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June 30, 2009

Trifles, Trifles, Trifles

I have come to enjoy making, looking at, and eating Trifles. They are some pretty fancy looking desserts. And they are an easy way to layer some red, white, and blue. I LOVE my Trifle Bowl. This is one of my funnest investments. Here are a couple recipes you could try:
Summer Berry Trifle from Family Fun

Serving this traditional English dessert in a glass pedestal bowl shows off its impressive layers of ladyfingers, pudding, and colorful fruits. If you don't have one, a regular glass bowl will also do the trick.

1 package (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding
4 cups fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries), washed and hulled, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 to 36 ladyfingers
Step 1 To make the fillings, prepare the pudding according to the package directions and chill it.
Step 2 Slice the strawberries, then toss all of the berries with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juices.
Step 3 In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Step 4 To make the layers, set a layer of ladyfingers (around 7 or 8) on the bottom of a trifle bowl (ours was 4 quarts). Top with the berries with half of the pudding.
Step 5 Add another layer of ladyfingers, another third of the berries and juice, and the rest of the pudding. Add a final layer of ladyfingers and berries. Top with the whipped cream and a berry garnish.
Step 6 Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.

Red, White & Blueberry Trifle by Pampered Chef

Juicy berries and delicate angel food cake mingle in this impressive and patriotic summer dessert.

1 prepared angel food cake (13 oz)
1 qt. fresh strawberries
3 cups blueberries
1 container (16 oz) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 lemon
3 containers (8 oz each) blended strawberry yogurt
1 pkg (3.4 oz) white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling
2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, divided

Cut cake into 1-in. cubes using Color Coated Bread Knife; set aside. Hull fresh strawberries and cut into quarters. Set aside ½ cup of the strawberries and ½ cup of the blueberries for garnish.
In Classic Batter Bowl, combine remaining fresh and frozen strawberries; mix well. Juice lemon using Juicer to measure 2 tbsp juice. In Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl, whisk yogurt,
pudding mix and lemon juice until smooth using Stainless Whisk; immediately fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
To assemble trifle, place one-third of the cake cubes into Trifle Bowl. Top with one-third of the strawberry mixture and one-third of the blueberries, pressing down lightly. Top with one-third of the yogurt mixture, spreading evenly. Repeat layers two times, spreading last layer evenly using the Small Spreader to create a flat surface.
To garnish, fill Easy Accent® Decorator fitted with open-star tip with remaining whipped topping. Pipe whipped topping over top of trifle; garnish with reserved strawberries and blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 16 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 210, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Carbohydrate 44 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 280 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook’s Tip: Cheesecake pudding and pie filling or vanilla pudding and pie filling can be substituted for the white chocolate pudding, if desired. If using vanilla pudding, add 6-8 drops of red food coloring for a pinker color, if desired.
Some more tips for a trifle: Be careful of the sides. Don't let any layers run down the sides as you put it in the bowl. The sides of the bowl need to be clear, to see all the layers. Placing the berries against the bowl, or standing them up (see first picture), help to define the red layer. Trifles will taste GREAT no matter what the layers look like. But if you can be careful with the layers, the presentation is really what the trifle is about. You want to see each defined layer.
Good Luck! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

"Cool" 4th of July

I am always planning holiday fun around food, and kids. Here are some Family Fun red, white, and blue recipes to cool you off.

2 cups blue Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid
12 5-ounce disposable cups
1 cup frozen whipped topping
1 cup vanilla yogurt
12 craft sticks
2 cups cran-raspberry juice

Step 1 To make the pops, equally divide the blue juice among the plastic cups, then place the cups in the freezer until the juice is partially frozen, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 2 Mix together the whipped topping and yogurt and divide this mixture among the cups.

Step 3 Set a craft stick in the center of each pop and return the cups to the freezer for approximately 45 minutes.

Step 4 For the final layer, add the cran-raspberry juice to the cups and place them in the freezer until solid.
Step 5 To remove the pops, run warm water over the outside of each cup.
Frosty Fireworks (Flavored Ice)

One way to make a splash this Fourth of July is by treating your kids to tall glasses of Patriot's Punch. Simply fill an ice cube tray with a red or blue fruit-flavored beverage (such as Powerade, Gatorade, or Kool-Aid) and let the cubes freeze solid. Then drop three or four colored cubes into each glass, pour in flavored seltzer water or clear soda, and watch the special effects. As the cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl through the seltzer.
This Family Fun recipe reminds me of an old Pampered Chef recipe.

Star-Studded Fruit Jewels
1 1/3 cups water
2 packages (3 ounces each) any flavor gelatin
10 small pieces of fruit such as maraschino cherries or grapes, cut in half, or
20 whole blueberries
Lightly spray Star Cube Trays with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour water into Small Micro-Cooker®. Microwave on HIGH 2-2 1/2 minutes or until boiling. Add gelatin to micro-cooker; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Place 1 piece of fruit in each well of ice cube tray. Pour gelatin evenly over fruit. (The fruit will float to the top of the well.)
Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Run flat end of Citrus Peeler around edges of gelatin stars to release.
Yield: 10 servings
I hope you enjoy a "cool" holiday.

June 28, 2009

Birthday Cakes

June is a popular birthday month for our family. I made a few cakes for these occasions. I took a few pictures too. I realize the cakes may leave a little to be desired. I have taken a basic cake decorating class, and hope to expand my decorating knowledge soon.Last year for my birthday, my mother-in-law gave me this adorable cake pan from William Sonoma. I used it for my brother's birthday cake. We did a John Deere theme party. But I didn't have enough time to actually make a tractor cake. So I baked a cake in the cupcake pan and decorated it with yellow and green frosting. Sorry, this one I forgot to take a picture. Not that it was all that exciting.
I made this baseball cake for our baby's 1st birthday. Again, not really fancy, but fun! I used one 9-inch cake pan from The Pampered Chef to make the big ball, and baked the rest of the batter in a cupcake stone from The Pampered Chef. After all was decorated and the party was about to start, I thought of another idea. I could have made the big cake into a baseball mitt and the cupcakes as baseballs. That would have been cute! I will try that for the next baseball party!
Then my 6 year old chose a Transformer theme party. I made him an autobot cake. I actually was pretty excited about the way this one turned out. I didn't leave myself with enough time to do any extra decorating. But he was happy with it.
I found some great ideas at Family Fun and Coolest Birthday Cakes. I am happy to brainstorm ideas. I LOVE to plan parties! Contact me or leave me a comment if you are in need of ideas.

i-slice giveaway winner

Okay, I actually stayed up (blogging on our family blog and posting about puppies!), just so I could do the selection for the i-slice winner. And here it is:
True Random Number Generator Result: 4 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
So comment #4 was:

Kary B ID said...
Hey! I want to get in on this. I think I will order from She Saved too! Thanks!
June 25, 2009 8:43 PM

Kary from Idaho? Contact me through my contact submission at the bottom of the page, or leave a comment. Get me your info, or if you did order, I will add it to your order! Thanks for checking me out!

This was fun. Check back in July, I've got another idea for a giveaway! Thanks to everyone who came to the blog, and advertised my blog, and checked out She Saved and Franny Frugal. Don't forget to check back (at all three sites) for more deals and giveaways!

June 27, 2009

Nothing to do with the Kitchen

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with cooking. But I am going to share, because it is exciting, and it will be consuming my family for the next 6-8 weeks. Our Chocolate Labrador had puppies two days ago. 7 female chocolate labs. We are so happy. This was planned. We mated her with our male chocolate lab. We are selling the puppies. Check out Chocolate Labradors for more info on our puppies.

Leftover night

So a lot of Fridays become "leftover night" at our house. After cooking a weeks worth of meals, and not finishing ALL of it every night, our refrigerator becomes full and needs to be cleared out. So we have leftover night. This got me to thinking about the yummy stuff I have been cooking, but didn't bother to blog about! So here it is, our last weeks menu, perhaps could become your menu this week!

Sunday- In-laws for a Father's Day BBQ (my sis-in-law made DELICIOUS Strawberry Pies- I will have to get the recipe)

Monday- Baja Chipotle Chicken Salad with homemade tortilla bowls.

Tuesday- Homemade Pizza ( I love the recipe for pizza dough in the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook or The Pampered Chef's Pizza Crust Mix)

Wednesday- Cheesy Chicken and broccoli over rice

Thursday- Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

Friday- Left Overs!

Saturday- Sloppy Joes

Sunday- Beef Fajitas

We really enjoyed our meals, so far, this week. May you be inspired to enjoy some too!

June 22, 2009

i-slice giveaway

With the help of my blogging friends I am offering a GIVEAWAY. I am giving away ONE i-slice, to the readers of my blog. You can win by leaving me comments on this post. You get one entry just for visiting. You can receive an entry for checking out Franny Frugal and/or She Saved (great money saving tips!), come back and tell me you were there, and what you liked about their blog (possible two entries)! Subscribe to my blog feed (look to your left, it's there!), and leave me a comment, for another entry. This is open for the rest of the week. Midnight on Saturday June 27th I will use to select a winner. Good Luck! And happy coupon clipping!


Okay, so I have another obsession in life. But this obsession actually saves me money! I have become a coupon clipper. I never fully understood the meaning of this, until a friend of mine explained how to make coupons REALLY save you money. Check out Franny Frugal and She Saved. They have great tips for saving money, couponing, and other freebies! My other obsession (Pampered Chef), is actually contributing to my new money savvy ways. I use my "i-slice" to clip coupons quickly. And I use our $2/ serving recipes to save more money on food! Who would have thought? I get so excited when I see the ads and look through my coupons and see FREE or close to free deals! You should check it out!

Here's a recipe to get you started:

Mexican Chicken “Lasagna”Recipe

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 medium onion (about 2/3 cup chopped)
1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce
12 (6-in.) corn tortillas
3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
Additional chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Chop cilantro with Chef's Knife. Place cream cheese in Classic Batter Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 30-45 seconds or until very soft. Add cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of the Monterey Jack cheese; mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Chop onion using Food Chopper; set aside. Spread 2/3 cup of the enchilada sauce over bottom of Deep Covered Baker. Pour remaining enchilada sauce into Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl; set aside.

To assemble lasagna, using Sauté Tongs, dip four tortillas into enchilada sauce in mixing bowl and arrange over sauce in baker overlapping as necessary. Scoop half of the cream cheese mixture over tortillas using Small Scoop; spread using Small Spreader. Top with 1 cup of the chicken and one-third of the onion. Repeat layers one time. Dip remaining four tortillas into sauce and arrange over second layer. Top with remaining chicken and onion. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over lasagna and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese.

Microwave, covered, on HIGH 12-15 minutes or until center is hot. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro. Cut into squares using Utility Knife; serve using Mini-Serving Spatula.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 390, Total Fat 22 g, Saturated Fat 10 g, Cholesterol 105 mg, Carbohydrate 25 g, Protein 26 g, Sodium 710 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook's Tip: This recipe can be assembled up to one night in advance. Prepare through Step 2; cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, let baker stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 21-23 minutes or until hot. Proceed as recipe directs.

Spicy enchilada sauce can be used for more kick.

Shopping List
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 medium onion
1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce
12 (6-in.) corn tortillas
3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
Additional chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

June 19, 2009

Back in the Kitchen

Sorry I disappeared for a while. I had some "technical" difficulties with... life? blogging? business? Don't ask! But I am back. I will try to catch you up on some things. And hopefully do a lot more posting.

So I last left you with some menu ideas. We LOVED the Sweat & Saucey Meatballs. I might have to make those again. Where did I find that recipe? I will post it when I find it. My boys LOVE the Cheesy Tortellini Bake. This is the second time I made this. It is easy and yummy.

Here is that recipe:

1/2 C chopped onion
1 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 jar (16 oz.) white Alfredo pasta sauce
2 pkgs. (9oz.ea.) refrigerated cheese-filled regular or spinach tortellini
1 1/2 C cubed cooked chicken
1 C milk
1 C water
1 C frozen peas
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

Crumb topping
1/4 C (1 oz.) grated fresh paremesan cheese
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 C fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 400F. For pasta mixture, chop onion using Food Chopper. In 4-qt. Casserole, heat oil over med-hi heat; add onion and garlic, pressed with Garlic Press. Cook and stir 2-3 min. or until onion is tender. Stir in pasta sauce, tortellini, chicken, milk, water, peas and pepper. Heat until mixture just come to a boil; remove from heart. Stir basil into mixture.

2. Meanwhile, for crumb topping, grate Parmesan cheese using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Place butter in Small Micro-Cooker; micorwave on hi 30-45 sec. or until melted. Stir in bread crumbs and cheese; mix well.

3. Spoon pasta mixture into Square Baker; sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake 15-20 min. or until edges are bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Tips: Do NOT substitute refrigerated Alfredo sauce for Alfredo sauce in a jar; it may separate and curdle during baking.