It's almost officially spring! I will always remember as a little girl what a great Granny I had. She was the most precious thing to all of us and being a grandmother seemed to just be second nature. She loved to plant things especially in her garden. It's a trait I hope I got from her. She could take a twig of anything and turn it into something lovely. Each spring as my brother and I would be at her house for our weeks or weekends with her, she would always let us go out into the garden and pick strawberries for our breakfast. She taught us just which ones to pick, why, and how. It was a special treat having those strawberries in our cereal each morning along with her mandatory big country breakfast of sausage, eggs, and toast. I am thankful that my parents always 'shared' us with my grandparents and allowed us to have time with them. It allowed us to have lasting memories and learn things that our parents meant to teach us but may have never gotten around to. Now as I look back, as all my grandparents are gone, I realize fondly all the time and energy it took to entertain us and how effortless they made it look.
Now, as spring is just around the corner, I will share with you one of my recent traditions in the last 3 years that my youngest daughter, nieces and nephew look forward to! It's picking strawberries at a patch about 14 miles outside our little hometown. It's a place called McPeek's Orchard and they always have a huge air filled strawberry balloon sitting out front! With buckets in hand, we pick, eat, pick, eat, and end up with red strawberry stains down the front of our shirts. We laugh, run, try not to squash too many strawberries and then compete for the biggest, fattest one of our haul! The first year, I felt guilty as my nephew had eaten one too many strawberries and the evidence of it was all over his face and shirt...so I paid for one pound more than was in our bucket!
So, here's to Spring! If I keep going...I'll get tearful.... Here's to all our grandparents who we have cherished, and to all the memories left to make with either your children, grandchildren, or family and friends. Check out your local farms where you can pick your own produce. It's a fun way to fill a few hours and a great way to teach little ones about our environment and how to have a little fun! You also get to eat and cook with your finds!
Today you get 2 recipes in my blog. I have entered The Ranch Kitchen's Stained Glass Salad that I serve every Easter and a Strawberry Banana Split Cake recipe that I got off an email recipe club...it looks fantastic and I have had one several times before! The Stained Glass Salad is wonderful alone or on top of shortcakes or pound cake. It is also great as a side at breakfast or brunch. In our part of the south though, you have to get your peach pie fililng quickly as this seems to be a staple at family gatherings in this recipe or others.
Give it a try! Thanks Judy Bailey Strawberry Banana Split Cake recipe!
The Ranch Kitchen's Stained Glass Salad Recipe
1 16 ounce can of peach pie filling
1 cup strawberries - fresh or frozen (thawed)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 16 ounce can of pineapple chunks, drained
2 bananas, sliced in rounds
1/2 - to 1 full cup of sugar (you can substitute with Splenda - but you already have tons of sugar from the cans in here!
Place all fruit, and peach pie filling in a bowl. Sprinkle sugar on top of this and blend softly. Chill one hour. Pour into a pretty crystal bowl and serve on top of your favorite sweet cake.
***You can also add fresh kiwis, substitute raspberries or blueberries for the strawberries as it's really just up to your taste. If you save all of your juice from your canned fruits...it makes for one heck of a drink with or without rum!
Strawberry Banana Split Cake
2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 32 squares)
1/2 c. butter melted
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c/ butter, softened
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large firm bananas, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cans (8 ounces each) crushed pineapple, drained
2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Combine the crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into an ungreased 13X9 in. dish. Chill for 1 hour. In a bowl, cream butter, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla. Spread over crust; chill for 30 minutes. Layer with bananas, pineapple, and strawberries.
In a small bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over fruit. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill until serving.
Yield: 12-15 servings
Get picking and cooking with strawberries!