Lemon Cake – Celebrating the Good Stuff with the Sour

Lemon Cake – Celebrating the Good Stuff with the Sour

Lemon Cake – Good Stuff! In our 6th mid-marriage video we talk about the good stuff in marriage. Even when everything is going wrong (which happens to all of us) you still can take time to celebrate the good stuff.

Your spouse loves you. You love your spouse… that’s good, right? 

What about making a cake that your spouse will love?  (Robert loves lemon cake…)

And isn’t there a concept of making lemonade out of the lemons you’re given in life? Well, I say make CAKE – Lemon Cake!

March 29th is Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

An insurance salesman, Henry Baker, sold his famous recipe for Lemon Chiffon Cake to Betty Crocker in 1927. Here’s the original recipe:

But if you’re not a natural baker, then why not whip up the lemon cake mix, which still exists today! I’ve made this lemon cake many times for our family and then drizzled a mixture of lemon juice and icing sugar on the top. The icing drips down the sides of the cake and makes a sweet/sour combination that’s delicious. It’s a combination of sweet and sour – just like life.

So, even if not everything is good in your life right now – there are still things that can be celebrated. Hey! It’s Lemon Cake Day. Why not celebrate that!

Whatever is true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy – focus on those things. Lemon cake has to be in there somewhere, right? 😉

celebrating the good stuff amongst the sour - try lemon cake

Here’s our encouragement on focusing on the good – and what do about the bad stuff.

Not everything in your life together will be good. Sometimes you need to wait a bit to weed out the bad stuff, and in the meantime, focus on the good. Robert re-tells a story of how wheat was sown, and an enemy snuck in to sow weeds between the wheat. Do you know what the Master recommended?

Update: Rob enjoyed the cake! 😉


Simple Appetizer Pleases Everyone

Simple Appetizer Pleases Everyone

A simple appetizer is my go-to choice when we visit friends. Rob is easy to please, so it works as a treat for us also when we want a quick bite! 🙂

Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella with Pesto

Slice a ripe tomato – cut it in half if it’s a big one – then slice the halves. Slice your fresh mozzarella. I halve the mozzarella ball also, to make the tomato and mozzarella slices fit together easily. Arrange the slices on a tray or plate.

Yeah. Easy.  (You didn’t even need instructions, did you?)  🙂

Add in a good bread – we like a baguette loaf – and a jar of pesto. (We like the one from Aldi’s.)

And you’re done!  

A Simple Appetizer to Please Everyone

Simple Appetizer - Tomato Mozzarella and Pesto

What would make this simple appetizer better?

Some fresh basil… (but I didn’t have any. Oh well.)

And sometimes I like to drizzle a basil-infused olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar over the tomato and fresh mozzarella…

If I’m not sure whether people will like the olive oil or balsamic vinegar, then I just serve it on the side along with the pesto as another “side”.

Providing these options makes this appetizer useful because if someone doesn’t like pesto – they don’t need to have any… or if all someone wants are the baguette slices, they can dip them into the olive oil…  See? It’s simple. It’s easy.

Oh, just have fun with a simple appetizer that anyone will enjoy.

If you’re interested in something special, you could make your own Pesto… Here’s an easy recipe from Marzia at Little Spice Jar for Basil Pesto!

Homemade Basil Pesto from Little Spice Jar

Marzia says about her husband: 

Anees, my husband, has a long, drawn out theory that chocolate is actually a vegetable because it comes from a cocoa bean, this ladies and gentlemen, is why I married him!

He is also the mastermind that handles all the tech bits of Little Spice Jar, for this and countless other reasons, i’d be lost without him.

I love it when husbands and wives work together on good stuff!

What’s your favorite simple appetizer?

Link to a recipe on your site, if you have a suggestion. I need more ideas.  😉 

A simple appetizer to please everyone - slice some tomatoes and fresh mozarella - add pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar - pair it all with a great baguette - so easy and simple

Cooking with Elise – Greek Style Chicken Marinade

Cooking with Elise – Greek Style Chicken Marinade

Cooking, Baking and Creating… oh my!  That’s my friend Elise. She’s always encouraging her husband, and her family and friends with her cooking. I met Elise Johnson more than five years ago- she’s a wife, mom and chef. Her great big laugh, delightful conversation, and enthusiastic persona has been a blessing to our family. (Our sons were friends in college, and it was through them that we got know each other.) Some of the best cooking I’ve eaten has been sitting at her table, or trying out her recipes.

Cooking to Encourage Your Husband

Elise loves her husband – and when she cooks, she’ll often refer to how Mike enjoys this or that dish.

From a post on Elise’s website:

I appreciate how hard my husband works. He’s smart. He’s a hard worker. He is very thoughtful. Did I forget handsome? My hubby has been traveling a great deal the last month or so. When I found out that he was coming home for lunch today – I was happy. I decided to surprise him by making our family’s favorite homemade pizzas…  

One of the pizzas she made, used her Greek Style Roasted Chicken. This chicken, roasted after sitting in a Greek style marinade, is so delicious.

Roasted Greek Style Chicken from Cooking with Elise

Making the marinade:

In a large container with a lid, combine olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, mustard, vinegar, parsley and feta cheese crumbles. Stir well.

Rinse your chicken under water (cleaning your sink immediately) dry the chicken off with paper towels and place in your marinade. Toss around to coat well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken on a broiler pan lined with a grate that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Place your chicken breasts on the grate and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the inside is no longer pink and the juices run clear. You can also test the temperature. The proper temperature for chicken breasts should reach 165 Degrees F.

To get the list of exact ingredients and measurements, and more tips – go to Cooking with Elise for the full recipe! Click HERE!

Cooking with Elise

In addition to her many recipes on her website, Elise has a cookbook – “You Never Cook Alone” available on Amazon

It has recipes with carefully detailed instructions, but more than that, it feels like a glimpse into the history of a family. From stories written by her sons, to memories of her grandmother (Vavo), to descriptions of fabulous family/friend events.

The book is organized into two parts – the first is 11 Eventful Meals, and the second part has recipes and stories arranged to feel like a culinary trip around the world (no passport necessary)! Tucked away into the last part of the book are organizational, money-saving & meal planning tips. It’s definitely more than ‘just’ some recipes in a book!


Check out the recipe – and try it for your spouse!

Is there a chicken recipe your spouse loves you to make – leave a comment and let us know. 🙂

cooking to encourage your spouse


A Taste of Childhood

A Taste of Childhood

What taste of childhood brings back good memories? How often do you indulge in both the taste and the memories?

Robert and I both grew up in Canada – about an hour away from Toronto, Ontario. Just before Christmas we drove from North Carolina to Ontario to visit my mom and Rob’s parents.

Canada USA Border Detroit

During the days we spent in Canada, I decided to bake something Rob loves, and would be a good gift for my father-in-law… It’s a taste from my childhood, and a recipe my mom had written out for me when I got married 31 years ago. I never really knew from where that recipe originated.

Butter Tarts – a taste of childhood!

When I asked my mom for her recipe, she pulled out a floppy, faded booklet from 1946.

Butter Tart cookbook

The butter tart recipe was in a compilation of recipes from the ladies at the St Mark’s Lutheran church in Waterloo/Kitchener Ontario. (In 1946/48) The church still is active – I wonder if some of those ladies are still here on earth or if they’ve passed into eternity… It was interesting paging through the cookbook, looking at the wording and the names.

What are butter tarts?

They’re single serving pastry shells, filled with a butter, brown sugar, egg, raisins and a touch of lemon to cut the sweetness.

butter tarts ingredients

I used prepared frozen tart shells. In Ontario, where I come from, it’s easy to find these frozen Tenderflake tart shells in the grocery store. When we lived in Texas, and in North Carolina, it wasn’t as easy to find any frozen tart shells, but I’m guessing the lady who originally provided the recipe made her own tarts shells!  So, I guess you could use a prepared pie shell, and cut out circles to put into muffin tins. (Or make your own from scratch!)

Here’s the recipe for the filling:


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon

Cream butter and sugar together. Add well beaten eggs, then raisins and lemon juice. Line tins with pastry. Fill 3/4 full with mixture. Bake at 425 degree Fahrenheit for 12 to 18 minutes.  (submitted by Mrs. H. Walz in 1946 )

Butter Tart Recipe taste of childhood

Rob enjoyed them immensely!

Butter Tarts eating them

What tastes from childhood do you still make today?

Is it easy to get the ingredients? Are the recipes from the original books, or do you have a paper copy you work from? (My personal recipe for Butter Tarts is written out by my mother, in her hand writing. I’m imagining that years from now, that hand writing will be doubly precious.)

Opt In Image
Discover Your Values as a Couple

How can you make sure those values you live – together as husband and wife– are consistent, cohesive, and have a lasting impact?

Values help you prioritize - decide when and what to do in a situation, and then remain consistent in all your decisions.

Check out the guide and workbook for couples!

Also includes an audio version!

Butter Tart collage pin 2 taste of childhood



Chicken Soup and Afternoon Tea – The Remedy for a Cold

Chicken Soup and Afternoon Tea – The Remedy for a Cold

What to do if it’s the day before a holiday, and you’re sick with a cold? The situation calls for a bit of pampering…  

We started by pulling out some homemade chicken stock from the freezer. (Yes – there’s enough room in a fifth wheel trailer freezer for a few things!)  Then we added an entire bulb (8+ cloves) of garlic, 2 onions, some carrots and celery to the thawed chicken stock, and let it simmer in the 6-quart crock-pot for a few hours. Add some noodles, and that was lunch. It felt good on the throat.

Now what?

tetley teaAfternoon Tea!

We like to drink coffee in the morning, but the afternoon is reserved for tea! On a normal day, Tetley Orange Pekoe is our first choice. And if there are any ginger snaps to dunk, then it’s even better! But we weren’t feeling so well…

What to drink when you’re sick?

Today was different. Sniffles. Sore throat. We needed something to enhance our health! What’s good to drink when you have a cold?

Hot lemon and honey, right?

I got the honey and lemons out, and heated some water. But just those two ingredients seemed a little boring.  (Many of you would consider adding a dash or more of whisky, wouldn’t you… Sorry. We’re keepin’ it family friendly here.)

I looked in the cupboard, and the ‘fridge to see what else was available. Eventually I decided on adding a few more ingredients, known for their healing properties. Here’s what I ended up doing.

Lemon Ginger Crock-pot Tea dressed up with a hint of Cinnamon & Mint

tea when you have a cold sq border

In a small crock-pot add:

  • 30 oz of hot water (using hot water speeds up the process)
  •  2 lemons
    • start with just the lemon peel, and try to avoid the white pith – I used my potato peeler.
    • remove the white pith from the de-nuded lemons – cut it off or peel it
    • cut up the rest of the lemon into chunks & add to the water
  • an inch of fresh ginger, sliced thin
  • a cinnamon stick (or more)

Let the mixture heat – but not boil, in the slow cooker/crockpot. My small slow-cooker does well on high – yours might need to be on low so it won’t boil. (I find every slow-cooker/crock-pot is different.)
Let it heat for about an hour!  

You can drink it just like that, but adding some honey to sweeten it is even better.

Or dress up the Lemon Ginger Crockpot Tea!

In your cup, first put in:

afternoon tea long white edgePour the hot Lemon-Ginger tea into your cup, over the teabag. Steep the tea bag for a short bit (just a minute or so) for a zing of minty-ness!  Use the cinnamon stick to stir the honey to your desired sweetness.


We left the crock-pot heating all afternoon, and enjoyed at least six small cups of the lemon-ginger tea. You’ll need to strain the last bit of liquid – to separate it from the lemon/ginger.

It ended up tasting so good, I’m going to make this again, even if we aren’t sick! 

What do you drink in the afternoon?

Even if you’re not sick… 🙂 

Afternoon Tea Lemon Ginger in the Crock-PotThis post contains affiliate links.