PARENT COACHING FROM A MOM OF TEN

Practical, encouraging coaching for the hardest job on earth

Chocolate, chocolate Cake

This will cure many diseases

Whenever I have a friend who’s blue, I bake her this cake. Then, wait for it, wait for it… within 24 hours a I receive a text begging me for the recipe. There’s something in the gooey chocolatiness of this cake that serves as a balm for the soul.  It’s also incredibly easy to make, so it’s become my go-to cake for any celebration.  And, not to brag, but it was  voted “Best Cake Ever” by the guys in my son Davis’s college dorm.


Here’s the recipe to make two of them.  (Trust me; one won’t be enough.)


2 boxes of chocolate cake mix
2 boxes of chocolate pudding mix
8 eggs
1 cup of oil
2 cups of water
2 cups of sour cream
2 bags of dark chocolate chips


Mix everything except the chocolate chips in the mixer– low speed at first, then beat the heck out of it at high speed for a few minutes.  Then with a spatula, blend in the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into two sprayed Bundt pans and bake for about an hour at 350°.  Invert onto plates and begin eating.  Or better yet, refrigerate one of the cakes.  When the cake is cold the chocolate chips crunch when you bite them!

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Homemade Granola

Crunchy, chewy, and full of fiber!

I often make this recipe as a gift.  For my son's wedding rehearsal dinner, I made a big batch of this granola, divided into sweet little mason jars, and gave them as party favors. Everyone had a good breakfast the day of the wedding! This is a great go-to breakfast if you have gluten-free guests.



1 drum (42 oz.) of whole oats
1 bag (14 oz.) of coconut
1 bag (8 oz.) of slivered almonds
2 cups of honey 
2 cups (or maybe a little less) of canola oil
dried fruit or raisins (optional)


Mix dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients.  Combine thoroughly.  Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350°, tossing every 10 minutes of so, even for 30 minutes after it's out of the oven. Add dried fruit if desired.  Serve with milk or yogurt and fruit.  It will keep for a long time in a covered container.

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Graduation Party Pulled Pork

You need to serve this with macaroni and cheese. You NEED to!

We love to celebrate graduations!  Marking the milestones which represent real achievement is a time-honored tradition around here.  One of my favorite meals for graduation parties is pulled pork:  It’s rather inexpensive, you can prepare it far in advance, it holds up well on the buffet table all afternoon, and almost everybody likes it.  Further, if you misjudge and make too much for the event, it stores and re-heats well, and nobody will complain.  You can make this the day of your event, but I recommend preparing it beforehand.  


You’ll need:
Several pork butts
A jug of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce


Place the pork butts into large baking pans and add a little water. Cover the pans with aluminum foil, and bake at 250° for 4-6 hours.  (The meat should fall apart with a fork when it’s ready.)


Let the meat cool off for a few hours, then start tearing it apart.  You can use a large fork, but I think it’s more fun to tear it apart with my hands.  Once you’re down to shredded pork, pour on the Sweet Baby Ray’s.  Mmmmmmm.  Fill up zip-lock bags, flatten, and store the meat stacked in the freezer or refrigerator.


As your party guests file through, microwave one bag of pulled pork at at time, and place the pork in a large serving bowl next to a big basket of rolls.  I like to offer some varieties of barbecue sauces for guests to augment their sandwiches.  And if you’ve never tried a pulled pork sandwich with some coleslaw on top, you don’t know what you’re missing.


Strong, Happy Graduation!

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