Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bacardi Pina Colada Cake

If you like both Bacardi and cake, then this is the cake for you!


1 package white cake mix
1 (4 ounce) package instant coconut cream pudding mix
1/3 cup dark rum
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice
1 (4 ounce) package instant coconut cream pudding mix
1/3 cup dark rum
1 (9 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions for Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease and flour 2 9-inch layer pans.
3. Blend cake mix (dry), pudding (dry), eggs, water, rum, and oil in large mixer bowl on low speed, constantly scraping bowl, until moistened, about 1/2 minute.
4. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl frequently, 3 minutes.
5. Pour batter into prepared pans.
6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
7. Cool 15 minutes.
8. Remove pans; cool completely.
9. Fill and frost layer cake.
10. Sprinkle with coconut.
11. Refrigerate cake (and any leftover cake).

Directions for the Frosting:

Combine crushed pineapple in juice, rum, and pudding; beat until well blended. Fold in whipped topping and spread on cake.

The Miracle of a Brother's Song

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could do to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael would sing to his sister in Mommy's tummy.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen. Then the labor pains came. Every five minutes... every minute. 

But complications arose during delivery. Hours of labor. A C-Section was required. Finally, Michael's little sister was born, but she was in serious condition. With sirens howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, "There is little hope. Be prepared for the worst." Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. The had fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby - now they plan a funeral. Michael, kept begging his parent to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says.

Week two in intensive care. It looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.

Karen made up her mind. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn't see his sister now, he would never see her alive.

She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed in ICU."

The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!"

Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray —"

Instantly the baby girl responded. The pulse rate became calm and steady.

"You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away —"

The ragged strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr.

"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms . . ."

Michael's little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. Tears conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away."

Funeral plans were scrapped. The next day, the very next day, the little girl was well enough to go home! Woman's Day magazine called it "the miracle of a brother's song." The medical staff just called it a miracle.

We Are Never Alone

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

As a boy approaches manhood, his father takes him into the forest blindfolded. He is then left alone, blindfolded, and he is required to sit on a tree stump the entire night. He is not allowed to take off the blindfold until the first ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself and he cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night... he has become a MAN. He cannot tell anyone of this experience, as each boy must come into his own manhood.

One boy, on the brink of manhood, was lead into the forest by his father. The boy was terrified, as he could hear all kinds of noises. He felt the the beasts all around him and was afraid that maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically... never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a long horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father... sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, to ensure that no harm came to his son.

That is how life is... we are never truly alone. Even when we do not know it, our loved ones are there, watching out for us... sitting on the stump beside us.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

An old family favorite that's been handed down through each generation.


8 oz egg noodles, uncooked
1⁄2 cup butter (8 ounces)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
1⁄3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1⁄4 cup pimiento, chopped (2 ounce jar , drained)
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Meanwhile in a large skillet , melt butter over low heat. Saute mushrooms . Blend in flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add broth, milk , pimiento, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened. In a buttered 2 1/2 quart casserole , combine noodles, chicken and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top . Bake chicken noodle casserole 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Snickers Bar Cake

This is one of my favorite cakes utilizing one of my favorite candies!


1 box devils food cake mix, plus ingredients to make the cake
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Smucker’s hot caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 snickers candy bars, chopped
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped
caramel sauce
chocolate sauce


1. Bake cake in a 9×13-inch pan according to direction on the package.

2. While cake is baking, mix condensed milk and hot caramel topping until well blended. When the cake is done and while it’s still hot, poke holes in it with a fork or straw. Pour milk mixture over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cake.

3. In a chilled bowl, whip together heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed of an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chopped snickers. Spread over cake. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over cake. Drizzle caramel and chocolate sauce on top. Chill.

Banana Bread Brownies

These "brownies" are absolutely delicious and a definite family favorite!


1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk


1. Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15×10-inch jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.
2. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.
4. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna

One of the easiest and yummiest desserts I've had in a very long time!


1 box Nutter Butter Cookies
Cool Whip or whip your own fresh whipped cream (1 cup cream plus a drop of sugar for sweetness)
peanut butter cups
½ cup peanut butter, melted in microwave
1 box instant or regular vanilla pudding, prepared according to package


1. Line the bottom of an 8×8 pan with Nutter Butter Cookies.
2. Top with a drizzle of the melted peanut butter.
3. Add ½ the pudding.
4. Add half the cream.
5. Top with chopped peanut butter cups.
6. Repeat the layering!
7. Decorate the top with crushed nutter butter cookies, peanut butter cups and a drizzle more of peanut butter.
8. This must be chilled overnight for the cookies to soften!

The Two Pebbles

Many years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant's beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the merchant's debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal.

The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender's wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. But, if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the merchant's garden. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.

The girl put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. "Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Sometimes it is necessary to think out of the box or, in this case, out of the bag.