Sunday, August 12, 2012

Welcome to Panama City

I had the privilege of hosting a Welcome to Panama City party for my daughter-in-law Saturday along with dear friends Kristina Williams and Emmalyn Smith. Moving into a new town can be intimidating and with a new baby it is difficult to get out and make new friends.So, my friends and I put our heads together and invited some young women with children the age of Brittany and Drew's to help her get adjusted to her new home. 

Kristina, Crystal, Suzanne, Ashley, Cecily, Brittany and Pam


We greeted our guests with wine and punch, served chicken salad in a white shell dish, Emmalyn's apricot congealed salad, tomatoes, watermelon and canteloupe slices and Basketcase carrot and raisin muffins, and finished things off with Kristina's specialty -- strawberry cake. Although there were name tags on the table for the first course, we switched tables for dessert so that everyone would be with a different group for conversation. 

I happened to see Paula Deen make chicken salad the other day and so, inspired by her, I decided to make some also!
I bought 2 rotisserie chickens at Sams and chopped them up. Paula said she always broiled her chickens rather than boiled them because they were moister that way. I figured I could cheat a little and buy them already not only broiled, but rotisseried! I remembered a delicious chicken salad that I had once that was made with a combination of sour cream and mayonnaise which I mixed together and added a squirt of mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice. I halved grapes, chopped some Fuji apples, and toasted some pecans with butter and crushed them with a marble herb grinder and with some salt and pepper, mixed it all together. 

Kristina made this delicious Strawberry cake:


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Strawberry cream cheese frosting, recipe follows
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.
Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.
Miss Lily is our oldest grandchild and our fashion goddess. 

Sam, our youngest grandchild, is with Donna, his OTHER grandmother, and Alison, Kristina's mother and my new friend.

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