Barbara McClellan

“A good friend is a blessing from God.” This saying (on a small cross) lives in our kitchen window. It was given to me by a good friend about a year ago.

I am so fortunate to have had many good friends through the years. I know that a lifetime friend is a rare treasure — especially in our mobile society — but I have learned that brand-new friends, people you meet and immediately know that you are fortunate to have crossed paths with them can be good friends, also.

You can feel immediately that they will become even closer as the relationship grows. They will become one of those persons who “know all about you and likes you anyway.” Today I am going to share a recipe with you from a friend whom I had known since we were 8 years old. Not just I, but the world lost a remarkable person when Sara Maples Cannon died suddenly almost four years ago. Sara was extremely talented in many areas and was a devoted rescuer of almost any and all animals. She did not like to cook but would follow me around in the kitchen cleaning up after I had used (she said,) every pan, dish and utensil in the kitchen.

I do have one recipe from her. When writing my first cookbook and wanted to include recipes from friends, she laughed when I asked for a recipe from her. However, I remembered that she made the following recipe once when I was visiting her. It is still one of my favorites and can be made with other fruits.

Sara’s Quick Cherry Cobbler


1 can pie cherries (NOT cherry pie filling)

3/4 cup sugar

Few drops red food coloring, if desired

1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

1 stick butter

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 half cup evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Drain cherries and heat juice to boiling. Add 3/4 cup sugar, cherries, red food coloring, and almond flavoring. Melt butter in a 9-by-9-inch square dish. Mix flour with 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, milk and vanilla. Spread batter over butter, pour boiling fruit over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Makes about 5-6 servings.

We have met some wonderful new friends recently at a place you may already know about. It is Hawkins Creek Assisted Living and Memory Care Center. I cannot speak highly enough about the staff there. Scott Combs, the director, Chris Hall, Lysa Dykes, Sherry Brown and the entire staff have made my husband’s transition there so pleasant, and all have been very accommodating. Joe, who has a wonderful singing voice, has become the resident celebrity after doing some special songs for everyone. Sherry, one of my new friends, plans social hours almost every day, and when I am there visiting with Joe (and my other new friends), I get to enjoy the treats also.

Sherry gave me the recipe for a fruit salad she served once. It could be served as a dessert, also.

Sherry’s Pina Colada Fluff


2 cans (20 ounces) crushed pineapple (with juice)

1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix

2 containers (12 ounces each) Cool Whip

2 cups chopped pecans

2 small bags miniature marshmallows

1 large bag coconut flakes

1 tablespoon rum extract

1 tablespoon banana extract


In large bowl, mix pudding mix and crushed pineapple. Add slightly thawed Cool Whip and mix well.

Add remaining ingredients and chill. This recipe can be halved. This version will make about 24 servings.

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— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her at or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.