Friday, December 14, 2012

The Art of Nuance and Nana's Carrot Cake

[UPDATE: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is now available on Kindle! Only 99 cents for a limited time!]

Yesterday, Joan Campbell posted Chapter Nine Part One of The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt on her blog. Today, she posts Part Two.

Author Jennifer Fromke wrote the tenth and final chapter of The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. Here, she shares her favorite memory and recipe. Over on her blog, she gives us a special treat and a special announcement, so head over there as soon as you read her post here! 

The Art of Nuance
by Jennifer Fromke 

My Nana never learned the art of nuance. She said what she thought, often without filters. Especially toward the end of her life. It’s one of my favorite things about her.

A couple years before she died, I was blessed to see her during the Christmas season. I opened the gift she brought for me and found an old pair of candlesticks. I looked up at her and she shrugged, saying something like this: “Well, I figured I have so much stuff I don’t need anymore, I might as well start giving it all away.” I had to laugh. Those candlesticks are in use in my house today.

The Christmas before she died, Nana’s Christmas gift blew me away. It was another gift from her “stuff” but this time it yanked my heart - hard. I opened the box and drew out an old velvet envelope - remember when jewelers used those? I tipped it, and a string of huge freshwater pearls slipped into my hand.

I knew these pearls well. Each pearl has its own shape, and is about the size of a thumbnail. I loved it when Nana wore these pearls and I had admired them for years. The best part is, I don’t think I ever told her how much I loved them.

I’m not a crier. It takes an incredible book/movie/moment to draw actual tears from my eyes. But holding those pearls in my hands turned me into a puddle. I still tear up when I lift them from my jewelry tray and slip them over my head.

I wear them periodically throughout the year, but somehow, I love wearing them best at Christmas. Maybe it’s because growing up, Christmas Eve was always spent at Nana’s house. Maybe it’s because she gave them to me for Christmas. Maybe it’s because this particular Christmas gift meant so much - from my Nana’s neck to mine, those pearls connect me to a sweet lady I love and who I know sits in Heaven today, awaiting my arrival.

Oops! Just teared up again. Sheesh! I promise, I’m really not a crier! J

In honor of Nana, I’m sharing her recipe for Carrot Cake. Simply the best one ever. She used to serve it on Christmas Eve as a birthday cake for Jesus. The youngest grandchild always blew out the candles for Jesus. I was the oldest grandchild, so I don’t remember ever doing it. Still love this cake.

 Nana’s Carrot Cake

2 c flour
1-1/4 c vegetable oil
3 c grated carrots (finely grated)
2 c sugar
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon

Sift flour into a bowl and add oil, stirring slowly and constantly (a mixer is best)
Add carrots and mix well.
Add the rest of the ingredients, mix, pour into 3 layer pans – buttered and fitted with buttered waxed paper in the bottom.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and cake pulls away from edge of pan.

1 8oz brick cream cheese
1 stick butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 box powdered sugar (3-1/2 cups)
½ c toasted pecans

Soften cream cheese and butter
Mix well and add sugar.
Stir and blend. Gradually add vanilla.

Spread on cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or decorate with pecan halves. (I leave the nuts off because that’s how I liked it as a kid.)

Store in refrigerator (icing will melt at room temp)

I would also recommend making 1-1/2 times the icing – it’s just barely enough and you have to be frugal with it. If you make extra, you’ll have plenty, plus you can dip pretzels in the extra icing for a snack the next day. J

About Jennifer:

Raised in Michigan, Jennifer Fromke served tours of life experience in Wheaton, Minneapolis, and St Louis. Ten years ago she landed in North Carolina.

When forced to separate from the laptop, she can be found with her nose in a book, one hand around a latte, and the other hand stirring something on the stove. Soul food for Jennifer includes laughing with her family and teaching Bible studies.

She is a lover of words, mother of three, and wife to one extraordinary man. In 2010, she won the ACFW Genesis Award for women’s fiction. That award-winning novel, A Familiar Shore, was published by Write Integrity in March 2012.

A Familiar Shore is part of our Give One Get One Free sale through tomorrow! 

The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt

Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.

Chapter One by Joan Campbell
Chapter Two by Ruth O'Neil
Chapter Three by J. A. Marx
Chapter Four by Deanna Klingel
Chapter Five by Marji Laine
Chapter Six by Sheryl Holmes
Chapter Seven by Fay Lamb
Chapter Eight by Debbie Roome
Chapter Nine by Joan Campbell

Come on over to Jennifer Fromke's blog for a special announcement, a contest, and more!

Jennifer is the Featured Guest today at Magnificent Hope's Christmas Party! Come on over and join the fun!

[UPDATE: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is now available on Kindle! Only 99 cents for a limited time!]

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