Tuesday, August 4, 2015

~Tortellini Salad~

Tortellini Salad
(File Photo)
Our Family Gathering in the summer!  It's always a FuN day at our home!  The invitations are mailed a month earlier.  The week before, we start to pay closer attention to our local weathermen's weekend predictions.  Hopefully, the word rain is not included.  This past Saturday the family gathered.  We chatted, we laughed, we shared news & we had our outdoor picnic!  

There's always some Chicken grilling going on during this day.  A cold meat platter for mini sandwiches & also many salads.  Definitely chunks of Watermelon & also Cantaloupe!  This year I decided to include a Tortellini Salad

Tortellini Salad is quick to prep, it's easy to make & it's a pasta salad.  Cannot forget the pasta!  A 12 ounce bag of frozen tri-colored tortellini is prepared using the directions on the package.   

Tortellini Salad

Ingredients:
(1) 12 ounce bag frozen Tri-colored Tortellini
Italian Salad Dressing - 8 oz.
Parsley, chopped
Chopped Onion
Garlic Powder
Black Olives, sliced - optional and delicious   

Method: 
  1. Prepare Tortellini following directions on package.
  2.  Drain, rinse with Cold water to cool down.
  3.  Place in bowl.
  4.  Add about 1/2 Cup Italian Salad Dressing.
  5.  Add desired amount of chopped Parsley, chopped onion + Garlic Powder.
  6.  Add about 1/2 Cup Black Olives, sliced, optional
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 6 hours.
  8. Before serving, add additional Italian Dressing & stir. 
With so many fresh fruits & veggies on our table this was a great pasta dish!  And then there was dessert!

Enjoy!
Yummy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

~Tupperware~

Always being used!
Thanks Earl Tupper!  Great idea you had- molding the plastic into shapes that I'd find so useful in my kitchen.  From measuring cups to my rolling pin my Tupperware has been used for 40+ years.  That was my thought this AM when I read the online Mass Moments.  This is an interesting site that shares a tidbit of Massachusetts history, every day.  It always begins- "On this day..."

Today's tidbit was "Tupperware Inventor Born July 28, 1907".         

Probably not a day goes by that I do not use one of my yellow or orange measuring cups.  I do have 2 complete sets, but inside my flour container is an orange 1/4 measuring cup.  The yellow one is in my sugar container.  The containers?  Oh, literally for decades I've used large Tupperware containers with lids.  That all began the year we returned home from a great week at the Cape (Cape Cod) in the summer & found those pesty ants walking on the kitchen counter & also inside my beautiful sugar canister.  What a yucky mess!  It caused a big cleaning project!  The beautiful ceramic canisters that I had made in Ceramics were stored away.  Still are stored.

The Tupperware story is interesting.  With Brownie Wise's help Tupperware Home Parties became the way to sell.  She had the background & personality.  For the entire story, click here.   

Do you have these colorful measuring cups, too?  Many of mine are in my dish rack today- I've been baking.

Enjoy the tidbit of history!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yummy Blueberry Freezer Jam

Doing their "thing" for the 24 hour time period.
Homemade Jam! Yum!  It's mid July & earlier this week it was Blueberry Freezer Jam time!  You might say I'm big on tradition.  Definitely that's true in the summer when I buckle down to make the Freezer Jams.  There's a time & place for everything and it's jam time.  Homemade jams taste so much better than the commercial brands. 

Sunday afternoon brought the yearly drive to Calabrese Farms in Southwick, MA to purchase the fresh local Blueberries. 


No longer do I pick them.  It's so much easier to drive out to Southwick & purchase them directly.  Most of the pints did fit inside the large box- to make it easier to carry.  But the last container needed "special treatment", so the blueberries wouldn't spill out all over the trunk of our car.  :) 


After arriving home, it was time for Blueberries, Part II.  Most of the sweet, delicious, blue, juicy berries were washed, drained, packaged in freezer bags & labelled to place in our large freezer.  My year's supply will be enjoyed, especially during the cold winter months.

Not all of these sweet pieces of fruit were frozen.  There's the Blueberries saved for cereal at breakfast this week, the Blueberries for a batch of muffins & also a torte.  And... da da the Blueberries for my Blueberry Freezer Jam.

Freezer Jam is the much easier method to make jam on a hot humid summer day.  It's prepared & then sits undisturbed for 24 hours before placing in the freezer.     

On Monday the CERTO (liquid fruit pectin), Lemon Juice, Sugar & Blueberries in the fridge were collected to begin. The directions for Freezer Jams are found inside the CERTO box along with 2 pouches of the liquid fruit pectin.  My circular 1 cup Ziploc containers had been purchased on amazon a couple months ago- after learning that they are not manufactured any longer.   

Preparing 1 batch at a time, I followed the directions, exactly.  The 1 cup containers & lids had been washed & dried.  I also looked at My Hints before I started.  Click here to view My Hints.  

Preparing Blueberry Freezer Jam
(File Photo)


Now, there are 19 containers of yummy Blueberry Freezer Jam stored in our freezer, along with the Strawberry Freezer Jam.   

Have you made Freezer Jam yet?  It's so good!

Enjoy!
Yummy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Zucchinied Rice


Zucchinied Rice
Fresh local Green Beans!  Zucchini!  Summer Squash!  Beets!  Wait, wait, let's go back to Zucchini.  Those green veggies.  Home gardeners learn quickly that they can grow very long & wide if they're not picked off their vines early enough.  Stopping into our local Farmer's Market last Thursday there was a large selection of small Zucchini.  It didn't take me long to select 8 of the smallest to enjoy this week.  Zucchini sauteed in Olive Oil is so good!

Earlier this week as I was prepping dinner, there was "leftover" cooked white Rice in the fridge.  I always prepare Rice that leaves me with about 1 cup left in the serving bowl after dinner.  (My method to cook Rice.)  That's never a problem- it's always saved to use again later in the week.  This cooked Rice was the beginning of a new side dish.  Suddenly it came to me- add sauteed Zucchini & heat.  

2 of the small Zucchini were cut into strips & then sauteed.  The white Rice had been cooked in chicken broth & seasoned with Basil.  It was so good!  Zucchinied Rice is a great side dish!  Try it!

Zucchinied Rice

Ingredients: 

2 small Zucchini
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil for sauteing & baking
about 1 cup cooked white Rice
1 teaspoon cold Water

Method:
  1. Rinse 2 small Zucchini under cold running water, dry.
  2. Cut off both ends.
  3. Cut Zucchini into 1 and 1/2" chunks.
  4. Cut each chunk in half.  
  5. Place long cut side down & carefully cut into 1/4"- 1/2" strips.
  6. Stack 3-4 larger strips & carefully cut to desired size.  Repeat.
  7. Heat Olive Oil in saute/ large frying pan.
  8. Add Zucchini strips & cook until tender, stirring often.
  9. Place cooked Rice + 1 teaspoon water in microwave safe bowl.
  10. Add sauteed Zucchini, stir & cover.
  11. Heat in microwave.
Who would think that this side dish had leftovers?  We will be having this again!  

Enjoy!
Yummy!
         

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lime Simply Delicious

Lime Simply Delicious
Oh, it's been a bit warm outside!  O.K., it is July & totally expected!  Definitely the time of year to remember to drink more water than usual.  A beverage that's lemon or lime flavored also tastes so refreshing.  After drinking yet another glass of water yesterday, I remembered the package of Lime flavored gelatin in the pantry.  A half gallon of Vanilla ice cream was waiting in the freezer.  No, not to devour all at once- I only needed 1 Cup of the cold refreshing treat to whip up a batch of Lime Simply Delicious.  Literally whipping it with a whisk.

This easy to make dessert is definitely a family fave.

There are only 3 ingredients:

1 small pkg. of Lime flavored gelatin (3 ounces)
1 Cup boiling water
1 Cup Vanilla ice cream


Method:
  1.   Place 1 small pkg. Lime gelatin in mixing bowl.
  2.   Add 1 Cup boiling water. 
  3.   Whisk (or stir rapidly) to completely dissolve gelatin.
  4.   Add 1 Cup Vanilla ice cream.
  5.   Rapidly whisk (or stir) to dissolve ice cream.
  6.   Pour into 2 dishes.  (I use 2 coffee mugs.)
  7.   Refrigerate several hours.
  8.   Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
Where are our spoons?
For our Family Get-Together in the summer, this is a yummy, quick & easy to prep dessert to include on the dessert table.  Orange flavored, Strawberry flavored & Lime flavored is enjoyed by all ages.  Pouring the liquid into plastic stackable containers works great.  Then, stacking & storing these desserts in the fridge is no problem.

Strawberry gelatin combined with Strawberry ice cream is oh so tasty!

It's quick & easy!  What flavor will you make?

Enjoy!
Yummy!
           

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Mount, Lenox, MA- Free Fun Friday

The Mount, Lenox MA
Last Friday we traveled west, west on the Mass Pike- I90 that is.  It was a visit to The Mount in  Lenox, MA.  This beautiful estate located in the Berkshires was designed by the American author Edith Wharton following the principles in the book The Decoration of Houses that she and architect Ogden Codman, Jr. coauthored.  This book was published in 1897 and this home was built by Edith Wharton & her husband Teddy in 1902.   Ethan Frome by Ms. Wharton was required reading for me in college.  I've always been aware of this author, but never visited her scenic home in Lenox.  Visiting this serene estate was offered as a Free Fun Friday event sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

What a treat to leisurely walk through her home and view the gorgeous gardens below.  The white Astilibe had begun to blossom in the geometric gardens.

View of a garden from Edith Wharton's home
The well manicured gardens were admired by all of the visitors who strolled through them.  Beautiful views from all sides and angles.  It's a gorgeous estate in the Berkshires designed by a woman who had lived during the Gilded Age in Newport, RI, and NYC.  After leaving her home in Lenox in 1911, Edith Wharton later divorced and moved to France.   

The white Astilibe were blossoming!
Last Friday was a very comfortable day to travel west & we are so happy we did!  An added surprise for me was walking into one room & viewing a treadle Singer Sewing Machine in cabinet.  My mom had a similar sewing machine in a similar cabinet.  It was her "go to" sewing machine for making buttonholes.  Her electric machine was used for everyday sewing.

Treadle Singer Sewing Machine in cabinet
Free Fun Fridays are offered by the Highland Street Foundation to everyone- all residents of MA, visitors to my state and also families traveling through MA.  Each Friday this summer there are 7 venues to visit with no regular admission charged.  Every week there are 7 different places to visit.  This program is for all ages.  Some venues are for families with young children and other places might not be interesting to children.  Click here for the list!

Thank you Highland Street Foundation!

Enjoy!



Have a Happy & Safe Fourth of July!!!    

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Local Strawberry Season

Local Strawberry Season!
The month of June brings Strawberries!  Oh, I'm not talking about the packaged fruit from grocery stores' produce departments that have been shipped from another location to the northern states.  I'm talking  juicy fresh local Strawberries!  What a great treat!

Freezing the yummy strawberries (after removing the tops & rinsing in cold water/ draining/ packaging is a yearly tradition with me.  It began decades ago by helping my mom freeze our fam's supply for the upcoming months.  In those days it would always be hot & homes did not have any AC.  My sister & I were reminded in order to enjoy Strawberry Shortcake during the snowy cold winter months, we needed to get busy.  We also enjoyed eating them as we worked!     

We made our Jams back in the days, too.  Homemade Strawberry Jam is just the best.  Stirring the Strawberry/ Sugar mixture while working over a stove always made the day a lot warmer, but we knew how delicious it was!  Fast forward:  I totally read all the directions included inside the Certo box the first year that I was married.  There, I found a non cook method of preparing Jam.  I prepared 1 batch, froze it & 2  days later defrosted a container for my DH & I.  Ah, it was so good, so I made another batch of Strawberry Freezer Jam!  A few weeks later when the local Blueberries were ripe I also made 2 batches of Blueberry Freezer Jam.  From that year on my fave method is Freezer Jam.  

It is easy to prepare & it tastes so yummy!  One batch requires 1 quart of the ripe berries.

Strawberry Freezer Jam is the non cook method that requires:
  • Following directions exactly
  • 8 ounce containers that have been washed/ dried
  • 1 Quart ripe Strawberries
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • I use Certo liquid fruit pectin
  • Did I mention follow directions exactly?  Prepare 1 batch at a time!
  • My Helpful Hints - I also read these before I begin. (Click on link to read, too.)
My family's tradition continued.  When freezing the yummy juicy red strawberries, I always set aside 4 quarts.  1 quart for our "munchies" & 3 quarts for the Freezer Jam that is always prepared the next day.
  
On Monday, the quick trip to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow, MA was made.  In the afternoon there was a Strawberry process going on in my kitchen.  The bags of fruit are now on the top shelf in our large freezer.  Tuesday right on schedule, 3 batches of Strawberry Freezer Jam was prepared.  After labeling, the containers sat on our Dining Room table undisturbed for 24 hours.  Each batch of the containers of delicious jam was placed in our large freezer at the specified times, 24 hours later.

Do you prepare Freezer Jam?  

Enjoy!
Yummy!