Category Archives: Recipes

Ms. Susie’s Pumpkin Bread

Dinner with librarians.

Dinner with librarians.

Ms. Susie retired from the library where I work several years ago. We miss her company and the delicious food she frequently shared. One of my favorite treats from Ms. Susie’s kitchen is her pumpkin bread.

To celebrate the cooling weather, I baked her recipe yesterday and plan to surprise my coworkers with a platter full of slices. I’ve discovered sharing food and laughter make the best memories. Try Ms. Susie’s pumpkin bread, and perhaps you’ll have a new Fall tradition too.

Thank you,  Ms. Susie, for sharing your recipe, your friendship, and your generous heart.

Ms. Susie’s Pumpkin Breadccanpumkinbread2

2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
½ cup cooking oil
¼ cup water
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 2/3  cups Flour


Cakes cooling in coffee cans.

Preheat oven to 350° . Grease and flour two (12 ounce) coffee cans. Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add pumpkin, oil and water. Blend thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into coffee cans filling them ½ full. Bake for one hour.


Lila’s Blackberry Cobbler

blackberryBlackberries are in season on our farm and it’s been fun introducing my five-year old grandson to the adventure of berry picking. One of my earliest memories is following my mother with my three siblings into the thicket to pick blackberries.  I’m sure I never collected enough to cover the bottom of my bucket as I ate almost all of my pickings. Somehow, Mama would gather enough berries to make a cobbler and several jars of blackberry preserves.  If I close my eyes, I can remember the taste of her blackberry cobbler filled with gooey sweetness.

Lila3Sadly, I don’t have Mama’s recipes, but my son has always claimed that my sister’s mother-in-law Lila Ray Dodd makes the best blackberry cobbler. It’s his favorite dessert. Lila is a wonderful cook, and she’s generous and kind as she agreed to share her recipe for blackberry cobbler with me and gave me permission to share it with you.

But before you can make this delicious dessert I suggest you make a treasured memory. Grab your child, grandchild, or borrow someone’s little one, and introduce them to the adventure of blackberry picking. I used three cups of berries in my cobbler yesterday and I baked the dessert in a 12 x 6 oblong, clear, three quart glass baking dish.


3 cups blackberries
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk


Rinse berries and add 1/3 cup sugar and stir until all berries are covered.
Place berries in the bottom of a clear baking dish and make sure they are spread evenly.
Slice butter into thin slices and cover the top of the berries with the butter.
Mix 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk and stir until the batter is smooth.
Drizzle the batter over the top of the pats of butter/berries.
Gently shake the dish to evenly distribute the batter and berries.
Bake in oven at 350 degree for 45 minutes or until top is brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

I like to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on my cobbler.

They Call Me “Mama” by Connilyn Cossette

Conni032editThank you Shelia, for your invitation to share a story of hope from my life. It was quite easy to come up with a story to share, since the two main characters live in my home and call me “Mama”.

I’ve been married to my husband Chad for over eighteen years and we were always aware that adoption would be the way our family would grow.  Since I was adopted at birth as well, it was an exciting, wonderful prospect. But, as young as we were and just starting out in life together we had no more than a couple of pennies to rub together. It would be seven long years of waiting. Truthfully, more often than not, that wait was not at all patient on my part and sometimes quite painful.

The longer we waited, my friends began to marry and get pregnant and as much as I rejoiced with them, there was honestly an edge of jealousy in my heart—a smile on the outside at the news, paired with weeping on the inside.

“Lord!” I said, “Why would you give me this great desire to be a mother if you won’t bring me one of my own?”

There was one event that was particularly painful for me. A co-worker’s daughter was caught up in circumstances where she was unable to care for her child and there was a possibility that we might have a chance at adopting the little girl. When everything fell through, I was devastated. I had gotten my hopes up, again, only to have them dashed to the ground.

But my God, He is faithful. And He is the origin of hope.

The next day, I was doing laps in a swimming pool and pouring out my heart to him about the crushing of my dream. And he said to me, in such a clear voice, directly in my mind, “Do not grieve over that little girl. She isn’t the one. I will bring you a daughter some day.” I was so stunned. It was first time in my life that God spoke to me in a voice that almost seemed audible. I stood up in the pool and looked around, half-wondering if other people had heard it too.

So, I waited. And I waited. I taught pre-school for many years and poured my mama heart into my students.

And then one day, one of my girls from the Youth Group I worked with got pregnant.

I was devastated. Simply wrecked. I went home, laid on my face in my bedroom and literally screamed at God, “Why? Why would you rub my childlessness in my face? It is so difficult and so impossibly expensive to adopt! It will NEVER happen!” (It was not my best, most trusting moment to be sure).

But, even in that ugly moment my loving God said to me, in another clear voice, “What if I chose not to give you a child? Will you still trust me?”

After a deep struggle between my desires and his challenge, I surrendered my will. “Yes, Lord. I will trust you, even if you never bring us a child. “

“And, If I do chose to make you a mother,” he said. “Will you take any child I bring you? In which ever way I chose?”

“Yes! Lord, any child! No matter what! No matter how!” and then I added, “But we are so broke Lord, if you do want me to be a mother, you will have to drop one right out of the sky.”

And so, he did.

Within a month, our Pastor approached us to say he had received a call from a lawyer friend who was searching for an adoptive family for a client. I ran home that day  (I worked at the church preschool), wrote up an adoption portfolio and by the end of the next week, we had been selected by our son’s birthmother and met her in person soon afterward.

The adoption looked nothing like I thought it would. I expected an agency would be involved in everything and we would just sign some papers and get a baby.  But this was a private adoption; I took the birth-mom to the doctor, helped her find an apartment, drove her to the grocery store, met her family and got to know her personally. It was the opposite of what I expected.

But what a blessing! I got to be there in the doctor’s office and hear his little heartbeat for the first time. I got to stand in the aisle at the grocery store and feel her belly as he kicked and squirmed.  The hospital even gave us our own room down the hall and allowed us to feed our son for the first time and snuggle with him and bond with him for the first 24 hours before his birth-mom signed the papers. All with her, and her family, congratulating us on the birth of our son. It was beautiful. It was miraculous.

Oh, and by the way, the Lord provided every penny we needed through friends, family, and our church to pay for the entire adoption. Our boy truly came right out of the sky.

But wait a minute! Didn’t God say he would give me a daughter?

That he did. I was almost shocked when the lawyer told me the baby was a boy! But God wasn’t done with his miracles.

Two and a half years later, we had moved to Texas. We were a little bit more settled into life and thought, our son needs a sibling! So we signed up with an agency and were told that the average wait time was 9-12 months. “Great!” we said, “We have plenty of time to gather the necessary funds.”

Thirty days later—the phone rang. “You’ve been selected by a birthmother, come meet her!”

And so we did, and crazily enough, the next morning she went into labor.  But, although we went through the whole birth with her, the next day she changed her mind. The baby, a little boy, was not meant to be our son.

Again. Devastation hit me like a ton of bricks. It was almost as if we’d had a miscarriage. Our hopes had been so high, and we’d snuggled and loved on and named that little boy.

But God wasn’t done with his miracles.

One week later, the phone rang. “Another birth mother has selected your family. Come meet her!”

And we did. This young girl was so adamant that we were the right family for her baby that she assured the agency she would not change her mind after hearing what we had been through.  We met her, promptly fell in love with her, and spent the next three weeks anxiously waiting for another baby to be born.

And I’ll be honest. It was tough. We were terrified she would change her mind. We hadn’t had all the necessary pennies saved up since it happened so fast and we worried it would all fall through for that reason.

But the Lord reminded me of his promises. He reminded me that he was a giver of good gifts and he reminded me that he owned the cattle on a thousand hills and a few thousand dollars was no problem for him. Within the time allotted, God brought us every single penny we needed. We had people we barely knew hand us checks for a thousand dollars. One complete stranger gave us twenty-five hundred dollars, which ended up being the exact amount left on the total. I actually ended up giving back donations! Our cup ran over!

But again, the adoption was nothing like we expected. It was a newer agency, there were a few glitches, a few stressful moments, and since I bonded with this very young birth-mom over phone, messaging, and in person, I became tied up emotionally in the grief she was dealing with over such a weighty decision. I was a mess.

But then, the day came. The baby was born.

And it was a girl. My beautiful daughter, promised to me in a swimming pool years before.

God’s promises never fail. He is a God of Hope. Our ways may not be his ways. Our plans may look different than his. We may have to wait, a long, long time before answers are revealed. And there may be some suffering along the way, some  dredging up of the sin, some work on our fickle, untrusting hearts.

But as one of my characters in Counted with the Stars says “As long as we have breath in our bodies, there is always hope.”

Kids with Book _edited-1I am blessed beyond measure by my two miracle children. And blessed that Shelia had given me the chance to share my story of hope. I hope it encourages you in whatever situation you find yourself today.

Sheila also asked that I included a recipe to add to the theme of “Friendship, Hope and Fried Fruit Pies”. I must confess; I am not a very good cook. I am too impatient, I abhor measuring and dishes are the bane of my existence. But, since my first book Counted with the Stars takes place in Ancient Egypt I did some research and found an ancient recipe for candy! This recipe was apparently found on an ostraca (a broken piece of pottery used for writing) from 1600 B.C. My daughter and I made these together and they are very easy and really yummy!

date_candypic2ZxMP2Ancient Egyptian Date Candy

1 cup of chopped fresh dates
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2tsp of cardamom
1/2cup of fresh ground walnuts
Small amount of warm honey
Dish full of fine ground almonds

Mix the dates with some water to paste
Mix in cinnamon and cardamom
Knead in the walnuts
Form balls, spread with honey and cover in the ground almonds.

About Connilyn Cossette:Conni032edit
When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging

into the rich ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas.

Her debut novel Counted With the Stars will be releasing in April 2016 with

Bethany House Publishers. Connect with her at

Counted with the Stars – Back Cover Copy: Releases April 5, 2016CountedWiththeStars_mck.indd

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

Choosing to flee with the Hebrews, Kiya finds herself reliant on a strange God and drawn to a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away and now facing the trials of the desert, will she turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Counted with the Stars can be purchased at the attached links.


Alma Lee’s Recipe for Mississippi Mud Cake

A few weeks ago,  I posted of my search for a Mississippi Mud Cake recipe. A family member, who is battling an illness, reminisced  about his granny preparing this special dish.  My niece, Terra, claims that her Aunt Alma Lee makes the best Mississippi Mud Cake.Alma

In the south, we like to know family connections, so I’ll explain my family tie. Terra is my sister’s daughter.  Alma Lee is sister to Terra’s paternal grandmother, Lila. I’m sure many of my Scottsville, Kentucky friends have enjoyed Alma Lee’s special dessert.

This picture of Alma Lee was taken on her birthday.  The tulips on the table give this secret away, because Alma’s son always sends a bouquet of her favorite flower on her birthday.

I’m sending a cyber-hug to Alma Lee for sharing her recipe.

Aunt Alma Lee’s Recipe for Mississippi Mud CakeMississippi_Mud_cake

Cake Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 ½ cup plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa
3 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
12 ounce bag of miniature marshmallows.

Frosting Ingredients
1 1/2 stick unsweetened butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb. Confectioner sugar
1 cup nuts

Cake Directions
Mix sugar, oil, eggs, flour, salt,cocoa, and vanilla together; add nuts. Pour into greased pan and cook for 30 minutes at 300°. When done, turn off oven; remove cake and cover top with miniature marshmallows. Return the cake to the warm oven while  you make the frosting.

Frosting Directions
Mix butter, cocoa, milk, and vanilla. Cook over low heat while you slowly add 1 pound Confectioner sugar. Mix well and add 1 cup nuts. Spread over cake while hot.


Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ Famous Fried Apple Pies

Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs made fried apple pies for years to share with friends and to donate to various church and homemaker fundraisers in Allen County, Kentucky.  OvaletaIt thrilled me to learn that Janet Johnson, FCS Agent, Allen County  with the U.K.  Cooperative Extension Service recently taught a class on how to prepare Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ famous fried apple pies.  Ms. Ovaleta did something that demonstrates her generous spirit. She shared the recipe of her renowned fried pies. Many homemakers still prepare this heirloom treat at festivals.






Thanks to her generosity, the famous pies can still be enjoyed today.

Mrs. Ovaleta  also taught school in the Allen County School System for 27 years, and substituted for 17 years.  Most of that time was spent working with first graders. It would be interesting to know how many lives she’s touched, and the number of  fried apple pies she served during her long life.  God knows the number of hairs on my head, so we can rest assured He knows the answer. Someday, when I get to heaven, I hope to have the opportunity to thank Mrs. Ovaleta for sharing her recipe. If you take the time to try this delicious recipe, you’re in store for a tasty delight.

Dried Apple Pie Filling (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  •  2 c. dried apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 T. cider vinegar


Mix 2 cups dried apples with 4 cups water in saucepan. Cook apples for 35 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let cool. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  • 2 cups *White Lilly Self-Rising Flour (do not substitute flour)
  • ¼ cup CRISCO vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup milk (any fat content)


Measure flour in bowl.  Cut shortening in flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  With a fork, blend in just enough milk until dough leaves sides of bowl.  (Two much milk makes dough sticky, while too much flour makes dry dough.)  With floured hands, take dough out of bowl and pat into ball.  Put dough back in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)

Cooking Directions:

Turn dough out.  On a floured surface flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to circle approximately ½ inch thick.  Using biscuit cutter, cut “biscuits” for pie crusts.  Roll each “biscuit” into thin circle.  On half of the pastry crust circles, place a heaping tablespoon or more of pie filling.  Fold the other half over, moistening edges and seal by pressing the edge with a fork.

Place ½ to ¾ cup cooking oil (corn oil has good flavor) into an electric skillet.  Heat at 350 degrees.  Place pies in hot oil, then lower to 325 degrees.  Brown one side, then turn and brown the other side.  Place pies on paper towels to cool.

#friedfruitpies #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies #theresafruitforeveryseason