Tag Archive: strawberries

Very Berry Salad

Last week when I talked about losing enough weight to go down a shirt size, I receive much congratulations.

Very Berry Salad

I appreciate hearing that because on a day-to-day basis I do not see it. I do not see it until something fits differently, and I mean in a good way.

But one of the comments struck a nerve as a person stated how hard it is to lose weight when you are a foodie.

You don’t have to tell that one to me twice, I understand completely.

This time of year, once the tomatoes come in, it is BLTs every night of the week.   Bring on the butter for Corn-on-the-Cob. And did I mention it is fair season? That means fried food galore.

It does not help that I and my husband like trying new recipes. I find them in the newspaper, on the web, around the blog circuit, cook books; well, you get the picture. We like to cook.

My favorite recipes are cream sauces with white wine, tomatoes and/or mushrooms. Braised chicken is better once it soaks in Marsala or Imperial sauce.

Then there is dessert. My son and I learned how to make lava cakes together. My daughter made a fabulous tart last year. The seven-year-old allowed me to buy Italian ice for his dessert last week. We have done dirt cups and jello desserts topped with whip cream and strawberries.

This has made my weight-loss slower than it should considering I am not taking any medicines and I am able to walk near daily with the dog.  It has taken me two years to lose 40 pounds. Other people seem to do it so quickly.

I have a neighbor who looks great after losing 50 pounds in six months. Another has worked to get 30 pounds off in the same time period. Meanwhile, I am struggling to get past the next five-pound threshold.

I admit to binge-ing  late at night so I am trying to get to bed at an earlier time. When my feet hurt thanks to arthritis or I am simply tired for no good reason, I do walk less.

However there are bright spots. Thanks to the latest heat wave, I am near my initial goal weight. I nearly fit into not one but two dresses. Clothing that fit the bigger body is starting to feel too big.

But the other half of the story is I am making lifestyle changes and not some crazy short-term diet. I am choosing to eat more fresh veggies and fruits. Whole grain breads are becoming a part of my life as well as my husband’s. Soda is a treat that I have once a week and I prefer getting it from a soda fountain as opposed to pre-bottled.

Is any of this going to stop my foodie explorations?

I hope not. This fall I want to work on making real ramen dishes. And I want to work on a  stroganoff which calls for sour cream. Oh, and there is the egg nog cake  and a Noel log I have always wanted to make for the holidays.

Yes, I am on a diet but that has not stopped my love affair with good tasting food. It simply means I eat a little less of it and adapt the recipe to have healthier ingredients whenever possible.

Now for the recipe. Two weeks ago I made this great salad that has fruit in with lettuce leaves. I have always been suspicious of such salads because I was never sure the sweet fruit would work with slightly bitter greens.

I found the recipe in an American Profile insert in my newspaper. It called for a Spring Mix salad bag but I went with a Red Heart bag when there was none of the former in the racks.

Salad Ingredients

Very Berry Salad

One Salad Bag

4 oz. sliced strawberries

4 oz. blackberries

1 handful each of dried cranberries, dried raspberries, and chopped walnuts

1 sliced Shallot (We did this on the side for the husband)

4 oz. goat cheese

Vinaigrette (on the side)

Because I could not find dried raspberries, I allowed the vinaigrette to be the raspberry element. The other dilemma was what to serve with the salad. The author suggested baby back ribs. We went with pork chops marinated in orange juice. My husband thought we should have had a french bread with this. We did not and it all worked just fine.

Our younger children liked the fruit but not the lettuce. The fifteen-year-old, who is becoming a foodie himself, thought the vinaigrette was too sweet but he had two helpings.

Pork Chop and Very Bery Salad


What new dishes are you making?


Some days, you just know what you are going to write for that day’s post. And it is going to be brilliant. Then your daughter, who is having her birthday says she wants you to do something.

Sara with her birthday fruit tart.

When it is her birthday, you cave just a little. Because it is her tenth birthday and she is your only daughter. Someone suggested to me that I should have another baby since I enjoy playing with a friend’s newborn.

The problem with that is I am 47 and my friend is 32. fifteen years of energy that I no longer have. Those late nights of crying and fussing. Those days of complete exhaustion. I prefer playing with Emma now and again.

But back to my daughter whose birthday is today. Ten years ago, I went to the hospital for an inducement. (Ladies, don’t do it if you do not have to.) A couple of days later I took home a girl. Later this week she will get her ears pierced. She has been begging me to do it for the last two years and I promised when she hit ten we would do it. Today, she hits ten.

As you may remember, each Sunday a different family member at our house chooses the menu and makes the meal. So this Sunday’s supper was her choice which she traded in order to have it. It was the perfect meal for a cold spring day. Roast beef that had been in the crock pot all afternoon along with potatoes and carrots. Biscuits were on the side. But dessert, dessert was the kicker.

It was a tart made in my smallest springform pan. We did not have the cute fluted sided pan but the springform allowed for easier removal. But once the pastry was ready, we put down a layer of melted chocolate chips, a layer of sugared neufchatel cheese and topped with fresh halved strawberries.

Written by Liz Franklin; Image from Borders.com

The recipe came from Cooking Italian with Kids by Liz Franklin. Ever since I have had this book, it has been nothing but a godsend of recipe ideas. Rosemary potatoes, tomato and bread soup, and sugared ricotta with fresh fruit are just a few of the recipes we have made and enjoyed.

This time around it was the Summer Fruit Tart and here is the exact recipe.

For the Pastry

12 Tablespoons of butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to sprinkle

Chocolate Base

2 1/2 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate


8 oz Marscarpone cheese

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 lbs mixed summer fruit

a 9-inch loose-bottomed tart pan

a pastry brush

I have to admit we changed a few things around. Without marscapone, we went for the neufchatel cheese. We may have spread more chocolate than needed on the tart. Just strawberries were requested because the b-day girl did not want blueberries.

The recipe was fairly easy for my daughter to make on her own for the most part. I showed her how to cut the strawberries and corrected her form a few times. Then I had to stop watching because I kept imagining the worst.

When it came time for eating the tart, we were ready. None of that tart lasted beyond a half an hour. Which means it is on the list of desserts to make again.

I can’t imagine what it will taste like when we get berries from the berry farm. The crust makes enough for two tarts.

We might have to make several.

From My Window

Lately when I read gardening magazine the designers talk about making a view that is pleasant from your window.

What they mean is that your garden areas close to the house should have a wonderful aspect from the back of the garden as well as from the front. I guess this means don’t put the tallest plants in the back that create a total block of your view. But it might also mean that one should think about the angle from which you see various parts of your garden.

This first picture is a view of my bedroom window.

The dogwood and pale purple flocks

This is from my bedroom window and a view I get every spring. The bottom of the tree is surrounded by flocks and strawberry plants. I did not craft it to be seen from above but I like how it has turned out.

This next view is out my living room window.
Hanging Basket

This is the only hanging basket I have up so far. By the end of the month, my front porch will be filled with flowers. They are interspersed with bird feeders, including a hummingbird feeder that you can see on the top right corner. Because we are on the prairie I am always surprised when they come in for a quick snack. But they do and sometimes one of the hummers will take a quick break.

This last view is from the office. Notice you are not seeing a picture of the office, which is truly horrendous.
The View from the Office.

This is the shade garden that gets all of its light in the morning. A larger bird feeder is here along with the rabbit cage. We are not sure who but we do know someone was messing with it. Grass does not get into a water bottle by itself. So we moved the rabbit and it makes for a happy situation.

Right now I have a form of daffodil blooming along with the dandelions I have not taken out – yet. It is a pretty aspect. My next project is to put window boxes on the garage for that whole ‘cottage’ look to be complete.
How do you work your garden ‘view’ from your window?