12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Food, Treats

I don’t often make cakes but of course, there are those occasions that call for a special cake. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or welcome new little one this recipe is my go-to! Yep, it’s all homemade and will take an extra step but over 12 years ago we stopped buying cans and boxed items for our cooking and as a result, our overall health is better. I also enjoy the cooking process so there’s that too!

Here it is…ENJOY baking homemade and eating with incredible goodness!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fresh vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Nutella

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 round baking pans with parchment paper and spray the parchment with baking spray.
  2. In medium saucepan melt butter. Add the cacao powder and stir until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, let the mixture bubble up to 20 seconds or so, then turn it off and set aside.
  3. In a measuring picture or bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the hot chocolate mixture, stirring gently until it’s halfway combined and less hot. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue stirring gently until the batter is combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes os so, until they are just set. Remove them from the pans and set aside to cool completely. (I cut each cake in half to create 4 layers…not ever again!)
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the whipped cream by whipping cream and powdered sugar together until nice and thick!
  6. To assemble, turn one layer upside down onto a serving platter. Spead half of the Nutella onto cake and half of the whipped topping over the chocolate. Place the second cake on top and repeat. I added fresh strawberries and blueberries to this cake. You don’t want to assemble for an hour before serving as whipped cream will look soggy…hence mine. Cut with a hot serrated knife. I cut my cake into 2 to make it bigger…I won’t do that again…got too wobbly.
  7. Enjoy every dreamy bite!
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Health, Living Naturally, Ranch Life

Anniversary trips passed…

Dan and I usually get away for a day or two for our anniversary every year to a place within a few hours from our homestead. Most of the time, it’s with the horses. We have enjoyed many a trip to North Dakota at a horse camp, Cheyenne Oaks. A beautiful place to ride with miles of trails and scenery plus it has a little cabin with a hot tub which was perfect for us. We also have gone a little further to a spot in Wisconsin, Palmquist Farm. Adorable family farm with real homemade farm meals in a family-style setting. LOVED this place as well and again, the cabin set the stage for our special celebration. The horse facility for both was also exceptional and made me feel comforted knowing the boys were safe as well!

Hosts, Helen and Jim…Her cookbook is amazing!
Beautiful North Dakota trip

A New Adventure…without the boys

So this year we decided to not only travel further but also go without anyone or anything else but us…WOW! What a trip!

First, it has been years since we took a trip with just the two of us and this one was extra special because Dan is retired from his business. SO, not only did we have some special memories but we didn’t have ONE interruption from a work-related situation. THAT was amazing in as of itself!

The trip is about 12 hours with stops and we did take our time stopping at shops along the way. The colors made the trip even more enjoyable and with the ’70s and 80’s tunes jammin’ we made our way to this beautiful part of the country!

We Arrive

Both of us expected this to be more of a Las Vegas kind of scene but we were pleasantly surprised it was far from it! The attractions are fun and so are the shows you won’t be disappointed! Yet our favorite thing to do was enjoy the mountains and waterfalls. Our hotel, Falls Creek was wonderful. It was off from the hustle and bustle of the main area and if the creek was flowing that too would have been beautiful. But as you can see, we enjoyed the place to relax and wind down in between activities. Dan often commented on how it felt like we were on a cruise with so much to do! HA!

Outside our door at Falls Creek Resort

Highlights

Our favorite show of course was the Stampede. We loved the food, eating with our hands as is most of our life on the ranch, the horses, music, and we just loved the patriotism of the whole show! During this time of covid, masks were worn by the employees but as long as we were in our seats we didn’t have to wear them, which was nice. The waiter was awesome and very hospitable! He kept Dan’s sweet tea mason jar full the whole time! Truly worth the time and would do it again in a heartbeat!

The Outdoor Attractions

This is what we loved most…being in the areas that had hikes, biking, and just plain old enjoying the great outdoors! The waterfalls there are amazing and many places we didn’t get to. The Silver Dollar City created in the old west times of course once again fits our lifestyle and what we love. Creative crafts and cooking over an open fire made our day! I tell ya, you can’t go wrong finding something to fit your loves…we sure didn’t spend long enough there that is for sure!

32 Years…A Memory We will Cherish

We love riding in the fall and enjoy being with the horses, but we are thankful we made the choice to leave them behind and concentrate on US! Marriage is important to God and when He joins two together He does provide the beauty for us to enjoy spending days of rest and celebration it’s just that we don’t often take the invitation. We know the importance but do we often embrace it is something we felt we need to take more seriously. We will cherish the memory of Branson and the time we shared together without the worry of our home as our kids took on the chores and ministry needs.

I encourage all married couples to embrace rest and time away! It is indeed good for the heart and soul and renewal!

God’s blessings to you all!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee and Dan

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