Apricot Nectar Cake

Because I was indulging my wild-child hippie flower power tendencies (i.e. doing a ton of cleaning out of flower beds and digging-in-the-dirt planting) for the past four days, I have neglected to blog. Truth of the matter is, you can’t blog if you’re not cooking and can’t cook if you’re outside dirt digging all day long until twilight falls! I am so happy to be back at it today and even happier to introduce you to this delicious, easy-breezy, apricot nectar cake!

The recipe came to me from BFF Susan who received it from her sister-in-law, Vikki. You can also bake this using mango nectar and I make sure to keep several cans of both nectars on my pantry shelves so that I can bake this cake in a jiffy when I need something quick but delicious. I find the nectar at Walmart in the canned juices aisle.

You will have this batter mixed and breathing in the bowl in under 10 minutes. I do beat the eggs separately because the one time I didn’t, the cake wasn’t nearly as light in texture. Some recipes call for using a yellow cake mix for this one, but I love the hint of lemon that the Duncan Hines Supreme Cake Mix offers in this recipe. You also might want to zest up a teaspoon of lemon peel and add that to either the batter or the glaze. The lemon flavor adds a great zing to the apricot or mango flavors. The cake is beautiful baked in a Bundt pan sprinkled with finely-sifted powdered sugar. Today I baked this exactly as found in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook.

You just can’t get too fruity for spring time! Offer those around your table a taste of robust apricots or tropical mangoes then just sit back and accept your compliments!  Guaranteed you will have many!

Apricot Nectar Cake


1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup apricot nectar (found at Walmart in the canned juices section)
3/4 cup cooking oil
4 eggs, beaten separately

Directions Preheat oven to 325. In large bowl, mix first four ingredients with electric mixer on medium for approximately two minutes. Scrape batter from sides of bowl with spatula as you mix. In separate small bowl, beat the eggs with mixer then gently fold into the batter. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and dry. Poke holes in cake with the tines of a fork and pour hot glaze over cake.

2/3 cup powdered sugar
Remainder of the can of nectar
1 T. butter

Directions In medium saucepan, combine ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Cook just until smooth and the powdered sugar is dissolved. Take cake out of oven and poke holes in hot cake with a fork then pour glaze into a measuring cup and slowly pour over cake. Make glaze a few minutes before cake is out of oven. Let cake cool then invert onto your serving platter and dust lightly with powdered sugar.

The BEST Raspberry Bread



I wanted “something raspberry” with the small pack of berries I bought Thursday, and a quick late night Google search brought this recipe up immediately. I used it exactly as I found it on Averiecooks.com blog page except using less raspberries than called for and adding chopped pecans to the batter. Moist and dense, this sweet bread is just Plain ‘Ole Raspberry Perfection! Right here! Make it early in the day and let it mellow before slicing if you can wait. It’s only going to taste even better!

I used fresh berries as recommended; they are available now in my local market and frozen berries do produce extra juice, not needed here. It’s always so exciting spotting those first shelves of fresh berries in the produce aisle, and if I had 12-oz of berries I would definitely use them. Omit the nuts if you wish; I like them for the texture they bring and they make up for using less fruit. The batter is rich with buttermilk, oil, and melted butter; don’t over stir it; it is lumpy and shouldn’t be smooth. The fats added lightness to the batter and it slid right from the bowl under its own steam into the loaf pan. Those fats also guarantee a dense moist bread, bursting with flavorful tang of buttermilk and melted butter. The brown sugar casts a lovely golden color and adds sweetness.

I did bake the bread for 55 minutes today as it was still wet at 45 minutes. I turned the oven off then and let the bread sit in the oven 5 more minutes. It browned nicely and dropped easily from the pan after it cooling 20 minutes. A small knife run around the sides of the pan will loosen the bread perfectly and it drops right from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack with bread wrapped in lightly in foil. A dollop of Cool Whip on each slice will be extra good tonight!

I followed the directions as given but rewrote them using my words and my results today. I couldn’t agree more with Averie that this is the BEST raspberry bread around! At my house, today, at least! It won’t last until tomorrow because it was made for sharing, but if there are leftovers, wrap slices in foil and store in an airtight bag. This will be even better the next day, guaranteed! I have no idea what’s for supper but, with a glass of cold milk, following half a day of water sloshing all-out cleaning on the front porch, i found that two slices of this raspberry bread made a wonderful late lunch. Hey, now, it’s Spring! Get Raspberries! Be Delighted!

The BEST Raspberry Bread


2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 to 12 ounces raspberries, about 2 cups (today, 6 oz.)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, add the flour, the brown and white sugars, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine; set aside.

Melt the butter. Allow butter to cool slightly then add the egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla. Whisk well.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined; don’t over mix. Batter will be somewhat lumpy; don’t try to stir the lumps smooth or bread will be tough; set aside.

In a medium bowl, add raspberries and 2 tablespoons flour; toss lightly to combine. Add the floured raspberries to the batter nad fold in, along with the pecans, if using, very lightly to combine. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and distributing batter well in pan.

NOTE: Recipe recommends if using frozen berries, bake for 1 hr 17 minutes. Tent foil over the pan after 30 minutes. Today, using fresh berries, I baked it for 55 minutes, with foil tented over it at 30 minutes) then turned the oven off and let it sit for five more minutes. Test the batter after 45 minutes and adjust. Bread is done when the top springs back and a tooth pick inserted has no batter on it. Allow bread to cool in pan for 20 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Beef & Broccoli

I needed to make a trip to the Pacific Rim Market for long rice, kamaboko, somen noodles, short-grain rice, good shoyu, ajinomoto, and a tin of savory curry powder and accomplished that yesterday then didn’t use any of that when making Beef & Broccoli today! No matter, this ono (good tasting!) dish was a popular and quick-selling daily special at my Kete-Yama’s Café on Maui. Thin strips of marinated flank steak with crisp-tender broccoli spears bound in a chicken broth and cornstarch based gravy, served over white rice, this dish is sure to please any palate.

Believe me when I say it’s a quick prep; I wouldn’t have the energy to make it tonight if it wasn’t quick to come together because I spent four hours planting in my flower beds just before coming into the house to have a shower and get my cooking hat on.  You can clean, trim, and slice the broccoli (I always include some of the broccoli stems, sliced thinly, for crunch) while the steak marinates.   Parboil the broccoli and drain and you are just 10 minutes from supper! Have your rice steaming while the meat marinates also, using short-grain rice if you have it for easier soaking up of the thin gravy, and grab pass out the hashi (chopsticks) and you’re ready to enjoy!  Use good (and pricey! sorry!) flank steak for the best results.  You’ll be so glad you did!

Beef & Broccoli


2 T. shoyu (soy sauce)
4 T. oyster sauce
1 lb. flank steak, sliced thinly
1 lb. fresh broccoli
2 slices fresh ginger, crushed and sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T. cornstarch


Directions In large bowl, mix shoyu and oyster sauce; add sliced meat and marinate for 15-20 minutes. Clean and chop broccoli and add to a pot of boiling water. Parboil for 2 minutes and rinse quickly under cold water; drain and set aside. Heat skillet and add 2 T. cooking oil. Add ginger and garlic to hot oil and cook about 30 seconds. Add and sautéed beef and stir until slightly cooked. Add broccoli and the chicken broth; toss and stir well. Dissolve cornstarch in 2-3 T. water; make a well in the center of skillet and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir until thickened. Serve with hot white rice.

Chicken & Dressing Again

Unwilling to waste 3/4 pan of good cornbread, and having a stewed chicken, bones shredded of meat, and a gallon of homemade chicken broth in my fridge meant mixing together a casserole dish of Chicken & Dressing for supper tonight.  I was also cleaning my house for three hours, Chicken & Dressing stewing on my back burner, and on each pass through the kitchen on my way to the back porch, I added another ingredient to my counter top and that is how this dish came together this evening. I adjusted the recipe to my ingredients on hand, and their amounts, from the recipe of the same name found in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook so it is a different recipe altogether. I also used a 2-qt. baking dish, not the larger dish in my cookbook’s recipe.  This is the second time I’ve posted a chicken-n-dressing recipe on my blog, and I made the dish the same  I always do, but since it is also what I cooked today, a smaller version, using ingredients I had leftover or just on hand, this ample dish is worthy of another blog post.  Chicken & Dressing is a dish that easily adjusts to your ingredients and your taste so nothing hard about it.

Day-old cornbread is an essential ingredient here as is the chicken, the chicken broth, and the boiled eggs. I love the addition of the soft celery and chopped onion which add strong flavor. Make sure you really smoosh everything together before scraping into your baking dish. The batter will be wet; that’s fine. Because my chicken had been in the fridge for several days, I simmered it again in its leftover chicken broth before beginning. There’s nothing special called for in this recipe; just make sure you have what you need and get going. Bake the dressing just long enough for a light brown crust to form at the edges, leaving the center moist and creamy.

I like this dish cut in squares and some times served with chicken gravy over the top. Add a salad or steamed-crisp broccoli on the side and you can dig right in within an hour and a half from Step 1. I wish I had my hands on a side dish of the large pot of ham-n-beans I cooked a few days ago but that went to KY and it’s now history, but because beans really are a perfect accompaniment to this dish, tonight i added a side of jazzed-up canned beans on the side and was happy with the substitution.  It’s a supper worthy to be used as a reward for all the hard-at-it housecleaning I did today.  I like, I like!


1 whole chicken, pieces cooked, cooled, deboned, shredded
1-2 stalks celery, sliced in large pieces
3/4 pan prepared cornbread, cooled and crumbled
3 eggs, boiled, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups homemade chicken broth (or 1-2 cans chicken broth)
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Poultry seasoning to taste, optional

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Cook chicken breasts in water and the canned chicken broth (add 1-2 cubes of chicken bouillon if desired), with celery, until tender. Do not over cook or the chicken will get hard. When tender, drain. When cool, shred the chicken and coarsely chop the celery. Combine with other ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir to blend all ingredients; mixture will be a little wet. Scrape into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until set. Cool slightly then cut into squares to serve.

Raisin Nut Pie

Raisin Nut Pie 3

I found this recipe in mama’s recipe box, written in pencil, on a yellowed index card, and memories flooded back as I remembered eating this delightful pie at the Barker house next door while a kid in Marble Hill.  Bernie Barker’s recipe for Raisin Nut Pie will delight you too if you are a raisin and nut lover especially.  The recipe is also found in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook.

My prep time today was less than an hour and that included rolling out my homemade crust.  Separate the eggs, the egg whites beaten slightly then added to the pie filling right before baking.  Be sure you fold in the egg whites, not stirring, but folding, taking care to leave them as light and fluffy as possible.  I used pecans today but walnuts are also great in this pie.  I also used golden raisins rather than dark raisins; either works fine.

This old recipe is often referred to as a “funeral” pie and I do turn to it often when I need something for bereavement dinners at church. You will have the ingredients on hand most likely and perhaps that is why it is such a popular pie here in southern Missouri when you need to prepare something quickly to carry in somewhere.

No matter your reason for preparing this old stand-by, you will be glad you did.  Serve it up slightly warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy the smiles around the table.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 T. vinegar
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins
1 9” unbaked pastry shell

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Add nuts and raisins. In separate bowl, beat egg whites slightly, and fold into first mixture. Stir well to blend all ingredients. Pour in unbaked pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes and allow to cool before cutting.  This is good served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.