Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Blessings

We are closed today at the Cafe, attending Good Friday services or waiting with anticipation.

We wish you the most blessed Easter weekend.

It's Friday... But Sunday is coming!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fun Easter Ideas for All o' Youse!

I love Easter.

Easter isn't crazy commercialized.

It shouldn't be, right? Because it is such a wonderfully marvelous celebration of the Christian beliefs in Jesus as our Savior, the risen Lord, the Son of God... Wonderful, Counselor, Amazing Grace Kind of Guy!

So after 40 days of prayerful contemplation, beautiful services, the poignant joy of Palm Sunday and the grave sorrow of Good Friday, we have the amazing blessing of EASTER!!!!

And we like to have fun on Easter... A big Easter egg hunt on the farm for the grandkids, a nice ham, some kind of cheesy potatoes, crepes for breakfast (RECIPE HERE!) and of course desserts...

Here's a super easy fun Easter centerpiece, Lacey's "KIT KAT CAKE" done with pastel M&M's and ... wait on it... Kit Kats!   This is so simple... Bake a 6 or 8" cake, any flavor.

Layer cake together with frosting of your choice. If you don't choose chocolate, I will make fun of you. Nicely. Of course. :) Trim top with large serrated knife so it's level. Frost top and sides. Press Kit Kats against frosting. Tie with ribbon.

Set top bunny in place, sprinkle M&M's around.... Done! Remove bunny and ribbon to serve.

Now here's a favorite that Beth Jamison (my editor daughter) does for us:

Jello Eggs are fun in a deviled egg container... Or piled in a bowl!

And the kids love them! Most popular part of Easter for the littles and the mediums!

Then there's this idea. Easter Cookie Cake done with chocolate chip cookie dough... laced with pastel M&M's:

First I draw a circle (using a dinner plate) on parchment paper. Flip paper. Press cookie dough of your choice onto paper to fill in circle about 1/2" thick. (Cookie will "spread" a little as it bakes. To help prevent this I use a folded piece of aluminum foil to form "sides" and help keep it in place.)

I bake it at 325 so it takes a little while.

Then you can frost or decorate anyway you want! I couldn't find the Easter Cookie picture, but here's a Christina birthday cookie cake pic:

This was all done with drop tips... nothing fancy!

And here's a project we did a couple of years ago and I meant to do it this Lent... but we had so many sick people this year!

But it's a beautiful centerpiece to make with kids, or just for yourself.

The base of a 10 or 12: flower pot.... potting soil. Sprinkled with grass seed. You use a small plastic cup to form the cave. A handful or two of pepples... and the crosses we made with twigs and twine. So simple. So poignant. So thought-provoking.

We did this as a lesson with 5 year olds and we watered every other day. It took about four weeks to get the grass grown enough, and then I just trimmed it even with scissors.

Such a great reminder of the true reason of the season!

I'm praying for a beautiful Easter for all of you. God bless you. May He keep you and yours safe and sound and may you be blessed in so many ways. And may the strength and grace of the risen Lord be with you now... and always.

Multi-published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne loves, loves, loves Easter... and she hopes you do, to! Come visit her on facebook or follow her on Twitter... or just have fun and buy her great books, starting with this beautiful re-release of her award-winning "Refuge of the Heart"

God bless you!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Nostalgic Casserole for Easter Dinner

Jan here, filling in for Cate today with a not-so-healthy dish.

Because once in a while, you need to feed the soul with comfort food. 
Easter is one of those times.

We're talking about Easters past today. 
Long past? 
No. My past.

In those days, Easter meant a new Easter dress, new Easter gloves, and a new Easter hat. Super stylish!

When I was growing up, Easter dinner was always celebrated at home after church. Somehow, Mom was able to put together a big dinner on that Sunday. She was a preacher's wife, played piano, and generally kept life on a even keel on Sunday mornings, but we still had a big dinner after church.

Of course, my brother and I were no help.

Except that we always, always insisted on Cream of Asparagus Casserole for Easter dinner.

Once I grew up and tried making it myself, I was sorry that I had been so insistent as a kid. But Mom always came through. Cream of Asparagus Casserole was as much an Easter tradition as coloring eggs and a ham in the oven.

So here's the recipe for that classic dish, with apologies to those who didn't grow up on food from the 1950's. :-)

Classic Cream of Asparagus Casserole


3 cups canned (and drained) or fresh asparagus (if you use fresh, cut it into 1"-2" pieces and cook)
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup dried bread cubes, small size - seasoned are best
1 can cream of asparagus soup (or you can substitute cream of mushroom soup, or use a seasoned white sauce)

Prepare a 6 to 8 cup casserole dish by greasing it well with butter or cooking spray. (Mom used margarine, of course.)

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together, reserving some of the dried bread cubes. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, top with the reserved bread cubes, and bake in a 325° oven for 40-45 minutes.

Or you can put it in the oven with the Easter ham while you're at church. 

Okay, you might be wondering why canned asparagus is one of the items on the list. After all, that can be pretty nasty stuff, and fresh or frozen asparagus is available year around, right?

Remember that this was a long, long time ago. (Don't count the years - I'd rather be under the delusion that it wasn't really that long ago.)

Back then, you ate fresh vegetables when they were in season. You bought as many as you could handle before they spoiled, then froze or canned them. And you hoped you had enough to last until the next season.

There was an asparagus farm just about forty miles from our house, and we went there every May to stock up. We'd buy a "lug" - about twenty pounds - and take it home to freeze. That chore was usually done late at night. Cut the asparagus spears into pieces, blanch them, pack them in freezer containers, and take them across the yard to the freezer we kept in the garage.

But our family loved asparagus, and those freezer containers were usually empty by January. So this casserole was made with canned asparagus.

I'm not sure why, but my brother and I could never get enough of this casserole. Was it the asparagus? Or the creamed soup? I don't think it was the bread cubes...although I tried making this dish without them one time and it just wasn't right. 
In fact, every time I try to make this, it isn't quite right.

I think it's missing the Mom Touch. I know I am. 

Mom. November 9, 1929-March 30, 2014

Have a great Easter, everyone! And tell us: What is your favorite childhood Easter memory?

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Easter Desserts

by Mindy Obenhaus

So a few weeks ago, I showed you the flower boxes we'd finally planted. 
A few days ago, we came out to this.
And when we peered inside...
Yes, it appears Mr. and Mrs. Wren have decided that our flower box would be the perfect place to bring their little baby wrens into this world. I have to say, I'm humbled. And in awe. And any snakes with less than honorable intentions has better stay away! Oh, heck, ALL snakes had better stay away.

(Insert shirttail tug and big huff)

Well, Easter is almost upon us. The day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And it's only fitting that Easter is in spring. A time of rebirth and renewal. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation." 2 Corinthians 5:17

And after a time of rejoicing with our church families, most of us head home to continue the festivities with family and, of course, food. In our church we always joke that Baptists can't do anything without food, however I have enough friends of other denominations to know that the same thing can be said about Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians... You get my drift. We all like good food.

So as we look forward to those delicious Easter spreads, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Easter desserts, just in case you're still trying to decide what to fix at your house.

This first one is always a favorite with the kids. Although, I'm woman enough to admit that this particular adult will still arm-wrestle one of those kids for the last one. Okay, only the kids that are bigger than me.
Simply start with your favorite cupcakes. Top with Seven-minute Frosting (find that recipe here), some tinted coconut (how to do that is in the same link) and some colorful jelly beans for a fun, festive treat.

When it comes to Easter desserts, I always think of color. It's spring, after all, so things should be colorful. Like this pistachio cake (recipe here). 
Or these lemon bars (recipe here).
And a new favorite I discovered last year, this Sour Cream Blueberry Bundt Cake (recipe here).


Which one would you pick? 

While you're contemplating, let me a share a few more spring pix from around the Obi house. Our Chinese maple has bloomed. Look at those pretty red leaves.
And the Amaryllis that had to be dug up when the plumber replaced a drain line is coming back. 
Another week or so and that entire area will be bursting with red blooms. I can hardly wait. 

Of course, spring also brings other things, like thunderstorms. We're on tap for a few of those this week. And in only two more days, it's opening day for baseball season 2018. Woot-woot! I know Ruthy's as stoked for that one as I am. 

Now it's your turn. Do you have a favorite Easter dessert? Or, maybe, just an all-round preference--colorful, fruity, cake, pie? Enquiring foodie minds really do want to know.

Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Aftermath of a Forest Fire

Jan here, and happy holy week to you all!

This time of year, as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection, our thoughts are turned toward new birth. New life. New growth.

As you might remember, Custer State Park was inundated by a forest fire in November and almost half of the park burned. I hated watching the smoke from thirty miles away, not knowing how much of our beloved landscape was being changed forever...or at least for our lifetimes.

The good news was that no lives were lost, none of the historic buildings were destroyed, and most of the wildlife escaped harm.

We've visited the park a couple times since the fire, but it's hard to tell just how bad the damage was under all that snow. But last week most of the snow had disappeared and we got a good look at the landscape.

Yes, parts of the park suffered awful damage. This area, near Mt. Coolidge, was the scene of the last big forest fire in the park, in 1988. It had recovered to the point where it was beginning to look like a full-growth forest again...but not now.

Even where the trees survived, it looks bad. Last year's needles were toasted to a crispy brown by the fire, and the grass was completely consumed.

With the grass gone, you can see the bones of the hills showing through.

This is what that same area looked like last May.

Yes, it's sad.

But it's spring! New life! New birth! New growth!

Do you see that hint of green? Let me give you a close-up look:

Under the fire, buried by ash, covered by snow, the grass roots still survive.

And in God's time, in God's way, life will return to this part of the park.

Meanwhile, in areas that escaped the flames, life goes on.

The first baby bison of the year has been spotted - not by us, but it's in the park somewhere. And all of these bison cows are expecting their own orange bundle of joy.

And the mountain bluebirds have returned from the south, along with the magpies.

No matter what, life remains.

Have a great week, everyone!

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan

Friday, March 23, 2018

Wonderful Flowers!

Missy Tippens

Since I only cooked once this past week (and it's a recipe I've shared before), I decided to share some photos I've taken recently of beautiful flowers.

First, a wonderful arrangement that some of the current Seekerville bloggers sent me after my father passed away. They were a stunning arrangement, and the roses smelled wonderful! Here a photo from the day they arrived...

And here they are nearly a week later, after the blossoms opened fully. They were so lush, just gorgeous.

I also wanted to share some photos of the really creative, pretty arrangement of flowers at church this past Sunday. Such clever use of different sizes of vases!

And I love that we have an alter guild, volunteers in the church who do the flowers each week. They're so talented!

Now, on this one, I need your help. I love these bushes! Such pretty colors--leaves and flowers. I see them everywhere. But I'm not sure what they are. Maybe you can help me!

Okay, y'all share your expertise.

Are you starting to experience spring in your area?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tales of the Battle Weary Bathroom and Other Stories

Picture this.

164 year old house. 1/2 bath on first floor, in the kitchen. Literally 1/4 of the kitchen is this little 6.5 x 6.5 powder room.

Now that's okay, especially if the house is short on space... but this house isn't short on space and about 12 ft. and around the corner away is a 6.5 X 9.5 foot storage room.


So my dream, 30 years ago, was to turn the store room into a bathroom.... and add 36 square ft. + to my kitchen.

Happy, casual author on phone... :) This must be a few years old because I had to replace the appliances three years ago!!! 

Well add in lost jobs, college, six kids, weddings, more college, hairnet and nametag jobs galore and all the stuff that goes on with raising six kids on a shoestring budget....

I was going to say "fast forward 30 years" but there's nothing fast about it!!!

We are adding the bathroom... a full bath in that 6' x 9' plus-a-little space.

We tore down walls. And by we, I mean someone else. Like my son-in-law Jon....

Like husband Dave....

And when the floor had to be torn up, it was son Seth...

A real family project! :)

But the install was all hired... I hired wonderful electricians.... wonderful plumbers...  Check out those old wooden beams that frame this old place... and the old 2X4's which aren't really 2X4's... but it works!

and a great wood-man/finisher.... The roughed in plumbing got done... the electric got done, with a new panel box in the basement! Fewer circuit breakers tripped!

This is what construction looked like in 1854. The solid beam marking the house corner braces 12" beams that mark the first floor ceiling and the second floor above.... There's the box for the thermostat for the heated floor. A heated floor up north is a new luxury that just made sense.

Such beautiful construction... and we (meaning I) decided to leave part of that corner beam visible so folks can see it...

This new wall was added around 1950... Look how perfect that wood looks for almost 70 years old??? The electric will be switches for fan, mirror light, overhead light and outlets. We were ready to get started! YIPPEE!!!

And then the tub came in damaged....

I had to send it back.

Only there were no more in stock and while they thought more would come in... they didn't.

So I switched to another tub.

Waited anxiously because now the finish renovator is ready to work.

It comes in!

We happy dance!

We cheer! We yell! We whoop it up!

Nice plumber returns and installs tub.... Shows me that it works and that it's happy and that it's level, a nice whirlpool tub that will be great for Farmer Dave at the end of a busy day in the fields.

Tub cracks.


Spider crack appears in top and spreads...

Tub must be removed.

Home Depot will come and pick up tub.  Will send another tub.

Nice contractor loses a week of work time.

Ruthy sighs... not because of the tub, the tub can be replaced, but all this lost time is lost money for a small business owner and Ruthy understands that small business owners NEED ALL THE LOVE THEY CAN GET.

No one has a replacement tub to fit in stock.

Home Depot doesn't have a fiberglass repair guy....

New tub is supposed to come in by next week....

And that's my story.

And I'm sticking to it.

Because the tub is big, it needs to go in before the tiling and wainscoting can be done.

Project on hold.

Pass the beer nuts.


Reporting to you from the site of the second damaged bathtub, this is Ace Reporter Ruthy the Meisterburger. Returning you now to your regularly scheduled programming!

(note to all... this is because I thought I was soooo organized, but now I know that no matter how organized you are, stuff happens.


And the world won't end, but our sweet buddy Peter is now twiddling his thumbs because our messed up time frame messed up his time frame.  Except I have him building me a window seat for my office... Trying to keep the poor man busy because his next job is about 90 minutes south and there's no jumping back-and-forth from there to here!

Next week is Holy Week. We should have kittens. We should not have as much snow.

We'll see if that prognostication holds true!

In the meantime it's been ridiculously cold here (12 degrees at 3:45 this morning)... but with bright, sunny days which should mean a great maple syrup run, and there's nothing like real maple syrup from the Northeast woodlands!