Table Top Dining
Sandy Willoughby

"Americans are just beginning to regard food the way the French always have. Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. Dinner is the evening."  ~ Art Buchwald

I miss our table!
Gathering together in one place and having a level spot to put our dining ware just hums comfort. My husband finished the corner bench we wanted but the table is more complicated (he's using a few different woods) so we are bringing our old table back in until he gets it done. The table we are bringing in is one my parents gave us 10 years ago. One week end...for a surprise... he refinished the entire thing and it was beautiful!

I ruined a spot on it by placing a very hot cast iron skillet on it and there are assorted dents and scratches but it is still quite pretty. It will once again hold up our meal dishes, hold our coffees and teas, and provide an easy place for the kids to do artwork, school, and puzzles. I'm looking forward to polishing it up and getting back into our family table groove:)

We ate dinner at our friend's house (they live one house down from us) and it was so nice to dine at their table. My friend and I both spent a great portion of the day cooking and we ended up with a casual feast! The foods didn't line up with my diet plan but we are making what abundance we can from the pantry and I had to make do with what we had.

I simmered an old fashioned vegetable soup just as my mom has done for years. This one had tomato juice, two cans of premium cut tomatoes, bags of frozen vegetables, hominy, great Northern beans, and more. While the soup simmered on the stove, I started grinding Kamut grain for the bread loaves and soft white wheat for the cakes. While the dough was resting for five minutes, I started one of the cakes and finished the cake when the dough was kneading. While the dough was formed and in pans for rising, I baked one cake and started the other. By the time it was done, a bundt cake baked with the bread loaves and the other cake cooled on the counter!

My friend had crockpot beef stew, Sante Fe cornbread, tossed salad, fried green tomatoes, an orange chocolate chip bread, and banana pudding from scratch. She pulled out her glass cake stands, served the stew from the crockpot, and had everything ready when we arrived.

Dinners at the family table just mean more, don't they? Everyone is gathered in one spot and food is all grouped together to make room for the plates and cups. I have loved this for as long as I can remember...

Re 3:20
Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

See how special a shared dinner can be? Even the Bible tells us that if we hear the voice of the Lord and open our door... He will come in to us and have dinner with us and us with Him!

Preparing dinner should usually begin in some way or another at the beginning of our days. Some things can be started to simmer, heat, or thaw throughout the day and planning it makes a much more relaxing process. When things are handled in a wise manner we have more energy to prepare for our guests!

“There is no sight on Earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves.”
~ Thomas Wolfe

I'm now in a hurry but I'll share the recipes I used in the dinner I told you about at the start of this letter.

Buttery Cinnamon Cake
Submitted by: Leta Harris
This cake is the best cinnamon cake I have ever made. Every time I serve it, the compliments never end. Serve it warm, about 45 minutes out of the oven, for an even greater pleasure.
Servings: 14

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used freshly milled soft wheat flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and lightly flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat shortening, 1 1/3 cups white sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute after each egg. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Remove cake from pan while it is still warm, and poke holes around the top of the cake with a fork. Pour the warm cinnamon syrup into the holes and onto the top and sides of the cake.
4. To Make Cinnamon Syrup: In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar, butter, water, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Heat and stir until butter melts.

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To view this recipe's nutrition facts, read reviews from other homecooks, change the number of servings or create a personal shopping list, visit:
http://cake.allrecipes.com/az/ButteryCnnmnCke.asp?tsrc=ef


One Minute Cake Tried and True

1 c. sugar
1 c. flour (I used freshly milled soft wheat flour)
2 t. baking powder (I used Rumford's )
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla

Topping:
3/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)
1/3 c. butter
3 T. milk
1/4 t. salt

Mix cake ingredients. pour into 8" greased pan. Bake at 375 for 20 min.
Cook the topping ingredients till butter is melted. Spoon over hot cake.
Bake 10 min. at 400 till golden. Serve warm or cold.

Shared by my dear friend, Crystal:
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com
cookbook and ebooks

Love,
Sandy

Sandy Willoughby 2004

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