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Archive for June, 2010

Lexington, Kentucky…where the barns are as pretty as the houses!

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Strawberry Dessert Pizza

I am amazed at the amount of strawberries I have picked off of 28 plants!  So amazed that I planted 25 more so there will be enough to eat and freeze next year.  This is a quick and easy recipe that is great for a warm weather gathering.  You can roll out the cookie dough into a circle and cut it into wedges so it really looks like pizza slices or, do like I did, and roll it into a rectangle and cut it into little squares.  You will end up with more pieces by doing the rectangle.

1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

8 oz cream cheese, softened (I didn’t have cream cheese so I used Neufchatel instead.)

8 oz non-dairy whipped topping

1/3 cup sugar

4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

additional 1-2 tbsp sugar

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Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Roll out the dough into a large rectangle.

 

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Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool completely before finishing the pizza.

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For the topping, combine the cream cheese and sugar.  Beat until smooth and mix in the whipped topping.  Spread over the cooled cookie crust.  Say that 3 times fast!! 🙂

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I cut mine into pieces before I put the berries on top.  It seemed easier and prettier that way.

Place the sliced strawberries on each piece and sprinkle a little sugar on them to sweeten.  Enjoy!!

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In this past Almost-wordless Wednesday post, I mentioned that there might be a story behind the beautiful fireworks display and there is.  We decided to take a short getaway to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary by traveling to Lexington, KY.  It was just what we needed…a weekend of eating out, movies, shopping, swimming, sleeping in, baseball, and fireworks.

The trip began late Thursday afternoon when we drove to Lexington and checked in to the wonderful Hampton Inn on I-75.

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Friday was a day of shopping, eating, and movie watching…The A-Team to be exact.  It was a great summer action movie; it was non-stop thrills and it didn’t take itself too seriously.  We decided to do a little sight-seeing on Saturday.  It is amazing what can be right next door to you and you don’t even realize it.  We drove down a “Kentucky Scenic-byway” Saturday afternoon and the views were so pretty.  There were several different horse farms along the drive and many barn quilt-squares as well.  For those of you who don’t know what they are, the Kentucky tourism people started this project a few years ago.  They would get farm owners to hang a painted quilt square on their barns and then the tourism board would print maps of these hangings for people to drive and see.  We weren’t looking for these in particular, but I tried to snap a photo of the ones we saw.  I think I may have missed one or two, but I got most of them.

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We watched another movie Saturday afternoon, The Killers with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl.  It was a really funny romantic comedy, perfect for a date afternoon.  That night we went to see the Lexington Legends minor league baseball team take on Delmarva.  C & I had never been to this stadium before and it was really nice.  This is where the fireworks come in to play.  There was an awesome fireworks show after the game.  If you are looking for some great family entertainment, don’t look any further than the closest minor league stadium.  It is awesome!
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We kept seeing this little park when we would drive from our hotel to where the restaurants were.  Sunday morning, we stopped and investigated.  Turns out it is a horse cemetery!  We were just a little surprised that the gentleman who started this decided to put it in the middle of a developing area.  There is a shopping center on one side, a Lowe’s and Wal-mart on another, and a large subdivision across the street.

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When we came home Sunday, we decided to take the scenic route home instead of a parkway.  Well, we ended up missing one turn and took the VERY scenic route home, but it was still fun and we got to see some pretty country.

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This was a home-made suspension bridge over a creek that ran next to the road. I don’t think I would have crossed that unless it was my ONLY way out and I absolutely had to get out!

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Sloppy Joes

I think I mentioned on this blog that I like Manwich, and that is true, but sometimes a homemade sloppy Joe is so much better.  This recipe was published in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper back in 1998 and I have used it ever since.  Even though it is a recipe from scratch, it is still easy!  This is great on buns with melted cheese, but it also goes great with corn chips or tortilla chips or as tacos…well, you get this picture.  It is really really good and versatile!

1 lb lean ground beef

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp Worcestshire sauce

2 tbsp prepared mustard

1 1/2 cups ketchup

salt & pepper to taste

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Brown the ground beef in a large pan over medium heat.  Drain the cooked beef on paper towels. Reduce the heat to low-medium. In the same pan, melt the butter with the onion and sweet pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are soft and browning or about 5 minutes.

 

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Add the remaining ingredients to the vegetables and then add the ground beef as well.  Stir to combine.  Cover the pan and cook on low for 15 minutes. Check the pan after 10 minutes because you don’t want it to scorch.

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Toast the hamburger buns in a warm oven for about 5 minutes.  Place about 1/4 cup of the sloppy Joe mixture on the bun and add a slice of your favorite cheese.  Mine is provolone.  Cover with the top of the bun and let the cheese soften from the heat of the bun and meat.

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Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Le Creuset.

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We had a fireworks show to celebrate our anniversary! Stay tuned…story to come later!

 

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Let me say first that I am extremely lactose intolerant, but I LOVE ice cream!  This frozen pie mimics the taste and texture of ice cream, but it is friendly to all of us dairy-phobes out there.  It is rich, creamy and oh-so-good!  Try this recipe in the heat of summer and there won’t be any leftovers.  If you want a short cut, use a prepared Oreo crust instead of making one yourself. 

3 tbsp butter, melted

1/3 package Oreo cookies

1 tub (8 oz.) cream cheese spread

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups non-dairy whipped topping

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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For the crust:

Melt the butter in a medium sized bowl and set aside.  Crush the cookies using a food processor or place the cookies in a sealable bag and crush with a rolling pin.

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Mix the cookie crumbs with the butter and pour into a pie plate.  Use a piece of wax paper to press the crumbs into the bottom of the plate and up the sides.  Chill the crust in the freezer while you make the filling.

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For the filling:

Beat cream cheese spread, peanut butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended.  Add whipped topping and mix well.

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Spread the caramel topping over the bottom of the crust.  Cover with the cream cheese mixture and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

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Top with nuts before serving.  Melt the chocolate according to package directions and drizzle over the top.

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What a view!

From the sunrise yesterday…

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to the sunset tonight…

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It all makes me glad that I live in the country!

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Raised Bed Update

Last summer, C helped me build a raised garden bed in our backyard.  I wanted a garden, but really did not have the time to take care of a big one so the raised bed was perfect for me.  I raised lettuce, carrots, sweet peppers, basil, parsley and potatoes last year with really good success.  This year’s plant selection is a little bit of the same and a little bit of new.

Here is a shot of the bed on May 30th:

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Here is what it looks like this morning, June 6th:

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It is amazing what a difference a week of warm weather and ample rain has made.  I try to use organic gardening methods as much as possible.  No sprays have been used, but I have used a little artificial plant food to give the seedlings a boost. So far, only rainwater has been utilized as well thanks to the 4 rain barrels we have in place. C & I also put a fresh layer of what I like to call “woods dirt” on the top to add composted matter to last year’s soil.  “Woods dirt” is a combination of dirt, rotted leaves and a little composted cow manure mixed in with it.  Luckily, we have a free source right behind our house that makes it very convenient and cheap!  Below are some photos of the things that are growing right now:

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Bibb (Limestone) Lettuce-This is so sweet and crunchy.  Love it!

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Salad Bowl Lettuce-This has more of a tangy flavor than the Bibb, but it is good as well.  This lettuce will also stand up better to the heat that the Bibb will.

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Danvers #125 Carrots-This is the first time I have grown these so I am anxious to try them. 

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Red Pontiac Potatoes

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Tendergreen (burpless) Cucumbers-These have really shot up in the past week.  I have them running on tomato cages to save space, but I really don’t care if they take over a little as long as I get plenty of tasty cukes!  It won’t be long now.

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If you read this blog, you have seen the strawberry bed pictured here in the last few weeks.  We are still getting a few berries every other day off of the original 28 plants.  I am noticing a few runners beginning to form, so I will root a few for new plants.  I also ordered 25 more Tribute plants from Miller Nurseries to expand the bed.  Hopefully, next year there will be enough to eat and freeze.

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C & I planted the new 25 bare root plants last Saturday and most already have leaves growing.

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I hope to add another raised bed next year so the garden can be expanded even more.  I have even seen corn grown in a raised bed on someone else’s blog and I think I would like to try that, too.  I would love to hear from some readers about their gardening successes.  Do you do raised beds as well?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

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