I've got my vintage apron on, yummy smells filling the house from the oven and the laundry is hung out to dry - bedding actually, so tonight the blankets and pillow cases will have that sweet, fresh dried-in-the-cold-air-and-sunshine smell.
So today is my first...
...and our recipe today is
Grandma Porter's Crumb Cake.
So first I'll give you the recipe as written, followed by some of my "tweaks".
Now this grandma didn't mind taking a little shortcut by using prepared cake mix, and that's just fine with me. There are times we all need that, so thanks to Grandma Porter for letting us know not EVERYTHING has to be made from scratch!!
Crumb Cake from the Kitchen of Grandma Porter
1 Package yellow cake mix - prepare according to instructions and pour into buttered and floured 10" X 15" jelly roll pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 min.
While cake is cooling, blend topping ingredients in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
confectioners sugar (to sprinkle on top)
Place mixture on hot cake and return to oven for additional 10 minutes.
Remove cake from oven and cool.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
**I used a 12" X 9" pan because the jelly roll pan just looked too shallow to me and I wanted the crumbs to be thicker and not spread out too much.
**The cake mix I used was Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix.
**When blending the toppings, I made sure my butter was nice and cold, and I chopped it up into smaller pieces before adding it to the other topping ingredients. I used unsalted butter, but added a dash of salt to the mixture. I used my hands to blend the topping so I would get a nice crumby texture.
**After baking the topping for 10 minutes, I decided I wanted it a little more golden brown, so I put it back in for an additional 4 minutes.
**I added a dash more vanilla and a dash more cinnamon - just because.
The luscious smells coming out of your oven will attract people from blocks away, so be prepared!
This is good.
This is soooooooo Good.
Do yourselves a favor and have a Big Hunk of this cake while it is still warm-ish.
Today I went to the mall, which I haven't done in a very long time. Probably the last time was a year and a half ago. But since I am looking to buy a new iMac for my new blondie blu office, I thought I would go browsing at the Apple Store.
Hence, the mall.
But lo and behold, I discovered the mall has changed quite a bit since the last time I was there. There are several new shops that made me squeal with delight.
Once upon a time, I had Vintage Recipe Thursdays on my blog. On Thursdays I would post a recipe from one of my vintage cookbooks, and I would cook it up with step by step instructions. I would also tweak the recipes a bit to fit today's kind of cooking - maybe some lower fat substitutions or some extra ingredients that I thought would make it a little better, but I would always include the original recipe the way it was first published.
And it was fun.
And I wound up cooking some yummy things that I and my family quite enjoyed.
But something was missing.
Firstly, it was hard to always have it ready to post each and every Thursday. Sometimes by the time I was able to cook, the lighting was not the way it should have been for pictures in my one window kitchen. Or I was missing ingredients because I did not properly plan ahead and write down what I needed before I went shopping at the market - like I know I should have done because my 40-something, post-kid brain does not have the memory it once had. And etc., etc.
And secondly, but most important of all, something didn't feel right.
Oh yes, I enjoyed searching through my old cookbooks with their colorful graphics and sometimes frightening recipes (prune whip with Jello, creamed salmon with beets). And I still loved my vintage cookbooks.
But it didn't feel personal and special enough. I didn't feel the love.
And now, by George, I think I've got it!
Very often at Estate Sales, I come across a treasured recipe box containing a lifetime collection of handwritten recipes on index cards, together with newspaper clippings and recipes cut out of magazines. I always happily take these home with me.
These are the recipes that touch me.
These are the recipes that I can picture being served at family gatherings and holidays with great love and affection.
These are what was missing.
I read through these treasure boxes with great respect. I would be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear or two when I read some of the names... "Lillian's Spritz Cookies", "Grandma Pat's Apple Strudel", "Aunt Flora's Cherry Mash". I think of the friends and family that contributed to this loving collection. And then I think of my own family and the loved ones who are no longer here.
There are personal notes included in the recipes... "Don't over mix!", "Make sure flour is unsifted", "This is Dad's favorite".
How could I not love these? This is the "special" I was looking for.
So... two things. Vintage Recipe Thursday is officially retired. I will not put the pressure of promising a recipe every Thursday if I cannot deliver. There, that makes life easier, doesn't it?
AND, the recipes I share and cook will be from my loving collection of handwritten recipes.
So much sweeter, I think.
Starting soon, I will have a new feature on my blog...
Vintage Handwritten Recipes from the Heart
And I will post them every few weeks or so, or maybe even every week when I am able. I'll cook them up and share it step by step.
Look for the first one in a few weeks!!
Oh, and I cannot leave without sharing a little spring dreaming from Ollie...
Wings are growing here. Spring is in the air, and although we have a forecast for snow tomorrow night, we are feeling optimistic.
I am working on my Etsy listings while listening to Motown on Pandora. The back door is propped open. The sun is shining in and a warmish breeze is blowing. Gretel is ecstatic with the open door and has gone in and out into the backyard too many times to count, poking her head inside now and then to make sure I am still here and that there aren't any tasty tidbits floating around that she should know about.
As excited as I am about the arrival of spring, I am also quite OK with a little more snow one more time. I don't mind being warm and cozy inside while the cold wind and white stuff whips through the air outside, making me feel extra grateful to be warm, secure and loved.
I also wouldn't mind another day of school being closed. Another bonus day of having My Girl home with me so we can make macaroni art and snuggle and watch The Smurf Movie for the 128th time.
But at the same time, I am excited about spring. Excited about new beginnings and new possibilities.
My little Blondie Blu office will be up and running in April, and this is the lovely place in which it will be.
I am over the moon happy about The Little Spot That Will Be All Mine. There is something to be said for working at home, and I will still have my sewing studio there. But it is also nice to have a place away from home, out and about, that will give me a fresh perspective and a clean slate to start from. I will be working on a different Blondie Blu project there, and I think it will be the perfect spot to do so.
At home, I have begun spring cleaning and spring brightening...
...while still making sure my snow shovel is near.