Genuine Hospitality

Genuine Hospitality

I received a panic call from a friend last week and here is what she said – “Help, I’ve been asked to host Thanksgiving dinner and I am freaking out!”  Mind you, this is my friend who lists Door Dash as her BFF.  After I told her to breath, we talked it out and what she was really afraid of was entertaining.  Trying to impress her sister in law and worried about everything she didn’t have. So we flipped the narrative.  Let’s not worry about entertaining, let’s just open our doors and make people feel welcome. That is hospitality and my friend is so good at loving people she will be the perfect hostess.

Three things to think about so you are not worried about entertaining but are able to show hospitality…

  1. Replace “ Here I Am” with “Here You Are”

2.   Remember opening our homes to guests has nothing to do with the size of our home, the decor, or even the food.  It’s about the ability we all have to make people feel welcome.

3.  There is no grand blue print to follow aside from loving others.

You’ve got this!  

Strawberry Crunch Cake

Strawberry Crunch Cake

When I was a little girl, my grandma would make what she called a “Poke Cake”  She usually made it for her girlfriends when they were coming over to play bridge or for a Sunday dinner after church.  She always used Cool Whip, but I prefer real whipping cream – you choose 🙂

I hope this easy strawberry cake brings joy to your celebration or you can make an ordinary week night feel special.




You are going to start with a white cake mix.  Just follow directions on the box.  I like to make 2 9 inch rounds and layer this cake but you can also use a 9×13 pan.

  • 1 (3-oz.) box strawberry Jell-O


  • 1 1/2 cheavy whipping cream
  • 1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt


  • 24 vanilla sandwich cookies, such as Golden Oreos
  •  (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (3-oz.) box strawberry Jell-O
  • Fresh strawberries, halved for decoration on top and on sides of cake

Next steps…

After your cake has cooled, use a fork to poke holes in the cake.  Make sure you don’t go all the way through to the bottom.

In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add Jell-O powder; whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup cold water.
Pour the gelatin mixture evenly over holes on cake. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat heavy whipping cream on high speed until stiff peaks form.

In another large bowl, using handheld mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth, then add in vanilla and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Spread frosting over top of cake.

In a food processor, pulse cookies to pea-sized crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pour melted  butter over crumbs, sprinkle with Jell-O powder, and stir to combine.

Sprinkle crumb mixture over frosting, pressing lightly into the frosting so it adheres.

 Add freshly cut strawberries and creatively decorate


Lemon – Raspberry Bundt Cake

Lemon – Raspberry Bundt Cake

Lemon – Raspberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients for the cake

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour ( plus 3 Tablespoons for raspberry prep )

2 tsp. baking powder

2 sticks of unsalted butter ( room temperature )

1/2 tsp. salt

8 oz. cream cheese ( room temperature )

2 c. sugar

4 large eggs ( room temperature )

2 c. fresh raspberries

1/4 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tablespoons lemon zest

Ingredients for the frosting

4 oz. cream cheese  ( room temperature )

1/2 stick of unsalted butter ( room temperature )

1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

dash of salt

Ingredients for the decoration

1 c. fresh raspberries 

zest of one lemon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Prepare bundt pan by coating the pan with butter and flour

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and lemon juice and zest and beat until creamy ( about three minutes).

Add the eggs one at a time and beat an additional 1 minute.

In a small mixing bowl. Place the fresh raspberries and sprinkle with the 3 Tablespoons of flour. Toss until the berries are coated and then with a rubber spatula fold the berries into the cake batter.

Bake for 55- 60 minutes, until golden brown and tooth pick test comes out clean.

Let the cake rest in the pan on the counter for about 20 minutes before inverting the pan onto your cake stand or platter.  Allow it to cool an additional 30 minutes before frosting.

Prepare the frosting, beating until smooth and creamy then proceed to frost the cake.  Arrange the fresh berries and lemon zest on top.

This cake is super easy, so pretty, and perfect for Easter or a Springtime Brunch.


Easy Holiday Punch

Easy Holiday Punch

2 Qt Cranberry/Mango Juice

2 Qt. Pulp Free Orange Juice

2 Liter 7 Up

For Garnish

2 Mandarin Oranges

2 Limes

1/2 c. Pomegranate seeds

1/2 c. Fresh Cranberries

Fresh Rosemary Sprigs

In large punch bowl combine juices and 7 Up.  Add ice

Then slice oranges and limes.  Add sliced fruit, pomegranate seeds, cranberries and fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish.

  • This can easily be turned into a Holiday Rum Punch by adding Blue Chair Coconut Rum *

Cheesy Brussel Sprouts

Cheesy Brussel Sprouts

Cheesy Brussels Sprouts


4 slices of Bacon

1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped 

1 clove Garlic, minced

2 lbs. Fresh Brussel Sprouts, cut in half

1 1/2 c. Whole Milk

1 c. Chicken Broth

4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter

5 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

3/4 c. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Tablespoon Dried Thyme

Ground Pepper to taste

1 1/ 2 c. Grated Sharp White Cheddar

Paprika for Garnish

Step 1 :

Heat a large skillet and crisp cook the bacon.  Transfer to a plate and cool.  Pour off all but approximately 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.  Add the onion and minced garlic.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Scrape the onions and garlic into the bottom of a large shallow 9×13 baking dish.  Spreading evenly across the bottom.  Set aside.

Step  2:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.  Bring large pot of salted water to a boil then add the sprouts and cook until tender.  Drain thoroughly and transfer to the baking dish.

Step 3:  

Combine Milk and Chicken Broth in saucepan Bring to simmer, remove from heat.

Step 4:

Melt butter in a large saucepan .  Add the flour and cook at medium heat for approximately 1 minute until golden brown.  Whisk in half of the hot milk and broth.  Heat and whisk for another minute or so until mixture is thickened.  Add the remaining liquid and cook for 5 minutes, whisking frequently.

Step 5:

Whisk in the parmesan cheese , mustard , thyme, salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce mixture evenly over the sprouts.  Crumble the crisp bacon over the top and then sprinkle evenly the white cheddar cheese.  Dust lightly with paprika.

Step 6:

Bake at 375 degrees in center oven for approximately 30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.