"Chocolatey" Chocolate Cake

My daughter, Melissa Mendonca, a true chocolate lover, started making this cake at a young age. She entered it in the 4-H Foods Fiesta in Butte County and won a first prize.

1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered Almonds, or toasted sliced Almonds

1 package (12 ounce) Chocolate Chips

1 Chocolate Cake Mix

1 package (4 ounce) Chocolate Pudding Mix (Instant)

4 Eggs

1 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup vegetable Oil

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract

Chop almonds and toast. Sprinkle 1/2 cup on bottom of well-greased 10 inch tube pan. Using a mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients (except Chips & remaining Almonds) and beat 4 minutes. Stir in Chocolate Chips and remaining Almonds. Pour mixture into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from side of pan.

Serve with Whipped Cream (or Whipped Cream with Kahlua added.)


7 - Layer Dip

This is a family favorite at "Adjustment Hour"- the time between finishing the cattle work at the chutes and supper. It is easy to buy ready-made, but if you want to make your own, use this recipe from Knudsen.

1 can (16oz) refried beans

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix

1 cup Knudsen sour cream

1 cup salsa

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup Kraft Mexican Style shredded cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 Tbsp. sliced pitted ripe olives

Mix beans and taco seasoning mix. Spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate.

Layer remaining ingredients over bean mixture; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.

Serve with tortilla chips or assorted crackers.


Artichoke Dip

I liked to browse the recipe section of the newspaper. This recipe by Rose Heinrich of Durham, California, caught my eye. Our family really liked artichokes and this dip did not disappoint.

1 can (or jar) of artichoke hearts drained and chopped

1 large can diced green chilies

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

Mix together and serve with tortilla chips.


Artichoke Nibbles

Jordi Giessner Grant brought this recipe into the family gatherings. Fun to make and fun to eat!

2 (6oz) jars marinated Artichoke Hearts

1 small Onion, finely chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

4 Eggs

1/4 cup Dry Bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon each:  Ground Pepper, Oregano, Hot Sauce

1/2 pound shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

2 tablespoons minced Parsley

Drain marinade from one jar of artichokes into fry pan. Drain other jar and discard oil. Chop all artichokes and set aside. Add onion and garlic to fry pan and sauté about 5 minutes. In bowl, beat eggs with fork and add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano and hot pepper sauce. Stir in cheese, parsley, artichokes and onion. Mix well and turn into greased 7 X 11 inch or square pan. Bake at 325 degrees about 30 minutes or until set. Cool in pan and then cut into squares. Serve hot or cold. You may reheat 10-12 minutes in 325 degree oven or a few minutes in the microwave.


Banana Nut Bread

My daughter, Melissa Mendonca, was the Banana Nut Bread baker in our household. She carefully copied the recipe from her Grandmother "Checkers" Giessner on a 3x5 ruled index card when about 10 years old. I still have the frequently used card and the memory of coming home from work to the smell of the bread baking in the oven while she sat at the counter doing her homework.

1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/3 cup Shortening (Crisco)

2/3 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 cup ripe, mashed Bananas

1 cup finely chopped Nuts (Almonds or Walnuts)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9x5x3 loaf pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat shortening til creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and continue beating until well-blended. Add flour mixture alternately with bananas, a small amount at a time, mixing after each addition only enough to moisten dry ingredients. Add nuts and mix with spoon or spatula. Turn into loaf pan and bake about one hour and 10 minutes or until done.