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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake With Whipped Cream

 1 quart strawberries, sliced 
2 tbsp sugar ¼ cup sugar 
2 1/3 cup Bisquick mix 
½ cup milk 
3 tbsp butter, melted 
Whipped cream (recipe below) 

In a medium bowl mix the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
Heat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Stir the Bisquick mix, ¼ cup sugar, milk and butter until a soft dough forms.
Drop by the spoonful onto parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form.
Do not over whip the cream or you will begin to have butter.

Angel Food Cake

1 ¼ cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
10 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Tart

 3-2-1 Flaky Pie Dough
½ pound cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 ½ cups AP flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place it in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
Sift together the flour and sugar into the bowl of a standing mixer (paddle attachment).
Add the butter and salt. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Stop mixing and by hand pinch flat any large pieces of butter that remain.
Combine the ice water and vinegar in a small bowl. Turn the mixer on low and add the liquid all at once. Mix just until the dough comes together, about 15 seconds.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
 After properly chilled roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.
Fit dough into tart shells. Bake at 350 degrees or until lightly brown. (Bake using pie beads or poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork.)
Cool tart shell completely before filling.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.
Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture.
Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170F on a digital thermometer and is very thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and chill before filling tart shells.

To Assemble

Use berries of your choice. For this tart we used raspberries.
Spoon or pipe the pastry filling into the tart shell.
Gently place rinsed and drained raspberries onto the pastry cream.
Rinse raspberries. Make sure they are as dry as possible before arranging on the tart.

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan are native to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Many times you will see them growing in fields. They desire full sun and soil likeness can go from dry to moist. The beautiful bloom will appear around June and go away in the early fall.

The Black Eyed Susan goes by other common names as well. Names such as brown eyed susan, brown betty, golden Jerusalem, English bull's eye, poor land daisy, yellow daisy and yellow ox eye daisy.

This flower grows natural in Illinois where I live and is also the state flower of Maryland. Native Americans used the black Susan for medicinal herb to remedy colds, flu, infections, swelling and snake bite. Parts of the flower can be eaten as well.

Be Aware of Childhood Depression

Low Cal Chocolate Custard

Chocolate Custard

Makes 8 Servings


2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 packets Sweet One® granulated sugar substitute
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together skim milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and Sweet One. Whisking constantly, cook 6-8 minutes, until mixture boils and thickens.
Remove saucepan from heat. Stir ¼ cup milk mixture into beaten eggs, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan and stir in extract. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat 2-3 minutes or until custard thickens. Do not let custard come to a boil.
Pour custard into individual dessert cups or a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

recipe resource here

Chef Salad and Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Chef's Salad Recipe Ingredients

Serves 4.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heads of butter lettuce, pale inner leaves only, washed and dried
1/3 pound honey baked ham, cut into julienne
1/3 pound smoked chicken or roast turkey, cut into julienne
8 ounces Monterey jack or Swiss cheese, cut into julienne
3 hardboiled eggs, cut into quarters
8 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
Chef's Salad Recipe Steps
1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, shallot, and salt and pepper until well blended. While continuously whisking the dressing, drizzle in the oil, and continue whisking for another 10 to 20 seconds until emulsified. Set aside.
2. In a large salad serving bowl, arrange the leaves of butter lettuce, leaving them whole if small and tearing the larger leaves into bite sized pieces. Arrange the ham, smoked chicken and cheese on top of the lettuce, keeping each ingredient separate from the others rather than jumbling them all together. The julienne strips should radiate outward from the center of the salad like the spokes of a wheel. Place the wedges of cherry tomato and hardboiled egg in between the three main ingredients.
3. The salad should be served with the dressing on the side, then dressed and tossed at the table.

Thousand Island Dressing Recipe
Yield: about 1 cup.
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons pickle relish
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill until needed.

Stuffed Baked Potato Casserole

Gluten free


  • 8 slices Bacon, cooked


  • 1/4 3 1/2 to 4 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1/2 bunch Green onions

Baking & Spices

  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Milk, whole or low-fat
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream

  •  Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold, salted water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well.
 Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Transfer the potatoes back to the saucepan. Using a masher, mash the potatoes until almost smooth. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Continue mashing until the mixture os smooth.

Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and half the bacon.

4. Spoon the mixture evenly into a lightly oiled 3-quart casserole dish. Use a spatula or fork to make an irregular surface.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese, bacon and green onions. Bake for 5 more minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

The Rhino is Endangered

The Rhinoceroses or rhinos as they are widely known are among the world's largest land animals.
 The name of this animal comes from Greek rhino + ceros which means "nose horned" There are three Asian and two African species existing today. There is proof of at least another dozen extinct species as well. The issue of the rhinos facing extinction is an ongoing problem

The rhinos are quickly facing extinction. It is estimated that more than 500 rhinos are poached in South Africa every year At this rate they will be extinct in a matter of time. The black and white rhinos of Africa are under severe threat and potentially on the verge of extinction in their wild habitat due to excessive poaching. Poaching has become so lucrative because of the rhino horn in China and Vietnam. The problem has increased so badly that there are more rhinos are killed each year than are born making extinction a real possibility Those living in Asian community desire powdered rhinoceros horn and use it as an aphrodisiac. The shape of the horn furthers the belief in its qualities.

The rhino can weigh up to four tons. They have short, thick supportive legs and skin that is thick and gray to brown in color. The skin hangs loosely on the body and appears hairless. The Asian species of rhino have skin folds near the neck and hips that resembles armors. Another difference between the African rhino and the Asian rhino is their teeth.

Did you know that rhinos can have more than one nose horn. The horns are made up of keratin, a fibrous substance that composes hair. The rhino uses its horn for digging food, as a form of defense and in mating combats as well. Rhinos have four toes on the hoof like feet and appear clumsy but run as fast as horses. They also have amazing eye sight, great smell and excellent hearing.

The white rhino is nearly extinct and only exist in nature preserves.

The Indian rhino is the largest Asian rhino and possess a large thick one foot long horn. They live in marshy jungles and eat reeds, grass, twigs and plant shoots. There are around 1,500 Indian rhinos all living in preserves that are protected.

The Javan rhinos are like the Indian species only smaller. While they once occupied the forests of Bengal Burma, Borneo, Java and Sumatra they now only live in Western Java.

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest rhinos and have have 2 horns. A small 4 feet tall and about 1 ton in weight The Sumatran rhinos are hairy around the tail and ears. They few rhinos that exist live in the Sumatra's forested hills. These rhinos have been reported to be dangerous but are normally peaceful when not threatened. They are legally protected

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Make Some Food Treats For The Birds on Bird Day

Up to 12% of all species of birds may be at risk of becoming extinct in the next century. Humans may have helped some species to grow and stay strong but there are many others more than 100 species of birds that have gone extinct through history. 

With spring here now is a great time to get out there as a family and do some bird watching. Those beautiful winged creatures may need a bit of help from you as well. The natural habitat of these beautiful winged creatures may need a bit of help. Building a fun bird feeder or bird house is great treat to our bird friends. 

Make Your Own Candied Orange Peel

1.  Cut your peel into thin strips
2. Submerge in a pot of cold water.
3. Bring to a boil
4. Strain and repeat steps two and three two more times times. You will have boiled the peel in fresh, cold water a total of three times. Taste a small piece. If it still tastes overly bitter, boil it one more time. A total of three times is usually enough but every once in a while you need to do an extra boil.
5.  Put  equal amounts fresh water and granulated sugar into your pot. The amount will depend on how much peel you are making. When I make the peel of 2 oranges, I use 1 1/2 c water to 1 1/2 c sugar. You really just want to make sure that the peel is fully submerged. Bring it back up to a boil,  lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain* and lay out your peel in a single layer on a cooling rack to dry. After about 2 hours you can gently toss the pieces in some more granulated sugar, if you wish.
  1. You are now done! At this point you can finely chop the peel for bread or cookies, or dip the slices into bittersweet chocolate as a hostess gift the next time you are invited to someones house for dinner. Or, as a gift to yourself.

* You can save the sugar syrup. Cool it , then store in the fridge and use as a simple syrup for various cocktails.

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Bars


This delicious Apple Cinnamon Raisin Bars recipe is perfect for snacking, or even for dessert. Try them today!

2 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole-wheat flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Golden Delicious apple, diced into 1/4" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmg and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, blend together sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla for 3 minutes or until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; mix for 2 minutes or until just incorporated. Stir in diced apples, raisins and (optional) nuts, and spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 350F degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into bars and serving.

Adapted from Family Circle.

Mothers Day Strawberry Tea Cake

For the white cake layers:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature

For the filling:

  • Strawberry jam
  • About 2 cups sliced strawberries 1/4-inch thick

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 package cream cheese 8 ounce, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 cups confectioners sugar sifted

For the white cake layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment. Grease parchment and lightly flour pans (shake out excess flour).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time and beating well after each addition.
  3. Alternately add the flour and milk to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour, and mixing until combined. Scrap down the sides and bottom of bowl throughout the process.
  4. Pour the batter equally into prepared cake pans. Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cakes for 10 minutes then remove cakes from the pans. Cool completely on a rack and then refrigerate layers for at least an hour.

For the frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, combine chopped strawberries and sugar. Refrigerate 2 hours. Place strawberries and juice in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and salt at medium speed until creamy. Add 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. More strawberry puree or milk can be added if needed for spreading consistency.

For the assembly:

  1. Use a serrated knife to cut down the top of one of the cake layers to level it (flat). Cut both layers in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of the leveled layer on a cake plate. Spread about 2 tablespoons of jam on top (thin layer). Spread some frosting over the jam. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of frosting. Place top layer half of the leveled layer on top. Repeat topping it with jam, frosting, and strawberries. Place bottom half of the other layer on top. Repeat with jam, frosting, and strawberries. Place remaining layer half on top. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake. Keep cake refrigerated.
recipe source here

Egg Burrito

Scrambled eggs with lots of veggies
Salsa sauce
How To:

Get your yummy scrambled eggs cooked with lots of veggies like tomatoes, spinach, broccoli in it.
In another pan, heat the tortilla (you can buy tortilla in most supermarkets).
Stuff the tortilla with scrambled eggs.
Heat the wraps; wait till the color of tortilla turns golden brown.
Serve hot with salsa sauce!

source here

Fresh Salsa

4 cups chopped peeled fresh Heirloom Tomatoes

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1 garlic clove, minced

In a bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Let stand for about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-1/2 cups.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves about 8

1 pound spinach, stems removed
1 pound strawberries, sliced thickly
1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the dressing ingredients and refrigerate. Sugar-coat the pecans by cooking and stirring them in a saucepan with two tablespoons of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Immediately transfer the pecans to a piece of waxed paper and separate them so that they don’t stick together. Toss all of the ingredients together just before serving.

recipe source here

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Beauty

This little guy will find himself in among the earliest wildflowers. Don't count him out yet, yes it has all ready most likely made its first appearance but with the weather like it is they most likely are still around.

The petals on this flower can vary in color ranging from white to pink. Nearly always they will have pinkish lines near the center of the flower. Pollinators use what is known as the bee guide which is a very faint line. The bees are guided by these lines to collect pollen and feed the larvae as well.

The pollen appears pink. The spring beauty be will have pink pollen on its legs as it travels from plant to plant. The flower will open mid morning and close by late after noon. On cloudy and rainy days the flower may not open at all. The bee will visit on sunny day and cross pollinate the plant.

This great small plant is native to southern illinois and is a perfect as a small plant for your home garden. It is deer resistant as they oftn dislike the taste. The plant will not last long as when spring is over the plant is as well.

Amish Hamburger Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
fresh potatoes, peeled and diced
sliced fresh carrots
1 can cream of mushroom soup
additional liquid as needed (water or milk, milk makes a richer casserole)
Soft cheese (cheddar or Colby in slices or shredded)

Brown hamburger in a large heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid.
Drain the meat well and top with onions, potatoes, and carrots.  Coupons
Put mushroom soup over all, then top with a soft cheese.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Check occasionally adding water or milk as needed.
Serve hot.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Can you tell I'm embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What's your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?

My son will celebrate this weekend so I am sure we will be celebrating in one way or another. Mexican food , yes our family loves it. We love dishes like the one in the picture above find the recipe here Beans or rice please your choice we seem to love them all. Heat level needs to stay at around a medium as we don't like hot summer days or hot food either. Yes, I believe we will visit one of our favorite Mexican style restaurants.

2. Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven't been is this a place you'd like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?

Not been there yet, maybe one day. NO I can not but my children speak the language quite well

3. What's one thing you may accomplish this month?

This month will be a bit of a challenge we are working on our garden area but the rain water holds us back

4. If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what's one thing you'd like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you've ever seriously considered?

I do not believe I want to hold offic3 other than that of mom in my own house. My aunt has served before and loved it

5. What's something that may be popular, but that you just don't get?

I am sorry but while I think emojis are cute I do not truly understand why they are so popular or what some of them mean.

6. Can't let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in 'May the 4th be with you' ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being 'I've seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year', and 1 being, 'what's a Vader?' -where do you land?

I would say a 5 I know the characters but the love I had for them when I was a kid is not the same now

7. Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?

It was a Christmas card swap that I participated in 2008. The blog that hosted is no longer around but  I am still here.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Loaded Potato Skillet

These potatoes may make you feel good because they do not come out of a chip bag but beware. The dish is made up of meat, potato and cheese and that sounds o.k. but take a closer look. The potatoes are covered with bacon and cheese and while that taste great they may not be the thing you want to eat every day. Any recipe that starts with the word "loaded" you may want to watch just a bit. Now dont let that prevent you from munching on these but keep in mind the old saying every thing in moderation. 

 large russet potatoes
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits (I bake bacon in the oven and then chop it)
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil
Chopped parsley (optional)

Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice potatoes into thin chips. Pat slices dry with a paper towel.
In a large bowl toss potatoes with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Lay out in a single layer on a cookie sheet (may need 2 cookie sheets).
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-14 minutes. Checking on them close to 10 minutes, don\'t let them burn.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
In two single serve cast-iron skillets, (or 1 large one), begin with one layer of baked potato chips. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits. Add another layer of chips. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon bits.
Add another layer of chips and sprinkle with the last layer of cheese and bacon bits. Place the cast-iron skillets into the 425F oven for about 5-6 minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove from oven. Careful, skillets will be very, very hot.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

recipe source here