Happy Birthday to My Homemade Father!

My family and I recently gathered to celebrate my dad’s 51st birthday. It was a perfect summer day spent in the sunshine.

I only recently realized that a lot of my homemade approach to life comes from the example my dad set while I was growing up. He spent summers tending to a very large vegetable garden, and in the evening when he came home from work he’d encourage my siblings and me to join him. I very clearly remember him offering me a raw green bean right from the stalk – I took a bite and loved it! With my dad’s encouragement my sisters and I raised lambs, chickens, and geese all destined for our dinner table. With his guidance I started a compost pile far out in our yard. He was “green” before “green” was cool!

Every night after dinner my dad would review our school assignments and projects with us. It was a very serious part of our day, and he never accepted any excuse for uncompleted work. I hope to do the same thing with my kids once they are in school.

Of the five kids my parents have, the first four are very girly girls. I can only imagine how woefully outnumbered my dad must have felt until my brother finally came along! Even though the four of us were perfectly content baking cookies, applying Tinkerbell make-up and dressing our Barbies, my dad made an effort to include us in tougher activities. Whether is was fishing in Canada, playing tackle pom-pom, or baling hay for the horses, we certainly got our hands dirty growing up. He must be secretly relieved to now have three grandsons to pal around with!

At his request, my sister Meghan made Robert Redford Chocolate Torte instead of the usual birthday cake. This recipe has been a family favorite for years. While I have absolutely no idea where the recipe originated, rumor has it that it got its name because it “tastes as good as Robert Redford looks.”

Robert Redford Chocolate Torte

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup chopped peanuts

Mix flour and butter. Add sugar and nuts. Press into glass 9×13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes

Cream Layer:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip

Mix all three ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled crust and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Layer:
2 boxes instant pudding
3 cups milk

Mix pudding and milk. Spread on top of cream cheese layer. Chill for one hour. My sister spread some extra Cool Whip on the torte pictured above.

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3 Comments for this entry

  1. Umeda says:

    Mmm sounds good!

  2. Umeda says:

    I actually made this cake for my hubby's birthday today. It is very easy to make and it is light. I wish it was sweeter though. 🙂 Thank you for the recipe. It's something new, it was worth trying.

  3. HomemadeMother says:

    So glad you tried the recipe! To make it sweeter, feel free to jazz it up next time. Maybe layer in some sliced bananas and/or strawberries. Or add more sugar to the crust layer. It seems to be a very flexible recipe that will accommodate many add-ins and substitutions.

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