Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ohio Berries Make Yummy Strawberry Shortcake

Happy Father's Day!

I woke up my husband. Once he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and drank his first second cup of coffee, I asked him what he wanted to do today after we went to church. He said the Ohio berries are in. Let's go get some before they're all gone. He's so funny. Like all the berries in Ohio would be gone if we didn't get them today.

After church we headed to Aufdenkamp's Farm Market just outside of Vermilion to pick some berries. However, the Fish Festival Parade was marching toward our car, so we had to make a u-turn and head to Aufdenkamp's via the back roads. Side note: The Fish Festival is held annually in June for three days Friday through Sunday - great food, lots of vendors, and games for the kiddies.

In the end we didn't pick our berries. We purchased a flat, eight quarts, of fresh just picked today strawberries. Matt decided with so many berries that we should not only bake strawberry shortcake, but also make strawberry preserves. It's father's day, and I said we would do whatever he wanted to do today. But that's a different story for a different blog post.

Once we returned home I began baking the strawberry shortcake.

I want to share the recipe for strawberry shortcake with you. I adapted it from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Here goes:

Ingredients for the cake:                         
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk (I used coconut milk.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for cream filling:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for berry filling:
  • 2 pints (4 cups) ripe strawberries, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour 9 1/2 x 12 baking pan.

To make the cake: 

In a small bowl, combine the self-rising flour and the all-purpose flour. Set this aside for the time being.

Using a mixer on medium speed you cream the two sticks of butter. This should take about 3 minutes. The butter will look smooth. 

Add the sugar a little at a time and beat until fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.

Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract. With each addition beat until it's incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Use your spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for one hour.

To make the cream filling:

In a mixer, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. (I only make enough whipped cream for the number of pieces of cake I'm going to be serving. The cream melts, and I don't like to refrigerate cake because it dries out.)
To make the berry filling:

Gently toss the berries with the sugar until they're evenly coated.

To assemble the cake:

Cut each person one piece of cake, about two inches by two inches. Next slice the piece of cake horizontally through the middle so that you have a top and bottom. Spread a good amount of whipped cream on the bottom piece of cake. Add some of the berries to the whipped cream. Place the top of the cake on the whipped cream and berries. Finish off with whipped cream and berries on the top of the piece of cake and serve. 


It was delicious. I hope you enjoy some fresh Ohio berries before they're all gone. Have a wonderful week.


Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Habits Baby Steps

I decided to create some new habits once summer began. I'm starting small with just three habits for the first week. These habits focus on the bedroom, kitchen, and me. I got the idea, at least the one about the kitchen, from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

1. Bedroom - The moment I get up and out of bed I make it. Even before I visit the restroom or let Bella out, I make the bed. It takes a mere five minutes. I pull up the sheets and the comforter then place the pillows on top. A made bed makes the room look a little more tidy. Plus it gives Sebastien a nice place to curl up for a cat nap.

At night when I'm getting ready for bed, I put on my pjs and place my hubby's and my dirty clothes in the hamper instead of piling them on my floor. I'm We're clutter bugs. Growing up I drove my Mom crazy with my clothes spilling from several different piles all over the floor of my room. Dirty or clean, it didn't matter and typically I struggled figuring out which pile was which. Gross. Right? That bad habit lingered. Until this week. When you walk into my bedroom, you can see my floor, clothes-free.

2. Kitchen - Before I go to bed, I wash the dishes. So far it's been nice not having to face a  HUMONGOUS pile of dishes in the morning. Sometimes when I let things go, like the dishes, they pile up, literally. You know, like the clothes in my room. Then I feel overwhelmed and angry that the dishes are piling up in the sink and on the counters. Angrily, I wash them all. However, since I've been washing the dishes each night before bed, I'm not feeling overwhelmed and instead of feeling angry, I have a feeling of accomplishment.

Once the dishes are finished I wipe down the counters, then the kitchen table, and finally the stove. Everything is shiny and the kitchen smells of lemons. I love it. When I wake in the morning and go into the kitchen to make my coffee, I feel like the day is off to a good start.

3. Exercise - I have struggled with my weight since high school. We joined the YMCA in our town and have been going twice a week. Well, Matt and Michael have been going twice a week. I seemed to stay later and later after school. As a result I couldn't make it to the YMCA to fit in my workout. So now I'm back to twice a week to begin. I want to increase it to four days a week. Not necessarily going to the YMCA, but walking or riding my bike.

So far I've discovered that if I do a little bit every day then things don't seem to pile up, and I don't feel so overwhelmed. I can also have people pop over, like my friend Amy when she and her darling daughter delivered their pet hamster Nutmeg. Michael is hamster sitting. Typically, I would be running around like a crazy lady putting things away and cleaning up before people came over for a visit. When Amy called to come over with Nutmeg I said "Come on over any time." I didn't run around like a crazy lady. The house was tidy. Tad-dah!


Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, June 7, 2013

Peonies and Pitchers

I love flowers. I think I get that love from my grandmother, MomMom. MomMom spent hours working in her flowerbeds and formal garden. In the backyard the boxwood hedge of MomMom's formal garden sheltered several pink peony bushes. The lush pink peonies framed the two back corners of the garden, one on each side behind the fountain. 

When we moved to our little blue house in Vermilion, MomMom gave me a start of one of her peony bushes to add to my flowerbed. We planted the tiny sprig in the flowerbed under the windows of our back porch. That first summer it didn't bloom. However, the next year numerous purple peony sprigs peeked up through the soil. It's been seven years since we first planted MomMom's little peony sprig. Now my pink peony, luscious and sweet, bursts with beautiful pink blooms. I love the smell of peonies. When the blooms begin to open, I cut some to bring in the house. 

This year I placed them in MomMom's blue pitcher that used to sit on top of the cupboard above the oven. It was one of the mementos I brought home. I just love fresh flowers, especially in pitchers.

Last night, after washing the dishes, I snuggled under my blue and white blanket on the couch next to the glass topped table where the pitcher of peonies sat. I sipped my chamomile tea, smelling the aroma of the flowers, thinking of MomMom and remembering her fondly.

What a nice way to wrap up my day.


Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This Week's Midweek Confessions

Once again I've been following Elizabeth at E, Myself, and I. Here are my Midweek Confessions.

  • Monday I got up and made Michael ride the bus to school. I stayed in my pjs until noon. Noon. I just vegged (spelling?) on the couch all morning. All though I had been up since 2 a.m. (See below for the details.)

  • Remember the cat puke? Yeah. It's. still. there. under. the. bed. 

  • I spent two and a half hours at the salon yesterday getting my hair cut and colored. I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep in the chair. I had the head bobbing thing going on. My head jerked back and hit the hairdryer. People stared. My face turned red. I finally asked for a cup of coffee. It helped - a little. When I got home I peeked in on Michael who was home from school. He was sound asleep in his bed with his glasses still on his face. What a great idea! I took a nap myself. Ahhh!

  • Speaking of sleeping. . . if you haven't noticed, I've been TIRED all week, and it's only Wednesday. Sunday night at 2 a.m. Bella, my Yorkie, decided to sit in the kitchen and cry. Repeatedly. She's been a bad girl so she has been banned to the kitchen during the night. It's not that awful. She has her bed, food, water, toys, and piddle pad. Last night I caved. I let her back into the main part of the house for the evening so I could get some sleep. What kind of a message am I sending my dog?

  • I tried to create a new habit this week. I got the idea here: Daily Cleaning 101. I need all the help I can get as you well know from reading about the cat. Actually I began this new habit on Friday evening. Each evening before I go to bed, I take about 15 minutes to wash the dishes, wipe off the sink, counters, table, and stove. It actually makes me feel happy at the butt crack of dawn in the morning when I walk into a clean kitchen. I said trying in the first sentence. Yesterday I didn't take the time (15 whole minutes) to clean the kitchen. Now I'm faced with a sink full of dishes and takeout bags on the counter. And I'm still in my pjs. And tired.

  • People who don't support their local schools make. me. ANGRY! Last Wednesday I went to the school board meeting to hear the doomandgloom about our school's future. I also listened to the doomandgloom on our last day of school. I'm TIRED of the doomandgloom. We HAVE to pass a levy in August. We've already made cuts. TWICE. It's SAD. Great, young teachers lost their jobs because the May levy didn't pass. Programs are being cut. What kind of an education will our kids receive with 30 + students in the classroom? How do you say no to kids? I know. Hard economic times. I've felt it too. If the levy passes, it'll cost about $25 a month. That's dinner at McDonald's for my family. I can give up McDonald's once a month. It's definitely better for my health. Hmmm . . . Get healthy! Support your school!

Wow! Where did that energetic angry outburst come from?

What are you confessing this week?


Follow on Bloglovin