Peanut Butter Mint bars

red clover

I once asked my little daughter what her favorite flavor of ice cream was and without even pausing, she grinned and excitedly responded  “pink”!

Well, I guess there we have it, pink is now an official flavor! :)  I’ve never thought of it as a flavor before , but it is one of my favorite colors, especially on flowers like this red clover…

red clover

red clover

red clover

Here is a recipe for two flavors not often put together, peanut butter and mint! These bars have a delightful combination of the two flavors – the salty nuttiness of the peanuts  and the smooth refreshing taste of the mint.

Isn’t this summer going by way toooo fast?…

Peanut Butter Mint Bars

Into a large mixing bowl combine:

      2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

      1- 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

      1-1/2 cups flour

      1 teas baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

      1/2 teas salt

Then add:

      1/2 c butter, soften

       1/2 c butter flavored vegetable shortening

Mix until crumbly. Measure out 1 cup of this mixture and place into a small mixing bowl and toss with:

      1- 10 oz. pkg Andes creme de menthe baking chips

      1 c chopped dry roasted peanuts
Set aside. To the first crumbly mixture add:

       1 egg

Mix well. Press into a 15×10 inch greased baking pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. About two minutes before the 15 minutes are up, place into a small mixing bowl:

      1 can sweetened condensed milk

      1/2 cup real peanut butter

But do not mix together ( the reason for this being, once mixed together, it will start to get very thick and will become difficult to pour).  Take the bars out of the oven, quickly stir together the ingredients above and pour over the baked layer and carefully spread it out. Sprinkle the Andes mixture over the top and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool completely in the  pan before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.

 

Frozen grape salad…

sunflowersI’m originally from a small rural community in northeast Nebraska and this time of year always makes me homesick for my little hometown. It’s nearing county fair time and the fair always reminds of beanwalking. ( In case you have never heard of “beanwalking”,  it’s where a person walks through a field of soybeans and takes a hoe or corn knife and cuts out the weeds )

It’s a hard, buggy and very dirty job and it’s strange when I think of my experience with it when I was growing up. I would expect to feel a sense of relief that I never have to do it again. But you know, around this time of year,  I actually  get the yearning to go back to the beanfields!

Now , don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish for the experience with the all the bugs. I swear there was every shape, size and color of bug out there that just seemed to wait and then jump! out at me when I least expected it.  I don’t miss those bugs, but what I do miss is the feeling of being out in the fields…

Watching the sun come up…

early sunrise

sunrise

Even the weeds out there can look beautiful in the morning light…

wild flower

weed

Back when I was in high school, the whole beanwalking experience would start off this way…

The phone would ring and  our hearts would sink as we’d hear Mom say, “Beanwalking? Well sure!  The kids would love to help out. What? Sure…they’ll be there at 4:30 a.m. and ready to go!”

So before dawn, we’d get ready and ride out to the beanfields. When we would get out of the car, the air would be thick with that heavenly  moist smell of damp earth, weeds and alfafa. We would stand outside the car, look out across the beanfield we were going to conquer that day and then… the part I hated most began, climbing over the barbed wire fence to get into the field!

soybeans

 

For some reason, I could never get over the fence without ripping my pants on the barbed wire. It was such a common occurence I could feel the hesitation of the leader as he would pause to hold the wire down so that I could swing my leg over the fence. It was almost like he was thinking “okay…wait for it…”   Rip. Okay, now her leg is over the fence, the whole group can get into the field.

 All a person could hear out there were the birds singing… or maybe the faint sound of a tractor in the distance…or one of  my favorite sounds, even to this day – the rustling sound corn leaves make when there is a breeze..

cows

 

wildflowers

grass

 

When bean plants are small and about knee high, it’s easy to spot the weeds and the beans are easy to walk through but when they get tall…

soybeans

…they become very difficult to walk through. When they are as high as your waist, the beans will start to lay down and sort of grow together so you will literally have to begin pulling yourself through the rows of beans as you walk. You can’t see your feet or what you are stepping on or tripping over underneath the beans…

windmill

storm clouds

One year, it rained and rained. When the fields were relativey “dry” , we ventured out. Every step we took, we could feel the suction of the mud pulling on our legs and feet. By the time we reached the end of the rows, our shoes and pants were so caked with mud we couldn’t even see our shoes, they were literally just big round balls of mud!

 In fact, one time we all sat down on break and laughed when we noticed how incredibly dirty we were. ” I can’t even see my shoes!” someone commented and then someone replied ” Yah, I can’t see my shoes either, wait – ” and he wiggled his feet, ” I think my shoes are gone…” He scraped the thick cake of mud from his feet and said “Yep, they’re  gone!”  

Sometimes we would be invited to a farmplace for lunch and that would be such a treat after being out in the stiffling hot beanfield. I always enjoyed the drives up the long lanes to the farmhouses. It always seemed so peaceful…

lane

Once we reached the house, there may have been a cat or two to greet us by showing off his excellent claw sharpening skills…

cat

cat

…or a beautiful garden filled with flowers and vegetables…

pink flowers

red flowers

 But one thing was for certain, if we were going to be served a lunch, there was no doubt it was going to be an awesome meal!  My favorite thing was a frozen salad. Nothing could top that after being out in the hot sun all morning…

 So today, I thought I’d share a recipe for a frozen grape salad! This salad doesn’t have to be served frozen, but in the summer, it can be a real treat served that way!

Frozen Grape salad

Wash and dry:

      4 cups red (or green) seedless grapes

Place a clean dish towel on a cookie sheet and then pour the dry grapes  on the towel, spread them out  and freeze until firm. ( Freezing them on the towel prevents them from freezing to each other or onto the cookie sheet)

Into a  large mixing bowl place:

      1 c sour  cream

      1/4 c brown sugar

      2 teas maple flavoring

Whisk until smooth and the sugar has melted. Add the frozen grapes and gently stir until the grapes have been coated. Serve in about 10 minutes, this will give the grapes a little time to thaw so that it will be easier eating them…

You can also spoon the coated frozen grapes into little plastic cups and return them to the freezer. About 15 minutes before you are going to serve them, take them out of the freezer. Then add a sprig of fresh mint and/or sprinkle toasted chopped pecans over the top as a garnish…

Whether you spoon the frozen grapes into beautiful martini glasses or pre-make them in plastic cups, these grapes make a lovely salad, appetizer or even a cool refreshing dessert for a hot summer’s day…

Flag Cake

flag cake

flag cakeHere is the flag cake I promised you last week in my blog! Not only is it a pretty cake, it is a refreshing one as well, perfect for those hot July barbeques that will be taking place pretty soon…

Please don’t be intimidated by the length of the directions!  :) It’s not a difficult cake to make, maybe a little time consuming though with the gelatin involved, so please allow yourself adequate time to assemble it.

I wish you all a happy and safe 4th of July! And with all our celebrating, let’s be sure to remember why we are celebrating…

Patriotic Flag Cake

To make this cake you will need:

      2 – 18.25 oz. boxes of white cake mix and the ingredients to make the cakes…

      3 - 3 oz. boxes of strawberry gelatin

      2- 3 oz. boxes of blue berry gelatin

      3 – 8 oz. containers of non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

      1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese at room temperature

To get started, lay an 8 inch round cake pan on top of a piece of paper and trace around it.

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Then take a ruler and measure in from the circle’s outer edge,  2 inches and make a dot…

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Do this several times until you can begin to connect all the dots…

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Finish connecting all the dots until you have drawn a complete circle inside of the outer circle you traced. Cut out the inner circle with a scissors and set it aside. ( I apologize for any confusion from my photo below. For some reason, I cut out the outer circle too. Just cut out the inner mini-circle, that is the only circle you will need for this…)

pattern for July 4th flag cake

Make 8 squares of foil about 12×12 inches. Press 1 square of foil into the 8 inch round pan. Remove. You should now have a crisp round-shaped foil pan.

Repeat this process until you have made 7 foil pans…

aluminum foil pan for July 4th flag cake

Then take the last square of foil and press it into the round pan but do not remove it.

foil lined pan for July 4th flag cakeGenerously spray all of the foil pans with cooking spray.

Prepare one white cake mix according to the directions on the box. Then measure out 3/4 cup of batter and pour this amount into one of the foil pans. Spread it out evenly over the bottom of the pan, being careful not to disturb the round foil shape. Place the foil pan on a cookie sheet…

cake batter for July 4th flag cake

…and then place in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes or until done. Let cool completely and do not remove from the foil. Repeat this process until you run out of batter. You should be able to make 6 foil pans of batter with this one cake mix.

If you have 2 cookie sheets, alternate using them to bake the cakes. Doing it this way will prevent the bottom of the cakes from baking too quickly because they are on a hot surface. If you only have one cookie sheet, remove the baked cake from the hot cookie sheet and let it cool down before using it again.

Meanwhile, prepare another cake mix and once again measure out the 3/4 cup of batter and pour it into the 7 th pan. Bake in similiar manner as above. Place the remaining batter into the round pan that has been lined with the foil. Bake this layer for about 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

You will notice that the cake layers appear bumpy and uneven on top. When the cakes have completely cooled, take a sharp serrated knife and skim off the tallest bumps of cake so that the layers will be more uniform in thickness…bending the foil down around the cake edges will help you accomplish this, but fold the foil edges up around the cake again when you are finished skimming the cake.

July 4th flag cake

Prick the thick layer of cake and just 4 of the thin cakes with a fork…

July 4th flag cake

Into a medium-sized bowl, place:

      3 – 3 oz. boxes of strawberry gelatin

Add 3 cups boiling water and stir until gelatin has been dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water, stir and then let mixture sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to cool it down.

Into another bowl, place:

      2 boxes of blue berry gelatin

Add 2 cups boiling water and stir until gelatin has been dissolved. Add 1 cup of cold water. Stir and then let sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Pour about 1 cup of the strawberry gelatin mixture evenly over 1 of the fork-pricked  thin  layer cakes. Repeat this process with the other 3 thin cakes. The 4 cakes should now be saturated with the red gelatin mixture. Slide each of the cakes( still in the foil pan) onto a large dinner plate and place them into the refrigerator to set up. Cover the plain white cake layers and set them aside.

Slowly and evenly pour the entire blue gelatin mixture over the top of the thick cake layer and then place this into the refrigerator to completely set up. (I like to let the cakes sit overnight in the refrigerator to be sure they are good and firm before beginning to assemble the cake)

Assembling the cake:

Remove one of the strawberry gelatin cakes from the foil and place it on your serving plate. Open 1 of the 3 containers of whipped topping and spread a thin layer of topping over the cake…

July 4 th flag cake

Then invert one of the plain white cake layers onto the strawberry cake layer,  and then gently press down to remove any air pockets. Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over this layer.

Repeat this process with another gelatin layer. Then repeat with another layer of white cake…

Place the mini paper circle (you cut out) into the exact center of the blue gelatin cake layer and carefully cut around the paper with a knife, being sure that the knife is straight and that you have cut through the entire layer of cake to the bottom.

jello cake for July 4th flag cake

Remove the paper circle and then make two cuts into the outer round cake ring so that it appears to be “cut in half”…

jello cake

Place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and remove one of the strawberry gelatin cakes from the foil and place  it on the waxed paper. Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over it. Then position a plain white cake layer on top then spread another thin layer of whipped topping over that. Take another strawberry cake and put it on the top.

Then, take a scissors and trim 1/4 inch off the mini paper circle so that it is slightly smaller…

pattern for jello poke cake

Place this cut out in the center of the layered strawberry and plain cakes ( on the waxed paper)…

strawberry jello cake

…and cut around it, being careful that your knife is straight and that you have cut through the entire cake to the bottom.

Make cuts in the outer ring of cake and remove the chunks of cake so that the little round center layer cake is exposed…

strawberry gelatin flag cake

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping over  the strawberry cake ( on the serving plate) and taking a spatula, place the mini round cake in the exact center of the strawberry cake (on the serving plate)…

freedom cake

Spread a thin layer of whipped topping around the mini center cake…

holiday cake

Carefully pick up 1 of the halves of the blue cake and place it around the mini cake and gently push it into the mini center cake…

4th of July cake

Before you place the other half on the cake, bring the half up to the cake and look to see if it needs to be trimmed. If the half seems to appear too long to fit, lay it down again and trim the ends off the half-cake ring so that it will fit snugly against the mini cake (you may have to trim a couple of inches off to get it to fit)…that’s what I’m attempting to show in the photo below! :)

jello poke cake

After both halves have been placed on the cake, trim any excess off the layers so that the cake is level on top…

flag cake

In the photo above, you can see that the blue cake was significantly higher than the mini center strawberry cake. So I just took a knife and started to trim off the excess blue cake so that both the strawberry and blue cakes were level.

Okay, now it’s time to frost the cake!

Into a large mixing bowl place:

      1 – 8 oz. pkg of cream cheese at room temperature

      2 cups non dairy whipped topping

Beat until smooth and creamy, fold in the rest of the whipped topping ( so that you are using up all 3 containers of whipped topping).  Frost the cake and then place the cake into the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!!

Malted Coconut Cookies

blue bellsThe other day, it was just beautiful outside so I was having a “quiet” moment sitting out in my garden. My husband and our daughter were gone for the afternoon so our little son and I decided to spend our time together in the backyard.

He loves to water my flowers. So it being a rather hot day, I let him loose with the hose. Ummm… a 3 year old with a garden hose all to himself. You can probably imagine what went on!  A few of the flowers got watered and everything else, well…got rinsed off…pretty well.

blue bells

blue bellsDo the flowers remind you of little umbrellas? I think they do…

One summer while A. (our son)was playing with an umbrella, E. ( our daughter) was filling the blow up pool with water. One accidental squirt of water next to A. with the umbrella, and it started something…
While A. stood in the pool holding the umbrella, E. rained water down on him! And you can imagine all the squeals and laughter that went along with that fun!

Isn’t funny how kids can have so much fun doing the simplest things? Now, if my husband was standing in the pool holding an umbrella while I was shooting him with the hose, I wonder if he’d be squealing with laughter? Well, then again… maybe he would! :)

Malted Coconut Cookies

Into a  mixing bowl place:

      1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening

      1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

      2 eggs

      2 Tablespoons milk

      1 Tablespoon molasses

      1 teas vanilla extract

      1 teas coconut flavoring

Beat this until creamy. Sift together:

      2 – 3/4 cups of flour

      1/2  cup chocolate malted milk powder

      1 teas salt

      1- 1/2  teas baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

Add this to the creamed mixture and beat well. Then, into a food processor place:

      2 cups of malted milk balls

Process until the balls are about the size of peas. Pour this into the above mixture. Then put into the empty bowl of the food processor:

      2 cups flaked coconut

and process until the coconut has been reduced in size ( I do this so that my kids don’t recognize the coconut in the cookies – so you can skip this part if you wish…) Pour the coconut into the above mixture and then beat until combined. The dough will appear dry and crumbly. Form into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when small little cracks appear on the tops. Do not overbake. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. When they are cool, place them in an air tight container to keep them nice and chewy…

Love is…blue!

 

Iris

 

 

 

Blue irises…these were so pretty, I got up one morning at the crack of dawn to get some photos for you…

Iris, spring flowers, blue flowerLooking at these beautiful flowers in the morning could help anyone’s day start off right…

iris, spring flowers,

iris

iris I was trying to think of the perfect recipe to give you that would stick to my “theme” of the color blue and early morning…

So how about a recipe for Blueberry Orange Coffecake? It makes a deliciously moist coffeecake but you know, I have also taken the batter and poured it into cupcake pans to make muffins in the morning! ( I double the topping recipe when I do this)

In any form and at any time, breakfast or maybe just for a snack, this recipe will make a yummy addition to your day! :)

Blueberry Orange Coffeecake

Sift into a large mixing bowl:

      2 cups flour

      1 cup sugar

      1 T baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

      1/2 teas salt

      1/2 teas cinnamon

Set aside. Then into a small mixing bowl place:

      2 eggs

Beat slightly then add:

       1 T orange flavored extract

      1/3 c freshly squeezed orange juice

       1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

      1 cup commercial sour cream

      1 teas grated orange peel

Mix well. Add to the above dry mixture and mix just until combined. Then stir in:

      1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed, drained blueberries

Pour batter into a sprayed 10 inch springform pan. Then sprinkle with the following topping:

Topping:

Into a small bowl place:

      1/4 cup flour

      1/4 cup sugar

      1/2 teas cinnamon

       3 T softened butter

Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over batter. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, cut around the edges then release it.  Let cool. 

 

Cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

cinnamon ice cream sandwichesThe other day I was in the kitchen when I heard a rapid thumping noise followed by a loud “thud”, then lots of laughter from my little kids.  Then I heard it again and as every parent knows, a loud thud and then lots of laughter coming from little kids warrants a peek at what is going on…

When I found them, the kids were just standing in the hallway, laughing. Nothing appeared broken or knocked over and the only thing in their hands was a large piece of bubble wrap. “What’s up?” I asked. “Mommy, you’ve GOT to see this!” my little daughter shrieked and took off up the stairs. She threw down the piece of bubble wrap, sat down on top and before I could even say anything to stop her, there she went! Down the stairs, riding the large sleigh of bubble wrap! Now, it was my turn to shriek! My little boy was squealing with excitement watching her go down the stairs – as I held my breath that she’d make it to the bottom in one piece! She did, thankfully!

After I explained to them that sledding down the stairs on a piece of bubble wrap probably wasn’t the safest thing to do, I have to admit the kid in me eyed that bubble wrap just for a second or two…

Just between you and me, it did look like fun! In fact, just for a second after they went on to play with something else, I wanted to give it a try myself! But then  imagined what I would have to tell my kids, or my husband, or even the paramedics when I regained consciousness. What would I tell them after they found me at the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg and that bubble wrap clenched in my hands?

But here’s something fun for ALL of us – kid and adult!  Ice cream sandwiches!  I love these because they are so simple to make and they “hit the spot” on a hot summer day!

Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil…

making cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

Place cinnamon flavored graham crackers in the bottom of the pan…

Slice a half gallon of vanilla ice cream ( or a different flavor if you wish)  open so that the brick of ice cream has been exposed…

cinnamon ice cream sandwiches

Then taking a large sharp knife, slice the ice cream into about 1 inch thick slices…

ice cream

and then place them on the layer of graham crackers…

making ice cream sandwiches

Now, decide how big you would like your sandwiches to be and break the remaining graham crackers into the desired shape and size ( I wanted them to be in squares, so I just broke them in half).

Then place them on the ice cream layer and leave a small gap between each square. (By doing this, it will be easier to cut them into servings later…)

making ice cream sandwiches

Freeze until firm and when it is time to indulge, lift the foil out of the pan and cut into the desired amount of servings!

I hope you all have safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!  And along with getting together with our families and friends this weekend, let’s  all remember  those who have sacrificed so much so that we could have freedom and  live in our beautiful United States of America.

Violets

violets

The kids and I were back in the woods yesterday and noticed that we have violets growing  out by the apple tree. I love violets, they remind me of my childhood.

 Where I grew up, there is a wooded area across from our house. One spring when I was a child, I was walking through a very thick and overgrown area of those woods and remember coming to a very large log. Crawling over it was quite the ordeal but once I had, I hopped down from the trunk of that fallen tree and noticed some violets growing on the ground around my feet. I carefully stepped over them so as not to crush them and then looked up…and froze.

For almost as far as I could see, there was a purple carpet of violets blanketing the floor of the woods. I was so in awe of the beauty spread out before me, I think I just stood there and stared at it for a couple of minutes.  To this day whenever I see a violet, I think about that spring day in the woods…

Today, I thought I’d share a recipe that I associate with my childhood. I clipped it out of a magazine many, many years ago. The news clipping is worn and tattered from age, but still I hold on to it and won’t part with it. Do you hold on to treasured recipe clippings too? Does the sight of a recipe clipping have just as many fond memories as eating the delicious result of that recipe?

This is a recipe for Butterscotch bars. It’s a goodie! I don’t think I have ever made these without at least one person asking for the recipe!

Happy Spring!

Butterscotch Bars

Into a heavy saucepan put:

      1 - 12 oz. package of butterscotch chips

      3/4 cup butter

Melt over low heat and stir together. When the chips have melted, take the pan off the heat and add:

      2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

Mix well and then press about half of the mixture into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Into a mixing bowl place:

      8 oz. softened cream cheese

      1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

and beat until creamy. Then add:

      1 egg

      1 teas vanilla

Mix until light and fluffy. Pour over the crumb mixture and sprinkle with the remainder of the crumbs. Place into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 25 -30 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to completely cool down.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

The “perfect” Brownie…

 

Comfort food…I think that’s what we Minnesotans need because we may be dealing with more snow tomorrow! Good grief… :)

Evergreens after snowfall

 At least it melts quickly this time of year!…Melting spring snow on tulip leaves

What makes the perfect comfort food? Brownies, of course!

 Here is a recipe for what I think is the perfect brownie! Moist, not too sweet, thick and a bit chewy, and of course filled with a decadent deep chocolate flavor!

 

chocolate browniesI served these for Easter with a dolip of Malted Chocolate Whipped Cream. I’ll be giving you the recipe for that  sometime in the future… :)

 Nigella Brownies

 Place into a heavy saucepan:

      8 oz ( 8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate

      4 oz. ( 4 squares) bittersweet chocolate

      3 sticks salted butter ( 1-1/2 cups)

Slowly melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. When the chocolate is lukewarm, whisk in one at a time:

      6 eggs (* see note at bottom)

Whisking well after each egg addition.  Then add:

      1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

      1 teas salt

      1- 3/4 cup sugar

Whisk well. Then add:

      1 1/2 cup flour

Slowly whisk just until flour has been incorporated. Then add:

       1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Gently stir in the chips in, then pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 An inserted toothpick into the center will not come out totally clean.  (These can be tricky to know when they are done. At around 25 minutes,  when the center appears puffed, I stick a toothpick into the outer edge and use this as a guide to know when the center is done. When the toothpick inserted into the center appears like the outer edge toothpick, I know the brownies are done. The toothpick will have some chocolate smears on it, but it will not be gooey…)

* When adding the eggs, crack the eggs into a cup first before adding it to the batter. This will prevent a disaster if you happen to crack a bad egg or get an eggshell into your chocolate.

Aahhhh, spring…

spring flowers

Aaahhhh, spring…

Isn’t it wonderful to be able to be outdoors and not have to wear all that heavy winter clothing? I love that feeling in the springtime when I can finally shed my heavy winter coat and just wear a light jacket outside. To me it feels like a new start, a feeling of lightness and new birth.

spring flowers

The kids and I went down to visit Grandma and Grandpa last week in Nebraska during my daughter’s spring break. Although it’s still a little brown and barren up here in Minnesota, Spring has definitely arrived down in Nebraska.  I was able to go out and snap a few pictures while I was there.

spring flowers

It never ceases to amaze me how much beauty can be stored up in something so small. Take the blue and white flowers pictured above. They are actually only about an inch across and are so small, they are easily stepped on without even being noticed while walking in the yard.

spring flowers

I thought I’d share a recipe with you that contains a special memory for me every year around this time. Years ago, there was an Easter where  my mom and I were both having company, and even though I talk to my mom pretty regularly on the phone, that year we’d call each almost everyday and ponder what we were going to make for our guests for Easter.

We both were trying to decide what we wanted to serve for dessert.  I was making several desserts for that Sunday, as we were going to be a large crowd that day with close to 60 people. I was serving a variety of sweets and wanted at least one of them to be very light and not very filling. I was having trouble deciding upon something and was coming up empty handed. Then Mom called and told me she had found a recipe for a whipped cheesecake. It sounded so good, we both decided to go with it!

We kept the phone calls going between each other that day while making that dessert! It’s not a hard recipe but for some reason we just kept in touch throughout that day as we each made the dessert…

“Have you made the crust yet, Mom?”  

 “How long did it take for your gelatin to thicken? I almost let mine get too thick…” 

“What serving dish did you decide upon?”  

“Are you garnishing yours with fresh fruit?”

Even though we weren’t together that Easter Sunday, that particular Easter still has special memories for me because of this delicious dessert and all the phone calls between Mom and I talking about it…

Happy Easter to all of you! :)

spring daffodil flowers

 Summer Breeze Cheesecake

 In this recipe, you will be whipping evaporated milk into a thick froth. The milk, beaters and bowl must be very cold in order to do this. After the milk has been whipped, it will want to fall so please fold it immediately into the gelatin mixture for the best results.

 

The day before or several hours before you begin to make this dessert, place:

      1 – 12 oz. can evaporated milk

into the refrigerator, along with a mixing bowl ( if your mixing bowl will allow it, placing it into the freezer is best). Then set out on the counter to soften:

      8 oz. pkg cream cheese

Into a small mixing bowl place:

      1 – 3 oz. box lemon flavored gelatin

and add:

      1 cup boiling water

Stir this until the gelatin has dissolved then place into the refrigerator to thicken. Meanwhile, put into a mixing bowl:

      1/4 cup melted butter

      1/4 cup sugar

      1/3 lb. ( or 1 pack) finely crushed graham crackers

Mix well and pat into a 9×13 inch pan or serving dish. Then place into another mixing bowl:

       the softened cream cheese

      4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

      1 teas vanilla

      1 cup sugar

Beat this until light and creamy. Put a few ice cubes into a medium-sized mixing bowl along with some cold water. Set this aside. Then, check your gelatin…when it has reached a consistency of thick syrup, whip it well and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture. Clean off your beaters and then stick them into the ice water to quickly cool them down ( this will only take about 20 seconds or so). Dry them off.

Then take the milk and bowl out of the refrigerator. Pour the milk into the cold bowl and beat this until it is thick and frothy. Fold this into the gelatin/cream cheese mixture. Pour this mixture over the graham cracker crust and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or until it is set. Garnish with fresh fruit and a dolip of whipped cream, if desired.

This dessert is very light and airy and will make a beautiful addition to any brunch or special occasion!

 

Little Doll cake

doll cake

Our little girl had a birthday recently and she asked me to make her a Barbie cake (the kind with the doll stuck in a dome-shaped cake that becomes the doll’s skirt). I thought “Okay, I’ll just go to the store and get one of those “half dolls” to put in the cake…” So, I went to the store to buy one. Ummm, I haven’t seriously looked at one of those dolls before and all of the dolls’ expressions struck me as…well, sort of…creepy. Do you think so too?  Maybe it’s just me…Well anyway, I decided to try and come up with something else and still keep the “Barbie cake” theme…

But what were my options?  The half-dolls were out of the question, so I went to Walmart and searched the toy aisle for a regular Barbie doll. The only dolls they had were $19.99  Okay, I refused to spend almost $20 on a doll that is going to be covered with frosting. Then I saw this cute little doll in a package that my little girl would not only want to play with, it would look adorable as a princess and it was only $4.00.  So I bought it and went to work transforming the doll into something I could use on the Barbie cake.

I thought I’d share with you what I did in case some day your little special someone comes and tells you that  she would love a birthday cake that has a Barbie inside and “lots and lots of flowers”( and you too, are “creeped out” by the expressions on those half-dolls’ faces!!)

Okay, so the first thing I did was style the doll’s hair by twisting it into a knot and hot gluing it to her head…

doll hairstyle

Then I attached a bow…

doll cake

I made the cake layers and then used a portion of the cake batter to make one giant cupcake. I frosted the cake, then set the cupcake upside down onto the top of the cake. I then hollowed it out and slid the doll’s body inside. I frosted the cupcake skirt then added the ruffles down the front and then piped on the pink dots with a cake decorator’s star tip…

ruffled doll skirt

Then I piped on her bodice and carefully positioned her arm to hold a tiny  basket ( found at a craft store) and filled it with tiny frosting flowers. In the package, she was initially cradling a teddy bear, so it was the perfect set-up for the basket. ( I kept the teddy bear and gave it to my daughter after her party was over…)

doll basket

For the candles on the cake, I bought miniature clay pots (also found at the craft store) and filled them with fondant to secure the candles and then piped on little purple flowers and leaves…

candles

The cake was a success! She loved the cake, it was fun to make and the doll was not only a decoration but a toy to play with after the party was over!