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February 19, 2013

Chic Knits Knitting Blog

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the Homely Home Part 5: Holiday without the Crazy December 29, 2012


Chic Knits Dump Cake   Chic Knits Dump Cake   Chic Knits Dump Cake   Chic Knits Dump Cake   Chic Knits Dump Cake

I really, really, like The Holidays!

Even though it can be a time fraught with emotions and expectations, those same hopes make for positively Maximum Enjoyment on some more earthy fronts.

Like eating special Holdiay Food…

This year, I dedided to go with what I enjoyed best, and for loooow stress, what was easiest.

The dinner was basic: spiral ham, sweet potatoes with butter, green beans with a little vinegar and freshly ground black pepper, and some sourdough bread (and, heh, more butter).

But, since this is a Festival(!) there had to be some sweets there somewhere.

And while doing something completely unreleate, I found a simple, homely home solution: DUMP CAKE.

This was something that was just totally intriguing from the get go: one pan, one can, more butter, NUTS, and ice cream. (Lots of inspiration here: 30 Delicious Dump Cake Recipes.)


You will need:

- 1 – 8×8" inch cake pan

– 1 (16 ounce) cans peach slices (I used lite syrup)

– 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix (used only 1/2)

– 1/2 cup nuts of choice (I used PECANS!)

– about 1/2 cup butter

– ground cinnamon

1. Grease your baking pan with a little butter.
2. Empty peaches into the bottom of greased baking pan.
3. Sprinkle peaches with cinnamon to taste.
4. Cover with 1/2 of the dry cake mix and distribute evenly.
5. Sprinkle with nuts.
6. Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of cake mix.
7. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 45 minutes. (Test with a toothpick for doneness).

Serve plain or with some lovely vanilla Ice Cream!


If you want to make a bigger cake, use 2-cans of peaches & all of the cake mix, etc.

Unbelievably good! And you can make variations of this to infinity – you just substitute different fillings, nuts, etc and WOW!

PORTLAND SIDEBAR: one of my favorite things about settling into my new city has been discovering all the different grocery brands that are out there! Notice the awesome ice cream container (which had some pretty delish vanilla ice cream inside)…

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the Homely Home Part 4: the Smell of Baking Bread December 18, 2012


Chic Knits Bread   Chic Knits Bread   Chic Knits Bread   Chic Knits Bread  

One of my favorite stories from the 20th Century was actually about a time long ago – a time not even in our own historic annals, but one in the realm of fantasy.

The author? John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who, as you might know, created one of the richest, most intriguing landscapes ever in his lovely, lush books.

The place I dream of the most?

The House of Elrond: the Last Homely House, east of the Sea, in Rivendell.

I’ve “borrowed” this eponym for my house in SE Portland: the Homely Home. It’s also east of the sea and I’m having a wonderful time settling in.

Brushing off one of my long-lost skills has been great fun!

On last writing, the "feeding" of the sourdough starter was done; it was nice and ready – bubbly & tasty.

So, off to the mixing bowl it went using this recipe.

Now, I have to admit, I am Very Rusty – no mad skillz here! I was just trying to get in touch with my memories from way back and just went with the flow.

Remembering the way the dough handled, its texture, the steps…

I followed my instincts and as you can see in the steps above I ended up with a: LOAF!

Now, I must say, there’s great satisfaction here (and it is yummy…) but I actually can’t wait to make it again.

While the bread was baking, I went in search of my Christmas ornaments. I say in search, because there is still much mystery in the boxes around here, many of which I did not pack myself. While digging in a box marked "Knitting Books" I found my cookbooks, including my beloved natty ratty decades old JOY OF COOKING.

So with a cuppa tea, I sat down and de-briefed my baking skills using the chapter on making bread in the Joy.

Looking (& slicing) the first edition, I see where I can make some real improvements.

- use less flour (my dough was too stiff and not elastic enough). Remember: the recipe usually tells you to add in increments for a reason. :)

- knead just until you get a nice elasticity and smoothness

- [investigate how to] prepare the loaf for the last rising (I did this really weirdly)

- don’t let it raise too much! I think my loaf was a little flat but I can also see the dip in the raw loaf pan shot.

But let me end by saying the Homely Home smelled so wonderful and eating the warm bread with a piece of really dark chocolate might’ve been one of my most favorite moments ever…

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