Nearly every birthday my children had, especially as they grew older, they would request that their Great Aunt June Lamme would make them a chocolate Texas Sheet Cake. Yummy! I made it for the boys’ October birthdays this year (2019) for a small gathering at our traditional weiner roast birthday celebration.
Grandma’s Texas Sheet Cake
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb of soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring to boil: butter, water, and cocoa. Sift flour, sugar, soda, salt into a mixing bowl. Pour in boiled mixture and mix. Then add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour batter into a buttered 15″ x 12″ pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 18-20 minutes.
*i rarely have buttermilk on hand, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk and stir – wait 10 minutes and voila! buttermilk. OR i mix 1 tablespoon dried powdered buttermilk to 1/2 cup water.
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or 3 tablespoons cocoa)
Boil together all ingredients until soft boil stage, beat until cool. Frost cake.
Now, this recipe assumes you’ve cooked a bit, so be sure and stir often ingredients on the stove and don’t use high heat. Also, you may need to let the icing or the cake cool a bit before spreading the frosting or it could melt and slide off.
I rarely make or using icing anymore – we simply don’t need the extra calories and this cake is rich enough to go without. Dust a bit of powdered sugar on top and/or serve with ice cream or any favorite topping.
On September 6, 2019, my husband’s Aunt June turned 100 years old. She has outlived all her siblings now, yet she is not alone. We live very close by, though she is in a nursing home, and we pick her up for church, then she comes to our house afterwards for lunch with Allen’s 93 year old dad and we have a great time visiting and catching up with the news events of the community and family.
She also has nieces and nephews who adore her and stay as active as they can from a long distance. For her open house type birthday party we held for her, they came from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and far eastern Missouri. Over 80 people came to visit and she was animated and the life of the party. June thrives amongst people and activity and she was still talking about it when Allen arrived back to the nursing home with her about 10pm. Not surprisingly, she was so exhausted, that the next morning, she couldn’t be roused for church. What a wonderful and exciting day for her.
I decorated her home (where we held the party) with treasures she had from her past. Daughter, Jessica, before she left for teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam helped me with the travel display (June and her late husband, Bill, escorted tour groups all over the world from the late 70s through to early 90s (he passed away in fall of 1991), then she continued until she was 85!) and also found this lovely quilt pictured below. We were so excited! So i figured a way to display it for the party.
The quilt, as the sign says, was completed in 1946 and given to her and Bill as a wedding gift. It features all of the extension clubs in the county as of that time along with all the members’ signatures embroidered. What a thoughtful and clever gift. Only one person of those listed on the quilt is still alive – Martha Murrell – who now lives in the same nursing home as June and just across the hall from one another.
June Lamme has been so important in our lives and our children’s lives, we are thankful for the opportunity to support her now.
Cutting vegetables this morning for Jerry’s 90th Birthday bash/open house. Except for the parts that go onto the garden for composting (which was actually only the seeds, pith, and stems of the bell peppers), the rest of so-called waste is in this bag from 2 celery bunches, one cauliflower head, and two small broccoli heads. This stuff will make great soup stock and soup parts, or chopped up to combine with ground beef or lamb for lumpia filling. Absolutely nothing went into the bin.
The morning broke with a few overcast clouds, but we’ve learnt that in Scotland, the skies and weather change quickly. Sure enough, by the time we got around (Dunnottar Castle didn’t open until 10am), the sky was clearing and by early afternoon, we could not have asked for more perfect weather.
Today is Nathan’s 18th birthday and here he is, exactly where he wanted to be on this day and great day for his senior photos. We took a lot and a few turned out pretty good. Some fell through the cracks due to operator error (that’d be me) and for some the lighting was just not right. But we certainly could not have asked for a more unique and historical back drop.
So why Dunnottar Castle? Dunnottar is best known for hiding the Honours of Scotland and fending off Oliver Cromwell and his army during the 17th century. But, closer to home (which is really not very close at all), the castle was the seat of Earl Marischal up until the 18th century. My 13th great grandfather was William Keith Third Earl of Marischal, born at Dunnottar 24 July 1506, Kincardineshire, Scotland. His daughter was the grandmother to Alexander Falconer born in Halkertonne, Angus, Scotland about 1545. Falconers are a sept of the clan Keith and, although they share the Keith tartan pattern, Falconers do have their own Coat of Arms or family crest. The motto is: Vive Ut Vivas (Live that you may have life).
After extensively touring the castle grounds, we hiked the path along the North Sea coast and up the hill to the Stonehaven War Memorial with its stunning views of the harbor town of Stonehaven. By this time, we were maybe 25 minutes walk to to the harbor, so on we went. With the warm weather, despite being the off season, the streets were buzzing with people eating and drinking outside the hotels and restaurants enjoying the sunshine. We explored the area for a bit, bought some ice cream and headed back. All in all, about six miles of walking – some of it pretty strenuous, but most was easy to moderate. But there was no reason to hurry, so the pace was leisurely.