Jun 25, 2018

Birthday Week and the Raspberry Laced Vanilla Cake

Since I am recovering from a full and fun birthday week, I am going to share some pictures of the cake that for countless years has been part of the birthday celebrations at our home.  If you've been joining in here for a while, you too know the Raspberry Laced Vanilla Cake!  It's like it needs it's own marquee - it is seriously that good!

However, you know that I've been on a sugar free journey for the last year and a half and this cake did not make an entrance this year, because, I did not bake it! And if you remember the ingredients from this post Audra Elizabeth's Birthday Recipes no one, including The Salesman, who just had a heart attack, needs this cake.  But if you ever find yourself in need of a cake, this is one to make.  It is delicious.

I made it for a birthday celebration earlier this year:

Here is is before the icing hides all the broken layers!  Does anyone out there have a good way to cut cake layers?  Thank goodness for icing!

The finished masterpiece...

The fresh raspberries were the only item I would be tempted to eat off this cake now...

What a difference a year and a half makes.

You may be wondering what I ate for my birthday in place of this cake?  Well, I was offered plenty desserts from friends and waitresses at restaurants where we ate.  I do have two pieces of chocolate cakes from different restaurants in my refrigerator, just in case a friend stops by and would like something sweet.  One of the snacks that I've been enjoying is a mix of pecans and Trim Healthy Mama chocolate chips.  Sometimes I add unsweetened coconut to the mix.  If you are interested in the THM chips, check out this link THM for the bag I order.

Have a delicious week!

Jun 22, 2018

For the Love of Lamp Lights - Bridge over the Tennessee River

Happy weekend, friends!

I enjoyed the light in the clouds after we had a business dinner in Knoxville this week. And look at the lamplights on the Gay Street Bridge!  They were added in 2003 as part of a 16 million dollar renovation. As as a lover of architecture, I've got to mention that this cantilever bridge is set on stone piers and is the last of its kind standing in the United States.

Look up!

Jun 20, 2018

Good morning, friends. How are you? Are you enjoying the warm/hot weather?

This last week has been non-stop. The Salesman is home and recovering, and working, too!  I've been thinking much about his heart attack and the complications he is experiencing, and his pain.  I've been thinking about my own hardships.  The reality of life coupled with the purchase of the colander for an upcoming wedding, got my thoughts going and suddenly this Pioneer Woman stylish strainer becomes a GOD sifter, and a personal Spirit lifter.  The intensity of this last week has weighed heavy on me.  I could use a lift!

Life can sometimes feel like a drain-
Whether a steady dripping, or an intense, sudden pain.

But there is ONE who holds it all.
No hurt, no sorrow, no situation, is beyond HIS call.

Though I wonder at times at the "what" HE allows...
HE will do whatever it takes to bring the knee to bow.

HE desires with us, our union,
To be an intimate communion.

To think and imagine what HE sifts
To draw us closer to HIM, is indeed a gift.

HE knows what needs to come through,
And in the situation, HE remains faithful and true.

Guaranteed, HE knows what needs to remain.
Hallelujah. I choose to praise HIS name!

Thankful today that HE has strained
Every ounce of our heartache and pain.

Jun 18, 2018

Trim Healthy Mama Totally Dope Chicken Review

Is anyone else in need of a crockpot meal to reduce the heat of baking in their kitchen this summer? Well, I went to the Sanity-Saving Crockpot & Electric Pressure Cooker Meals chapter of the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook and, despite the name, decided to try Totally Dope Chicken recipe.  It is a Satisfying meal on page 104, and makes 6-8 servings for a family.

To make Totally Dope Chicken, it is done in two easy steps.  One, two, and five hours in the crockpot, and there is dinner!  I used a liner in my crockpot and clean up was easy, too.  Do you all use the liners? I think they are a good investment and a time saver for clean up, especially when your help is off work.  Or, like me, and you have no help.

I did not add the optional sweetener to this recipe.

The first picture is when I took the lid off the crockpot...it smelled wonderful!

Now, I tried to make my picture look similar to the one in the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook; but my Totally Dope Chicken looked juicier than Pearl and Serene's.  In the cookbook, the consistency of theirs looked more like chicken salad, so I thought I'd done something wrong.  I did put a very thin slice of creamy havarti cheese in my pita.

I was thinking the cheese would soak up some of the juice.  I should have used a slotted serving spoon to dip from the crockpot... Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

But, that didn't work, and I started dripping the sauce from my pita, so I grabbed a romaine lettuce leaf and used it as a guard for my pita.  It worked wonderfully and tasted great with my lunch!

The good news is that after I put the leftovers in the refrigerator and got it out for the next meal, the consistency looked more like the cookbook picture.  I was relieved.  I enjoyed eating the Totally Dope Chicken in a pita, with cheese and the lettuce wrapper.  I also ate it as a dinner meal with a salad and cottage cheese.  I think The Salesman would enjoy it over brown rice.

Try this recipe, Mama's.  It is easy and tasty and doesn't heat your kitchen up.  


Jun 15, 2018

For the Love of Lamp Lights - O P Jenkins

 O.P. Jenkins has been around the area for 110 years.  If you go there, you are going to love something there, I guarantee it!  You may be like me and find many somethings there!  So much beauty!

I liked this lamp - the texture, color and style.

 Rooms upon rooms of beauty...

 This picture... I really like the scene, the colors, the inviting path that looks to be snow covered to me.

The basement was my favorite floor!

I wondered if the floors were original.

They were beautiful ...

Such simple beauty...

Look up my friends!

Happy weekend!

Jun 14, 2018

Rain in the forecast

Last night, after 3 days at the hospital for The Salesman, I looked at the weather forecast that included rain for today and heard these words that express my heart:

Sometimes when it rains,
I like to believe that God is weeping over my very personal pain.

Though I feel I’ve seen a lot of rain,
I know His heart sees my pain.

So sunsine will be my refrain.
Yes, Sonshine will be my refrain.

A rainbow is coming,
I will keep humming.
almost midnight

I took a break this week because The Salesman has had some health issues. We are home. And overwhelmed with the outpouring and love from our family and friends.


Jun 11, 2018

Trim Healthy Mama Chocolate-Covered Cherry Muffins Review

Because the Trim Healthy Mama Oatmeal on the Go Cups were so delicious, I thought I'd try another recipe from the muffins chapter of the new Trim Healthy Mama Trim Healthy Table cookbook. The Chocolate Covered Cherry Muffins are an Energizing meal and you will find the recipe on page 367.  It is a No Special Ingredient and Dairy Free recipe. 

The recipe states it would make 12 muffins. My recipe made 12 muffins, plus

Another 8 muffins!  There would have been no way to fit all this batter into twelve muffin liners.  Please pardon the batter drips on the pans.  I wish I could say my assistant did that; but, I have no assistant...  And these are my dear mother's muffin tins! I remember many a blueberry muffin she made in these pans.  I have many fond memories of my mother's baking and cooking and meals and picnics and family gatherings.  I learned much from my mother, and I am so grateful.

Don't they look yummy?

And chocolatey?

And cherries are so good for us! Do you all enjoy cherries? We do!

I only smeared some butter on it because the recipe said to do this and you know, I always try to follow the recipe exactly the first time!

I felt like I used too many bowls making this recipe.  Not sure if it was me, or the recipe.  I shared these muffins with a couple friends, and they liked them.  I liked them too; but I still think the Oatmeal on the Go Cups are my current favorite. They have a good cake like texture. I can peel the baking liner off them and eat them without crumbs or mess.  I store them in the refrigerator and usually eat them after an E meal, as a dessert.

It is worth a try making these, Mama's.  If you do, please let me know if you used 3 or 4 bowls, or if it was just me!