Category Archives: Recipes

Rustic Carrot Cake

Boy, I was sure hoping I’d have big baby news to post by now! Our little baby doesn’t seem to be in any big hurry to put in an appearance — she seems perfectly content to stay right where she is. The latest plan is that she’ll be here no later than next Monday/Tuesday, whether she wants to come out or not! ;-D

In the meantime, I’ll console us with cake. Carrot Cake.

Thimbleanna: Rustic Carrot Cake

You probably have a family favorite carrot cake recipe — I know our family has one. But, a few weeks ago, when we were in Utah for Quilt Market, we stopped at the little German restaurant in Spring City for lunch. My cousins were raving about the carrot cake, so we all split a piece (because, after one of their delicious lunches, you don’t really have room for dessert.) The carrot cake was chock-full of nuts and raisins and coconut and was really moist. And delicious! So, a week later, when I needed a birthday cake for a friend at work, and just happened to stumble upon this similar recipe, I decided to give it a try. {Swoon.  And insert the eyes rolling in the back of head emoji here.}  Everyone who had a piece LOVED it. Our old family favorite Carrot Cake recipe is still really good, but it’s much more “refined” than this recipe (i.e., not as chunky). If you like your cake all loaded with the goodies, you’ll love this recipe!

Rustic Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 – 8 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rustic Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 (8-inch) or 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with oil and flour and set aside. (I love 3 layer cakes, but I only have 2 8-inch pans, so I made 2 9-inch layers. I almost think the frosting to cake ratio would be too sweet with three layers — and that’s really hard for me to say, because I have a huge sweet tooth! )

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add oil and eggs and beat at medium speed until well blended. Stir in shredded carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and vanilla. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 – 40 minutes, or, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to let cool completely.

4. Frost between layers and on top and sides of cake with Rustic Frosting.

Rustic Frosting

2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in coconut, raisins, and pecans until combined. (Since I made the two layer version of this cake I had about a cup of frosting left over.)

Thimbleanna: Rustic Carrot Cake

Enjoy! And don’t blame me for the extra poundage you’re going to gain — just plan on extra workouts the week after you make it!

Have a Great Week — and Think Baby ;-D!
XOXO,
Anna

Easy Oven-Baked Beef Stew

WooHoo! Here we are with less than a week to go — are we all pulling our hair out yet???

I still have a ton of stuff to do — same as every other year LOL. And every other year has taught me that it will all get done. And I guess what doesn’t get done wasn’t that important anyway. I still have baking, decorating the real tree, and wrapping to do. How ’bout you?

Thimbleanna: Giftwrap

I was checking my blog and it’s been a loooong time since I had a recipe here and I have a perfect one for this busy time of year. Several years ago I stopped into our very cool little used book store here in town and found myself in the cookbook section. They had a copy of a Southern Living Christmas Cookbook and the recipes looked so good, I just couldn’t pass it up. Most of the recipes are for the special occasions that we celebrate during the holidays, but there are also a lot of recipes that are fairly quick — for those days when we’re just so busy that there’s not a lot of time to cook.

I found an interesting recipe for beef stew in the “Easy Everyday Meals” section of the cookbook.  I almost didn’t try this recipe because the ingredients just seemed too basic (and frankly, a little weird) for a beef stew. But I’m so glad I did. I make it a lot now during the winter — I put it in the oven around lunchtime and it’s ready just in time for dinner. And, it’s perfect for a day of gift wrapping or tree decorating!

Thimbleanna: Beef Stew

Oven-Baked Beef Stew

2 pounds top round steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 stalks celery, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
6 small round red potatoes, quartered
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups chopped onion
1 (7-oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups tomato juice

Combine all ingredients in a roaster (a cast iron pot or Le Creuset pan works great), stirring well. Cover and bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours. Serves 6.

Thimbleanna: Beef Stew

We love to have ours with a cheddar biscuits. There are lots of recipes for cheddar biscuits out there, but, since I usually make this stew on a busy day, we like to use the Red Lobster biscuit mixes — I hope you can find them in your neck of the woods!

Ok … good luck! Hope you have a very productive last weekend before Christmas!
XOXO,
Anna

The Aunts’ Quilt — Month 7

Yipes! No time to blog these days. I didn’t even get to tell you about our fun Mother’s Day weekend. We escaped to Chicago for an overnight and had a great time. Everyone made it except for TheSecondChild and MeMum and BigDaddy. The kids in this family sure are a lot of fun now that they’re all grown up.

Anyway, I’m busy busy at Spring Quilt Market in Minneapolis, but I had to pop in to give the monthly Aunts’ report. We were to do 4 inset triangles this month. Even though it was a light month, I barely made it!

Thimbleanna:  Aunts' Quilt

I wish I hadn’t cut the triangles out before I appliqued on them. It would have been just as easy to applique onto a big square and then cut them out later. I worried a lot about stretching out those bias sides while I was handling the blocks.  And the pattern shows legs on the birds, but I’m undecided on that.  We’ll see.

Thimbleanna:  Aunts' Quilt

And, we certainly couldn’t forget the Cookie of the Month. This month, I had a craving for our old family favorite, Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. MeMum has been making these since the dark ages I was a little girl and they’re particular favorites of mine.

Thimbleanna:  Aunts' Quilt

Soft Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 lb. raisins — Cover with water and boil. Let cool.
1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
1 c. milk
4 c. flour
4 c. oatmeal
4 eggs
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
3 t. soda added to water and raisins
1 t. vanilla
salt
1 c. chopped walnuts

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs. Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Add to mixture alternately with milk. Add oatmeal. Drain a little water off raisins, then add soda. Add raisins with water to mixture. Add nuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Thimbleanna:  Aunts' Quilt

This recipe makes a lot of cookies and they freeze beautifully. They’re also great for breakfast! (Just sayin’!)

Ok — back to the fun. Sorry I don’t have more time to chitchat — hopefully things will slow down a bit in June. I wish you were all here!
XOXO,
Anna

Meatballs and a Chipmunk

Hi There.  I was a little surprised when I checked the blog and realized it’s been over a week since my last post.  Time goes by so quickly and I just can’t keep up!  There’s been a little sewing around here, but it’s not very exciting yet, so I’ll wait to show it to you next time.

In the meantime, I’ve been cooking over at MeMum and BigDaddy’s a lot more lately and I really love it when I can just get one of my recipes from my blog, rather than having to bring it from home.  So, I thought I’d add another one here, since I have it on their menu in a week or two.

Back in the dark ages when TheManoftheHouse and I were newlyweds, I subscribed to one of those recipe clubs where you could get a pack of recipe cards each month for some paltry sum.  The first month, they sent a recipe box along with the subscription and by the time I was done I had a box full of recipes.  I’ve long since thrown the box and it’s mostly worthless recipes away, but I did find one recipe that we’ve loved over the years.

Thimbleanna: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Waikiki Meatballs.  Or as we call them Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  You can see I’ve spilled a lot of sauce on this card and used this recipe a lot.  These are quick and easy to make on a weeknight — especially if you use frozen meatballs or you’ve made your meatballs ahead of time.

Thimbleanna: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Waikiki Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1/3 cup minced onion
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon shortening
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 large can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve syrup)
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped green pepper

Mix meat, crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into balls. Melt shortening in large skillet; brown and cook meatballs. Remove meatballs; keep warm. Pour fat from skillet.

Mix cornstarch and sugar. Stir in reserved pineapple syrup, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Pour into skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add meatballs, pineapple chunks and green pepper; heat through.
6 servings

I’ll leave you with a shot of a local culprit we found this weekend. This is why our bird feeders are usually empty. I watched this little stinker climb the pole on the right side of the picture, and just before he reached the squirrel baffle, he leaped over to the seed tray. Look at those cheeks! You’d think the little pig was getting ready for winter.

Thimbleanna: Fat Little Chipmunk

Have a Chipmunk Bountiful week!

XOXO,
Anna

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had an oddly sad experience today. I was reading this post about a crochet edged pillow. As I scrolled down the post, when my eyes first caught sight of the pillow, a flash raced through my mind. It was just a snippet of a pillow I made when I was young. I continued to read and then, Bam! Another flash!

It drove me crazy. What were these little flashes?  They seemed familiar and left me with a warm feeling, but I just couldn’t place them. I held my head in my hands with my eyes closed for a few minutes … thinking … thinking. It made me so sad that try, hard as I might, I just couldn’t get that memory back.

All I have to go on, is that edge of the pillow. It wasn’t crocheted, but rather, big loops sewn with yarn — I can clearly see them and I wish I could remember how to do the stitch. I think I made several of them and I’m pretty sure they were pillows made of washcloths (which sounds really awful!), but I still can’t “see” the front of the pillow. And judging by my reaction to the memory flashes, I think I loved making them. Maybe MyDadLovesMeBestSister remembers them? It’s funny, over the years, I’ve thought of lots of things I made when I was young, but I don’t remember ever thinking about those pillows. Isn’t it weird how just a glimpse of something, seemingly so innocent, can trigger a flashback? It’s sad that my memory board seems to have a short in it.

Ah well, onto something from the here and now. Last week, Jody posted this recipe for Creamy Sausage Stew and I decided to give it a try. It was delicious! After a few bites, TheManoftheHouse said “This is really good!”  And then, when almost finished, “I don’t remember having this before, but this is REALLY good!”  Clearly, his memory is better than mine!

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

I had big plans to make some artisan bread to go along with it, but I dropped the ball and didn’t get the dough prepped in time. Instead, I opted for a quickbread that we enjoy with hearty winter meals. Just in case you decide to try Jody’s great recipe (and you should!), I thought you might like some muffins to go along with it

Boston Brown Bread Muffins

1/2 cup (2 0z/60 g) rye flour
1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) whole-wheat (wholemeal) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) buttermilk
1/3 cup (2 oz/60 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (4 oz/125g) molasses
1 egg
1 cup (5 0z/155 g) raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter standard muffin tins.

In a medium bowl stir and toss together the rye flour, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, oil, molasses and egg until smooth. Add to the combined dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Stir in the raisins, if desired.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in the tins for a moment, then remove.

Makes about 12 standard muffins.

Thimbleanna: Boston Brown Bread Muffins

Now, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re all prepared for the next polar vortex. You know it’s coming — it’s only February! ;-D

XOXO,
Anna