Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Mango Trifle with Lemon Whipped Cream



Strawberry Mango Trifle with Lemon Whipped Cream

Just recently my local "PBS" station aired a weekend long "Downton Abbey" Marathon and that got me in the mood to create a "British-like" dessert.  At first I thought "scones" but that makes me think of breakfast - so I decided on a Trifle.  I created this Trifle with a modern twist - Mangoes and Strawberries are a wonderful combination!  Also, there is a cream cheese pudding and the entire Trifle is topped with Lemon Whipped Cream.


10 to 12 cups of vanilla sponge cake or angel food cake (baked, cooled and cubed) (set aside until it is time to assemble the Trifle) (see the top left picture).

Cream Cheese Pudding
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
1/2 block of cream cheese (4 oz) (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar & cornstarch and stir until combined - slowly add in the milk and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to boil over medium heat - stirring all the time (you will notice it start to thicken just before it boils).  Remove from heat.  Now take 1 cup of the hot mixture and pour into the egg yolks - stirring all the time (this will temper the eggs so that they won't become stringy).  Now it is safe to add this egg/milk mixture into the remaining hot pudding - again, stirring all the time.  Return to the burner and boil for 2 minutes (yes - stirring still).  Stir in the cream cheese while still on the burner  until smooth and creamy (see top right picture) - you might need to use a whisk.  Remove from heat.  Finally stir in the butter and vanilla.  Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour (or until it is time to assemble the Trifle).
NOTE:  You may use an instant pudding package if you prefer. (follow the directions on the package)



3 or 4 mangoes (peeled, pitted and cubed)
2 cups sliced strawberries (rinsed, stemmed and sliced)

Prepare the fruit as described above and place in 2 separate bowls (see picture above) - sprinkle with a little lemon juice to keep fresh until it is time to assemble the Trifle.

Lemon Whipped Cream
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (lime juice tastes wonderful also)

Whip the cream (with an electric mixer) until it is almost whipped (peaks do not quite form).  Now add the sugar - whip for 30 seconds and then add the lemon juice and continue whipping until peaks form (see bottom left picture).

1 teaspoon lemon rind (for garnish) (optional)

Now it is time to assemble the Trifle


Assembling the Trifle
Using a large serving bowl - begin by spreading half of the cake cubes on the bottom.  Now add the mango cubes (see top left picture).  Next add half of the cream cheese pudding.  Now add the second half of the cake cubes and then the strawberries on top of that.  Next the second half of the pudding (see first picture below).  Finally top with the lemon whipped cream (see middle picture below) (garnish with lemon rind if you desire).


Chill for 2 hours in the fridge or serve immediately and ENJOY!!

(WHEN SERVING: MAKE SURE YOU SCOOP DOWN TO THE BOTTOM TO GET ALL OF THE LAYERS)



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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Memories



See if you can pick out my Uncle Leo - look at the belly   ;-) 

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial day is an American Holiday occurring the last Monday of May - it commemorates all soldiers who died while serving this wonderful country.

I have had many family members who served in a war but thankfully they returned when their service was finished.  I pray for all family members of these heroes lost serving their country.  May God richly bless you!  I'd also like to thank all men & women currently in service - may God keep you safe.

Below is my Great Uncle Leo in his WW2 uniform - he did not see active duty but this is a picture from his training.  As you can see Uncle Leo enjoyed eating - his waist was so large that the United States Army did not have a belt large enough - he used a rope instead.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Good Soil - Healthy Harvest

"Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  He who has ears, let him hear."  Matthew 13:8 & 9

"But what was sown on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it.  He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."  Matthew 13:23


Today is the last of a 5 part series on the "Parable of the Sower."   In this Parable there are 4 different ways to receive the gospel or 4 different sorts of people who come in contact with the gospel.  Above you will notice that the first 2 verses are the description and then in verse 23 we have the explanation.

The seed is always the same - the gospel is the seed - the saving grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The soil types are different. I was going to say that we are the soil but I think that the environment that we are in is the soil. I believe that we are all part of the plant that grows from that seed......maybe a branch, or a flower, or a leaf. Together we are all part of that plant which is the family of God.

This seed has fallen on good soil - the perfect spot in the garden with the best sun exposure, the ideal moisture availability and the correct soil type.  This is the type of person that is responsive - hears, understands and is transformed by the Word of God.

I find the numbers that are used in these verses very interesting:  "yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."  Wow - that is exponential!  Just think about 1 sunflower - one flower head can produce hundreds of seeds.  By the next year, (with perfect soil and weather conditions) you could have 100 sunflowers and then the year after that it could be 100 times 100!!  That's how it is with us - sharing God's love - planting that seed - we could be planting 100 times 100 believers! 

Sunflowers are one of my favorite types of flowers - they literally grow towards the sun......we as Christians are like sunflowers - growing towards the Son.

You can be the tall, strong & bold sunflower growing among the thorns, stones & pathways - spreading seeds for miles and miles.



Parable of the Sower

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"FoodSaver" Freezing Frenzy

"FoodSaver" Freezing Frenzy

Five Fabulous Foods for Freezing!
I just love my vaccum pack machine (brand name: "FoodSaver").  Click on the word "FOODSAVER" to view my previous post about my vacuum packer, which is one of my favorite preserving tools.
Over the past year I have shared with you 5 different types of food to freeze and 1 recipe to go along with each frozen item (see all 5 below and click on the title to view the post in detail):





2a.  Freezing Corn
2b.  Chicken Corn Chowder



3a.   Freezing Sweet Potatoes
3b.  Curried Sweet Potato Croquettes



4a. Freezing Zucchini
4b. Garden Preserved Chili


5a.  Making Cherry Jam from Frozen Fruit
5b.  I did not do a post on this topic yet - but I make my own Yogurt and Kefir from scratch and use my homemade Jams & Jellies to flavor that yogurt.





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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Importance of Thinning - THE RESULTS




The Importance of Thinning - THE RESULTS

Last year I showed you the difference between a thinned row of carrot seedlings and an unthinned row (Click on "THINNING" to view post). 

Today I am showing you the harvest results:  In the picture above or below you will notice that the carrots in the top cluster are significantly larger than the bunch of carrots in the lower portion of these pictures.  Now, both the small and large carrots tasted delicious but why not get more from your garden by doing this simple step - Thinning. 
It is just so obvious - these pictures speak for themselves -
THINNING IS A MUST!

ENJOY!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rice Crispies



Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rice Crispies

Gluten Free baking has been a challenge.  As you can see by the picture above - these cookies are much more flat than a regular Chocolate chip cookie made from white flour would be.  I am trying to avoid taking out a Gluten Free loan to buy "Xanthum Gum".  I have found out that Xanthum Gum is the ingredient that gives buoyancy to Gluten Free baked goods.  I'll just have to put up with flat food because I am not willing to pay $12.00 for a small package of Xanthum Gum.

These cookies have a great flavor however the texture is different - it is chewy and crunchy at the same time.



1/2 cup butter (melted)                                         Printable Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup rice flour
1/3 cup finely ground walnuts
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rice crispies
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl and with a wooden spoon - mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs until fully blended.  In a different bowl - combine the flour, finely ground walnuts, baking powder and salt.  Now, stir in the dry mixture into the butter/egg mixture.  Finally stir in the Rice Crispies and chocolate chips (the dough should look like the picture above).

Drop by spoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (see picture below on the left) - make sure you leave enough room in between each cookie - they will flatten and spread out (see picture below right).  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack and ENJOY!!




In the picture below on the right are regular chocolate chip cookies and on the left are the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rice Crispies -  the difference is thickness and texture.


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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Among The Thorns

"Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants."  Matthew 13:7

"What was sown among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of his life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."  Matthew 13:22

Today is the fourth of a 5 part series on the "Parable of the Sower."   In this Parable there are 4 different ways to receive the gospel or 4 different sorts of people who come in contact with the gospel.  Above you will notice that the first verse is the description and then in verse 22 we have the explanation.

The seed is always the same - the gospel is the seed - the saving grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  The soil types are different. I was going to say that we are the soil but I think that the environment that we are in is the soil. I believe that we are all part of the plant that grows from that seed......maybe a branch, or a flower, or a leaf. Together we are all part of that plant which is the family of God.

I'm sure that we have all been pricked by a thorn at some point in our life.  I was trying to think of the most "thorny" plant that I have seen or grown; for sure the rose comes to mind but I think that the thistle wins this contest.  A thistle (and a thorn in general) is impressive, sharp, prickly and can't be ignored.  If the thistle is not dealt with properly it will take over your garden and you will not be able to grow any other plant.

This is also what can happen with fame & fortune - both are impressive and can't be ignored.  Wealth and popularity can change our focus on Jesus to the world - fame & fortune chokes our Christian walk.  This worldly pressure squeezes out our faith and someday you will turn around and find yourself in a field of thistles where no vegetable or fruit can live.  The thistle is tall, striking and influential but it produces no fruit.

I see it all the time in modern society - the wealthiest and most popular figures are not satisfied and end up in ruin.  If you keep your focus on Jesus you can grow into a fruitful tree - even among the thorns.

If you find yourself in a field of thistles - look up and keep your focus on your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Parable of the Sower

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fruit Salad with Lemon Avocado Sauce



Fruit Salad with Lemon Avocado Sauce

Please don't be scared away by the "Avocado" sauce - I know it sounds strange but it is delicious..........at least my mother-in-law and I thought it was delicious.  My husband's exact response was "ICK."  So, this recipe would be perfect for a Ladies Afternoon Tea - not for a Guys Football Party.


2 Mangoes (peeled, pitted and cubed)
1 large golden delicious apple (peeled, cored and sliced)
1 small pineapple (peeled, cored and sliced - see HOW TO below)

Prepare the ingredients as listed above.  In a large bowl combine all of the prepared fruit (mangoes, apple & pineapple) and lightly stir/mix.  Now, prepare the sauce below:

Lemon Avocado Sauce
1 Avocado (peeled, pitted and mashed - see HOW TO below)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (if you are using yogurt - use the thick Greek style yogurt)
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on your like or dislike of cinnamon)
1/4 cup sugar (if you are using yogurt that is sweetened then you will want to add less sugar).

Prepare the avocado as listed above - so that it is "mashed" and smooth (with no visible chunks).  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until fully mixed (NOTE: You may use a blender or electric mixer if you prefer - but do not whip or over blend).

             Cut an Avocado


Dish up the fruit and then add the sauce on each individual plate - instead of mixing the fruit & sauce all together before hand.  ENJOY!




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Themed Blog & Shop Hop - May Flowers


WELCOME to the third
"Themed Blog & Shop Hop"
May 16th 2012!
I'm so glad that you stopped by!


For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops or links to their Blogs. And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.


The theme this month is:
"May Flowers"
Anything having to do with flowers - any kind of flower.

So, that means if you have an item in your shop that has anything to do with "Flowers" - or - if you have a Flower blog post - anything that remotely touches this topic - then please share it with us.



Although I would love it if everyone joined my blog or became followers of my blog - that is not a requirement to participate in this "Hop". All I ask is that you keep your submissions decent - no offensive content please.

Well, actually there is a second rule:
only 2 submissions per person please.




If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.


I will be having a "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" once a month - the middle of each month. Next month's hop will be on:
JUNE 15th, 2012

ENJOY!!

IMPORTANT:  There is still a problem linking up a picture from Etsy - If it's not working for you then please choose the "GENERIC" thumbnail option - your link will still work but the picture will be the "linky" logo (please make sure you give it a title - that WILL show up).  This will be like mystery shopping (just until the problem is fixed - I have contacted "linky tools"

To Etsy shop owners - please only upload links directly to the items that you would like to share with us - not a link to your entire shop - Thanks.

To Blog writers - you may submit any post that fits into the theme - it can be an old post from many months ago (it does Not have to be a recent post). Also, please submit the link directly to the post and Not a link to your homepage - Thank you!

I will be "tweeting" about the submissions throughout the week to come and if there are enough submissions I will be making an Etsy treasury also.

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52 Mantels
Two Sasters

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

April Blog & Shop Hop - THE RESULTS


I would just like to thank all of you again for either visiting or participating in my second "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" - We had a few hickups this time - there was a problem linking up from Etsy but It was still so much fun!

There were 2 items tied for the most "likes"

1.  Caterpillar Painting by DesigningLifeCaterpillar Painting - "Just A Little Farther" - Green Monochromatic Canvas


2.  Silver Mermaid Necklace by Sarah Stettler
Silver Mermaid Necklace with sea green rondelle faceted AB crystal beads on silverplated chain, bar necklace simple ocean jewelry

and 1 item with the most "clicks"

Sauteing Fish Simplified by Diane Balch



Click here to view the Etsy Treasury List from the April Shop Hop.


Please join us tomorrow for the third Themed Blog & Shop Hop!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Amusement Park Greenhouse



The Amusement Park Greenhouse

Colasanti's Tropical Gardens in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada.
Just recently I visited some of my childhood stomping grounds.  I had not been to Colasanti's since the early 80's and I couldn't believe how much it has changed - it has become a Greenhouse Amusement Park. 

It doesn't look like much from the outside but just wait until you step inside:






1.  Greenhouse Miniature Golf Course





2.  Kiddie Rides & Bumper Cars





3.  Petting Zoo





4.  Bouncy Castle Park (inside the Greenhouse)




5.  Restaurant, Cafe, & Candy'n Ice Cream Shoppe





6.  Arcade





7.  Traditional Greenhouse




8.  The best for last - You know that you are in Canada when you can buy Hockey Jerseys in a Greenhouse!!


ENJOY!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rocky Places

"Some (seed) fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."  Matthew 13:5 & 6

"What was sown on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time.  When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away."  Matthew 13:20 & 21

Today is the third of a 5 part series on the "Parable of the Sower."   In this Parable there are 4 different ways to receive the gospel or 4 different sorts of people who come in contact with the gospel.  Above you will notice that the first 2 verses are the description and then in verses 20 & 21 we have the explanation.

The seed is always the same - the gospel is the seed - the saving grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  The soil types are different.  I was going to say that we are the soil but I think that the environment that we are in is the soil.  I believe that we are all part of the plant that grows from that seed......maybe a branch, or a flower, or a leaf.  Together we are all part of that plant which is the family of God.

When you are planting any kind of seed you must first consider 3 things:

    -the soil type (sandy or clay)
    -the soil location (part shade or full sun) 
    -the moisture content or water availability
In these Bible verses - the soil was good enough for the seed to germinate but as soon as the day started to heat up and with the sun beating down - this little plant was scorched.  Also, this new tender plant had no access to water and withered away.
This is like the type of person who hears God's Word and believes but when times get tough, this person withers back into their old life.  When hardships happen, this type of person will turn their back on Jesus instead of enduring bad times by digging deep into God's Word and being refreshed by the water of life.

If you are in a rocky place - dig down deep into the Bible - God's living Word.  Through prayer - be refreshed daily.


Parable of the Sower

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Curried Sweet Potato Croquettes



Curried Sweet Potato Croquettes

Curry (or Indian food) is one of my favorite flavors.  Curry seems to go hand in hand with sweet potatoes - they are made for each other.  Many people do not realize that curry is actually a mixture of herbs and spices like: cumin, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, cloves, coriander  etc.  You can buy "curry" in the grocery store which is a blend of many spices but I like to use the spices separately creating a large variety of many unique flavors. 

Over the years I have created many recipes using sweet potatoes and for this recipe I used some of my Frozen sweet potatoes.  These Curried Sweet Potato Croquettes are filled with flavor and the Yogurt Cilantro Sauce makes these flavors even more scrumptious.
 
This recipe is also Gluten Free!




2 cups cooked brown rice (cooled)
2 medium onions (peeled & finely chopped)
olive oil
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon ground hot chili pepper (or to taste)
salt (to taste)
1/4 cup cashews (chopped)
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes (baked or mashed - if baked - remove skins)
rice flour (for breading - about 1/2 cup)

Prepare the ingredients as listed above (cook rice, cook or thaw sweet potatoes, chop onions  etc).  In a medium skillet - saute the olive oil (a couple tablespoons), onions & spices (garlic/ginger paste, turmeric, cumin and chili pepper) until the onions are transparent (about 7 minutes) - See the picture above on the left.  In a large bowl mix the rice, sweet potatoes, cashews, onion/spices and salt - stir until fully combined (see picture above on the right).  Now, by hand - form the mixture into croquettes (this amount made 7 croquettes but as you can see by the picture below I made them large and on the thick side).


Once you have formed the croquettes you will bread them with a little rice flour (bread both sides - it will be a thin layer of breading)(see picture above). 
In a large pan - fry the breaded croquettes drizzled with a little olive oil for about 5 minutes on each side (or until desired color and crispness is achieved) (see picture below). Now place the croquettes in the oven (or toaster oven) on warm until you have made the Yogurt Sauce below.


Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

You can make this sauce ahead of time or while the croquettes are being kept warm in the oven.
Stir the yogurt and lemon juice together with a whisk.  Add the salt, pepper and cilantro and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed.
NOTE:  I like to place the Yogurt Sauce in a gravy boat so that each person can ladle on the sauce.



Serve immediately & ENJOY!

 

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