Recently a number of bloggers like Corn Beans Pigs Kids have posted ideas for places they want to visit and things they want to do this summer with their families. Honestly, there’s more to see and do in North Iowa than a person might think!
Parents with small children might want to check out Rock 'n Tots at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. Those interested in eating fresh without the fuss of a garden can attend a Farmer’s Market practically each day of the week from Iowa Falls and Hampton to Mason City and Clear Lake. Plus, there are a lot of great places to enjoy the day outdoors like Lime Creek Nature Center. One day last summer my Girl Scouts and I enjoyed a Saturday morning yoga class there, and I’m hoping we can attend at least one more there this summer.
My own Summer Bucket List includes:
Enjoy the fire ring at Enchanted Acres as often as possible. (Last Saturday noon we enjoyed Summer Sausage Hobo Packets over the campfire.)
Visit Central Gardens in Clear Lake.
Take my Girl Scout troop to the National Balloon Classic in Indianola.
Summer isn’t officially here for another month, but I’ve gotten a jump-start on summer fun with a long weekend in Branson, Missouri. No wonder that city has been voted one of the best places for a family vacation! My mom, my daughter and I enjoyed lunch and browsed the shops along Branson Landing. We were captivated as Sights & Sounds Theatre brought the story of Jonah to life. Dinner at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede was a real highlight. Aboard the Showboat Branson Belle, we laughed at the Funny Hyper Magic Boy Christopher James and tapped our toes along with the amazing four-man dance troupe, Rhythm.
The outing all three of us enjoyed the most, however, was Silver Dollar City! Fireman’s Landing is impressive, and our everyday heroes certainly deserve a salute. We ate our fill of delectable treats like funnel cakes, cinnamon rolls and fudge. Just as you’d find at Living History Farms near Des Moines, there are many craftsman who demonstrate trades and sell their beautiful creations at Silver Dollar City.
Our favorite master craftsman is Debbie Dance Uhrig, who teaches culinary classes at the Midwest Living® Culinary & Craft School. As she demonstrated making recipes during the “Farm to Table” cooking class, Debbie mentioned the “Salute to Fireman’s Landing” class is where she makes Upside Down German Chocolate Cake.
I love German Chocolate Cake, but I’d never before heard of serving one upside down. My curiosity was piqued! When I shared how much I wanted to make that cake for my mom’s birthday, Debbie graciously shared her recipe with me. I made this and let me tell you, “It’s worth every calorie!” Oh. My. Goodness. It’s decadent! (Side bar: I used a dollop of the powdered sugar /cream cheese mixture as a dip for fresh strawberries. I loved it so much that I’ll probably whip it up again this summer. It could make a pretty patriotic dish by adding fresh blueberries on at a Fourth of July potluck, too.)
You can find more of Debbie’s delectable recipes on The Covered Dish website, but I highly recommend putting “take a culinary class from Debbie Dance Uhrig” on your summer bucket list. Load up the car and head to Branson!
Upside Down German Chocolate Cake
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix (prepare with box directions)
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) softened butter-slight melt
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 pound powdered sugar or 3¾ cups unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
9 x 13 glass or metal baking dish
Spray baking dish and across the bottom evenly sprinkle the coconut and chopped pecans. Prepare the cake mix exactly as the instructions state and pour over the nuts and coconut. Note this doesn’t spread well, so do a good job placing batter.
Now soften the butter and cream cheese and whisk together to blend. Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth. Now place dollops of the icing over the cake. Take the chocolate chips and sprinkle them over the top. I chose a rather good brand of chocolate instead of semi-sweet, and my hand was a bit over generous with the chips. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-55 minutes.
There are no mistakes on the placement of the icing. It goes down through the cake and it’s just amazing. The outcomes looks like a crater on top, but it’s delicious.