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Try everything! Have a happy life and don’t be afraid to cook!!!

~Advice given by Myra Brown, a longtime friend of my grandma’s, on a recipe card she gave me at my bridal shower 15 years ago ~

A few weeks ago I discovered a treasure tucked away in a recipe box in my china cabinet—a stack of recipes given to me fifteen years ago at a bridal shower hosted by my precious grandma. Grandma invited all her friends to the party, and each of these sweet elderly ladies shared their favorite recipes with me on index cards and cute recipe cards.

I hadn’t opened the recipe box for some time and had forgotten about these treasured recipes. Excitement bubbled within me as I flipped through them.

Greek Cake from Ginny Knauf.  Rum Cake from F. Davison.

Chicken Crescent Almondine from Marian Moore.  Ambrosia Gelatin Mold from Mary Stanley.

Provincetown Portugese Soup from Millie Carrier. Saucepan Cocoa Brownies from Agnes Woodford.

Italian Chicken from Kitty. Texas Sheet Cake from my own Grandma Marge. And several more recipes.

And then I spotted a couple of recipes from Myra Brown. At the bottom of her Porcupine Cookies recipe, she wrote:

“I have known your Grandmother Marge for 20 years. We both came to Florida the same year. I go back to Petrosky, Mich. every summer. We have a summer home there and a condo here (Wellington). Marge and I are bridge partners in two marathons.”

And then I read at the bottom of the second recipe she gave me–Breakfast Casserole—the piece of advice I shared earlier in the post:

I called my grandma to tell her about the recipes. I shared with her the notes Myra had written on her recipes. My grandma giggled with delight. “Myra was a schoolteacher,” she told me. “I’ve known her for 35 years, and we used to play bridge together. She’s in her 90s and living in a nursing home in Michigan.”

As I later gathered up the recipes to return to the box, I realized I was holding one of the precious legacies passed down from my grandma’s generation to the younger generations—the love of cooking and baking.

As a 23-year-old receiving these recipes a decade and a half ago, I don’t think I understood at that time what a treasure they were. But I suppose one of the beauties of aging is we begin to see these seemingly simple gifts as more valuable than most possessions we own.

These recipes can be shared with our family and friends at the dinner table, giving us a chance to grow closer to our loved ones. And these recipes will last longer than most of the possessions I hold. My child and his children and even their children can enjoy them in their kitchens and even share stories about the earlier generations who introduced the recipes to the family. Yes, this is a legacy worth passing down. :0)

Ginny Knauf’s Greek Cake Recipe

With nearly two dozen new recipes from my grandma’s generation tucked away in a box in my china cabinet, I can’t wait to don my apron and begin whipping them up in my kitchen. In fact, I’ve already tried one of the recipes—Greek Cake from Ginny Knauf.

Ginny was a longtime friend of my grandma’s, and I remember spending time with her as kid on my visits to Grandma’s house in Florida. As I read through the recipe she shared with me, I knew this one would be one of the first I’d try.

Why? Because I have fond memories of Ginny from my childhood, and the cake contains coconut. Yep, I LOVE coconut! I would be okay if I were stranded on a deserted island as long as the island had plenty of coconut trees. Of course, I’d probably want a hammer to crack open the coconuts. :0)

A few days ago, my son helped me make this cake. Now, living a mile above sea level presents challenges in baking cakes. More times than not, cakes made at this high altitude tend to be dry. So I don’t make cakes often. But when I saw this recipe from Ginny, I thought I’d give this cake a try. With a can of crushed pineapple as one of the ingredients, I thought this cake might be moister than most I’ve tried. So I was hopeful it would turn out.

And oh my, did this one turn out! Definitely my new favorite cake. This coconut, pineapple, and nut-flavored cake topped with a cream cheese frosting reminded me of carrot cake, with pineapples in lieu of carrots. Moist and flavorful, you can’t go wrong in making this scrumptious cake.

As Myra wisely said, “Try everything . . . and don’t be afraid to cook!!!”

Greek Cake

A treasured recipe given to me by Ginny Knauf (a precious friend of my grandma’s) at my bridal shower 15 years ago.

Printer-Friendly Version of Recipe: Greek Cake Recipe

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 ½ cups coconut

1 cup finely chopped nuts

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs, beaten

1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)


(1) Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a bundt pan or a 9″ x 13″ pan.

(2) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, coconut, and nuts with a wooden spoon.

(3) In another bowl, mix vanilla, eggs, and crushed pineapple.

(4) Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients and mix together, using as minimum strokes as possible.

(5) Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

(6) Ice cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below) while cake is warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1- 8 ounce package cream cheese

½ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

3½ cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in bowl and beat with mixer until smooth.

Printer-Friendly Version of Recipe: Greek Cake Recipe