Simple advice for a better life.

Slice of jello dessertThis hot summer weather is calling for lots of quick to prepare light meals, thus lots of salads and refreshing desserts.

Jello desserts are one of my favorite desserts for the summer, because they are light, and served cold.

My raspberries produced abundantly this year, so they were my fruit of choice for this dessert.

I found this recipe on another site, posted in Polish.  I translated it, and tested it last weekend on my family.  Everyone really loved it, so I had to share it with all of you, my loyal readers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Lady Fingers cookies
  • 1 box of Cherry Jello (3 oz)
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream , cooled (for whipping)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh fruits (I used raspberries – see TIP below)
  • 1 large box of Raspberry Jello (6 oz)

Directions:

Line bottom of a glass casserole dish (9 x13) with parchment paper.

Lady Finger Cookies Lady fingers dessert base

Layer the Lady Fingers cookies to cover the whole bottom of the dish, as shown above, or in your own way.  You may need to trim them to fit snugly, to cover the bottom.

Prepare the whipped cream, by using a cold mixing bowl, pouring in the whipping cream, and using a mixer, whipping  it to stiff peaks.

Freshly whipped cream

Do not over whip, so you don’t end up with butter, rather than whipped cream.  Keep the whipped cream in the refrigerator, while preparing the jello.

Prepare Cherry Jello, dissolving it in only 1 cup of boiling water, but not adding any cold water.

Cooling off jello

To speed up the  cooling process, pour it in a cold container, place it in a bowl of ice water, and keep on stirring until room temperature, or cooler, but not jelling yet.

Slowly add the cooled jello to the whipped cream.

Jello folded into whipped cream

Fold the jello nicely into the whipped cream, do not mix too much, so you do not break up the whipped cream.

Scoop whipped topping over lady fingers Spread whipped topping

Scoop the Cherry Whipped topping over Lady Fingers, and spread evenly, making sure it is well packed near the edges of your casserole dish, so the jello in the next step does not leak down the sides, and moisten the cookie base.

Layer butterflied raspberries over the whipped cream

Position the fresh fruit over the whipped cream layer.  I butterflied my raspberries so they do not stick out too high.

Prepare the raspberry jello, also using only 1 cup of water, so it will stay firmer and not soften as quickly during serving.

Pour cooled jello over the whipped topping Jello dessert ready to refrigerate

Slowly pour cooled raspberry jello over the fruit (I used small gravy ladle), until completely covered.  As you can see some of my fruit still was poking out of the jello layer, but that is fine, since you do have a thin layer of jello poured over it.

Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for a couple of hours, or overnight, and enjoy this refreshing dessert.

TIP: You can use any  fruit of your choice, however kiwi and pineapple will not hold well in the jello layer.  Next time I would like to try Lemon Jello with the whipped cream, and mandarin slices for the fruit, covered with  Orange Jello. Yum…that sounds wonderful already…eh?  Lady Fingers cookies can be a little expensive (I paid $3.99 for a box), so to cut down on cost, you may use sponge cake for the bottom layer.

Growing Raspberries – Fun or Chore?

Fresh Raspberry CropWho wouldn’t love raspberries?   They look so succulent, fresh, inviting and delicious, right? While all of this is true about the fruit, growing them in your garden is another story.

As the old saying goes “every rose has it’s thorns”, and the same is true about raspberry bushes.  Despite the great appeal of the fruit,  the plants require quite a bit of TLC, which I learned after I planted mine (ignorance is bliss…sometimes).

Before you decide to add them to your gardening plan, please click on the highlighted words above, to familiarize yourself with the whole process.

You will find out that there two different types of raspberries, those that produce fruit once a year, during early summer, like mine, and the overbearing ones, that produce fruit at least twice during the year (summer and fall).

They begin producing fruit in their second year of growth, as during the first year they try to establish themselves, and strengthen their Primocanes, which develop into Floricanes, thus fruit bearing canes.

Raspberry bushes are scratchy and full of fine thorns, thus tending to them requires wearing protective gear, mainly long sleeves and gloves.  The canes need to be thinned out and pruned.

Raspberry bushes

These are my raspberry bushes with new growth this late spring, after I pruned them in early spring.  Here again, read the linked article on the pruning method.  I pruned mine to about 3 feet tall canes, and cut out all the dead canes, and removed the very thin ones (the suckers).

I also would not recommend planting raspberry bushes close to your vegetable garden, like I did, because it creates additional weeding, as the roots spread into my garden, and new (unwanted) plants spring up everywhere.

Lots of Raspberries on these bushes

This picture was taken at the beginning of June, and as you can see, there are lots of raspberries getting ready to ripen, and to be picked.  How exciting is that? So far, the birds have been behaving pretty well, and not beating me to the ripe fruit.  It almost makes me forget how many times I have been scratched by these  prickly bushes.

Raspberry bushes need to fertilized twice per year, pruned regularly, kept weed free, and supported by trellis ( I planted mine against the fence).  Raspberry plants, just like rose plant, do not like to be watered from the top, over their foliage, but rather close to the roots, to prevent the growth and spread of mold and disease.

Since I try to keep my garden as close to organic as possible, I only use natural fertilizer.  Actually, since I planted my raspberry bushes in mushroom soil, two years ago, I did not use any additional fertilizer yet.

I am dreading the Japanese Beetle season, since I try to pick them off, rather than spraying my plants with any pesticides.  They will love to get on these lovely leaves and chew away,  so I really will have to keep an eye out for those pesky beetles.

I used to strategically post these special beetle traps, but found out that these actually attract more beetles to my yard, due to the aroma of the lure, which does lure them towards the traps, but not all of them end up in the traps, but rather attack other flowers and plants they find just as attractive and tasty.

I also, prepare my own organic bug spray, by mixing hot pepper sauce, vegetable oil, water and dish detergent.  It works on bugs, but it needs to be applied often, especially during a rainy season.

Please share your gardening tips and stories with all of us, and leave a comment.

Peggy's Fruit SaladSummer is officially here.

Lots of  hot days in the sun, more time for outdoor fun, and less time to spend in the kitchen.

This is a very refreshing fruit salad, great for any occasion, and very easy to prepare.

This is my son-in-laws favorite salad, so my daughter is becoming an expert on preparing it for her family.

Ingredients:
•    8 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
•    16 oz can sliced peaches, drained
•    16 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
•    3 medium bananas, sliced
•    2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
•    3.75 ox instant vanilla pudding mix
•    1 ½ cups milk
•    1/3 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
•    ¾ cups sour cream

Directions:
1.    Combine dry pudding mix, milk, and orange juice.
2.    Beat until blended –  1 to2 minutes
3.    Beat in sour cream
4.    Fold in fruit mixture
5.    Cover, and chill at least a couple of hours, or over night.

Happy Father’s Day

the boy and his father

Creative Commons License photo credit: erix!

Father’s Day is such a special day to recognize, and honor, all the father’s and father’s-to-be, all over the world.

Father’s Day is celebrated in the US, and many other countries, on June 20th, this year.  However, numerous other countries dedicate this holiday to their dads on different days.  In Ukraine, it is also celebrated this Sunday, but dads in Poland have to wait until Wednesday, June 23rd.

If your country celebrates Father’s Day on a different day yet, please share it with us.

Someone shared with me a very nice statement about what is a Father, presented to him by his son:

FATHER:

F - Finds time to assist his child

A - Actively participates in his child’s future

T - Takes the lead in hard work

H - Has his child’s best interest at heart

E - Enjoys spending time with his child

R - Rescues his child from harm

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

TO ALL DADS

ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!


Go Green – Helpful Tips

A while back I shared with you that I am following this wonderful  website , which provides numerous tips on “living green”.

I love nature, enjoy pesticide free gardening, and try to contribute to saving Mother Earth as much as possible, I promised to share some of their tips with you.

Here is one  I saved for you for today:

Avoid Chemical Pesticides

Read the full tip online

What?
Protect your family – and the environment – by avoiding the use of pesticides in your lawn and garden.

How?
Work with your eco-system, not against it.  Plant native and complementary plants.  Then weigh living with a few dandelions versus using a pesticide that could poison your child or pet.

Why?
Pesticides have been linked to cancer, birth defects and nerve system damage in humans.

Did You Know?
Most of our water sources are contaminated with pesticides.  Over 95% of river and stream samples, as well as over 50% of well samples, contain at least one pesticide.

Okay, But How Hard Is It?
As easy as keeping your yard safe for children and pets Two Smileys

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