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!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Pinch of Love, a Smidgen of Joy - Valentine's Day

Hearts and candy, hugs and kisses, flowers and dinner, dessert and more dessert: what's not to love about Valentine's Day? It was one holiday out of many that Momma would make extra special for her family. She did this because she loved us.

In a Valentine's Day post Momma wrote for the blog in February 2012, she said: One of our greatest needs as human beings is to be loved. We all need love. We need to know that we are important to somebody, that somebody truly cares about us, wants us, and accepts us unconditionally. Knowing the God of love and experiencing the depths of His love helps us grow to be more loving and giving persons. The Bible says in 1 John 4:8, "The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love," and in 1 John 4:16, "And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him."

Momma knew that love was an important part of our lives, and God's love is the ultimate love. She set an amazing example of love, by giving to her family and bringing good food and sweets to the table no matter what time of year it was. But this was especially true on holidays, like Valentine's Day. Cooking was a special way she could tell us that she loved us, and we loved her for it and for so many reasons.

When I was younger, I remember helping Momma make a Valentine's Day dinner at home and decorate the family table. Every year, Dad would bring Momma peach, pink or yellow roses and would give me a rose or two for a smaller vase, all of which we would place on the table as the centerpiece. One year, circa 1994, I helped Momma make homemade tacos, beans and rice, and our family's favorite strawberry cake. We'd have dinner and dessert, and then we'd play a game of Monopoly or watch a fun movie like "The Princess Bride." Then, at some point in the evening, we'd have another piece of strawberry cake.  :)

This strawberry cake is seriously the best and easiest cake ever. Originally my Grandma Casey's (Momma's Mom's) recipe, it's one that our family goes back to year after year. Not only for the memories of making it, but also for how delicious and simple it is to make.

Best strawberry cake! Ever! Momma actually already published this recipe here: Remembering and Honoring Our Mothers. But I think that it deserves some more attention! Especially for a Valentine's Day dessert and to tell someone you love them.

Momma's Fresh Strawberry Cake
(with Momma's edits 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. EnJOY!