4: Using a mallet or a rolling pin beat the dough until it begins to blister. This takes about a half hour.

5: pat out dough and cut into rounds or pinch dough off to make small balls about the size of a small egg and flatten a little before placing on baking sheet.

6: Place biscuits on a greased baking pan. Using a fork poke a few holes in the top of each biscuit.

7: Bake at 425 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes – until brown. Serve hot

Makes about 2 dozen biscuits.

*I used regular flour for this recipe. The biscuits came out fine – delicious!

(Recipe from The National Park Service at https://www.nps.gov/)

Happy Birthday, Julia Grant 🇺🇸

Today in American History…former First Lady Julia Grant was born on January 26, 1826 near St Louis, Missouri. Later in life, when writing her personal memoirs, she described her childhood as “one long summer of sunshine, flowers, and smiles…”

Mrs. Grant is the first First Lady to have written her memoirs. When she passed away in 1902 the manuscript remained private and unpublished for decades.

The book, The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant), was officially published by Southern Illinois University Press in 1975.

(Photo by Matthew Brady)

Bread Pudding

I had some days old bread laying around I thought it would be terrible for it to go to waste so…why not make Bread Pudding? 🤔

It’s not my first rodeo with making bread pudding. I used to make it for my children when they were young and they are still quick to remind me on how I ruined the stove once (true story!) over a bread pudding disaster. Once when making it…I forgot about it (hey, mom’s get distracted!) and it leaked into the electrical board circuit of our stove. What was worse thing was that it was days before my oldest son’s high school graduation party – and I was without a stove. Over bread pudding. Ahhhh the memories 😆

Bread Pudding has literally been around for centuries. It was initially named “poor man’s pudding” because it was a popular dessert in the lower classes in English society.

The original idea and concept for the bread pudding evolved out of necessity because it was used as a way to prevent food from being wasted and just thrown out when deemed old. Rather than throwing out stale bread homemakers would soak the bread in a sweet and savory liquid and then bake it in a dish in the oven until it was golden brown and then serve it warm.

If you have some days old bread laying around your kitchen and don’t know what to do with it – make up a batch of bread pudding. It’s so delicious! And it’s incredibly easy to make.

Here’s the recipe I used today to make Bread Pudding from Life, Love and Sugar.

Everything you will need to make Bread Pudding (I omitted the Nutmeg because the hubby isn’t a Nutmeg fan. Also made my own Heavy Cream* since I didn’t have it on hand)
Bread cut into 1 inch chunks. I used old Wonder Bread Sandwich Bread.
After greasing your dish, lay the bread chunks evenly in the bottom of your dish
Whisking together the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and cinnamon
Pour the mixture evenly over the bread pieces. Make sure to coat all of them. Then let this sit for about 20-25 minutes for extra soaking.
Now it’s ready to bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes
This is what you will need to make the yummy vanilla sauce
The vanilla sauce is being made while the bread pudding is in the oven
Ahhhh the Bread Pudding is fresh out of the oven
And the vanilla sauce is slowly added
Ready to eat ☺️

* What if you don’t have heavy cream?

To make 1 cup of heavy cream, melt 1/4 cup of butter and slowly whisk in 3/4 cup milk. This works for most baking or cooking recipes that require heavy cream, but it will not whisk into stiff peaks. You’ll need the real thing for that.

Orange-Lemon Cake

It’s a cold dreary Saturday here in Virginia and I thought…perfect day for baking! While researching Civil War recipes I came across an Orange-Lemon Cake that was one of General Robert E. Lee’s favorite. It’s like a chiffon cake – with all of the egg whites and yumminess included. Here’s the recipe.

Here’s what you will need to get started
Sift the cake flour along with the baking soda + cream of tartar
Sometimes I think the only thing that I ever learned in high school was to separate an egg 🤣 Here I separated the eggs into each bowl (all 9 of them!)
Combine the egg yolks + sugar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until yellow.
Adding the vegetable oil to the egg and sugar mixture
Lemons and oranges. I love the smell of citrus!
Add the flour mixture until it’s well blended. Then add the lemon rind and lemon juice 🍋
Beat the egg whites and salt until frothy and stiff peaks form
Combine the egg white mixture and flour together.
Line your baking pans with parchment paper and grease them really well
Pour into baking pans
While the cake is baking…start preparing your icing 👍
Cream the butter. Add the egg yolks and beat very well. Then add the powdered sugar and grated orange rind alternately with the orange juice.
After the cake has cooled, ice the cake and decorate with orange slices🍊
Oh my. So good! 😋😋😋

Happy Birthday, Michelle Obama 🇺🇸

Today in American history…Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. She would go on to become the First Lady of the United States when her husband, Barack Obama, was sworn in as our 44th President on January 20, 2009.

In honor of Mrs Obama’s birthday, we made her cookie named “White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie” she had submitted to Family Circle Magazine for the cookie bake-off against Anne Romney in 2012. It was said that the winner of the cookie contest’s husband would be elected to the Presidency. Mrs Obama’s cookie did win the contest that year and as they say…the rest is history. For the recipe please click here.

Michelle Obama’s award winning White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie

Barack Obama was our first African American President and Michelle Obama the first African American First Lady.

“Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable–their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves,” part of Mrs Obama’s speech at the 2012 Democratic Convention.

Wishing you a wonderful Birthday, Mrs Obama. Thank you for “opening the doors” for many and being such an inspiration to all.

Homemade Pecan Pie

In honor of Dr Martin Luther King’s Birthday yesterday and celebrating his legacy today on Martin Luther King Day we made his favorite dessert in the kitchen tonight – Pecan Pie! We used the recipe here to make this sweet deliciousness and it’s so simple that you can make it in your own kitchen tonight.

Homemade Pecan Pie
Dr King and his family enjoying a meal together. Maybe the dessert was Pecan Pie!