Strawberry Fluff

Strawberries have made their annual appearance in the stores and in our gardens. Time to made use of the bounty and surprise our family with a cool yet tasty dessert.

Strawberry Fluff

1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
1 cup boiling water
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Drain strawberries, reserving syrup. Pour boiling water over gelatin in a bowl. Stir gelatin until it is dissolved. Add enough cold water to reserved syrup to measure one cup. Stir into dissolved gelatin. Chill until almost set.

In chilled bowl, beat cream, sour cream, and vanilla until stiff. Beat gelatin until it is foamy. Fold gelatin and strawberries into whipped cream. Pour into a one-quart mold or into individual molds. Chill until firm Garnish, if desired, with sweetened whipped cream.

*Sour cream is a great stabilizer for homemade whipped cream. It helps keep the whipped cream from breaking down and lasts in the refrigerator a couple of days. It also add a nice flavor to the whole dessert.

Summer is Here!

During a shopping trip, yesterday, I discovered a sale on fresh strawberries. Up until now, strawberries were available (Hey! We live in California, the state of basically one season!)but either forced ripening or early harvesting left them tasteless and sour. The first reason these strawberries got my attention is that I smelled their summer smell before I even found them in the produce section. A dollar a pound for big, red strawberries was too good a deal to pass up and I was getting tired eating last year’s apples being processed through the stores.

Minutes after they were added to my grocery cart, my daughter came along and said, “Mom! Guess what!” I pointed to the strawberries and she was happy I felt the same way she did about the find.

Now, fresh strawberries don’t last too long if not eaten soon after bringing them home. I decided my husband needed his favorite dessert after having had to work on Saturday and at two different work sites in the space of a day.

Being gluten and lactose intolerant, I had long ago devised a recipe that was quick, in line with his dietary needs, and actually tasty. Ingredients? Fresh, cleaned strawberries and two cans of coconut cream. I prefer (in the order stated) Thai Kitchen or Trader Joe’s brand. We avoid sugar as much as possible but have found that Palm Coconut Sugar is easy on the glycemic count and you need very little to provide a touch of sweetness. Freshly-squeezed orange juice, grated zest, a tiny sprinkle of cayenne and some nutmeg work well.

First, half the strawberries are blended with the coconut cream, orange zest to taste, juice of half an orange, 1/2 teaspoon Palm Coconut sugar, a teaspoons of vanilla and the cayenne and nutmeg. The other half of the cleaned strawberries are thinly sliced or roughly chopped, your choice and dosed with juice of half an orange and 1/2 teaspoon of Palm Coconut Sugar. Now, layer them in small, pretty glasses or containers. Let them refrigerate for two or three hours and serve. My husband found it a great way to finish off dinner after a long day of work and fighting traffic.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

Ever have one of those days when you don’t know how you are going to get dinner on the table much less come up with dessert? My favorite go-to has always been the ‘lowly’ bread pudding . . . only bread pudding doesn’t have to be considered at the end of the wanted list for dessert. Another plus with bread pudding, that it takes care of the aging bread on the counter.

Benevolent Bread Pudding

3 cups cubed bread
4 cups whole milk, scalded
3 beaten eggs
1/3 granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Add bread cubes to milk. Combine eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, spices to the bread mixture. Pour into greased pan and dot with the butter. Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes our until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

White bread is not the only ingredient you can use. Think about sourdough bread, raisin bread, Hawaiian bread, etc.

Adding dried fruit like crasins, raisons, diced fresh apple, diced peaches . . .

Want to go wild for the children, chocolate chips and serve with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Chopped nuts are allowed, too!

Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

Okay, the sun is still shining, the sky is clear with no chance of rain or cold yet hope springs eternal and I’m sharing a great dessert for a cold evening. Rice Pudding has always been a favorite and it never lasts to be eaten cold the next day.

Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

1 cup white rice (don’t use the instant rice!)
4 cups whole milk
½ cup butter
5 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
½ cup raisins or crasins (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine rice, milk, and butter in large pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat until most of the milk has absorbed and rice is tender. Keep watch and give it a good stir ever so often.

Add eggs, sugar, raisins/crasins, vanilla, and spices together and mix thoroughly. Add and stir into the rice mixture quickly to avoid scrambled eggs! Sprinkle a little dusting of cinnamon on top and bake for about 20 minutes.