A Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

”If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.”-Dolly Parton

Hello, sweet friends…

I thought that this week would be a perfect time to share some extra sweetness…

Yes, today I’m sharing the mother of all everyday cakes. I spoke about it in last week’s post: Midsummer Diaries…A Vlog

This cake recipe is delicious and comforting. and we could all benefit from a bit of comfort right now. The house smells gorgeous when it’s in the oven, it’s a cinch to make and you can vary it by changing the jam in the middle, adding butter cream, fresh cream strawberries or raspberries. The possibilities are endless.



1 1/4 cups self-rising flour, sifted

3/4 cup superfine sugar

3/4 cup soft margarine

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp strawberry jam

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line two 8 in. round layer cake pans. Put the ingredients except the jam & the confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl and beat together until well blended.

2. When the batter is very pale, fluffy and almost mousse like, divide it between the prepared pans and smooth out. Bake for about 20 minutes. The cakes should be springy-to the touch and a skewer or sharp knife should come Out clean when poked into the sponge.

3. Cool the cakes on a wire rack. When they are cold, sandwich them together with the jam, & dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.


Now go sit down, and pour yourself a refreshing cup of the finest tea you have.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments

Midsummer Diaries…A Vlog

Hello, sweet friends…Happy August!

Today I invite you into my home…where we will prepare a meal…take a walk along the river…stroll in my garden…a drive to the coast…& just spend time hanging around together.
I hope you enjoy these midsummer diaries.

“Always leave people better than you found them. Hug the hurt, kiss the broken, befriend the lost. Love the lonely.”-Unknown

Posted in A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Garden/Tea Time, What’s Cooking? | 6 Comments

5 Years Later…and What’s Cooking?

And suddenly, you know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings…

Hello, sweet friend…

Sometimes the smallest decisions change our lives, reroute our destinies without even our own awareness…

So quietly…

without fanfare like a soft phrase willing us to follow the source.

That was me on moving to the Oregon coast from California five years ago.

With limited knowledge of the area…

I was completely unprepared for such a move.…

However five years later (I forget that I’m still somewhat of a recent transfer to this area)…

I now feel more like the proverbial old shoe so comfortably worn…

Of course there are the nuances of discoveries and anticipating still more.

Fortunately I chronicle many of my days here and preserve those memories…

never to lose the excitement of this whole adventure.

I am also cognizant of how I can never fully understand the way life’s random events can lead us to a placement just for us.

And I am a explorer still embracing whatever may await me on my voyages.

What’s Cooking?

Blueberry Cobbler

Having been blessed with 4 blueberry bushes in our garden…I’ve been inspired weekly to bake a recipe with blueberries. This Blueberry cobbler is a quick, easy dessert, and perfect for showcasing my summer blueberries! (however you can use frozen also) I love the way the cobbler batter bakes up nice and fluffy…a delicious contrast to the juicy berries waiting underneath. Enjoy!


4 cups blueberries fresh or frozen 

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour divided

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons canola oil


Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease an 8×8″ baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together blueberries, ¼ cup flour, and 1 cup sugar. Pour into prepared baking dish.

In another large bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add egg, milk and canola oil and stir until completely combined. The batter will be thick.

Drop batter over the blueberries by tablespoonfuls, covering as much of the fruit as possible (it won’t cover completely!).

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and the blueberries are thickened and bubbly.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 6 Comments

The Art of Friendship…& A Recipe For The Best Lemon Bars Ever!

The greatest gift of life is friendship…and I have received it.

Hello, sweet friends…

At a recent garden tour I hosted…

and shortly before my guests arrived…

I placed a basket of personalized cookies that were an unique art form of me and my home.

That is until my neighbor came early and was shocked that I was about to serve them. She exclaimed “those should be out in a shadow box!!!!’ I was in a dilemma…what was I to serve? I had prepared lemon bars as a backup and she said to me “you put those away…and I will get these ready to serve”…

The result was a wonderful treat for my guests.


What’s Cooking?…

I have a niece that loves to bake and recently she texted me a recipe and said “these are the best lemon bars ever!” And guess what? She was right!

Lemon bars

Shortbread Crust

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Filling

one cup granulated white sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

two large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
(about two lemons)


confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

Lemon Bars

Preheat your oven to 350° and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line and 8 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper and butter the foil.

Shortbread Crust

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until creamy smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just starts to come together.

Press onto the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

Lemon Filling

In a bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Stir in the flour and salt. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs. Gradually whisk in the sugar mixture until smooth. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine for the filling over the sharper crust and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or just until the filling has set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the bars for about one hour or until firm. This will make it easier to cut the bars.

To Serve:

Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Lemon bars can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about three days

Posted in A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Cooking, Garden/Tea Time | 4 Comments

Rose Castle Cottage…2020…& A Garden Tour

The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth, one is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth-Dorothy Frances Gurney

Hello, sweet friend…

For several reasons I thought today would be a perfect day to share our garden. As you know shortly after moving into our home last September we were asked to participate in the 2020 garden tour. I felt honored & excited since the date of the tour coincidently marked 5 years since moving from California to the Oregon coast…

With the concerns over the pandemic this year’s tour has been canceled…however our experiencing the joy & love of a garden hasn’t…and for many of us this has been a saving grace.

So today I’m grateful you are here so that we can share and experience the love & joy of strolling through the garden paths…together-apart



What’s Cooking?

Enchanting Floral Ice Centerpiece

Recently I invited a few friends over for a socially distanced garden tour and served ice tea with a decorative block of ice infused with colorful edible flowers and sprigs of summer herbs to make for an enchanting floating centerpiece. I really had fun creating it using the flowers from my garden.

To preserve your preferred arrangement of edibles at the top of the ice block, I like to use a special, two-part freezing process that requires 14 total hours of chilling time—so the trick is to make sure you start early the day before you plan to serve your punch.

You will need:

Edible flowers (I used sweet peas…(a lot) pansies, and daisies for a colorful mix)

Citrus (lemon and lime, but oranges, grapefruit, or tangerines are equally good)

Herbs (try mint, lavender, rosemary, perilla, or lemon balm)

4 cups of water (depending on the size of your container)

2 cups of ice cubes or crushed ice

Ring cake pan, round cake pan, or round plastic container (almost any container will work—even a bundt pan or a mixing bowl- just make sure you have ample space for it in your freezer)

Step 1: Prep your produce

Step 2: Arrange artistically

Step 3: Weigh down decorations

Step 4: Remove, refill, re-freeze

Add a few inches of water to that same container, flip the ice block over so the decorations are on the top, and float it on the water. Place back in the freezer for at least eight more hours, or overnight, to create a thicker ice base. 

Step 5: Put together your punch

Once the second freeze is complete, run warm water over the bottom of the container to loosen and remove your ice, and place it in a pretty punch. Add your beverage of choice, and garnish with extra citrus slices.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Garden/Tea Time, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 7 Comments