This week's column is dedicated to our pets, who can't live without us and best of all, don't want to!

Lemon-filled Coconut Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/4 cups flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups 2 percent milk

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Transfer to 3 greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans onto wire rack. Cool completely.


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

4 eggs yolks, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/3 cup lemon juice

In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; gently stir in lemon juice and butter. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Place one cake on serving plate, spread with half of the filling. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake.


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 cups flaked coconut

In large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. With a mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160 degrees; about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with coconut. Store in refrigerator.


Orange "Cake" Muffins

2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup melted shortening or salad oil

Sift dry ingredients together into bowl. Measure remaining ingredients into a "hollow" in the dry ingredients. Stir until all flour is moistened.

Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Sprinkle Orange Sugar (4 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons grated orange rind) over tops. Bake in 400 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 12 large or 16 medium.


Pink Cloud Pie

Dissolve 1 package strawberry flavored gelatin in 1 1/2 cups hot water. Chill. When partially set, beat with rotary beater till foamy. Fold in 1 box frozen, drained strawberries or 2 cups fresh ones. Fold in 1 cup whipped cream. Pour into a 9-inch baked pie crust. Chill for several hours. Garnish with more berries.


Tex-Mex Beef Barbecues

1 fresh beef brisket (3 1/2 pounds) — not corned beef

1 jar (18 ounces) hickory smoke-flavored barbecue sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 envelope chili seasoning

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon lemon juice

14 hamburger buns, split

Cut brisket in half; place in a 5-quart slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, onion, chili seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and lemon juice. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or until meat is tender. Remove beef; cool slightly. Shred and return to slow cooker; heat through. Serve on buns.


Our thought for the week: "If A is success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z; Work is X; Y is play; and Z is keeping your mouth shut." — Albert Einstein

Happy Father's Day!