Thursday, June 9, 2011

Strawberry Pie

I went to my garden the other morning before it got too hot and picked strawberries. Strawberries fresh from the garden are YUMMY!

Then I made this:

See the white layer? It's a little cream cheese concoction that is AmAzInG! It's a nice little surprise when you take that first bite! Enjoy.
1 pkg strawberry jello (I use sugar free)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 c. sugar
Mix these three ingredients together and gradually add to:
2 c. boiling water.
Stir until dissolved - do not let it boil. Cool. When partially set, add sliced berries.
--Cream Cheese Layer-- (optional)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 container Cool Whip
Cream together the cream cheese and the powdered sugar. When completely mixed together, fold in the whipped topping. Spread over an already baked and cooled pie shell. Pour the strawberry mixture over this and refrigerate until set. Enjoy with a scoop of icecream or a dollop of whipped topping on the top.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fireflies/lightning bugs

Last night while sitting on the deck enjoying a much needed phone conversation with an old friend - I caught a glimpse of 'something' out of the corner of my eye. Was it? .... why yes - I think it was! The first firefly of the season.
For just a moment the conversation on my side stopped as I watched him (yes him - those with flashing tales are male - trying to attract the attention of a female hiding out in the grass!) flitter along the grass line - then up into the lower branches of the tree, then back down again to the grass line - blinking and flitting and trying to make an impression. I wonder if he did? Did anyone else notice he was there? They are magical to watch - and soon I saw a couple more....dashing and darting and blinking.

And I remembered other nights. Nights when our daughters were younger and still living at home. Nights of playing badminton in the back yard. How fun when one of the fireflies made direct contact with the badminton racket. Greenish-yellow glowing goo was on the strings. Then it was on fingers for pretend 'sparkling diamonds'. Then on faces for 'war paint'. Jars of sparkling, dancing light - caught and released. Squeals and laughter and contentment. Memories are good. That's a good thing about this time of life. In looking back, it's easy to filter out those things that don't really matter and focus on the good.

Enjoy the firefly moments in your life - no matter how and where you find them!
Carpe' Diem my friend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fudge Jubilees, Italian Casserole and other good things!

I promised I would share some of our families favorite foods...something that always seems to end up on the table when we gather. First - which there are no pictures of - is some nummy steaks cooked on the grill. Medium rare to medium with some garlic powder and Canadian Steak seasoning. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
And then there are Fudge Jubilees! This is a pan full of happy! Here's the recipe:
1 c. butter - softened
2 eggs
2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
3 c. quick cooking oats
Combine the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It will be a stiff dough and will look like this:

Divide the dough into thirds. I do it right in the mixing bowl - like this:

Using a jelly roll pan that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray - use 2/3 of the dough and press it into the pan using your fingers. Leave a slight ridge around the edge.

Next comes the FUDGE part: In a small sauce pan, combine the following and heat over low - just until everything is melted together.
1 c. chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Pour it over the oatmeal mixture - like this:

Using the remaining 1/3 dough - remove a spoonful at a time, flatten it out with your fingers and lay it over the fudge.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or just until slightly browned. Don't overcook as the fudge part will become more like a brownie and less like 'hot fudge'!

Italian Casserole has become another family favorite. It is easy and it's filling!
1/2 lb hamburger/ground chuck
1/2 lb sausage
1/2-1 onion - chopped
1 can/bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 box Penne pasta - cooked
Parmesan cheese
1 large container of skim Ricotta cheese
2 c. grated mozarella cheese
In a large skillet brown the burger and the sausage, adding the chopped onion part way through cooking. Cook till the onion is tender - drain. Add the spaghetti sauce and the drained pasta and mix well. Using a large casserole dish - spray with non-stick cooking spray and pour in half of the meat mixture. Spoon half of the ricotta cheese over the mixture, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and end with a layer of mozarella cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot all the way through.

Add a little Caesar Salad -

...and some french bread and you have one of our favorite meals.

For a Memorial Day party I whipped up a batch of Rice Krispie Treats. But these are special Rice Krispie Treats. Add a full bag of Peanute Butter M&M's to it when you are stirring them together. When you put them in the pan - don't squish them down hard in the pan - just drop it in - spread it out and let it be. They will be light and fluffy and oh so good!

Let me know what you think and share one of your family favorites!