Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fire Cracker Ice Cream Cake

The sparks will fly...
this 4th of July!
When you make a
Fire Cracker Ice Cream Cake

for a red, white and ooh...yeah, finish on a spectacular night!
Here's the starring cast of characters, frozen yogurt, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, cool whip, star shaped cookies, and raspberry sorbet...AND VANILLA WAFERS! This is the first time I have used Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches. I have used Fatboys even...your choice. This time my man made all the choices!
Begin by crushing vanilla wafers and blending in milk just until mixture holds together.
Spray a 9" spring-form pan with non-stick spray. Now work really quickly. Cutting 4 ice cream sandwiches in quarters; cut in half length wise and across. Quickly line the sides of your pan, packing them snugly together, and then do the same with the remaining sandwiches.
Spoon the crushed wafers into the middle of your pan. Press firmly over the bottom of the pan. Now cover well and freeze for 1 hour.
During your free hour, make your fire crackers! You'll need vanilla melts, marshmallows, red and blue sugar, and wooden skewers.
Melt the vanilla melts in your microwave stirring every 15 seconds till it's smooth.
Dip in vanilla melts coating the end of the marshmallow and a little up the sides.
Carefully dip into the red or blue sugar.
I dipped both can swirl and creative!

After 45 minutes soften your yogurt, ice cream, or sorbet for 15 minutes....
So your cake's been in the freezer for 1 hour, add the softened yogurt...or your choice...I've used everything and it turns out great!
Then add the second layer...
again...the third layer...
Cover with thawed whipped topping....
Fire crackers...
and star cookies...
After my Fire Cracker Cake spent a frigid night in my big freezer, I discovered the freezer had mysteriously been turned down. Our life was so much easier when we had 5 kids at home to blame this kinda stuff on... anyway, after a few gooey, melty pictures, it's tucked back in for another night. However, even soft my man inhaled the missing piece and said it was a sizzling success! It's easy to make and always turns out fantastic.
Hooray! Here she is fully-frozen and easy to slice, showing off her red, white and whoo!

Fire Cracker Ice Cream Cake
  • 20 Vanilla Wafer cookies
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 8 to 10 ice cream sandwiches, depending on size
  • 1 pint blueberry ice cream or sorbet
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint raspberry sorbet
  • 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • red and blue star shaped sugar cookies (optional)
Coat sides and bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line side with wax paper, using spray to help adhere to pan. Finely crush the vanilla wafers in a food processor (or blender). Add milk; pulse just until mixture holds together. Set aside. (Now, another pair of hands helps for this next part if you can get them...I have done it by myself though) Unwrap 4 ice cream sandwiches. Working quickly, cut each into quarters, in half long wise and then across. Stack strips of sandwiches to form a stand up edge. Repeat with remaining sandwiches to form a stand-up edge. Spoon cookie crumbs into the center of the pan; press firmly over bottom. Freeze 1 hour. * Remove all 3 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet from the freezer and let soften at room temperature for 15 minutes. When softened, (not completely) add food color if you'd like. Remove pan from the freezer. Spread 1st layer of ice cream on the bottom, top with the next one, and then the last one. Top with thawed whipped topping, swirling top decoratively. Top with sprinkles and star cookies. Cover well and return to freezer. Freeze overnight. To serve, remove the sides of pan, then waxed paper. Add fire cracker decorations. Cut into wedges.

To make decorative fire crackers: In a mug, melt white, vanilla melts in the microwave, at 15 second intervals. Using a wooden skewer, poke a marshmallow and dip it in the coating and then into red or blue sugar. Let it dry on a parchment lined jelly-roll pan. Repeat, dipping the other end. Dip 12 marshmallows to make 3 fire crackers. Refrigerate till set. Next, thread the marshmallows unto a long wood skewer. Cut the top and bottom off of a party straw (Target, of course), with red and blue streamers. Push the pointed end of the streamer into the ice-cream cake. Insert the straw over the top of the skewer and push it into the top marshmallow to secure.

BOOM...Get ready for the sparks to fly...enjoy and happy 4th all!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Northwood's Inn Red Slaw

Meet our new baby, Sam!
Take two redheads, add two more redheads, and create a furry everywhere you go!
Big brother, Carter was so thrilled baby Sam is here and he looks just like baby Carter did. I love his wiggly-tiny toes and soft, fuzzy, hairline. What a sweet, special little family. I'm so happy for them...
and for me!
Being a grandma is the best time of life even with the wrinkles and color-less old hair! It's hard for me to believe how fast life is whizzing by. Seems like just yesterday I was a young girl, dating and having the time of my life, with few cares! I wouldn't go back though, for all the 'bout you?

Which brings me to today and a red-hot head of cabbage!
I just adore red-cabbage and it's perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. I love the bright color it adds to any plate. In my teens my friends and I would have escapades at The Northwoods Inn, in Covina, CA. It was a boisterous place where we threw peanut shells on the floor, could laugh and make noise, as we celebrated before and after dances, and had enjoyable food. I remember how amazing the red slaw they served along-side steaks, chicken and ribs was. I worked to duplicate it, and I have been making it ever since.
Northwoods Inn Red Slaw
You can chop away, or use a food processor...notice I've worn a hole in my pulse button! Can't live without it! You'll need a big beautiful red head of cabbage. Cut it up and shred away. I use my #2 blade to make half of it real fine and the #4 blade to make half more coarse. It's just more interesting.
My processor is a 11 cup model and I fill my bowl twice, dumping it into a large bowl that has a lid.
Make a delicious, fresh dressing, or use your favorite Italian man likes the zesty-Italian brand. I make it both ways and it's always enjoyed and admired by all...either way it's super easy!
Cover the cabbage in the bowl and toss. Next I put the lid on and toss it around too, just to make sure all the cabbage is covered with dressing so it can marinate. Now tuck it in the fridge to blend and soften for most of the day or preferably overnight.
Serve it with almost anything. It's marvelous along side all the traditional, potato salads, coleslaw, pasta and fruit salads. This recipe is often requested by friends and family alike. When I tell them how to make it they don't believe I'm giving them the full recipe because it's so simple...but I do, I promise!

Northwood's Inn Red Slaw
  • 1 large head of red cabbage
  • 1 cup oil, I use canola or olive
  • 1 cup plus 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar (or I use about 1 dropper of liquid stevia)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
Shred cabbage and mix all dressing ingredients together, or use a bottle of your favorite Italian dressing. Refrigerate most of the day or overnight to allow flavors to mellow, cabbage to soften, and to achieve the deep red color.

Here's to red-hot parties all summer long!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Good Shepherd

I had a sweet experience today. A friend of mine who teaches a 4 year-old Primary children's class, at my church, asked me if I would be their teacher today.

The lesson was titled, Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd. I wanted each child to understand that every person is important to Jesus Christ. In Luke, chapter 15, verses 4-6 we are taught what a good shepherd does when a sheep is lost. Jesus taught in parables and this story was about a shepherd and his lost sheep. We learn that he left 99 of his sheep to find the lost one. When he found him, "he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing."

As I looked at the faces of 8 of his little lambs, I know that what I taught them was true. Jesus Christ loves all of us. We are important to Him, and He cares about each one of us.

Knowing that my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me gives me great joy and comfort each day. I am so glad I had the chance to teach this today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five On Friday

Lisa, "Mr. Charming," and Coco the cat, share a week in pictures as they make-over the corner of their backyard. At Recaptured Charm we get to watch the creation, from start to finish, of their new Fire Pit Patio. It just makes me want to rip out the old and put in the new, finding fabulous!
A gal who calls herself, Sweet Little Smoothie has a delightful new, go-to-shower gift she can personalize for brides, Tea Towel Shower Cake. I can see making one for a baby gift with receiving blankets and all the ideas we used to throw in baskets! Thanks Sweet, for a cute new idea.
I've so enjoyed a fun and fresh "Watermelon Week" of mouthwatering recipes shared by Joni at Red Couch Recipes. Frappe, watermelon crispy treats, and ice cream all celebrate the 1st week of summer yummy days with family and friends.
Sherri says, "Summer is a new Americana Quilt ...just in time for the Fourth of July and her patriotic decor! She's in love with this quilt, and I'm in love with her beautiful pictures and great ideas at A Quilting Life.
Easy Peasy Grandma, Donene, pulled out all the stops with her adorable re-purposed table and chairs that she painted and Mod Poged with paper tiles. She's Finished! with her patio make-over and ready for a sunny summer!

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Have an inspired weekend all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Black Bean Tostadas with Chili Lime Dressing

Yesterday I watched 2 barn swallows who'd built a nest together up under a front porch. I was inside the house looking out the front entry windows and wishing for my camera.
They were taking turns on the nest. One would swoop and fly out from under the porch and then return to the nest while the other flew out...I was fascinated by them. My man and our Realtor laughed at me. I wasn't even interested in seeing the house!

We've been with our youngest son and DIL this week. After 7 weeks of bed rest, Monday she no longer had any restrictions. I watched our anxious Dad, and excited but nervous Mom, during this time of nesting. Their baby due in a month, trying to go about life, but both feeling so uncertain of the days and weeks ahead...

Last night I fixed a family favorite,
Black Bean Tostadas with Chili-Lime Dressing
It's a light and flavorful vegetarian meal, or we like to grill chicken breasts to slice and serve on top. Last night we added the chicken. Here's how it went down...
I like to serve it with chips and My Three Boys Salsa and guacamole.
Early in the day, I thinly sliced red onion and marinated it in red wine vinegar. I also mixed up the chili-lime dressing, and refrigerated both.
After a busy day it's extra easy, getting it ready to serve. Rinse and drain black beans and corn. Shred lettuce and cilantro, chop tomatoes, (or I used cherry tomatoes this round) and shred cheese. Drain black olives too.
Now layer, layer, layer...a little like nest building!
I like to buy these crispy tostada shells, the more authentic the better.
Place a shell on each plate. Add drained black beans, corn and shredded cheese.
Microwave for 60 seconds.
Continue to layer, lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, black olives and red onion rings.
Top with grilled chicken, if desired, and drizzle with chili-lime dressing. Be sure to pass all your favorite toppings, sour cream and guacamole for sure!

Black Bean Tostadas with Chili-Lime Dressing
  • 1 pkg. prepared tostada shells
  • 3 cans rinsed and drained black beans
  • 2 cans drained corn
  • 1 head shredded lettuce, I use romaine
  • 5 chopped tomatoes, or grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lb. shredded jack cheese
  • 1 can pitted black olives
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Early in the day, thinly slice red onion and marinate in vinegar. Mix up chili-lime dressing. Rinse black beans and drain well. Add drained corn. Shred lettuce, chop cilantro, chop tomatoes, and shred jack cheese. Drain black olives. To assemble each tostada layer: shell, black beans and corn, and shredded cheese. Microwave for 60 seconds. Continue to layer with: lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, olives and red onion rings. Add grilled chicken breast, if desired. Drizzle with Chili-lime Dressing. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Makes 6 to 8 tostadas.

Chili-lime Dressing
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. sugar (or stevia)
Mix and chill.

Now for the rest of the story...we sat down to eat our yummy tostadas. I could see our DIL breathing heavily and realized she was watching the clock! Sure enough, around 2:30 AM this morning, our little early bird arrived! He is healthy and strong, 6 lbs. 9 oz and 20 1/2" long at 36 weeks. He is their 2nd son, our 10th grandson and 15th precious grandchild. I feel so blessed.

Happiness to all of you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blueberry Banana Yogurt Pops and Chunky Strawberry Margarita Pops

Summer's officially here...and it's gonna be a blast!
Sun, surf, pool parties, picnics, fireworks, camping, grilling and cool, easy, treats, that's what our family looks forward to....
Fruity Yogurt Pops...
a cool-blast from the past treat, that's good-for you fun!
Here's the low-down...
I bought these awesome molds, (I really like them) at Target...wish I had stock in their company! There are a couple of different varieties to choose from. Of course, you can use a stick and paper cups, but these will last and last...a real summer blast.
Fill the molds with your favorite juice, syrup, smoothie or other liquid, in this case yogurt and fruit. Snap caps over tops of molds, freeze. Remove ice pops from mold. If necessary dip into warm water to loosen. Flip and place narrow end of cap into mold for a convenient holder.
Drain yogurt in a colander that is lined with coffee filters or cheesecloth works too. Cover and put in the fridge for several hours till it's a soft cheese consistency. Actually, what you've achieved is a thick Greek yogurt, high in protein and good for you...
Mix ripe banana with yogurt and a drop or two of yellow food-coloring, and set aside.

Cook fresh blueberries in a skillet, stirring and smashing till it's saucy.

Push cooked blueberries through a strainer and you'll have a smooth sauce.
Now for the fun! Layer by alternating tablespoons of banana-yogurt and blueberry sauce. Use a wooden skewer to swirl the two layers together.
End with the yogurt layer and then top with the snug little caps. Freeze for at least 6 hours.

Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Pops
  • 1 cup drained low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup honey or stevia
  • 2 drops yellow food color
Mix yogurt and bananas well together. In a skillet, cook, stirring and smashing blueberries till they are saucy. Then press through a strainer and let blueberry sauce cool a bit. Alternate tablespoons of yogurt and sauce till molds are full to the top. Cap with tops and freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

For the Chunky-Strawberry Margarita Pops
    I used my immersion blender to chunk up my fresh berries. You can use a food processor or blender too.

    Mix the yogurt and margarita mix together and add a little green and yellow food color if desired. Again, layer by tablespoons into molds.

    Swirl the strawberries and yogurt together. Top with yogurt, cap and freeze!

    Chunky-Strawberry Margarita Pops
    • 1 cup drained low-fat plain yogurt
    • 1/2 cup margarita mix
    • 1 cup ripe strawberries
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 drop green food coloring
    • 1 drop yellow food coloring
    Have a berry fun blast together all!