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April 27, 2016

Mom's Spiced Peaches

My most fragrant memory of cloves comes from my mom's Spiced Peaches.  This is one of the dishes she would make for special formal occasions, usually in the spring or summer.  She'd always use peach halves, and often serve it over vanilla bean ice cream.  The recipe came from the Betty Crocker cook book she'd gotten as a wedding present. 

I'm active again in Toastmasters, and we've started a rotation of snacks to bring to our meeting.  Our group is filled with health-conscious people, so I was trying to think of something not boring, but different than chocolatey baked goods.  I'd just come across this recipe when I visited my folks recently, so I thought it would be fun to try my hand at making mom's peaches.

Since you can use canned fruit for this recipe, and most of the ingredients are common pantry items, I thought this would be a pretty economical treat too.  I did triple the recipe to fit the size of our group, using two cans of sliced peaches and a can of pear halves that I had on hand.  Because of that, I ended up using a whole bottle of cinnamon sticks, so I ended up spending a good ten bucks on this dish - not quite as economical as I'd thought.  But it's a pretty presentation, and I think the group will enjoy the surprise.

Betty Crocker's Spiced Peaches

Mix 1 Cup vinegar, 1 Cup honey, 3 whole cloves, and 3 sticks cinnamon in a saucepan.  Heat to a simmer.  Add 6 cups canned peach halves.  Cool.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Drain.  Serve fruit with some of the liquid over it.  *My mom's tip was to use the juice from the canned fruit in the recipe as well. 

What are your favorite light snacks to bring to a group event?  Please leave a comment on my blog.  I'd love to hear from you!

April 25, 2016

Loveless Cafe's Root Beer Float Cake

I had the opportunity to visit my folks this spring when traveling for work.  We haven't done much exploring on my visits since they moved to the area, so when the idea of going out to eat came up, I pushed for something truly "Nashville."  My dad suggested the Loveless Cafe.  It was about an hour away from their home in Gallatin, TN and the drive was lovely.  There are woods everywhere in Nashville, and the trees are not the kind I'm familiar with in Los Angeles.  The Loveless was appropriately busy, so we had time to wander their gift shops on the property, and take our picture behind a funny backdrop frame.  The cafe has a picture window on the area where the biscuit maker lies out the fluffy wonders on big sheet pans dozens at a time.  We so stuffed ourselves on brunch we didn't have room to sample their famous cobblers and baked goods.

I visited right around Easter, and was looking for a treat to bake on my day off.  Rummaging through my mom's cookbooks, I came across a recipe book titled "Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe."  Flipping through, the Root Beer Float Cake jumped out at me.  My dad's father had run a Pepsi plant and distributorship when I was growing up, so I thought it would be fun to bake with soda pop.  And I love bundt cakes.

The Root Beer Cake was so flavorful I didn't bother to glaze it.  I served it with a vanilla bean ice cream instead, and finished the cake before I ran out of ice cream.  

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