Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Treat: The Best Carrot Cake

Reflections from the Backcounter

Baking is not my forte....I have a checkered past when it comes to the culinary art of cake construction. In fact if my cakes were construction projects, they would have been condemned. There has been the leaning tower of Pisa chocolate cake, the sinkhole spice cake and the brick and mortar bundt. But, ...I may have found it...the perfect recipe for a carrot cake. Not only is this cake gorgeous but it is delicious. This recipe comes from my good friend, Sally, who is an expert in the kitchen. Her recipes are always delicious and reproducible. She only serves the best food to her family and friends and we all always look forward to her warm hospitality and bountiful table. With her permission...I am including this recipe. I will be serving it tomorrow to dear friends at our annual Easter party.

So here goes...

Sally's Scrumptious
Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs (whisked first)

Mix in bowl 2
2 1/4 cups flour
2t salt
2t baking soda
2t cinnamon

Mix into bowl 1
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple drained
1 handful sweetened coconut
1 handful raisins

Mix bowl 2 into bowl 1 and stir until combined and well mixed
Divide equally and pour into cake pans. Bake for one hour or until center is done


3 8oz cream cheese
3 cups butter softened
6 t vanilla
3 lbs powdered sugar
Mix with handheld mixer until smooth and creamy
Ice cake after it has completely cooled. Crushed walnuts can be added to the sides for an elegant look.
Thanks again Sally...this cake is scrumptious!!
Peace, Julia

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Backcounter: Back to Basics

Reflections from the Backcounter

The Backcounter Buffet is celebrating a year in the blog world and it has been a year of evolution. More than a menu planning and recipe blog, the Backcounter is truly a reflection of the challenges we all face in trying to find that elusive point of virtual balance in our busy lives. The challenge of serving the competing masters of work, home, kids, health, relationships and personal peace...the truth is ...true balance may be an unattainable goal. Rather, we may need to strive to find contentment in swaying back and forth from different points of imbalance...there is only so much time in the day and when we focus on one area of our lives other areas may have to be prioritized.
Perhaps a better view of the concept of balance is fluid motion. Our goal should be to make fluid and graceful progress toward our goals. To raise healthy and happy children, to find fulfilling work, to make a difference in the lives of those we love and those we don't yet know, to feel joy and contentment, to have meaningful purpose.

The journey is often hard. The work can be exhausting and arduous. The demands on our time exhausting. My goal in writing this blog is to highlight the bright spots on the journey; a recipe for a delectable chocolate cake, the earthy tranquility of chickens in the backyard, the joyful commonality of experience that we share ...

I hope that you will continue to read and enjoy the Backcounter Buffet as we enter our second year together. The Backcounter Buffet, that space between life and dreams, will remain full of ideas, great food and rich experience. Thanks for journeying with me....


Monday, April 6, 2009

March was a blur and Garage sale mania

March was a busy month at the Backcounter and I have no idea where the time went and no blog posts....ridiculous......Life in the world of the Backcounter Buffet reflects the world at large...too much to do..too little time and a sense of shock about the economic meltdown we are all experiencing.
One of the most fun but tiring activities was the Mother of all Garage Sales. We are fundraising to send the kids riding team to national competitition. It was a success but we have enough stuff left over to do it again. I would love to hear your suggestions on how to maximize the profits on a fundraising garage sale. Please leave your comments. People who frequent at garage sales are a study in diversity.It is all about the shopping experience and the cutthroat vicious bargaining. Some of the shoppers were hilarious...driving up in their BMW's while vociferously voicing their displeasure about the prices of the used clothing....."Not a dollar...will you take 25cents? If you don't ...we leave...." My friend and I took the high road and didn't get into it with the poor sports who were obviously ignoring the fact that the garage sale was a FUND RAISER!!! We let them leave without a comment and watched them drive away in the way more expensive than a year of college car. I suppose that they can afford the car for just that reason...they are willing to bargain down to the last 25 cents. Books...don't sell....used clothing sells, golf items flew off the shelves and shoes were a big hit...Chime in with your garage sale stories and let me know about your best bargain purchase.

Chickens are growing and our stealth technology is working...not a hint that we have been discovered by the neighborhood HOA