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Dishing After Dinner

We partnered with Kristin Schell of The Turquoise Table. She shared her favorite easy dessert recipe to serve during evening conversations with friends and neighbors.

Life at the Turquoise Table is a multitude of tiny moments, mini-miracles really, strung together like radiant beams of light over the places we call home.

Like the night my neighbor Monique reached out. I was at the kitchen sink doing dishes after dinner when she sent a text asking if we could talk. “Sure,” I replied. “Meet me at the table in 5?” Monique had just made a major career decision and her mind was playing the second-guessing game. She didn’t need advice—just someone to listen. Plus, we were both happy to briefly escape the post-dinner family chaos.

easy dessert recipe

A few minutes into our chat, our eighty-year-old neighbor Bob drove by in his red convertible. If every neighborhood were blessed with couples like Peg and Bob, the world would be a better place. Bob, whom we affectionately call “the Mayor,” asked how long Monique and I would be sitting at the table. Then, he drove off, resembling Santa Claus with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, hollering, “Wait right there!”

Ten minutes later Bob returned with warm sugar cookies—his favorite. He gave us the cookies in exchange for hugs and told us we were wonderful neighbors. As I hugged Bob, said good-night to Monique, and headed back inside, I noticed the dish towel was still flung across my shoulder.

Table Time

Small moments matter. There was nothing planned or orchestrated about this simple after dinner meeting at the Turquoise Table. But, in the four years since our neighbors have been gathering at the table, we all know it’s the place to meet when we need “table time.”

Savor the Sweet Moments

Spontaneous moments after dinner at the Turquoise Table are frequent. It’s become a favorite way to let the kids blow off steam before bedtime while we get a few minutes to catch up.

KidsMoms at TT (1)

Having cookies or something simple to offer just sweetens the deal. My mom and I often make dozens of the Turquoise Table Cookies at a time and freeze them. Then I always have a little something sweet on hand for spontaneous after dinner gatherings. If I plan in advance to have friends over, my go-to easy dessert recipe is Almond Sheet Cake. This old-fashioned recipe is a combination of the one my grandmother used to make for Bridge Club and my neighbor Jamie’s easy dessert recipe.

Mia Making TT MM Cookies TM Merch (1)

You can slice the Almond Sheet Cake and serve it on cute plates. But, it’s just as good straight out of the pan.

Whatever you bring to the Turquoise Table, dishing after dinner with friends is the best.

TM TT Giving Plate Blog Post


Almond Sheet Cake

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For the icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 12 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter and water. Stir until fully combined. Pour melted butter into the flour mixture and mix well with an electric mixer.

Add eggs, sour cream and almond extract. Continue mixing until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until cake is just golden brown and set in the middle.

Cool cake completely before icing.

In the saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add milk and almond extract. Stir until combined.

In a large mixing bowl, mix powdered sugar and melted butter until icing is light and fluffy.

Spread icing evenly over the cake. Cut into squares and serve. At larger gatherings I serve this cake straight from the pan, just like my grandmother did.

Almond Sheet Cake (1)

To get updates about the launch of The Turquoise Table’s full, outdoor product collection available at Tuesday Morning this fall, sign up to receive email newsletters HERE!

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Adapted from The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard by Kristin Schell © 2017 Thomas Nelson,

Dining and Kitchen, Outdoor
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Kristin Schell

Meet the Contributor

Blog: The Turquoise Table

My home Tuesday Morning location: Burnet Road, Austin, TX

My favorite Tuesday Morning department: That’s like picking a favorite child! Probably seasonal, housewares and food. Oh, and linens.

A little about me: I’m on a mission to love my neighbors. I put an ordinary picnic table in my front yard, painted it turquoise and invited neighbors, friends and even strangers to hang out and do life together at The Turquoise Table. I live in Austin with my husband and our 4 children. My favorite color is turquoise, but I bleed burnt orange for The University of Texas. I believe the answer to world peace might involve a bowl of queso and salty tortilla chips.

What I love to write about: I love bringing people to the table and encouraging others to gather with family and friends, too. My book The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard releases on June 6, 2017 with Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

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  1. Reply Phyllis Calk

    I envy your neighbors and your meeting table. We have lived here for a year and a half. We do not have friendly neighbors and one set of neighbors likes to pretend we are not living here. You are blessed to live in a neighborhood like yours.

    • Reply Cindy Neidig

      I love the Turquoise Table what I great idea.Join in if you see a table in a front yard.

    • Reply Vivian

      I am sorry Phyllis If you were my neighbor I would make sure to say hi. Our street is pretty quiet everyone working but take the time to say Hi when we see each other outside.

  2. Reply Mary ann gallagher

    I enjoyed the story and your recipe. I thought the giving plate was beautiful.


    I really like this recipe think I will make it tomorrow for our church’s monthly community meal. I will add a chocolate dessert for those who love their chocolate. Thank you for a great discussion. Love Tuesday Morning!! I always head to the yarn aisle!

    Peace and blessings,


  4. Reply Cindy Neidig

    I love to get receipes I now need diet receipes. Thanks for doing this. Cindy

  5. Reply Muriel plamondon

    I LOVE your idea of the Turquoise Table!! And I LOVE your cake recipe!!!!! Oh, YUM! and oh so simple to make. I baked it this evening and have already had three pieces!! Oh My!! Anyway, I volunteer at a detention center and plan to take my girls some of the cake tonight. Wow!! Thanks for the GREAT recipe!! I love your blog. And the cake looked beautiful on the turquoise cake plate!!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. I will probably make it often !
    And oh, yes, Tuesday Morning is a GREAT PLACE TO SHOP!! Lots of beautiful things and great prices. I shop there often.

  6. Reply Genas

    I made your Almond Cake, and may I say that it was wonderful!!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!! I made it as directed with no tweaks at all, and it came out perfect! If it was good enough for the bridge ladies, I knew it had to be really good!

  7. Reply Linda Kasperick