Monthly Archives: July 2016

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake


My big sister had a big birthday early this month.  I told her since it was such a milestone, we should have a big party.  She said she’d rather have a family reunion with relatives who live near enough by that they could come spend a few hours together on a Saturday.  I said ok and started making the plans.  She lives in the lovely town of Bardstown, Kentucky (learn a bit about Bardstown here) which is about 230 miles from Fort Wayne.  We held the reunion north of Fort Wayne in Kendallville at Bixler Park.  It was a wonderful day!  💜💜💜 There were children, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, babies and one great grandmother in attendance.  We ate, talked like it hadn’t been about 40 years since some of us had seen one another and laughed until our sides hurt.  One thing I brought away from the day is that life is too short to be away from each other that long ever again. Love you fam!!

One dessert I made was this pineapple upside down bundt cake.  I’d seen it all over the interwebs (original recipe here) and decided to try it with a couple Good Witch touches.  I started with a pineapple cake mix and ramped up the pineapple flavor by using the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple slices instead of water.  To me, all good PUD cakes have 3 things-pineapple, maraschino cherries and pecans.  The butter and brown sugar glaze that cools on the fruit and nuts is divine.  Baking it in the bundt pan makes for a dramatic and original presentation.  Put on your apron.  It’s cake time!

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

20 oz. can pineapple slices in juice not syrup (reserve juice)

1 jar maraschino cherries

16-20 pecan halves

1 box pineapple supreme cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup vegetable oil

milk, as needed when added to reserved pineapple juice to equal 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with non-stick pan spray with flour and set aside.  Melt the butter in a small pan.  Pour into the bundt pan and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar.  Set aside.  Place the pecan halves in a small skillet on medium heat and roast for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.  Set aside.  Cut pineapple slices in half and drain all the juice into a measuring cup.  Add enough milk to equal one cup.  Set aside.  Arrange the pineapple slices in each of the bundt pan’s grooves with the cut sides up. Place one maraschino cherry and one pecan half (flat side up) between each pineapple slice. Set aside. Pour the cake mix and pudding mix into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the eggs, oil and juice/milk mixture to the bowl. Mix with an electric hand mixer on low for about 30 seconds to combine. Turn speed up to medium high for 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides if the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure there’s no dry mix remaining. Pour carefully over the prepared Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes (mine took more like 50-55 minutes but each oven bakes differently) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge and center. Turn the cake over onto the wire rack leaving the pan on so that the glaze can set for 10 minutes. Remove pan and allow to cool completely. Or serve still slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,




“Cooked to death” green beans 


Once you try them you’ll know the name of these green beans is deceiving. They aren’t really cooked to death. More like cooked to life.  My green-eyed Irish guy and vegetables are not friends. He will grudgingly eat green beans, hiding them in the main course. Not these. He ate all of them before he ate his au gratin potatoes and ham.  He even said they were the best he’d ever had and asked why he didn’t try them before. I’m trying to pull him to the green side.  The resistance is great within this one. They’re super simple to make and only 5 ingredients including a secret ingredient. That secret is…bacon grease. Remember I always tell you to save that bacon grease and the brown bits in the bottom of the pan when you’re finished frying bacon. It is a flavor enhancer extraordinaire. Put that brown gold into a closed container and store it in the fridge. You won’t regret it. If you’d like you can also throw a ham hock or ham bone into the beans for flavor. Before serving, pull the meat from the bone and stir in. 

“Cooked to death” green beans

1 lb. fresh green beans

2 Tablespoons bacon grease (with brown bits in it)

2 Tablespoons finely diced onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2-3/4 cup water

Wash the beans thoroughly. Cut off the ends. Cut or snap into bite sized pieces. Set aside. Heat the bacon grease in a medium sized pan on medium heat until hot. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the green beans. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Taste to see if you need to adjust the salt and pepper. Enjoy! 

Wishing you love, laughter and cake,