Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, to the man in the kilt!

My father, Calvin C. Boykin, Jr.
March 1, 1924 - October 23, 2008

This photograph was taken in Scotland during WW II. My dad loved this picture, but was always embarrassed that he didn't have the right shoes... his military boots were all that he had. He loved, loved, loved bagpipe music, so when he passed away I made sure that we had a "bagpiper" at the funeral.
Here is my dad's traditional birthday cake recipe below. It is delicious and so moist.

Daddy’s Chocolate Potato Cake

2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
4 eggs
2 c. flour
4 Tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp. each ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
1 c. hot mashed potatoes (not instant)
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream 2 c. sugar with 1 c. shortening. Add 4 egg yolks and cream well. Sift together: flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add alternately the milk to creamed mixture along with hot mashed potatoes. Fold in 4 stiffly beaten egg whites, pecans, and vanilla. Grease 3 round cake tins and line with wax paper. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

1 box powdered sugar
½ c. butter
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp. cocoa
5 Tbsp. hot coffee

Beat sugar, butter, egg yolk and cocoa together and then add hot coffee.

P.S. -- My father grew up in West Texas, so even he called his father "Daddy" until the day he died. Me too! What do you call your father?

Update: Today as I prepared this cake I was just about to slip this into my nice and hot 350 degree oven when the power went out. Yikes!! I waited and waited... no power. I ended up calling a friend and I rushed my cake over to her house where she had her oven ready for me to slide in the cake. And by the way... I used an oblong Corningware casserole dish. Thank goodness I wasn't juggling three round cake tins. I am preparing this for a gathering of some of our church members at a friend's home on Monday night. Hopefully I will remember to take a picture of this cake ... and hopefully it will be suitable for posting. (I just keep wondering if those whipped egg whites were ruined by the delay in baking...) Wish me luck!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Kitchen Kiskadee

The Great Kiskadee

This commercial photograph of a Kiskadee does not do justice to my Kiskadee who appears at my kitchen window every morning that the sun is shining. He is larger and sleeker than this particular one. He is also very vocal. I wonder sometimes if he is alerting his friends, announcing to them that the fence is his and he dares any of his feathered friends to just try to perch on his territory. He might also be letting me know that the bird feeder is empty and it's time to make a trip to HEB for more off-brand wild bird seed. Thank goodness "my" Kiskadee is not such a gourmet and settles for a grocery store variety of seed. On a typical day there will be five to six of his friends on my patio, but I'm pretty sure I know "my friend" by his incessant sounds. He does brighten my day though with his beautiful colors. My camera is broken and I've yet to get a new one, but when I do... my Kiskadee will be one of the first pictures you will see here at Ladybug Creek.

I might also add that this is one of the benefits of living in the Rio Grande Valley of deep south Texas... just in case you want to look up where Kiskadees can be found.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Asking blogland friends for prayers....

Our dear and close friend, Neal, had a heart attack almost six weeks ago and has been in a coma ever since. He was without oxygen for approximately twenty minutes, so there was considerable brain damage. We went by the hospital today, as we've done nearly every day since this happened, mainly to offer support to his wife, one of my dearest friends. The doctors have concluded that it will not be long now and Neal's battle will be over. He is an amazing man who is a strong Christian, loves his family, his country and his friends. Please keep him in your prayers and pray that his passing be peaceful. He is only 59 years old and had so much more in his life to accomplish. Thank you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Apple core.. Baltimore!" - Two great apple cakes to try

My dear friend, Laura (White Spray Paint), who I am fortunate to have as my "sugar-borrowing" neighbor has requested that I post this Fresh Apple Cake recipe from the cookbook my cousin and I compiled in 1988. Actually there are two apple cake recipes so since I am having one of those sleepless nights I will post both recipes... so here goes:

Fresh Apple Cake

1 1/4 c. oil
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. apples (about 5), diced and peeled
1 c. chopped nuts
1 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients. Batter will be very thick. Pour into greased and floured tube, bundt (lol... now remember "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding"!) or 9"x13" pan. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granualted sugar
1/8 c. milk

Bring to boil for 2 - 3 minutes. Add and beat:
1 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat until thick and add

1 c. chopped nuts

Spread  on cooled cake. If bundt or tube cake just pour on top and let spread naturally. Can double topping for heavier, thicker frosting.

My cousin, Norma Jean, got this recipe from our Italian aunt. She writes, "It's a wonderful, heavy cake and can be used as a coffee cake with or without the icing."

Apple Cake

1 1/4 c. Wesson Oil
2 eggs
3 c. flour, sifted twice
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix all of the above. It will make a stiff batter.


3 Delicious apples, diced
1 1/3 c. nuts, chopped

Buttermilk Icing:

1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. oleo
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. white Karo
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix and boil for 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 over cake while hot in pan. Take out of pan and pour the rest over the bottom of the cake with a pastry brush. Cover well and cake will stay moist for days.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Foodie Friday, so... "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?"

"Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?"
by Marcelle Bienvenu

This will cookbook will go down as one of my all-time, most favorite, A+ cookbooks in the whole wide world! Not only is it chock full of some of the tastiest recipes you will ever want to try, it also is a pictorial history of Ms. Bienvenu, that also includes heart-warming family stories. It's just the greatest! And, yes, you should hunt this cookbook down for your cookbook collection. I picked it up on a trip to New Orleans years ago... so I hope it is still available.
I must though share with you THE best barbecued shrimp recipe that I have ever tasted. Everyone I have ever prepared this for has claimed it is the best. My family considers it a super family favorite. Bibs are required. So here goes...

Barbecued Shrimp
Serves 4

6 lbs. large shrimp, heads on (Don't peel them.)
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
Juice of three lemons
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used fresh)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (or more, according to taste)
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon oregano leaves

Rinse the shrimp in cool water and drain. Spread the shrimp in a large shallow baking pan (I use a large cookie sheet with a lip).
In a saucepan, melt butter, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Pour sauce over shrimp and marinate for 1 hour.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Stir a couple of times with a spatula. Do not overcook.
Serve in a soup bowl with lots of French bread to sop up the sauce. Be sure to have some trays around on which to put shells and such.
Be forewarned -- this can only be eaten with your hands!
(I think I've already posted this recipe before... which gives you a clue as to how good this is!)

Check this out for food and fun!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, David!

Happy Birthday, David!!

My husband turns 62 on February 16th...
not that I am trying to rub it in... after all... I beat him
by almost six months. I know, I "robbed the cradle" but he was
 just too cute and sweet to pass up.
David, you still are!

The picture at the top was taken this past summer.
Our wedding took place on the Texas A&M University campus
in the chapel just days after graduation and commissioning
into the U.S. Air Force.
David was in the military for four years and then farmed
with his family until almost five years ago when we
started our own farming operation in Mexico. 

Life is good - three sons, two daughters-in-law and two grandchildren!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - "Love Will Keep Us Alive"

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm not a huge RED type person, but ever since I stuck my neck out at Christmas with three lamps with red lamp shades I've had such a good time with this color... to the point that I am actually thinking of using a little throughout my house. Notice my white poinsettia still hanging in there? Can't believe I haven't killed it yet.
Yesterday I bought this little white ceramic cake stand at my favorite antique store (in the whole wide world) and finally had a place to display the glass hearts that I bought in Tlaquepaque, Mexico.
Dinner with friends we don't see often will be a fun way to spend Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do you like MacKenzie-Childs?


My husband has a "thing" for MacKenzie-Childs! Isn't that wild? I know... lucky me. Except, I don't use any of these colors hardly... maybe the green, but really none of the others. I was in a real dither about how to display this platter he bought for me for my birthday. Then my sister-in-law gave me the Courtly Check pieces for a combination Christmas/new kitchen gift. Again... lucky me... but I truly was lucky this time as it helped me figure out what to do. I purchased the mug to bring the checks and and the colors together. Little by little I will start bringing this set together. The checks saved the day!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday is for Mother - my parents with the queen

My parents and the queen

My father spent four years in Lesotho, Africa, a kingdom in Africa around the early 1990's. He was there to advise the government of Lesotho ways to use their land and water. My mother did quite a bit of volunteer work there, especially with a local orphanage. One problem at the orphanage was not enough protein or meat for the children. My mother put her thinking cap on and came up with the idea of a rabbit project. Right! What breeds faster than rabbits? So, a few rabbits were purchased and rabbits were grown for eating purposes. The project was a huge success and the queen of Lesotho was so impressed she had many compliments for my mother. This was one of her favorite moments living in Africa. My mother and the queen acutally became good friends!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Life is grand at Las Islas Ranch

Sunset at Las Islas Ranch

Today we are driving out to the deer lease. The hunting season is over, but now it is time to fill feeders and do some clean up and repairs. The men will organize early in the morning and drive out. They'll be gone for about three or four hours and be hungry, dirty and tired when they come in. The ladies will congregate at someone's deer lease "mansion"... camper, cabin or duplex, which is what we have. We'll enjoy an old movie and lots of visiting. It's a great place to relax. In the evening we'll grill steaks and there will be more visiting. It's going to be great! I'll catch up with everyone on Monday.
Have a wonderful weekend, my blogger friends!

Friday is for Father

My father is the man on top of this armored car

In my father's book he writes, "This was taken during the Ardennas Offensive, and a few days after our withdrawal from St. Vith on the night of December 23, 1944. The crew of Pregi, Boykin, Hansen, and Powers lost their M-8 that night. So this must be the replacement M-8 to 1st Section 2d Platoon RCN CO, and the replacement crew, for Powers was transferred to Headquarters Plt., Pregi became 2d platoon sergeant, and Hansen became RCN CO radio man. As I remember, 2d Platoon was the first of RCN CO to begin taking on missions after the 23d December. The .30 cal machine gun mounted on the turret in the photograph is one I don't remember. This is the only doubt I have in my assessment of this."

This stated since some of you might be interested in this sort of thing (what a far cry from recipes and home decorating!) my father was a military historican, particularly for the 7th Armored Division. His stories were amazing. Most were recounted in his book Gare La Bete, published in 1995 and unfortunately out of print.

My parents - Rosemary and Cal

Fortunately my father survived a brutal war and married my mother. Many years passed before my father was willing to talk about his war experiences, but when he began talking and writing about the war, he revealed much of what made up his character - a love for life, adventure and he looked forward to every day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

T(h)una for Thursday!

Tuna with Apple Salad

I use 2 x-large cans of the very, very best Star Kist White Albacore Chunk Tuna, canned in spring water. Do not use cheap tuna. Drain excess liquid from tuna using a colander. Separate chunks with a fork and then squeeze the juice of a fresh lime (or two) over the tuna. Stir lightly with the fork. Allow to set while preparing the remaining mixture. In a medium size mixing bowl add 3 large, diced hard boiled eggs, 1 diced apple with peeling, about a 1/4 c. chopped green onion with their blades, 1/4 c. Vlasic Dill pickle relish, 1 Tbsp. drained minced pimento and mix gently. Add 1 c. or a little more of Hellman's mayonnaise. Add seeded and minced fresh jalapenos, if desired. Combine all ingredients together and chill. This is the yummiest tuna-apple salad I've ever eaten!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Peacock Mystery

Have you seen these peacocks before?

I truly have a "thing" for these peacocks. They rested on my mother's fireplace mantel for years. I can't believe I never asked her about them... and now it is too late. These past several months I have seen them appear in two other blogs. One blog is Lazy Peacock where her one is painted white. The other blog is Three Hermanas. In my photograph there is the one pose. In Three Hermanas there is this pose and then another one. (If you are checking out this blog it is shown in "older posts") I had originally thought that these had just been casually bought and my mother had placed them on her mantel. Some time back I was going through old photos of my grandmother's home and there the peacocks were... on her mantel! If anyone knows anything about these peacocks I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Salsa Mexicana at Ruby Tuesday!

Salsa Mexicana aka Pico de Gallo

This was the Salsa Mexicana we enjoyed at the beach at Las Hamacas Restaurant at Boca de Pascuales, Mexico this past week. In deep south Texas we call this pico de gallo... but in Mexico, if you order this you may get a fruit salad and then again.. they may not know what you are talking about at all. Pico de gallo translated means rooster's beak.

My recipe for Salsa Mexicana
Red, red, red tomatoes, diced
Yellow onion, diced
Seranno chili cut in half length-wise, seeds and membrane removed and then minced. (If you rub your eyes after that, you are in some trouble. So be aware that you are working with a "dangerous" substance!)
Cilantro, chopped... no stems, please
Squeeze a good amount of fresh lime over the mixture
Sprinkle with sea salt
   Add chopped avocado to this and it is even yummier. Many people add minced garlic and a little olive oil.
There are many recipes for this but this is the basic one. And it's so healthy!

Enjoy the wonderful Ruby Tuesday postings at

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goats galore!

We took the grandkiddies to meet the "kids"... goats at one of our farms in Mexico. They love them. Carmen eagerly waded through the goats, picking up a baby one to show her little brother. "Pops" explained to young David how this was a little boy like him. David didn't know quite what to think at first, but Carmen eagerly got the knack of making friends. Later she was able to help with feeding the mamas. It was a fun day for us as we had started the afternoon off with lunch at the beach.