Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberries and Shades

Today is Pick Strawberries Day.

Although here in Wisconsin, it's about one month too early to be able to go to a berry patch and pick a quart or two. I love to make strawberry jam. The sweet smell that permeates the kitchen, the luscious red color in the jam jars, and the fact that I will be able to savor the sweet taste far into the cold winter months makes the task of picking them so worthwhile!

Here is a "little bit" of strawberry trivia and folklore for you to impress your friends and family:

  • The strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and red color.

  • If you find a double strawberry, break it in half and share it with a member of the opposite sex, you will soon fall in love with each other.

  • To symbolize perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.

  • The strawberry is a member of the rose family and is the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than the inside.

I also shared this recipe for "Chocolate Berry Shortcake":
2 c. baking mix 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg ¾ c. low-fat vanilla yogurt
3 Tbsp. honey 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 c. sliced strawberries 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ c. sweetened whipped cream or nondairy whipped topping
Preheat oven to 425. Combine baking mix, cocoa & nutmeg in medium bowl; mix well. Add yogurt, honey & oil, stirring until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet, 1” apart forming 6 shortcakes. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack & cool for 20 minutes. Combine strawberries & sugar in small bowl. Slice each cooled shortcake in half horizontally; place bottom halves on individual plates. Divide whipped cream and strawberries among shortcake bottoms. Top with remaining shortcake halves. Serve immediately.

It sounds YUMMY doesn't it?

If you have always been a fan of the children's classic, "Goodnight, Moon" then you'll want to be sure to get a copy of the new book, "The Fathers Are Coming Home".

Although Margaret Wise Brown (author of Goodnight, Moon, passed away in 1952, over 70 of her manuscripts were recently found in an old cedar trunk in a barn on her sister's farm. This new book was written to honor all the men (and fathers) that were soon to be coming home from WWII and its classic rhythm and lyrics will resonate with children and families today. (It would make a great fathers day gift idea!)

We also talked about wearing sunglasses. Just as it's so important to wear sunscreen, you need to protect your eyes. If you're going to be purchasing new "shades" for the summer make sure that the label says "99% or 100% unltraviolet blocking" instead of just "UV protection".

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