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Texas Chocolate Cake - Mmmmm!

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This is my all-time favorite chocolate cake!   My mom made this for us growing up, and it was the first cake I made for my husband!  He enjoyed it so much, he requests the cake for his birthday cake each year!   The texture is perfect and the cinnamon is the hidden jewel of this cake!


Ingredients:

2 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 stick butter

1/2 c. oil

1 c water

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. vanilla

Sift flour and sugar together, mix in cinnamon.  In saucepan, bring butter, oil, cocoa and water to a boil.  Pour over flour and sugar mixture. Add buttermilk, slightly beaten eggs, soda, salt and vanilla.  Mix well!   Pour into greased and floured 9x13 pan, two round pans or lined cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes for the 9x13 pan or until done in center.  Round pans take less time as do cupcakes.  Frost with your favorite chocolate icing.    Below is a good icing recipe.


Chocolate Icing:

1 stick butter

4 T. cocoa

1 T. milk

2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. chopped nuts - if desired

Bring butter, cocoa and milk to a rapid boil  Add powdered sugar. Remove from burner and add vanilla and nuts.  Pour over cake while still hot.

Beef Stew - A 'Must Have' in the Pantry

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

One of my favorite items to put up in the pantry, is Beef Stew!  In the fall and winter, it is hard to top a fantastic, easy bowl of beef stew, with potatoes, carrots and onions from our garden!  It is my husband's favorite, followed by peach pie filling, and my children are always asking for it! Each May, I get together with my parents and my sister and we spend a few days putting up stew for three families!  


We are about a week away from digging up potatoes, carrots and onions.  Grandpa found some beef roasts on sale a few months back, and they have been tucked away for this occasion!  


My sister brings a pint size jar with her to school (she is a teacher) sometimes in the winter, and microwaves it for a quick lunch.  I send it in a thermos with Mike, my husband, for his lunches when he can not join us at the house.  Paired with a pan of cornbread, or just a handful of good 'ole saltine crackers, it is a wonderful meal, and my family is gettting lots of healthy veggies!


MUST HAVES FOR CANNING STEW:

Preasure cooker(s) - we use two at a time.  This is NOT something you can water-bath.  This cooks in the jar during the presure cooking process, and seals the jars in the same process.

Skillet - meat must be browned slightly before mixing with the veggies

Jars, lids, clean rings - Wide mouth jars work best. Jars need to be sanitized and heated, either with the dishwasher or a water bath.

Large mixing bowl - to mix ingredients in

Pan for boiling water - need boiling water to top off jars, and boiling water is needed to soak the lids to soften the seal.

Canning Kit - includes jar tongs, magnetic lid picker-uper, funnel for filling jars

Ingredients:  Beef - we use roasts or round steaks and cube the meat,  potatoes, carrots, onions, celery if you like it, salt, seasoning.  We found the easiest way to season the stew that makes everyone happy, is using onion soup mix.  


IT REALLY HELPS IF YOU HAVE HELP IN MAKING THIS!  WHILE MY DAD IS WORKING ON CUBING AND BROWNING MEAT, MY SISTER USUALLY CHOPS VEGGIES, AND I GET JARS READY, MY MOM HAS A CONTINUOUS SINK OF HOT, SOAPY WATER TO KEEP OUR AREAS CLEAN.


Directions:  Cube meat and brown in skillet.  Cube potatoes, chop carrots and onions.  Mix all into a large mixing bowl.  Add onion soup mix or seasoning to taste.  Do not go overboard with your seasoning, as it can intensify a bit during cooking.  


Fill your hot, sanitized jars with the mixture, add water to take up all space.  Poke the end of a plastic fork or a orange peeler into the jar to get out any air bubbles.  You should have about 1 inch head space in the jar.  Add a pinch of canning salt. CLEAN the rim of the jar BEFORE placing the lid on the jar.  (Be sure to boil the lids first, it softens the seals).   Place your jars into the pressure cooker process for 1 hour and 15 minutes with 10lbs pressure.  When your time is up, remove canner from heat, and let cool on its own.  Remove and let jars sit.  If the lids do not seal, you can either re-process with new lid, or our solution - eat it for dinner!  We use both the pint size and quart size jars.  



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