October 2016: Pumpkin Brownies

Classic Halloween Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin

In the US and UK, October means ghosts and goblins and Halloween fun! Much of that has also started in Australia– but mostly with spring, we get an influx of super yummy fruits and veggies! One of these bodacious and flavorful fruits and vegetables happens to be the classic pumpkin. When we think of pumpkin, often we envision the large, round jack-o-lantern style Pumpkins– but the variety this and so many like it are all a part of the squash family. Indeed, called butternut squash in North America, the humble butternut is referred to as a butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand.


The Australian popular Jarrahdale or Blue Pumpkin.

Continue reading “October 2016: Pumpkin Brownies”

September 2016: Cheesecake Fudge Swirl Brownies

A few years ago, I started collecting recipes. I’m kinda a “foodie”– and I like making art in the kitchen– especially when it tastes delicious!


So when I go “Visiting Teaching” (a program where the women of the church go and visit each other to ensure the women and families in the congregation are provided for, well and happy), I include a recipe, and sometimes a plate with the recipe to be shared! The September Visiting Teaching message and printable recipe card is here: September 2016 VT Postcard Printable


img_20160911_145735119I created this recipe for my youngest daughter- she likes milk chocolate, but not too much. She likes a vanilla swirl and is a fan of cheesecake. So I combined her two loves with some trial and error, and made this recipe. It’s been her favorite brownie recipe since!





Cheesecake Fudge Swirl Brownies


  • 2oz / 15 grams cooking chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons butter


  • 1 (3 ounce) / 175g package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup honey (or fine white sugar)
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Melt chocolate with 3 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave. Stir constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Cream 2 tablespoons butter with cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Blend in 1 egg, 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.

Beat 2 eggs until light and fluffy, then beat in 3 tablespoons butter. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating until thickened. Stir in cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup flour. Add the cooled chocolate mixture, then stir in white chocolate chips and vanilla.

Spread a bit more than half of the chocolate batter into an 8×8 inch greased baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top. Then drop the remaining chocolate batter by tablespoons over the top of the cream cheese mixture. Swirl through batter layers with a knife and/or spatula for a marbled look.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 20 35 to 40 minutes. (keep an eye on this– if the cream cheese begins to brown, then cover the dish with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.)



September Visiting Teaching Printables are Here!

It’s Father’s Day in Australia this Sunday– so what are your plans for Dad!?

September 2016 VT Postcard Printable. Remember, this prints 2 cards per piece of 8.5×11″ paper. Just print the first page, turn the page over and print on the back. Cut to size, add a stamp, and voila! Or- just print and take them to the women you visit teach! These are perfect recipe-card sized, and taking this with you ensure that everyone has a copy of the message to chat about.

The message this month is another focus on parenting, and the recipe is my delicious creamcheese brownies recipes. I am overjoyed to add that this recipe has *finally* been declared edible by my fussy 6 year old. Previously, she did not like brownies. Too intense! But she likes these!  A family friendly dessert– hurrah!!!  Perfect for family home evenings!

Free “It’s Great to be 8” Lesson Plan and Octopus Craft!

One of the best things about turning 8 years old is that you get to be baptised! Luckily, Octopuses have 8 legs which can help all of us remember the important things are preparing for, and being baptised. Although this is aimed at the soon-to-be 8 year old, this lesson can be easily adapted for Family Home Evenings, or even Sunday School Craft


To do this: You need some yarn, scissors, a ruler and some cardboard.


I.Ask: What is the most important thing that you can finally do when you turn 8 years old? (Be baptised)


Why is it important to be baptised? (Allow children to share ideas about this. Remind them that Christ set an example of being baptised.)


II. What animal has 8 legs? (Have fun with this and let the family members guess until someone says, “octopus.”


If you had 8 legs, it might be easier to remember these 8 important things about baptism. What do you think these 8 things are? (Let children guess. If they get a right answer, write it down.)


Take turns looking up the scriptures that are associated with the “8 things about baptism.”


These are 8 things about baptism:

  1. You have to be 8 years old! (scripture reference/ Moroni 8:9)
  2. JESUS WAS BAPTISED. Jesus set an example by being baptised (scripture reference /JST Matthew 3:35)
  3. We are told that when we are baptised, we are “baptised unto repentance.”  (scripture reference/ Mosiah 26:22) What does this mean? (This means that we are considered clean from all of our sins, and any misdeeds in the future that we make, we must be sure to repent. )
  4. HOLY GHOST. After you are baptised, you are confirmed and gain the companionship of the Holy Ghost. (scripture reference/ 3 Nephi 19:13) What does this mean? (The Holy Ghost will prompt and guide you and help you to make choices that will be a blessing for you and those around you.)
  5. INFINITY / ETERNITY. They infinity symbol looks a lot like the number 8. What does infinity mean? (Eternal, ongoing, immortality, without end.) How does being baptised mean we can live for an infinite amount of time? (Moses 1:39) Why do you think it is important to our Heavenly Parents for us to be in an eternal family? (They love each of us!)
  6. FAMILIES ARE ETERNAL. It is very important for parents to teach children about baptism. In fact, parents are commanded to teach their children about baptism. (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25) Why do you think this is a commandment for parents? (Because parents are in the best position of anyone to teach their children.) (Should you feel brave, you might ask you child if you did a good job teaching them about baptism!)
  7. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE BAPTISED. Baptism is so important, that we have temples where we can be baptised for the dead. After you are baptised, you can prepare and look forward to going to the temple to be baptised for people who were not able to be baptised. (1 Corinthians 15:29)
  8. SACRAMENT. Each time we partake of the sacrament, it is as if we have been baptised again. Read the words to hymn #303, Keep the Commandments. Why do you think there is safety and peace when we keep the commandments? Why is it best to keep the commandments? (We feel the Holy Ghost) How can partaking of the sacrament help us to feel the Holy Ghost (we are cleaned from sin and can be more clearly guided.)


If you like, you can write these 8 things on a piece of paper and keep with the octopus.

III. Since an octopus has 8 legs, which makes it a great way for us to remembers these important things about baptism.

To start, have the children use a ruler to measure 8 inches.one Have them cut a piece of cardboard from an old cardboard box that is 8 inches (20 cm) long, and about 2 inches wide.

Have children choose the colour(s) of yarn that they like best. My soon-to-be 8 year old chose her favourite colours, dark pink and dark blue.





Hold the yarn on the cardboard. Then wrap it around the cardboard 60 times.  In this image, I did 30 rotations of dark blue, then I did 30 rotations of the dark pink.





Slide the large loop off of the cardboard.











Tie a piece of yarn, or place a rubber band one inch from the top, and one in below that, as shown:














Cut the yarn loop at the end that has not been tied off.














Count 15 strings. Separate them into 3 groups of 5. Braid the 3 sections, as shown. Repeat this with the remainder of the yarn, tying each braid at the end to make 8 octopus legs.


seven eight








When all of the legs are braided, cut the opposite ended loop (the “hair”). Trim the legs and hair as desired.












If wanted, glue or set buttons or googly eyes on the octopus.


Remind all family members that this octopus is important because it reminds us of 8 important things about baptism.


Close with a prayer and a sweet!

June 2016 Visiting Teaching Postcards are here!


The June visiting teaching printable and recipe card are ready!
This month, the recipe is Lemon Berry Self-Saucing Pudding, whilst the message is Temple Ordinances and Covenants.

Just click on the below links to download the PDF of the visiting teaching postcard.

Print the VT message 06 2016 Page One(or do like I did last month, and cut poster paper to printer size).

Turn the paper over and reinsert into your printer. Then print VT message 06 2016 Page Two.

Next, add the names and addresses of the women you visit teach (or just print and take along when you visit. Talk about whatever you feel is right, and leave the message and recipe card for them to enjoy on their own!


Self-Saucing Lemon-Berry Pudding

(Never had a self-saucing pudding? Think of cake with ganache, served sort of like an upside down cake. The “ganache” (sauce) sinks to the bottom of the pudding (proper English pudding, thank you!) whilst baking and helps steam the pudding into a delicate delight. Serve warm! To serve, spoon the pudding out, turning it on the plate so the sauce drips down the sides of the pudding. Add some fresh cream or ice cream to serve.)

  • 12 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 medium lemons (zest & juice)
  • 12 cups flour
  • 12 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) (I used blueberries because that is all I had in my freezer. I think this would be fabulous with strawberries)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 12 cup berry jam
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F

Lightly coat a 6 cup-capacity, deep ceramic (Corningwear) baking dish with butter.

Unbaked Pudding Pastry Sans Sauce

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add zest of 1 lemon, eggs, and milk and mix well. Over the top, sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the blueberries. Gently stir all by hand until just combined. (The batter will be stiff)

Pour into the prepared deep baking dish.


Pour the sauce over the back of a spoon as to not disturb the batter in the baking dish.


Pour sauce over the back of a spoon as to not disturb the batter.


In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice and boiling water to make 1 cup (add more water if needed). Warm jam (not hot) on stovetop or microwave.
Stir in the sugar, jam and zest of 1 lemon with the water and lemon juice until the sugar and jam are dissolved. Gently pour the sauce over the pudding as to not displace the batter.



Bake for 40 mins or until the pudding is cooked through.

Serve warm from the oven by spooning onto dessert plates with a side of cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

pudding complete





Join the Baptism & Boomerangs Goodreads Giveaway!

To celebrate spring (BOOMERANG SEASON) in North America, the good people at Goodreads are giving away  three copies in Baptism & Boomerangs over the next three months! There is no cost to enter the giveaway. None. Zero. Zilch. So click on the widget below to go to Goodreads and enter to win a copy of this book for you and your family!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Baptism and Boomerangs by Sherrie Gavin

Baptism and Boomerangs

by Sherrie Gavin

Giveaway ends May 31, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

April 2016 Visiting Teaching Printable Postcards are Ready!

Clink on the link below for a PDF of the April Visiting Teaching Printable Postcard!

April 2016 VT Postcard Printable

Remember, all you need to do is print on cardstock front to back (or poster paper cut to A4/letter size). Then cut in half, add an address/stamp or a note if you are hand delivering, and you have a handy recipe-card sized message. The recipe on this month’s card is an easy risotto- prefect with a side of Aussie sausages, steamed broccoli or just right on it’s own! (further instructions are here.)

HugAnd– don’t forget– 26 April is “Hug an Australian Day“! Be sure you find your favourite Australians (or people who should be Australian for that day) and give them a hug!