"Waffle" Cake - Fun to Make!

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Recently, Producer Leisa ordered a “waffle cake” from a local maker for a special celebration in her home and showed off photos of this special creation. All of us in the studio were intrigued. What in the world is a waffle cake?!

Turns out, it’s exactly what it sounds like; waffles made from cake batter, stacked and iced, to make a cake! A new food trend we could definitely all get behind. Who doesn’t love waffles? Who wouldn’t want a reason to eat them mid-day or in the evening, smothered in icing?!

So we did a little research (i.e. we “Googled it”) and discovered that you can put almost any kind of batter in a waffle iron… think waffle, banana bread, chocolate cake… yep, it all works! Why did it take so long to think this up?

Leisa had ordered a strawberry cake with raspberry icing, it came gorgeously decorated with natural flowers and dusted with powdered sugar. The studio folks decided to take matters into their own hands this week and celebrate fall - any excuse for cake, especially if it’s a waffle cake!

They decided on carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Here’s the result recipe and the directions. It turned out OH SO GOOD and OH SO PRETTY!

Carrot Waffle Cake with Cream Cheese Icing:

Ingredients:

For the Carrot Cake:

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup or vegetable oil

  • 4 large eggs room temperature

  • 1 and 1/2 cups light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups grated carrots, lightly packed

For the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the Carrot Cake:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract until fully combined. Add the grated carrots into the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or rubber spatula until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.

  • Coat the two sides of a waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray, and heat. Working one-by-one, pour enough batter into your iron to make a waffle. Cook until done through but not overly browned. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Repeat until you have 4-5 waffles to stack.

For the Icing:

  • Place cream cheese in a medium bowl and using a hand or stand mixer, beat until smooth. Add the butter and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar a little at a time, until fully combined and creamy.

Assembly:

  • Choose your serving plate and place the first waffle in the center. Add a generous amount of icing to the top of the waffle and spread to the edges, place another waffle on top, and spread more icing on it. Repeat until you have the desired number of waffles, and height of cake.

  • Do not ice the top waffle - instead, place a dollop of icing in the center and garnish the stack with flowers (or whatever your creative spirit directs you to do) and sprinkle with powdered sugar!

It was recommended to us that the cake be allowed to absorb the moisture from the icing for at least 24 hours (or longer) before eating. This one was baked on a Friday, then garnished with edible Nasturtium blossoms, and enjoyed on Monday. It was DELICIOUS!!!

What flavor combinations might you try? I’m thinking banana or zucchini bread would also be good with the cream cheese icing, or maybe lemon cake with butter cream? Let me know if you try this and share your ideas of different flavors with me!

One More Hug | A beautiful new book!

One More Hug | A beautiful new book!

Here’s a beautiful new book that you MUST add to your holiday shopping list! One More Hug by Megan Alexander. Give the gift of reading and the valuable lessons of love, acceptance, and a how self-reliance is built one hug at a time!

October Book Club | Incredibull STELLA

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Buy Incredibull STELLA

Unconditional love is life-changing and life-saving. My book club pick for October, Incredibull STELLA, by Marika Meeks and Elizabeth Ridley, is the story of just such a love between a woman struggling to find her way back to joy and a rescue pup that will show her the path.

Marika Meeks, a busy, active entrepreneur, wife and mom, was struggling after recovering from extensive treatments to battle Stage 3 breast cancer, which involved a long extended stay from her family; husband Brian, and her two teenaged girls.

Although the treatments had been deemed a “success” and Marika was now cancer free, she felt as though the experience had robbed her of her vital essence. Fatigued physically and mentally, and feeling an emotional strain between her husband and children, Marika wondered if she’d ever be whole again!

Marika and Stella, all smiles!

Marika and Stella, all smiles!

Years before, Marika had wanted a dog, but she’d had three less than positive experiences. The pups she’d adopted and tried to embrace as family members had behavioral issues that neither her or her first husband were able to correct or live with. When she agreed to marry her second husband, Brian, one of his conditions was that they would not have dogs… so why were her thoughts returning over and over again to having a canine companion?

Would she have to convince Brian? Would her request put added stress on a marriage that had already endured so much throughout her diagnosis and treatment? As it turns out, not so much. Brian was committed to Marika and seeing her enthused about something - even pet adoption - made him want to support her.

There were a few rocky starts to finding the perfect companion. Marika fell in love a few times only to find out the mutts that had won her heart were not available for adoption, but then in walked “Shirley” a pup that had been abandoned along a dessert road-side. Upon first meeting, this little girl rolled over on her back and begged for a belly-rub. It was pretty much love at first site for Marika, and it wasn’t long before Shirley had won over Brian and the girls.

Shirley, of course, became Stella, and over her happy countenance, puppy high-jinx, and overall lovable character, this family re-bonded, and Marika regained meaning and purpose in her life.

I’ve always loved dogs and especially my rescue mutts that make the farm a furry and friendly place. Many a sad moment have I clutched and cried into a beloved’s fur and received nothing but pure, nonjudgemental love in return. I’m so glad Marika was able to find her spirit once again through Stella’s love.

This is a fantastic book and I think that any reader will become a fan of Stella, Marika, and their family, but I think you’ll especially love it if you’re a dog-nut like me!

Pick up your copy of Incredibull STELLA HERE 

I also have a nice big stack of Incredibull STELLA books to give away! Want one? Just send me a note, I’ll mail a copy to the first emails to hit my in-box until they’re gone!

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"Autumn"

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I recently ran across this beautiful essay, published by the UK’s The Manchester Guardian Newspaper in the year 1840. It was written by a contributing editor identified only as “Alison.”

I found it to be overwhelmingly emotive and befitting of the meloncholic mood I’m now in, with the changing of the summer season into fall, and as I approach the anniversary of the date my son, Zachariah, changed his address to “heaven.”

For as many seasons as I have left on the earth before our heavenly reunion, autumn time will fill me with mixed feelings of such sadness in the missing of my boy and such joy knowing that he is in the arms of Our Father.

I wanted to share it with you all, in the hope that you might find some solace in Alison’s words, just as I have.



Autumn

There is an "even-tide" in the year - a season when the sun withdraws his propitious light - when the winds arise, and the leaves fall, and nature around us seems to sink into decay. It is said to be the season of melancholy; and if by this word be meant that it is the time of solemn and serious thought, it is undoubtedly the season of melancholy; yet it is a melancholy so soothing, so gentle in its approach, and so prophetic in its influence, that they who have known it feel, as if instinctively, that it is the doing of God, and that the heart of man is not thus finely touched but to fine issues.

It is a season which tends to wean us from the passions of the world. Every passion, however base or unworthy, is yet eloquent. It speaks to us of present enjoyment; it tells us of what men have done, and what men may do, and it supports us everywhere by the example of many around us. When we go out into the fields in the evening of the year, a different voice approaches us. We regard, even in spite of our selves, the still but steady advances of time.

A few days ago, and the summer of the year was grateful, and every element was filled with life, and the sun of heaven seemed to glory in his ascendant. He is now enfeebled in his power; the desert no more "blossoms like the rose;" the song of joy is no more heard among the branches; and the earth is strewed with that foliage which once bespoke the magnificence of summer. Whatever may be the passions which society has awakened, we pause amid this apparent desolation of nature. We sit down in the lodge "of the wayfaring man in the wilderness," and we feel that all we witness is the emblem of our own fate. Such, in a few years, will be our own condition. The blossoms of our spring, the pride of our summer, will fade into decay; and the pulse that now beats high, with virtuous or with vicious desire, will gradually sink, and then must stop for ever.

We rise from our meditations with hearts softened and subdued, and we return into life as into a shadowy scene, where we have “disquieted ourselves in vain.” Such is the first impression which the present scene of nature is fitted to make upon us. It is this first impression which intimidates the thoughtless and the gay; and indeed, if there were no other reflection that followed, I know not that it would be the business of wisdom to recommend such meditations. It is the consequences, however, of such precious thought which are chiefly valuable; and among these there are two which may well deserve our consideration.

It is the particular character of the melancholy which such seasons excite, that it is general. It is not an individual remonstrance; it is not the harsh language of human wisdom, which too often insults while it instructs us. When the winds of autumn sigh around us, their voice speaks not to us only, but to our kind; and the lesson they teach us is not that we alone decay, but that such also is the fate of all the generations of man. “They are the green leaves of the tree of the desert, which perish and are renewed.”

In such a sentiment there is a kind of sublimity mingled with its melancholy; our tears fall, but they fall not for ourselves; and, although the train of our thoughts may have begun with the selfishness of our own concerns, we feel that, by the ministry of some mysterious power, they end in awakening our concern for every being that lives. Yet a few years, and all that now bless, or all that now convulse humanity, will also have perished. The mightiest pageantry of life will pass, the loudest notes of triumph or of conquest will be silent in the grave; the wicked, wherever active, "will cease from troubling," and the weary, wherever suffering, "will be at rest."

Under an impression so profound, we feel our own hearts better. The cares, the animosities, the hatreds, which society may have engendered, sink unperceived from our bosoms. In the general desolation of nature, we feel the littleness of our own passions; we look forward to that kindred evening which time must bring to all; we anticipate the graves of those we hate, as of those we love. Every unkind passion falls with the leaves that fall around us; and we return slowly to our homes and to the society which surrounds us, with the wish only to enlighten or to bless them.

If there were no other effects of such appearances of nature upon our minds, they would still be valuable, - they would teach us humility, - and with it they would teach us charity. In the same hour in which they taught us our own fragility, they would teach us commiserations for the whole family of man. But there is a further sentiment which such scenes inspire, more valuable than all; and we know little the designs of Providence when we do not yield ourselves in such hours to the beneficent instincts of our imagination.

It is the unvarying character of nature, amid all its scenes, to lead us at last to its Author; and it is for this final end that all its varieties have such dominion upon our minds. We are led by the appearances of spring to see His bounty and we are lead by the splendours of summer to see His greatness. In the present hours we are led to a higher sentiment; and, what is most remarkable, the very circumstances of melancholy are those which guide us most securely to put our trust in Him.

We are witnessing the decay of the year; we go back in imagination, and find that such, in every generation, has been the fate of man; we look forward, and we see that to such ends all must come at last; we lift our desponding eyes in search of comfort, and we see above us One “who is ever the same, and to whose years there is not end.’ Amidst the vicissitudes of nature we discover that central Majesty, “in whom there is not variableness nor shadow of turning.” We feel that there is a God; and from the tempestuous sea of life we hail that polar star of nature, to which a sacred instinct had directed our eyes, and which burns with undecaying ray to lighten us among all the darkness of the deep.

From this great conviction there is another sentiment which succeeds. Nature, indeed, yearly perishes; but it is yearly renewed. Amid all it’s changes, the immortal spirit of Him that made it remains; and the same sun, which now marks with his receding ray the autumn of the year will again rise in his brightness and bring along with it the promise of he spring, and all the magnificence of summer.

Under such convictions, hope dawns upon the sadness of the heart. The melancholy of decay becomes the very herald of renewal; the magnificent circle of nature opens up our view. We anticipate the analogous resurrection of our being; we see beyond the grave a greater spring, and people it with those who have given you to that which is passed. With such final impressions, we submit ourselves gladly to the dusting of our being. While the sun of mortality sinks, we hail the rising Sun of Righteousness, and in hours when all the honours of nature are perishing around us, we prostrate ourselves in adoration before Him who “sitteth upon it’s throne.”

Let, then, the young go out, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature. Their hearts are now ardent with hope - with the hopes of fame, of honour, or of happiness; and in the long perspective which is before them, their imagination creates a world where all may be enjoyed. Let the scene which they now may witness moderate, but not extinguish, their ambition. While they see the yearly desolation of nature, let them see it as the emblem of mortal hope; while they feel the disproportion between the powers they possess, and the time they are to be employed, let them carry their ambitious eye beyond the world; and while, in these sacred solitudes, a voice in their own bosom correspond to the voice of decaying nature, let them take that high decision which becomes those who feel themselves tho inhabitants of a greater world, and who look to a Being incapable of decay.

~ Alison

For original article, click HERE

Dried Hydrangeas Two Ways

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Fall is (almost) here and even though I love the warm summer days, there’s something so heart warming about the changing of the seasons. One of the ways I transition myself and my family into the autumn spirit is by incorporating dried flowers into my home decor.

Creating dried bouquets using the flowers you already have growing in your garden is an inexpensive way to decorate your home while also getting the most use out of your flowers. If you keep up with my social accounts you would have seen an ARRAY of garden and flower photos, and all the ways and places I use them around the farm.

Tending to my flowers makes my heart sing and putting together these bouquets helps keep my creativity muscles in good shape.

I’m going to walk you through my favorite tips and tricks for getting the perfect dried hydrangea arrangement.

  • My first tip for making the perfect dried flower arrangement starts with picking your flowers at the right time. I suggest harvesting your hydrangea blossoms after they have bloomed fully, when their color is beginning to turn, and they take on a slightly papery feel and vintage look; this is typically toward the end of summer/early fall.

  • Dried hydrangeas can be quite delicate and tend to break easily. If you can create your arrangement or wreath before they get too brittle, it’s often best to do so.

  • Once you’ve picked your flowers, trim the stems so they fit in whichever vase you are planning on using for your arrangement and remove the leafs, leaving a few for decorative purposes while they are drying (you’ll want to eventually remove ALL leaves.)

Now this next step is entirely up to you. When it comes to drying out your flowers there are two ways I like to do it.

The 1st way…

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  • Fill your vase with fresh water so at least half of the stem is covered, arrange your bouquet and simply wait until the water evaporates naturally.

  • Allow a few weeks for the flowers to dry completely.

  • Lightly spray the flowers with unscented hairspray to help them retain their shape

The 2nd way…

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  • Begin with arranging your flowers, and then bind them together using twine or unflavored dental floss.

  • Secure them to a clothes line or an unused hanger so that they hang upside down.

  • Store them in a dry, dark area that gets good circulation like an attic or closet.

  • Let them dry for 2-3 weeks

  • Place in desired vase

  • Lightly spray the flowers with unscented hairspray to help them retain their shape

I hope you enjoy these super easy tips for creating beautiful dried flower arrangements, and then use them for your own home or as gifts to others.

Get creative with your vases and any additional decorations! Place these stunning bouquets in all the different corners of your house like your mantel, dining table or kitchen counter to bring those muted Autumn tones to your decor!

And, write to me HERE and send me pictures of your dried hydrangea arrangements!

September Book Club | Boss Up!

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BUY Boss Up!

It’s September, the kids are headed back to the classroom, and you… you have been wanting to do something more. You’ve got a business idea, a skill, a talent, a creative itch you’ve been wanting to scratch, but you’re overwhelmed, or apprehensive, or (ugh!) even a bit guilty for wanting to do more than endless loads of laundry and dirty dishes…

My September Book Club pick is for you! Boss Up! by stay-at-home mom turned multimillion-dollar-producing business owner Lindsay Teague Moreno is going to give you all the guidance you need to turn your dreams and passions into a fulfilling, flexible, profitable business!

Lindsay doesn’t just have a passion for entrepreneurship. She has a deep passion for helping women of all walks of life gain the confidence and skills to tap into their ambition and achieve success in their own business endeavors.

I hope one of the things you’ve picked up from listening to me over the years, is that I support you in whatever decisions you make about your life. I’ve know full-time stay-at-home parents that are extremely satisfied with their choices, and very fulfilled in their roles. If this is you, hooray! For those that don’t feel this way, or perhaps not as much so as they’d like, I 100% support your right to change things up a bit.

I have been blessed to have a career that I am so passionate about, it doesn’t really feel like work. I’d love everyone to be able to say that! Lindsay’s message is the same, that’s why she wrote Boss Up! to help you gain the confidence you need to lean into your dreams and desires and create the life you want for yourself.

She shares her tools for change with us, using the lessons she learned on her own path to success; real, solid business principles with ten distinct success philosophies that you will encounter on the journey to entrepreneurship, such as:

Think Long Term
• Be Unapologetically Yourself
• Use the Un-sales Tactic
• Understand Your “Why”
• And many more

Ladies, (and gentlemen) you have the power within yourselves to be whatever it is that you want to be! Think of your children and the kind of life you want them to live, you don’t want them to be limited by someone else’s idea of what they “need” to do. Boss Up! is a fantastic guide to tell you how to get where you want to go, finding fulfillment in your life, being positive role model for your children, and providing your family with financial benefits. THAT’S why I chose it for my book club this month!

Give it a read and tell me what you think!

Pick up your copy of Boss Up! HERE

You can also listen to the Boss Up! Podcast!

Overnight Oats - Just In Time For The New School Year

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The seasons are changing and that means a new school year is on the horizon.

During the school year, my sweet kiddos will be out of bed before the sun comes up and their bellies need to be nice and full when they head out the door. Rolled oats soak up milk overnight in your refrigerator, giving them a plump, tender texture much like their boiled counterparts, without all the cooking!

It’s been my saving grace on busy mornings and I want to share it with all of you! The best part about it? Well, there are several, but my favorite is that it’s fun, tasty, and full of healthy nutrients to keep kids fueled until lunch time!

This recipe makes 4 - 1/2 cup servings. Increase or decrease as you like, just remember it’s equal parts oatmeal to liquid and 1/4 part Chia seed.



Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats

  • 2 cups Milk (Cows, Almond, Coconut, Cashew, etc.)

  • 1/2 cups Chia seeds for a puddling like texture! - Optional

  • Your favorite oatmeal toppings
    This recipe is very basic, but the topping combos are limitless; use the ones you and your family LOVE. Some of our favorites are:

  • Bananas

  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)

  • Nuts (walnuts, pecans, sliced or chopped almonds, etc.)

  • Peanut Butter (or Almond butter, etc.)

  • Raisins, craisins or currents

  • Chocolate Chips (carob, vanilla, etc.)

  • Honey

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, add 2 cups oats to 2 cups milk or milk substitute and 1/2 cup Chia seeds (if desired). Combine well. (Chia seeds can also be added to the mix for their nutritional benefit and to create a more “pudding like” consistency.}

  2. Transfer mixture into 4 individual serving-sized glasses or jars. Leave plenty of room at the top for the toppings!

  3. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The Next Morning… You can be as creative as your cravings! Fruit, nuts, chocolate, you name it! Put out the toppings, hand each child their oats, and let the delicious, creative process take place! In Casa Delilah, we love these combos:

Strawberries, Bananas, & Honey
Mixed Berry
Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Chips
S’mores!: Peanut Butter, Mini-Marshmallows (just a few!) & Chocolate Chips!

My kids love helping me to make this in the evening and are excited to see the transformation from dry boring oats the night before to delicious and creamy oatmeal the next morning. By giving them topping options, everyone gets exactly what they want! It’s fun, nutritious, and a great alternative to sugary cereals, with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and just a touch of yum to satisfy that sweet tooth!

I hope you and your family enjoy this easy and healthful breakfast treat as much as we do!

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Ease Into Autumn with Great Music!

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Morning’s in the Pacific Northwest have greeted me with a little fog this past week. And then the skies clear and the sun shines brightly throughout the day, but I know that early a.m. moisture means that fall is not far off…

If we can’t prevent it, let’s embrace it, and maybe even dance with it!

To assist with both, I’m suggesting some great new music for you to add to your collection. Ease into Autumn with:

Lionel Richie! If you love old school, you’ll love “Hello From Las Vegas!” released just this week!

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Recorded at Zappos Theater at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Hello From Las Vegas features Richie performing material from throughout his career, including beloved songs from his solo albums like All Night Long,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing On The Ceiling,” and “Truly” and his time with The Commodores with “Three Times a Lady,” and “Easy”. The album also includes an inspiring performance of the landmark song “We Are the World,” which Richie co-wrote for USA for Africa.

It doesn’t get any better than this!

WATCH the video

BUY the music


Lewis Capaldi, a young Scottish singer/songwriter has exploded upon the scene with his single “Someone You Loved”.

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In interviews he has said the song was written with “open ended” lyrics purposefully so that it could apply to many different situations that people might be going through themselves, rather than being only about him. His inspiration came from a recent breakup and two bereaved losses in his family, but why it might resonate with you or me will be from our own experiences.

He says, “It’s very nice to have people come up to me and have their own reasons for why that song helped them or was important to them. It was nice to see the ways in which people are connecting to it. And it’s been alright, I think!”

“Someone You Loved” is from Capaldi’s’ Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent' album and is one of the most moving pop singles I have heard in a very long time.

WATCH the video

BUY the music


Blake Shelton has knocked it out of the field with the country anthem, “God’s Country,” his newest hit single.

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Blame it on my farming roots, my love of our land, or Shelton’s blue eyes, but “God’s Country” puts me in a proud as a peacock mood and it must be resonating with a LOT of people because it’s the fastest country single in the past year to reach one million track equivalents.

“As long as I’ve been making music I’m still shocked and amazed at the power of a song and I’m never prepared for it,” said Shelton. “‘God’s Country’ is an anthem for anybody and everybody who’s proud of where they come from. I’m honored to have been given this song from Devin Dawson, Hardy and Jordan Schmidt who are incredible writers.”

WATCH the video

BUY the music


Old school, pop, and country - three great genre’s to listen, dance, or sing along to as the warm nights change into chilly mornings punctuated by bright yellow school buses on the road. (A happy but bittersweet sight in early fall…) Enjoy!

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