Almost everyone loves a good carrot cake!

This one is from Ellise Pierce of The Cowgirl Chef.
I’ve been following and have been a fan of The Cowgirl Chef for years. So, when she posted this recipe, originally from 2012, on Facebook recently I had to try it.


Here is my finished cake, ready to take to a pot-luck dinner a few weeks ago. It was a hit!!

One fabulous carrot cake!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 cake
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 ¼ cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups of grated carrots
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two 9-inch pans with parchment paper and generously grease the sides with butter.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set this aside.
  3. Now you’re ready to make your cake. In your stand mixer or in a bowl, mix the oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs and beat for a couple of minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. While the motor’s running on low, add your flour mixture, carrots, and walnuts, and mix just until it comes together — don’t overmix.
  4. Pour into your pans, and bake for 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans.

Now for the frosting.

I strayed from Ellise’s original recipe and went over to Ina Garten’s
Ginger Marscapone Frosting

  • 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add the crystallized ginger and salt and beat for 30 seconds more.

I also “drizzled” more crystallized ginger on top.


As you can see, I used my trusty white cake stand. While it was just fine…I have my eye on this wonderful, colorful Bauer Pottery Cake Stand:


Now wouldn’t that be FABULOUS? Go to the Bauer Cake Stand page and tell us which color you would choose. Can you actually choose just one? I, of course, love this orange but would settle for almost any one at all.

On a housekeeping note: I will be in and out of the blog for the next month or so. It’s summer, so things slow down in the blog world. And, I have a major “renovation”  happening here! We’re working on a new format, colors, layout, sidebar etc. And you know that all takes time.
Thanks for your patience and continued support!




We inherited two Hydrangea macrophyllas when we bought our house.
Both had been here since the house was built in 1992 and were doing well. But, unfortunately for my taste, one was pink and the other white.
I longed for a true blue Hydrangea…you know, the kind you see by the dozen at the Jersey shore! I had never tried to grow one in the Hudson Valley as everyone said it was a losing battle. Hmmmm. I’m not too sure that was true.

Nevertheless, in my partly shaded courtyard I am the proud Mama to a pink and a white.

Do you know why they can be different colors? It depends on the pH of your soil: my soil is, obviously, high pH and thus has little or no aluminum. A soil with high amounts of aluminum (and low pH) will produce blue flowers.

This spring I decided to track my large, voluptuous, almost decadent, pink Hydrangea over time. Here are four time images:








I am thinking about trying to change the color to blue. Yes, it is easier, and possible , to change pink to blue and very difficult to do the reverse. But adding aluminum to the soil is tricky: too much and you risk burning the roots and you may get a year or two of some intermediate color. It might also be hard to maintain that blue depending on your natural soil. A container would be much easier to control, but this plant is huge so that is a no-go! There are many helpful articles out there, but take a look at this one.

I just found this picture taken when we bought the house in 2010! The plant looks just about the same only a bit larger now..

And, for the last two years I had NO FLOWERS AT ALL due to the cold winters. So last winter I covered the plants with a very light fabric for just that purpose. And it worked.


Here’s a shot I took this morning showing both original plants along the fence:


Tell us about your experiences with Hydrangea macrophyllas. Have you ever tried to change the color?





Let’s talk about summer tan, and legs, and color on those legs! If you are anything like me you avoid the sun. Ah, for the days of gorgeously tanned legs…been there, done that. But no more.
The solution:

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Lotion

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This is fabulous stuff and I highly recommend it.
I had used the spray for many years and was happy with it. But it DOES create a mess which you need to clean up right away. I ended up spraying one leg at a time over the bathtub.

The lotion is so much easier, can go in your carry-on suitcase, and spreads nicely. This lotion covers all those little spots, gives a nice healthy glow and smooths out your skin beautifully. No need to envy those with a tan anymore! No matter which you use, be sure to spread it around and on your legs with your hands. Work quickly. I blend into the top of my foot and onto my knee just a bit. I have even tried it on my arms and it works very well.

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Either way, it washes off easily with soap and water. You do have to be careful after applying to wait a while (15 min.) before putting on clothing. Or, white clothing. I have not had any problems with it rubbing off but you should be cautious. Really, it is a fabulous product.

I have also tried SO many self tanners. No, they are not for me. It takes numerous applications over many days to build up, then you have to maintain the regimen, and for me all those little brown spots were accentuated with the self tanner. My dermatologist DID tell me a trick: get a Q-tip with a bit of acetone nail polish remover and apply a bit to each spot. It works: removes the tanner from just that small area!

But the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs is the way to go. I use the Medium in the lotion but had been using the Deep Glow in the spray. Let us know what you think, whether you have tried this, or what recommendations you have!