Another Cake

As I mentioned in my last Tuesday post, we have been having a lot of birthday cakes (much to my daughter’s delight and my thigh’s detriment).  Today she requested a strawberry cake.

Strawberry cake has always been a touch scary for me, giving me flashbacks to the only truly bad cake I recall my mom making, for my birthday, after a somewhat brief internet search I came across this little gem at  I haven’t taken a bite yet, and I improvised on the frosting (which is tasty), but I am very optimistic about the outcome.  Even though the directions were scarcely followed by my two tiny assistants.

Updates, and hopefully specific recipe to follow soon!



Smoked Gouda Twice Baked Potatoes

While making Crispy Baked Chicken the other night, I wanted a rich and creamy potato to go with it.  We adore twice baked potatoes, but I wanted something a little different, and frankly didn’t want the mess of bacon grease.  These turned out so wonderful, and the Gouda added that smokey flavor that bacon lends (although more subtle).

How to do it:

Wash 5 medium-sized baked potatoes, poke one side with a fork 3-4 times.  Place onto a baking sheet and bake at 375’F for about 90 minutes, or until fork tender.  Allow the potatoes to cool slightly.

Holding a potato with a hot-pad or folded towel, carefully remove the top skin of the potato (you should have an oval on the top of the potato).  Gently go around the inside of the oval with the knife, being careful not to pierce the skin.  Scoop the loosened potato from the skin with a small spoon and place into a mixing bowl.  Repeat with remaining potatoes.  Reserve skins to refill!

In the mixing bowl add about:

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh chives

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 tablespoons milk

Mix with an electric hand mixer until fluffy.  Then add

1/4 smoked gouda, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Stir in with a spoon.  Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins, top with additional cheese if desired.  Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is starting to melt.IMG_7903








Crispy Baked Chicken

IMG_7906Quite a few years ago, 1996 to be more specific, I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.  At the time my parents had declared my sister and I would be occasionally responsible for planning and preparing a meal for dinner.  This recipe was an instant success and we have made it countless times since, not only for dinner at home but for church functions and fundraiser dinners!  You can multiply the dry ingredients and keep it on hand for a quick chicken dinner.  Bone in or boneless skinless, it works wonderfully.

Serve with rich potatoes and your favorite veggie and you cannot lose, it paired deliciously with my Smoked Gouda Twice Baked Potatoes!


  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • About 3 pounds of chicken cut up
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Tabasco Sauce, optional


Soak the chicken in the milk (for a little extra kick add a few dashes of hot sauce, this is very optional).  Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a shallow dish for coating the chicken. Pre-heat oven to 375’F.

Coat the chicken with the cornmeal mixture and place into a lightly buttered dish.  Ideally, allow the coated chicken to sit for at least 5-10 minutes (this will ensure everything browns nicely).  Melt the butter and drizzle evenly over the chicken.

Bake uncovered until chicken is done.  For cut up bone-in chicken, this can take about 50 minutes, boneless, skinless breast tenders will take about 20-25 minutes.




Happy Safe Travels to You!

This past Tuesday we had a very small group, only seven adults, one tween, two toddlers and one newly walking baby.

For dinner, we had Beef Enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce, shredded beef, and all of the toppings you could want.  This was served with white rice and white bread.  Dessert was one of the most decadent apple pies you could ever eat, Southern Praline Apple Pie, delicious apple pie piled high with a cream cheese and pecan topping.

My newly turned three-year-old was very excited to tell everyone that she is going to be a “Salamander” at preschool, and took the time to tell her aunt about the costume she was expecting to wear!

We all made sure to congratulate my niece of her only hours old accomplishment of walking across the room all by herself!  She promptly started ransacking cupboards and anything else she could, trying to keep up with her cousins I am sure.

But the majority of our conversation focused around a young man, that even though this was only his third dinner with us, we have known his entire life, and his parents are regular attendees at Tuesday dinner but were out of town this week.

The reason for the extra attention being that he was traveling for mission work to Africa on Friday (we have heard he made it safely there).  So, of course, there is a lot of interest in what he would and wouldn’t have while he is there.  What other trips were like in comparison to what he expects from this trip.  Was he packed?  Should we send pictures of food for him to drool over?

We also talked a lot about future places he would like the group he works with to go.  Australia was a big one, and having been so lucky as to have gone twice in my life so far I highly encouraged this! (Seriously if you ever have the opportunity, go you won’t regret it at all!  If you get a free ticket you don’t want, send it to me and I will go for you).

Scotland was a place that was talked about going to and how old places in Europe feel in comparison to other places including Mackinac Island.

When dessert time came, my three-year-old was beyond excited to sing Happy Birthday.  To be clear, since her birthday around Christmas time, we have sung Happy Birthday for nearly every dessert and have even made additional “Birthday Cakes” because she so loves singing and being sung to.  As a compromise, my mom put a birthday candle in the pie and started singing “Happy Safe Travels to You!” and presented the pie to the young man.  My daughter without missing a beat climbed over him to make sure SHE blew out the candle.

Not Yet

I have been debating for quite a while about continuing this blog or not, as may have been apparent from my lack of new postings.  The upheaval in life here last fall really left me questioning everything and wondering if I should continue anything along the path I had started.

Things settled down as they do, but even despite all of the “you can do this” and “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, and other inspirational posts that I came across, I wasn’t feeling it.   There was a silence on the other end of the line that I just wasn’t used to.

For the majority of my working life, I have had a commute that was at least 30 minutes in either direction. Drives like this became my me time, a time to quite my mind, organize my life and reconnect with God.  Quite a few years ago on one such drive, I heard that quite but oh so clear voice say to me “Be ready.”  Vague as that may be, it has stuck with me as clear as the moment I heard it.  In my heart, I felt it was a call to be prepared to take care of my family regardless of circumstances, to provide food and other essentials without a lot of outside assistance.

Slowly I have been developing these skills, and I thought (and still do) that having our own farm is a big part of “being ready”.  Losing Sugar Dot and so much of what we were building last year really challenged this though, and felt like a big fat “NO!” No, you aren’t meant to be a part of the dairy industry. No, soap making isn’t for you.  No, you aren’t meant to farm.  No, you aren’t meant to garden.  No, you have got it all wrong. No.  And then I heard nothing, for the first time in my life I really felt distance from God.

The last few weeks I have really been pondering this and a very very unlikely TV series pushed me to find a way to hear His voice again.  I have spent time in prayer and working to clear all the negative thoughts from my mind.  Opening room to hear “Not yet,” instead of “No.”  Little crumbs of things I need keep trickling into my path, skills like caring for our sadly neglected apple trees, things like being able to transport our horses by myself, learning more about gardening indoors and out.

I also have learned that the dairy industry is struggling something terrible right now.  More and more small-scale farms are having to sell out due to low milk prices and lack of local support.  Clearly, it is not a great time to be considering this a career choice, but it is a good time to learn more about it.

Am I sure about what my path is ahead of me? Not yet.  But for now, I am going to get back to sharing Tuesday stories, because those dinners are important to who I am and what I want my girls to remember about growing up.  After logging into this website for the first time in a long time, I was surprised to see that I still was having daily traffic, much more than would have ever expected.  Am I going to be a famous blogger? Maybe not yet, but I will keep sharing stories and recipes 🙂