About Anita

Tomato Soup Mystery Cake Now Pumpkin SpicE

Spice CakeThis was Marc’s choice for a birthday cake … The Mystery Cake for the mystery man.

I have tested alternatives to the main ingredient, canned tomato soup. With this recipe I substituted pumpkin with terrific results. The idea of pumpkin puree just sounds better for several reasons.

The cake is called a mystery because of the hidden tomato soup ingredient that cannot be detected in the flavor of the cake. As for the pumpkin substitution, it is hard to determine if the spices used take the palate to a pumpkin place as in pumpkin pie.

Continue reading

Seared Pork Chops Dinner Recipes

Side of Cheese Potatoes

Side of Sautéed Green beans

Seared Pork Chops

This Pork Chops Recipe will quickly become a family favorite. A great treat anytime. Impress guests too! The addition of apples gives a nice presentation and adds just the right amount of sweetness.

Everyone will feel special at the dinner table with this Pork Chops Dinner. Enjoy!

Continue reading

A Pleasant Outdoor Lunch At Watson’s

Small City Big Eats

Thank you Watson’s!

I was a road warrior for some years and the one big plus was seeing the United States. Okay, sometimes I just saw the inside of the airport! Being away from home was lonely but more than that uneventful … although bombarded by enormous amounts of work which sometimes softened the blow of boredom but more likely just increased cardiac risk. On these overnighters I found myself looking for special restaurants to make my travel more memorable … Family owned to quaint, famous to fabulous, regional food to ethnic food. Some parts of the country, this was hard to find.

A road warrior would be pleasantly surprised by Visalia. We have restaurants with big city sophistication, with healthy options, with diversity. We just have amazing eateries. Watson’s is one.

Small City Big Eats!

A Cake To Drizzle Or Not

Chardonnay Cake With Buttercream or Citrus Drizzle


This is a rich tasting but light in texture yellow cake … A cake I made for my daughter’s birthday today. I have added just a touch of drizzle … But did not pour a chardonnay glaze over the cake as in the original recipe.

I’m not sure who to give the credit to for this recipe. It was given to me many years ago but I fail to remember the details. With a little research I have found it has been recorded by Cindi Leive, 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.

Changes have been made to the glaze only. I like to make all cakes from scratch. So, with this recipe I experimented with replacing the vanilla pudding with ingredients like extra eggs and cream for the whole milk with disasterous results. I did a little research here but all the suggestions were very chancy. Dry whipped topping was suggested, too. But if using this topping I might as well use the pudding mix as in the original.

Try this Chardonnay Cake with Buttercream or Citrus Drizzle! After all it has been recommended as 1 in 100 recipes women should know! That says something, doesn’t it?

Continue reading

My Brother’s Recipe

Portuguese Linguica Sausage

A Family Recipe

Portuguese Linguica Sausage, A Family Recipe

Yep, this is my brother, Dan, who was one tough high school and college football player … even playing for the Arkansas Razorback Team way back when.

He has mastered the taste of Portuguese cuisine, notably from the Azores. Never being timid about spices … this being taught by our Grandmother Rose. Cumin and cinnamon are of particular importance.

Dan and his son, David, are the cooks in his family. Well, wife, Ruth, can certainly hold her own but she leaves this cuisine to Dan. Thank you Dan and David for including us and providing the photography. Dan has promised to send me some linguica soon.

Continue reading

Moist and Chewy

Molasses Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, Vegan or Not

Molasses Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

This is a cookie my daughter would appreciate … The nutritional value is not outweighed by the calories. This is now a family recipe but the origin is unclear. I am going to give a vegan version; and then again with the changes that created this taller, less molasses tasting cookie with cranberries instead of raisins. Did you know almost all brown sugar we use for baking is stripped to white and then the molasses is added back? So, in reality we are more or less doing that here. This is a great breakfast on the run, Hint of Molasses Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, Vegan or Not!

Continue reading

A Last Minute Get together

Antipasto for the Last day of summer

Bruschetta with wine can be dinner. This took some rethinking on my part. In fact, I had to develop a taste for raw tomatoes, specifically Roma. Roma tomatoes are mild in flavor and the texture is firm. These facts made this easy. My taste for wine had not fully developed either. This was Ed’s favorite meal. The recipe is one he put together many years ago.

Continue reading

Delicious, rich, cinnamon Spicy

cinnamon cocoa Sheet Cake

Cinnamon Cocoa Sheet Cake

This rich cake is a favorite of Aubree’s. Dressing up a sheet cake is difficult because the batter is very rich and meant to be baked in a thin layer. But if it is a special birthday what do you do? I have layered this cake … Not so pretty. Here I used a 12 section quiche pan with 12 false bottoms. And at the end of baking I had twelve blobs of very cooked batter at the bottom of the oven. Small cupcakes did pretty well. So, this is what I suggest for a birthday if this is the favorite cake, a tower of cupcakes. This recipe will make 24 small cupcakes.

Continue reading

Another family recipe

Cheese Enchiladas and Beans

Enchiladas and Beans

My first taste of enchilada came early. Estrada’s Spanish Kitchen was a family owned restaurant in Visalia established long before my parents were born. It was fine dining … Frequented for forty some odd years by our family.

The old Victorian house on Main Street was a business on the first floor and a family home on the second. It was our family’s favorite place to eat especially Christmas Eve … Forty six years in a row according to my brother. As a kid it seemed to take forever for the food to be served. I amused myself when very young … touching the sides of our table’s enormous wax covered wine bottle that was providing more temptation than candle light … seeing coins embedded in the wax … digging…. It was hard to resist. And I was disciplined each visit. My brother, more self disciplined, just explored the upstairs bathroom, the only one available. But I bet he was really looking for Susie.

I have tried to recreate the tastes of Estrada’s dishes without much success. A friend married into this restaurant  family not too long ago, and had mentioned the recipes were definitely a family secret. Yes, I asked. He said, I could give you the recipes but then I would have to kill you. Of course he was kidding! Do I have to even say that? There were about a half dozen of these Estrada’s restaurants throughout California owned by the same family. Only one now exists … Daly City. I want to check it out. Maybe I can talk my brother into meeting me there.

Continue reading