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Cool Stuff Just For You


Recently, my husband celebrated his birthday (June 25).  He requested this chocolate cake.  It was yummy and pretty to boot.  Now, the frosting is very, very rich.  Just a warning!   No better way to celebrate your birthday than with your children and a triple chocolate cake.  Happy Birthday, Adam!

Note:  I also made this cake with the peanut butter frosting from a previous cake post.  I doubled the frosting ingredients and it was delicious also.  My boys liked it better with the peanut butter than the chocolate.  Both cakes looked beautiful.

Ingredients for Cake:

2 cups butter (4 sticks), plus more for greasing cake pans

1 cup cocoa, plus more for dusting

4 cups flour

4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups boiling water

1 cup buttermilk

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs, beaten

Ingredients for frosting:

3 cups whipping cream

2- 12 ounce bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tsp. vanilla


Directions for Cake:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heavily grease three 9-inch round cake pans with butter and dust with cocoa.

-In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.

-In a saucepan, melt 2 cups butter.  Add cocoa. Stir together.  Add 2 cups of boiling water and allow the mixture to boil for 30 seconds and then remove from heat.

-Pour hot butter mixture over flour mixture and stir gently to cool.

-In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir this mixture into the butter and chocolate mixture.

-Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

-Cool completely before frosting.   Refrigerate the layers after cooling.


Directions for Frosting:

-Place chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. (I used my kitchen aid bowl so I could just beat it right in the bowl.)

-In a saucepan, heat cream until very hot.

-Pour hot cream over chocolate chips.  Stir to melt chips completely.

-Place bowl in refrigerator to cool and chill.

-Add vanilla and beat with electric mixer until light and airy.

-Frost the cake in between layers,on the top and sides.

-Make a wish and sing “Happy Birthday”!!

Triple Chocolate Cake

It’s that time of year again where the gardens are producing bountiful supplies of vegetables and herbs.  YUM!!!  This recipe is a great one for all that zucchini.  It also has fresh blueberries, fresh lemon zest and lemon juice.  I love when recipes make a huge pan like this one so I can share them and pack them in lunches.  This recipe screams summer!


2 cups zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. flour, divided

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh blueberries


2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel

2 tsp. lemon juice

pinch of salt



-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Spray a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan.

-In a small bowl, combine zucchini, buttermilk, lemon peel and lemon juice. Set aside.

-In another bowl, combine 3 1/4 cup flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

-In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar.

-Add eggs, one at a time.

-Alternately add flour mixture and zucchini mixture until it is all incorporated.

-In a bowl, combine 2 Tbsp flour and 2 cups blueberries.

-Fold blueberries gently into batter.  Pour into prepared pan.

-Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

-Cool completely.

-Combine glaze ingredients until smooth.  Spread over top.  Let stand until set.


You are probably wondering what in the world that title means.  We all went swimming today and needed a snack.  We took a whole watermelon and cut it into 4 chunks and ate it in the pool.  Watermelon has never tasted so good nor has it been more fun to eat this way.  Yummy!  Love the cleanup factor too, rinse face and hands in pool.  Cleanup complete!


Two weeks ago, we found a stray lab.  She was starving and wounded and it took a few days to even coax her to come near us.  Finally, she came and it has been LOVE ever since.  We are so happy!  Our other lab passed away a few months ago, so there was a huge hole in our hearts.  Sweet Molly Malone has filled the void and as you can see from the pictures, she is adjusting very well.  We love our little girl!



We were celebrating the Fourth of July and my friend, Kelli, brought me this flower arrangement she created.  I was so happy.  She wanted the container to look patriotic so she used these old pop bottles.  I LOVE how this looks!  Thanks, Kelli, for the beautiful arrangement!!  Recently, she took my boys and her boys (all 6) of them to Kennywood.  They had an awesome time!  She is so good to my family!!

4th Flowers


Are you singing the song, “Pop goes the weasel?”  The lyrics go, “All around the cobbler’s bench, the monkey chased the weasel…”  Anyway, I’m singing it.  So, here’s the cobbler’s bench story.  I was visiting my neighbors, Sam and Judy, and they showed me this sweet little cobbler’s bench that they picked up at a yard sale.  I oohed and aahed how much I loved it.    A few days later, they brought me the cobbler’s bench or should I say manicure bench?  This makes me want to do my nails!  They spoil me rotten and I love them for it.  Thanks, Sam and Judy!!

My husband was really happy whenever I made this dressing.  It is the first time I have made it but when we go out to restaurants, he orders it often.  He loved this recipe. It was so funny.  I stopped and bought some peppercorns and then stopped by my husband’s office to ask him what to use to grind them. We usually use a coffee grinder, which we use just for herbs and it does work well.  I said I wish I had a mortar and pestle.  He said, “I have one in my truck!”  I couldn’t believe it.  He said he just bought it at a yard sale, new in the box.  It was an awesome day.  It’s funny how you try to bless someone with something good and they bless you right back.  It makes my heart smile.  This dressing made my husband smile!  Hopefully, it will make your family smile too!


2 cups Hellmann’s mayo

1 cup sour cream

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. ground peppercorns

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. hot sauce

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup buttermilk


Combine all the ingredients together.  Chill and serve.  This makes a large amount of dressing.  You can easily half the recipe.  I served it over lettuce wedges topped with cheese.  It was delicious!

Peppercorn Ranch Dressing on a Lettuce Wedge


Who doesn’t love brownies?  I use to use the boxed brownie mixes until I came across this recipe.  It’s as easy as mixing up a boxed mix with much better results! These are nice and thick. Yummy!  These are even better the next day and the days after, which is nice for lunchboxes!  I made some with a chocolate frosting  but my family likes the peanut butter frosting even better. I’m undecided.  I really liked both.  Remember, these are better on day 2.

Brownie Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

4 tsp. vanilla


-Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

-Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.

-In your kitchen aid or stand mixer, combine butter and cocoa powder.

-Add the sugar and flour and mix.

-Add eggs, one at a time.

-Add vanilla.

– Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


Chocolate Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups powdered sugar


Beat all the ingredients together until smooth.  Spread on warm brownies.  Cool and serve.


Peanut Butter Frosting:


1/3 cup shortening

1/3 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

4-6 T. milk


-Cream shortening and butter together.

-Add peanut butter and vanilla.

-Add powdered sugar.

-Add milk.

-Beat until creamy.

-Allow brownies to cool and frost with peanut butter frosting.

Brownie with Chocolate Icing
Brownie with Peanut Butter Icing

I was so inspired by the buffalo chicken pasta, I had to try it with an Italian twist and it was yumptious!


1 box pasta, cooked and drained (I used rigatoni, but any would be good.)

1-24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce

1-8 ounce block cream cheese

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. parsley

4-5 cups shredded cheese ( I used a Mexican blend but any would be good.)



-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-In a large bowl,  soften cream cheese in the microwave.

-Add spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, basil, parsley and 3 cups shredded cheese.

-Add cooked pasta and mix gently.

-Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish and add mixture.

-Top with 1-2 additional cups of cheese.

-Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.


Creamy Tomato Pasta

This is a great recipe for pasta salad.  It is just as good the next day, if not better!


1 box of pasta

1/2 -2/3 bottle Zesty Italian dressing

1 can black olives, drained and sliced

3 celery stalks and leaves, chopped

1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1-8 ounce block of cheese, diced

1/3 pound pepperoni, chopped

1 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning


-Cook pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water.

-In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients.

-Mix and serve.

Pasta Salad