I’m getting there! Warning: LONG post Ü

To a state of organization that is.  Slowly, VERY slowly.


These are my new cubbies in my studio. I call it my studio because it makes is sound like I do something in there 🙂  And take a gander at my birthday present from my children!  ADORABLE!


A fairy village!  I wanted it so much!  I had seen it first on pinterest and then in HearthSong catalog.  So precious!  And of course what studio would be complete with out this:


We had a big celebration over the weekend ~ my birthday, Hannah’s birthday, Jessica’s birthday and our 34th wedding anniversary.  Jerry whipped up an amazing meat roll to put on the grill. And we ate the last of it last night in a very delicious stew he made from the leftover. meatroll

I made a Persian Love Cake –


I was bound and determined to conquer this cake and after some tweaking and substituting it was quite delicious. My notes are at the end of the recipe.

The original recipe was not gluten free but I adapted it. And it called for candied rose petals for garnish but I had seen a similar recipe with pistachios and used them instead. I didn’t do the rose petals because I knew I nor my people wouldn’t like them. BUT if you want to do them, here is the recipe for them.

Candied rose petals

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Petals from 2 organic roses

Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.


  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (or regular all purpose if you aren’t gluten free)
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom ground

For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment.

Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth.

Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff.

Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)


  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

For frosting: Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes.

Chill until cold. Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with rose petals

NOTES: I made a few changes.  My cake fell a bit when I removed it from the oven.  I am not sure if it was my flour blend or if I beat the egg whites too long.  But for whatever reason, it was a little on the sad side. I had a box of Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix that I whipped up quickly and added a tsp of vanilla bean paste to the batter.  When it was baked per box instructions and cooled I layered it between the layers of the original cake and made the frosting which I quickly found out I was not a fan of SOOOO…I dumped that expensive batch 🙁 and whipped up a batch of Buttercream with a pinch of saffron and a little of the saffron infused cream I had left from the first frosting recipe and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. And I garnished it with chopped pistachios.   It was wonderful.  Everyone really liked it.  I think had I stuck right to the recipe the reception would have been less than favorable.  So all’s well that ends well.

It was a very very good weekend!  And now tell me, how is it Thursday already?  Jerry will leave for Malaysia on Monday and when he comes back home we will head for Vermont for our belated anniversary trip.  SOOO excited.  Even with the floods.  I am not about to cancel my trip unless something much worse happens between now and then. And I realize that is always possible. Either on that end or this one. But our plans are to go and dine and sight-see and spend our money just as if we weren’t butt deep in water 🙂 I think its very important to let the folks know someone who witnessed Katrina and made it thru Rita knows how it feels to a point and knows how important it is to trudge forth. It is devastating to a community when something like this happens and you have to “just get back on your horse and ride again”.   Besides its a little over 5 weeks and I have all the confidence in the world that most roads will be at least partially open, even if they are pig trails. I reserved an all wheel drive vehicle for our time there. I am sure there will be places I won’t get to take Jerry that I had hoped to, but we will still enjoy ourselves. Autumn in Vermont.  Squeeeeee!

Autumn country side in Vermont

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The last photo is absolutely beautiful. Our fall colors here are rather pathetic compaired to this, but hey ~~ at least the heat will be gone. Have a terrific time in Vermont. I’m sure you’ll take photos..(hint hint) not that that’s needed.

Looks like good times in Casa Cleaver! Hope your birthday and anniversary were fantastic, and that Vermont dries out fast so you can enjoy your trip!


Beautiful photo. I am so excited for you, that in a few weeks, you’ll be there!
And that meat roll! I’ve never seen anything like it. Know it was delicious.

Susan…Your posts always make me smile…thank you for sharing!

Victoria in Houston

Happy belated Birthday and Anniversary wishes Susan!! Love all the photos, but that last one of Vermont is calling my name, as is the sweet fairy village!!