Tag Archives: summer

Strawberry Shortcakes (from scratch – without a packaged mix)

P1050852Sunshine, Summer, Simplicity, Strawberries, and Shortcakes. They just all go together too well to not make this dessert at least once this summer!

Strawberry Shortcakes make such a pretty little dessert to the eye and a yummy dessert to the taste!

There are many different styles of this classic berry treat. Some people use pound cake or a plain yellow cake, and some people prefer angel food cakes to absorb those yummy strawberries!

My personal favorite version is with the slightly sweet individual biscuit-like shortcakes. The most well-known way to make these are with a pre-packaged biscuit mix, like Bisquick.

But, you can make them quick as a wink on your own with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. This will be cheaper, as well as better for you than a packaged and preserved mix.

These shortcakes are buttery, slightly sweet, with a fluffy inside and a little crunch on the outside from the sprinkled sugar!

Here’s how to make them!

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Buttery Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

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This buttery dish of veggies is delicious served alone, or as a topping for baked potato, or served over pasta! Yum!

We eat a lot of squash in the summer! And, if this popular plant is a part of your garden, I bet your family eats a lot of it, too! Squash plants are notorious for giving you a bountiful harvest- often faster than you can eat it. But I do love this veggie, and am always craving it by the time summer rolls around!

So, if you’re wondering what to do with all the yellow squash that you keep gathering from the garden, I can tell you this is a delicious solution.

Squash, mushrooms, and onion are simply sauteed in butter, which becomes like a ‘sauce’ for the veggies. So good! Add to that- it’s also very quick, easy!

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Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

P1040526When I was growing up, my mom always made blueberry muffins on my birthday. I can remember waking up those mornings, and I could smell the sweet smell of blueberries from my bed. What a great start to a morning!

Well, it’s not my birthday, but it is summer and it is blueberry season around here. I have a bunch of blueberries in my refrigerator- little hands (and big hands) can frequently be seen sneaking a handful!

But I have plans for those P1040542blueberries. And this was one of them…my favorite Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins- moist, lightly sweet, and bursting with blueberries!

I’ve tried other similar recipes, but always come back to this one I’ve been making for years now.

It’s a good’un!

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Blueberry Parfaits with Homemade Vanilla Pudding

P1040404Sunday afternoon is family time with my side of the family. Ever since I can remember, my family has always held to the tradition of a big Sunday Dinner (lunch) as a family. I’m so thankful my mom continues to put the time into these big meals. I know they are a lot of work! My ‘part’ in the Sunday meal each week is dessert. So, this past Sunday, I wanted to do something with blueberries we picked last week.

I chose these blueberry parfaits. Such a simple dessert as far as the concept goes- just layers of vanilla pudding, blueberries, and whipped cream. Oh, but it was just what I was looking for- Light, comforting, simple, fresh and eye-catching, too! The blueberries bring the perfect burst along with the creaminess from the pudding and cream.

The homemade vanilla pudding is what makes the dessert extra special. (Packaged instant -puddings are one of the products I no longer buy- I’d rather not serve the chemicals and preservatives with my pudding, if you don’t mind! See the ingredient list here) Homemade pudding is not hard to make. It just takes a little extra time and effort at the stove-top. But you will be pleasantly surprised at the light, yet rich flavor of real pudding.

Finish the parfaits by layering the pudding, blueberries and fresh whipped cream.

Delicious!

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (no eggs)

vanilla ice creamVanilla ice cream is so basic. I love it. Its flavor is simple and pure and light. If I’m eating ice cream by itself, I might not choose vanilla- It will probably be chocolate or raspberry.  However, if I am going to be adding any toppings or sauces or eating it along with cake or pie- it HAS to be vanilla!! No contest! Its simple subtle flavor doesn’t compete with the other components, rather just compliments everything perfectly! Yep- good ‘ol plain vanilla might be the ‘boring’ ice cream flavor to some, but I think it’s the perfect backdrop to a beautiful dessert!

P1030855We recently went strawberry picking, which is always a favorite springtime event. I hope to go one more time before the strawberry season is over because there are just so many wonderful ways to eat strawberries! One of our very favorite ways is on top of vanilla ice cream! So simple, but so delicious.

This Vanilla Ice Cream is similar to the recipe for my Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream. However, I opted to use a higher ratio of heavy cream, and obviously a heavy dose of vanilla!

I was so pleased with the outcome. The vanilla flavor shined bright! And our strawberries looked beautiful on top and tasted great, too!

PRINTABLE RECIPE

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Slow Cooker ‘Baked Beans’ (made-from-scratch..not canned)

P1030813Baked Beans! They’re sweet and saucy and a favorite staple at summer cookouts. I love eating deviled eggs topped with a little taste of baked beans- or a little coleslaw and a little baked beans on the fork together. Perfect combination!

I’ve been in the process of replacing the processed foods that my family eats. Slowly but surely, progress is being made and I am finding acceptable replacements. One of these foods that we enjoy that needed replacing was canned baked beans.

I had tried a few different variations of ingredients, looking for a similar taste as the Baked beans I was used to, but kept falling short.

BUT- I am finally pleased with this version I am sharing today! You even start with dry beans- nothing canned!

But, you might be thinking- “Sorry, Kari, I don’t want to be going through the whole soaking beans process and get that involved just to have something simple like baked beans.”  And I say- “Yes- I completely agree! But you don’t have to do all that. This uses a slow-cooker- and there is not preliminary soaking required. Start the beans in the morning, go about your day, and with just a couple other steps, you will have baked beans-completely from scratch- for dinner!” How does that sound?

PRINTABLE RECIPE

  • 1 1/2 cups dry white great northern beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 12-15 c. water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • Large squirt of ketchup (i recommend an organic variety)
  • Large squirt mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 whole onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a Green or Red pepper, chopped

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Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream (No eggs)

P1020687Confession: Ice cream is my downfall. I love, love, love it. My favorite way to end the day is to sit down on the sofa, cuddled in a blanket and a big bowl of ice cream in hand. I blame my father for this habit as he modeled this very routine to us children in our growing up years, night after night, bowl after bowl. And now, I (and my younger brother, too) are ice cream addicts- no small bowl will do- it must be large- a freezer with no ice cream in it is a very sad sight, indeed.

So- now that you now I am an ice cream addict, let’s move on and get to the point of this post!

I didn’t want to look at the ingredients of ice cream at the store. I just preferred to not KNOW what junk was in my ice cream. But, I did it anyway- and wasn’t really surprised when i saw the long list of weird and un-pronounceable ingredients. **sigh**.

So, I have begun to experiment with some different homemade ice cream recipes. I want to find several “go-to” recipes that I can use on a regular basis. And really- if the thought of homemade ice cream seems too involved, try to scratch that thought. It really is easy and does not take much time. All you have to do it mix up the ingredients, pour it in the ice cream maker’s canister. Then pour in ice and rock salt around it, plug it in, and the machine does the rest of the work. Your prep time for this recipe is 10 minutes maybe?

Also, this recipe does not have a custard base. I do want to try some of those in the near future, but this one is simply, cream, milk, sugar, cocoa. So, no cooking is involved, no tempering eggs. It’s quick, creamy, and delicious! You can clearly taste the creamy base. I also have not had a problem with this recipe becoming rock-hard in the freezer. Some homemade ice creams will do that. But this one has remained soft enough to scoop right out. The flavor reminds me a little bit of the taste of a Wendy’s frosty- in that it is not a real deep chocolate, but a lighter chocolate taste. We have loved it! And, of course, I have eaten more than I should! Don’t be like me!

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