Jolene Philo's Wild Plum Pudding

Jolene Philo is the daughter of a disabled father and the mother of a child with special needs. After a 25 years as an elementary teacher, she left education in 2003 to pursue writing and speaking. Since then her articles have appeared in regional and national publications including Focus on the Family, Home Cooking, and ParentLife. Her books, A Different Dream for My Child and Different Dream Parenting were released by Discovery House Publishers in 2009 and 2011. 

She speaks throughout the United States about parenting children and adults with special needs and post-traumatic stress in children. Her BLOG provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel road  at With their two children married and on their own, Jolene and her husband are kicking up their empty nester heels in Boone, Iowa.

Jolene's Latest Book: Different Dream Parenting

Parenting can be difficult and tiring, especially when you have a special needs child with medical, behavioral, or educational issues. In Different Dream Parenting, author Jolene Philo offers guidance and encouragement through biblical insights and her own personal experiences. Find spiritual wisdom, practical resources, and tools that can help you become an extraordinary advocate for your child. Discover how you can move beyond the challenges and experience the joy of being your child's biggest and best supporter.

Jolene's Wild Plum Pudding Recipe

This heirloom recipe came from my grandmother’s grandmother who lived in the late 1800's. In those days, wild plums were plentiful on the prairie. Wild plum trees still grace the fence rows and ditches of the Midwest. They flower in early spring and are ready to pick in late July and August. But, cooks without access to wild plums can substitute tart pie cherries for almost the same taste.

1 cup sugar                                                               
1 cup butter                                                             
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned wild plums (or canned tart pie cherries)  - pit, drain and keep juice

Pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar, butter and eggs. Combine dry ingredients (flour, soda, and spices) and alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk to creamed mixture. Carefully fold in plums. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 35 – 45 minutes.

Plum Sauce:  Drain plum juice into a two cup measuring cup. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and enough water to equal two cups. (My sister adds ¼ cup rum in place of some of the water.) Pour into a sauce pan. Blend together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch. Add to liquid in pan and cook over medium heat until it thickens. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. To serve: Cut into squares and serve with warm plum sauce.

Lena Nelson Dooley's Sour Cream Fudge


Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print. Her book, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, was given the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western literature. Lena is currently under two 3-book contracts with Charisma House/Realms. The first book, Maggie’s Journey released in October 2011 and received the 2012 Selah Award for historical novels, and the second book, Mary’s Blessing, released in May 2012.

In addition to her writing, Lena mentors other authors and received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award. She is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blogtalk radio show. Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin, Pinterest and with her Internationally Connected Blog, where she interviews other authors and promotes their books. 

Lena's Latest Release: Mary's Blessing 

When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Murray knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Lena's Recipe for Sour Cream Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla)
1/4 cup quartered candied cherries (green and red)
1 cup chopped pecans

In medium saucepan, combine sugar, sour cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until reaching 236 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes without stirring. Add vanilla. Beat until the mixture begins to lose its gloss. Stir in candied cherries and pecans. Pour into 8 inch X 8 inch pan. Cut when cool.