When you pick a peck of peppers, what do you next? One of my favorite solutions is to make pepper jelly. And if you have a variety of colors in your pepper peck, it makes for a fun and tasty condiment that hopefully (fingers crossed) lasts you till the next growing season. The bright colors of the different peppers give the jelly a confetti look just the right touch for a party. READ MORE…
Mexican-style Brown Rice: Jamie Smith
Does your family adore Mexican-style rice but you’d rather it have just a bit better nutrition? My Mexican-style rice uses reduced-sodium ingredients, making this recipe much less salty than what you would find from a flavor packet. Also, I use Riceland brown rice, which is usually considered better nutritionally than most white rices. This delicious, incredibly easy recipe is great as a side item or as a filler for burritos and other Tex-Mex dishes. READ MORE…
Polly’s Apple Pie: Katharine Trauger
Our gal, Katharine Trauger of Home’s Cool, shares the pie that made her learn to love apple pie. Since it’s apple season in Arkansas, we thought this was one you’d want to put on your baking menu now. Do you make apple pies ahead of time and freeze them? They’re one of the easiest to freeze and enjoy later.
Polly was the mother of one of our dearest friends. She lived a life punctuated with fabulous sugary creations. We have found we need to eliminate lots of purely sugary downloads, but I make exceptions for Thanksgiving or very special company.
This pie is one of the exceptions. The secrets to it are: real butter, too much sugar, and the baking time and temp. The bottom crust will be a bit difficult to manage, but you will NOT care. Read More
Easy Glazed 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies: Lacie Ring
In the honor of the season of giving thanks and my girlfriend who loves pumpkin, I give you this super easy Glazed 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies recipe made from a box of cake mix with glaze made from store bought frosting recipe. Read More
I love weird stuff – to a degree. In particular, I love midcentury modern weirdness, and I found this cake on Mid Century Menu, a blog about recipes and cocktails from the 1930s-1970s (sometimes beyond, but who’s counting?).
As a kid, my mama would make chocolate cake with leftover mashed potatoes. Did I care? Not a whit. And, I would not have known if she hadn’t told me. When I ran across this recipe, I knew I had to make it for a number of reasons, including:
My love of cake, first and foremost;
My love of pinto beans;
My love of weird things, particularly cheap, fast and easy weird things; and
I needed a dish for a church potluck.
Something that spoke to me about this recipe, besides being unusual, is its use of cheap, readily-available items almost everyone has in their cabinets. Pinto beans (and mashed potatoes, for that matter) sustained by family for generations, and we ate what was prepared until they were gone – no tossing anything out because we were tired of eating it. Essentially, the pinto beans in this cake serve as a filler so you don’t have to use as much flour for volume, and they are tasteless after the cake has baked, the same way the mashed potatoes are in my mother’s chocolate cake.
I like to think this recipe was born by someone who made too many beans, wanted to create some way of feeding them to her family one last time but had too few ingredients (or money with which to buy them), and made something actually delicious with what she had on hand. You can find the original recipe at MidCenturyMenu, but I simplified this even more to be as cheap, fast and easy as possible. My version is below, and the steps I took to make it are somewhat unorthodox, too.
The main thing to keep in mind with this cake is to use what you have on hand. Have some apples or pears about to go bad? Dice those up and toss 2 cups into the cake instead of the can of apple pie filling. Have leftover nuts from Christmas? Chop those and use in place of the walnuts. If you don’t have raisins, replace with canned pineapple or leave them out altogether.
If you use the cinnamon and sugar combination to prepare the bundt pan, you may notice your cake comes out dark. Rest assured, it’s not burned. You can use flour if you’d prefer, but I like to use the sugar and cinnamon to give the cake a little extra crunch and flavor.
And the original recipe called for cooked pinto beans that were fresh, dried or frozen. I used canned because it’s what I had available, they are already cooked, and I can’t taste any difference between canned and the other preparations.
As for how much time to bake the cake, I say start with 50 minutes and add or subtract time according to your oven. Everyone’s oven bakes differently so keep an eye on the cake after 50 minutes and check for doneness in 5-minute increments.
To ice or not to ice? I say a cake without icing is a great big muffin. You can make homemade frosting, dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar, ice with whipped cream or grab a cheap can of store-bought frosting, melt it to pourable consistency in the microwave and drizzle to your heart’s content. Whatever you do, this cake will stand up to it.
I hope you try this and are pleasantly surprised. If you’ll excuse me, I have cake to eat.
KD Reep is a writer, public relations practitioner and aspiring romance author in Little Rock. She owns Flywrite Communications Inc., a marketing communications agency in Mabelvale. She is a six-time recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s Prism award and has been published statewide as well as in the Arkansas Times, Savvy Magazine, Bourbon & Boots, Arkansas Money & Politics, Delta Farm Press and Rice Farmer magazine, among others.