Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Delightful Summer Meal, After A Day At The Beach, “Crab Cakes” & “Coleslaw”

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there is a mouthwatering recipe or two which I know you have been waiting to try…….. 

Summer time means lazy days at the beach, finding seashells, swimming, and having fun in the sun! During the summer we all crave foods that are easy, light, and healthy. Crab Cakes and Coleslaw are what’s on the menu today! The outer crust of these crab cakes are crispy and flavorful, but as you take a bite, the inside tastes sweet with the crab meat and spicy with the seasonings. Plus a tangy coleslaw, to add to your crab cake dish. A delightful summer meal after a day at the beach…

Crab Cakes

Ingredients for the Crab Cakes:
30 Ritz crackers, divided, finely crushed
1 pound lump crab meat, flaked
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp of green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
vegetable oil, for frying
**Optional: 2 cans (6 oz. each) crabmeat, drained, flaked 

Directions for Crab Cakes:
Crush the Ritz Crackers with a rolling pin (while keeping them in their plastic sleeves). Empty the crumbs into a bowl, shaking to separate the larger crumbs from the fine crumbs. You will need the fine crumbs for dredging the crab cakes. Put the larger crumbs in a large bowl, and add the crab, and other ingredients. Mix gently until you can press the mixture together to form patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Refrigerate for 1/2 hour to let them set up a bit.) Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the crab cakes in the fine crumbs, and when oil is hot enough, drop the cakes gently into the skillet. Cook, turning on all sides without squishing or flattening, until the cakes are golden, about 6 to 8 minutes in all. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot with the Remoulade Sauce. ***** You can add more mayo if too dry and you can add more cracker crumbs if too wet, depending on the crab meat and your ingredients.

My niece Lauren, went to Cancun, Mexico & kissed the Dolphin (2014)
“Remoulade Sauce

Ingredients for the Remoulade Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Directions for Remoulade:
Whisk together all the ingredients, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The recipe for remoulade makes extra; it can be used for a variety of dishes.


“Easy Coleslaw

3 Tbs. Cider Vinegar
4 Tsp. Sugar
2 Tsp. Canola Oil
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 Tsp. Celery Seeds
1 cup shredded Green Cabbage
1 cup shredded Red Cabbage
1 Carrot, shredded
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, oil, Dijon mustard, celery seeds in a mixing bowl. Add green and red cabbage with the carrots; toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Till Next Time………………………………...............................

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Raspberry Trifle" & A “Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail” To Celebrate "Christmas In July"

It has been extremely hot across the country this summer so far. Everyone is wishing for some relief from the heat. Aren’t you? As we think about the fall and winter, with those crisp cool nights we know we can‘t change the season, but we can dream of “Christmas in July!” That is what many people do year after year. It’s an unofficial holiday which refers to a Winter-Christmas-themed celebration held in July.  

The specific beginnings of the “Christmas in July” tradition are not very clear, but it is believed to have started in Europe, as a way to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It has been said that a group of Irish tourists who went on vacation to Sydney’s Blue Mountains in the summer months of July in 1980. This may have been the original start of this unofficial holiday. Away from the summer temperatures in their country, they were overjoyed at the sight of snow in the mountains. It is believed that these travelers convinced the owner of a local hotel in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to hold a party called, “Yulefest.” The idea was an instant hit and now each year in July they hold a Christmas Party. Hence forth “Christmas in July,” became a tradition and continues to this day with a festival and many celebrations.

In the Northern hemisphere there are parties that are given in July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of the holiday but with warmer temperatures. In the midst of the scorching summer months, people have parties which may include Santa Claus, ice cream, and cold foods. In the United States, this festival has become highly commercialized. It is used more often as a marketing tool than as an actual unofficial holiday. Many retail stores offer specials “Christmas in July” sales that started around 1950. Restaurants offer special discounts and even television stations show re-runs of Christmas specials. Hallmark for example, will show Christmas movies all month long. The Home Shopping networks (HSN) and QVC have also included shows that are titled “Christmas in July,” with special sales. This is mainly because most retailers tend to sell overstock of their Christmas items to make room for next year’s inventory, and before the “Back to School” shopping period begins in August.

Some families love this concept of “Christmas in July,” especially if their family members are scattered across the states, because it is easier for them to travel in July when the weather is more favorable for a vacation, rather than in the freezing winter months when long distance travels are really hard due to snow storms. Celebrating “Christmas in July” can take place at any time during the month of July. At the Bakken amusement park in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated in July for three days, as well as the annual World Santa Claus Congress, attended by Santa Clauses from all over the world, accompanied by their wives and elves. Then, there are those individuals that choose to celebrate “Christmas in July” just because it is a clear excuse to have a party.

My readers know that I love anything Christmas! This concept is a wonderful way to spread cheer and have fun in the summer no matter what way you celebrate “Christmas in July.” It is a great way to deal with the heat of the day. My recipe this week gives us the opportunity to celebrate the summer and “Christmas in July” together. It is called a “Raspberry Trifle.” This recipe is adapted from “Taste of Home” magazine. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate so it is nice and cold, especially for summer parties. Each spoonful is a bit of “Christmas” as you can taste the sweet berries, mixed with a creamy center, and just a touch of chocolate all wrapped in one simple bite. Try to stay cool and remember Christmas is 5 months away from today!

"Raspberry Trifle"

Prep: 20 minutes & chilling
Yield: 12-15 Servings

1 loaf (10-3/4 ounces) frozen pound cake
1-1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of sugar, divided
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 packages (10 oz each) frozen, raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 box of fresh raspberries
3~quart glass trifle bowl

Slice cake into 18-20 slices about 1/2 inches thick, set aside. In a bowl, beat cream with 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and the remaining sugar. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped cream; set aside for topping. Drain raspberries, reserving juice; set berries aside.

Line the bottom of a 3-quart glass bowl with a third of the cake slices. Drizzle with some of the raspberry juice. Spread with 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture. Sift a 1/4 of the cocoa over the top. Sprinkle with a 1/3 of the berries. Repeat layers twice. Top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, whipped cream, and sifted cocoa. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

I have a “Christmas in July” gift for you…A special cocktail to keep you cool and in the spirit of Christmas….

“Limoncello Raspberry Cocktail

Serves: 2 

1 cup of Prosecco
1/4 cup of Limoncello
Crushed Ice   
2 tablespoons of fresh Raspberries

Combine Prosecco and Limoncello in a small pitcher. Place a spoonful of crushed ice into each, of 2 Champagne glasses and top with raspberries. Pour mixture on the ice and raspberries in the glasses. Serve immediately.

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

“Grilled Glazed Chicken Drummies” & “Bacon-Spinach Mashed Potatoes” For "Wordless Tuesday"

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday.” Today I have 2 recipes to share. Summer is in full swing and BBQ grills are working overtime. My first recipe is finger licking good, called, “Grilled Glazed Chicken Drummies.” To add to the deliciousness of this meal is my second recipe which is called, “Bacon-Spinach Mashed Potatoes.” Creamy, flavorful, and just the right side dish to add to your summer BBQ frenzy………

Grilled Glazed Chicken Drummies

Prep: 10 minutes plus marinating
Grill: 15 minutes
Servings: 24  

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons honey
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 pounds chicken drumettes

(My dad with BBQ many years ago)

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Pour 1 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade. (Chicken temp should be 165 degrees)

*****Note:Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling.


Bacon-Spinach Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Total Servings: 12 servings or 1/2 cup each

2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 6), peeled, cut into same size chunks
5 slices of uncooked bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tub (8 oz.) Philadelphia Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread
1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk/cream depending if it is not creamy enough

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan 15 to 20 min. or until tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add garlic to drippings in skillet; cook 2 min., stirring frequently. Add spinach; cook and stir 1 to 2 min. or just until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat. Crumble bacon; stir into spinach mixture. Drain potatoes; return to pan. Add cream cheese spread; mash potato mixture, and milk. Stir in spinach mixture.

Prepare as directed with Philadelphia Light Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread.

****Note: While we love the addition of the spinach to these creamy mashed potatoes, this potato side dish is equally delicious without the spinach.

Till Next Time………………………………..........................

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 18, 2014

"Pickled Vegetables" or "Italian Giardiniera" For National Pickle Month

Do you love pickles? Well if you do then this blog post is for you! July happens to be “National Pickle Month.” The pickle is one of America’s favorite “side”condiments. Pickles are used for snacking, serving with a hamburger, a sandwich, and making a tangy relish. A pickle is simply a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine vinegar and left to ferment for a period of time. Cucumbers were first pickled about 4,400 years ago in Mesopotamia. The pickling process was also known to the Ancient Greeks; Aristotle was to have praised pickled cucumbers for there healing effects. Today, tangy pickle juice is used by many professional athletes to fight off muscle cramps. The benefits of this juice replaces essential electrolytes that are lost due to physical activity, especially on hot and humid days. So instead of drinking sports drinks that contain sugar and other additives, choose to drink some pickle juice. Who knew?

Pickled cucumbers became popular in the United States due to the influence of the cuisine of European immigrants. Soured cucumbers are most commonly used in an assortment of dishes for example; pickled-stuffed meatloaf, potato salad, chicken salad, or egg salad. They can also be deep fried. There are many varieties of the pickle. They can be sour, dill, or sweet, and take on many shapes such as large, midget, gherkins, spears, sliced round, (chips) and deli slices.

Some Pickle Fun Facts:
The pickle was brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus. George Washington, John Adams, and Dolly Madison liked pickles. Cleopatra claimed pickles contributed to her beauty, and dill pickles are the most popular.

The “Christmas Pickle” is an Old World German tradition related to the Christmas tree. In this tradition, a family decorates its Christmas tree with ornaments including one pickle. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle hidden in its boughs would get a special gift and would supposedly have a year of good fortune. This tradition is commonly believed by Americans to come from Germany, but this is probably fictional. In fact, the tradition is widely unknown in Germany. These pickle ornaments sometimes are made of glass, and comes with the tradition on a tag along with it. I crocheted Christmas Pickles many years ago and gave them to my nieces and nephews for stocking stuffers. Now it has become a tradition to see who can find the pickle first.

We are pickle lovers in my family, especially my dad. Every time we go to a restaurant he always asks for extra pickles. His preference is the kosher dill ones. I prefer the sweet gherkins. No matter what shape or flavor I can say we definitely are a pickle family. Italian Giardiniera is a mix of pickled vegetables that are in vinegar and are typically eaten as an antipasto or with salads. In Italian it is also called “sotto aceti”, which means “under vinegar.” This mix of flavorful spicy vegetables are very common in many Italian kitchens. It is truly a favorite in my family.

My recipe this week is one that I love to make. It is not hard, just takes patience, and it is adapted from one of my favorite cooks, Mary Ann Esposito, “Ciao Italia.” I hope that you try these pungent pickled vegetables. Once made you can keep it refrigerated up to a month. If it lasts that long.  "Tutti Mangiano."

"Pickled Vegetables" or "Italian Giardiniera"
(Giardiniera means: Garden of Vegetables)

2 1/2 cups cut up vegetables, such as:
Sweet green, yellow, or red bell peppers
Pearl or Cipollini onions


Pickling Mix:
3 cups distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt or (pickling salt)
1 1/4 cups of water
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp each whole mustard seed, celery seed, a few cloves, fennel seed, allspice, peppercorns, and garlic cloves.

Several new canning jars with lids, either 8 or 10 oz or quart size. Have a pan of ice water ready for “shocking” vegetables. Be sure all veggies are free of blemish, washed, and cut into uniform size, about 1-inch pieces.

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook the vegetables for about 2 minutes (each group separately). With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the pan of ice water. Allow the vegetables to cool for a minute and then drain them in a colander and set aside. Combine the vinegar, salt, water, and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat.

Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl and divide them among the jars. Fill the jars with the vegetables, leaving about 1/4-inch space at the top. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables to cover them. Cap and allow the jars to cool before storing in the refrigerator. Use after two days or keep refrigerated for up to a month, if there is any left! 

Till Next Time……

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“Mama’s Corn Fritters” & “Italian Baked Tomatoes” For Wordless Tuesday

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there is just one or two mouthwatering recipes which I know you have been waiting to try……..

Today I have two recipes…the first one is my mother’s “Mama's Corn Fritters.” So in honor of “National Corn Fritter Day” which happens to be tomorrow July 16th, I am sharing her recipe. Traditional corn fritters are a mixture of corn kernels, egg, flour, milk, and melted butter. They can be deep fried, shallow fried, or baked and served with jam, fruit, honey, or cream. They may also be made with creamed corn, baked, and served with maple syrup.

“Mama’s Corn Fritters”

2 Cups of corn (1 Can ) (creamed corn)
1 Tsp salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 Tsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of flour
1 Tsp baking powder
Small amount of cooking oil

Add to corn -salt, pepper and well beaten egg. Then add butter, milk, baking powder, and flour. Mix together. (will be lumpy) Fry in skillet with oil. Drain on paper towels. You can put syrup on top or powdered sugar. (optional)

Yields:  About 12-15 corn fritters.


The second recipe is my mother’s “Italian Baked Tomatoes.” These plump, round tomatoes are filled with a stuffing of bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, and basil. They are not only delicious but they go very nicely as a side dish along with the Corn Fritters.

“Italian Baked Tomatoes”

6 medium tomatoes (soft ones are better)
2 cups of plain dry bread crumbs 

1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano Grated Cheese
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons of dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons (plus) olive oil 

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Use a baking pan and spray with Pam or coat with olive oil so tomatoes will not stick, then set aside. Cut tomatoes after washing, in half diagonally. Then squeeze out the juice and the seeds, and place in baking pan cut side up. Mix the bread crumbs with the basil, minced garlic, grated cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add some olive oil and mix with hands. When it feels like a sandy consistency then you are ready to fill. If you need more oil, put in a small amount each time until you get the right consistency. Now take your tomato and top each one with your bread crumb mixture, gently filling them. Sprinkle with a small amount of oil evenly on top of each tomato half. Bake, about 30 minutes uncovered, until tomatoes are cooked, (soft) and mixture is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let sit before serving. Yield: 12 halves 

Till Next Time………….

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 11, 2014

“National Culinary Arts Month” & “Spiced Blueberry Muffins”

Welcome, did you know that July is “National Culinary Arts Month?” Each July, National Culinary Arts Month is held, which promotes awareness of professional cooks, chefs, and their contributions to the culinary world of excellence. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are pleasing to the palate as to the eye. The world of Culinary Arts not only consists of creating delicious dishes, but also the use of kitchen utensils, tools, and equipment that must be associated with the preparation of the recipes.   

I did not have any professional training to be a good cook or, baker but I remember when a young girl I would always watch my mom prepare and cook dinner. My job was always to set the table, quite boring. As I got older I would help my mom prepare the food by peeling the potatoes or fixing the salad, but that wouldn't due either. I desperately wanted to be taught how to create such mouthwatering dishes. So, then I became more curious about cooking and wanted to seriously learn. That is when my mom started to teach me about how to cook certain recipes. My mother and grandmothers taught me the basic instructions of cooking and baking. They said that baking was a science which you had to follow the recipe correctly. Cooking on the other hand, you can be more creative with, by adding a little of this or that. They told me that the tools and equipment you need are extremely important to create wonderful and tasty recipes.

I received my first cookbook from my mom in 1974. It was the same cookbook that we used at home when I was a young girl. She wrote in it and it said, “Enjoy! Be happy in your kitchen as I am in mine, Love Mom.” For those of you wondering what cookbook it was, “Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook,” revised edition 1971. Her copy was from 1948 which was the first printing of the cookbook.  As the years went by and I became a wife and mother I learned how to improve my skills, by still watching my mom, plus cooking shows, and reading recipes in cookbooks. This month is the perfect time to try your hand at cooking! Here are some helpful tips and the tools that you will need to be the chef and baker in your own kitchen.
Buy basic equipment; invest in a good set of sharp knives, sturdy pots, pans, and a set of glass baking dishes. You will also need measuring cups (dry & liquid) plus a set of measuring spoons. A food processor and an electric mixer will come in handy as you learn the ins and outs of food preparation. You will also need some wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a few spatulas, a vegetable peeler, a pastry brush, a rolling pin, a grater, a cutting board, and a strainer just to name a few. The inventory of tools and equipment are countless, but as you learn to advance in your cooking techniques you can always add to your collection.

Familiarize yourself with cooking terms such as poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, and parboiling. Again these are just some examples that you will need to learn. You can use cookbooks for research and also an online cooking dictionary will help you learn the correct terms to use for your preparation of special dishes. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of cooking classes being given in your neighborhood such as in schools or libraries. Look at cookbooks; sometimes they supply you with tutorials which are extremely helpful.

Most of all make your cooking and baking experience fun! If you make a mistake, just try again. Every inspiring cook or baker needs assistance, so ask help from your family, friends, and even your children. Chopping, cutting, and dicing are how they learn. So put on your apron, get out your knife, and start chopping to create your next flavorful meal as the master chef of your own kitchen.

Besides, July is “National Culinary Arts Month,” today July 11th just happens to be “National Blueberry Muffin Day.” With that being said, my recipe today is “Spiced Blueberry Muffins.” These sweet but spicy muffins are easy to bake and they are made with the Original Bisquick® mix. They can be served for breakfast, brunch, or for a delightful dessert. This muffin is a favorite in my family and a perfect summer time treat which you can bake in 30 minutes. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and I’m sure that your taste buds will be thanking you!

                                                “Spiced Blueberry Muffins


2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 400°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except blueberries. Now, gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm, if desired.
Serves: 12    Enjoy!

Till next time……..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

“Chicken Surprise Wraps” & “Almond White Chocolate Chunk Cookies” For Wordless Tuesday

Welcome to “Wordless Tuesday!” Where there is just one or two mouthwatering recipes which I know you have been waiting to try…….. 

My first recipe this week is a wrap that I created for a lunch with my sewing group. I call it “Chicken Surprise Wraps.” Everyone loves these flavorful wraps. This recipe is very easy and refreshing. It’s an enjoyable way to have a healthy and fun lunch, enjoy! 

“Chicken Surprise Wraps”

2 Whole wheat or Flour Tortilla packages 12-inch Fajita size (8 count)
2 packages of Perdue Shortcuts Chicken carved breast strips (9 oz)
1 package of pre-washed spinach leaves (6 oz)
1 package of Oscar Mayer Bacon fully cooked (just heat up) (12 count)
1 bag of Diamond Sliced Almonds (2.25 ounces)
1 bottle of your favorite Ranch dressing mix
2 jars of Roasted Peppers marinated in olive oil and garlic (12 ounce)

Spread 2 tablespoons of Ranch dressing in the center of each tortilla. Layer with the spinach leaves, a couple of strips of chicken, 2 slices of bacon, piece of roasted peppers, and then sprinkle with a hand full of sliced almonds. Roll up tightly and cut in half. Keep in refrigerator till ready to serve. Serves: 8-12 according to how much you put in them.


Almonds and white chocolate make a delicious combination in cookies. A perfect dessert after our wraps for lunch. Bake a batch for a delightful cookie platter, any time of the year.

“Almond White Chocolate Chunk Cookies”

1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract
8 oz White Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups Diamond slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extract; beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate and almonds. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto un-greased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Till Next Time……..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 4, 2014

“Jell-O Poke Cake” & A "Pink Fizzy" To Celebrate July 4th!

Wishing you, my readers a Happy Fourth of July! It’s a Birthday party today! We're so grateful to live in this country and to celebrate the birth of our Nation. Most of us celebrate with family, friends, picnics, BBQ’s, parades, and showing a great emphasis on the American tradition of Freedom. The most common symbol of Independence Day is the American flag, but other symbols include the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor and Macy’s fireworks display viewed all over the United States. I have to mention “thank you” to the servicemen and women who have been fighting for our freedom and keeping our country safe. These are the people that our founding fathers would have called our heroes!

Independence Day, is the anniversary of the publication of the Declaration of Independence. How it all began was in 1775, people in New England began fighting the British for their independence. On July 2, 1776, the Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was first published two days later on July 4, 1776. John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams on how the day should be celebrated. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States. Interestingly trivia: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and Presidents of the United States, died on the same day, July 4, 1826 - exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence.

Fireworks have been used by Americans for July 4th since the nation's very beginning. The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China, where they were invented. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities. It is a part of the culture of China and had its origin there; eventually it spread to other cultures and societies. The first recorded display in England celebrated the wedding of Henry VII in 1487. Shakespeare mentions them several times in his plays.

In 1986 the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty on July 4th lit up the skies over New York Harbor with a dazzling fireworks display destined to surpass any others held in this country, or the world. The "Statue of Liberty Centennial Fireworks Spectacular" was an international display, with fireworks from many different countries including Japan, China, Germany, Italy, England, France, Spain, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Brazil. As I recall when I was young, my dad would always buy a few packages of sparklers. When it got dark out, he would light them and watch us as we swirled them around in the sky. This was a lot of fun and it made us feel like we were part of the celebration.

My son Paul (1986)
Fireworks come in so many different shapes, colors, and sizes such as stars, rotating circles, fish, and even 3D shapes. They are sometimes programmed to music as in Disney World where the fireworks are fired off to music with colors. Fireworks are used in celebrations of theme parks, Olympics, Halloween, Christmas, New Years, and Political events. States such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Delaware ban all consumer fireworks completely. Only legal professional authorities can be approved to operate firework displays.

***Please be responsible and do not use fireworks unless a professional person is on hand. Please be sure that your pets are safe as well. They do not like the noise and tend to hide. 

Here we are at the beginning of July and the summer is really heating up. However you celebrate, remember to incorporate your holiday traditions with your family and no matter where you are, take time to be thankful for our freedom. I’m sure like most people, you are preparing your menus for the July 4th, celebration. That means grilling meats, cold salads, baked beans, corn on the cob, fruits of all kinds, etc. Now we have to put out the desserts, cookies, cupcakes, and pies just to name a few. Just like any birthday party, the cake is always the most important part of your celebration. A birthday party with no tasty birthday cake will not make that event complete. My recipe is the perfect dessert for a patriotic weekend. It is made with Red and Blue Jell-O, plus cool whip, a very refreshing and sweet way to end your celebration.

Jell-O Poke Cake”


2 baked 9" white cake layers 
2 cups of boiling water
1 package of Jell-O (red)
1 package of Jell-O (blue)
1 tub of Cool Whip (20 oz container)

Place cooked layers, top sides of cake back in 2 separate 9”clean round cake pans. Pierce cake with large fork or back of wooden spoon at 1/2 inch increments. Stir 1 cup boiling water into each flavor of the gelatin in separate bowls for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Carefully pour red gelatin over one of the cake layers and blue gelatin over the second layer. Refrigerate 3 hours. Dip pan in warm water for 10 seconds, to help un-mold and then onto a serving plate. Spread with 1 cup of whipped topping. Un-mold second layer, carefully place on first layer covered with whipped topping. Frost with remaining whipped topping. Garnish as desired with some berries. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Storage in refrigerator if there is any left.

***Tips: You can substitute with Light Cool Whip and also the cake can be made with sugar free Jell-O.


Ladies, this drink is for you today called a Pink Fizzy -- 1 bottle White Zinfandel,* 2 cans of frozen pink lemonade,* 2 cans of lemon-lime soda.* Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve in stemless wine glasses, garnish with lime & lemon wheels. 

***(Please drink responsible)

Till Next Time……..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“Colorful Corn Salad” Plus A “Strawberry Mojito” For "Wordless Tuesday"

Welcome, It is “Wordless Tuesday” This recipe is so delicious and a perfect dish to serve on a hot summer’s day…maybe for the July 4th holiday. Goes so nicely with a BBQ of ribs, chicken, or burgers. So colorful and all the fresh veggies you can eat........ 

“Colorful Corn Salad”


3 cups of frozen corn or 3 cups of fresh corn
1 can of black olives (pitted) and chopped
20 grape tomatoes cut in half
1 cup of chopped green pepper
1 cup of chopped red pepper
3/4 cup of chopped onion or scallions
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup lime juice
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the corn is using frozen or fresh. In a large beautiful salad bowl, combine all vegetable ingredients, and then cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and add the salt/pepper. Stir till all coated, cover and refrigerate until serving. Serving is for 8 people or more, depending on how much of the ingredients you use. You can also add other veggies or take out an ingredient that your family does not eat. Your choice…just enjoy!


“Strawberry Mojito”

This light, tasty and refreshing Strawberry Mojito recipe is sure to please everyone for the whole summer. The sweet, juicy strawberries are a perfect compliment to the mint and rum.


4 large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6-8 large mint leaves
2 teaspoons granulated or super fine sugar
2 fluid ounces white rum (2 shots)
Club soda or seltzer water, (about 1/4 cup)
Garnish: mint leaf, half a strawberry


Add the strawberries, mint and sugar to a cocktail shaker or large drinking glass. Muddle until strawberries are broken down and mint leaves are torn apart. Add the rum and shake well if using a cocktail shaker. Stir well if using a glass. Pour rum/strawberry mixture into a tall glass. Finish filling the glass with ice and top off with club soda. Mix gently with a straw. Garnish with a mint leaf and half a strawberry

Till Next Time………………………………...........

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