The Friend and Cinnamon Roll Cookies Recipe!

Keeping with my theme of catching up on blog posts and writing news, I had a story published in the June 2017 edition of the Friend magazine! As with most of my life, my daughters were the inspiration and driving force for me to record and submit this story. It really is a delightfully inspired, easy to read story, so please take a moment and have a look (plus the artwork is beautiful!).


And once again, we’re almost always in the mood for cinnamon, and we wanted to celebrate. My daughters love it when I make this Cinnamon Roll recipe (seriously delicious), so I thought about making these. However, for the last while, we’ve been travelling and no place we’ve stayed had quite the right equipment to make Cinnamon Rolls (no beaters, no rolling pin, etc.).


So we got creative! Never being a snickerdoodle fan (too crunchy!) I messed around with sugar cookie recipes, and ended up creating what we call Cinnamon Roll Cookies. We love them! With or without icing, these hit the spot and are sure to be a favourite for all of the cinnamon roll lovers in your life.



Cinnamon Roll Cookies*

Continue reading “The Friend and Cinnamon Roll Cookies Recipe!”

Celebrating Writing with Cinnamon Pancakes

Things have been exciting and crazy busy for us lately with many exciting things!


One of the most exciting things is that I placed in the annual Segullah Journal Annual Contest in the prose section. You can read my essay here, Our Plat du Jour Family.


Whenever something good happens (like the above) I like celebrating with food. My daughters *love* almost all things cinnamon, so with the help of my eldest daughter, we created this Cinnamon pancake recipe that is super-duper yummy.


Super Cinnamon Pancakes

(*also known as Cinnamon Dessert Pancakes or Chocolate Cinnamon Pancakes)

Continue reading “Celebrating Writing with Cinnamon Pancakes”

Strawberry Milk Chocolate Marbled Cupcakes

I posted some images on facebook of my daughters making and decorating these cupcakes with me. As a result, a few people asked me for the recipe. I told them it would take a bit for me to type it up, but I’ve done that—so here it is!


Strawberry Milk Chocolate Marbled Cupcakes


This recipe makes a little more than 2 dozen, and can be halved. The cakes are more dense than fluffy, but this make them easier to ice, and they are more filling.


3 1/3 cups plain (all purpose) flour

1 teaspoon good quality baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups caster sugar

2 large eggs

2 Cups whole milk, with 3 tablespoons of milk taken from the 3 cups and put aside.*

2 tablespoons Strawberry flavour, divided. (less if you want a less intense flavour)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup unsweeted cocoa powder

Red food colouring


Heat oven to 350°F, 175 °C. Line 24 cupcake trays with cupcake liners.


Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla, 1 Tablespoon of the strawberry flavour and the eggs and beat until combined. Add food colouring and the whole milk (be sure to take 3 tablespoons of the milk out).  The mixture might look congealed instead of creamy after the milk—that’s okay!
Add all of the dry ingredients reserving the cocoa powder for later. Mix thoroughly. Adjust colour and flavour to taste. Continue reading “Strawberry Milk Chocolate Marbled Cupcakes”

Light the World!

ornamentJust like many of you, our family is doing the “Light the World” challenge. It has been wonderful!!!


We have tried to keep many of the things are doing anonymous, so I have not been posting much about it on my personal facebook or otherwise. But the spirit of Christ is palatable in my home right now, and for that, I am grateful.
In adding to this, we would like to send a copy of Baptism & Boomerangs to someone in the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. This is not a contest or a promotion, this is a gift we want to send anonymously to a family who might love it. For facebook, please PM me -OR- comment with the phrase “Light the World,” by December 14, 2016. For this webpage, please comment the phrase “Light the World.”


We will put everyone’s names in a hat on December 15. My daughters will pick the name, and I will message you to get the address so we can post the book. The book does not need to be sent to you, but to anyone you choose. It will be posted in the mail on December 16, which is the anniversary of my father’s death, hence the reason I chose this date. I know that because of Jesus Christ and the great plan of happiness that I will see my father again, and I feel like my Dad would be happy about my book.
Merry CHRISTmas!


Thanksgiving Recipe Week: Brined and Slow Baked Turkey

It can be difficult to get a large, whole bird in Australia before December. In the past, I have been able to order a 10-12 kilo bird from IGA or Coles. We have a smaller oven this year, so I did with a 7 kilo bird (about 15 pounds). It was delicious! This year, I pre-ordered some large turkey roasting bags (I usually can get them on ebay or I pick them up for pennies when I visit North America). I used one bag to brine and another to bake. Here is what I did:


Brine recipe:

1 part brown sugar to 4 parts salt (I used ½ cup brown sugar and 2 cups kosher salt)

4 cups salt-free vegetable broth (stock)

½ cup chopped fresh sage

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 heaping teaspoon of dried thyme (couldn’t find fresh, and this worked out well)

2 tsp whole peppercorns


On a stovetop, combined the vegetable broth, sugar and salt in a saucepan and warm to help the sugar and salt melt. Cool completely. Continue reading “Thanksgiving Recipe Week: Brined and Slow Baked Turkey”

Thanksgiving Recipe week: Key Lime Pie

img_20161117_124046424This recipe is a little fussy, but, oh, so worth it. I like doing everything as much from scratch as possible, but in a pinch, you can easily use a store bought pie crust. I highly recommend the meringue—sans meringue, it isn’t quite the same.





1 1/4 cups plain / unbleached flour

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup butter

4 tablespoons cold water


Combine flour and salt in a bowl, Add butter and using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in until the mixture is combined and crumbly. Adding 1 tbsp at a time, use the water to slowly moisten the mixture (you might need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your area). It should be a firm dough, but not crumbly, and not wet.

Roll in a ball, then using a rolling pin, roll to the size of your pie plate. Pinch the edges to make the pastry look pretty. Prick the bottom of the pasty with a fork to create vents and prevent bubbling.

Bake at 450°F / 230°C for about 10 minutes till golden. Cool on a wire rack whilst making the filling. Continue reading “Thanksgiving Recipe week: Key Lime Pie”

Thanksgiving Recipe week: Slow Cooker Holiday Stuffing

I don’t have a great track record with stuffing. My mother makes a great stuffing- and never strayed from the recipe so long as I’ve known her. Similar to that, Australians seem to have the same stuffing in every roasted chook in every chook shop in every state. It’s not good and it’s not bad—but it is the same. Every. Single. Time.


I decided to create something better, and began experimenting on some of these basic recipes. But it didn’t go as well as I hoped. Then I tried doing recipes word for word—but they didn’t turn out as I hoped, either, and the seasonings were…. Meh. I tried cooking it in the bird, out of the bird, with apples, without apples, with nuts, with seeds, and nut-free, seed-free, with sausage, with butter, without butter, in the oven, in the microwave—everything. It just didn’t work the way I hoped.


stuffingThen I tried the slow cooker. It wasn’t doing anything anyway….just sitting there, hoping for a Thanksgiving use. So I tried it. With a simple recipe. And after years of attempts—I got it right. Super yummy and moist—just the right amount. YES!!!  And it is delicious!!!


Just like my succotash recipe, I recommend this for any time of year. Continue reading “Thanksgiving Recipe week: Slow Cooker Holiday Stuffing”

Thanksgiving Recipe week: Succotash

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday! Since moving out of the US, is it is thing I wanted most to share with my new friends and family. So, in celebration of my international friend and family, I am sharing some of my favourite Thanksgiving recipes over the next few days!


The first of my favourites is succotash. 

Scared to pronounce it? Think of Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam—“Sufferin’ Succotash!”



Well, succotash isn’t “sufferin'” at all—it is deliciously living big– and it is even vegan! And it is super yummy! This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving. But don’t limit it to Thanksgiving- it is great as a main dish, or anytime as a side dish to grilled chicken or rissoles.


Succotash is made from the “Three Sisters” of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois).  This powerful and influential nation resides in the north eastern part of North America, covering both the US and Canada, including the area of New York where I grew up. The “Three Sisters”- are corn, beans and squash, or pumpkin. Haudenosaunee planted these in a system called “interplanting.” First, they planted corn and waited it for it to start to sprout- about two or three weeks. Then they planted green or wax (yellow) beans. The beans contribute nitrogen to the soil, helping the corn to grow—the corn stalks themselves serves as bean poles. In rows between the corn and beans, they planted squash and pumpkin at the same time they planted the corn. The large leaves of the pumpkin plants shaded the earth, keeping the soil moist. These can be combined in many ways, but my favourite is succotash! Continue reading “Thanksgiving Recipe week: Succotash”

Nov 2016 Visiting Teaching Cards and Raspberry Sauce Recipe!

I confess, I *love* visiting teaching during the General Conference months! Such a great selections to share with the women I know and love, and the spirit of this past general conference was especially beautiful and loving for me.  The printable visiting teaching card and recipe is here: vt-message-11-2016. Just print (front and back) on card-stock, and deliver or add an address and stamp and post to the women you visit teach.


raspberry-sauceI love cranberry sauce! But for my family, the taste is generally to tart for them- especially the kids. Plus, it can be very hard to find fresh or frozen cranberries in Australia. So I created this recipe to put smiles on the faces of all who taste it! (For those who love cranberry, but not typical cranberry sauce, see below the Raspberry Sauce recipe for a cranberry version of this recipe!)

Continue reading “Nov 2016 Visiting Teaching Cards and Raspberry Sauce Recipe!”

Free Lesson Plan! “Spell Halloween Spell”

halloween-bikkiesOkay. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am “that mother.” And I love being that mother. I dress up for Halloween. I like to help out in my children’s classrooms. I send lesson plans to their teachers and offer to do them for the class. And my children love it, too. So– this lesson plan is aimed at teaching students how to spell ‘Halloween.’ Yes, it involves baking as well (yet another of my loves). I’ll post a copy of my sugar cookie recipe around Christmastime, unless people are really anxious for it sooner.


Happy Halloween!


Spell Halloween Spell Lesson Plan

By Sherrie L. M. Gavin


Tools: Cookies for entire class, 1-2 “gag” cookies and/or a silly Halloween hairpin,  all carried in a non-opaque bag, plus video resources and small slips of paper.

  1. WITCH (in this case, me– mother!) enters the class carrying a bag. img_20161024_104553045WITCH tells the students she has some perfectly “Ghoulish” cookies for them. Play this up; WITCH takes a gag cookie (fake cookie with plastic insects glued on) and invite the “ghouls” to eat it. (they’ll say no, or WITCH will request the prove they are a ghoul before they eat it.) Soon, students will say they are not ghouls
  2. WITCH Says:

Continue reading “Free Lesson Plan! “Spell Halloween Spell””