At FTTDWYW, I have always maintained that we have the most interesting friends. And I love that seeking out authors for guest posts has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and bring them back into my present. Today’s guest post comes to us from my brilliant friend Holly and I am so pleased to share her beautiful guest post with you guys. I’m in love with this post as it combines two of my favorite things: subtle, life-altering revelations and awesome recipes. And although she mentions it herself, I am going to shamelessly plug her beautiful Bed & Breakfast. Holly is the proprietor of The Claremont House in Rome, GA. The Claremont House is a stunning example of Victorian-Era architecture and is a historic home that has been lovingly maintained. Coralie and I have BOTH stayed at The Claremont House (though not under Holly’s stewardship) and I love that such a memorable place is in such good hands. Running a B&B always seemed like the coolest thing to me and I am glad someone in my circle is living that dream. If you are ever in the area (or are looking for a charming get-away) I can’t encourage you enough to stay here! ~Leigh
At a conference earlier this year the speaker made a statement that really bothered me. He dismissed the common excuse, “I don’t have time for …” He suggested that really it’s not about how much time we have, it’s about what we value. My thoughts turned red with scathing criticisms of this clearly out of touch, holier than thou, paragon of efficiency. Mentally I pelted him with fruit as I sat through the rest of his presentation. I often say, and I often feel, that I don’t have time for all that needs doing – from the simple things like responding to e-mails and phone calls to much bigger things like reorganizing my closet. Yet, the more I think about it, I realize that it really isn’t about time. Perhaps, I have been lying to myself about what I value, or at the very least not realizing the subtle value choices that I’m making.
Just last week I was able to climb to the top of a local landmark, The Clocktower, and enjoy a stunning sunset. It’s embarrassing to admit that I had never made it to the top before. It’s not for lack of trying; I had attempted to go at least two times before over the last ten years. I’ve sent countless guests to experience the panaromic view and romance of this majestic spot. The Clocktower is only open for special occasions and on the first Saturday morning of each month. And if it begins to rain, they shut it down for safety. So, not once, but twice as I stood in line, a rain shower started up and sent us all home. Standing under the massive clock hands and enjoying the view, I was struck by the blessing of finally getting to climb the Clocktower. I vowed to stop blaming time and started to embrace the power of choice.
Interestingly, I feel less stressed about all of the things I “need” to get done because I have suddenly realized that I am putting this pressure on myself. Now instead of jumping to the phrase, “I don’t have time…” I strive to be more specific. I say, “I would rather…” or I compromise and split the time between the tasks I want to do and the task I need to do. It’s very liberating. How often do you find that time is the enemy? It seems that most often I am my own worst enemy as I plan to do too many things. I’m working on that.
My current tactic is to take a lesson from one of nature’s wonders, Strawberries. I love the delicate little white blossoms that slowly transform into plump red berries, dotted with tiny seeds. I snapped this picture of a strawberry plant when I took my daughter to a “pick your own” strawberry patch for the first time. I love how there are blossoms, tiny immature green berries, and ripe red berries all present at the same time. I find that I have projects in all these various stages. Each day I focus on the beauty of each stage instead of the need to get to the end. I’m learning to work with time as a friendly companion. I also recognize my own enjoyment of things that are timeless. Like picking strawberries with your daughter, and baking a cake together. My parents took me to a strawberry patch as a little girl, and they also taught me to bake.
Wherever you are in relationship to time, I hope you can see the value in this Strawberry Cake Escape recipe. It is a favorite with our bride’s and groom’s at the Claremont House Bed & Breakfast. And it also crops up at family birthday parties. I know it contains gelatin, but trust me this is the strawberry cake recipe that you need. And gelatin makes great things, like marshmallows and awesome cake decorations that I shall tell you about another day.
- 1 package of Strawberry Gelatin
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Butter, softened
- 4 Eggs, room temp.
- 2 3/4 cups sifted Cake Flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 1 Tb Vanila Extract
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree, sweeten to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour, and line with parchment, two 9 inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, and strawberry gelatin until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at time, mix in completely after each egg.
- In a seperate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Alternate adding this dry mix, and the milk, to the batter.
- Mix in the vanilla and strawberry puree.
- Pour the batter into the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. It will smell heavenly, but to be sure it’s ready – a toothpick inserted in the cakes should come out clean.
- After the cake has cooled – finish by icing with Cream Cheese Frosting, or Butter Cream or White Chocolate Icing.
- Top with fresh strawberries.
Thanks for reading! Next time you need a getaway, I hope you will stay in a charming Bed & Breakfast. I personally hope to see you at The Claremont House Bed & Breakfast in Rome, Georgia. Enjoy stunning architecture, yummy food, and lots of things to do around town. What are you waiting for?
Strawberry Wishes and Azalea Dreams, Holly