Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hummingbirds, roses, and lemon cake!

We two "hungry travelers" took the road last night to visit my co-grandma Phyllis (not getting that?  Ask our mutual grandsons Blane and Miller!) and Ron at their home near Red Bud, Illinois.  It was a gorgeous - and COOL - evening, and their country home is a great place to sit outside and enjoy the hummingbirds, the flowers, the delicious smell of pork steaks slow-grilling, and a fun night of conversation!  

Phyllis has a knack for growing beautiful this John F. Kennedy hybrid tea rose, a star among her many roses... 
and several saucer-size hibiscus.

The secrets of their garden shed...I'm not sure what they are but the shed itself is as pretty as a flower!

Besides Ron's tender, thick and delicious pork steaks, we enjoyed potato salad and a wonderfully fresh tomato salad.  Phyllis shared the simple recipe secret...these fresh, beautiful, and tiny tomatoes, also from the back yard, cut in half with sliced red onions and marinated in Newman's Own Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette - that's IT!  I was intrigued by this tiny tomato on the vine before I even tasted the perfect-for-summer dish!  A little research tells me it's a 'pear tomato,' one of the oldest heirloom cherry-size tomatoes. 

Topping off the meal was Phyllis's also-perfect-for-summer cake, and I was thrilled; my mom used to make this cake.  I haven't had it in years!  It's a perfect solution when you need a no-fuss dessert.

Lemon Jello Cake

Dissolve 1 small box lemon jello in 1 cup hot water, and cool the mixture.  Combine 1 lemon cake mix, 3/4 cup cooking oil, 4 eggs, and 1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice - that's about 2 large or 3 small lemons - in a mixer bowl, and beat for about 1 1/2 minutes.  Fold in the cooled lemon jello, then bake in a greased and floured 9x13 pan - 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Now - QUICK - while the cake is still hot, prick it many times with a fork, and spread with a thin icing  mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar blended with 4 Tablespoons lemon juice.

It's fresh and delicious, and no surprise that it disappeared in a flash! (Note that the corner is cropped from this photo so you can't see how big my piece was...)

To think we almost went to a restaurant - this was SO much better.  Thanks, Phyllis and Ron, for being (and preparing) this week's blog subjects - it was a delightful and delicious evening!

Now...just give us a call and we'll be happy to come over and blog a meal at YOUR house....(*wink*)

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