Strawberry Shortcake Girls

Time is fleeting that is for sure. Lately I have been thinking quite a bit by how quickly my girls are growing. Nothing spectacular really…. in fact its a right of passage I suppose, something every parent goes through on a regular basis. Perhaps its because the strawberry fields near our house that we used to go to this time of year, when the girls were smaller recently closed.

I found myself glaring and reminanising over these photos of my girls at the same age strawberry picking. I remember both times were ridiculously stressful, hot & chaotic. Yet when I went over these pictures I found myself in astonishment at how perfect these moments were. These fleeting moments of my little angels babyhood perfectly captured in time.

Then I was struck by the relization that that is life in general. That is the point….. No matter where you are in life…. make sure to breath it in, absorb it…. absolutely relish in it. For it is a fast and fleeting moment like the light to a firefly, but it’s perfect and you will treasure that memory no matter how chaotic it may seem at the time. For it is a beautiful poetic chapter in the story that is your life. One you will read and reread often in your mind.

Below is the recipe of the fresh strawberry cake the girls and I would make each year with all our yummy freshly picked strawberries.

Fresh strawberry cake

  • Difficulty: average
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Cake ingredients;

  • White cake mix
  • strawberry jello pack
  • 1/4 C Avocado oil
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1/2 C half & half
  • 1 C of chopped strawberries (frozen or fresh)

Butter cream ingredients;

  • 1/3 C soften butter
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 T half & half
  • 1 C of fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I start by adding my half & half + strawberries (whole) into either a blender or food processor & blend it up just enough to chop up the strawberries. Next I mix up the strawberries & cream mixture, cake mix, jello pack, & oil. I used 6 inch pans for my cake, but you could easily modify your recipe for a full size cake or sheet cake for easy transport if needed. To prep my pans I typically grease and lightly flour the the pan and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Pour your batter half way up the pan.

Since I used 6 in round pans, I baked each layer of my cake for about 20 min each. Test to see if cake is done by inserting knife in the middle of the cake. If the knife is clean when you remove it, it is done. Remove cake from pan and cool on a cooling rack while you prepare your icing & get your second layer in the oven to as well bake for about 20 min.

While your first cake layer is cooling and your second layer is baking, you prep your strawberry buttercream icing. Mix up your butter and slowly add your powder sugar little at a time. Then add vanilla and half & half. Finally I add the roughly chopped strawberries. While I have the icing stiffening up in the refrigerator I then get the second layer out & cooling. When you are ready to ice the cake you put 1st layer down butt up as I like to call it. Place a dollop of icing and smooth out on top. Place your second layer on top of the icing and again place a dollop of icing on top and smooth on top. I then add a couple more dollops and start to smooth the icing to the sides and then smooth it out to the cakes sides and continue doing so until the sides are all covering with the icing in a rouch icing layer. Then I place the whole cake in the fridge to let the icing harden a bit for about 10 min. Afterwards I repeat the whole layering process again and add a fresh sliced strawberry on top.

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Peach Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops

Peach Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Pack of lean pork chops
  • Trader Joes every day seasoning
  • 2 T of butter
  • 1 t of minced garlic
  • 1 C of chicken stock
  • 1 C of sliced peaches or about 4 fresh peaches sliced (depending on the season)
  • 3 T of brown sugar
  • 3 T of good bourbon

Sprinkle your pork chops (both sides) with the trader joe’s everyday seasoning. Or if you prefer, salt pepper work just fine. Add about 1 T to the pan on medium high heat and then sear your pork chops for about 3 min on each side. Then place on a plate to rest while you prepare the glazed. Sauté your garlic for no more than a minute and then add your chicken stock, making sure to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan and mixing well. Add the rest of your butter, peaches, brown sugar & bourbon. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken and to cook the alcohol out of the bourbon. Then put the seared chops back in the sauce, place top on pan and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. Plate the pork chops and pour the saucy peaches and glaze right on top. Enjoy!

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Green Chia Seed Pudding

Green Chia Seed Pudding

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 C of spinach
  • 1 C of milk
  • 1/2 C of coconut milk
  • 1/2 C of honey
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • Sliced kiwi as garnish

Add spinach, milk, coconut milk, honey and chia seeds to your blender & mix them all up until green & well blended. Pour mixture into desired bowls & slip kiwi on the side or on top. Let sit in the fridge for at least 45 min to an hour.

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Gluten-free Kale And Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Gluten-free Kale & Chocolate Chip Pancakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Handful or two of freshly washed kale
  • 3/4 C of milk
  • 1 C of gluten-free baking mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T of honey
  • 1 T of butter
  • Chocolate chips

Set your griddle to Medium-high & in your blender, mix up the kale & milk together. Mix in together milk/kale mixture, pancake mix, egg, honey, and butter. Your batter should be on the thicker side. Thicker batter ensures fluffy pancakes. Add a little bit more milk if you prefer thinner pancakes.

Lightly grease the griddle & pour the batter (I pour about a palm size amount of batter)

Then I add a sprinkle of chocolate chips, and after you start to see bubbles form with the edges firming up you flip. Cook for about a min or two on the other side & then serve with butter and syrup of choice!

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Tumeric and Ginger Immunity Tea

Tumeric & Ginger Immunity Tea

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Calming caffeine free tea of choice~This is my go to, but its only a seasonal item & for those who do not have a trader joes near them, your favorite herbal tea will do the trick.
This is my favorite tea to use. With calming chamomile, cinnamon, ginger and a little bit of hibiscous. Its a cup of heaven on rainy and cold day.
  • 1/2 t of turmeric
  • 1 T of honey
  • 1/2 t of freshly grated ginger
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • dash of black pepper

Start by simmering snd brewing your favorite cup of herbal chamomile tea. Afterwards stir in turmeric, fresh ginger, dash of pepper for better absorption, and garnish with honey and lemon juice.

Enjoy!

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Instapot Beef Pho

Instapot Beef Pho with Zoodles

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 standard box of low sodium organic beef broth
  • 1 T of cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large sliced sweet oninon
  • 1 T of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 T of garlic-optional
  • 1 filet of top round steak-thinly sliced
  • 2 T of fish sauce
  • Salt & peper to taste
  • 1 package of zoodles- Zucchini noodles
  • 1/2 C of sliced Bella mushrooms
  • fresh leaves of basil
  • lime slices
  • garlic chili hot sauce for garnish
  • 2 green onions -chopped

Add beef stock, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, seal your instantapot and set to the soup/broth function and set on less to 10 min. Once the broth is cooked, ladle broth into bowl on top of zoodles and place your thinly sliced beef in the hot broth to cook. Add onions, mushrooms, basil. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, salt, pepper & hot sauce to taste Enjoy!

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Charleston Red Rice

Charleston Red Rice

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 5 slices of good bacon
  • 4 ribs of chopped up celery
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 T of minced garlic
  • 1/2 chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 spinach and feta chicken sausages (fully cooked), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of steamed white rice
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • sprinkle of oregano & parsely
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green onions for garnish

Instructions

Cook up bacon in a pot, until crispy and set aside. Sauté onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper for about 5-7 minutes, you want the onions to be translucent. Next add can of diced tomatoes & add oregano, parsley, salt & pepper on medium heat, let simmer for about 3 min. Add the sausage & white rice and turn the stove top off. Mix thoroughly, garnish with green onions & serve along side a beautiful chicken cobb salad such as this one. Enjoy!

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