March 28, 2018

the Love Welcome Serve Easter menu + coconut tres leches cake

It's Easter week! The week we celebrate the resurrection of the Son of God! What a game changer for all mankind! If it weren't for my faith in what happened on the cross and and three days later, I wouldn't have hope. I sure am grateful for Jesus and for salvation! He has made all the difference in my life! So THAT'S worth celebrating, right?!

Our Easter tradition is simple. On Good Friday, Sam, my kids, and I go to our quiet sanctuary and take communion together. Then on Sunday, we worship and lunch together. 

The Easter menu this year is primarily out of the pages of the Love Welcome Serve cookbook plus this recipe for coconut tres leches cakes that I'm sharing with you here! It's a lighter, more Springtime menu that we just love! 

So before we get to the cake of my dreams, let me tell you what the rest of the menu will be! The main dish will be G-Dad's Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Garlic Cream (pg. 67). Then I'll be serving a whole slew of sides including Potluck Broccoli Salad (pg. 36), Mama's Cranberry Salad (pg. 41), Cheesy Garlic Potato Gratin (pg. 146), Blistered Green Beans (not published), Euna Mae's Macaroni and Cheese (pg. 140), and Sunday Sweet Tea (pg. 157). 

And then there's cake. Not just any cake, but this tender, sweet, creamy, cool, Spring-y cake. Every single bite of this coconut tres leches cake is Heavenly. It's so subtly coconutty that even those not fond of coconut have told me this cake makes them a believer! You'll never believe how the cake absorbs the sweet milks, but it does! It's cake perfection, y'all. And it starts with a boxed mix. Hallelujah! What a menu! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

So Happy Easter to you and yours. May you be blessed around your table with your people! And may the eatin' be good! 

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1 Duncan Hines white cake mix
1 small box instant white chocolate pudding mix (not sugar free)
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites

1/2 of a 14.5oz can coconut milk (7oz)
1/2 of a 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (7oz)
1/2 of a 12oz can evaporated milk (6oz)
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

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

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, lighted toasted in a nonstick skillet

Preheat oven to 350F. Separate eggs, keep whites in a small bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand  mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients except the egg whites. Mix for 1 minute on low. Add egg whites. Increase speed to medium high and mix for 2 minutes until well combined. Spread batter into a prepared 9x13 cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Whisk together the three milks and coconut extract. Poke holes all over the cake using a toothpick or fork with long tines. Carefully and slowly pour the milks over the cake. It will fill the pan and drown the cake! Allow the cake to absorb the milks at room temperature for about an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until thickened. (You may add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract if desired.) Spread the whipped cream over the cake and sprinkle with lightly toasted coconut. Keep refrigerated.

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Order a signed copy of Love Welcome Serve from Amy at
Need a copy fast? Order an unsigned copy HERE and get it in time to cook for Easter!

March 20, 2018

DIY flowery spring place card holder as seen in Food Network Magazine April 2018

When Food Network Magazine asked me to create an Easter egg that represented my state for a special feature, I was happy to say yes! Springtime in Arkansas is spectacular with blooming dogwoods, red buds, apple blossoms, and bulbs galore. I simply cannot breathe in the fresh Spring air enough! Ahhhhh. The blossoms and the weather stir all kinds of feelings of excitement about Spring events like Easter, Mothers Day, graduations, showers and more! So I combined my love of Arkansas springtime with my love for the season's hosting events, and I made this flowery spring egg that will serve beautifully as a place card holder, table decor, and even a little take-home favor for your guests! To make this egg requires only a few supplies and a little creativity! Here's how to make the DIY flowery spring place card holder for your own Spring gatherings around your table!

Be sure to buy a copy of my cookbook Love Welcome Serve to help you plan your Spring menus! Signed copies HERE! Also available online at your favorite booksellers!

1) Gather the supplies from your local craft store, including a glue gun and sticks, paper flowers in the scrapbook section (or possibly even faux flowers with pretty, tiny blooms), a blank wooden egg form, and floral cutters for trimming any stems off of the paper flowers. You may also wish to buy some little sparkly crystals to glue to the flowers' centers for an extra fancy touch!

2) Lay out the flowers and decide which flowers you'd like to use. You'll need a variety of tiny flowers to medium flowers, nothing too large.

3) Starting in the middle of the egg form, glue a flower. Then slowly start filling in, tucking them in and loading them on! Spend a little time at the end, lifting petals, finding holes, and gluing the littlest flowers in the gaps. It is important to note not to glue flowers at the very bottom so that the egg can sit upright. 

4. If you're adding crystals, local a few select flower centers and use tweezers to set the crystals on teeny dots of glue.

5. When setting the table for your Spring event, simply pen the names of guests on small cards, tuck them in the petals, and set at each plate!