Category Archives: Cake

How Control Freaks Let Go and Let God

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Eating Green Vegetables

Eating our green vegetables … Zucchini bars!

I asked my husband, “Am I a control freak?”

He said, “well, you are not a freak.”  Then he went on to explain how he sees me as organized and that I like to be in control but not in a frreaky way.

That wasN’T really good enough for me to not call myself a control freak but also realistic enough for me to realize that my controlling nature doesn’t always leave room for God to move as He will within my life.

Waaay last May (which seems like a lifetime ago) over a game of cards with two of our grandsons and their parents, we made the commitment for the grandsons to come to Tennessee to stay with us for 10 days in August.  At the time the calendar looked pretty clear and I was thrilled to think the boys would be with us for a full 10 days before starting back to school in Denver.

I joyfully began to make lists.  A list of food they liked to eat (with some help from their mom).  The list of  activities to keep them busy.  I made the too-hot to be outside list.  The rainy day list.  The outing in the car list — far enough away to make it a trip but not so far as to become boring. I talked to the neighbors to see who else had grandchildren visiting at the same time so we could have a play-date list. The really sad thing about this list of lists — it is all true!  (Help me! :))

So, when on June 27th my summer plans were turned up-side-down I was left sifting through my lists wondering how in the world it was all going to work out.  Immediately upon finding out my mom had breast cancer our schedule became jam-packed full.  Each and every day brought on another round of appointments in the nearest city with a regional medical center.  Did I mention that we live in the country, a 1 hour drive away from that medical center?

All through July my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I would make that drive from appointment to appointment.  God was so good to us. He continually met our needs, giving us strength and even sometimes laughter to get where we needed to go.  We listened to praise music and talked about how blessed we were to be able to make the drive to a medical center where she could get treatment.  We counted all our blessings each and every day.  We had each other, a good car to drive, health insurance, loving medical staff, and at home my Chief Culinary Consultant oftentimes had dinner on the table when we arrived home at the end of a long day.  My knight-in-shining-armor.

As July gave way to August I felt the weight of August 10th fast approaching.  The day my little grandsons, ages 6 and 8 would arrive in Tennessee.  I would look over the lists and pray the Lord would make a way for those little boys to have a wonderful summer experience while at the same time not letting my mom down when I thought she needed me most.

Jeremiah 29:11 is that often-quoted scripture when we are looking for events and life in general to go our way.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

As I prayed prior to my little boys arriving  I felt a lot of comfort from those words.  It was going to be alright.  Everything will work out.  But it wasn’t until I really tagged on the next verse did the peace come for me.

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, Jeremiah 29:12

It wasn’t until I let go and let God did everything really fall in to place.  You see, I have the ability and desire to take my mom where she needs to go, when she needs to go.  The Lord has given me the freedom each and everyday to do for my family.  But sometimes all those “can do” and “must do” get all mixed up.  But it wasn’t until I started trusting Him and praising Him did He unveil His plan for my time in August.

When my little grandsons were here God provided so many neighbors and friends who lined up to help mom get to her daily radiation treatments.  And for me He took away the guilt that I should be the one driving her to and from.

On Hummingbird Watch
There is so much comfort in knowing and believing that long before events happen in our life we have a Heavenly Father that cares enough about each of us to orchestrate just the right plans to get us through each and every life situation.

In my last post,  Woo-Hoo From The WHOot  I mentioned I would tell you why August 20 is important to my God-story ….

Our grandsons arrived on August 10 and flew back home on August 20.  Each and every day I began the day in two ways — first, thanking God for clearing the way for beautiful time spent with our grandchildren.  Second, wondering are they up yet? :)

On August 20THE WHOot  used some of my pictures and a recipe of mine on their blog and it has created a firestorm of activity on my blog.  Without a doubt I know that God provided that activity for me when I couldn’t do it for myself.  And when I was tired and worn out (August 20) He chose that day to create the biggest amount of activity on my blog that I have ever had. Coincidence?  I think not.

My dependence on Him continues to sore as time and time again He shows me how a relationship with Him is the most important thing I can have in my life under the sun.

To me, the most important part of Jeremiah 29 isn’t the part that God says “I’ve got you in my plans” but the part that says “12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” He hears me. 

Praising Him through our life circumstances makes all the difference.  My prayer for you is that no matter what you are going through today, you will call on His name, praise him, and know that you are in HIS plans!

Have a blessed weekend,

P.S.  Oh, I almost forgot … the first picture of my little guys holding a zucchini and eating zucchini bars — we just wanted to show their mom and dad that they were indeed eating their green vegetables at Grandma’s!

Zucchini Bars With Browned Butter Frosting

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 48 bars

Zucchini Bars With Browned Butter Frosting

Perfect end of summer dessert when zucchini is plentiful and desserts are always on the menu!


  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
  • Browned Butter Frosting
  • 6 tablespoons butter (do not use margarine)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons milk


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in zucchini and pecans. Spread in pan.
  3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until light golden brown; remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and spreadable. Spread Browned Butter Frosting on cooled bars. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.


This is a Betty Crocker recipe I have used for years and it always turns out wonderful. *I decrease the oil from 1 cup to 3/4 cup because I just don't think it needs 1 cup. Very cake-like and moist with 3/4 cup.

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Roasted Banana Bars and Christmas In July

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Here I am showing off my new bakers half sheets with lids! It was Christmas in July at my house this week when this surprise gift arrived from my nephew Ryan.  At our recent family reunion Ryan brought four of these bad boys to use and was the envy of every cook in the family!  Now I know envy is a sin, so I will just call it a big dose of enthusiasm that bubbled over as I used Ryan’s pans to make a batch of rice krispie treats.   Ryan used them to bake Pepperoni Bread (recipe coming soon) and outstanding carrot cake bars!

Roasted Banana Bars
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am home cleaning out my freezer and I pull out six really, really ripe frozen bananas.  What to do, what to do?  I have a Healthified Frosted Banana Bar recipe but I decided to go looking for something “different”. Do you do that sometimes?  You don’t know what you want to bake, you just know you want “something different”?  Well, have you ever roasted bananas?

Roasted Bananas
Yep, you read that right – roasted bananas.  I found the recipe at posted by Lindsay Weiss of Overland Park, Kansas.  She says it came from Cooking Light magazine.  It intrigued me and I was wondering if roasting bananas brings out a richer, deeper flavor.  According to my taste-testers, The Chief and my sous-chef dish-washing mom — these are the best banana bars I’ve ever made! Their words, not mine. :)

Frost Roast Banana Bars
Lindsay’s recipe called for a browned butter pecan frosting.  I opted to put the pecans in the banana bars and leave them out of the frosting.  I didn’t brown the butter because I wanted the creamy texture that comes from combining butter and cream cheese with a little vanilla and powdered sugar.  I also doubled the recipe and instead of baking in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish I baked it in my bakers half sheet pan which is roughly 13″ x 18″.

bakers half sheet lid
Just in case you are wondering what this has to do with the  bakers half sheet baking pans with lids — it was at this point I was wishing I had one of those pans to cover up my beautiful pan of frosted banana bars.  Instead I used foil, which sank a bit in the refrigerator and smooshed my lovely cream cheese frosting. Truly this isn’t an earth-shattering crisis, but it did remind me of the bakers half sheet pans with lids that Ryan had.  I sent him a quick email and asked him to send me the name and information about the sheets.

bakers half sheet label
According to him, when he got my email he thought, “maybe she won’t be able to easily find them in Tennessee, I’ll just send them from Amazon and surprise her.”

bakers half sheet w/lid
Surprise me he did!  These are beautiful pans and the lid kinda “snaps” on but it snaps on the edge of the pan leaving frosting in perfect condition.

Frosted Roast Banana Bars
Here is a link where you can buy them on Amazon.

If you don’t have bananas on hand now, print out this recipe, buy some bananas and let them get over-ripe.  In the meantime you can order these pans and before you know it you will be roasting bananas too!

Have a blessed and happy 4th of July weekend,
2 Corinthians 3:17

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Romans 8:21

“… that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

John 8:32

“… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Roasted Banana Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24-30 bars

Roasted Banana Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasting bananas first brings out a richness that makes these bars outstanding!


    Roasted bananas:
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 6 medium)
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cake ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (non-fat or regular)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Milk to desired consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine sliced bananas, brown sugar and butter in a 9" x 13" baking pan, roast at 400 degrees F. for 35 minutes, stirring about half way through. Cool slightly.
  3. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of the electric mixer combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until well mixed.
  5. Combine flours, baking soda, pecans, and baking powder, in the bowl of the electric mixer.
  6. Combine cooled roasted bananas with buttermilk and vanilla.
  7. Alternate banana mixture and flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs in electric mixer until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Pour batter into a bakers half sheet that has been prepared with baking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Prepare frosting: Combine butter and cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat well. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Frost cooled banana bars and enjoy!


Vanilla Coffee-Mate is an excellent substitute for the milk in the frosting.

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes 2
Today is the 3rd anniversary of my first blog post. At first I thought about saying something like, “it seems like only yesterday” that I started writing and sharing with the world via the internet.  But that isn’t true. It seems like I have written this blog for a long time. When I push the Publish button today it will be my 513th blog post.

I have learned so much along the way. This includes a lot of technical blogging detail and how I can find wi-fi just about any place we travel! But most importantly I have learned that words matter.  That words I write (and speak) carry weight and there are implications and consequences when I share those words.

I’ve come to realize that sharing scripture is more than just re-printing words written from a particular version of the Bible.  That the scripture I share and the comments I make touch people’s lives.  From your comments, emails, and support I’ve come to think of you more than friends and much like traveling companions that I care deeply about.

I thank you for taking time to travel this road with me. Today this blog averages between 150 and 200 views per day.  I am humbled when I think about those of you who stop by for a quick read, search for a tried-and-true recipe, or read a scripture that has guided me and is guiding me daily.

“When we consider the blessings of God—the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering – friendship is very near the top.”

—Donald W. McCullough, Mastering Personal Growth

Deuteronomy 5:32-33

You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

strawberry cake single
I like strawberries.  A lot. I particularly like them in the spring and early summer when they come fresh from Florida, California, or my brother-in-law’s garden (hint-hint). Last Easter I made a fresh strawberry cake that is packed with flavor, incredibly moist and embarrassingly sweet!

Remember when I told you I planned to take fresh strawberry cupcakes to my friend Gaye, but she beat me to the punch bringing me Whole Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich cookies first?  Well, these were the cupcakes I was baking to take to her!

fresh strawberry cupcake cooling
I was concerned that the Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe would be too dense in cupcake form.  So I used this basic recipe, cutting out some of the oil and adding a little more fresh strawberries.

single strawberry cupcake
They turned out just perfect!  Really moist but not too much so!

Strawberry cupcake bite
I intended to give this one to my sweet Chief Culinary Consultant.  But after one bite (for the picture) I couldn’t stop myself.  It was gone before I knew what I had done. :(

strawberry cupcake mom
As I was dividing them up to go to the neighbors I asked my sous-chef dish-washing mom if she would like one for a snack that afternoon.  She said, “Well, it would be better to have one available and not want it, than to want one and not have it.”  Huh?  Okay, this one I made for her and set it aside if she wanted it.   She did.

strawberry cupcakes 3
If you and your family like strawberries, do yourself (and them) a favor and make these wonderful cupcakes!  You will be glad you did.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog, sharing with family and friends, and sharing your comments and recipes with me!

Happy Baking,

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

These cupcakes will turn any ordinary day into a party!


    Cake batter
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed
  • 1 small box dry strawberry jello
  • Strawberry Icing
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar (depending on preference of frosting stiffness)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, mashed


  1. Mix all cake batter ingredients and pour into 24 muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. While the cake is baking, make the icing.
  4. Mix together all icing ingredients until smooth. Add powdered sugar and strawberry mash to your desired consistency. Mix well before adding more sugar or strawberries.
  5. Once cake is cooled, spread the icing on the cupcakes.
  6. Store the cake in the refrigerator. The cupcakes are best when chilled for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.


Any buttercream or cream cheese frosting can be used.

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Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

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Pecan Cobbler
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

While the Chief was away last week in NYC, my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I ate at a local Italian restaurant.  The sign at the door said DESSERTS:  Pecan Cobbler.  Okay, I may live in the south but I grew up in Nebraska and cobbler and I don’t go way back.  Mom says she used to make peach cobbler and cherry cobbler when I was a kid.  I have zero recollection of either one.  Could be because I don’t eat cherry-anything and peach isn’t my favorite.  But pecan cobbler?  Neither of us had ever heard of it.

We ate chicken salad (me) and Bowtie Pomodoro (mom).  Too full for dessert we decided to take a helping of Pecan Cobbler home to eat later in the day.  Oh my word was it good!  Gooey pecan filling, very similar to pecan pie, but scooped into a bowl with a cobbler topping mixed about.

I couldn’t wait to find the recipe and make a whole panful!  I searched and researched, compared and printed out several recipes.  I looked at pictures throughout the internet and Pinterest.  Most of the cobbler recipes I found were just pecan pie made in a baking dish.  That wasn’t what I wanted.

pecan cobbler upclose
I kept coming across this recipe that calls for a cake mix and only has 5 ingredients.  The recipe I used came from Just A Pinch website and was shared by Patsy Fowler of Anderson, SC.  Only 5 ingredients intrigued me and I decided to make it for the home-coming of my sweetheart.

He arrived home safely, I am thrilled to have him home.  He is thrilled to be eating Pecan Cobbler. :) I doubled the pecans from 1 cup to 2 cups and I am glad I did.  In a 9″ x 13″ pan I think 1 cup of pecans would have been too few.  The next time I make it I may add a little vanilla in the butter/pecan mixture but all in all this is fabulous!

Happy Baking!

Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

Ooo-la-la a wonderfully gooey, tasty, and delicious dessert. Feeds a crowd and is ready to bake in 5 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans, whole, half or chopped
  • 1 pkg white cake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups hot water
  • OPTIONAL: Ice cream or Whipped Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a 9x13 inch cake pan or casserole dish, place the butter and put in the oven to melt.
  3. Once butter is melted, add vanilla and sprinkle the pecans over the butter.
  4. Spread the dry cake mix evenly over pecans, do not stir.
  5. Next spread the brown sugar over the cake mix.
  6. Carefully pour the hot water over the mixture, do not stir.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Popcorn Cake For Family and Friends

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slice popcorn cake
I received an email this evening from my friend Cheryl sharing this scripture. Just getting ready to write this blog post I decided these words are the perfect way to begin. Such powerful words to lean on!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Over some cookie decorating during the Thanksgiving weekend, my niece Alesa told us about her mom’s “Popcorn Cake.”  Whhhaattt?  I said, popcorn cake?  Alesa went on to say that my sister-in-law Jeanne has been making this cake for years and now makes 15 or more each Christmas!  It seems that each time she made the cake and gave it to someone they wanted their name on the list for a cake the next year, and the year after that …. and, well you get the idea.

popcorn cake ingred
It is very possible that you already know about popcorn cake, but me, I’ve never heard this before.  So we did what all curious cooks do … we made a quick Facetime call to Jeanne and she shared the details.  An air popper is a must since the popcorn needs to be made without butter or oil.  Marshmallows, margarine, and the goodies.  Jeanne suggests M & M’s – plain or peanut, or hot tamales or any favorite little candies.

popcorn in angel pan
The popcorn is measured by filling up an angel food cake pan to slightly overflowing.  In a large bowl microwave margarine and marshmallows just for 1 to 2 minutes until they are all melted.  Mix in the popcorn, sprinkle in some M&M’s and then pack it back into the greased angel food pan.   Couldn’t be easier.  Before adding the popcorn/marshmallow mixture back to the pan I sprinkled crushed candy cane over the bottom of the cake pan.  Makes it pretty and tasty when the cake is inverted.

cake slicing 2
The popcorn and marshmallow will set up over a couple of hours, but it must be left to cool and set up well or it will fall apart when it is unmolded from the cake pan.  Plus — this is important — the cake needs to be cut with an electric knife so that it won’t squish as it is sliced.

cake slicing 1
It is best eaten within the first 24 hours.  But honestly, it won’t last that long.  By the way — I have made this cake using Rice Krispies and it was outstanding too! Kids of all ages will love munching on this treat!

popcorn christmas cake
Happy Popping!

Popcorn Cake

Popcorn Cake

Food for fun, plain and simple, but not plain and simple tasting!


  • 1 Angel Food Cake Pan
  • 1 Air Popcorn Popper
  • 10 oz. Bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 5 Tablespoons margarine
  • 3/4 Cup M & M's - plain or peanut
  • 1 cup Crushed Candy Canes


  1. Pop enough corn to slightly over-fill the angel food cake pan.
  2. Spray cake pan with oil. If desired cover bottom with crushed candy canes.
  3. Melt margarine in a large microwave safe bowl. Add mini-marshmallows. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Marshmallows should be melted when stirred. If not, microwave for another few seconds.
  4. Add popcorn to melted butter/marshmallow mixture. Stir well.
  5. Add M&M's, stirring well.
  6. Hand pack the popcorn mixture into the angel food cake pan.
  7. Let cake set until it is cooled and well-formed. Do not remove from cake pan too soon as it will fall apart when unmolded. This will take at least an hour.
  8. When set, unmold on a cake plate. Using an electric knife carefully cut the cake into individual slices.


Let your imagine run wild! Add hot tamales, or other favorite colorful candy!

Rice Krispie cereal can be used in place of popcorn.

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