Entry No. 66

Lynn’s Honey Cake

IMG_1920So, once the 4th of July has come and gone, it only takes a few days, my thing for Summer fades fast and I’m peeking around the corner trying to catch even the tiniest glimpse of Autumn.  I know we need Summer, the sunshine to snag a tan, the heat to bring crops to harvest – I just so prefer cooler weather.  Were it not for its purpose, I could skip Summer altogether.

Anyway, it’s been years since I’ve baked this cake.  It’s a favorite in my family, one my mother made popular with a recipe she found on a cake mix box thirty years ago and tweaked to make it her own. So, I turned on the oven three days after the 4th, tied aprons on my girls and myself and made some memories.  This one’s not so bad to bake at the peak of summer as the oven’s moderately cool at 325.  It wasn’t long till my oldest daughter caught a whiff of warm cinnamon and honey scented air with a hint of coffee wafting to her upstairs bedroom.  I heard her footsteps descending the flight moments later, “Oh, Mommy. It smells like Fall!”  Ah, yes.

IMG_1664My mom’s recipe has since been morphed into muffins occasionally, by my cousins in New York, I tried cupcakes too with Mascarpone frosting. Still, I prefer the original loaf my mom always served though – sliced, warm and spread heavily with whipped cream cheese.  This cake stores best wrapped in plastic wrap, then zipped in a zip-locked bag on the counter for a few days.  It makes for an Autumn-scented home and breakfast with tea and coffee each morning till it’s gone.

Lynn’s Honey Cake


1 Package of Pound Cake Mix {I used the Betty Crocker one}

2 Tsp Instant Coffee

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Allspice

1/2 Tsp Nutmeg

1/2 Cup Honey

2 Tbsp Shortening

2 Tbsp Oil {canola or vegetable)

4 Eggs


Heat oven to 325 and grease an oblong loaf pan, the usual 13″ x 3″ size is fine.  In a mixer bowl, combine all ingredients and beat until fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl to make sure you’ve incorporated everything and pour into the baking pan.  Start testing the cake at around 40 minutes.  It’s very important not to over-bake this one to keep it from drying out. The bake time can range up to 50 minutes. Slice and serve warm with cream cheese and a drizzle of honey.


Entry No. 63

A Little Bit of Sunshine…

FullSizeRender-1It’s been over two years since I’ve sewn clothes for myself. There’s all sorts of reasons why, but what matters is… I made a dress.  What’s fabulous is – it fits.  What’s even better – it meant something. We all have our personal struggles, tragedies and triumphs and two weeks ago, I decided it was time to sew again, but wanted my first project to be a reflection of something more than an itch to stitch.  My heart wanted to create something that when I put it on and zipped it up, in the mirror I’d see not just a good sewing project but be wearing a piece of my soul. Odd?  Perhaps.

How we dress, our color choices, fit preferences, even fabric types say so very much about who we are. Never, have I been one to just throw my clothes on and go.  They have to actually feel right and match my place of mind and heartbeat for the day.  Perhaps I’m a little eccentric, it’s alright.  If I’m actually coo-coo,  don’t tell me.

FullSizeRender-2Anyway, as I planned to sew I looked back over the last two, even three years of my life, how very much God has done, blessed, allowed, restored, even rooted out of my soul.  Bloggers, we’ll post all the perfect moments from our walk, the highs, the blessings, while we wait on God to pull us from the lows. We forget too, as readers, there is an entire life behind the bits and pieces we read, a complete picture.  It’s important to remember when we write, to keep it real.

FullSizeRender-3That written, I can share how sometimes we need healing and don’t even know it.  Deep-seated happiness I haven’t felt since I was a little girl has waltzed back into the farthest corners of my heart, in the last two years especially.  We serve a God who is faithful to finish what He starts and tends to even the smallest details of our circumstances.

Life happens.  The struggle is real.  But so is He…

FullSizeRender-4It was then, I thought of sunshine. Streaming in through my bedroom window at the moment, untainted and beautiful.  A slight breeze outside was waving the tree branches making dappled sunlight on my hardwood floor.  I went and stood in it, barefooted, for a few minutes until I could feel its warmth on my toes. I watched it dance around my feet and thought of how Jesus can make even the most deeply broken heart dance again. No matter how horribly the wound bleeds, He bled for the broken.  For you.  For me.

FullSizeRenderMy family, we’ve been through some things, and haven’t we all?  But I peeked in my closet and for my love of life, love of God and love of light… I hadn’t a single yellow thing hanging in my closet. It was time for all the wonder Jesus had done on the inside to make its way to the outside – in a different, more tangible sense than a happy smile, a laugh or a twinkle in my eyes.  Feeling like one of those little yellow birds who escaped a cage, I decided to sew a yellow dress.  And I did.


newlook-dresses-pattern-6224-envelope-frontThis pattern was great and for those curious, it can be found here.  I sewed view C, the red one.  There were a few changes I made in the construction process, like putting the zipper in before I sewed the opposite side shut.  Or, setting the sleeve in before I closed the armhole.  These are all things we can do if we’re not sewing a couture item and still get the same fit with much greater ease of assembly – and less pinning!  I chose a sheer, Dotted Swiss at the Hancock fabrics closing near my home.  In that sense it was a bitter-sweet project, to bid farewell to a sewing store I have many fond memories from. Finally, I sewed a tiny crocheted lace trim along the hemline.  My canary dress was finished.


At any rate, this is my most favorite thing I’ve sewn to date, best fit, best fabric choice for the pattern itself.  The zipper even went in without a hitch.  {I may make one more in a fabric I’ve had for years, with these little bluebirds on it.} It’s also the truest piece of clothing I’ve ever sewn.  Peculiar?  Perhaps.

I’m okay with that…



Entry No. 62

Simply Pistachio Biscotti

FullSizeRender-6We’re biscotti-lovers in my home.  Both of my daughters teethed on several of my homemade versions.  It was that or a hunkering large, dill pickle.  Really {I know}.  Anyway, this particular recipe is their long-standing favorite.  Here, we bake biscotti what some call “American-Style.” Simply put, they have a bit of give in the center, as opposed to traditional Italian biscotti, which is fully hardened.  I started making them a bit softer when my girls would accidentally inhale dusty crumbs from the harder versions.  These will last for weeks in a sealed tin or plastic bag, just like they lasted months for Roman soldiers away at war years and years ago.  Pistachio pudding mix gives these their tell-tale green tint and nutty flavor.  I’ve left them plain this time around, but white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and of course, shelled pistachios are all great additions.


1/2 Cup Butter {room temperature}

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Eggs {room temperature}

1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

2 {3.4 oz} Boxes Pistachio Pudding Mix

1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

To Bake:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a mixer bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar, beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, mix until combined.  Add pudding mix, baking powder and flour.  Whisk these three together with a fork, then turn on mixer and beat all until combined.  Shape dough into a nicely formed log by hand.  This dough handles well and won’t leave you all sticky.  Place log on cookie sheet and press, pat and flatten log into about a 17″ x 3″ x 1″ high rectangle.  Bake for about 22 minutes or until bottom is golden.  Cool for 15 minutes on cookie sheet.  Slice in 1/2″ diagonals {a bread knife works best for this} and flip each slice on its side. You can slice them wider if you like and it will change the yield.  1/2″ slices will give you well over a dozen, probably two.  Bake 4-5 minutes.  Flip slices and bake 4-5 minutes more.  Cool.  Enjoy.