Buttons and Bows Cherry Pound Cake!

This cake is so cute and is just perfect for Easter with it's pretty pastel colors.  It would also be great for a shower or a girly girl birthday celebration.   Even though it looks time consuming, it's really very easy to decorate.  Anyone can do it.  
The cake itself is absolutely delicious.  It reminds me a lot of a cherry flavored Kentucky Butter Cake with cream cheese frosting. If you are a pound cake lover, this will be a cake you will love!  This recipe was adapted from a recipe that was printed way back in 1998 in a Southern Living 20th Anniversary edition cookbook.    Here is what you will need:
1 cup butter, softened
1/ 2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 (10 oz.) jar of maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
3  3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
Cream Cheese Frosting
1  (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1  (16 oz.) box of powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
Garnishes:  1 pkg. melt-away mints, bow, silk flower
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer until it's creamy.  Add in sugar and beat 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and continue beating.  Stir in the almond flavoring, vanilla flavoring, and the cherries.
Combine the flour and salt.  Add to the butter mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.   Mix after each addition, just enough to blend the ingredients. 
Pour the mixture into a well greased and floured tube pan.  You can use the nonstick spray that has flour in it also. 
Bake in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours.   A pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Ovens vary in temperature, but from my experience this cake usually takes the full 2 hours.  Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the cream cheese frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until it's creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and vanilla beating until it's light and fluffy. 

After the cake is frosted, place the melt-away mints evenly dotting it all over top and sides.   We used the Smooth and Melty Petite Mints by the Guittard Chocolate Company.   Most candy sections in the stores carry them.   Add a pretty bow that coordinates with the colors of the mints and a silk flower to the center.  That's it!  Wasn't that easy?   
Buttons and Bows Cherry Pound Cake!

Traditional Southern Macaroni and Cheese!

I had a shocking revelation about macaroni and cheese about a year ago.  I was talking to a woman I worked with at the time and she was telling me about her mother's macaroni and cheese and that she always made the cheese sauce and put it in the casserole and baked it.  I guess I looked at her like she had horns or something, because she went on to say, "you know nobody does that anymore...bakes it in the oven and all of that".   Then I went on to say that I  still did.  I thought everybody did. She said no you don't, nobody does that anymore.    Did I mention that this woman didn't really like me and this might have been the longest conversation we ever had and it was going downhill  I once again told her that I did bake my mac and cheese in the oven and I even put eggs in it.  Her final words to me on this subject were that I was a little different and everyone knew it.  Okay, I see how this is going now. 

So I replayed this conversation to my mother, because I knew I would get my idea that people still make macaroni and cheese the proper way reinforced.  However, when I told her what was said, she said nobody does that anymore.  Does what?  Nobody makes a sauce and bakes it in the oven and all of that she said.  WHAT?  She goes on to tell me that she stopped doing that when the grandchildren were little, because they liked it just as well made on the stove and served right from the pan.  THE GRANDCHILDREN!  They were children.  What did they know about the future of the traditional macaroni and cheese?   How had I missed the fact that my own mother had stopped doing it the right way? The youngest grandchildren are a set of twins that are 19 years old!   This travesty of the mac and cheese has been going on for over 20 years right in my own family and I didn't notice?     I told my mother that Paula Deen still makes her macaroni and cheese the right way.  She said,  'you do know that is just a tv show, right'?  So I said, 'Well, why do I still make mine this way?'   My mother said, well you are a little different.  Are we seeing a trend here?  lol  I do tend to get a little passionate about my causes I guess...oh, well!

Different or not, I am on a mission to get people to make the macaroni and cheese the way it is supposed to be made.  No blue box, no dump the stuff in the pot on the stove and eat it...but make it the dish it should be.  The dish your grandmother made or your great- aunt or even Paula Deen on the show. It's really not a hard thing to make and the results are well worth it.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups elbow macaroni (or penne), milk, half and half, salt, pepper, butter, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Velveeta cheese, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper,  garlic powder and flour.

Boil the macaroni in salted water for the time it says on the box and drain.  Some recipes say to rinse it off, I don't do this.  I think it removes the flavor.  Also don't under cook it because if you do the macaroni will soak up all of your sauce and you will end up with dry mac and cheese.

Put the macaroni back in the pan with 1 Tbs of butter and let it melt and coat the macaroni.

Now we make a cheese sauce which I like to do in the microwave.  It is much easier to do and doesn't stick or burn.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave and then add 1/4 cup of flour to that.  Blend the flour into the butter with a whisk and microwave for about 30 seconds. 

 Add 1 cup half and half, 2 cups milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce.  Whisk well and microwave for about 3 - 4 minutes.  Whisk again to remove any lumps and then add 8 oz. of Velveeta cheese.   Microwave for 2-3 more minutes until the cheese is melted and whisk again until smooth. 

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl.

Put the macaroni in the cheese sauce and gently mix, then pour the eggs in and mix.  Make sure the cheese sauce and pasta are not too hot or it will scramble your eggs.  If it is still hot, you can temper your eggs by adding a little of the hot cheese sauce a spoonful at a time to the eggs and mixing to bring them up to temperature.  After you mix, pour 1/2  into a 2 quart casserole dish you have sprayed well with cooking spray.

Lay about 3-4 slices of Swiss cheese on this layer and then cover with 1 cup cheddar cheese.  Pour the other half over this and lay 3-4 slices of Swiss cheese over and the other 1 cup cheddar on top.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until it is bubbly and just starting to brown on top.

This sort of results in the best of both worlds of macaroni and's creamy and custard -like because of the addition of the eggs.  That is southern macaroni and cheese!


2 cups elbow macaroni or penne
1 cup half and half
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) plus 1 Tbs.
1/4 cup flour
8 oz. Velveeta cheese ( you can use American, but nothing beats Velveeta in this)
2 eggs, beaten
about 4-6 slices Swiss cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (may sound strange but it adds a hint of flavor)

Pork & White Bean Stew!

This is a delicious stew with tender chunks of pork and white beans.  It has a little spice to it, but you can adjust that to your families taste.  This is one of those stews you simmer all afternoon to get the best results.  It smells so good cooking.   Make some Cornbread Hoe Cakes or Aunt Vel's Sour Cream Cornbread to go with the stew and you have a wonderful meal! 

 Here is what you will need:

1  1/2 to 2 lbs boneless pork loin, cubed (could use pork loin chops)
1/4 vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbs. bacon drippings
black pepper
seasoned salt
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 lb. navy or great northern beans
2 quarts water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (10 oz.) can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, brown the cubed pork in the oil and the bacon drippings.   The bacon drippings give it a really good flavor, but you can leave it out and it's still good.  Sprinkle the meat with salt, black pepper and seasoned salt to your taste.  When the meat is starting to brown, add the onion and celery and just cook them a little with the meat, just until they are starting to get tender. Add the garlic right at the end of the browning so it doesn't burn.

Wash and pick through the beans.   Add the beans and all of the rest of the ingredients except the parsley to the pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to medium low, cover and simmer for about three to four hours.   Check for water once every hour or so.   It might need a little added as it cooks.  It should be fairly thick when it's done.    Also taste the last hour to check the seasoning.  You might need to add salt,  but I didn't, because I had seasoned the meat fairly liberally.   It's done when the beans are nice and soft.  White beans do not take quite as much time as something like pintos.  I used navy beans and they cook fairly quickly.  Mine was done in 3 hours, once the beans were added.

 Stir in the fresh parsley right before serving!  Fry some cornbread, pour the sweet tea and enjoy!


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