Friday, February 29, 2008

Um.

Nevermind. I still have a camera. I remember putting it in the back, outside pocket of the diaper bag because I thought no one would check there. Wow, was I right, because I don't even look there.

I got my pics back, too:

If you can't tell, it's supposed to be a tortoise shell that kids climb into. If she were about 5 times bigger, she might actually look like a tortoise in there.


And no, she didn't slide out. I put her there. She doesn't have quite that much control over her limbs yet.

This is what I wanted to show you earlier. . .



a vase full of half-droopy gerbera daisies.

I'm working on a little project, and I needed some red flowers. I was at the grocery store on Tuesday, and as I was checking out, I noticed bunches of flowers against the wall. I scanned them quickly, looking for something red and saw these beauties. I didn't see a price sign for these, but since most of the other bunches were around $4-5, I figured these were, too.

I looked at my receipt after leaving the store, and those puppies were $8.99. EIGHT NINETY-NINE. That's a dollar a flower. Whoa. Oops. :)

I take them home, trim the bottoms and put them in fresh water, just like the instructions say. A few hours later they perked up, and I was a happy camper. The next day, Wednesday, I got the photos I need. I was excited that I would have flowers on my table for the next week or so.

Thursday rolls around and a couple of them look droopy. I trimmed the bottoms again, change the water, and waited a little while. No change. By the looks of them, you'd think I'd left them in a hot car all day. I threw one out.

This is how they look today. Why is it that my Valentine's bouquet lasted nearly two weeks and this pricey little bunch can't even last three days? What did I do wrong?

(Sara O., you're the resident plant expert of my blogging friends... any explanations? Are they just sensitive? Am I cursed when it comes to plants?)

Dependency

I thought about something I wanted to blog about this afternoon, but I needed a picture first. I went to grab my camera out of the diaper bag but didn't see it in there. I looked in every pocket and emptied the whole thing out. No camera. I went out to the car and looked in the stroller. I looked inside the car on the floor and on the seats. No camera.

We went to the zoo this morning, and the last thing I remember is putting the camera in the diaper bag after taking a few pictures of Sophie. Either it fell out or somebody swiped it. Well, if someone did, I hope they enjoy that little camera because I sure did. And the pictures of Sophie on it. (Luckily it just has ones from the zoo.)

Within 15 minutes of realizing that I didn't have a camera, I began searching online for a new Elph. (I would have started looking sooner, but I got caught outside talking to a neighbor, and I was starving and needed some leftover pizza.)

As I sit here, camera-less, I feel nervous and restless. I feel like I'm going to miss something Sophie will do when she wakes up or have to post an entry to my blog without a picture. Heaven forbid, right?

I think I'm more attached to my camera than my phone.

Anybody want to break the news to Steve for me when he gets home?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ready for a Dip

I couldn't pass up this little swimsuit when I was in Target yesterday.



The battery light on my camera was blinking like crazy, so I hurried to get a picture before it died. Sophie was about to throw a fit, too, so odds of getting a good picture were definitely not in my favor. At least she's not crying, right? I think she was ready for a nap instead.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Teeth = Snot

I think my little girl is getting another tooth. Her nose is running like crazy, and it isn't just clear snot, which makes me think it might be a cold. I wipe her nose and it keeps coming and coming and coming. The only baby that I've ever seen more snot come out of was my poor, allergy-afflicted sister.

Sophie's been pretty perky, though, especially when she wakes up.





Oh, and my banner was driving me crazy. The more I played with it the more messed-up it looked, so I started from scratch. I put out a few Easter decorations and with the 60-degree weather, I thought something springy might be better. :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Do You Woot?



Steve and I have been into Woot.com lately. Does anyone else Woot?

For those who don't know what Woot is, it's a website that sells one type of item per day, at a crazy-low price. Every night at 10pm (Cali time), the item changes. Sometimes they last until the next day, sometimes they're sold out in under 5 minutes. I think what I like most are the write-ups about the products. Those guys are really funny and can make anything entertaining, even a storm emergency kit, which happens to be posted right now.

Last week we scored a power adapter for our car for $12.99 (they usually run about $50). We like to use it to plug in our laptops when we're driving really far. It's nice having an electrical outlet in the car in case you need to make toast or dry your hair or something.

Steve just informed me that it wouldn't be able to handle those things. So much for my attempts at being witty.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Giveaway!



I'm doing another giveaway at Bloggy Giveaways! This time it's for a $50 gift certificate, so go check it out and enter! Giveaway closes on the 25th of Feb. (By the way, you leave comments THERE this time instead of on my blog. Although I always love it when someone says hi.)

I just read the write-up that Shannon did about me . . . well, about "them". From the way she describes my shop it sounds like I have employees. Ha.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Big Girl Seat

We've started putting Sophie in highchairs and the little grocery cart seats instead of taking her carrier everywhere. Nope, she hasn't out-grown it yet. She might be 17 pounds now, but I'm not sure.

I got one of those covers that go over both types of seats and it's been great so far. People always ask me if I made it. Ha. I wouldn't even know where to start. Do they not see the label and tags hanging from it?

Having lunch at Quiznos, which was the only place to eat within walking distance of the repair shop we took the car to. Stupid battery cable.


We must shove both fingers all the way into the mouth to make sure the Cheerios go in and stay in.


I couldn't resist getting another shot of those lashes. Is it weird to be jealous of your baby?


Oh, and the irises opened. I love having fresh flowers on the kitchen table!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Cullen Family

Care to see pics of the Cullens in the upcoming Twilight movie?

CLICK HERE

I think they did a good job :)

The Food has Moved

I decided that my blog has been overrun by PoshMama articles and too much discussion of food. SO . . . I'm not going to be posting articles or recipes and I'll even be taking off all of the foodie links from the side panel.

While some of you may be sad, probably a bigger portion of you are silently cheering to yourselves. Where will it all go?

Perrys' Plate

Yes, I decided to start another blog solely dedicated to food and recipes. I'll be posting the PoshMama articles there as well as new recipes that we love. I also plan on posting just about all of our family's favorites on that site as well.

Why?

1. Like I said, I felt like our family blog was turning into a "What the Perry's had for dinner" blog.
2. I, like everyone else who cooks, am always on the look-out for a new meal idea, and when I find something we like, I want to shout it from the roof-tops so everyone else can try it, too.
3. I wanted to have all of my recipes online so I can access them from anywhere and have a back-up in case our house burns down.

A little extreme? Maybe.

And no, I don't have to manually type them up because I already did that last summer. The site looks a little bare right now with one lonely Posh Mama article, and I still have to tweak it and add a bunch of content, but I think it will turn out well. I plan on indexing everything, too, so things will be easier to find.

OCD? Maybe, but I tend to be that way when organizing information.

If anyone has any more suggestions, I'm all ears :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nine Months and a Tooth

Sophie turned nine months yesterday and over the past couple of days a tooth has been working its way to the surface. It's still not noticeable unless you look closely, but believe me it's there. I've felt it. I've been nibbled already, and I don't like it at all. We're working on it, though.

For only having a half a tooth, I'm impressed at the things she gums: Cheerios, bananas, pieces of green beans, string cheese. (Oh she LOVES cheese. That's my girl!)


Sophie would eat Cheerios all day if I let her.



She seems to be a bit of a daddy's girl and calms down some when he's around. Maybe she just gets sick of looking at me all day. I can't say I blame her.

Oh, and if you think Sophie gets her eyelashes from me, take a gander at Steve's. I really, really want to put mascara on him one day -- just to see how long and thick I can get them.

"No way, " he says.

Well, if I had his lashes, I don't think I'd wear mascara, either.

Friday, February 15, 2008

V-Day Report Part II: The Food

Steve sent me flowers yesterday, which made a beautiful centerpiece for the kitchen table. I LOVE getting flowers. :) This arrangement had a bunch of pink lilies (lilies are my favorite), purple irises and some other purple flowers that I don't know the name of. I can't wait until everything's open!




Steve's really difficult to buy gifts for (mostly because he never wants - or thinks he needs - anything), so for holidays like this I spend extra time in the kitchen. I get to play more and he gets better food. (Hopefully)

I got gutsy and tried out new recipes for Steve's V-Day dinner. With a little tweaking, everything turned out great! It didn't take that long either because I used my Crock Pot. I swear those things work magic on meat. I made shredded beef burritos with a roast I had in the freezer. When it was done cooking, the taste was lacking a bit, so I added some salt, lime juice and fresh cilantro. That seemed to do the trick.

Chipotle Beef Burritos
adapted from BHG.com

1 1/2 lb roast or steaks
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 c chopped onion
1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 1 small lime
warm tortillas
fresh pico de gallo or salsa
guacamole
sour cream
shredded cheese

Trim meat of fat and strange gummy parts and cut into about 6 pieces. Place meat in a 2.5-4 qt slow cooker. Add undrained tomatoes, onion, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, garlic, and salt. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours. Remove meat from slow cooker, shred with a couple of forks and return to pot. Cook for an additional hour or so until heated through and flavor has incorporated into the meat. Add cilantro and lime juice. Serve on tortillas with pico, guac, sour cream and cheese. (And anything else you feel like putting on there)

Nat's Notes:
1. I decided that chipotle peppers rock. You can use them in place of diced green chilies in about anything. They add smokey, spicy flavor to stuff. Mmm. They're super hot, though, so go easy on them.



For dessert I made a cheesecake. I don't know if I did this more for me or for Steve. I found this recipe during Christmas break in a book that my mom has and have been wanting to make it ever since. Are you ready for the name of it? It's Cinn-a-bun Cheesecake.

I'm definitely a cinnamon person. If I had to choose between a hot cinnamon roll and hot brownie, I'd choose the cinnamon roll every time. (Most of the time I don't need to choose. I eat both.)

There are no words in the English language to describe how good this cheesecake is. It's so good that I don't even have an excuse in my head when I eat it. "Oh, it's Valentine's Day" or "Oh, I worked out this morning" don't even enter my head. I don't care. It's that good. And that's why I've been trying to pawn off pieces to the neighbors -- so I don't give myself a stomach ache.


Here it is from the side.


Here's a shot of the back. Oh, baby.

Now without further adieu . . .

Cinn-a-bun Cheesecake
adapted from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Crust:
1 1/2 c finely crushed Mother's Iced Oatmeal cookies or any spice cookie
1/4 c butter, melted
2 T brown sugar

Filling:
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream or whipping cream
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c flour
1 c coarsely chopped cookies (same kind as above)
1 c raisins (optional)
1/4 c butterscotch or caramel sundae topping
1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 1/4 c sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack.

For crust, mix cookie crumbs, butter and brown sugar and press into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Spray the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

For filling, blend cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth, scraping bottom and sides of bowl, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in eggs, vanilla and flour and blend well, 2-3 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of filling into pan and top with half of each chopped cookies and raisins. Drizzle on some butterscotch topping. Dust on some cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour on another 1/3 of cream cheese mixture and other layers. Add last bit of cream cheese filling and finish top of cake with cookies and cinnamon sugar.

Bake 50-55 minutes or until cheesecake is set about 2 inches from the side and wiggles slightly in the center. Turn oven off, leave door open and let cheesecake cool until you can take it out of the oven without oven mitts. Leave cheesecake on the counter until it's room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Serve with whipped cream and butterscotch topping.

Nat's Notes:
1. I used light cream cheese and sour cream, although I think all hopes of improving the calorie count were already lost.
2. I didn't add raisins because I don't like 'em.

V-Day Report Part I: The Love

I noticed a trend yesterday of love poems and proclamations of affection on blog posts. I am not a poet, and I would have a hard time expressing my love for Steve in an entire blog post without an overwhelming sense of sappiness.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with blogging about how much you love someone. It's nice to know that people love each other. I just don't deal with sap very well. (Unless it's from Steve, aimed at me, and not in front of anyone.) So in case you think I'm heartless, or there's any question in your mind, know that I do love Steve. Very much.

Anyway, here are some highlights from our day yesterday:

Opening packages from the Grandma's.


Making a complete mess of herself because Mom forgot to put a bib on her.


Ready for bed in her Valentine's jammies. Not sure about the hat, though. (BTW, doesn't this picture make me look super skinny? I'm not that skinny in real life, I promise.)


That hat lasted about 4 seconds longer than I thought it would.

video
This is a clip of Sophie having a few licks of a sucker. She was more interested in the gold sticker at the bottom of the stick than the onslaught of sugar to her mouth. Can this really be my child?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day of Love and Skinny Behinds

I hope everyone's having a cheerful day so far. The sun is shining here, but the wind is blowing like a hurricane. It feels like a typical day in Idaho . . . in May.

Steve and I don't have big plans for Valentine's Day, and I have a feeling like it's going to go a lot like last year's. It's OK though. I'm pretty easy to please if Steve at least gets me a card or something. I'm not big into chocolates. You know, the ones in the heart-shaped box with mysterious fillings? Meh. I'd rather have flowers or a really big, chewy cookie.

What am I doing for Steve? I can't give too many details here or it won't be a surprise, but I'm cooking him up something awesome for dinner. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Until then, here's a pic of Sophie I took this morning. She hasn't filled out enough to fit into these pants, but I put them on her anyway because they're red. And it's Valentine's Day.

I looked down and she'd shimmied out of them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

By Popular Demand

There. Sophie's back on the banner. Happy? :)

Sweets for the Sweet

PoshMama article for this week:

". . . there is something in me that will not succumb to the woeful state of calling Valentine's Day 'single awareness day,' or be sad that I don't have a valentine to cook heart-shaped waffles for. I guess it's hope that keeps me floating. I know I don't have to be sad because somewhere, there is someone who is dreaming of heart-shaped waffles as he puts on his red and white striped tie to go to work and makes the best of the Holiday of Love!"

Well said, Sar. I love my cousin's outlook on Valentine's Day because it IS the holiday of love and not just the holiday of significant others. Whether it's your S.O., your kids, your family or your friends, let them know you care. Oh gag, I'm starting to sound like a Hallmark card. Let's get to Valentine's Day treat-making business, shall we?

By the way, I think heart-shaped waffles are adorable, too, but save yourself the $50 and put a cookie cutter through a square one.

Speaking of cookie cutters and Valentine's Day treats, I love these cookie cutters at Sur La Table. I think what I love more is the painstaking effort someone took to decorate them. They're gorgeous!

Also at Sur La Table are single-serving, heart-shaped springform pans. They come in a set of six. How's that for portion control? :)

Always a favorite, and slightly less guilt-ridden is chocolate fondue. (C'mon, you're eating fruit!) You can pick up one of these cute little fondue pots at any retail store that sells kitchenware. I've definitely seen them at Target. For a quick, easy fondue, just melt a bag of chocolate chips and add a teaspoon of shortening for sheen. Then let them dip their little hearts out.


Or as a counterattack against the sweets your children will bring home from school, try making Healthy Hearts or Ladybugs on a Stick. The little ones will love them!


I've saved the best for last, though. I would be anyone's sweetheart if they brought me a pan of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. I salivate at the mere thought.

What I like about this recipe is that a bread machine makes the dough for you! If you don't have a bread machine, I've added an alternate recipe at the bottom. I've tried both and they're fabulous! You could even color the icing pink to make them more Valentine-y.

However you decide to sweeten your holiday, I wish you lots of love,

Natalie


Cinnamon Rolls a lá Bread Machine
Recipe courtesy of the book that came with my bread machine

2/3 c. warm milk
3 eggs
6 T butter, softened and cut into pieces
½ c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla
4 c. flour
2/3 c. cornstarch
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Filling:
¾ c. brown sugar
2 ½ T cinnamon
4 T melted butter

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed. Run dough cycle for a 1.5-2.0 lb loaf. (If you have the option, if not, that's fine.) When finished, roll out dough into two large rectangles, about ½ in thick. Brush melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over each. Roll up, slice, and place in prepared baking pan . Let rise for 35-40 min or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min or until they sound hollow when tapped.

Let cool for a few minutes, then top with frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese
¼ c butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c pwd sugar
1 T milk

Makes 20-24 rolls.
____________________

Cinnamon Rolls a lá Your Hands
Recipe courtesy of the aforementioned cousin, Sarah.

1 ¼ c. warm milk
4 T. butter
3 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 T yeast
½ c warm water
4 c. flour

Filling:
¼ c. butter
1 tsp cinnamon
½ c brown sugar


Place yeast in warm water and let rest for 5 minutes. Combine all dough ingredients and knead about 20 times. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. (Perfect excuse to use a dough scraper!!) Roll out into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick and add filling. Roll up, slice, and place in prepared baking pan. Let rise again until doubled. Bake 10-12 min at 400

Makes 15-20 rolls.

See Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe above.

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Looks

Yay! My page is finally done! I've wanted to move over to three columns for a couple of months now, but that meant redoing all the links on the side. UGH. Since the content was wider, the banner would have been too short, so I had to redo that, too. I wanted to put a picture of Sophie in there somewhere, but I couldn't make it work. Maybe next time. I really like it though.

What do you think? Do you think it's too busy?

Speaking of new looks, Sophie's hair has been getting thicker and thicker. And because I find her in her crib with the top of her head smashed into the bumper, she wakes up with some pretty nappy do's.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My Funny Girl

Sophie cracks me up. The things she does, the faces she makes, and the ways she tries to communicate with us make me wonder where in the world she came from. Most parents probably think this about their kids, though. I think Heavenly Father made babies funny like that to compensate for all the not-so-fun and not-so-fragrant times. And to convince us that we need more babies.

This first clip is of her eating Cheerios. She doesn't have teeth yet, but she gums them down pretty well . . . if she can get them in her mouth.

This one is of her playing peek-a-boo with a placemat she ripped off the table. My favorite part is when she raises it above her head, but doesn't get the mat in both hands. She thinks if she puts her head down you can't see her. She'll play peek-a-boo with anything -- even a necklace. :)

Today we walked down to the park, and Sophie had her first ride in a swing. She looked so short sitting in it, and she didn't even try to sit up. She just lounged. Lounged and swang. (swung? swinged?)






Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gadget Line-Up and a Little Chinese Love

PoshMama article for this week:

Today is gadget day! I was thinking about what gadgets I couldn't live without, but convincing everyone that they need a can opener, a spatula and a whisk would be pointless. Instead, I thought about utensils that make cooking easier and more fun. (Psst, all of the gadget photos are links to where you can find them online.)

First we have this little guy right here:

I never realized how handy a dough scraper (or dough cutter or baker's scraper) was until I started using one. Sure it separates dough like a champ, but it also cleans off your countertops after you've rolled out dough. You don't even need to get a rag dirty, just let the mess dry for a few minutes, then scrape it all into the garbage can! You can use this to scoop up chopped veggies from your cutting board, too.

Next up is this sleek number:


Oh, how I love my microplane grater! I used to hate using citrus zest in recipes because it was so hard to scrape the stuff out of the grater holes. Not a problem here. This razor-sharp grater comes in all different shapes and sizes. I use mine mostly for citrus zest, hard cheeses, and fresh ginger, but you can use it for anything you'd use a grater for -- even whole spices like nutmeg or cloves. I always get giddy when I take mine out of its sheath and use it. (I'm such a dork.)

Now for the grand finale:


"A knife? Oh REAL creative, Nat."

I'm not joking around with this one. Do you hate chopping vegetables? Well, that's probably because your knife is about as sharp as the backside of a spoon. (Unless you honestly hate chopping vegetables, but if you had one of these babies, I don't think you would.) Good, sharp knives aren't cheap, but you don't need to buy 20 different ones. At the very least, invest in one good chef's knife to replace all the cheap-o ones you have in your "knife drawer". (I know you have one. Everyone does :))

The shape of the one above enables you to chop til your heart's content without your knuckles hitting the cutting board or having to use your pointer finger to press the blade down. The brand of the one above is great, too. Cutco is another great brand, and they're supposed to stay sharp forever.

Just be careful and don't cut yourself. It happens. Yep, that's my thumb.

And now I go completely off topic to introduce this week's recipe. Before I do, I do not, in anyway, proclaim to be an authority on Chinese cuisine. In fact, the Chinese would probably laugh at this recipe if they knew it had cream of chicken soup in it. BUT, in honor of Chinese New Year (Feb 7th), I thought you might want to brush up on your chopstick skills with this yummy stir-fry casserole dish.

(Since I posted this recipe on my blog already, I'll just link you to it :))

Monday, February 04, 2008

Goodbye Poundage

As of Saturday, February 2nd, 2008, I have officially lost all 60 pounds of my pregnancy weight. The last five pounds took 3 months to lose (well worth the goodies) and during the last week and a half, I've been wrestling with the last half pound. At that point I'd basically lost all the weight, but I hated seeing that .5 on my scale, mocking me.

Every morning I'd jump on to see if it was gone and then try all of my antics to make it go down (removing all clothes, jewelry, bodily waste, and not eating or drinking anything until the weigh-in.) On Saturday morning I jumped on the scale and Mr .5 was still there. AHHH! I decided, as a desperate last resort, to take my glasses off and put my contacts in. Then I jumped back on the scale. Mr. .5 WAS GONE! Hallelujah.

Just for fun, here are before and after shots in the same shirt:


I'm no Miss America, but anything is better than the Why-the-heck-is-my-stomach-still-huge-after-I-just-gave-birth belly. And yes, that was right after Sophie was born. We were in our parking lot after coming home from the hospital. I'm still wearing my pretty plastic bracelets. All I have to say is THANK YOU NURSING.

Speaking of Sophie, I can't believe how big she looks now compared to when we brought her home. And look at the way her body is shaped. She went from being curled up in a ball to flailing her arms and legs around all the time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

And the Winner is . . .



Using my trusty random number generator, it pulled up 80. Comment #80 belongs to.....

CHRISTINE who said, "I HeART that Vintage Rhoda ring... PReTty!!"

Congrats Christine!

Thanks to everyone who entered and for all the nice things you said! I didn't realized I'd get so many entries... 289. WOW!

If you'd like another chance to win, I'll be doing a couple more giveaways during the next two months:

Feb 21st: $50 gift certificate at Bloggy Giveaways
Mar 10th: $30 gift certificate at I Love Giveaways



Just a reminder, I'm still offering free shipping to all of the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival participants. Enter "CARNIVAL" in the comment section when you check out There are also specials going on during February!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Strawberry Holiday Trifle

I've gotten a lot of requests for this recipe since I posted a picture of it and didn't mention how to make it. Sorry about that. There's a small (very small) perfectionist part of me that didn't want to post the recipe until I had a good picture to post with it. I have no idea when I'm making this again, so I won't hold you in suspense any longer. :)

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it would be the perfect treat to share. Actually it's good any time of the year and any time of the day. Even for breakfast. This trifle is really, really good. You might be surprised at the length of the recipe, though. It's not hard to do, but it's time consuming. The custard and sponge cake are both made from scratch. Once you get everything baked, cooked, and cooled, it comes together in about 10 minutes.



Strawberry Holiday Trifle

4 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped
3 T. sugar
¾ c. slivered almonds
Cool whip
¾ c. strawberry wine or equivalent (jam maybe? I usually leave this out)
1 Recipe Custard
1 Recipe Sponge Cake

Combine strawberries and sugar. Refrigerate for a couple of hours until they get really juicy. Spoon one cup custard on bottom of trifle bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ c. almonds. Layer ½ of cake cubes over custard; brush cake with ½ of wine. Spoon 2 c. berries over cake layer; top with 1 c. custard. Repeat layers. Top with remaining custard. Cover and chill. Top with cool whip and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Makes 15 servings.

Custard:
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ t. salt
2 c. milk
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 T. butter/marg.
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped (or Cool Whip)

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir about ¼ of mixture into egg yolks; add egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 min. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing it onto surface; chill at least 2 hours. Fold whipped cream into custard. Makes 3 ½ cups.

Sponge Cake:
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
2 T butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs at high speed with electric mixer 3 min or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar; beat 4 min. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually fold into batter. Combine milk and butter in saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts (or zap in the microwave). Gradually stir milk mixture and vanilla into batter. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8” round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 16 min or until toothpick comes clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 min. Remove from pans; cool completely on racks. Cut into 1 in. cubes.