How to Turn a Strawberry Harvest into Nightly Summer Desserts that your Family will Love!

Most of you have read a post or two of mine where I talk about being born and raised in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, right?! I’m pretty sure that the key word there is WINTER, since most everyone else has strawberries go in season in late spring or early summer! Regardless of date, I will always have a spot in my heart for all things strawberry!

So when Shelly Dion contacted me with a post on strawberry DESSERTS…how could I refuse?! Trust me, you’ll be glad I didn’t! Check out her ideas!

Right around the end of May and early June, you can hardly drive down a country road without encountering at least a couple of signs advertising a “pick-it-yourself” strawberry patch.  Strawberries are one of the earliest fruits of the season, and are rather simple to grow.  If you don´t have a small patch of land to plant a few strawberry plants on your own, there are surely dozens of small farmers around your region that are growing one of summer’s most delectable delights. 

Since strawberry harvesting has to be done by hand, it can be an extremely time consuming process for the small farmer.  For that reason, many farmers set up “you-pick” systems where customers can come and pick to their heart´s delight.  Not only is it a great way to get some exercise and enjoy a fun day as a family, you´ll also get a great deal on the strawberries you pick as they´re generally much cheaper than if you by them already picked. 

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Health Benefits of Strawberries

Believe it or not, strawberries are actually extremely healthy for you.  They are packed with antioxidants and super rich in essential vitamins and minerals.  On top of that, consuming strawberries regularly can reduce the risk of heart attack by over 30% in young and middle aged women. 

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Wholly Wholesome’s Peachy Keen Sweet Sixteen! (SWEEPSTAKES & GIVEAWAY!)

**PLEASE NOTE: While Wholly Wholesome DID provide me with these products to review at no cost, I was not in any way paid for my review. The following opinion is hereby my own.**

Welcome to August, everyone! Can you even believe it?! Before you know it we’ll all be enjoying pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING!

But before that happens, let’s celebrate! In fact, let’s celebrate…the peach.

Why the peach, you ask? Did you know that August is National Peach Month? It IS! And the BEST part about that news is that Wholly Wholesome is doing a fantastic contest in celebration!

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Now, if you haven’t heard of Wholly Wholesome, no worries, let me fill you in. Wholly Wholesome’s baked goods are not only delicious, they are healthy indulgences. Wholly Wholesome can be found in the frozen food aisle in many major retailers in your area. The brand is also certified Kosher and Yoshon, and offers gluten free products within its robust line of ready to bake pies, ready to bake cakes, pizza dough balls and a variety of other healthy baked goods. In 2014, Wholly Wholesome opened a dedicated gluten free and allergen free bake house facility to produce Wholly Gluten Free products including the Gluten Free Pizza Dough Ball and Gluten Free Pie Shell.

You KNOW that was the part that I was totally excited about, right? Hey, if it’s gluten-free, it’s for ME!

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60-Second Chocolate Cake

One of the first pins I ever discovered on Pinterest was for a 60-Second Chocolate Cake. I didn’t see how it could be true, honestly. Chocolate Cake in 60 seconds?! I mean…what??? Everyone loves cake, everyone loves chocolate, and who doesn’t love it in a minute flat, right?!

So I figured I’d try it. But I’d try it my own way, of course!

The pin I came across was from Trisha over at 24/7 MOMS HERE, but the pin leads you to the lovely home of Tiffany at Savor Home HERE. (You really need to go visit Savor Home – Tiffany has a fantastic spot in the blogosphere! But here’s my rendition…

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60-Second Chocolate Cake

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Cake Boss Wannabe

So we watched the season finale of Cake Boss last night.
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Are you a fan? I LOVE it! I love the creativity, and that the whole family works together! My husband actually likes it too – he likes that Buddy “doesn’t take lip” and “tells it like it is!” If you’ve never seen it, check it out at http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/cake-boss. It airs on TLC. They make amazing cake creations, with a little bit of LIFE thrown in!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes…from scratch!

We celebrated my mother-in-law’s 50th birthday over the weekend, and she wanted Red Velvet Cupcakes. I was happy to comply, because I LOVE making cupcakes, and red velvet ones are so pretty! Thought I’d share my recipe and a few pics with all of you! Oh yeah, the icing was made from scratch, too! (Recipe for that included!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 (1 ounce) bottle Red Food Color
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.
**NOTE** I figured out a while ago that it’s MUCH easier AND QUICKER to frost cupcakes with a pastry bag and a big tip than it is to frost them with a knife. Just sayin’!I also don’t use a HUE amount of frosting on them – I never want to have people scraping icing off because there’s too much, ya know?Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugarBeat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.Let me just say that this frosting is probably my most favorite cream cheese frosting ever! It’s not overly cream cheesy, it’s not too sweet, but it’s still very fluffy! Love it!

I, of course, am never satisfied with just one thing, so I used a few different toppings to give an extra dimension to the cupcakes:

Pearl beads…
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