Friday, May 31, 2013

Sweet Summer Strawberry Sorbet

Summer temperatures are here!  Of course, in Florida we can have summer temperatures in winter but that's beside the point.  Summer brings sunny skies, lazy days by the pool (or in our case redneck water slides) and foods that don't require lots of preparation time (WOO HOO!)  I don't cook nearly as much in the summer because I HATE to be hot!  Anyway, we tend to eat a lot more fresh fruit, vegetables and salads in the summertime because everything tastes better when it's in season.  This recipe is AMAZING and the best part is that it's super simple.  Hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Sorbet

1 pound of Fresh or Frozen Strawberries (If using fresh, make sure to wash and hull)
1/2 cup of sugar (you can use a little more if you like, taste after blending)
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Put all ingredients in blender and pulse until liquefied.   Do a taste test at this point, you can add a little sugar if you would like it sweeter.  Pour mixture into ice cream freezer (like the one below), turn on and let the freezer do all the work.  Takes approximately 30-45 minutes to freeze.  When ready, pour into dish and place in freezer to completely set (about 2 hours).  Makes approximately 6 servings.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free

Most of us spend Memorial Day by getting together with friends, grilling and watching parades.  The high school band playing patriotic tunes while young children wave their flags.  Young men in uniform and older veterans, both marching proud and tall, snap their salutes to the crowds as they go by.  As the living march to pay tribute to their fallen comrades, we must remember that this day is to pay honor to all of our servicemen and women who have given their all to preserve the freedoms that so many of us take for granted.

To those who have paid the ultimate price, by laying down their life, words will never be enough to say thank you.   For the gift of our freedom, we honor our dead by celebrating, living free from tyranny, bought with another's sweat, tears and blood.
No, Freedom Isn't Free
©Copyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret).

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This casserole is super easy and blunder free (which is ALWAYS a plus in my cookbook).  I happened to make this particular casserole last Friday for our "Family Fun" night.  I had some leftovers I needed to use and I didn't really feel like cooking another big meal.  I wanted to concentrate on the all important task of relaxing.   Hope you enjoy this recipe and a night of relaxing too!

1 can Cream of Celery/Mushroom/Chicken Soup
1 cooked chicken breast (shredded)
1 8 oz container sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. of cooked noodles (whichever you prefer)  I had leftover spaghetti noodles and that's what I used but any kind of noodle works (Ziti, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Place cooked noodles in layer In a large bowls mix soup, sour cream and milk.  Mix well.  Add in shredded chicken.  Stir well and pour mixture over noodles.  Bake for 25 minutes until heated and bubbling.  Top with shredded cheese and cook for another 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Blessings

As I sit here and ponder on the joys of motherhood, I wanted to share a little about what being a Mom means to me.  

I have held many job titles over the course of my life, but I can honestly say that being a Mom is by far and away the most important job I've ever held.  As a nurse, I was responsible for caring for the life of others and even though I have dressed many wounds in my nursing career, none meant more to me than taking care of the scraped knee of my child and kissing that scraped knee to make it all better.  I have taken care of a young man dying with AIDS and sat holding his hand because his friends were to scared to sit with him.  I've comforted the family who was left behind when a beloved Grandmother passed away.  I have performed CPR on a victim of a heart attack and shed tears and gave a prayer of thanks to my Lord above when he started breathing.  I cannot count the numbers of patients who have touched my life in some special way.  Yet, all of that pales in comparison to being a Mom.  My proudest moments were when two precious children were entrusted to me to love and care for.  My son, (oh, how I love saying those words) is 27 years old and working hard on earning his Bachelors degree.  He is a wonderful father to my only grandchild and a loving husband and is the best son that a Mother could ask for.  My 17 year old daughter is my second blessing and brings much laughter and joy into our home.  She is a dancer and a theatre student, which is very appropriate, since she has been a drama queen from the time she was born.   Even though they're too old for me to kiss their "boo-boo's",  or need me to hold their hand, they will hold my heart forever.

It is traditional to give a special gift of recognition on Mother's Day to show appreciation.  I can honestly say that out of all the gifts I have ever received or hope to receive in the future, that the most amazing one is being a Mom.  I hope all of the Moms out there have a blessed and joyous Mother's Day.   Treasure the time with your children, love them and teach them to fly.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Veggie Pizza - YUM!!!!

This week my husband and I were invited over to my niece's house to play cards.  We love to get together and play cards with our friends especially when the good guys win (that would be me and whoever my partner is for the game).   Unfortunately, that was not the case a few days ago.  We got soundly beat.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm blaming it on my niece.  That's what family is for....Right?  
Anyway, for our little get together, she wanted me to bring something.  She wouldn't tell me what she wanted me to bring, just to bring something that goes with everything.  I thought and thought and thunk some more (yes, I know that's not a real word but I like's fun to say) and decided on a veggie pizza.  This pizza is soooo good and it works as an appetizer (just cut it into smaller pieces) or as a meal.  You don't even need a salad because all the veggies are already on it.  It's a real winner, unlike my niece and I playing cards the other night. Enjoy:)

Veggie Pizza
2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese OR  Neufchatel cheese softened  to room temperature (*the Neufchatel cheese has 1/3 less fat and tastes just as good),
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder        
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups of shredded cheese (I prefer a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, but you can use whatever you like)
2  cups assorted fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, green or red bell pepper, tomato, green onions, mushrooms, carrot, zucchini or yellow summer squash

1)      Preheat oven to 350°F. Unroll crescent dough onto a large baking sheet and seal seams (doesn’t have to be perfect).   Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.
2)      In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt and dill weed.   Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust.
3)      Prepare your assorted vegetables.  (I used red bell pepper, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash and broccoli). Sprinkle vegetables over pizza.   Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and return to oven just long enough for cheese to melt (about 5-8 minutes).  Let cool slightly before serving.  This dish is wonderful served at room temperature also which makes it great for parties.  Enjoy!