It’s right about now that I usually start craving stone fruits and tastes of summer. While it will be months before I can sink my teeth into a fresh Georgia peach, I can trick my mind by using frozen or canned peaches in baked goods. By the time you are done baking fresh peaches, they are pretty much as soft as their “stored” cousins. Continue reading
The first year I lived in Florida, I was shocked at seeing fresh strawberries in February. Now, a few years later, I am totally spoiled and look forward to enjoying them while the rest of the country is blanketed in snow. There is a world famous Florida Strawberry festival held at the end of February/beginning of March. I really appreciate the amazing growing season in our state. Eating Fresh From Florida produce is an added bonus to being close to the beach and having mild winters.
My whole family adores strawberries. If I want to use them for a recipe, I practically have to hire an armed guard to protect them from being eaten. I usually end up going to the farmers market and buying a couple of flats to make freezer jam and to put some away for baking throughout the rest of the year. For these first fruits of the year, though, I made a Fresh Strawberry Poke Cake. It was adapted from a pineapple cake that my mother-in-law used to make and the gelatin poke cakes that my own grandmother made when I was little.
I skipped the gelatin and opted to pour sweetened pureed strawberries over the entire cake. Then, I made a mixture of cream cheese, pudding, strawberries and whipped cream for the topping. Oh my! It was like strawberry shortcake on steroids! The cake was gone in a flash. Lucky for me, the strawberry season has just started, so I can make it again and again.
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Fresh Strawberry Poke Cake
1 lb fresh whole strawberries
2 cups pureed strawberries, sweetened with 2-3 Tbsp sugar
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 8oz brick cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
1 8 oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Make yellow cake, following directions on package, using the eggs, oil and water.
When the cake is done, let it cool to room temperature.
Poke holes all over the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Pour sweetened pureed strawberries all over the cake, using a spatula or the back of a spoon to make sure the berries get into all of the little holes.
In a blender, combine the cream cheese, milk, pudding mix and all but 8 of the whole strawberries.
Blend until smooth.
Fold cream cheese mixture into the whipped topping.
Spread all over the cake.
Slice the remaining strawberries in half and place them cut side down all over the top of the cake.
Refrigerate at least one hour before serving to let the topping set and the strawberries soak into the cake.
What is your favorite way to eat strawberries? Do you freeze them, too? Do you make jam?
Welcome to Day #5 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th.
I have had this recipe written in my recipe journal since the early 1990s, waiting to be made. I am shocked that I waited so long to make it because this stuff is seriously amazing. I have been doling it out to my friends by the spoonful. It’s been like, “Oh, you have come by to visit me? Open your mouth, taste this.” No one has been disappointed. Continue reading
Welcome to Day #3 of Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th.
I am back with more candy, because December seems to require it. Although this stuff is as wonderful as it gets, no one seems to make homemade candy any other time of year. If grocery stores put sugar, extracts and other baking supplies on sale in June, maybe the story would be different, but our waistlines can heave a sigh of relief. December is the only homemade sweet month. ..for now. Continue reading
Welcome to Christmas Week, a multi-blogger event co-hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina! Each day we will be celebrating the holidays with a different set of Christmas-themed treats, as well as a fabulous Christmas giveaway. We hope you enjoy this fabulous event. Tune in each day starting today, Monday, December 9th and ending Saturday, December 14th. Continue reading
Every year I make up treats for neighbors and friends. What I make changes a little every year, but the fun is in the planning and delivery of the plates. My kids get involved, arguing over who gets to take which plate to which family. We take an evening early in the month of December and instead of sitting in front of the television, we give. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I like to think that that evening of sharing sweets with friends sets the tone for the month.
This year, I did my ingredient shopping at Dollar General, which has lower prices than most of my local stores. They have a full line up of ingredients for all of my holiday baking needs. I find that their Clover Valley brand is just as good as most name brands. They had a great big section all set up specifially for making treats.
I was able to get plates, candies, sugars, chocolate chips, nuts, crackers, and many other ingredients for less than $25. I came home and fired up my stove and microwave. I made homemade caramels, peanut brittle, fudge, chocolate covered Ritz sandwiches and English toffee and then filled 16 plates.
English Toffee has been a family favorite since I was a little girl when my mom started making it. It is really simple to make. I am not very good at making dipped candies, but because this recipe is broken into randomly sized pieces on purpose, there isn't a lot of stress over whether it looks right or not.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp corn syrup
12 oz chocolate chips
Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add sugar, water adn corn syrup to the pan. Cook over low heat to 290 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Pour hot mixture over foil. Sprinkle with chocoalte chips. Wait a few minutes and then spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. When cool, break into bite sized pieces.
The Dollar General Holiday holiday section can serve all of your needs. Not only are there foods and supplies for favorite holiday recipes, but there are decorations, lights, present wrapping supplies, stocking stuffers, and great ideas for presents from toys to electronics.
There is still time to shop for the discerning foodie before the holidays are over! Right in the middle of Hanukkah and a few weeks to go before Christmas, this new cookbook, Cooking Inspired
is filled with recipes taken from the pages of kosherscoop.com, one of the biggest kosher websites on the internet. Continue reading
Have you ever had a little voice in your head tell you to do something, ignored it and then afterward saw that you should have gone with that original thought? The other day I made a batch of Donut Muffins. They are an old family favorite that always please my kids. As I was about to put the batter into the muffin tins, I had a fleeting thought about using muffin liners. I have a nice nonstick muffin pan that never gives me trouble, so I dismissed the thought. When the muffins were done baking and cooling slightly, I turned the muffin tin over and every stinking one of the muffin tops came out without the bottoms. Continue reading
When I set out to start doing cookbook reviews on a more regular basis, I contacted many publishers to see what the interest would be in my doing reviews for them. I was overwhelmed by the positive response! One of the lesser known publishers I contacted was American Traveler Press. They not only have a fun and unique set of cookbooks, but their catalog also includes Old West books, ghost books, field guides and travel books. As an old Arizona girl, I had a great time looking through their catalog. Continue reading
It has started. The annual six month candy glut is here and will last all the way until April when the last of the chocolate bunnies hops off the shelves. We will be saturated with candy corn, candy canes, chocolate hearts and jelly beans and then, just as suddenly it will stop as summer approaches and we realize we have to fit back into our swim suits.
That is half a year away, though, and the plethora of sweets has barely begun, so grab your stretchy pants and big sweaters. Let the Amazing American Candy Feast begin!!! Continue reading
My absolute favorite thing about Autumn is the onset of apple season. Apple pie has long been my favorite dessert and although I have not come up with a decent gluten free version, I am still willing to bake up a few pies for my family and friends. Recently, I needed to put on a breakfast for 30 teenagers. I wanted some easy, portable dishes for them, because they were would be in a hurry to eat and then rush off to school. I thought about making some granola bars, but then I thought about apples, and these bars came to mind. Continue reading
With only 97 days until Christmas left, it’s time to start thinking about your foodie wish list. I don’t know about you, but cookbooks are always near the top of my holiday list. Over the next weeks, I will be reviewing some new and upcoming titles in culinary reading, starting today with The Dollop Book of Frosting: Sweet and Savory Icings, Spreads, Meringues, and Ganaches for Dessert and Beyond
(ad). Continue reading
I bought a 25 pound bag of flour at the grocery store recently. The check out girls were amazed at the big bag. “Are you a baker?” they asked. “What do you make?” I answered with the usual things like cakes and cookies, but I was really thinking, “I have five kids. This isn’t going to last that long. I was disappointed that this was the only 25 pound bag you had!” Continue reading
Long time readers will remember that my grandmother ran a restaurant out of her home in the 1950s. It was by reservation only. No one could just show up and expect a seat. By doing this, Mamie always knew approximately how much food to make. She offered menu choices to the person making the reservation and everything was pre-ordered. When guests arrived and were seated, they were brought these Apricot Butterhorns instead of regular rolls and butter. Continue reading