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Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!

To me, this weekend is the last big hurrah before everyone’s schedules settle back into a routine and fall is upon us.

I don’t know about you, but summer flew by at warp speed and I’m not quite ready for it to end. Although I love the fall season, I’d like to put off its arrival for just a while longer.

Here are a few of my favorite summer salad and dessert recipes, to help prolong the fun!

caprese platedTomato Caprese Salad

 

potato salad finishedChunky Potato Salad

butterfly fruit salad finishedButterfly Fruit Salad

watermelon-saladWatermelon and Feta Salad

 

raspberry pie platedRaspberry Cream Pies

 

orange pie finishedOrange Dream Pie

crisp-in-panRaspberry Crisp

blackberry bar finishedButtery Blackberry Bars

banana ice cream bowl 1Banana Ice Cream

Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone!

To me, this weekend is the last big hurrah before everyone’s schedules settle back into a routine and fall is upon us.

I don’t know about you, but summer flew by at warp speed and I’m not quite ready for it to end. Although I love the fall season, I’d like to put off its arrival for just a while longer.

Here are a few of my favorite summer salad and dessert recipes, to help prolong the fun!

caprese platedTomato Caprese Salad

 

potato salad finishedChunky Potato Salad

butterfly fruit salad finishedButterfly Fruit Salad

watermelon-saladWatermelon and Feta Salad

 

raspberry pie platedRaspberry Cream Pies

 

orange pie finishedOrange Dream Pie

crisp-in-panRaspberry Crisp

blackberry bar finishedButtery Blackberry Bars

banana ice cream bowl 1Banana Ice Cream

coconut tart platedI made these fast, easy, and unbelievably scrumptious lovelies for a dessert potluck last week. Judging by how few were left I think they were a hit!

If you like coconut, you’ll love these simple to make bites.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Mix the pudding with milk and set aside.

Mix the pudding with milk and set aside.

Whip the heavy cream, adding in powdered sugar at the end. You want it to form fairly stiff peaks.

Whip the heavy cream, adding in powdered sugar at the end. You want it to form fairly stiff peaks.

Add softened cream cheese to the pudding and blend.

Add softened cream cheese to the pudding and blend.

Divide the whipping cream in half and add pudding mixture to one half.

Divide the whipping cream in half and add pudding mixture to one half. Blend carefully.

 

You can cover and refrigerate the filling overnight or serve immediately.

You can cover and refrigerate the filling overnight or serve immediately.

Fill mini tart shells. These came in a package of 12 - so you'd need four boxes. You can also use a graham cracker pie crust. Either way is tasty!

Fill mini tart shells. These came in a package of 12 – so you’d need four boxes. You can also use a graham cracker pie crust. Either way is tasty! Just fill tarts with filling and top with whipped cream.

If you like, you can toast some coconut to put in the top. I nuked this for 12 seconds  and it got a little too crispy, so 8 would probably be sufficient.

If you like, you can toast some coconut to put in the top. I nuked this for 12 seconds and it got a little too crispy, so 8 would probably be sufficient.

Coconut Cream Pie Bites

1 small box Coconut instant pudding

2 cups milk

3-4 ounces cream cheese

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

coconut

48 mini fillo shells (or a 9-inch graham cracker pie crust)

* Note – You can use tart shells or a pie crust, your choice.

Mix the pudding and milk together. Let pudding set.

Use softened cream cheese (if you have a small package, great, if not, use half of a large package) and mix it into the pudding until thoroughly blended in medium speed. (You don’t want to beat the pudding to death). Set aside.

Whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks, add the powdered sugar and stir it in. Add half the cream to the pudding mixture and carefully blend.

My preference is to cover this tightly and refrigerate overnight before serving. If you are in a hurry, you don’t have to wait.

Fill tarts or pie crust. Top with remaining whipped cream.

Sprinkle with coconut. You can toast it or not, whatever floats your boat. You could also add slivered almonds or a drizzle of chocolate. I chose to add dark chocolate curls. That turned out to be a good decision.

Makes 48 mini tarts or one yummy pie.

She Who Loves Creamy, Cool Coconut Treats

 

 

 strawberry cupcakes plated

We have a dessert potluck (I know – how fun is that!) to attend this weekend so I wanted to make something that would be easy for people to pick up and eat. Cupcakes are always yummy and simple to transport.

This is a new recipe I experimented with after successfully using root beer to make cupcakes a month or so ago.

The cupcakes have a surprise dollop of strawberry jam inside while the frosting – oh, my, the frosting – it has strawberry flavoring and a liberally dose of strawberry pop.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Make the cake mix according to package directions. Fill paper-lined muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full of the cake batter.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don't have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cupcake center. If you don’t have enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom. Top with batter and slide into preheated oven to bake.

    While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

While the cupcakes are baking until they are a light golden brown (about 15-18 minutes), mix up your frosting.

It will be perfectly pink and pretty. (Ha, say that 10 times in a row.)

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

You can add some festive sprinkles to the top if you so desire.

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Take a bite and enjoy the sweet, strawberry surprise in the middle!

Strawberry Filled Cupcakes

1 box cake mix (can be white, vanilla, yellow)

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup jam

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup strawberry soda pop

2 tsp. strawberry flavoring

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix with eggs, oil and water until smooth.

Line the cups of a muffin pan with papers and fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.

Spoon about 1/2 tsp of jam into each cup. If you don’t get enough batter in the cup, the jam will sink to the bottom.

Pour more batter over the top and bake until a light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the frosting, mix powdered sugar with softened butter, salt, flavoring and soda pop. You can add more flavoring if you want a stronger strawberry flavor. The frosting will be a pretty shade of pink.

Accent with your favorite sprinkles or fresh strawberries. If at all possible, act pathetic and pressed for time so the big manly man of your house will help put the sprinkles on.

She Who Will Be Making These Again

Crumpets

Crumpets

I’m working on a new story and crumpets play a key part in the tale, so I decided to make some. To my knowledge I’ve never even tasted them before, so it would be a good experiment.

Wanting to use a true British recipe, I reached out to a wonderful friend in England and she shared one that was easy enough even I could follow the step by step directions.

For all my British friends out there – my apologies for messing with your long-standing traditions! Here is a link to some crumpet history, if you are unfamiliar with them.

The key component of crumpets, from my limited understanding, is to have plenty of holes in the surface for butter to melt into. Crumpets were quite popular for tea time in the 1800s and many British families enjoy them today, particularly for breakfast. You can top them with jam, eat them plain – but most definitely serve them with a spot of tea.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Mix flour and yeast together.

Mix flour and yeast together.

Stir in milk mixture.

Stir in milk mixture.

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Beat until you have a smooth batter (about 3-4 minutes).

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Cover and let rise for 20 minutes to an hour. The dough should be full of lovely little holes.

Stir in water mixture.

Stir in water mixture.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream.

You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. Cover and let rest 20 minutes.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar lid, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

On medium heat, using a griddle or cast iron skillet, heat a little oil. You will need rings (and you can purchase crumpet rings, but I used these pancake rings I had on hand. You could also use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc.) Make sure the rings are well greased then spoon in batter.

 

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

Cook about two minutes, until tops are bubbly. Remove the ring then turn over. I used a regular dinner knife to flip them over and it worked great.

 

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

See the holes in the surface? Holes mean places for butter to drip into and create all manner of deliciousness.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don't serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Eat them hot out of the pan with butter, top with some jam if you want a little sweetness to it. If you don’t serve immediately, make sure you toast them before eating. They are much better warm than cold.

Crumpets

2 cups flour

1 package instant yeast

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups warm milk

2/3-1 cup warm water

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

oil for cooking

Mix flour and yeast in a bowl. Set aside.

Warm milk until it no longer feels cool to the touch, but isn’t hot. (Think baby bottle temperature.) Add sugar and stir until dissolved then stir into flour mixture with a wooden spoon.

Continue stirring 3-4 minutes until batter is smooth. (This is great exercise for your arms!) Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.

It should rise up in the bowl and have holes on the surface.

Fill a measuring cup almost full of warm water. Stir in the baking soda and salt until dissolved, then slowly add to the batter. You want the consistency to be like heavy cream. If it still seems too thick, add a little more water. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour a little oil in the bottom. You will need rings for cooking the crumpets. I used pancake rings, but you could use a round cookie cutter, a jar ring, etc. Make sure your rings are well-greased inside. (You can also purchase special crumpet rings if you are so inclined.)

Spoon the batter into the rings until they are about three-fourths full. Cook a couple of minutes until bubbles appear and the surface looks set. Remove rings, turn over and cook another two to three minutes.

Serve immediately or toast before eating with plenty of butter.

She Who Needs Some Tea with her Crumpets

Chicken Tortelinni  plated

Knowing CC would be home and ready to eat soon, I started scrounging through the fridge last night and came up with some ingredients to throw together.  This fast, easy, yummy dinner comes together in about thirty minutes (if you hustle, which I did because a hungry man kept looming around the kitchen, wanting fed!).

At first, CC turned up his nose at it, but after one bite, he quickly ate what was on his plate and went back for seconds. I think that meant he liked it.

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it's cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it’s cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Melt butter and then stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add seasoning if you like and a sprinkle of salt.

Melt butter and then stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add seasoning if you like and a sprinkle of salt. Set aside.

 

When tortellini is cooked, drain. Since I'm lazy, I mixed everything in the saucepan so I had one less bowl to wash.

When tortellini is cooked, drain. Since I’m lazy, I mixed everything in the saucepan so I had one less bowl to wash. Add your chicken and give it a good stir.

Then add the rest of the ingredients.

Then add the rest of the ingredients.

 

Blend thoroughly.

Stir thoroughly.

 

Spoon into a greased casserole dish, then top with  sprinkling of cheese.

Spoon into a greased casserole dish, then top with sprinkling of cheese.

 

Top with Panko crumbs.

Top with Panko crumbs.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted, then serve immediately. (Hungry men don’t like to wait while you do silly things like take photos!)

 

Cheesy Chicken Tortellini

1 package of cheese-filled tortellini

2 cups cooked chicken

1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (divided)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups Alfredo sauce

1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs

2 tbsp. butter

Seasoning

Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. While it’s cooking, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Melt butter and stir in Panko crumbs. You can also add some seasoning to the crumbs, if you wish.

Drain tortellini. Add chicken to the saucepan and stir then add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, the Parmesan cheese, Alfredo Sauce and any seasonings along with a sprinkle of salt. Stir well then spoon into casserole pan. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese then Panko crumbs. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

If you want to get fancy, you can add a sprinkle of fresh or fried parsley on top.

She Who Will Be Making This Again

 

cherry bruschetta plated

We’ve been blessed with an abundance of big, sweet, delicious cherries in our area recently.

I came home with another bag of them yesterday and then found myself wondering if I could come up with an off-the-beaten path recipe to use a few.

I freely admit this is stretching the definition of bruschetta but if you really wanted, you could serve it on bread.

Regardless, the mixture of the sweet cherries, fresh mint and tangy cheese were a perfect combination! It’s like having a little summer party exploding in your mouth.

And the best part… it took just minutes to make!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Start by pitting your cherries.

Start by pitting your cherries.

Then chop them into small pieces. I halved them and cut each half into about 12 pieces.

Then chop them into small pieces. I halved them and cut each half into about 12 pieces.

Scoop the cherries into a bowl then go to work on the mint. Chiffonade (cut) a few pieces.

Scoop the cherries into a bowl then go to work on the mint. Chiffonade (cut) a few pieces.

Mix the cherries and mint together. (Aren't the colors fabulous?)

Mix the cherries and mint together. (Aren’t the colors fabulous?)

Pour grenadine syrup over the mint - cherry mixture and blend.

Pour grenadine syrup over the mint – cherry mixture and blend.

 

Toast a frozen waffle until it is crunchy.

Toast a frozen waffle until it is crunchy.

Quarter the waffle.

Quarter the waffle.

Top with goat cheese then add the cherry mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Top with goat cheese then add the cherry mixture. Serve and enjoy!

Cherry Mint Bruschetta

1 frozen waffle

2 tbsp. goat cheese

6 large cherries

1 tsp. grenadine syrup

1 tsp. chopped mint

Cherries and mint for garnish, if desired

Pit and chop cherries, scoop into a bowl and mix with mint. If you are using fresh mint, right off the plant, it is strong, so you can cut back the amount to 1/2 tsp. Stir in grenadine syrup and set aside.

Toast the frozen waffle until it is crunchy on the outside. Cut into quarters. Top with a sprinkling of goat cheese then spoon on cherry-mint mix.

Serves two.

Note: You can definitely use a rustic country bread instead of the waffle for a true bruschetta, if you so desire.

She Who Loved the Mix of Flavors and Textures

 

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