Monthly Archives: June 2014

Key Lime & Lemon Cake

Key Lime & Lemon Cake

This lemony-lime cake is mouthwatering with a delightful, creamy citrus frosting and a sprinkling of lime zest for the finishing touch.

Key Lime Cake #3

My sons raved about its decadent tart-sweetness after I served a thin slice to them. They usually prefer anything chocolate, so I was pleasantly surprised when they asked for another helping. I enjoyed a few slices myself. So good!



Key Lime & Lemon Cake

1 boxed Lemon Supreme Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup fresh lime juice or bottled key lime juice
1/3 cup water
Key lime frosting recipe below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two round cake pans. Line bottom in wax paper to fit if you like. With electric mixer, blend all ingredients scraping sides until incorporated. Pour into  pans and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown and done. Allow to cool completely.  Use butter knife and easily loosen cake from pan, sliding spatula underneath slowly to loosen. Put cake plate on top and turn upside down to remove each cake.

First cake will be upside down. Brush away extra crumbs and layer frosting liberally across top. Add second cake on top by easily flipping upward and move into place. Fold more frosting on top and allow to fall over the sides. Once cake is covered completely with frosting sprinkle lime zest over top. Refrigerate before serving.

Creamy Key Lime Frosting
1 cup softened butter
1 – 8 oz box Neufchâtel Cream Cheese or regular cream cheese
1-1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice or bottled key lime juice
Grated lime zest

With electric mixer, whip all ingredients except for lime zest until creamy. Refrigerate to keep firm until ready to use.


Baked S’mores


I found this recipe on Pinterest from Dessert For Two and just knew they would be yummy! I’m a sucker for anything marshmallowy or chocolaty and this dessert dish is both. Use a mini size cast-iron skillet if you only need to feed a few people and cut the ingredients in half. Baked s’mores are really fun to make and perfect for small gatherings and kid’s overnighters. Be sure to serve while warm as they harden like rock candy after about an hour.


Baked Smores

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
About 18 regular size marshmallows
graham crackers for dipping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In medium cast-iron skillet pour in chocolate chips. Snip marshmallows in half and place on top. Bake 8-10 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown. Scoop with graham crackers.


{Do you know the story?} “It Is Well With My Soul” — The True Events Behind the Song


Do you know the song, “It Is Well With My Soul”?  Most of us have sung it at church, or heard it played at a funeral service.  I have followed along with its words from hymnals found in the back of a pew many times. Maybe you have also? This hymn always tugged at my heart, but I never knew why. Until now… after hearing his story… Horatio Spafford’s real life story.

It is a powerful and incredibly moving memoir written in a song. A beautiful hymn not made special by its melody or lyrics, but from the amazing true story behind words penned by Horatio Spafford. A man devastated by great loss and tremendous heartache. An unimaginable pain most of us will hopefully never experience. It was a pain felt within the greatest depths of his soul.  One of desperation for God’s comfort and healing. It is a written account of how God returned peace to a man’s being, so that he could go on breathing… go on living.

While traveling by ship across the Atlantic, Horatio Spafford scribbled several phrases on a piece of paper.  He had been thinking about a number of tragic events that had unfolded recently. The most debilitating of them had brought him to that moment in time as he peered out over the rolling waves of a vast sea. A fateful journey he was destined to painstakingly endure. One that God would be with him on…

It was the year 1870 when tragedy first struck. Horatio and his wife, Anna, unexpectedly lost their only son to scarlet fever.  Before a year would pass, they would find themselves in the midst of the Great Chicago Fire. One that would ruin them financially. Horatio had been a successful lawyer in Chicago, a profession that allowed him to be a significant investor in property within the area.  But the great flames that decimated Chicago, would also bankrupt him and his family.

The year of 1873 came and the country was in an economic downturn. Horatio and his family needed a reprieve from their hardships and personal financial collapse. He and his wife Anna planned a trip to Europe and would travel by sea on the SS Ville du Havre. As their itinerary was set for voyage, a late change in business plans would delay Horatio from leaving with them. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead with assurance that he would reunite with them soon. But while crossing the Atlantic, the SS Ville du collided with the Loch Earn sea vessel and began to sink rapidly. Anna survived. Nine days later she sent her husband a telegram that read — “Saved alone”.

Alone and adrift at sea… the realization of their great loss of four daughters fell upon Anna. Though in unbearable pain and desolation, she knew in that moment that God was not finished with her life yet.

While traveling to meet his grieving Anna… Horatio was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near the place where their daughters died…

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.”

And through it all we see in these heartfelt words… Christ consoled him. God never left him. And Horatio’s faith was unmoved.

Horatio and Anna would see many blessings.  They went on to have two more daughters, then relocated to Jerusalem and opened a home for children. God carried this couple forward from unimaginable events and continued to use their lives for His glory — even to this day — through this classic hymn.

One might say that the Spafford’s story could be summed up in these verses…
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fill into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1-3,10-11

Jesus promises, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened… and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

And Jesus declares, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21




Easy Peach Raspberry Crisp


This fruit crisp was a hit at my nephew’s recent graduation party. To serve more guests than usual for an event like this, I doubled all the ingredients and used a larger pan, but only needed one box of cake mix to cover the top before baking. For potlucks and dish-to-pass events, bake in an aluminum pan and when the dessert is gone just throw it away. Because some guests may have nut allergies I left the pecans out.

Easy Peach Raspberry Crisp

1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches in syrup, undrained
1 medium fresh peach, peeled and sliced in thin wedges
1 package yellow or butter pecan cake mix (regular size)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup pecans (optional)

Arrange peaches and raspberries in an ungreased 13″ x 9″ baking dish or aluminum pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over top. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with pecans if you like.

Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 55-60 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

It is midweek and muggy so the two boys, my niece and I will hit the mall to catch a matinee movie and graze the food court. I’m feeling a little Target-ish so we may swing by there, too.  A good day to just go with the flow…


Lara Spencer’s New Book “Flea Market Fabulous” Debuts


Book Review Update:  This is a gorgeous book with big, bold, colorfully detailed photos on every page. Lara doesn’t disappoint readers with varying tastes either.  Not only does she showcase many design styles in her stunning real-life rooms, but she gives readers plenty of captions, tips, and fixes we can use right now. Throughout the pages she has sprinkled helpful advice from professional designers who weigh-in on how they create beautiful homes, too. Lara also shares her design dilemmas for each project and then walks readers through her process for solving them. And her mood boards are amazing and fun to see! And just like she did in her first book, she tells readers what she paid for her flea-market finds then shows us the reveal on how she used them in each stunning room. Lara has written another fantastic book that readers will refer to again and again! It’s perfect for anyone who loves to decorate, but especially inspiring for those of us who love to  do it on a budget and with our fabulous flea-market finds! Love it! Continue reading

Restaurant-Style Fresh Spicy Salsa


This salsa has a spicy hot kick that is a favorite in my house. My family and guests stand at the bowl and gobble it up with tortilla chips. I have been asked for the recipe many times and am happy to share it. The four simple ingredients are blended smooth in a mini-food processor, but you can combine and hand-stir for a chunkier version, of course. Enjoy!

Fresh Spicy Salsa

1 – 14.5 can dei Fortelli Mexican chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of one small lime or lemon

Serve as is or chilled in the refrigerator. Splendidus with tortilla chips or as a topping to enchiladas and other Mexican-style entrees.

Stay tuned for easy chicken enchiladas with creamy cheese sauce that I will post the recipe for soon. It’s magnifico! I hope you will Like my page on Facebook for more easy recipes and simple craft ideas.

Lemony Chicken Soup


Have you ever been to Greece?

Okay, well, then when was the last time you puckered up just a wee bit while sipping soup?

Can’t recall?

I don’t remember either, except for when I recently made this dreamy citrusy soup and nearly ate all of it by myself.

It’s Greek you know so it must be good.

I love Greek food, don’t you?

And soup is my favorite go-to-meal for quick dinners and using up leftovers.

It’s also healthy and great for the figure.

When I can’t zip up the jeans…

… eating lots of soup takes care of that for me.


I opted for rotisserie chicken, pre-shredded carrots, frozen peas and chopped spinach to save time.

P.S. — If you’ve never tried lemony soup before… don’t worry… it’s really smooth and delicious. So go ahead… pucker up and enjoy!

Lemony Chicken Soup

1 tsp olive oil
1 sm clove garlic, finely chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
1 rib celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper or 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (leftover or pulled from a rotisserie chicken)
2 large eggs
3-4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

1. HEAT oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until transparent, using a small amount of water if needed. Add stock, celery, onions, carrots, pepper, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until orzo is tender, about 8 minutes.

2. ADD green vegetables and chicken and simmer 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in medium bowl. Warm egg mixture gently by whisking in about 1 cup hot stock in a thin stream.

3. WHISK egg mixture while slowly drizzling into soup and warm briefly over low heat 2 minutes. Do not boil or eggs will curdle. Adjust seasoning as needed with more lemon juice, salt, or pepper and serve.

5 Fast Rules For Debt-Free Living



5 Fast Rules for Debt-Free Living

1. Don’t spend more money than you earn. The key is sticking to it!  Set a budget and don’t veer off. Don’t use credit cards, but instead patiently save and pay cash for extras that you want. Also create a minimum $1,000 emergency fund to avoid the use of credit cards and borrowing money. 

2. Save 10% of your paycheck no matter what. Save at least 10% from every paycheck and put it away. Building your nest egg will free you from borrowing from other people and financial institutions when a crisis occurs — and one will!  Consistently saving your money will allow you to take care of what is necessary when needed, which is a big stress reliever. A strong savings account will allow you choices; like helping others who are in need, taking nice vacations, saving for the future, and enjoying the fruits of your labor in many other enjoyable ways.

3. Never lease or buy a brand new car.  This one rule will save you more money than you can  imagine.  Money you can use to pay other debt with, plan for retirement, or apply to your mortgage, etc. Purchasing a new vehicle, or leasing one, is like throwing cash out the window. And many people pay their car loans off then turn around and buy a new one and start all over again. The initial owner of a brand new car takes the biggest financial loss the moment they drive it off the car lot. You don’t want to be that owner! If you are not careful, consecutive vehicle loans will become a lifelong obligation and hinder your financial freedom.  Consider a nice, used vehicle in good condition, with low miles that you can afford to pay cash for. Then maintain it on schedule and as needed and drive it for as long as possible.  Maintenance and repairs will generally cost less per year than 12-monthly car installment payments do over a five year loan term.

4. Pay cash for your education. Pursuing a college degree often means carrying long-term debt, sometimes for up to 20 years after graduation. Paying for classes as you take them may extend the length of time it takes to get your education, but you will also graduate debt-free and avoid paying a large portion of your new earnings back to the bank. 

5. Pay cash for your home. This may seem impossible, but it can be done. In fact, I know several singles and couples who have lived frugally to save cash and buy their first house. Some lived with their parents and socked money away until they had enough to pay for their first home.  There are many creative ways to earn and save enough money to pay for your first home in full. 

I hope these 5 rules encourage you to begin taking steps toward living your life debt-free. They may seem extreme, and yes they will challenge you, but with patience and willpower they are attainable.

For more great tips on living a financially free life, read “The Total Money Makeover” written by Dave Ramsey. His book will guide you on how to begin paying off bills fast, save like never before, and invest in very simple and smart ways for your future. 



Roasted Salmon With Mustard-Dill Glaze



Good day friends! Wow, what a weekend!!  We were busy indeed with two more graduation parties to attend, a Father’s Day celebration in-between, and a youth event for about 30 teenagers in our backyard last night. Our calendar is full for June and July, but August looks like the month we will rest and just go with the flow. Have you been busy this month at gatherings with friends and family, also?

In the meantime, my son woke up to a persistent cough, which thankfully is due to allergies and nothing more serious. It is his last week of school and I am praying he feels up to going back tomorrow so he can take his final tests, and not only finish the year strong, but enjoy these last few days with his friends before summer break.

Here is a quick recipe for baked or grilled salmon that is super easy and tasty, too. If you choose to grill the fillets first, try adding the glaze after they have been cooked to avoid burning the fish and losing the mustard-dill sauce on the hot grates.

Roasted Salmon With Mustard-Dill Glaze

4 – 4 oz center-cut salmon fillets
grainy mustard
chopped dill
dark brown sugar
lemon juice
black pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small dish, combine 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon each grainy mustard and chopped dill. 1-1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a pinch of black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Put four 4-ounce, center-cut salmon fillets on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and spread mayonnaise mixture over top of fillets. Roast until just cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.



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