Monthly Archives: March 2011

Crater Cake (Banana Chocolate Chip)

This recipe came from my future Son-in-law’s family. The recipe was submitted in the Jr. High School cookbook by the mother of one of Ryker’s  schoolmates.
Preheat oven to 350

1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 c sour cream
3 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13 pan. Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and bananas. Mix. Then mix baking power, baking soda, and flour in a separate bowl then add to butter sugar combo gently then add sour cream. Blend well. Pour half the batter into the pan, sprinkle with half of combined brown sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Repeat. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Check with toothpicks around the edges but the center will still be moist. As it cools the center will drop making the ‘crater’.



Veggie Cocktail (otherwise known as a Bloody Mary)


1 small can Spicy V8 Juice (or regular if you don’t like spicy but really why bother if you don’t like spicy)

1 1/2-2 oz Vodka

2 limes (1 cut in half, the other into wedges for garnish)

1/2 tsp. or more, grated horseradish

2-3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

3-4 drops Tabasco (I used Chipotle Tabasco)

Black pepper and/or cayenne to taste

Celery Salt (mix enough to rim the glass with course salt)


Garnishes: Celery Stick, Pimento Stuffed Green Olives, and any pickled veggies you like along with a lime or lemon wedge.

Rub cut side of lime on the rim of a glass and dip in celery salt and coarse salt mixed together on a small plate. Add crushed ice and set aside. In another large glass or cocktail mixer, pour V8 juice, squeeze half a lime (or more), add the rest of ingredients except garnish. Stir with a few ice-cubes and pour over ice in salt rimmed glass. Add garnishes and squeeze the lime wedge and then drop on top. This makes one cocktail.


Confessions of Anxiety and Other-Validated Intimacy, Part I


Last year as I sat across the table from one of my Doctors she said “I don’t think depression is your main thing, I think it’s anxiety. You seem to be very anxious, in fact I feel more anxious in your presence.”

That is when I first realized how much my anxiety affected others and how other people’s anxiety was affecting me.

In light of what I read in Passionate Marriage I also realized that people who are ‘healthier’, more mature, more secure in themselves, more differentiated (as Schnarch would call it) are less affected by other people’s anxiety.

Last year my goal was to reduce stress causing obligations that was within my power to reduce and then take better care of myself (body, mind & soul) in an attempt to learn to how to handle the unavoidable stress in my life.

My life improved in many ways. The depression lifted without medication. But when crisis came back into my life I still responded in ways I did not want to and I had physical symptoms related to anxiety.

As I read the chapter ‘Intimacy Is Not For The Faint Of Heart’ in ‘Passionate Marriage’, I found myself saying “I do that”, over and over in my head. Here is my confession, the quotes I responded to with identification and the examples of this concept in my life (past and present):

Read the rest of this entry

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch: Quotes I want to Remember


Chapter 1 Nobody’s Ready for Marriage – Marriage Makes You Ready for Marriage

“We’re driven by something that makes us look like we crave intimacy, but in fact we’re after something else: we want someone else to make us feel acceptable and worthwhile. We’ve assigned the label ‘intimacy’ to what we want (validation and reciprocal disclosure) and developed pop psychologies that give it to us – while keeping true intimacy away. We’ve distorted what intimacy is, how it feels, how much we really want it, and how best to get it. Once we realize that intimacy is not always soothing and often makes us feel insecure, it is clear why we back away from it.”

“We usually think problems with sex and intimacy are caused by how we’re uniquely screwed up. I propose, instead, that they’re often caused by being normal.”

“Often, however, the problem is not a matter of peeling away layers but of developing them – growing ourselves up to be mature and resourceful adults who can solve our current problems.”

“Passionate Marriage is about resilience rather than damage, health rather than old woulds, and human potential rather than trauma.”

“We’ve applied this same image to marriage and concluded our partner is supposed to soothe us and not do thing that make us insecure.”

“Seeking protection from its pain and pleasures misses its purpose: marriage prepares us to live and love on life’s terms. Facing relationship realities like these produces the personal integrity necessary for intimacy, eroticism, and a lifetime loving marriage……Integrity is the ability to face the realities I just mentioned. It’s living according to your own values and beliefs in the face of opposition. It is also the ability to change your values, beliefs and behaviors when your well-considered judgement or concern for others dictate it. Putting your partner’s goals on par with your own and delaying your agenda accordingly takes (and makes) integrity.”

“Is anybody really ready to get married? I doubt it. Nobody’s ready for marriage. Marriage makes you ready for marriage!”

“We get married for the wrong reasons because we haven’t matured enough for the right reasons to exist yet. Struggling with wrong reasons for getting married can produce right reasons to stay married.”

“We like to believe that ‘communication problems’ underlie most relationship difficulties because we welcome the idea we can literally ‘understand’ and ‘express’ our way out of our dilemmas.”

“After seeing this go on repeatedly in my office – and my own home – I’ve concluded that some dilemmas aren’t meant to be ‘fixed.’ All problems aren’t meant to be ‘smoothed.’ The solutions we see sometimes come for living through them. We spin intricate webs until we have no way around them. We can escape the situation we’ve created (temporarily), but we can’t escape ourselves. Our self-made crises are custom-tailored, painstakingly crafted, and always fit perfectly. We construct emotional knots until, eventually, we are willing to go through them. It mays sound farfetched, but sexual dysfunctions are blessing to couples who use them well. In like fashion, we sometimes create situations that ask us to risk our marriage in order to receive its bounty.

Approached in this light, committed relationships become epic dramas of heroism rather than soap operas. The suffering and strife inherent in marriage are as purposeful as its delights.”

“…write in Notes To Each Other: Did I pick the right person? This question inverts the starting and ending points. We do not pick our perfect match because we are not perfect. The universe hands u a flawless diamond – in the rough. Only if we are willing to polish off every part of ourselves that cannotjoin do we end up with a soul mate.”

“This polishing process in marriage is what I referred to earlier as differentiation. In a nutshell, differentiation is the process by which we become more uniquely ourselves by maintaining ourselves in relationship with those we love. It’s the process of grinding off rough edges through the normal abrasions of long-term intimate relationships.”

“Differentiation brings tenderness, generosity, and compassion – all traits of good marriages.”

Chapter 4:

“Basically, the lower our level of differentiation, the more prone we are to engage in highly dependent relationships, where we find ourselves struggling with a chronic urge either to fuse or escape.”

“Poorly differentiated people have difficulty handling anxiety. As a result, they deal with it through their relationship because emotional fusion can temporarily reduce anxiety and restore a sense of identity and purpose…..they become increasingly dependent on their relationship and their partner – or avoid emotional contact altogether.”

“If you are threatened by any tension in your relationship, then you will get anxious whenever your partner does, and you will have difficulty comforting yourself…..The result is that you feel compelled to reduce each other’s anxieties and avoid triggering new ones. In other words, you end up trying to control both your relationship and your partner in order to get control of yourself.”

“…a new and important aspect of differentiation: differentiation is the ability to soothe your own anxiety and to resist being infected with other people’s anxiety. Anxiety is contagious and poorly differentiated people pass it between them like a virus.”

“In poorly differentiated families, when one person gets anxious, everyone gets anxious.”

“When you can modulate your anxiety you’re neither driven by your feelings nor afraid of them, and you don’t need to use your intellect all the time because you aren’t ‘stifling’ your feelings.”


Black and Tan for St. Patrick’s Day Dinner


I make these Black and Tans every year to go with our St. Patrick’s Day Dinner (even though I have read they may not  be a true Irish thing). Usually it all kind of blends together instead of having distinct layers. But this year they turned out perfectly for some reason.

I started by chilling the glasses in the freezer. I used Stella Artois as the Lager (I learned it’s supposed to be Irish Ale like Bass Pale Ale for true Black and Tan) and poured that into the bottom of the glass. Then I slowly poured the stout (Guinness of course) over the back of a large spoon so that it gently hit the side of the glass before floating on top of the Lager. Beautiful, fun and tasty.

Irish Soda Bread


Irish Soda Bread

(Be sure to double this recipe if you have more than 6 people or plan to have leftovers.)


  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3 Tblsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp. Salt
  • 9 Tblsp. Butter
  • 1/3 cup Dried Currants
  • 1 cup Buttermilk (for dough)
  • 1 1/2 Tblsp. Buttermilk (for brushing on top)
  • (recipe calls for 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1 Tblsp. caraway seeds but I never add them)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Mix with a wire whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or rub with fingers until fine crumbs form. Mix in currants (and raisins and caraway seeds if you like them). Add the buttermilk all at once and stir just until combined.

Pour out onto floured surface and gently knead until it is smooth (about 10-15 turns). Divide in half and form two rounds pat or roll into a flat round (about 2 inches thick). Place on a 12×15  in baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased). Use a sharp knife to cut a cross about 1/4 inch deep across the top. Brush with remaining buttermilk. Bake in a 375 degree oven until deep golden, 30-35 minutes. Serve warm with butter. Cut into wedges. Use in a day or two or freezer.


Corned Beef in Crock Pot


Corned Beef (beginning of cooking time in Crock Pot)






This is a pared down version of my St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, using the Crock Pot (Slow Cooker).

1 cup coarsely chopped onions (plus additional onions cut in wedges with stem intact so that they hold together, to eat with meal, up to 1/2 lb, optional)

1 cup coarsely chopped carrots (or washed and peeled baby carrots), (plus additional, up to 1/2 lb cut in larger pieces to be cooked at the end and served as vegetable, optional)

3-4 lbs Corned Beef Brisket (flat cut) with seasoning packet

1/2 cup Malt Vinegar

4 oz Irish Stout

1/2 Tablespoon whole Mustard Seeds

1/2 Tablespoon whole Coriander Seeds

1 teaspoon whole Black Peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole Dill Seed

1 teaspoon whole Allspice

1 large or 2 small whole dry Bay Leaves

1 1/2 lbs whole cabbage, cut at the last minute into serving size wedges, with the stem intact so that they hold together after cooking)

1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes, scrubbed, cut larger ones in half so that they are fairly uniform in size

Place chopped onions and chopped carrots in the bottom of the crock pot. Add brisket with all it’s liquid and seasoning packet. Add the vinegar, stout and spices with enough water to almost cover the meat (follow your crock pot instructions, do  not fill more than 3/4 full). Cover and set timer for 8-10 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

I don’t have room in my crock pot to add the additional vegetables so I’m going to cook them in a large sauce pan (covered with lid) with some of the juice from the crock pot and additional water, vinegar and stout the last hour of cooking time, adding the cabbage the last 20 min. or so.

With a slotted spoon scoop out vegetables onto warm serving dishes, cover with foil and place in warm oven. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove beef to cutting board. Cut off and discard fat. Slice meat across the grain (thinner if you plan to use in sandwiches later). Place on a serving tray deep enough to handle some of the liquid to keep it moist, wrap with foil and place in oven with veggies while the last minutes preparations are made. Serve with mustards and black and tans (stout and lager layered in a glass) or your favorite beer (we like Newcastle even if it is English instead of Irish:)

Best with Irish Soda Bread, see recipe here: