Watergate Cake

Watergate Cake is a super easy, retro dessert that is right at home at  a church potluck or family dinner! Taste the nostalgia! {Brittany's Pantry}Once upon a time, there was a wonderfully sweet and precocious, curly haired little girl who had gone to visit her Grandmother’s farm.

This farm was a very special place.  It was often the location of summer family reunions and get togethers; the yard and nearby orchard overflowing with Aunts and Uncles and Cousins.  During one such visit, the little girl’s Aunt Mary handed her a small, white plate with a big square of moist, green cake on it.  It was covered with a fluffy cream that looked so light and airy it seemed to have been pulled right from the clouds above!  The girl slowly picked up a fork and took a bite.  As the rich, sweet confection hit her tongue, the little girl’s eyes grew round with wonder and delight!

“Aunt Mary!  Pray tell, what is this amazing treat you have passed to me that is the color of spring leaves and 70’s avocado kitchen cabinets?!  What angel led you to this enchanted cake made from magical ingredients?”

Aunt Mary smiled angelically and leaned down close to the little girl.  “My sweet, sweet child,” she said.  “This is, Watergate Cake.”

All of a sudden, the clouds parted and sunshine streamed down on us.  The chorus of ‘Hallelujah’ began to play and soon rose to a thundering crescendo of praise!  Watergate Cake!  The little girl’s life was forever changed for the better and from that day on, she would remember that day as ‘The Day of the Watergate Cake.’

True story.
Watergate Cake is a super easy, retro dessert that is right at home at  a church potluck or family dinner! Taste the nostalgia! {Brittany's Pantry}All right.

So maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that.  But its pretty close to my first taste of this fantastic dessert.  It doesn’t get much more retro and nostalgic than green cake made with instant pudding, so if you ever wondered about that dessert you ate years ago at the potluck in the church basement, this is probably it.  It is another one of the ‘cheater’ recipes, as I call them, because it is made with boxed ingredients.  However, in this case, there just is not a substitute.  The very essence of this cake is rooted in childhoods of my generation and one bite will give you flashbacks of denim bell bottoms and polyester collared shirts.  The fact that it tastes incredible is not lost on me and I STILL bring it to potluck dinners and serve it to crowds.

I also can still hear angels singing when I take my first bite.  I can’t be one hundred percent sure, but I bet I am not the only one.  :)
Watergate Cake is a super easy, retro dessert that is right at home at  a church potluck or family dinner! Taste the nostalgia! {Brittany's Pantry} Watergate Cake
I usually cut this cake into 15 pieces.

Cake:
1 box white cake mix
1 (3 oz) box instant pistachio pudding
3 eggs
1 c oil
1 c gingerale, Sprite, or 7-Up

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray a 9X13 inch baking pan.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat all of the above ingredients for a solid minute until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  COOL COMPLETELY.  While the cake cools, make the frosting.

Frosting:
1 (3 oz) box of instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 c of milk
1 (8 oz) container of whipped topping, such as CoolWhip
chopped pistachios for garnish (optional)

Whisk the pudding and milk together until smooth and thick.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Pour it over the cake, spreading it smooth, and chill the whole she-bang until ready to serve.  Top with chopped pistachios if desired.  Enjoy!

Currently…

Snapping…pictures of the sunrise.  A few months ago, I realized that the sunrise out the patio door of our rental house was heart-stoppingly beautiful 99.9% of the time.  I started taking a picture every morning.  We are moving at the end of March into our much anticipated dream home so I hope I find a great new spot to observe from!
IMG_3665Laughing…at the TV show Hart of Dixie.  Thank you, Netflix, for allowing me to watch and fall in love with shows I have never heard of before and to do it at my leisure.  This busy Momma appreciates it.

Nibbling…on these yummy, crunchy clusters from Brookside. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have been kind of addicted to them lately.  I get mine at Target, but I have found them just about everywhere.  Including, once, at a random little gas station in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.

Waiting…for the completion of our dream home!  We are about a month or so away from moving in and 101 daily decisions on paint, lights, and finishes are keeping me up at night.  So fun.  So stressful.  Sooooo hard to wait.

Writing…a lot lately!  And as you may have guessed, its about food.  I have some fun announcements coming up soon so stay tuned!

Reading…as much as I can!  I started a book club when I moved to South Carolina and because my life just is not busy enough, I thought it would be cool to do a reading challenge as well!  I found this list on Pop Sugar and thought the different categories are kind of awesome.  I am reading a different book for each one-no doubling up-and am having a blast researching obscure titles.  I mean, come on.  A book written by an author with my same initials?  A book with bad reviews?  Sign me up!  I even started a Facebook group to help keep anyone interested in the Challenge motivated and full of ideas!  Find me on Facebook if you want an invite!

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Hoping…I didn’t make a HUGE mistake when I signed up for my first 5K.  Eeek!  One Run Columbia is at the end of march and in an effort to deal with some health issues, I decided that taking up running was a good idea.  Clearly I was not in my right mind when I registered, but that is beside the point now.  I have too much pride to walk it, so…let the training continue!

Realizing…that I use way too many exclamation points in my writing.

Organizing…my life!  My house is good, but you know all those hand dandy printables that I see on Pinterest that are all cute and decorated and coordinated with each other?  Yeah.  So not me.  I don’t want my stationary to match my outfit or my daily tasks to be color coded by priority.  But I DO need to keep better track of appointments and my online obligations.  So what did I do?  I printed out one copy of every single style of free calendar that I could download.  These next few months will be an experiment in organization methods.  I’ll keep you posted on what works.  Ha!  Get it?  Posted?  Heh heh.

Exhausted…by my (almost) three year old, Lane.  My husband calls him the destroyer.  This is not an exaggeration.  Here he is in his dormant state.  Its a good thing he is cute…IMG_3747Obsessed…with pimento cheese.  I had no idea what I was missing out on, all those years living in the north.  As a recent transplant to the south, I am really really really enjoying the quest for finding the perfect pimento cheese.  Which will no doubt turn into a major marathon of recipe developing.  If you aren’t familiar with it, pimento cheese is a kind of cold dip that is, as far as I can tell, shredded cheeses, maybe some mayo, cream cheese, minced pimento, and spices.  I am telling you guys-this stuff is da BOMB!  My mouth is watering as I write this.

Starting…this book.  Looks fun, don’t you think?

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What are YOU currently up to?  Anything exciting?

Rice & Noodle Pilaf

Rice and Noodle Pilaf is a quick side dish to make anytime! {Brittany's Pantry}You can never have too may side dishes in your menu arsenal.  You can also never have too many quick and easy side dishes that go with everything.  As you may have guessed, that is what this is.  It never hurts to state the obvious.

It is easy to slip into a rut when it comes to meals and making the same old veggies or potatoes with your meal is a common gripe I get emails about.  As a gal who is kind of addicted to variety in my food, I totally understand.  I don’t mind leftovers, but I often will wait several months before making a dish a second time.  There are just too many foods out there to try and make and experiment with and enjoy!  Why limit yourself and repeat?

That said, I run into the same issues everyone else does.  Budget, time limits, busy lives, etc all play a factor in my menu planning.  Earlier this month I shared a recipe for jazzing up store-bought marinara sauce.  I pull out that method when I am in a hurry and have limited ingredients.  This side dish is similar, in that it uses pantry ingredients and is incredibly inexpensive.  While my husband and I continue to build our new home, our schedules are often interrupted, thus ruining my careful planning.  I am also faced with the current challenge of trying to feed our family of five on a fairly fixed budget.  To that end, I am trying to take advantage of what I already have available in the house.   That has been my goal recently and this dish couldn’t be more perfect.

I have been making it for a few years now and it never fails to fill in any gaps in my menus.  Kids love it, adults love it, and the simplicity lends itself to just about anything you can think of to serve it with.  Exactly what I need.  Think of it as a rice and noodle lifeline that you can tie together into a little rope to pull you up and out of that menu rut you may be in!

Rice and Noodle Pilaf is a quick side dish to make anytime! {Brittany's Pantry}Rice and Noodle Pilaf is a quick side dish to make anytime! {Brittany's Pantry}Rice & Noodle Pilaf
Recipe adapted from Mad Hungry

2 T butter
1 small onion, diced small
1/2 c dried angel hair, vermicelli, or thin spaghetti noodles, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 c white rice
3 c chicken broth or water
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent and cooked, about 5 minutes.  Don’t let them brown!  Add the dried pasta and stir it all together until toasted and fragrant.  Add the rice and stir in the liquid.  Bring to a boil stirring often, then lower the heat to slow simmer, cover, and let bubble until cooked and all the liquid is absorbed-about 20 minutes.  Be sure the heat is low enough so that it won’t burn, but keeps it cooking!  When it is finished and cooked through, stir and fluff, then taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary.  Enjoy!