As expected, summer has flown by! The empty swings at the park made me feel just a bit wistful as I contemplated the season's passing, but I love autumn and am definitely ready for cooler weather.
I can't believe it as the end of August already and I've hardly managed to accomplish half my to-do list. At least I did finish a few knitting projects and I've started a few more.
Off the needles this week was my grey-beige alpaca lace Lesia Loop cowl project, currently blocking. The Brushed Suri alpaca yarn makes this a lovely, cozy knit. Although the brushed fiber is slightly difficult to frog back - as I soon discovered! - it's not quite as tough as ripping out mohair.
I've also finished my lightweight alpaca lace shawlette, but I'm waiting to take photos for that momentarily.
This week I'm beginning a mohair pullover, and working on several gift cowls and hats, including this lace cowl in natural-color Kid Mohair blend by Feza. It's not my favorite mohair yarn, but I had it in stash already and wanted to use it up. I plan to knit this again in something softer, probably alpaca. I am using a traditional Estonian lace stitch for this project.
The garden has lost it's steam with the record heat and lack of rainfall, but I still go out every morning and pick a ton of ripe tomatoes, chives, rosemary and other herbs. I think I feel a marinara sauce coming on!
This time of year I also love to indulge in fresh peaches - as pies, cobblers, smoothies, slightly warmed and topped with creme anglaise, cooked into preserves or compotes, or just plain sliced and eaten as is. Although we mostly stick to a low-glycemic lifestyle, we still love to make room for special occasion treats.
Last week we celebrated the dog's third birthday (any special day is a good excuse for a treat like this!) with a special peach pound cake and ice cream. And yes, the dog had a tiny taste of each too!
I must say that I LOVE to cook, but I love to knit more. So to balance out these two things, I usually use little cooking short cuts, in this case, a good-quality packaged cake mix as the base for this recipe. Doing this also allows me to keep just a few basic mixes in the cupboard without the need to take up space with full-sized packages of things I use only occasionally - flour, sugar, etc, and saves me more time to knit!
The chopped peaches in this recipe cook on the bottom and create a sort of baked-in fruit compote that works wonderfully when the the cake is turned updside-down to eat. We like a slice just barely warmed and top it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and a few fresh peach slices. I hope you enjoy this easy, quick summer indulgence.
Upside Down Peach Pound Cake
8 oz. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar or equivalent substitute (I use stevia)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 yellow cake mix, 1/4 cup reserved (mine is Trader Joe's brand)
2-3 cups chopped peaches (fresh or frozen, I like it sort of gooey so I use 3)
Several fresh peach slices to garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease a 9x13 cake pan (I use the empty butter wrappers to do this) and set aside.
Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar/ substitute in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, then, one at a time, add eggs, beating thoroughly after each addition. Slowly add cake mix, beating thoroughly. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir reserved cake mix over peaches to coat, spread coated peaches evenly in bottom of cake pan. Pour batter over peaches into cake pan.
Bake until center of cake is done and the top springs back slightly to the touch, about 50-60 minutes. Cool before serving. This cake can be eaten immediately after cooling, but it is even better if it rests, tightly covered, for several hours or overnight before serving.