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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vintage Blueberry Recipe

Blueberry Apple Turnovers

Pie crust for 4 pie shells
1 can pie apples, well drained
1 pint frozen blueberries, thawed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup butter
Combine apples, blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind. Roll half of pie crust to a rectangle 20 x 16 inches. Cut into 10 oblongs. Place filling on top of each oblong. Dot top of filling with butter. Fold dough over to form a square; prick top with fork. Repeat with other half of dough. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Makes 20 turnovers.
Turnovers may be frozen and heated before serving in a 425° oven for about 5 minutes.


My mother suffered from maniac depression. This title has been updated to bi-polar. There were times in my childhood I do not recall my mother being there. My grand-parents did the best that they could to take care of us. My dads parents hired in a set of sisters Sally and Ann to clean the house and take care of us. One of them would spend the day playing games with me and my brothers and sisters and the other would take care of the house and yard. My mother would spend the day in her bed away from all of us.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines bi-polar having three major types. The first sees the individual having manic episodes that last at least 7 days or manic symptoms so severe that the individual needs immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes are present as well and last at least 2 weeks. Having both depression and manic together can happen as well. The second type of bi-polar has a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, the full blown manic episodes are missing. The third type o Bipolar known as Cyclothymia sees the individual suffering from hypomanic symptoms as well as numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting at least 2 years or 1 year if the individual is a child or adolescent. The symptoms of hypomanic episode and depressive episode is missing.

My mother is not alone in her illness as there is an average of 2 out of every 100 adults who suffer with bipolar. More than 1/2 of these cases started during their adolescence. About 75% of people with bipolar disorder also met the criteria for another mental health disorder. There is no reason to be afraid to let others know. If you suffer with bipolar you are not alone and should look for help
I end this post with a quick question for you the reader. What is it that you would like to share with us about bi-polar?? Please leave a comment and let us know

Beauty of Hydrangea's

Hydrangea are beautiful perennial bushes. The bush produces huge flower heads in mid-summer. Native to North and South America, Himalayas and Central and Eastern Asia produce beautiful flowers of various colors. Colors include white, pink, blue , lilac, purple, and shades of these colors. The flower heads have two types of florets Sterile florets are male and form the large, colorful sepals on the outside of the flower head. The fertile florets are usually found in the center of the cluster.

Spring through fall even when the plant is not in bloom the hydrangea bush has attractive foliage The bush will shed their leaves in the fall. The bush can grow from 3 to 10 feet tall and there are some that will grow up to 25 feet tall. Most varieties of this bush prefer full sun to partial shade. The leafless bush become s a less than attractive clump of stalks and stems into the following spring.

Hydrangea bushes are easy to grow. They prefer full sun to partial shade. If you live in a warm climate then you may want to plant them in a more shaded area. The plant prefers moist, rich soil the drains well. You should see blooms that begin in mid summer. Removing spent blooms is advised to promote more blooms. Thinning some of the stems will help the plant to grow bigger.


March is Celery and Peanut Butter Month

Celery is a vegetable with many health benefits & myths surrounding it. There is a TON of Vitamin K in Celery, it will hold many of its nutritional values when cooked, it helps with your digestive tract, and supports cardiovascular health. Additionally celery helps with weight loss because of the amount of “dietary bulk” you are getting from it – few calories for much food

Celery is crunchy , low cal vegetable but many thought it was not  a key part of your health support. Research has greatly improved what many think about celery's anti inflammatory health benefits, including its protection against inflammation in the digestive tract itself. Celery contains vitamin c and other antioxidants that our bodies need. If you are steaming vegetables with your meals include celery. Celery will retain its value better being steamed rather than boiling. Celery should be kept in fridge no longer than 5 to 7 days as a window of time for consuming fresh celery. Likewise, to keep its nutritional value do not chop up celery until it is ready to use.

Peanut butter may be high in fats but there are all natural and other great varieties that have less fats. All natural and has a wide range of other nutrients filling its container. Peanut Butter is a great source of proteins, so even those who do not eat animal proteins can enjoy lots of this stuff unless they are allergic to nuts. Peanuts are a native food to Americas

Snacks are a valuable resource to me. My waist likes healthy snacks and some days I crave something sweet as a quick snack. I also love snacks that are crunchy and salty. Celery is crunchy, peanut butter offers enough sweetness with flavor. It is easy to cover a piece of celery with peanut butter. There are healthy nutrients in this snack, its easy to make and taste great.

I leave you with this quick question :::: What is your favorite easy to make snack???

Fruit Pizza

COOKIE... SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH from the refrigerated section is SUPER easy and delicious OR -
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
6 oz butter, at room temperature
11/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp cream
2 tsp lemon extract
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon cinnamon OR 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1 to 1½ cups powdered sugar
8 cups assorted fresh fruit (grapes, strawberries, orange, mango, clementines, blueberries, banana, raspberries, etc.) washed and sliced
¼ cup apricot jelly or any other [light-colored] jelly
1 Tbsp Orange Juice/Lemon Juice/Water

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside for a moment.
Combine the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat them together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the cream and lemon extract and mix them in.
Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until there are just a few flour streaks left. Stop the mixer and finish stirring everything together by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl well. Shape the dough into a large disc and wrap the dough in cling wrap. Refrigerate for several hours, until firm. Dough can be made several days in advance.
When the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 350 F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment OR use your favorite large egg-shaped casserole dish(OR round OR shape of your choice). If you are using a casserole dish (my preferred method) just carefully push out with your fingers your dough to reach the edges of your greased and/or parchment paper lined vessel - make sure its relatively even all around. If using the cookie sheet: roll out the dough between sheets of parchment or waxed paper until it is a large circle about ½-inch thick. (an egg might be about 16×12 inches, but if you are just making a circle, it should be in the 14-inch area.) You could make it ever thinner if you’d like, but I think a cake-like-cookie is perfect for this. Transfer the cookie to the baking sheet, and bake it at 350 F for 15-19 minutes, until it takes on a light golden color and is puffed and set in the middle. Let it cool completely at room temperature. The cookie can be baked several days in advance.
Beat the cream cheese using a mixer until it is smooth and free of lumps. Add the cinnamon or lemon and about half of the powdered sugar. Beat until everything is well-mixed. Taste the frosting, and add more sugar if desired. Remember that it will be combined with a cookie and fruit, so it doesn’t have to be super-sweet on its own. Frosting can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Spread the frosting in a thin, even layer over the surface of the cookie, leaving a small margin around the edges. Layer the fresh fruit over the frosting in the pattern of your choosing—don’t’ be afraid to play with colors and shapes and patterns!
Once your artwork is completed - in a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the jelly and liquid, and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir them together until the jelly is fluid and smooth. It should have the consistency of a thin gel—if it’s still fairly thick, add a bit more liquid to thin it out. Use a pastry brush to glaze the top of your fruit. This gives it a lovely shine, and also prevents the cut fruit from looking wilted and tired at room temperature.

What do you think... Do you like fruit in its natural form or dressed up a bit

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What is Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is normally caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby's birth or the first 3 to 5 years of a child's life. The disorder that effects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills and may cause other health issues such as vision, hearing and speech problems as well as learning disabilities. 
Cerebral Palsy can not be cured. There is treatments, therapy, special equipment and surgeries that can help kids who are living with CP. 

Cerebral Palsy is the most common congenital disorder of childhood. This means that the disorder is present at or before birth. There are approximately 500,000 children in the U.S. that have the condition. 
There are three types of Cerebral Palsy. Spastic that causes stiffness and movement difficulties, Athetoid that leads to involuntary and uncontrolled movements, and Ataxic that causes problems with balance and depth perception. Cerebral Palsy effects muscle control and coordination. Something that seems very simple and yet is hard for an individual with cerebral palsy to do is to simply stand still. Breathing, bladder and bowel control, eating and talking may all be affected by Cerebral Palsy. The disability does not get worst over time.

Cerebral Palsy has no real reason or cause. Many cases are the results of problems during pregnancy when a fetus brain is damaged or does not develop normally. Infection, maternal health problems, genetic disorder, or something else may interfere with normal brain development. Rarely problems during labor and delivery can cause CP. 
Premature babies weighing less than 3.3 lbs. have a higher chance of having CP than other babies carried to term. Other low birthweight babies and multiple birth babies have a higher chance of developing cerebral palsy.
A baby or toddler who suffers from damage from lead poisoning, bacterial meningitis, poor blood flow to the brain, being shaken as an infant or being in a car accident can lead to cerebral palsy as well. 

Mom and Pop Shop Day

As I grew up I fell in love with certain shops. There was a dime store uptown where I lived . It was not big but for a few dollars we could go purchase a lot of candy or a book. The Dime Store was owned by the Hunts. There was a clothing store that my mother would purchase her clothes from and another that my grandmother would order from often. Both of these were single family owned as well One being the Grays and the other the Larsons. The small grocery store where I visited the deli daily while in high school was a small family owned shop as well. While many of these small stores have gone to the way side the little grocery store on Sloan Street is still there.

Today on March 29th also known as Mom and Pop Business Owners Day I wish to honor Sloan Street Market. It is a small business and while there are not many left there are a few still out there. Given the chance I will visit these little shops any time. This holiday was created by Rick Segal from Florida in honor of his parents small hat shop.

The owners of these small Mom and Pop business spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demand is not short and yet their is a lack of hired staff this issue leads to long and late hours. The owners of these shops must love what they do because while they are their own boss they work hard, miss family and personal events and often go to bed very tired.

This Mom and Pop Shop in business since 1957 and no end in site. Passed down through generations with moms, dads, grandparents, sons and yes grand-sons taking care of the business.

Chicken and Red Pepper Stir Fry

3 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups julienne-cut red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and next 4 ingredients (through hot pepper sauce) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well to coat. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cashews to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from pan. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in a bowl. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger; cook 30 seconds. Add chicken and cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick. Sprinkle with cashews and green onions. Juick rice pilaf: Cook 1 (10-ounce) package frozen white rice (such as Birds Eye SteamFresh) according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, 2 tablespoons drained chopped water chestnuts, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (room temp, you don’t want lumps)
2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 C. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. brown sugar
1/3 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter with a fork until well combined. Line 12 regular sized muffin cups OR 24 mini muffin cups (and a few regular muffins) with paper cups.
Divide crumb mixture evenly between all the muffin cups. Using the back of a small spoon (or my rounded coffee scoop thing) press crumbs firmly onto the bottom and set it aside.
Blend softened cream cheese, eggs, sour cream and sugar together until well mixed. Add in the vanilla until nice and creamy. Spoon cream cheese mixture into each cup (they should be about 3/4 filled).
Bake the mini muffin cups for about 12 minutes and the regular ones for about 15 minutes, remove from oven and place on rack to cool for 20 minutes then carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and let cool complete. You could even top it with your favorite fruit topping before serving.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup [Candied] Bacon (to candy: check this out – I just used regular)
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease OR line with parchment paper several baking sheets.

Beat the sugars and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter.  Stir in the chocolate chunks and bacon bits.

Using a small cookie scoop (teaspoon), scoop the cookie dough into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place them 2 inches apart on each of the baking sheets. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until pale golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Moon

The phases of the moon many believe have something to do with how people act. I can say that I do agree with that. I can tell when we have a full moon and my co-workers can as well. The behaviors of those we care for seem to be stronger than at other times. What do you think?? Can you tell a difference when we have a full moon.

Is there something you want to do in life?? This is the perfect time to get that seed of a plan growing. Grow it from a wish --->  an intention ----- > a promise ---- >  a vow. As the new moon grows your intention or goal will grow as well. By the time the moon completes the cycle and returns to full circle to new again. 

Farmers have long known the importance of the new moon. It is what they planned the harvest by. Seeding around  the moon cycles. Farmers like my grandfather took note of the moon and time as it passed so the seeds that took the best were seeded during the new moon. Like the farmer it is time for us to seed our ideas and intentions. When seeded ideas will sprout with the coming full moon just as the seed lie waiting in darkness to break forth into the light to bring fruit. The creation of such idea to bring about physical results. With spring coming it is also a great time to start a new with new ideas and grow from them. 

French Toast Rollups

This is a great way to serve french toast for breakfast or any time. They are rolled up into hand held tasty sticks. Perfect meal for kids and adults alike. Baked in the oven or fried in a saute pan and perfect to cook up a big batch and easy enough to prepare the night before. Crisp edges and soft inside loaded with flavor.

The rolled up bread allows you to get the opportunity to stuff this French Toast with tons of flavor. You can stuff with a cream cheese filling by using a bit of sugar and add some strawberry jam to cream cheese.

Another idea is to take fresh fruit and wrap the french toast around it. You can put whatever you crave on and inside of your french toast roll up.

12 slices bread
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ t vanilla extract
½ block cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
⅛ cup strawberry (or your favorite) jam
⅛ cup cinnamon + ¼ cup sugar
More Cinnamon for sprinkling & Maple Syrup for dunking

Flatten each slice of bread out with a rolling pin.
Mix up your filling (cream cheese, powdered sugar, & jam for suggestions). Place about 1-2 teaspoons of your chosen filling inside your bread (smear it on like you were making PB&J or make it a bit neater by just doing a strip about 1 inch from the edge of one of your sides). Roll the bread up tightly and repeat with the remaining pieces of bread.
In a shallow bowl whisk the eggs and milk and cinnamon until well combined
TO FRY:.Heat a skillet set over medium heat and melt a bit of butter. Dip each bread roll in the egg mixture coating well and then place them in the pan seam side down. Cook in batches until golden brown, turning them to cook and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add butter to the pan as needed.
OR TO BAKE: Preheat Oven to 350. After dipping your French Toast Rolls, place seam side down on a parchment/slipmat lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes and then flip and back another 10 minutes or so until crisp on the outside.
In a separate shallow bowl mix the sugar with the cinnamon. As SOON AS cooked rolls come out of your preferred cooking method, roll them around in the cinnamon-sugar until completely covered in sugar.

I was just wondering what is your favorite french toast topping?? 

In Defense of Weeds

For those that garden weeds are not friends. Weeds can be incredibly annoying always sprouting up and never really being gone. Even those good looking dandelions, you know those little yellow flowers that dot your yard, yes they are weeds as well.

Weeds are just plants growing where you do not want it to grow. Blackberries are fantastic when you find them growing wild in the forest, but are perhaps less desirable when you find them growing in the middle of your rhododendron bushes. There are a great number of weeds that are important to health, science, and culinary uses. Chickweed is a weed that is quite tasty and packed with vitamins, chicory often considered a weed is a pretty little plant with bright blue flowers which is made into a hugely popular drink in the south.

Do you remember as a child picking dandelions and these little weeds that we would blow and the seeds would scatter every where. Dandelions are weeds with useful purposes. A food source for insects and birds, humans eat young dandelion leaves and enjoy dandelion tea and dandelion wine. Native Americans used dandelions to treat certain ailments. as they contain source of vitamin A and C, calcium, iron and fiber.
Yellow Dock and Burdock

Yellow Dock and Burdock the taproot  young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring before flowers appear. The young stalk taste resembles that of an artichoke A good source of dietary fiber and certain minerals, including calcium and potassium. 

Lambs quarter leaves of lamb's quarter are excellent added to lettuce salads or cooked and used as  replacement for spinach Lambs quarter seeds are also edible. Great source of protein and vitamin A

Pigweed appears along road sides often between August to October. Plant goes by several names including red root Amaranth, Redroot Pigweed, Red Rooted Pigweed, Rough Pigweed, common amaranth and common tumble weed. These plants are not known to be poisonous but the leaves may contain nitrates if the soil has nitrate in it. This plant may be enjoyed as a vegetable. Pigweed is also valued as food and medicinal purposes. The seeds of this plant can be harvested and cooked the same as quinoa. The root of this plant may be used as well as it is high in vitamins and minerals, calcium and iron 

One last important note before using any weed as a food source, make sure it is correctly identified. The plant should be free of herbicides and pesticides. Do a bit of research to find safe edible part of each weed and find useful cooking and prep tips. 

Jesse Owens World Class Athlete

James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was born September 12 , 1913. He was the youngest of ten children. In all there were 3 girls and 7 boys. His parents were Henry Cleveland Owens and Mary Emma Fitzgerald. His father was a sharecropper in Oakville Alabama. His family nickname for him was J.C. When he was nine his family moved to Cleveland Ohio during the great migration. It was in hopes that they would all find better opportunities there. While attending school there a teacher misunderstood his name J.C. being Jesse.

As a boy growing up in cleveland he would take on small jobs in his spare time. From delivering groceries, loading freight cars and working in a shoe repair shop. His father and older brothers worked at near by steel mill. He also realized some thing else that he was a pretty good runner and loved it as well. He would participate in track during junior high and his coach Charles Riley was a great support to Owens. Owens often credited his coach with his succesful carreer.
Jesse would first get a bit of national attention while a student at East Technical High School in Cleveland. His score of 9.4 seconds in the 100 yard dash tied the world record and his jump of 24 feet 9 1/2 inches in the long jump earned him the attention. Owens would specialize in the sprints and long jump and be recognized in his life time as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history" He would set 3 world records and In Berlin Germany Owens won international fame with 4 gold medals for the 100 meters, 200 meters , long jump and 4x100 meter relay. The ESPN team rated Owens as the sixth greatest North American Athlete of the 20th century and the highest ranked in his sports. 

Enjoy Something on a Stick Day March 28

How many of you all recall eating trix cereal when you were a kid. Perhaps you still enjoy a bowl of trix now and again. Today I want to share with you a great new way to enjoy Trix cereal

6 Cups Trix cereal
4 cups Miniature Marshmallows (or about 40 large marshmallows, 10 ounce package)
3 tablespoons Butter
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
Bowl of Water

Put all of your cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
Place your marshmallows into a medium-large size microwave safe bowl. Add the butter in the bowl with the marshmallows. Heat the marshmallows and butter in the microwave for about 3 minutes or just enough so that the marshmallows and butter start to melt. Stir the marshmallows and butter together until smooth.
Add the marshmallow mixture to the bowl of cereal and gently stir all ingredients together until the cereal is coated.
Wet your hands with the water and take out a handful of gooey-sticky-treat. Shape into a ball & place on a cookie sheet which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Dip your hands and repeat until you have the desired amount of balls. Then go around and stick a Popsicle stick in each one & form the treat around the stick so it stays. Alternatively you could just coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and pat your Trix Crispy Treats into the dish and cut once cool! You can even add an extra special touch and once either version is cool take it to the next level by topping with some sprinkles!

I think they look like beautiful spring flowers. What do you think?? And another thing while I am asking questions what food do you eat that always make you feel like a kid or recall childhood?? 

A bit of Circus History

The show started when Phineas Taylor "P.T." Barnum purchased the "Scudder's American Museum" The anme was changed to "Barnum's American Museum" The museum would become a huge success with Barnum's showmanship and advertising. 

in 1875 the Circus operators of Castello and Coup from Wisconsin wanted to go into partnership with Barnum. The P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan and Hippodrome was created. 

James Anthony Bailey and James E. Cooper had been operating the "Cooper and Bailey Circus" starting in the 1860s. A baby elephant named "Columbia" was part of the circus and was highly advertised as being the first elephant born in the United States. 

Barnum wanted to buy the elephant and made a offer to Bailey and Cooper. Eventually the duo decided to combine circus and named it "Barnum & Bailey Circus" The new group was established in 1881. 

Barnum & Bailey Circus has seen their share of heart ache as well. A train wreck in the summer of 1889 which killed 2 animal caretakers and 33 horses, 2 camels, and 1 mule. In 1891 Barnum died and Bailey purchased P.T. Barnums share of the circus from his widow. Bailey would continue to travel and operate the circus til 1897. In 1897 Bailey would take the circus to Europe for a 5 year tour. 

The Ringling Brothers from WIsconsin had also started a small circus. The circus traveled by wagons and showed mid western states. When Bailey traveled to Europe the Ringling brothers would try to spread out as well and started moving circus by train. 

In 1902 Bailey returned to United States. For the next several years he would travel with his circus on the west coast of the United States. In 1906 James Anthony Bailey died. The Ringling brothers would purchase the circus in 1907. From 1907 to 1919 the Ringling brothers would run the two circus  separately. In 1919 the two shows were combined.

By the time Bailey returned from Europe in 1902 the Ringlings were well established on the east coast. Bailey moved his circus to the west where the circus did well, however on April 11, 1906 James Anthony Bailey died. The Ringling brothers purchased the circus the following year, (1907).

The Ringlings operated the two shows separately until 1919, when they combined the two shows into the "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus".

Black Forest Cake history and Easy To Make Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake is normally made up of 4 or more layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherries and whipped cream. The cake is frosted with whipped cream and covered with chocolate shavings and a few cherries for decoration. Black Forest Cherry Torte or as it is called in Germany Schwarzalder Kirshtorte is a sponge cake or Gateau style chocolate cake soaked with cherry schnapps and filled with whipped cream, cherries and chocolate shavings. It is frosted with the same.

Historians believe that the black forest cake was first created in the late 16th century. Germany Black Forest Region was most likely the setting of the first cake. The black forest or Schwarzwald is very dark and mysterious area. Chocolate and cherries were loves of the German people.

Another thought is that Josef Keller invented the Black FOrest Cherry cake. Keller was the pastry chef near Agner in Bad Godesberg. In the year 1915 Keller is thought to have created the "Schwarzwelder Kirsch" or "Black forest Cherry"

1 box dark chocolate or devil's food cake mix (your favorite brand)
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1/4 cup Kirshwasser (Cherry Brandy), divided
1 container whipped icing (cream cheese or vanilla)
1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling, divided
Maraschino cherries (for garnish)
1 to 2 ounces shaved semisweet chocolate*
How To Make Chocolate Shavings - For best results, the chocolate used should be cold, straight out of the refrigerator.  If it is room temperature, then the slices won't turn out paper thin; instead, they will be thick, broken chunks.  To make chocolate shavings, you first need a good quality of chocolate in block form.  Using a vegetable or potato peeler, hold the chocolate with a paper towel and pass the vegetable peeler over the narrowest side of the chocolate block.  The chocolate will curl up like wood shavings.
Make chocolate cake according to package directions, adding 1 teaspoon red food coloring and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Bake cake, as directed, in two 9-inch layer cake pans.  When done baking, remove from oven and cool the cake completely on a wire rack.  When the cake is cooled, wrap each layer in plastic wrap.  Place layers in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour. In a large bowl of the electric mixer, whip together the heavy cream and powdered sugar.  Refrigerate until ready to use. Using a sharp knife, slice each cooled cake round horizontally to make four layers. 
First Layer:  Place one layer on a flat plate and brush with 2 tablespoons cherry brandy.  Fill a plastic bag with whipped vanilla or cream cheese icing (your choice) and pipe a generous ring (at least one (1) cherry high!) around the edge of first cake layer.  Fill the exposed ring of the cake with some of the cherry pie filling.
Second Layer:  Place the second layer on top of the first layer.  Repeat first layer process with the second layer.
Third Layer:  Place third layer on top of the second layer.  Repeat process with the second layer.
Fourth Layer:  Place fourth layer on top of the third layer.  Frost the entire cake with freshly whipped cream.
Garnish the top of the cake with (cherries picked from the pie filling) or maraschino cherries.  Sprinkle the top chocolate shavings.  Gently press chocolate shavings onto sides of cake.
Refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving.  Slice while well chilled for best results.
Makes one (1) four-layer cake.