Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


As you can see I cook a lot.  They grow bananas here on the island and the strawberries are coming on.  They are small but oh so flavorful.  I cannot get boxed pudding here at any price and the cake mixes are too expensive to consider so I have experimented with some homemade cakes and puddings.  Most weeks I make this Chocolate Cake  Last week I searched for a yellow cake to use as Strawberry Shortcake base. I found a cake on Pinterest with raves as a White Sheetcake.  I have a 12 inch square pan I bake cakes in so decided to make it.  The other reason I liked it is because you boil water to start and the sugar here has large crystals and I like to get it dissolved, if possible.  It had a cup of butter and I have discovered that you can decrease a cup of butter by 1/4 Cup and add 1/4 C. of oil to 1/2 cup of butter and not lose any moistness or the butter flavor..  So here is my Yellow Cake recipe that I used in the trifle and with the strawberry shortcake.  It is perfect.  Very dense, moist and poundcake like.  I will love it forever.  It is a one pan mix easy.

Yellow Sheet Cake
In a medium size sauce pan bring 1 C. of water to boil.  Remove from heat. Add ½ C. butter ¼ C. oil and 2 C. sugar.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Add:

½ C. sour cream or Greek yogurt 
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 scant tsp salt.
2 ¼ C. flour
1 tsp. Soda.

Bake 350 in a small sided cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.

I made a pudding from scratch some time ago for a Banana Pudding.  It was made with corn starch and egg yolks as thickening agents and it was wonderful right after I made it but the next day the thickening broke down and it was runny.  I have had that problem with cornstarch puddings before, so when I found this recipe with flour and eggs, and it was simple, I gave it a try.  This is just what I wanted for the trifle.  It is smooth and creamy and very tasty.    I don't have a double boiler but I do have a metal bowl over a saucepan that works.  I think that it is important for keeping the pudding smooth.  I added a cup of whipped cream after it was cold for the trifle.  I am thinking next time I will only use milk in the cooking if I plan to add whipped cream.  This is simple and was thick and creamy the next day.

Vanilla Pudding
Place in a double boiler over simmering water:

3 egg yolks
½ C. sugar
1/3 c. flour
2 ½  C. Milk
½ C. whipping cream

Cook and stir with a wire  whisk until bubbly and thick.  Add 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla.  Cool and add 1 Cup of cream whipped stiff if desired or eat as is.  

For the strawberries : Mix 1 T. (1 pkg.) of plain gelatin in 1/2 C. cold water (or if you are using canned pineapple use the juice from draining it)  heat in the microwave and stir to dissolve.  Set aside to cool.  Slice up 1 quart of strawberries and hit them with the immersion blender a bit to get the juices flowing but not puree.  Keep plenty of large pieces.  Add:  3 T brown sugar and 3 T. white sugar.  (The brown sugar adds a richness.)  Stir in the gelatin.  Add one can of  pineapple chunks.  Let cool until it begins to set up.  You can eliminate the pineapple if you only want strawberries.  Just add 2 tsps. gelatin.

To assemble:  Cut  up a little more than half of the cake in 1 1/2 inch cubes (You don't want it too cakey)
Slice up 3 large bananas.

Layer the cake, with  about 3 layers each of the strawberry mixture, the pudding, bananas and the cake, beginning with the cake. Refrigerate for several hours to set the gelatin.  Top with some sliced strawberries.   This is a bit of work but if you want a special desert it is worth the time.  And makes enough to serve about 15. 

I took this to a Sunday dinner invitation and it was a hit!