Since it is fall, I would like to share this favorite family recipe for an easy spice cake which is so delicious with tea as the weather cools. You don't need pumpkin to have spicy fall flavors! It has a delicate crumb, stays soft for several days, and can be frozen if necessary. And it's so easy to make! Ideal for the young baker/learner in your family. Perfect for taking to autumn picnics and potlucks.
This recipe is part of the collection in my cookbook in progress, coming in 2014.
Grandma's Spice Cake
3/4 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups flour (we use half wheat, half white)
1 1/2 cups raw or white sugar
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
Combine all ingredients except eggs in a medium mixing bowl, mix well. Add eggs, beat. Bake in a greased and floured 9 x 13 in. cake pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with slightly damp crumbs. Cool and frost with frosting of your choice.
my favorite time of year – hands down. Although I love aspects of
other seasons – the coziness of winter by the fire, and the glories
of the Advent season; the incredible regeneration of life in the
spring; summer's smells of curing hay and sun-warmed grass – I am
reminded every year why fall is my favorite season.
is at her best in the autumn. Once the humidity is gone and the sun is
still warm, it's a joy to watch the colors slowly come into the trees
fringing the pastures or on the blue sweeping line of mountain. I
love it when everything is still green and yet the goldenrod and wild asters
shout that “summer is over” along the hedgerows. L. M. Montgomery
calls wild asters, “farewell summers”, and I love that name for
them. (Incidentally, it's time to read the Pat of Silver Bush
By the time the asters are over, the tree colors come in earnest, although at different times. The maples can be still all green while the walnuts and cherries are completely bare already. But there's always lots of color.
Funny how dying life could be so splendid! Perhaps they know they'll
be back next year.
Fall is a feast for the senses. Nothing can equal the glory of
morning or evening sunlight streaming through crimson maple leaves in
air that makes everything seem 3D. The eyes are full of seeing and
the tongue with tasting. The riot of birdsong outside my bedroom
window in the morning will soon give place to silence over the cold
In our family, fall is time for...
...making applesauce! We have a family work day on a Saturday and do
a whole year's supply, with the help of a copper kettle. This year we
did over 130 quarts, plus 2 batches of apple butter!...
...photo shoots with friends...
...comfort foods like Pumpkin Soup – a yummy favorite in cold
...the last crocheting on the porch swing for the year...
...wearing sweaters again, and vintage gloves and hats...
...crystal clear days, still warm but crisp...
...and hearty breakfasts!
In the fall we...
...look forward to the fires we will enjoy...
...take our last summer rides...
...finish up building projects (see the chicken coop in progress on
...do up the last of our food storing for the winter ahead...
...and so do the porkers!
We look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners...
...while enjoying an incredibly beautiful world to do our daily work
...and basking in all the manifold blessings God has given us so
Lavender sachets may have a Victorian connotation, but they really are still quite practical. Used with your clothes, they leave a soft scent instead of a stale stored-too-long smell, and they keep away bugs or other pests from your sheets and linens.
But lavender itself has a medicinal quality. Lavender oil is the only essential oil you can rub undiluted on your skin. The scent can relieve headaches and calm nerves. My sister-in-law uses it to calm down a hysterical infant by rubbing lavender oil on the baby's wrists. It works!
I keep a lavender sachet in my pillow, and it helps me to sleep when I am restless or have a slight headache. Though there are many elaborate sachets to make, here's an easy one that is wonderful for using in pillows because it's flat and can be refilled when needed.
Just use a gauze gift bag (jewelry often comes in them) of any small size - I decorated mine, but that's not necessary - and put 1/8 cup dried lavender flowers in it. The flowers are cheap to buy bulk and the scent lasts much longer than using cotton with lavender oil drops on it. It's flat enough to slide in a pillow without making lumps, the ties stay shut securely, and when the flowers don't smell much, just give it a pinch to refresh the scent. The mesh bag allows more scent to get through than a muslin or lace bag; but it's fine enough of a weave to keep the broken petals from sifting through.
My sachet lavender lasted for months before I changed them out for fresh dried flowers - and it even went through the laundry accidentally twice!