Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dante's Ultimate Carrot Cake for his Birthday

Ultimate Carrot Cake

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist carrot cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1 container Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting

1. Heat oven to 350F or 325F for dark or non-stick pans. Wait patiently for the light to go off before you begin mixing. You want those oven walls hot and ready. Grease and flour (or spray with baking spray with flour) bottoms only of cake pans. I'm lazy and use a Bundt pan, but you can use what pleases you.
2. Put raisins in water in a microwave safe container and nuke for 1-2 minutes until water is very hot. Set aside to allow raisins to plump, then separate. Save the water and raisins separately. You'll need both.
3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add cake mix, raisin water (1/2 cup only), oil, and pineapple. Add in nuts, coconut, and raisins. Stir to combine. Get out the major lumps, but don't over beat. Do not wait! Pop it directly in the hot oven, or the nuts, raisins, and coconut will settle in the bottom and burn. Bake 30-45 minutes. A Bundt takes about 40, cake pans less. Cool at least ten minutes. Remove onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, at least one hour. (I usually just leave the cake in the Bundt pan and wander off for an hour. Then I can thump it once onto a serving platter and it pops out nicely.)
4. If you like frosting, go for it. I don't like a lot. I take a small amount, nuke it for about 10-15 seconds, then drizzle over the cake for a pretty look. Allow it to cool a bit.

Tip: Use the electric knife to cut the cake, if you have good blades for it. Smile and laugh maniacally. Not only is it fun, it scares people. They leave, and you get the whole thing to yourself.

If you want the original recipe, it's on the box of the carrot cake mix. It may even be on

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Six Pies Later...

Whew!! Six pies later, while the pumpkin pies do their hour in the oven, my daughter Susan and I can finally sit down to a cup of tea and a bit of a rest. We've done our best with two pumpkin pies, one Impossible Hot Toddy Pie, one Mincemeat Pie, one Pumpkin Cheesecake, and one Apple Pie, ready to go after the pumpkins. Then I'll make an Impossible Cheesecake with Sour Cream Sauce to keep masculine fingers out of the pies for tonight. Well, at least until we can safely cool our hard-earned efforts and stow them out of sight! LOL!
Susan wisely put the roast in the slow cooker, so dinner's an easy side dish or two away. The cooler for brining the turkey tomorrow has been cleaned and bleached until it's gleaming white. I mixed the brine's dry ingredients last week, and the vegetable broth we made over the weekend now chills in the spare refrigerator right next to the balls of homemade Parker House roll dough.
The Rum Bread, Banana Breads, and a few other things now reside safely hidden in the deep freezer, well-wrapped in foil and marked "Liver" and "Chicken Gizzards." That oughta keep the boys out of there. LOL!
Tomorrow's a busy day! We have the last day of preparation cleaning and the side dishes to make. Wouldn't you know I found a sale on rutabaga today? I may just make up some, if I can find room in that poor refrigerator.
Y'all have a happy holiday if you're American, and if you're not, bear with us. We'll be back in a day or two.
Hugs and Much Love! 

Lena Austin

Writing blog:

Recipe and Pagan blog:

Low Carb Diet blog:


Egg Nog-- The Ultimate (Raw Egg Recipe)

Warning!! This is a raw egg recipe. If you're in the least bit nervous, I suggest you hunt up and buy pateurized eggs or use the pasteurized egg products in cartons such as Egg Beaters and Egg Whites. I personally do not use alcohol in my choice of libations, but others do, so I offer some alternatives.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Squash Soup Two Ways

I chose to include both squash soups, though I personally prefer the one in the inset portion. It's a little creamier. However, both soups are excellent, and I urge you to try them both before making a decision.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Black and White Snowballs PLUS More Recipes

Here in hot Florida, a cool light dessert is needed even at the holidays. I've made the Ice Cream Sandwich Cake and the Black and White Snowballs. They're delicious!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

E-Piracy Reprise

Today I just learned I have lost close to $1000 in royalties thanks to pirates in the past two weeks. That's my mortgage payment on our house. My husband was out of work for six months, until recently. We swallowed our pride, borrowed, held garage sales, and wept futile tears until a miracle occurred and my aging husband was able to find a job. Now we're struggling to catch up against mounting late fees and penalties. That $1000 would have given us a much-needed break, but thanks to e-pirates who claim to be my fans, I'm worrying and wringing my hands as the end of the month approaches.

Sharon Marie Bidwell wrote this back in July. I can't say it any better. The highlights are my own emphasis.

To the person who left me a comment...
…saying they may look like spam but assuring me their comment wasn’t, your site looks like…well, spam. You say you’re not a publisher and yet you’re making money selling free ebooks? This is an oxymoron. If you are selling books they’re not ‘free’. Secondly, you say you’re not a writer so where are you getting these books from? Are you selling other people’s free ebooks? If you’re doing so without their permission you are in violation of copyright law. If you are buying ebooks and selling them on, you are in violation of copyright law. On both counts, I advise you to read the statement that runs in my side bar. If you are doing something else, which I don’t understand, my apologies, but no, I’m not going to download your report file from a site that says very little. For all I know it could be a virus. I’d advise everyone else not to do so either. This isn’t personal. I’m just being sensibly cautious. Sorry.
Look, copyright law on ebooks is simple. You cannot copy, distribute, resell or loan an ebook. Saying that, most of us wouldn’t object if we heard you’ve made yourself a back-up copy purely for your own personal use. We live in a wonderful age of technology but technology fails us from time to time. We hear you’re selling our work and we’ll come down on you like the proverbial ton of bricks. Writers and publishers are getting better at locating piracy sites and law enforcement is finally taking it seriously.
The most common question we hear is “If I can resell or loan a printed book, why can’t I as a reader resell or loan ebooks?” To be honest, even the reselling or lending of some printed books is a grey area. However, it tends to be overlooked because of several reasons.
Most people hate the idea of printed books being destroyed. If you’re finished with them and cannot pass them on in some way they are only good for recycling.
When a printed book is passed on, someone may find an author they like and start buying new books by that author on a regular basis. It’s sort of free-advertising and yes, one could argue this would apply to ebooks but there’s a major difference and reason why this doesn’t work so read on.
Many second-hand books are sold for charity purposes.
You are giving up your physical edition of the book and will no longer own it.
Point 4 is the major one. When you give, sell, or loan a printed book you give away the item you purchased. Even when loaning it, you risk not getting it back. You are not making a ‘physical copy’ of that book to pass it on.
When you pass an ebook on (and some people do this in innocence not piracy but they are still in the wrong) the reader tends to ‘keep’ their version and simply send the file on, thereby making a ‘copy’. I can assure you that this is just as illegal in printed works.
Imagine you took one of Stephen King’s novels, dissected it, scanned it in, printed it up either by POD (good luck — they would spot what you are doing in a flash), or via the printer at home, and tried to give it away, sell it, or hand to a friend. Should SK find out do you think he wouldn’t sue your arse off? Oh yes, he would!
The point is you are not allowed to make a ‘copy’ of any written work be it printed or electronic. You may (usually) print off an electronic book with the purpose of reading it in that form should you not wish to read on screen, but that printed form is subject to the same laws. You may not sell it, or pass it on. If you wish to pass on an ebook the only viable way to do this is buy an extra copy, and what’s so wrong with that? We all have people to buy presents for.
Oh…and to those who think they can file share their ebook library, has nothing I’ve stated sunk in? Besides, you are NOT a library and did you know that even if you were there is such a thing as the ‘public lending right’? This means that an author can, if they wish, claim a small payment every time a library lends one of their books. So next time you choose to file share, don’t be surprised should you receive a letter from the authors asking for an audit of the number of ‘loans’ and demanding payment from you!
You are not a publisher and the author has not signed a contract with you. You do not have the right to sell.
You are not an official state library. You do not have the right to loan (and let’s be honest — loan in electronic format means copy and give away).
You are not friends with thousands of strangers online that you simply ‘must’ lend your books to (and we’ve already established that you are not lending but copying) and authors and publishers will not turn their back on you ‘giving’ their work away.
I’m not speaking to those who are deliberately committing an act of piracy. They know they are breaking the law, damaging authors and the publishing industry, and they just don’t care. The most we can do is assure them that while there will always be crooks there will always be those willing to fight them. I’m speaking mainly to those that do this in innocence, not understanding that they are doing anything wrong. You claim to love us as writers. You claim to love our work. We do work — hard — at this. Most of us have day jobs, families, lives just like you. We have to find time to write on top of all that. We often forsake sleep. Many don’t make as much money as you think and even if we did, haven’t we ‘earned’ it? You love our characters, our worlds, our stories. You claim to love our work and even to love us. Why do something fundamentally harmful to someone or something you love?
Did you know there are pirate copies of the “I Do” anthology out there? A book I took part in for charity. The thought that people can be so low as to steal from charity has made some of us authors want to puke. If you’re doing this in innocence or not, rest assured, we’re very upset with you.

Lena again__ I personally know three authors who have been forced to stop writing BECAUSE of e-pirates. The authors could not sell enough works legitimately through royalty-paying services to justify remaining writers. One now works as a waitress because it's the only job she could find and she still earns more in one night than she did in any given month as a published author.

I would love to find some super-geek who'd write me a worm that I could upload into and all the other e-pirate sites. When I see notes in the Comments sections under my books that ask not only for my entire book list but also for information on how not to get busted, I know these folks aren't innocently sharing. They know they're committing a crime and they don't care. They deserve to have a worm destroy their system, steal their identities and all the money in their bank accounts, then pass it on to the poor authors and artists they've ruined.

Merry Friggin' Christmas.

Snowball Cookies

When I was a young nerdy seventeen year old, a family friend tasted my snowball cookies and absconded with an entire tin of them. His wife reported that he sat down in his recliner with a huge glass of milk and proceeded to literally make himself sick eating every last one. I've been making them every year since for the past (mumble-thirty-three--mumble) years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Humor: Best Positions in Bed









Bacon and Sage Butter Turkey

Originally, we lost this recipe in a move. Then along comes Google and we found it again! Saved, thanks to the internet. This has been our favorite for twenty years, and we see no reason to change.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turkey Brine from Alton Brown and Good Eats

You can use the whole recipe, but we just just the brining part. Tomorrow, I'll post the Bacon and Sage Butter Turkey recipe we've not changed in almost 20 years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pan Gravy Plus

Now, notice I suggest a specific flour called Wondra. There's a reason! Wondra is made for gravy! It's worth the time and trouble to hunt for that bright blue can.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting the Thanksgiving Menu Organized

I don't know about my non-US friends, but here in the US Thanksgiving is a huge feast usually spent with friends and family. Today, my daughter Susan and I went to the NAS Jax base commissary and spent $40 more than usual just for this one day's feast. This isn't including other purchases made here and there as I found a good deal, such as the jars of mincemeat found this past summer.

This year, Susan and I wised up and sorted the food reserved for the feast into paper grocery bags and put the traditional recipes with the non-perishable foodstuffs. We also took the time to measure out a few ingredients into zip-topped bags labeled with the recipe they belong to, such as the coconut, brown sugar, etc for the Praline Yams are now all ready in one zip-topped bag awaiting the day I assemble the dish. Same goes for the salt, sugar, and spices for the brine of the turkey. All labeled and ready for the day when all four of us pile into my tiny "two butt" kitchen and try to be helpful. LOL!

Four brown paper bags now sit in a line out in the Florida room-- Entree and stuffing, Sides, Desserts, Bread/Appetizers/Beverages. On the 21st, we'll pull out the ingredients to make the Cranberry Sauce and begin polishing the silver.

Hmm. Maybe I'd better schedule myself a manicure for the 25th. LOL!

Fudge Cake

Pay attention to the subsitution of cocoa and oil for the squares of chocolate, unless you like making work for yourself.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Praline Yams

This recipe has been in my stash for the past twenty-plus years. I got it off a can of yams, and it's been the best recipe I've found to date. If you serve a lot of folks with a sweet tooth, double or triple this. You've been warned.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do You See A Motorcycle??


Do you see the motorcycle?

Now do you see it?

The Honda crotch rocket
rider was traveling at approximately 85 mph. The VW driver was talking on a cell phone when she pulled out from a side street, apparently not seeing the motorcycle. The riders reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 20 feet from where the collision took place.

All three involved (two in the car and the bike rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Motorcycle Fair by the Police and Road Safety Department.

Pass this on to car drivers or soon to be new drivers, or new motorcycle owners


A picture is worth a thousand words.

Wake up people , Stop talking on Cell phones and

Texting while trying to drive. Put your Cell phone

in the back seat !!!




Old-Fashioned Mashed Potatoes Plus

How many of you really know how to make old fashioned Mashed Potatoes and Gravy without using a box of flakes? Come on, give this a try. Your mouth will thank you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Glazed Nuts

Nothing like these to keep the men's greedy paws out of my kitchen!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dinner Rolls (Including Parker House Rolls)

For Selena—How to Make Parker House Rolls and MORE. The brown and serve version of a Parker House roll was one of the reasons my DH got on his knees in the kitchen and proposed to me.


Dinner Rolls Part 1.JPG

Dinner Rolls Part 2.JPG



Lena Austin

Phoenix Rising BANNER


Welcome to my Blog!

Thanks for popping by! Don't sit on the whipping horse unless you want to find out how it's used. I speak my mind and annoy many people, but all of it is meant in good spirit. Feel free to argue with me. I like it.

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