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Who’s ready to bake?  Today’s recipe comes from the former cook at a bed and breakfast where I worked about 10 years ago… regretfully, I do not know the origins of the recipe, but I do know it is super delicious.  My mom makes this cake and it is so good that people request it from her!

Almond Skillet Coffeecake (aka Almond Tart)

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. almond flavoring

Slivered almonds

Sugar (to sprinkle over top)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt the butter and add to sugar in a mixing bowl; mix well.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add the flour, salt, and almond flavoring, and mix well.  Line an iron skillet with aluminum foil, letting the foil hang over the sides. Put the batter in the skillet.  Cover with slivered almonds and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350°.  Remove from the skillet when cool.  Best if allowed to rest overnight, and served the next day.

SPENDING WISELY AT TABLE-SERVICE RESTAURANTS:

> Order water.  If you must order a beverage, ask about charges for refills before requesting one.  Some specialty drinks, like “Pomegranate Tea”, are usually no-free-refill beverages.

> Eat out at lunch instead of dinner.  Entrees are about the same size as dinner entrees, but are usually priced lower.  Many restaurants also offer lunch menus.

> Ask for to-go containers.  American restaurants are known for serving huge portions.  As soon as your food is delivered to your table, you may place part of it in a to-go container.  Or you can wait and box up the leftovers.  Many times, our family brings home enough food for a second meal.  For example, the cornbread muffins and biscuits from Cracker Barrel make great breakfast the next day.  And I don’t have to bake!

> Forego appetizers and/or dessert.  As mentioned above, the entree (along with any complimentary bread) will usually be more than enough to fill you up.  Desserts, along with beverages, have the highest markup out of all the items on the menu.  If you feel tempted by the appetizer and dessert menus, choose just one, not both.   And once again, remember that you can take any leftovers home!

> Always remember to include tips into your dining-out budget.  Waitstaff really do rely on generous tippers to help them pay the bills.  Current rule of thumb is to tip 18-20% of the check total, before discount.   If gratuity is included in your check (large party, all-in-one deal, etc.) be sure to glance at the check and see exactly how much the gratuity came to, and if you feel the service you received was above average, feel free to leave an additional tip.

Whether you’re staying home to bake (as I will be doing next weekend…) or going out to enjoy a meal, I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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