Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Remembering and Honoring Our Mothers

I realize it's still a little early, but I want to give you some time to think about this. How will you remember and honor your mother this year on Mother's Day? What kind of mother or grandmother do you want to be?

As I remember my mother this year on Mother's Day, I will recall how many times her wisdom has guided me on the journey of life. I will remember how she helped me to grow with love, truth, honesty, and faith in God. I will remember how she inspired me to choose the right path with values, morals, self-worth, and confidence that God was always with me to help me---so I had no reason to be afraid. I will remember how she enCOURAGEd me to dream with hope, assuring me that I could do anything that God led me to do. As I remember, I pray that I've influenced my own children and grandchildren in positive ways, just as my momma influenced me. Her guidance and daily prayers made me who I am today, and no human being has ever touched my life as she did. My momma passed away 27 years ago, but I believe her prayers are still being answered, so her influence continues in my life, even today.

"Remembrance in life's passings is the truest form of love one can give, for a memory should never die and a love should live forever in the heart of another!" (Laura M. Phipps-Kelley)
Mother’s Day is a holiday remembering and honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American celebration of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, in the US, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May (which falls on May 12, 2013). In the UK, mothers are honored the fourth Sunday of Lent (which was March 10, 2013). (For more see: http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/)
Whenever it occurs, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts. If you haven't begun to think about how to honor your mom this Mother's Day, let today's post inspire you to think of some creative ways to tell her how much you love and appreciate her. Whether you have children or not, you may have a mother, grandmother, sister, or a special friend who has "been like a mom" to you that you can honor on Mother's Day. Be sure to express your love and appreciation for their influence on your life.
Every time I bake this cake or see the recipe for "Fresh Strawberry Cake," I think of my momma, because she used to make it every spring when we had fresh strawberries. Most of the time, she baked on a Saturday, so we would have a great dessert for Sunday lunch. This is her recipe, with a few of my own modifications. I hope you enJOY it!
(with my modifications :-)

Let's get started! Gather your ingredients first.
You'll need a box of white cake mix, a small box of strawberry Jello, vegetable oil, water (or milk, if you follow "my modifications"), 4 eggs, and of course, mashed strawberries.

Now, folks, it doesn't get much simpler than this. Mama's directions say to just mix everything together and pour it into the pan to bake... well, you know me---the "detail" person---I have to go and complicate matters by getting technical.
I'll show you what I mean...

First, I use a mixer to beat all the lumps out of my cake mix and blend in the dry Jello.
Set this dry mixture aside and cut up, then mash your strawberries. I mashed about a quart of berries and had a little bit left over when I finished the cake. No one complained about the leftovers :-).
It takes a few minutes to mash the berries, but just keep mashing, you'll get there! :-)
Add oil, water (or MILK, if you modify), and eggs to the dry mixture and beat with an electric mixer to combine, scraping sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
Once the batter is well mixed, gradually add the mashed berries (note the modification in amount).

Grease and flour an oblong (13 X 9) pan or 2 round (9-inch) cake pans. Spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan(s). Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely, then frost.
Prepare frosting for cooled cake. Using electric mixer, beat softened butter until smooth, then, add 4 cups powdered sugar and blend in 1 cup mashed berries. Add more powdered sugar, if you want a thicker icing.
Spread over cooled cake. Once it's frosted, I like to let the cake sit for a couple of hours to give the frosting time to firm up just a little bit before I cut the cake (but if you're really starving for a piece, go ahead and sample it... no one will ever know!) :-).
All I can say is YUMMMM! :-)
Happy Mother's Day to all moms, grandmoms, future moms, want-to-be-moms, moms-of-pets (I have 4 cats; two of my sisters have their special dogs!), and so on.

(Note: If you'd like to read about the history of Mother's Day, you can do so here: http://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-history.html.)
Don't forget to print (or copy and paste to your cookbook file) the recipe below.
Mama's Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe
(with my modifications in parentheses :-)
1 box white cake mix
1 - 3 oz. box strawberry Jello
1 c oil (I cut this back to 1/2 to 3/4 cup, depending on what mood I'm in at the time.)
1/4 c. water (I substitute 1/2 c milk; no offense to my mama, but I think it makes a better cake.)
4 eggs
3/4 c. mashed strawberries (I use 1 c mashed strawberries --not drained) (You can substitute 1 (15-oz.) pkg frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour cake 13 X 9-inch cake pan (or two to three smaller pans for a layered cake).
Combine cake mix and gelatin. Add remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely, then frost.
1 pound box of powdered sugar.
1 stick of butter softened.
1/2 tsp. vanilla (and 1/2 tsp. strawberry extract, if you have it)
1/4 c mashed strawberries (I substitute 1/2 cup of mashed strawberries drained.) (Very important that they are drained.) (You can substitute 1 - 10-oz. pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed)
Blend well and cover cooled cake. If too thick keep adding strawberries until it is the right consistency. Spread evenly over cooled cake.

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