Monday, January 31, 2011

Cake For A Happy Day

As a newlywed nearly 35 years ago my husband and I went to a church function where they served a cake that is still to this day the best cake I've ever put in my mouth. It makes you want to put on a happy face, do a happy dance and happily not worry about the calories - not because there aren't any, but just because you don't even care. So here I'm sharing my beloved recipe with you!

Happy Day Cake (that's the real name I got for it 35 years ago)

Mix together:
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla (I add a little extra)
2 eggs

Blend briefly and then mix for no more than 2 min.

Bake at 375 for 25 - 35 min. You can use a 9x13 cake pan or make into cupcakes. I only baked mine 25 min. Avoid over baking. Start checking at 25 min. - when toothpick comes out clean from the center - it's done.

Penucha Frosting
Melt together:
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar

Boil for 2 minutes
1/4 cup milk (it will sizzle and almost smell burnt)

Boil again until mixed and all one color.
Cool to lukewarm
Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth. Pour/spread over cake right away.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bite Size Brain Snack

"What you possess in the world will be found at the day of your death to belong to someone else. But what you are will be yours forever." - Henry Van Dyke

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hymn Hum

I heard this hymn on my way into work today. Whether it's sung traditionally or in a more contemporary fashion, the words are absolutely rich and resoundingly TRUE!! Don't stop short of reading every verse...the final one will make your heart sing.


Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Meaning to Fun

Work is called work
or else it'd be fun.
But sometimes work done
Can feel like fun.

Am I all alone
in this strange phenomenon?
When work involves people
Fun is really what's done.

Work by itself
Is just something you do.
Work that's turned fun
Is a people hullaballoo!

So love what you do
and work if you can,
To live in the moment
With the people at hand.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Missing Mom Today

My mom passed away four years ago today. Much that's happened in recent weeks has brought me back to those dark, yet wonderful days spent with her just before she passed on to her eternal reward.
~Snowy, cold, gray days. Snow laden pine boughs through the window...birds fluttering around as they visit trees in the yard...a snuggly pink blanket spread across the bed for extra warmth...
"It Is Well With My Soul" popping into my head. The special days, her last days had all of these things and more.

~The pending arrival of a new baby girl - she LOVED her grandkids in a very hands on way - even though my girls were long distance. And oh, how she loved babies. She and Lori had a special bond, I think because their birthdays were almost exactly 50 years apart. She would not have been able to contain her excitement about this first granddaughter from my family. The day my daughter called me to tell me the ultrasound revealed "a girl", the very first thought I had was to call my mom. I couldn't but oh, how I wanted to.

~Friends and co-workers dealing with situations where loved ones are terminally ill. I can't tell you how many people I know are currently dealing with this difficulty. It's one of life's hardest tasks - saying goodbye prematurely to those who are fully aware that their time here is on a certain countdown clock.

~Stumbling unexpectedly across faded photographs of days gone by. My mom was a pretty lady and such a pleasant person. She loved people through her smile, her many words and such very kind eyes.
Moms aren't perfect. Mine wasn't, hers wasn't. But in the end I know she loved me and was proud of me. She told me so. Many times. She gave me all she could in every way. Sometimes I regret being so independent and reserved, denying her the opportunity to "mother" me in ways she probably wanted to. I didn't know better then.

All of this is making me miss her very much today. I can still hear her voice, the way she would giggle when she called me by my "pet" name that she knew annoyed me. I miss her silly birthday songs and how she would sing "You Are My Sunshine" - so off key. It makes me smile just to think of her.

I miss you, Mom. Always.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Low Cal Something for the New Year

You may be continuing or starting your "healthier lifestyle" here in January. I stumbled on an idea in the kitchen the other day that actually turned out well. Sometimes they don't. nuff said :)

Vegetable Salad Surprise came about this way....BTW, any made up recipe of mine is always titled the "something, something? SURPRISE" just because it makes it sound like a culinary adventure. I'm a legend in my own mind. Ha Ha!

I had some peppers that were not so long term healthy and needed to be eaten. I was feeling too short on time and lazy to prepare lettuce for a salad. So, I cut up the red and green peppers into bite size pieces, cut cucumber slices into 1/4's and threw them into a bowl. Then I added some homemade salsa (Pioneer Woman's recipe) and tossed it around. It looked good just like that but my menopausal taste buds generally scream for alot of flavor. So I added some Sundried Tomato and Parmesan salad dressing - just a dash or two - and mixed it all up. I added some spicy pepper just to make sure the "buds" were going to jump for joy...and whahla!!!!
Vegetable Salad Surprise!!!

Very tasty and very low calorie!!! The next night I took what was left over topped my salad with it. A flavorful reprise and no wasting produce - YES!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Knowing" Is An Intimate Word

Knowing is a good word. It suggests an inside track on something, a first hand understanding, a confident capture, an experiential familiarity - you get the idea. Well last week we finally got to KNOW the answer to a very important question.

With Lori and Ethan expecting their first baby in June - we have all been hanging on till the ultrasound a few days ago. The big thing to KNOW?? What this little tator tot is going to be, of course.....BOY or GIRL????

It changes everything to KNOW. It immediately removes 50% of the thinking process on everything from names, to clothing to room decor. It takes your conversation from the "it" and "the baby" realm to very specific, endearing references. It takes your heart from a fuzzy portrait of a "neutral" baby to one that is either pink or blue.

Oh, are you wanting me to get on with the big reveal of what I now "know"???????

SHE'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A wonderful, sweet, baby smelling bundle of hugs and kisses all dressed up in pink and lace and polka dots. I cannot wait!!!!

She is now my granddaughter - how cool is that? SHE will now be connected to me FOREVER. Nothing can or will change that. I am so ready for this experience and have prepared those around me for the totally bonkers me that will soon emerge.

I'm ever so thankful that my granddaughter's family lives less than 20 minutes door to door. I plan to be on everlasting call for anything and everything she needs.

I have to go now. I'm needing to go outfit my soon to be minivan with carrier, car seat, pack n play and whatever else I need to be the "go to" granny. (that's not what I'm going to be called, BTW, but am open to suggestions.)

So much to do for baby girl including praying for her safe arrival. I love you like you're already here, little angel!!

Love, Nanny

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bite Size Brain Snack for the New Year

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential." - Ellen Goodman