Friday, August 22, 2014

Pink Cookie Recipe - Banned Recipe in Elyria, OH - Speakeasy at the Back Door for the Recipe

Feds ban school's beloved "Pink Cookie" in Elyria, Ohio

This recipe makes 3
 dozen of the famous and beloved sour cream sugar cookies with soft pink frosting.  This has been shored down because at home you probably don't want to make 12 dozen now, do you?  

From Fox News School children in Elyria, Ohio are mourning the demise of a 40-year tradition – the loss of their beloved pink cookie. The fabled cookie, long served in local school cafeterias, was done in by a pound of butter, six cups of powdered sugar and the Obama administration’s food police.Click here to finish reading the article

 Ingredients For the banned Cookies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 large eggs - (1 egg and 1 egg white)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Ingredients For the Pink Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Red Food coloring, not optional but use sparingly :)


1. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2.  Set bowl aside.
3. In a second bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is mixed in. Add vanilla extract and sour cream beating until combined.3. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined.
Divide dough, which will be a little sticky, into 2 sections.
5. Push down into rectangles about 1½ inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour the counter. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick.
9.  Using cookie cutters, cut and place on baking sheets.
10. Bake for 7 minutes, until cookies are finely golden at edges.
11.  Transfer right way from cookie sheets to a rack to cool.
12.  Cool cookies completely before frosting.
13.  Frosting:
       in a separate bowl cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Beat in powdered sugar and pinch of
salt. Add in heavy cream and beat at medium speed for a minute or two until fluffy. Add red food                  coloring, one drop at a time, and beat until combined until you see pink frosting.  Rule:  One drop at a            time.  Frost completely cooled cookies.  Allow frosting to set.

Usually my oven is low and slow.  Creative Slow Cooker Meals:  Use Two Slow Cookers for Tasty and Easy Meals Click here

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blue Gate Restaurant, Shipshewana, Indiana

When you visit the Blue Gate Restaurant & Bakery, you will enjoy a warm and inviting atmosphere, great home-style cooking, friendly service and all the baked goods your little heart desires. While your table is being prepared, enjoy a peaceful moment on one of the many gliders that line the very quaint and beautiful wrap-around porch.  - Laura

The Blue Gate Menu Click here

"Everything was perfect from start to finish. I'd like to return." - Tony

"Hard to describe how soft and sweet." - Lindsey

                                                 "Now that is old fashioned goodness." - Alyson

"Add mashed potatoes and reach perfection, then end with pie." - Laura

"So simple to make, but they make it better than me.
I highly suggest the sugar cream pie Stop by, even if it's only for some pie." 
- Lindsey

"This is not fishy fish.  It's worth the drive and the effort." - Tony

Don't forget they have a bakery and a world class theater  Click to reserve your spot for dinner and theater

Blue Gate Restaurant Website

Our friends, the Torres family, recently visited the Blue Gate Restaurant and gave us these foody pictures.  Don't they look great?  We are going ourselves in the next two months.  It's only three hours away and on
our to-do list for this fall.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mckenzie House Bed and Breakfast, Middlebury, Indiana, Future Venue for a Marriage Retreat or Writing Conference

We first noticed Mckenzie House above the other bed and breakfast establishments in Amish County because our youngest daughter is named Mackenzie, so it was worth clicking on the website.

What we found when we visited where the air is sweeter and the birds are whistling a clearer sound was spectacular.

Please look around on Mckenzie House Bed and Breakfast website Click here
Featured recently in Midwest Living Click here
Updated information for latest happenings on facebook for Mckenzie House Click here

Can you believe we had never been to the Shipshewana and Middleburg area of Amish Country in Indiana?
We discovered a real delight that we want to return to soon.

Equally delightful as the venue were the InnKeepers, Bruce and Sherry...

The Bed and Breakfast and rooms are named after their grown daughters.  Bruce and Sherry are just like family, as hosts and as cooks. Excellent breakfast with all of the fixings done like a festive holiday brunch.  We could not have been more well pleased in every way.

We are thinking of doing a marriage retreat and/or another event like a writing conference at this venue fall 2014. What do you think?  Would you like to attend?  Write to us at or leave us a comment

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ten Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping by Stephanie Nelson,


1.  Inventory so you won’t overbuy. Go through drawers and closets to inventory your child’s current wardrobe. Sort items that are too small or never get worn at all and donate them to a local charity.  Older children’s acceptable outgrown clothes can go to a younger sibling, if possible.  After determining the number of acceptable outfits you already have, you can make a realistic list of specific items you need to buy. 

2.  Plan. The key to saving is planning. Before you leave the house to start buying  school clothes, backpacks and supplies, sit down and plan what you need to buy with your student.  Discuss what your student wants and make a specific list of what they need to buy – this will save money, time and stress. While you are out do not overbuy, it‘s easy to do before you see what your children like. Once the school year is going for a few weeks you can sit down again with your child and plan what they need and prefer. 

3. Tax Free can save you up to 10%! Take advantage of tax-free holidays in some states to save the cost of sales tax.  

4. Check newspapers and websites. Watch for special promotions in the newspaper ad circulars.  Many will have generous coupons in addition to sale prices. Also, check out store websites where you can find great coupons such as

5. Email. When you check your favorite store websites for coupons and promotions also sign up for their email newsletter to get special coupons and discounts. Be sure to subscribe to the email newsletter of your local mall,too.  You will be sent information and free coupons for special promotions.

6. Purchase a few extras now. Watch for sale prices of up to 90% (or even get free items) at this time of year and stock up for the entire year. Look at store ads for grocery stores, drugstores, big box discount stores, and office supply stores. Bargains will continue starting now through September. When a note comes home from the teacher in January requesting more paper or crayons you’ll have extra on-hand.

7. Price Match. Take advantage!  Basic school supplies are at their lowest price during this time of year (50-90% off)—some items are as low as 1 cent each, or even free after a coupon or promotion.  Check the advertising circulars for grocery stores, drugstores, office supply stores and even dollar stores. Find the lowest advertised price for every item that you need, circle the item and price in each circular, and take all of the circulars to the closest store that “price matches,” meaning they will honor any other store’s lower price. Walmart and Target stores have a national price matching policy.  Call your local stores ahead of time to ask if they price match and many will match competitors’ prices if you ask. Save time, money and gas!

8. Backpacks. For younger children, the $5 to $10 backpacks on sale at discount and drugstores may be all they need.  As students get older, it could be worth investing in a higher quality backpack to last several years. You can expect a good backpack to last a few years and provide the necessary support and padding for heavier books. 

9. Shoes. The back to school season is the busiest time of year for shoe sales.  As a result, stores have many special promotions to get our attention.  Because common promotions are “buy one pair, get the second pair 50% off” it makes sense to take your entire family shoe shopping together.  If you can find a coupon to use along with special promotions, you will really save. And, if you know the size and style of shoe you need, check online shoe retailers for bargain prices, coupons and free shipping to save time and money.

10. Wait and save with online shopping. Shop summer sales to get a few new items for the beginning of the year. Then, wait to shop for fall/winter clothing in a month or so when those items start going on sale.  Check the retailers’ websites for special coupons, promotions and free shipping offers.

Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her website,, has 7 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 13 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Five Must Visit Midwest Spots before Summer Ends

1.  Culver, Indiana, "Cape Cod of the Midwest"
Hidden off the highway so the crowds are manageable.  Your own private "East Coast" here in the Midwest.

kids playing in beach
A world of fun and relaxation away from the city bustle awaits visitors lucky enough to discover the treasures of Culver, which stretches along the glistening waters of Lake Maxinkuckee, the second largest in Indiana.

Weekenders and vacationers head to the water for sailing and fishing or just a refreshing dip off the community beach. On land, they might take in a round of golf or an afternoon of biking. You’ll find unique shops and boutiques that sell fine art, antiques, sweets and more; restaurants that offer delicious fare with everything from down-home breakfasts to upscale cuisine, and comfortable lodgings to tuck into at the end of the day.
beach on nice day
Culver is home to the world-renowned Culver Academies, a private co-ed boarding school, that counts actors Hal Holbrook and Joshua Logan among its alums. 
Visitors love to watch the school’s legendary Black Horse Troop during Sunday afternoon parades. The Troop has been in Presidential inaugural parades since 1913.
Culver, IN Website: Click here

2.  Glen Lake Cottages

See why ABC Good Morning America viewers voted Glen Arbor,
in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the number one place to visit in
the US!
are tucked in amid mature oaks & lofty white birches. Their crystal clear sand-bottom
spring-fed Lake teems with a variety of wildlife and fish. Take Guided Nature Walks in the Park,
see dappled twin fawns, swans, ducks & geese from the compound and docks...
fish, swim and climb the Dunes. Winner of the Good Morning America's 'Most Beautiful
Place in America' Contest. Click here

3.  Camp Forest Springs -

A few openings for August Family Camps

Family Camp 5

Aug 3 – Aug 9, 2014 (Sun – Sat) • Speaker: Philip DelRe

Family Camp 6
Aug 10 – Aug 16, 2014 (Sun – Sat) • Speaker: Rob Rienow

Family Camp 7
Aug 17 – Aug 23, 2014 (Sun – Sat) • Speaker: James Engle

Labor Day Family Weekend

Aug 29 – Sep 1, 2014 (Fri – Mon) • Speaker: Martin Giese

Summer staff 2014 Camp Forest Springs.
                                                     Taste sweet flavor of community.

4.  Petosky and Charlevoix, Michigan
A road trip to adjacent towns on Little Traverse Bay is a memorable way to
wave good-bye to summer.

Petosky, Michigan
A walk along Petoskey's shoreline will prove the word mist is both a noun and a verb
in magical places by the sea. 

I liken it to the northern most parts of the British Isles for several reasons. First, as early as
mid-August the inevitable march to autumn is beginning with cool early mornings requiring
the heat of a cup of coffee. Secondly, 
is the desirable northern breeze coming inthrough your screens.

Charlevoix, Michigan
View of Downtown Charlevoix 

Sea Fever by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. 

5.  Buffalo Joe's in Evanston and Chicago, IL
Wings and Burgers at three locations.  Order ahead to take to a park?  Too messy! So
enjoy the restaurant's ambiance indoors. You'll become a regular no matter how far the

Click here

Even better than Buffalo, NY 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cheryl's Writing, Storytelling, and Publishing in a Digital Age Conference (three day)

Cheryl's Writing, Storytelling, and Publishing in a Digital Age Conference (three day)
For all Ages 12 to 80 

Writing, Storytelling, Blogging, Publishing, and Speaking... 
(One day is some of the material covered in the one day conference, also. Some students attend both.)

Bethany Baptist Church, 6700 W. Gunnison Street, Harwood Heights, IL, 60706, five miles east of O'hare.

Time: Three days, Monday-Wednesday, July 21-23, 10:000 am- 4:00 pm.

Cost: Includes notes. Lunch is on your own. Please bring a brown bag lunch, drinks, water, and fruit snack.

Cheryl Moeller, B.S., M.A.R., authored or co-authored ten books. For Cheryl's books Click here. A literary agent from 1992-2002, she's now an author and conference speaker.

Registration: E-mail Cheryl at or call 847 770 2717 for questions and to R.S.V.P. $50 for suggested gift donation. $75 total for two family members. $100 Family Max.
Donation is not tax deductible because you are getting a service rendered. Checks can be made payable to "For Keeps Ministries", cash or bank cards, if you choose. (We have a way to swipe your bank card through our iphone.)

Cheryl Moeller's One Day Writing Conference for Students

Student? Join us, Wednesday, July 16

Cheryl Moeller's One Day Writing Conference for Students
For Junior High, Senior High and College Students 
Parents and Adults are Welcome in back as a student, also 

Three Sessions to teach you the secrets of writing:
How to pick your topic.
Easy fool-proof ways to edit your paper.
Use what you know and your own personal stories to write your paper.

Where: Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N. Dunton Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL 60004-5910 in upstairs large room.

When: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Time: 10:00 Am to 4:00 Pm

Cost: Includes notes. Lunch is on your own. Please bring a brown bag lunch, drinks, water, and fruit snack. I have paid an extra fee so we can have food and drink in the room.

E-mail Cheryl at for details.

Cheryl Moeller, B.S., M.A.R., authored or co-authored ten books. For Cheryl's books Click here. A literary agent from 1992-2002, she's now an author and conference speaker.

Registration: E-mail Cheryl at for questions and to R.S.V.P. $25 for suggested gift donation. $35 total for two family members. $45 Family Max.
Donation is not tax deductible because you are getting a service rendered. Checks can be made payable to "For Keeps Ministries", cash or bank cards, if you choose. (We have a way to swipe your bank card through our iphone.)