Is it spring?

Wow! Didn’t the month of February fly by? Of course, it being three days shorter than most months, could have something to do with it, couldn’t? The weather can’t seem to make up its mind as to what season it is. Our mornings are cool enough for a sweater or light jacket and by noon, you’re shedding layers. The morning fog is sometimes stupendous, when you get up in the morning and can’t see your car, that is parked less than fifty feet from the house, you have a fog! It is not an unusual occurrence for me to be unable to see my brother’s house (across a hay field) in a fog, but usually I can at least see an outline, but not some recent mornings. With another three weeks (officially) of winter to go, we still have the chance of colder, damp, messy weather. The first day of spring is not until the 21st of March, and I have seen it freeze well into March. It doesn’t matter that trees are leafing out. It has been in the 60s each morning for several days and my elm and Arizona ash trees are beginning to sprout leaves already and I noticed, on the way home from church this morning that the blue bonnets were thick in several places. It amazed me that San Antonio made it completely through Stock Show time without rain or freezing weather, this is very unusual. I’ll believe spring is here when I see the first Scissortail Fly Catcher. That is what Mr. Alfred Brieden told me was the real harbinger of spring, not pecan trees or mesquite trees leafing out!
When is the last time, or have you ever baked a cake from ‘scratch’? When I was growing up, cake mixes didn’t exist. All cakes were baked from ‘scratch’, meaning that you got out a mixing bowl, a big spoon to mix the cake batter with and your ingredients. Until after the years following WWII, many homes did not yet have a mixer, and everything that needed mixing was done with a spoon! Times have changed, haven’t they, and aren’t we glad they have? The first cake mixes came out in 1947, after the war years, and bearing the Betty Crocker label.
A cake from scratch is not hard to make. It just takes a little longer than a box mix. My two favorite recipes for yellow cake (which means you used whole eggs to make it, rather than just the whites of the eggs), were from my mid-1950s Betty Crocker Cookbook. These were two cakes that Mother had also used frequently. This cookbook gave two methods of mixing, the older, “cream together…” type and the newer, “mix together…” type. Both made wonderful cakes. Each page also has several variations of each cake, using the main, or “key” recipe and then adding nuts or fruit to the batter. Both of the following recipes are from this Betty Crocker Cookbook. I have used this one many, many times for birthday cakes and they never last long, it is truly my go-to recipe if I am baking a cake from scratch!
Light Golden Cake
2¼ cups, sifted Softasilk® cake flour
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoons flavoring
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch round or square cake pans or a 9X13 pan; set aside. Sift the dry ingredients together, stir the flavoring (usually vanilla extract) into the milk, add the shortening to the dry ingredients, along with a little over half of the milk/vanilla mixture; beat 2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and the 2 eggs. Beat 2 minutes longer. Pour into prepared pans; bake until cake tests done. Frost as desired.
Here is my favorite recipe for enchiladas during the Lenten season. They are cheese enchiladas from a recipe my Mother used to make for a main dish at supper time for a meatless Lenten meal.
Cheese Enchiladas
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or cooking oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 or 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons Gebhart chili powder
1 can (16-oz size) tomato sauce
½ cup water
1 small can diced green chilies
Cook onion, green pepper and garlic in butter until soft. Add flour, salt and chili powder; stir until smooth. Add tomato sauce or tomatoes, breaking tomatoes up with spoon or fork (can use the ‘recipe ready’ type if desired), green chilies and water. Cook until thick and smooth.
1 pound shredded cheese (can use American, cheddar, or the pre-shredded type that is seasoned for tacos)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 to 12 corn tortillas
Dip tortillas into sauce to soften or soften by heating ¼ cup oil in heavy skillet and dipping them briefly into the hot oil, or soften by heating a short time in the microwave.
Spray a rectangular pan with non-stick spray and spread a small amount of the sauce in the pan, just to coat the bottom. Spoon a small amount of sauce onto a tortilla, add some cheese and onion and roll up. Place each enchilada, seam side down onto sauce in baking pan, as you finish rolling it. Repeat until all tortillas are used. Top with remaining sauce and additional cheese. Bake at 350ºF about 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.