I've been sitting on this recipe for just the right time to share it and I think posting my 100th Pinterest Test Kitchen qualifies, don't you?

It's rich.

It's decadent.

It's a chocolate lover's dream.

It even gets points for being naturally gluten free.

It's also versatile. I've made it as a single layer cake in a torte pan and I've made little minis too.

And unless you are having a no good very bad day like the one I was having here while making it, it is super simple and you probably have everything you need on hand to make it and that is a big bonus right there.

What you'll need for the cake:
 1 cup chocolate chips (I've used semi sweet and dark chocolate, either is fine)
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder (again I have used regular cocoa powder and dark chocolate)
2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee (made it with and without and it's tasty either way)

For the ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

What you'll do:
Preheat over to 375 degrees
Melt chocolate chips and butter until combined
Pour into a bowl and add the sugar and espresso powder if you're using it, stirring until thoroughly mixed
Add eggs and whisk until batter is smooth
Add in cocoa powder and stir
Pour into a well greased cake pan (you may want to use parchment paper but I've not had any problems just using Baker's Joy)
Bake for 20 minutes (I've started cooking mine for 18 minutes because I noticed my edges getting too done at the full 20 minutes.)

While the cake is baking make your ganache by heating your heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips until smooth and well blended (be careful not to allow your cream to get too hot and keep stirring as the chocolate melts)

Let the cake cool for ten minutes and them flip it onto a plate
Pour ganache over the top and allow it to drizzle over the sides
Let the cake sit out for about 30 minutes before refrigerating for at least an hour before serving
Top with a dollop of whipped topping and garnish with raspberries

Grab a fork and bite into that deliciously chocolate dream and sigh with utter satisfaction.

I realize that a one layer cake doesn't seem like much but this dessert is really rich so a little slice will do ya. Also, to make the mini cakes I've used the silicone pan and I've also used just a regular mini muffin pan. I think once I got really crazy and used the mini bunt cake pan I have but decided that was a wee bit more work than I wanted to put into it with not much return.

I've also learned that while you do need to refrigerate it so the ganache can set you want to take it out and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

So yeah, this is my 100th post that I've tagged (or tried to remember to tag) as either Pinterest Test Kitchen or simply Test Kitchen. You can enter either of those into the search bar near the bottom of the blog to pull up all the post in the series or you can go here to where I have most of them saved onto a pinterest board.

I'd love to know what you have found on pinterest and tried!

She started unloading the dishwasher with a heavy sigh and droopy shoulders. She was obviously not happy with the task at hand and truthfully hadn't been happy with any task lately, content to only do what she wanted to do.

I stopped her and reminded her that part of being in a family is taking part in the tending of that family and it's stuff. And I also encouraged her to remember that she should be grateful that there were dishes to put away because that meant we'd had food to eat. And the very fact that she was unloading a dishwasher meant that the task of actually washing dishes had been done for her and she had the easy part. We talked a few minutes about not despising the work that often times comes with the gifts we receive in our lives.

And right then and there my own gentle words that I was hoping to encourage and teach my daughter gratitude with turned around and smacked me in the face.

We've had a busy six weeks. I mean ridiculously busy and things keep crowding in on my to-do list.  I realized that while individually I did not mind the tasks at hand, cumulatively I was drowning. And I was letting the feelings of overwhelmedness (I think I just made a new word) wash me down a river of resentment. I couldn't enjoy anything because it was all beginning to look like just one more than thing that had to be tended.

So I hugged my girl and took a minute to rejoice in the work of parenting and for the ways our Father uses those situations to parent me. And instead of looking at a great big pile of must take care ofs I needed to look at each task as the gift of work from the hand of a loving Father who has given me much. The work my friends, represents the blessings of family and friends and clients, home and church and school activity. And I don't want to fall prey to despising His generosity.

So whatever is crowding your to-do list at the beginning of this week, whatever crazy holiday schedule is looming on the horizon, remind yourself that God is the giver of good gifts and that the work that can sometimes come from those blessings and opportunities is a gift in and of itself.

This is crowd pleasing comfort food at it's best. Biscuits and cheese are two of the main ingredients so seriously, how could it not be? I cannot even remember how I found the recipe, or when, but I know since I pinned it and started making it it's a favorite at every potluck I bring it to. I was actually surprised to realize I hadn't blogged it already.

What you'll need:
2 cans Grands biscuits, cut into pieces
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (I like the family size jar but the regular works fine)
2 cups Swiss cheese, separated 
(I have only found shredded Swiss once, the rest of the time I just use sliced and chop it up)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 garlic salt
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 lb deli ham, shredded

What you'll do:
Toss the biscuit pieces with the Alfredo sauce and garlic seasonings
Add chicken, ham, and 1 cup of cheese
Stir until everything is well blended and coated with Alfredo sauce
Place into a 9x13 that has been coated with non stick cooking spray
Top with the remaining cup of cheese
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until biscuits are done.

Serve with a Caesar salad or steamed green beans so you're at least giving a nod to the healthy life and enjoy!

A few weeks ago, like hundreds of pastors and preachers across the country, Rob preached a Reformation sermon. Our worship was a little extra that day since not only were we marking the 500th celebration of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, we were celebrating paying off a mortgage in less than three years in a joint service with a sister church. Another layer was added to the sweetness of the day as we contemplated the history of two churches that used to be one and how God had gifted friendship and genuine love where before there had been angst and turmoil.

The whole sermon was good and even though the themes of death and Resurrection are familiar to me viewing it as being torn apart and reformed into something else, something more, was beautiful. Rob sent me a copy of it so I could share part of it here.

God loves to tear things apart. We don’t often think about God in these terms, perhaps, but the biblical record (and what we observe in history and in our own experience) shows us that it is so.

If we go back to the creation narrative we can see that God is immediately about the business of tearing things apart – of separating thing from thing. He divides the day into light and dark – day and night. He made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse.

When we get to man, God separated some of the dirt he had made and formed it into a man and breathed life into him with his own Spirit. Then he took the man and put him into a deep sleep – a kind of death – and tore from him through a hole in his side part of his body. And from the rib he took from the man he formed the woman.

He loves tearing things apart. But notice that he doesn’t just rip them apart because he’s dissatisfied with them. Rather, he tears them apart in order to re-form them. The things divided become complements of each other, making a new thing. The one day is made up of day and night. The two humans (male and female) are then brought together and become one flesh.

Even in the case of our Lord who is Life itself, God separated his Son from life and in a sense from himself (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?). But, of course, he was raised from death and was reunited with life in a new, glorified way.

God separated Abraham from the other nations to create a unique people for himself, but even here we see in Ephesians (and elsewhere, of course) that God is remaking from the two one new man.

Even we ourselves are subjected to separation from ourselves (God killing in us that which separates us from him) in order to be put back together, to be human in the way our Lord would have us be human.

Sometimes in the midst of busy seasons it's easy to get caught up in the finish the thing move on to the next thing moments. But always I want to be mindful of how God is at work and, like the woman at the end of the pregnancy yearns to feel the pain of contractions that she knows will bring about the arrival of her babe, I long to feel the pains of God at work tearing me apart and reforming me more and more into the image of His Son.

But really more like chunks than the title would suggest. I have lots of thoughts in my head and every intention of actually blogging them but it just hasn't happened. So I'm going to dump them all here and see if I can work up a rhythm for regular blogging by starting with a clean slate.

We'll see.

There is a thing in photography called the golden hour. As the name suggest it is the time of day that is particularly good for taking pictures. Photographers covet this hour because of the beautiful soft light. Saturday I was reminded that early morning has some rather beautiful light of it's own. I can't share any of the pictures yet since it was a bridal session but in the ten minutes it took to leave my house in the pitch black to hitting the interstate gas station by Pensacola Bay this happened and I had to stop and take a few pictures. I should maybe explore this early morning light more often.


As I've gotten older I have become less and less of a candy person. Which is something because at one point in my life I ate a Reese Cup and drank a Sprite every day for a snack. Now I might have the occasional piece but I can take it or leave it but with Halloween last week I've been rather indulgent and I've learned few things. Firstly, I underestimate the yumminess of plain M&M's and secondly, I seem to like Kit Kat's.  Who knew? Thirdly, I really love twizzlers but I got a really bad headache after eating them twice so I think I'm going to steer clear. And fourthly, whoppers are still gross.

I'm a little bit behind in the Bible Reading Challenge but am amazed at how connected the Old and New Testaments are. I realize this is a simple observation but the connection and overlap is so clear and even more so when time is spent in reading from both. It really has added a depth and richness to my Bible reading.

Related to that is Bible Study Fellowship. Boy, do I love the book of Romans! We had such great discussion in last weeks class. One of the things I shared was how, right in the midst of David's soap opera with Bathsheba, was the simple phrase , "And the Lord sent Nathan." Chapter eleven ends with God being displeased with David but in the very next chapter He is sending Nathan to rebuke and call David to  repentance. It reminded me how much we need Nathans in our lives, people who can call us to confront our sin.

Later that day I would also come to realize how we need to be willing to let there be Nathans in the lives of our kids. I mean, it's easy for us to feel like we're fulfilling that role in their lives but truly we need to be willing to have other people carry out that task sometimes too, which can be much much harder. But other people can bring a perspective and shed light that we need and our children need. I want to hold on to this thought as we approach parent/teacher conferences at school. Not that I am expecting trouble or bad reports but I want my kids' teachers, who spend a lot of hours with my kiddos each day, to be willing to be Nathans to the sin in their lives. And I want to be open and to hear them if they have reason to be a Nathan.

On a lighter note, our Sabbath lunch was not exactly all I had hoped it would be for reasons outside my control, I might add. Sam was quite funny though and afterword came up and hugged me and said, "Nice try with lunch, Mom." It made me laugh. I was also grateful that the two families we had invited over for the fellowship had to cancel. That was God's kindness to them I think :-)

What else has been rattling around in my brain?

Time change. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I've never been a fan but Oh.My.Goodness, yesterday afternoon lasted forever and I was up by 4 o'clock this morning! That's right...four in the A.M. I've unloaded the dishwasher, folded a load of laundry and washed another load. And here I am blogging and it's not even five in the morning.

Big wedding weekend coming up with the marriage of one of our church members on Saturday and my nephew's wedding on Sunday.

Looking forward to a long weekend with Friday off for Veteran's Day.

Got a notice that it is time for my yearly renewal with the blog. Which ever always puts me in a place of considering whether to keep blogging or not. In theory, to be a successful blog you're supposed to blog regularly and often. It isn't hard to see that I am in a season of not blogging regularly so inevitably I question whether to be done or not. Which means I spend time examining why I even blog and exactly how should I judge whether it's successful and should that even be a consideration. And if I do keep at it do I stay here or move on to a different platform like wordpress or something which seems like a more grown up way to go for some reason.

I am one of those people that hates to see Christmas stuff go up in October.  I also have a rule about not listening to holiday music before December first. I want to very deliberately savor the season of Thanksgiving before diving into the joyful and thoughtful season of Advent and Christmas. However, due to the fact that we celebrate Advent as a family and at church I have to open that door a bit in order to plan and prepare. Not to mention the planning that goes into our 12 Days celebration means I'm already having to think about presents and stuff. I'm really trying to keep a tight reign on things though so that Thanksgiving is given the proper attention. I realized yesterday that I really want some stuffing. I also realized I am not sure why I only make it once a year but so far that seems t be what I do. I treat it like eggnog which means it's seasonal. Except I was surprised that eggnog was out at the store before Halloween even. Don't tell my kids but I already enjoyed some. The next thing you know they'll want to start listening to Christmas music.

Saturday ended much the way it began with a family session that wrapped up in time for me to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Pretty spectacular book end to the day, don't you think?


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