Fruit cocktail cake was a big hit at Christmas this year. I got the recipe from my mom's collection. She's soon to be 91 and I must admit not much of a cook but she has a sweet tooth and it showed in her baking. There's not many memorable meals growing up but we always had great desserts. And I've never heard of this cake or had this cake anywhere else. Here is her Fruit Cocktail Cake:

 

1 ½ c sugar                            4 t salt

2 c flour                                 1 t vanilla

2 t baking soda                      1/4 c brown sugar

2 eggs                                    ½ c pecan, coconut, or both

1 can fruit cocktail

 

Mix sugar, salt, flour, baking soda, eggs, fruit cocktail and vanilla. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle brown sugar, pecans and/or coconut on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

 

Topping:

½ stick butter

½ c sugar

1/2 c sweetened condensed milk

½ t vanilla

 

Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Slowly pour over cake while hot.

Just recently I found myself at a funeral visitation for someone whom I really didn’t even know. He was the father of a man, who is married to a woman, who is a good friend of my mothers.

While I was standing in line to talk to them (feeling a little out of place among families and friend I didn’t know), a lady approached me and told me something that made me feel much better.

She said, she never realized how much the funeral and viewing actually helped the healing process until she had to go through it herself. And that seeing the faces she knew and especially the ones she didn’t know, helped her cope,and learn things, and hear stories about her loved one that she never knew before.

    So, if you are unsure how you feel about going to a funeral home. Just remember, that no matter how uncomfortable you might feel being there, that it is a small thing compared to what the family and friends of the deceased are going through. And that your handshake, smile, conversation, and/or hug, can make all the difference in the world to them!

 

Cass

One of my favorite things to do is to eat out. A steak from Texas Roadhouse, a pasta dish from Boston’s, ribs from Rafferty’s or pizza from Turoni’s. I find myself always wanting to go back to the same places, because I’m afraid if I go to a new random restaurant I will not like my choice of food (which has happened). So I just find a great restaurant and stick with them. Can’t go wrong with your favorite food from one of your favorite restaurants. Just saying……

 

Suzette

“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing” – Ricki Lake

 

This quote pretty well sums up the last year of my life.  I thought trying to have a baby was difficult and exhausting – just achieving that was a feat for me.  I had heard all the stories from others about preparing for motherhood and how tiring and hard it would be, so I knew it was a gamble no matter how many checklists I marked off.  And now here I am, living a life with a three-month-old baby boy – and the journey has been the hardest thing I’ve ever faced.  Days are short, nights are long, and I’ve somehow learned to live on no sleep.  I’ve cried a lot (and listened to a lot of crying) and I’ve even missed how simple certain things used to be.

All that aside, I can truly say, nothing could have prepared me for how much love I have in my heart for my child. I have more joy in my life on no sleep than I ever did with a full eight hours. I wake up every day looking forward to the smile on my sweet boy’s face, even if I have to change a few dirty diapers and make some goofy faces to see it.  Time is fleeting; I will never get these moments back. So I’m choosing to embrace every part of this incredible motherhood thing, whether I’ve gotten to shower or I’m still covered in yesterday’s drool.?

 

-Paige

For Christmas last year, I received the Instant Pot. If you haven't heard about the Instant Pot, you are missing out! It is one of the newer must have kitchen gadgets. I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets! It is an electric pressure cooker that has more than one function. It can cook anything from a pork roast for pulled pork, to hard boiled eggs, to even making a cheesecake! You can also even make Yogurt in it!

 

I did not open mine until March when my husband urged me to use it. Im not going to lie, I was intimidated and did not want to use it. I was so scared, but I also wanted to use it so bad! After my first experience of Mac-N-Cheese, I was hooked! I started using it for everything that I could! You can make almost anything in it, including baking!

 

I really love it for cooking large cuts of meat, or rice. I will throw 3 pounds of FROZEN Chicken tenderloins in there and cook them. It will take about 30 minutes total. Then I shred it up. I use that shredded chicken for tacos, salads, soups, anything that you can use shredded chicken for! It was so tender and juicy, it was just awesome!I even saved the juices, or the stock afterwards and kept that in the freezer for later!

 

I have ventured out of my comfort zone in cooking after having this gadget, and my family is thankful for it!