Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dump Cakes and a Recipe

Years ago while visiting my sister I watched her make what she called a " Magic Dump Cake."  It was so amazingly easy I just knew it could not be very tasty.  After dinner she served the cake warm, with vanilla ice cream.   I was completely surprised how delicious her Dump Cake was.  She shared her recipe with me and I have made that cake many times over the years.  

I will share my sister's original Magic Dump Cake recipe with you later in this post.

My sister and her husband came for a nice Summer visit last week.  Remembering how much I liked her Dump Cake recipe,  she very thoughtfully brought me a recipe book called,  Quick and Easy Dump Cakes and More.

The publisher of Dump Cakes and More has requested that,  "no part of this book can be reproduced or quoted in whole or in part."   Because of that request I will just show you what one of the recipes from the book looks like without giving specific ingredients.

In case you would like to have one of these recipe books 
I did check with Amazon.com and they do have these books available.  
Also, my sister said she found this interesting book at Walmart.

As you can see from the ingredients shown in the above photo,  it is a Raspberry Cake. 
I use the Pam Olive Oil spray to keep the cake from sticking to the baking dish.

As you can see in the below photo the cake is all ready to go into the oven.
See how easy ... The cake mix is sprinkled over the top of the other ingredients.

Just out of the oven.

The icing was not part of the recipe,  but I thought it would be really delicious to add a whipped cream icing.  To make whipped cream icing ... just whip the whipping cream until thickened.  Then add vanilla and sugar to taste.  Be careful not to over beat the whipping cream.  The below photo shows the needed consistency.

The whipped cream icing was spread on the completely cooled cake 
and then additional raspberries were added.

Super easy and very delicious.


1  20-oz can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
1  21-oz can Cherry Pie Filling
1  box Yellow Cake Mix
1  cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into thin slices or melted

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease 9 x13 x 2  baking dish.
  • Dump undrained pineapple into bottom of pan and spread evenly.
  • Dump in cherry pie filling and spread evenly.
  • Dump or sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over all.
  • Sprinkle pecans over cake and press down a little with a fork.
  • Dot with slices of butter or pour melted butter evenly over top.  We use the sliced butter.
  • Bake 350 degrees for 48-53 minutes.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
If you try this recipe we hope you enjoy!

Wishing you many blessings during this beautiful Summertime wherever you may be.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rowing Down The Nantahala River

If you have spent any time in Western North Carolina you have probably seen or at least heard of the beautiful Nantahala River.  The River is a short distance away from the mountain towns of Cherokee, NC and Bryson City, NC and is not far away from the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The River runs along the old Trail of Tears route,  which is now United States Highway 19/74.  It is fun to drive along the highway and see the rafters down below rafting down the River.

Each Summer, different members of our family look forward to rafting down the scenic Nantahala River.  The River is what they call a Class II and is considered moderate difficulty or mild, but exciting.  The River remains a Class II until the rafters reach the end of the River,  then it becomes a Class III, which means the River is difficult to maneuver through the rapids.

Nantahala River Rapids
The River follows the old Trail of Tears route, which is U.S. Hwy 19/74

Each year a member of our group falls out of the raft usually along the most difficult part of the River, which is at the end of the rafting experience,  close to the rapids.  A couple of years ago,  one of our sons-in-law fell out.  Then,  at two different times,  two of our grandsons have fallen out.

The youngest grandchildren in our family were finally big enough to be able to go down the River this July ... They were thrilled.  Federal Law requires children to either weigh at least 60 pounds or be seven years old. All are required to wear a life jacket which will keep them afloat if they do fall out.

All rafters are required to see a safety video before they begin their journey down the River.

In the below photo, in the distance, you can see several boats approaching the rapids.

There is a viewing section where a professional photographer captures all of the rafters just as they are coming through the rapids.  Then, back at the Nantahala Outdoor Center,  all rafters have the option of purchasing their photos. 

We found a place to sit and wait for our family to come around the River bend.  We knew they were in a yellow boat, because they were with the Nantahala Outdoor Center.  Apparently there are 12 rafting companies operating down the River.

We knew the folks in the blue boat approaching the rapids were not our family. 

There were 5 of our grandchildren (three who were rafting down the River for their very first time) plus two of our daughters,  and a River guide due to round the River bend at any time.  The route down the River is 8 miles long and takes rafters about 3 hours to row down the River.  According to our calculations they were due at any time ...

And then, in the below photo,  we spotted a yellow boat!
They were far away, but I just knew that was our family coming through!

As they came closer we could see their familiar faces and see the huge smiles!
The youngest grandchildren were doing fine and loving the experience.

It did our hearts good to see the man in the kayak waiting at the rapids.  We knew he would help out if one of the younger grandchildren fell from the boat ... 

Thank goodness for him!

Here they come!   Everyone is doing their rowing jobs, even the little ones!

   I zoomed my camera as far as it would zoom as they approached the hardest part of the rapids.

Almost there!

The little ones are still smiling and doing a great job of rowing.

You can see the guide in the back working to get them through the rapids.
He was a medical student working at the Nantahala Outdoor Center for the Summer.
He did a great job!

It was nice to see those huge smiles on their faces.

In the below photo they are coming through the most difficult part, but I still see smiles!

They did come through safely and no one fell out ... But then,  the boat was headed for the big rock just past the rapids.

The guide was working really hard giving out instructions as to how to paddle off that rock, 
but still no one fell out!  
Thank goodness!

Bumping into the rock turned the boat around, 
but the current was so strong they were easily able to turn the boat back around.

And, there they go,  almost to the end of the river rafting experience.

Almost everyone gets soaked as they travel down the river.  The temperature of the water is consistantly about 50 degrees.  So, when the trip was over it was nice to have a warm shower waiting at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.  There is also a very nice restaurant and picnic tables.

River's End Restaurant 
Located at the end of the river rafting trip.
The below photo is from the Internet

After the river rafters had a nice warm shower, we all met at the River's End Restaurant for a delicious dinner together.  The youngest grandchildren were proud of themselves for making it down the river without falling out.  After dinner we all headed back to the mountain cabin for an evening sitting around the outside bonfire and making S'mores.

There is just nothing like good ole' Summertime!  I do hope you too are having a wonderful Summer wherever you may be.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summertime Color

While running errands one day it was hard to miss the beautiful Crape Myrtle trees blooming all around town.  They seemed to be everywhere.  Fortunately, I did happen to have my camera and decided to try to capture some of these intensely colorful flowers.

A picket fence and pretty pink flowers are so charming together!
Next to the pink Crape Myrtle is a huge Rose of Sharon bush.

Rose of Sharon and Crape Myrtle

The Rose of Sharon plant comes in white with a dark pink center as seen below.  
We often see this plant with intense pink,  purple and blue blossoms. 

This is a low-maintenance plant and it grows nicely in a sunny location 
This plant also often attracts hummingbirds. 

Rose of Sharon

Some call the Crape Myrtle tree the main mid-summer flowering tree of the South.
Most Southern gardeners have at least one of these beautiful trees in their yard.

I especially like this dark pink/purple color in the below photo.

The white blossoms are pretty too!

And these beautiful darker pink flowers will also turn heads!

Crape Myrtles do best if grown in hardiness zones 6-10

According to what I can find out from Mr. Google,  Crape Myrtles grow in Europe in the South of France and in all of Italy.  How beautiful that must be!

Around 1786 Crape Myrtles were first introduced into the United States in Charleston, South Carolina.  They arrived from China and Korea. 

Summertime is such a fun time to take the camera and try to capture some of the lush beauty all around us that the Good Lord has given us to enjoy.

I hope you are having a pretty flower-filled Summer wherever you may be.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Climb The Mountains

John Muir born in 1838, was a Scottish-American naturalist who was instrumental in preserving Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park here in America.  He also founded The Sierra Club and was involved in many other preservation accomplishments.

Each Summer our family travels up to Robbinsville,  North Carolina for a visit to the mountains.  On a wall in our cabin is a framed mountain photo with one of John Muir's quotes that we especially enjoy:

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."

And, yes as the quote from John Muir states, we do love to go to the mountains.  It is so peaceful to sit in a rocking chair with a good book or visit with family or friends, and enjoy the fresh cool breezes coming across the mountains.

The view from the front porch each day is always different.

Our local Robbinsville friends tell us the mountains seen way off in the distance, on the left,  in the above photo is the south-west part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  They tell us that on a clear day you can see Clingman's Dome with the help of binoculars.

From this photo it is hard to believe you are looking at the same view as above.
Our cabin is often in the clouds as seen in the below photo.

The day-lilies bloom in the mountains in July.

Everything is so lush and green during the Summertime.  In the below photos you will see the driving path going down the mountain.  This also makes a fun walking trail all the way down the mountain with a total of 18 curves in the road.

At the end of the mountain road we must drive or walk through the creek
which crosses the road leading out to the paved roadway.

Little Buffalo Creek

 All along the way at different times of year we see unusual wildflowers as in the below photo.
Bees and Hummingbirds love this wildflower.

Bee Balm or Oswego Tea

The blackberries growing all over the mountain were not quite ripe while we were there.  They ripen in late July and early August there in North Carolina ... Too bad we missed picking them this year.


Many Rhododendron were blooming all along the mountain path.

Driving away from the mountain we reach the paved road.  
It was a beautiful drive all along the way with all the lush Summer greenery.

Driving on toward town we always pass this cute little mountain church.  
There are usually words of inspiration on their church sign out front.

The pasture below looked like it had just recently been cut.

Shortly after driving by the above pasture we spotted these neatly stacked hay bales and I wondered if they had come from the above pasture.  They look like a work of art stacked in this triangle.

Someone had been working really hard to cut all of this hay and stack it in the barn.  I am sure the cows and horses in the Robbinsville area will be thankful for all this delicious hay.

The mountains are always cool, quiet and peaceful.  I always bring my camera along when we sight-see around in the mountains in hopes of trying to capture some of the amazing beauty with my camera.

Thank you for traveling with us along the back-roads in the Robbinsville area.  I hope that you too are enjoying this beautiful Summertime wherever you may be.