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Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Fun!

The holiday is fast approaching and you want to wow your guests or your hostess with something fun, good to eat and of course RED, WHITE,  and BLUE.    Well, here are some quick and actually very easy ideas to make fun desserts that will wow the masses and celebrate the fun of the holiday with colors galore.  The best thing about them, is they are mostly easy to make from all ready made items if you are to tired to make them yourself, just some minor assembly and they will think you are a miracle worker.  
The first one is one of my favorites and it is a TRIFLE........ which by definition is a A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake soaked in sherry, rum, or brandy and topped with layers of jam or jelly, custard, and whipped cream.  We are going to make ours more family friendly and summery.  

You will need, 
1 angel food cake or pound cake ( I think angel food cake would be good since it is whiter)
3 cups of strawberries, sliced and sugared
3 cups of blueberries, sugared (you may have to smash them just a small bit to help get the juices and sugar to combine, you need them to form some juice)
2 small or one large container of Cool Whip or whipped topping of your choice

1. Cut angel cake into approximately 1 inch cubes.  Set aside.
2. Gather Trifle Dish or high sided, flat bottom glass bowl.  Should be see through to make sure you can see the color of the layers. 
3. Separate the cake into 4 piles.  Place the first pile of cake pieces on the bottom of the bowl evenly spaces.  
4. Place half of either the strawberries or blueberries on top of the cake pieces., also using half the juice to moisten the cake pieces.  Make sure you are layering it so that each distinct layer can be seen.  
5. Take 1/4 of the amount of whipped topping and spread evenly over the berries.
6. Place another layer of cake on top of whipped topping.
7. Place 1/2 of the opposite berry (if you used strawberries first, now use blueberries or vice versa).
8. Place another 1/4 of the amount of whipped topping and spread evenly on top of berries.
Repeat steps 4 through 8 again, ending with whipped topping.  
Garnish the top of the trifle with either whole blueberries and strawberries or make a stripes alternating red and blue using the berries.  You could also stick sparklers in the tops or put red and/or blue sugar sprinkles or jimmies on top.  Be creative, cut out stars using a piece of paper and shake jimmies over stencil.  Carefully remove stencil to reveal just stars on top of whipped topping.    
The picture above is an empty trifle bowl, the picture below is just for reference to see how the layers should seperate.  Remember yours will not look exactly the same.  You can make this with any type of fresh berries, or even peaches and nectarines  

Jello Cake

1 boxed cake mix 
   (ingredients to bake the cake)
1 3 oz pkg of Jello gelatin mix (berry blue or some sort of red)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 8 oz tub whipped topping like Cool Whip
1 can Cherry pie filling ,Strawberry pie Filling or Fresh Strawberries, or Blueberry pie filling, of course use the  opposite color pie filling or topping compared to the color gelatin you used

1. Bake a yellow or white cake in a 9 x 13 cake pan according to package directions just omitting the oil.  This will allow your cake to rise better.  (You do not have to add anything to the mix and you can do this anything you are baking a cake, makes it a tiny bit more healthy too).  
2.When it is done baking, remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes.
3.With the handle end of a wooden spoon or large tined fork poke holes throughout the entire top of the cake about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart. 

2. Stir gelatin mix into the boiling water until all the gelatin is completely dissolved (about two minutes). Stir in cold water.  Carefully and slowly pour the gelatin over the entire surface of the cake.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until gelatin has time to set.   

3. "Icing" the top of the cake with the whipped topping.  Spoon the pie filling over the top of the cool whip or serve it on the side of the cake.  

4.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Immediately refrigerate leftovers.

When cut your cake will look like the one in the picture  to the right.  The stripes may be a different color depending on the jello flavor used.

This is an amazing dessert that is incredibly versatile.  You can use almost any flavor of cake mix, mix and match with jello and make your own creation.  Try a french vanilla cake, with orange jello and french vanilla cool whip for an orange creamsicle  type cake.  Like black forest cake, use a chocolate cake, black cherry or cherry jello, cool whip and chocolate shavings on top, you can even add cherry pie filling.  Don't forget you can try things like lemon jello, or lime jello, and add a bit of tartness to the cake, very refreshing.    

So do you have company this weekend, here is a great breakfast or anytime treat that is in the spirit and thanks to Betty Crocker it is quick and easy to make!!!!

Here is what you need:
1   box Betty Crocker wild blueberry muffin mix
3/4 c milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Line 12 muffin tins with papers or grease only the bottom of the muffin cups
3. Drain muffins from the muffin mix rinse and set aside. In medium bowl, stir in muffin mix, milk, oil, eggs, and cranberries just until blended. Gently stir in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups, each should be about 3/4 full.
4. Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back lightly when touched.  Cool 3-4 minutes and then remove from pan.

1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons milk.
1/8 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract.

Mix together 3 ingredients to form glaze, drizzle over muffins while they are still warm.  Let cool and serve.

This should get you started.  I will hopefully find a few more tomorrow.  Getting tired thank goodness.  Has been a long week with lots of medicine changes.  Just hoping to make it through the big weekend with a large family gathering at my house of 20 plus people.  I am excited to see some of them who I have not seen in almost 6 months, just a bad time for the doctor to decide to change my meds around.  Well, here is hoping it all goes well.  I hope you all have an amazing holiday weekend.  Take care of yourselves.  If you tire rest, if you hurt, don't push it.  Remember it is the time to relax, others can help and you also deserve a break.  Happy 4th of July.

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