March 29, 2010

As a Reminder To All

(Photo by Jorgeanton,

Legend has it that 2000 years ago, a tall, strong species of tree grew in the Middle East.  It's thick, straight trunk was sought after by the Romans - the rulers of Jerusalem - for building crosses for executions.

One day an officer of the Roman Court came to the forest and ordered the woodsmen to construct an extra large cross from the best of their trees.  "Make it strong," he said.  "The King of the Jews is to be put to death."  It was soon delivered.

Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, the chief woodsman was alarmed to see that all those great trees had begun to whither and die.  In several more years, an amazing transformation had taken place.  The great oak-like dogwood trees were gone and in their place were thousands of flowering bushes with short, twisted trunks.  You see, the once proud forest giant was mortally anguished.

The crucified Jesus in healing pity said, "Never again will you grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, your trunk will be thin and twisted, with white blossoms having four petals in the shape of a cross.  The outer edge of each petal will show nail prints stained with red, and the center will be like a crown of thorns as a reminder to all."

One thing that is not included in the Legend is that in Autumn, the dogwood produces clusters of blood-red berries, each shaped like a drop of blood!

March 28, 2010

Cannot Be Overrated!

This recipe for Homemade Carrot Cake simply cannot be overrated!  It is perfectly moist and delicious.

4 eggs
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for cake:  Preheat oven 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 9 x 13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in carrots.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

Directions for frosting:  Combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Frost the cake when cool.

March 18, 2010

Smorgasbord of Passion

(Photo by Cleaper,

The beautiful, unusual passion flower!  There are over 600 species so they come in many colors, white, pink, yellow, red, purple, and blue.  Some have edible fruits--passion fruit.

The unusual shape of the passion flower has led to the plant being associated with Christian symbolism with the passion of Jesus.  

There are variations of a legend involving a Jesuit Priest in 1620. He was fascinated with the beauty and had a vision in which parts of the flower were likened to the Crucifixion or Passion of Christ.

The three stamens represent Christ's wounds.  The twelve petals represent the apostles. The purple corona is the crown of thorns, and the stemmed ovary is the Lord's goblet.