Living on the Wrong Side of the Street…The Lawn Battle Continues

Welcome  Who doesn’t love a soft, green inviting lawn?  I know I do, but it seems men have a special ego attachment to the way their front lawns look.  It’s a good thing my husband is comfortable with his manhood, because our front lawn screams, “These people are a mess!”  Today’s post is a story about real life and knowing when it’s okay to throw in the towel.  Stick around to the end for a classic cake favorite: Mississippi Mud Cake.

Food For Thought  It’s one thing to persevere and see a task all the way through.  It’s another thing entirely to know when you’ve wasted enough time, energy and money and should probably give up on a pipe dream.  No, I’m not talking about my writing career…yet.  I’m talking about our family’s quest to have a beautiful green lawn.  News flash…never gonna happen!

It’s not that we haven’t tried.  No, we have invested so much grass seed, of assorted varieties, fertilizers, peat moss, straw, hours of watering, tools, and man power.  We’ve had truck loads of topsoil hauled in, which have long ago eroded down the hill.  It’s disappointing, especially when all the houses across the street have lush green yards for the kids to run around and play in.  But our side of the street is hilly and dense with trees.

We live in a nice average neighborhood in a nice average suburb.  Our neighborhood is older with lots of full-grown trees, which we happen to love for the shade and natural beauty.  Our yard currently has 22 mature trees!  This is after a recent cutting of 2 dead pine trees and the removal of 3 other trees a few years ago when we had foundation work done for our home.  We moved into this house in 2005 with 27 trees on a city lot.  That’s a lot of trees, folks!  These trees are king of the hill here!  Oh, and by the way, we do live on a hill which results in lots of water running down through our yard during heavy rains.  These trees have a massive root system that suck up every ounce of moisture and nutrients from the soil, leaving nothing for grass to thrive on.  We’ve tried several different shade tolerant grass seed, low maintenance, high maintenance, drought-resistant, and everything in between.  We’ve talked to multiple landscape and garden center “pros.”  We’ve tried it all.  We’ve even had a couple of months here and there where our efforts seemed to pay off, only to notice a slow death creep over the lawn a short while later.  Our lawn has brought much stress to my husband and me over the thirteen years we have lived here.  And here’s what I’ve learned:  It’s not worth it!  If we added up all the money spent and hours of sweat, tears, and yes, even some blood, it is not worth it.  So we will just have a brown front yard, which makes it somewhat easier to rake all those leaves from the 20 plus trees in the fall.  And winter.  And spring.

Life is like that sometimes.  We want something and know what it takes to get it.  But like our green lawn, it just may not be in the cards, or stars, or destiny, or whatever.  The blessing isn’t meant for me.  And, like our brown yard that requires very little mowing in the summer, there’s an upside to most every missed goal.  It may be saving time or money.  It may be eliminating a source of stress or an energy drain.  It might just be a chance to recognize the important things in life.  I know that our value and worth as a family is not tied up in what our lawn looks like.  We’re good people, even with a dirt yard!

Today’s Scripture


Today’s Recipe  In honor of our dirt-filled, sometimes muddy yard, I am presenting you with the classic kitchen staple, Mississippi Mud Cake.  I haven’t made this cake for years, probably fifteen or more, until this week.  I don’t know why this is not my go-to cake recipe.  It’s easy, homey, a crowd-pleaser, easy to transport, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.  When I baked it this week it brought back a lot of great memories, too.  My mom made this cake a lot when I was growing up, either for potlucks or funeral dinners or even just to have around the house.  I’ve always like the fudgy richness and gooey marshmallow of this classic cake.  This is basically the recipe that’s been handed down in my family for years, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Mississippi Mud Cake
One of the easiest “scratch” cakes you can make! Gooey marshmallow, crunchy pecans, and a fudge-like frosting tops this classic chocolate cake.

 

Mississippi Mud Cake

For the Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 10-oz pkg mini-marshmallows

For the Icing

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 16 oz. powdered sugar (half of a 32 oz. bag)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl.  Add melted butter, flour, cocoa powder, and pecans.  Spread batter in prepared pan; it will be thick.  Bake at 350 for 27 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with entire bag of mini-marshmallows, spreading evenly.  Place back in oven and bake an additional five minutes.  Remove from oven to a wire rack.  Press down on the marshmallows slightly with the back of a spoon to make room for the frosting layer.

To make frosting, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Turn off heat and stir in milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, and powdered sugar until well combined.  Fold in pecans.  Spread evenly over marshmallow layer of cake.  Finish cooling before serving.

Tip: Spray a knife with nonstick cooking spray before cutting the cake to make it easier to get through the sticky marshmallow layer.

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