June 30, 2014

Goats, Love, and a Parking Lot

I didn't get to see this myself, but it was posted in our hospital newsletter last week.  A woman with a long hospital stay was surprised by her son, who showed up in his truck with her pet goats.  It was a warm and happy greeting in the parking lot!  Love it!

June 26, 2014

Chocolate Cake To Live For

I haven't found it yet, but I'm convinced there is a piece of research somewhere that demonstrates eating this cake brings so much joy that it counters all those bad effects of sugar.

It's good for the waistline, it improves longevity, and it's even fabulous for the complexion.  I'm sure of it.

See if it isn't true!

Chocolate Cake
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. baking cocoa (darker or lighter, both are good!)
2 tsp soda
1 tsp sea salt
2 c. hot water
3/4 c. canola oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 Tbsp vanilla

Throw it all in a bowl.  Mix by hand, but not too long - small lumps are good.  Bake in 2 - 8" layer pans lined with parchment paper.  Bake @ 350° x 35-40 mins.

Heavy cream, whipped
A dollop of plain yogurt, enough to give it a little zip (add at very end of whipping)
1 tsp powdered sugar (add at very end of whipping)

When cooled, spread 1st cake layer with topping. Place strawberries or raspberries around the edge. Layer it again the same way.  Sprinkle with shaved chocolate if desired.

June 25, 2014


And so it is, for all teachers...on the first day of summer vacation, they sleep.  For a long time.

Sir Bradley is doing it well, and so I sneak quietly off to work...

June 23, 2014

Little Boys, Cherries, and a Tablecloth

It began with the youngest climbing up into the chair and getting tangled up in the tablecloth as he turned to sit down.  And then came the cherries. We had to laugh at the boys as they figured out how to get the pits out, with juice dripping absolutely everywhere.

By some miracle, there were only a few stains on the new tablecloth.  StainStick may still come to the rescue, but my hunch is there will be permanent reminders of the smiles and loves, the scrunched up noses and eyes of joy.

Not such a bad thing.  =)

June 18, 2014

Homemade Pretzels

It was a fun surprise, coming home to the smell of dough rising.  Our dear daughter was making pretzels!  Although she doesn't aspire to much baking, she decided this would be a fun project...and so I found her with her in the middle of things with her laptop open on the kitchen counter.

They turned out to be puffy lumps, somewhat reminiscent of our Easter bunny buns, but the taste was AWESOME.  Perfectly pretzelish!

We may be on to something new in our house.  =)

June 17, 2014

Dreaming of a Tea Shop

It's been one of those months, a season to test my sanity and my character!  And so in those rare, quiet, undisturbed moments, I retreat to dreaming of...

...opening a tea shop.
...traveling to Europe to bring back ideas and wares.
...warmer weather.
...writing my book on the back porch.
...having lunch in Paris.  =)

June 13, 2014

A Most Unusual BBQ

Since none of the kids read this blog, I can share our plans...

Next week we're going to have one of those mystery dinners for the youth group kids where everyone has to chose their 4-course dinner from a list of completely unrelated "Summer BBQ" words.  Only the cooks know the code!

Woe to those who order baked beans with no utensils.  =)

June 11, 2014

Apple Souffle

Needing comfort food?  Apple souffle is just the ticket!  Apples are so out of season right now, but if you can find some good ones, whip a heavenly, mouth-watering, satisfying dish and enjoy every bite. 

It goes well with fresh, cold milk and a couch.  For breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  =)

Apple Souffle
2 - 4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 - 1 cube melted, unsalted butter
6 eggs
1-1/2 c. milk
1 c. flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°.  Prepare apples and lay flat in large 9 x13" pan (or larger).  Pour melted butter over apples.  Place dish in oven that is warming.  Blend eggs, milk, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Remove dish from oven and pour over apples.  Bake x 20-30 mins or until puffed.

Tips:  The better the apples, the better the dish.  The dish will puff up high if you use only 2 apples.  If you want more apples and more substance, it will look like the dish above - not quite so high.  A full cube of butter is extravagantly good, but 1/2 cube is adequate.

June 10, 2014

The Chocolate Set

Our daughter was the fortunate recipient of grandma's "chocolate set".  The old tradition was to have hot chocolate together as a family with these little cups.

June 9, 2014

Happy Girls

Fresh water.
Fresh straw.
A day free-ranging on the Lower 40.
A warm afternoon and a cool evening.
Life is good for the girls.

June 4, 2014

Starting Up Again

One of the hardest things about death is moving on.  The world continues turning, even if we're not ready. The chickens keep laying eggs, the dog needs to be fed, the laundry awaits, people celebrate other events, and work still calls.  I can't even figure out how to transition blog entries, let alone the everyday stuff of life.  Ugh.

For now, I offer a brief moment of comic relief.  Some desperate soul invented the Chef'N Zipstrip Herb Zipper to help prepare "fresh herbs, fast."  $7.95 + tax + shipping!  I'm willing to bet this little gadget doesn't work half as well as two fingers and a measuring spoon.

Alice would have enjoyed a good laugh.  =)

June 3, 2014

In Memory

They met in college, but married in 1947 after he returned from WWII.  
Together they had 4 children, and her life was devoted entirely to family.
They enjoyed 67 wonderful years together.
It was my great privilege to know her as my mother-in-law.  She will be greatly missed.

Alice Geraldine Hoke
November 29, 1923 - May 28, 2014