Tag Archives: Coco Amarotico

A Cake, A Cobbler, and Baby Marley

2 Aug

Chocolate Raspberry Whipped Cream Cake

Today is the first Thursday of the month… and that means that the Ashland Rotary Club celebrates the birthdays of the members born in this month.  This day is important to me because for the last dozen or so years I have been the creator of the monthly birthday cake.   It is one of the ways that I serve the club and I enjoy it because it gives me the chance to connect with everyone in the club at least once a year.

At today’s meeting,  the program was given by one of our club members, Tim Simonsen, who talked about Mercy Ships.  Tim’s daughter, Alyssa, is a nurse and last year she volunteered for eight months aboard the Mercy Ship and for two weeks, Tim and his wife, Kathy, worked there as well. The entire crew is made up of volunteers who not only work for free, but  also pay room and board to work on this ship!

Mercy Ships currently operates the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world.

Though I’d heard about the Mercy hospital ship before, today was the first time I saw what it was that they do and I was deeply moved by the stories that Tim shared with us.   The mission of Mercy Ship is “Bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor” and the world is a much better place because of the efforts of all of their many volunteers.  If you’d like to learn more about Mercy Ships, you can see a short video about their mission here.

After the meeting ended,  I went back home with the goal of making a Raspberry Peach cobbler.  My friend Jamey’s son, Ryan, and his wife, Savannah, have recently had a little girl, and I wanted to bring a pie to congratulate them.  And just in case they wanted to share it with Jamey (who is gluten-intolerant), I knew I had to make it without flour!

Preparing the cobbler.

First I peeled the peaches and sliced them into a bowl.  Then I tossed the peaches with a bit of sugar and some cornstarch (not flour). Once this was combined, I added some fresh raspberries and placed it in a glass pie dish.  For the cobbler topping, I combined two cups of gluten-free flour (I use Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix when I don’t make my own) with 4 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of baking powder.  Mix this together until crumbly and then stir in 1/2 cup of half and half until it just comes together, and then gently plop it on top of the prepared fruit.  Bake for about 35 minutes at 375 and you will find a delicious dish waiting in the oven when you’re through!

This is what I brought to welcome Baby Marley… and to congratulate her parents, Ryan and Savannah.  I wish them all things good and a lifetime of happiness.

A sleeping baby Marley!

PS More good news!  The cake that I sent to my son, Coco, for his birthday TWO WEEKS AGO! has finally arrived… and is still edible.   And for that my heart is happy!




What a wonderful life!

26 Jun

What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been!  Much of the focus was on our daughter, Alexandra, as she completed her studies and prepared to graduate from Southern Oregon University.  There was a fair amount of stress to be sure, but everything worked out perfectly in the end.  We were both so proud to see Alexandra walk across the same stage to receive her diploma that her Dad and I carried her across 22 years before.  What a wonderful experience we have shared!  A friend remarked about Alexandra this weekend, “She is such a person.”  I would have to agree.

Another element of fun during this time period was the fact that my son, Coco, returned home for a visit to see his sister graduate.  What that meant for our family is that we were all four at home and doing things together that have become a part of our family tradition.  We cooked lots of wonderful food and hosted a graduation party so friends and family would have a chance to congratulate Alexandra.  We told stories, shared jokes, and reveled in the fact that we were all together.  And we listened to John Prine on vinyl and sang the words to songs that we have come to know by heart:

Blow up your TV, Throw away your paper,

Go to the country, Build you a home.

Plant a little garden, Eat a lot of peaches,

Try and find Jesus on your own

(from Spanish Pipedream)

And just to throw a little excitement into the mix, I received a phone call a few days before Alex’s graduation from a woman named Jinnee.  Her wedding had been planned for the week after Alex’s graduation and her caterer had backed out at the last minute.  She told me a friend had recommended that she call me and then she asked if I could I cater her wedding.  Wow.  I had to tell her, “Of course… but we can’t talk until next week because my daughter is graduating this Saturday.”  And so Jinnee agreed to my catering her wedding without meeting me until 5 days before the actual event!

When Jinnee and I did meet, we agreed on a menu and a budget, and then called or emailed over the next few days with questions about all the many details that arose.  Friday morning, I thought of all that she was going through and realized that she was having me prepare her wedding buffet and she had yet to taste anything that I had ever cooked.  And so I decided to bake Jinnee and her fiance a Kick Ass Apple Pie.  I thought she deserved one for all that she was going through… and it might give her some comfort once she had a bite.

That afternoon I called Jinnee to ask how things were going and if I might stop by for a minute.  I could sense concern and I finally blurted out, “Jinnee, I made you a pie.  Can I bring it by tonight?” Jinnee was thrilled… and I felt that I had offered her a moment to enjoy the wedding that she was planning.

The next afternoon, Jinnee and Peter were married… and as soon as they exchanged their vows, the heavens opened up and the rains came down.  There was a mad scramble for cover… and the outdoor wedding that had been planned soon became a warm and cozy indoor gathering of dear friends and family.  And I was blessed to be a part of it all.

Tonight I want to offer thanks for such a wonderfully busy time… and all the things that I hold dear: family, friends – old and new, and all of the little miracles that grace our lives.

“Three things are needed for a good life: good friends, good food, and good song.”  Jason Zebehazy