We Plan Wednesday: When the Best Laid Plans…

We Plan Wednesday

Well, normally at this time of year, I would be in a tizzy gathering the needed components for the dual-fests at our house of Canada Day and the Fourth of July, only three days apart.

Then, Josh received his work schedule for July.

Starting Monday (if you remember the Meal Plan Monday post), he is on call through next Monday (in other words, the Fourth of July).  He works both days.

So…that is why Friday (Canada Day), Muffin and I will be dining on something I chickened out of trying last week:  the slow cooker pizza.  I figure if it fails there’s always delivery or Rotolo’s or Little Caesar’s.

On Monday, we are going to my parents’ (Muffin and I) to enjoy the hot dog bar traditional to Canada Day, baked beans (made my way), a veggie tray, and a fruit tray for dessert.

We are all looking forward to it.  A nice lazy Fourth (and then a return to home to watch the neighbor’s fireworks outside.

What’s on your agenda this holiday weekend?



We Plan Wednesday: A Possible Summer Holiday Dessert?

We Plan Wednesday

Yes, those summer holidays are right around the corner.  For those celebrating both Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day (July 4), the time to plan is upon us.

This year, because of Josh’s wonky work schedule, we will be celebrating in between the two.  Last year, if memory serves me, we had a homemade Strawn’s strawberry pie as our dessert.  Yes, it is red and white (symbolic of both Canada and the United States–well, with blue), but we are gobbling up strawberries so quickly that there is no way we will be able to spare the two pounds for a pie.

Another option is a recipe I made (but did not blog) for Cinco de Mayo.  It’s greenish, so it would also work for St. Patrick’s Day.  But, what I really like about it for the two summer holidays, is that you don’t heat up the kitchen (other than the ten minutes for the crust) in all of the craziness.

What recipe am I talking about?  Kraft Recipe’s Margarita Cheesecake Pie.

Here’s what I did:

34 Ritz crackers, crushed (a great job for Muffin! or a mama with a need to whack and crush things!)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large limes, divided

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (Resist the urge to eat this can with a spoon.  You might want to change the amount to 2 cans so you can have a can to enjoy with a spoon.  Cooks perogative!)

1/4 cup FRESH lemon juice (not Real Lemon–resist the urge)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine cracker crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate.  Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, zest 1 lime and set zest aside.  Cut zested lime in half.  Squeeze juice from lime halves.  Beat cream cheese and milk with mixer until blended.  Add lime and lemon juice; mix well.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust.  Smooth top.  Cut remaining lime into four lengthwise quarters, then cut each quarter crosswise into thin slices.  Arrange around edge of pie.  Sprinkle with zest.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

What is your dessert plan for these summer holidays?

Funny Muffin Friday: Shhhh…He’s Sleeping

Funny Muffin Friday


Muffin enjoys celebrating both Canada Day and Independence Day.  Sometimes, though, he celebrates a bit too much.  Here he is before the celebrations:

And here he is, at 9:30, less than five minutes after I told him in no uncertain terms that he had bath time in five minutes:

Shhhh…he’s sleeping.

Thoughtful Thursday: Recipe from the Post That Disappeared

Thoughtful Thursday

This is very scary folks.  My Thoughtful Thursday post that I poured my heart and soul into disappeared.  I am trying to get to the bottom of it, but, sadly, I didn’t have the post saved.  I will now attempt to recreate the recipe portion.

This recipe, as I said so much more eloquently in the now-missing post, is adapted from a recipe at Food.com.  It says spicy but you can adjust the spice to your taste.  My son, Muffin-who-swallows-cups-of-salsa-at-Mexican-restaurants but who has become a spice-phobe shoveled the shrimp in.

Sometimes, we boil the marinade for a few minutes and serve it with bread for dipping.  Yum, yum!

This recipe is a great recipe to serve up during the patriotic week or any time.  My mom loves this recipe, and she was the one to request it.  I suggested we have it for Canada Day, and there you have it.  It is totally yum!

Spicy Citrus Grilled Shrimp

Adapted from Food.com

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sugar

4 oranges, zested and juiced

2 limes, zested and juiced

1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine all above ingredients except shrimp in a bowl.  Add shrimp to the bowl and stir to coat.  Marinate 15-30 minutes (any longer and the acids will start to “cook” the shrimp).  Grill 1 1/2-2 minutes per side.

This recipe is totally Muffin Approved!

Muffin Approved

Happy Canada Day! Eat Some (Strawberry) Pie!

Happy Canada Day, everyone!  We are celebrating Canada Day as our tradition dictates:  hot dog bar with a red-and-white dessert.  In this case, I am making Strawn’s Strawberry Pie using a recipe that I found, first on Food.com (but without the crust recipe), and then the complete recipe in a cookbook I found at Sam’s when my in-laws’ were visiting, Southern Living Off the Eaten Path On the Road Again.  I have been obsessed with Strawn’s pie crust at first bite.  It’s almost a crackery crust, if that makes any since.  Tender it is not, but it is still unique enough to be yummy…and obsession-causing.

I first made the pie during my in-laws’ visit, and I was disappointed that I didn’t have the crust recipe.  The filling recipe is all over the Internet.  The crust recipe that they use for all of their pies–strawberry, chocolate, coconut, and peach.

Strawn’s is a Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, institution.  And they are known for their pies, particularly their strawberry pies.  The crackery crust, the deep red fresh strawberry filling made extra ruddy with a nip of red food coloring, topped by white billowy clouds of sweetened whipped cream molded into a low center peak.  A big, whole juicy berry right in the center denotes that it is a strawberry pie.

Josh’s first introduction to Strawn’s pies was interesting.  Josh first worked for Circle K, the convenience store, when we were first married.  He met one of the employees at Strawn’s; in fact, she was a customer of his.  She would sometimes bring him a leftover pie at the end of the night if she knew that he would be working.  We ate well during those months.

I’ve been known to visit our local Strawn’s with Josh and Muffin for a late breakfast, putting off breakfast as long as possible, in fact, so that there are pies available to cut for a slice for breakfast.  It has dairy, grain, and fruit…three of the four food groups.  It counts as a breakfast, right?

The first attempt rested on a purchased shortbread crust.  It was good…it just wasn’t the same.  Wish me luck today as I use the following recipe in its entirety.

No changes or augmentations on this one, folks.  You know it’s serious when I don’t change any component of a recipe, but this one will be made as stated.

Strawberry Pie (Strawn’s)

Source:  Southern Living Off the Eaten Path On the Road Again


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup cold shortening, cut into pieces

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. table salt

3 Tbsp. ice water

Strawberry Filling

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pinch of table salt

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. red liquid food coloring

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup heavy whipping cream (Bring it up to a pint is closer…oops…one change to be made)

1 Tbsp. sugar (Another change to be made…I would recommend closer to 3 Tbsp.)

1.  Prepare Pastry:  Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.  Sprinkle ice water, one tablespoon at a time, over surface of mixture in bowl; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gather dough into a flat disk; cover and chill 1 hour.

2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roll dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

3.  Line pastry with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove weights and foil; bake 15-20 more minutes or until golden brown, shielding edges if necessary.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

4.  Prepare Strawberry Filling:  Combine first 3 ingredients in a saucepan; stir in 3 tablespoons water until a past forms.  Slowly stir in 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 1 minute or until thickened.  Stir in lemon juice and food coloring.  Remove from heat.  Fill a large bowl with ice; place pan in ice, and let stand, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until cool.  Stir in strawberries.

5.  Beat whipping cream until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form.

6.  Spread filling in piecrust.  Top with whipped cream.  Chill at least 2 hours.  Makes:  8 servings.

By the way, this is an excellent cookbook.  I plan on making the Gelato di Superior Pub Cookie from the Arkansas section of the cookbook, scooped out in 1/2 cup portions and containing such goodies as oats, coconut, chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, and Oreos.  Muffin has been wanting to make cookies, so this looks like the cookie to make…next week when things aren’t so crazy.

Happy Patriotic Holidays, everyone!

Meal Plan Monday: I’m Baaaaaaaaaack!

Meal Plan Monday

I took a week hiatus during my in-laws’ visit.  It was quite a week!  Muffin had a ton of fun spending time with his grandma and Grandpa Mark!

And, now, back to reality.

Today marks Muffin’s second heavy-duty dentist appointment.  Sunday night I prepped some of his favorite dishes and let his late nap ride so that he could eat late that evening (He had to go food and drink free after midnight, so he actually ate close to 9:30 last night).

This is also the week of both Canada Day and the Fourth of July.  My parents will be with us for Canada Day, but they will be spending the Fourth of July with my sister.

So…here’s the menu for the week:

Saturday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse, guacamole, salsa, chips, refried beans from Mom on Timeout

Sunday:  Dr. Pepper Pork Chops from Debbiedoo’s, cornbread, purple hull peas

Monday:  Spasagna from Country Cook, leftover cornbread/biscuits, salad

Tuesday:  Sloppy Joe Squares from Life in the Lofthouse, green veg/salad

Wednesday:  Happy Canada Day!  Citrus Shrimp (recipe and picture forthcoming), French bread, hot dog bar, strawberry pie, cheesecake, baked beans, potato salad

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  leftover pizza spirals from last Friday (testing from freezer rejuvenation), green veg

Saturday:  Happy Fourth of July!  hamburger bar and ice cream sundae bar

Sunday:  red beans and rice in the slow cooker

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, patriotic week!

We’re Baaaaaaack!

We have returned home from the land to the north (and east).  I hope to make several posts about it (because we had so much fun and Muffin enjoyed so many adventures that one post will not cut it).  Luckily, we escaped any major bad weather in our travels to and from Canada and arrived safely there and home.  The barrage of posts will probably begin Saturday after the Fourth of July celebrations.  I hope that those who celebrate Canada Day enjoyed their Canada Day (ours was spent driving home and the actual celebration was Saturday) and that you enjoy your Fourth of July.  Also, please keep enjoying the Twelve Days of Christmas in July posts (if there weren’t enough celebrating going on).

I leave you (for today) with a picture of Muffin on the morning of Canada Day with his ubiquitous blue blanket (that used to be the comforter on Josh’s and my bed).

We were in Dickson, Tennessee, at that point.