Strawberries have a special place in my heart – not only are they delicious, but they also remind me of summers picking strawberries with my Grandpa. His sister lived on a farm, and every morning he would take my brother and me to the farm to pick a bushel of berries.
Most of them would be sold at the farm’s roadside stand (I believe we were paid .25 cents for each quart we picked), but he always brought at least one basket of fresh berries back home. My grandmother would spend the summer making homemade strawberry jam, strawberry pies, and of course strawberry shortcake. I never got tired of eating strawberries, but I sure did get sick of picking them!
In the spirit of family tradition, I introduced my son to the joy of picking strawberries. Of course, we only picked for about 20 minutes – not 2 hours :). He really enjoyed it, and was happy when I poured some of my berries in his bucket so he could have more than me (the things we do for our kids). We picked about 10 quarts and only paid 6 dollars, definitely a bargain.
And of course we had strawberry shortcake for dessert that night. In my opinion, you can’t beat the Bisquick shortcake recipe. I grew up on it and it still tastes the best to me! You have to use Original (full fat) Bisquick for the tastiest result, although I have made it with the reduced fat kind and it still tastes good. You also have to use REAL whipped cream. I like to add about 1/4 cup of powered sugar to my whipped cream to give it a hint of sweetness.
1. Heat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and the butter until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 6 spoonfuls.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
4. Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.
This Sunday, instead of watching the Pats and Giants in the Super Bowl – why don’t you plan on having a Sewing Bowl? You can still have all the great snacks and watch the new commercials on Hulu! This is a great excuse to get your sewing buddies together and get caught up on some of your unfinished projects. I will be spending some time with my Civil Sewing Circle and working on the blocks for my civil war quilt.
Here’s a recipe for some delicious Smores bars that will be great for whatever you plan to do on Sunday. They are easy to make and easy to eat! Just don’t get crumbs on your fabric.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.55-ounce) chocolate bars
1 (7-ounce) jar of marshmallow creme
Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the crushed graham crackers, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat until well mixed, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Spoon half the dough into the pan and spread evenly with your fingertips. Break the chocolate into pieces and arrange over the dough. Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Flatten the remaining dough into pancakes and lay them over the marshmallow.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let the bars cool before serving. Makes 16 bars. Nutritional Information
Per serving (1 bar): Calories 200 ● Total Fat 9 g ● Saturated Fat 5 g ● Cholesterol 30 mg ● Sodium 145 mg ● Total Carbohydrate 28 g ● Fiber .5 g ● Sugars 17 g ● Protein 2 g
Three (actually two and half) sewing days until Christmas!! I am sure many of you are busily finishing up your hand crafted gifts so they are ready to be opened Christmas morning! But, what if things aren’t going as planned and you find yourself in the same dilemma as my friend Jen:
Dear Keep It Thimble,I’m guessing most people are experiencing what I am right now, which is last minute Xmas-freak-outs. I’m trying to decide if I should give up on some of my gifts. I had planned on making PJ pants for all the kids, and reversible totes for the girls.So far, I have 1 and ¾ PJS done. The third pair is not even cut out yet. Here is the clincher: Thursday and Friday will be spent getting ready for Xmas – so there is no time to sew. Do I have time to make 3 bags and 1+ jammies before then? What would you do?
Great question Jen, and I wanted to share this since I am sure many people are in the same boat. I, like you, had grand plans to make all my Christmas gifts this year. Last Friday, I came to the realization that I didn’t have time to get all my gifts finished.* So, I baked homemade treats for my friends and bought things from the store for my family (gasp). In the meantime, I decided that birthdays are the best time to give someone a handmade gift. That way you have more time to make each person something special and unique, and you don’t paint yourself in a corner and end up sewing like a maniac for 2 – 3 days (something you want to avoid at the holidays since there are other things that will need your attention).
In your case, I think you should try to finish up the PJs and then make the bags for either a birthday gift, or a New Year’s present. If it is a New Year present, you can put a book or a calendar in there – a new start for the year or something.
*Of course, it was my fault for procrastinating too much, and had I started them in September (as planned), things would have turned out differently.
Also, if you do find that you need to bake instead, here is a delicious (and easy fudge recipe):
1-1/2 pounds white candy coating, coarsely chopped
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped gumdrops
Line a 9-in. square pan with foil; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the candy coating, milk and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and gumdrops.
Spread into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Using foil, remove fudge from the pan; cut into 1-in. squares. Store at room temperature. Yield: about 3 pounds.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 piece) equals 74 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 11 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, trace protein.
Originally published as Gumdrop Fudge in Quick Cooking November/December 2002, p9
Have a great holiday and remember to Keep It Thimble!
You know how you can get those sinfully delicious caramel apples at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory? Well, you can make these at home too! Over the holidays I purchased a package of caramel wraps for apples – the kind that contain a flattened circle of caramel that you can wrap around an apple.
While you are melting the caramel apple in the oven, melt a 1/4 cup of candy coating pieces (your choice of color) and 3 tbps. of chocolate chips in separate dishes. Scoop the melted candy coating over the apple and then drizzle with the melted chocolate chips. Place in fridge for about 10 minutes until apple has cooled. Or you can do what my son did, and use the chocolate chips for embellishment.
You could also make a totally decadent chocolate caramel apple by melting Brach’s caramels, dipping the apple, letting it cool, and then dipping into melted chocolate. For the piece de resistance you could roll in crumbled Oreos and then drizzle with chocolate. Wow, I am hungry now!
I’ll have more sewing information this week. Check back on Monday for my first book review of the year!