Grammy Nominated Artist, Storyteller & Motivational Entertainer

Double Chocolate Ooey Gooey Cake

This is Paula Deen’s recipe… and it ROCKS!  By far my favorite Chocolate dessert.  Try it – I promise you will love it.  (Tip – I prep as much as I can, then when folks are eating dinner, I pop it in the oven.  Nothing like gooey melting chocolate smell at the ending of dinner preparing your taste buds for dessert!) Enjoy!


Butter, for greasing pan, plus 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, melted, divided

1 (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix

3 eggs, divided

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and 8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter, and stir until well blended. Pat mixture into prepared pan and set aside. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining 2 eggs, and the cocoa powder. Lower the speed of the mixer, and add the powdered sugar. Continue beating until ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add the remaining 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of melted butter, and the vanilla, continuing to beat the mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts with a rubber spatula. Spread filling over cake mixture in pan.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the cake; the center should still be a little gooey when finished baking. Let cake partially cool on a wire rack before cutting into pieces.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 50 min

Difficulty: Easy

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Cinnamon Pecan Cheesecake Squares

This recipe started out as something completely different, but through the years this version has proven to be the most well-liked!  My husbands business partner, Dave Vaughan, says it is his favorite of all the breakfast concoctions I come up with!  And it is soooo easy!  (Photo coming soon!)


  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese. (I use spreadable Honey Walnut)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


  • Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.’
  • In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until smooth.
  • Unroll crescent dough; lay in bottom of pan. Pressing to close seals.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over dough in pan.  Top with another roll of crescent dough.
  • In a small bowl, stir together 3/4 cup sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Using a teaspoon, dot mixture evenly over top of dough.  (Sprinkle extra pecans or walnuts on top if you like.)
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown.
  • ENJOY!
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Christmas Gift Ideas

I am absolutely in LOVE with the water pitcher by Blenko Glass.  Check it out at  I bought a tangerine colored one for myself and then my sister-in-law Gail fell in love with it while visiting, so I got her one for Christmas.  It’s the perfect size and looks great on the table.  I use mine for OJ when serving breakfast. (Which is why I got the tangerine color.)  Sure to be a conversation piece.

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Walnut Pumpkin Pie

So… I’m not a big pumpkin fan but the walnut topping makes it good.  And…’tis the season!



  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. maple flavoring
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 (8- or 9-inch) prepared graham cracker or baked pie crust
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsps. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • Heat oven to 425°F. Combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, maple flavoring, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg in large bowl. Mix well. Pour into pie crust.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake an additional 30 minutes.
  • Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts. Remove pie from oven. Top evenly with crumb mixture.
  • Bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool. Garnish as desired. Yield: 8 servings.
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Napkin Cake

When I was a little girl it was always a joy to find a piece of cake in my mothers purse. Yes, her purse! After attending a wedding at the Slovenian National Home on a Saturday night, they would bring home a piece of wedding cake for us kids, wrapped in a napkin.

 Napkin cake.  Finding it on Sunday mornings was a moment of feeling loved and cared for, like my parents thought about me enough to bring home cake.  I smile now even as I write this.
Below is a great recipe for a breakfast napkin cake… which is a nice touch at the end of a dinner party. Send your guests home with a piece of this coffee cake for them to enjoy the next morning.  This specific recipe is courtesy of my mother-in-law Arlene Rink. Enjoy!
1 Cup sour cream
3/4 Cup oil
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 Cup sugar
Mix together, then add 4 eggs & beat 2 minutes
Combine in separate bowl
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup chopped pecans
Alternate cake misture & sugar mixture in a greased 9 x 13 glass dish. Swirl with a knife & bake in 300 oven for 1 hour. Test center to be sure cooked through.
Let cool 1/2 hour; mix & pour over top:
1 Cup confection sugar
2 Tablespoon milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

This photo was taken at the Slovenian National Home in Maple Heights at my brothers wedding reception in 1968. (I was only three-years-old, but I’m sure I ate plenty of cake!)  Shown here is my oldest brother Lud, the love of his life, Sandy, and my mom & dad.

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