Cooking with Purpose

March 19, 2019

Written by Juanita Fox

Every Tuesday afternoon about 1pm Linda Ebert hosts a cooking club in Laurel View, the memory support household at Garden Spot Village.

Linda, who moved to Sycamore Springs in October 2017, brings a different, simple recipe each Tuesday for the club to make. One week the group bakes cookies. The next week they make trail mix. Every week they talk, laugh, share memories and tell their stories. They enjoy great snacks, too. Meaningful, regular interaction offers purpose and builds community.

Mark Hickson, the activities coordinator in Laurel View says, “Linda’s compassion for the people we serve in Laurel View is an inspiration for us all. She treats everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what their situation. Her words and actions go a long way toward helping people keep their dignity.

“When Linda first visited Laurel View, she was hoping to find someone she could visit one-on-one. We saw so much more potential in her, so we suggested she try to start a cooking class. She quickly came up with a plan and rest is history.”

A retired dietician, Linda connects with people through food. Linda scours Pinterest and magazines for simple three to four ingredient recipes and works with the Laurel View homemaker to gather the ingredients.

The club is much more than just cooking. “We talk about the past, our hometowns, our family members,” Linda says. “We often play a game while we wait for our food to cook or bake and then we eat!”

In addition to the weekly cooking club in Laurel View, Linda co-hosts bi-monthly seminars about healthy eating with Tara Philips, Garden Spot Village’s clinical dietician. The healthy eating seminars are open to all residents of Garden Spot Village and are held in Garden Towers.

A favorite cooking club recipe appears below.

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

Yield: Approximately 20 servings


  • 2 13 oz packages of miniature peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
  • 1 package peanut butter chips
  • 1 box fudge brownie mix
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 cups of ready to eat vanilla pudding or 2 5.1 packs of instant vanilla pudding mix (mix instant pudding with 4 cups cold milk until thickened)
  • 3 8 oz cartons frozen whipped topping
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare brownies as directed on package and stir in the pack of peanut butter chips. Bake as directed in 9×13 inch pan. Mix ready to eat vanilla pudding or prepared instant vanilla pudding with 4 tsp vanilla. Fold in the whipped topping to the vanilla pudding. In a trifle dish or large glass bowl, place 1/3 of the baked brownies, crumbled. Spread 1/3 of pudding over crumbled brownies and then add 1/3 of the roughly chopped peanut butter cups. Repeat layers 2 more times ending with halved peanut butter cups. You can add more whipped topping to finish trifle if desired. Refrigerate until cold and set.

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