Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Two Creamy Desserts: Strawberry Cream Dessert / Chocolate Meringue Pie

Two refreshing, creamy desserts ... good for Valentine's time, spring, summer, or anytime of year! I served these at a Family Meal on Feb. 25th, celebrating a sweet daughter's birthday, and celebrating a 15-year anniversary of my husband's recovery from a terrible accident. 

I had not made this Strawberry Cream Dessert for many years; so long ago that it felt like a new recipe to me! I don't know why I waited so long - it is so very delicious. It seems that you could also substitute any flavor of gelatin and yoghurt in the recipe, and it would still be good. Lime, lemon, raspberry, even peach would be good - depending on the occasion, season of year, and your choice of flavor and color!

(To print recipe, click on the source link below.)

Strawberry Cream Dessert

Course: Desserts
  • 2-14 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cartons (one 16 ounces one 8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
  • 12 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) strawberry yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
  • 1-12 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-12 teaspoons butter melted
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Stir in 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over the prepared crust.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in yogurt and 6 cups of whipped topping until blended. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Spread remaining whipped topping over strawberry layer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over whipped topping. Yield: 12-15 servings.
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It was fun to serve two desserts at our recent Family Meal! The Strawberry Cream Dessert recipe caught my attention to make first, and then I knew that I needed to include something chocolate for my husband. And he loved this pie!

My husband is a chocolate lover, and particularly a dark chocolate lover. And I was very pleased that this pie passed the test - he said that it tasted like dark chocolate. So thankful I could make him a pie that he loved, and so thankful that we could celebrate 15 years from when he was injured in a life-threatening accident!

(To print recipe, click on the source link below.)

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Course: Desserts
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Total Time: 45 min
Yield: 8 servings
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 large egg yolks beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pie shell (9 inches) baked
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 14 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  1. In a saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt; gradually add milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes more.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into the egg yolks. Return to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour hot filling into pie crust.
  4. For meringue, immediately beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until stiff and glossy.
  5. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing meringue to pie crust.
  6. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  7. Yield: 8 servings.
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NOTE: Next time I make this pie recipe, I will double the ingredients in the recipe for the meringue. I think it needed more meringue - maybe I would even triple the meringue ingredients!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Digital Scrapbooking: Feb. 2017

Preserving memories in digital scrapbook form is a fun hobby for me. It's always a treat when I can take some time here and there throughout the month to gather photos together that are on my laptop, and put them together into a digital page of memories. A record of God's gifts to us, and of the story He is writing in our lives. Here are a few of the pages that I created during the month of February ...

The page above holds memories of one of our sweet daughter's birthdays, and also from Valentine's Day ...

I created this page to honor my hubby as we celebrated 15 years from when he was in a horrible accident - so good to pause, and to thank God for how He carried us through that very scary, difficult time.

This past December was too full for scrapbooking, so I am slowly catching up - here's one of my favorite pages from our Family Christmas 2016.

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About five years I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements. (You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used five years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On Valentine's Day: What is Love?

What is love? 
How do you define what love is?

It can be portrayed in a thousand different ways. It can take on a vast variety of hues, scents, and colors. Of shapes, sizes, and forms. And if given and received during each day of each year, and of each decade and millennium, would it ever run out?

It existed with the first man and woman, the first parent and child ... and it still exists today. With husbands and wives, with parent and with child, with friends of all ages. 

There is no end to love

"God is love, 
and all who live in love live in God, 
and God lives in them."
(I John 4:16)

The love that we have, is not our own. It is a gift from the One who is love.

And it is not ours to hold onto, but to give away.

As He did - giving His own beloved Son - the ultimate sacrifice of love.

And we, in turn, become a sacrifice of love to those around us.

"The art of giving is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made enough love to give." (Ann Voskamp)

"Give away your life;
you'll find life given back,
but not merely given back -
given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way."
(Luke 6:38 MSG)

The beautiful cycle of love ... let ourselves be loved by Him, then give away our own life in love to others. It's easy to focus on receiving love from others, but how much better to focus on being loved by the One who is Himself love, and then on loving others from the overflow of this love.

Happy Valentine's Day!

We love each other, 
because He loved us first.
(I John 4:19)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reflections on January: New Beginnings, Celebrations, and Growth

Just minutes ago, it seems, we welcomed the New Year. And now, I am pausing to reflect on the first month of this new year. It has come, and it has gone. But it will remain a part of me, for all our days are gifts from God. 

It was a month of new beginnings ...

My first digital scrapbook page (above) for the year captures a few of the new beginnings that were part of January: a brand new calendar (a gift from daughters) filled with sweet photos of grandkids; some of our younger grandkids now old enough to play the games that we as adults love (such fun to play Settlers of Catan with them!); new planners and journals for a new year (and a post about it all - Planning 2017); and a brand new Fitbit (my first!) to motivate me to be more consistent with exercise (I love it - and it is helping me even more than I expected!). 

It was a month of celebrating ...

The photos from another scrapbook page hold a few of the very significant things we celebrated in January: my hubby's continued amazing recovery from some health issues a year ago (a doctor's appt early in the month revealed that all continues to go very well after his stroke early in 2016 and after the two heart procedures that were done to correct some problems); after putting many, many hours, month after month throughout 2016 into preparing a family home for sale - the sale was completed the end of January! And another significant event during the month was a grandson's 8th birthday, and his decision all on his own to be baptized on Jan. 8 (his 8th birthday)!

It was a month of growing ...

By God's grace, He continually gives us deeper glimpses into who He is, and into all that He has for us. I received some deeper insight last month into how He longs for us to be one with Him. He desires for us to abide in Him, communicate with Him about everything; actually inviting us to be one with Him, as He is with the Father. (John 17:20-24)  This is too beautiful to even grasp completely, and beyond my comprehension ... but I am learning more, bit by bit. 

I am learning more about what it means to rest. To pause, to listen, even in the midst of our busyness. And I am drawn to focus more on rest in the midst of our busy days throughout this coming year, and will be reading through Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller. The author has also made available some beautiful monthly calendars.

I am also being impacted in a deep way as I am reading through The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. So many good quotes to keep! "The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father's heart. ... There's brokenness that's not about blame. There's brokenness that makes a canvas for God's light. There's brokenness that makes windows straight into souls. Brokenness happens in a soul so the power of God can happen in a soul. ... Is this how you live with your one broken heart? Your one broken heart is healed by a oneness with Him."

And now we are in a new month -
filled with opportunities for new beginnings, 
more celebrations, and room for much growth.