Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

“Jack and Jill went up the hill
To coast with fun and laughter;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.”

One winter afternoon, two friends, Jack Minot and Jill Pecq were sledding down a steep path. They crashed and both of them were hurt; Jack with a broken leg, and Jill with a very hurt back. Both of them resolve to bear it patiently. At the Minot’s Christmas party, Jill is told that she is to live with the Minot’s until she is better. Life moves on and many of the children get into scrapes, but they learn from them. One of their friends, Ed, dies at the age of 17. The children morn, but learn lessons from the death. Jill gets better and they go to the seaside for the summer. Because of an incident there, Jill puts her faith in her heavenly father. In the end, all of the children grow up and most of them marry. Continue reading

Perfect Chocolate Frosting

From the Kitchen of: Hershey

Serves: ~2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cups cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions:

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add sugar/milk, beating on medium speed until spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla.

Note:

Depending on the humidity, more sugar or more milk may be needed to achieve the right consistency.

Raspberry Cupcake Filling

From the Kitchen of: Cakeboss

Serves: enough filling for 34 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Thaw raspberries and strain juice from berries. Add enough water to the juice to get 3/4 cup of liquid. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat, set aside. With a fine wire strainer, use a spoon to press the raspberries so that the seedless pulp falls into a bowl below. Strain enough pulp to get between 1/3 – 1/2 cup of pulp. To the cooled mixture in the saucepan, add the raspberry pulp. Stir well and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

From the Kitchen of: Southern Living

Serves: 34 regular cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until smooth: set aside. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into paper-lined muffin pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Home Again by George MacDonald

This is very similar to the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Walter Colman imagines that he is a good poet, so he leaves his father, Richard Colman, and his distant cousin, Molly Wentworth, and goes to London to make a place for himself in the world. After failing in writing poetry, Walter becomes a book reviewer. Through this job, he meets Lady Tremaine and her daughter Lufa. However, they only befriend him because they want a good review for Lufa’s book of poems. Walter falls in love with Lufa and blindly writes a review praising her work highly. Walter asks Lufa to marry him and she refuses. He begins to lose interest in many things. However, he later realizes that her poems are not wonderful and also realizes that he did her wrong by not telling the truth. So he writes a letter asking her forgiveness and tells her the truth. Then, he becomes sick and drags himself home where he is faithfully nursed by his family. Walter continues to see his wrongs especially to his father and repents not only to him but to his Heavenly Father as well. After he gets better, he struggles to find his calling. The only work he has any inclination for is writing, but he finds he can’t write, at least not at the moment. So he takes up farming, helping his father who begins to not be well. In the end, he finds he can write. Continue reading