Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Arkansas Strawberry Shortcake

The Arkansas strawberries are ready! Yes strawberries are available in the markets most of the year but they are not Arkansas strawberries. The Arkansas berries are small, sweet, juicy and red all the way through.

My husband brought home several quarts yesterday so I spent the morning preparing the berries for strawberry shortcake for dinner and had a couple of quarts to put in the freezer for later.

First the berries must be capped. I find a paring knife is the most effective method to accomplish this.

I run cold water into my salad spinner and toss the capped berries in for a couple of rinses. Sand, soil and leaves are rinsed away.

Then I give them a spin to dry them.

Slice the berries and add sugar. I use a potato masher to mix the sugar and create juice. The amount of sugar is a matter of preference.

Ready for shortcake and a couple of quarts for the freezer.

There are several options for the shortcake. My grandmother made a sweet biscuit that is the traditional Southern shortcake. Another option is pie crust. I like the crunch of the pie crust especially when the berries are very juicy. Today I used a pound cake mix.

Assemble the cake and berries, top with topping of your choice.

There is no right or wrong way to make strawberry shortcake. I guess the "Supreme Strawberry Shortcake" would be my grandmother's homemade sweet biscuits and real fresh whipped cream. That said, I think my grandmother would have enjoyed the shortcake I prepared for supper.

♥andPeace, Myra

Simple Wreath

I wanted a wreath for my door. The ones I see around town are just not to my taste. They are downright gaudy in my opinion. My Mom bought one last year that would attack you as you entered the house it was so big. If that wasn't bad enough the mosquitoes nested in it so she had to take it down! And what is with all that netting stuff? Those wreaths look like Mardi Gras exploded on the door. No offense to folks who find that sort of thing attractive but it is not for me. The other option, available at craft stores, are overpriced and fake looking.

I decided to make my own. I bought a couple of medium sized grapevine wreaths and a few sprigs of somewhat simple and somewhat realistic greenery and flowers at a craft store. I had painted floral wire and wire cutters at home. That is basically all that is needed to make a simple wreath.

I collected my supplies and headed to the garage work-shop. I snipped the greenery and flowers from the main branches.  Then I attached the pieces of greenery to the wreath with the floral wire until I was satisfied with the arrangement.

The result - understated but welcoming.

I made one for the garage door too.

♥and Peace, Myra

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Add a Little Color

During the holidays a friend shared with me a simple sewing project with purpose. She volunteers at a "soup kitchen" that provides several meals each week for the homeless and hungry in the community. At Christmas they distributed pillowcases they had made with the holiday meal.  Here is the link for the site she uses for patterns, There is information about the project including where to donate your pillowcases. There is even a how to video for the "roll it up" pattern.  If there is a need in your community perhaps you could start a mission of your own.

While shopping for fabric last week I noticed an older lady with several bolts of fabric in her shopping cart. She was matching patterns as she shopped. I inquired and sure enough she was making pillowcases for children with cancer. She was having such a good time selecting the fun children's patterns for her project.

If you are not inclined to donate your handiwork it is still a fun, simple project to add a little color to your home. I heard of a grandmother who gives her grandchildren a new  pillowcase when they come for a visit that they can take home with them when they leave. I think they make nice hostess gifts.

I am still practicing my sewing skills. I started out with some scraps I already had.

Fabric From My Scrap Box
Then I moved on to the fun part - fabric selection. I bought a couple of combinations at the local fabric store, Fabrics 'N More. I can spend hours checking out the new patterns. I selected a couple of combinations that I thought would work in my bedroom.

The New Fabric Cut and Ready to Assemble
Now For the Fun Part
Almost Finished

A Little Bit of Color for My White Summer Bed
The Second Option
Ready for the Cutting Table
On a recent trip to Hobby Lobby I enjoyed selecting new fabric for more pillowcases. I spent several hours in the fabric department visiting with other shoppers. There were young mothers with their children as well as older women all on a mission to find just the perfect fabric to create something useful and pretty. The fabric department employees were friendly and efficient and joined in the camaraderie.

♥and Peace, Myra

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken and Rice (or Noddles)

I love trying new recipes.  I have made this several times with good results. It is the easiest and best chicken and rice recipe I've ever made. Here goes.

Gather the ingredients:

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese (softened)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small can mushrooms
1 package Italian dressing seasoning (small packet sold in the salad dressing isle)

1 cup rice of your choice (cook as directed on package). Prepare the rice when your chicken is ready to serve.

Stir the softened cream cheese, cream of chicken soup and Italian dressing seasoning together in the crock pot. Mixing is made easier by adding these ingredients to the crock pot and turning on low for a little while.

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with the cream cheese/soup mixture.

Cook on the Low Setting for 4-6 hours, depending on the temperature of your crock pot and the size of the chicken breasts.

I like to cut the chicken into bite sized pieces before serving over a bed of basmati rice. It is also good served over egg noodles.

Note: You may use frozen chicken breasts without thawing. Cook on High Setting for 4-6 hours.

♥Peace, Myra