Strawberry and Cream Poke Cake

Step aside strawberry short cake, there’s a new recipe I found that is absolutely awesome!  I made this for a dinner party on valentines, it looked beautiful and it was super easy to serve.  I didn’t know this… but apparently there are so many various versions and flavors of poke cakes out there.   You can practically make your favorite dessert recipes this way!  Check out this blog I found with more than 30 Poke Cake Recipes! Who knew?!?

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Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake Ingredients:
Cake:
1 (15.25 oz) boxed white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 (3 oz) box strawberry flavored Jell-o
1/2 cup cold water

Frosting:
1 (8 oz) tub Cool-Whip non-dairy whipped topping
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
1 pound strawberries, diced

Directions:
Make cake as directed on the back of the box for a 9×13″ pan.   Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and “poke” the cake with a large fork (I space my pokes about 1/2″ apart and do it until the entire surface of the cake is covered).   Mix together the boiling water and Jell-o until the Jell-o is completely dissolved. Pour in the cold water and mix well then pour over the cake.  Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.   Combine the Cool-Whip, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Spread on top of cake.   Top with strawberries and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Here are more of our most popular strawberry recipes:
Fresh Strawberry Cake
Bite Size Strawberry Shortcakes
Strawberry Muffins
Strawberry Bread
Strawberry Preserves

Bite Size Strawberry Shortcakes

I made this for my daughter Kinley as a special dessert for making it through her first day of second grade today. Sniff…my sweet baby girl is growing up too fast. Dear time; please slow down, just a little. She had a great day and came out full of smiles. An extra month of summer would be great if it was up to me though.

This year I tried to embrace all I love about summer…ONE thing for sure, I just can’t get enough fruit! If you haven’t noticed, I am a little obsessed with desserts lately:)  Strawberry shortcake is, of course, an absolute classic, but I love that these are bite-size.  They’re easy to serve and eat, and how can you refuse something that looks so darn cute? Thanks Baking Bites for sharing such a yummy recipe!

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1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
approximately  1 cup finely chopped, fresh strawberries
approximately 1 cup whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 24 cup mini muffin pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, beat together egg whites and sugar until thick, fluffy and almost doubled in volume, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in vegetable oil, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture and mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.

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Divide batter evenly into prepared pan – making approximately 24 mini muffins. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Turn cakes out of their pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

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Pop the whole darn cake in your mouth and enjoy!!

Extending the life of Summer Fruits

Last week one of our local stores had their blueberries and raspberries on sale.  I mentioned in a previous post Blueberry Bread how much we LOVE blueberries, so of coursce, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to stock up.  Shortly after I came home from the store I realized we were going to be gone the whole following weekend.  I didn’t want to come home from our trip and throw away this wonderful deal.  So I came across some wonderful ways extend the life of berries.  Best of all, freezing fresh fruits during their peak season is a pretty savvy way to be frugal!

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Here are a few tips I found on how to extend the life of berries.

  • Vinegar kills any bacteria or spores on contact (That’s why its used in all natural and frugal cleaners). Applying the same principle to berries will help kill any mold or bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit.
  • As soon as you come home with your fruit, before placing in the fridge do simple vinegar wash first.  Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) with five parts water.  It is not necessary to rinse the berries after soaking.  Before placing in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a paper towel to absorb any moisture.
  • Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse them with water, dry and put in fridge (I promise they won’t taste like vinegar). Let stand undisturbed for 1 minute; do not allow berries to soak for longer.  Make sure they are completely dry before storing them in the fridge, which is the magic secret.  Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries can go almost two weeks without      getting moldy and soft.

Freezing Fruit

Here are some simple tips to freezing your fruit!

  • Wash blueberries or raspberries and pat dry.
  • Sort out any under-ripe, over-ripe, bruised or otherwise damaged berries. Also remove any leaves, stems or debris.
  • Pour the blueberries onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. This will keep them from freezing together in clumps.
  • Place the tray in the coldest part of your freezer, and leave it there until the berries are completely frozen.
  • Transfer the frozen blueberries to a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container of your choice.
  • Blueberries will keep in the freezer indefinitely, but are best used within six months of freezing.
  • Stay on top of what’s in your freezer by labeling all bags and containers with their contents and the date that you froze them

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Here are some frugal Summertime Fruits for June – July – August

Apricots, Asian Pear, Barbados Cherries, Black Currants, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, breadfruit, Cantaloupe, Casaba Melon, Champagne Grapes, Cherries, Crenshaw Melon, Durian, Elderberries, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Honeydew Melons, Jackfruit, Key Limes, Limes, Loganberries, Loquat, Lychee, Mulberries, Nectarines, Olallieberries, Passion Fruit, Peaches, Persian Melon, Plums, Raspberries, Sapodillas, Sapote, Strawberries, Sugar Apple, Watermelon.

Strawberry preserves

So after our family outing to the strawberry farm I had to find many things to do with our strawberries.  I decided to take my first little adventure into canning.  It was seriously so much fun!

Strawberries

Here is what you need:

5 cups mashed strawberries (about 2 pounds)

7 cups sugar

1 lemon

1 tsp. butter

8 cup sized mason jars, or 4 pint size jars

1 box powdered pectin

On the left here you see this nifty kit I purchased at Wal-Mart for $7.  It comes with tongs to remove the jars, a magnetic wand for the lids, a measuring stick, and a wide mouth funnel.  You don’t have to have this but it sure was FUN!!!

IMPORTANT NOTE!!!!  Do not try to double the recipe.  If you do, you will end up with a runny mess.  The reason is because it takes longer to heat up and the extra heat breaks down your pectin.  If you have enough to make multiple batches, just do one recipe at time.  It is worth it!!

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You will need some canning jars.  I have lots of pint-sized mason jars so I only had to buy the lids.  You always have to use NEW lids.  If you re-use old ones, there is no guarantee that they will seal properly and it can cause you to get sick.  Don’t risk it.  These were only $1.50.

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Put your lids in a pot and let theme simmer, NOT boil, in hot water.  This will allow the seal to warm up.  Also, put your jars in a large pot to simmer.  You can buy fantastic little racks and pots…..I didn’t.  I had a seafood steamer and it worked GREAT!  It has an insert that keeps the jars from sitting on the bottom of the pot.

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Take your strawberries and cut out the stem.  Rinse well.

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Mash all the strawberries and put them in a pan.

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Squeeze the lemon juice into your pan.  (Yes, I know this picture is silly!!  In my excitement…I forgot to snap the picture of me squeezing the lemon juice in the pan.)

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Add the powdered pectin and whisk well.

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Add 1 tsp of butter.

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Cook on medium-high heat until your strawberries are at a rapid boil.

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Stir in sugar completely.  Continue to stir occasionally until it boils rapidly.

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You want it to REALLY boil.  You will have to stir it to keep it from over flowing.  Keep a full boil for about a minute.

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Turn off the heat and skim the scum off the top. (I just use a rubber spatula)  This is a before and after  picture.  I got MOST of it off.

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Pull your jars out, one at a time, as you need them.  This way they stay hot.

IMG_4983 IMG_4985Fill each jar up almost to the top.  Leave about 1/4 inch at the top.

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Run a knife around the edge of the jar.  This releases any air that is in the jar.

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Take one of your lids out of the simmering water and gently set it on the jar.  Take a rim and twist it on until it just starts to meet resistance.  (DO NOT tighten the jars.)

IMG_4991Put all four (or 8 cup size jars) into the pan.  Your pot needs to be big enough that the jars can be submerged in the water and a lid can go on top.  Let the water boil.  Boil for 10-12 minutes, covered.

Turn off the heat and let sit in the pot for 5-10 minutes.

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Pull each jar out with tongs and let sit overnight.  Try to handle them as little as possible!  You might hear some popping from your lids.  This is a GOOD thing.  It means your seals on your jars are working!!

In the morning, gently remove the ring from the lid and tug the lid of each jar to make sure it is sealed tightly.  Don’t pull tight enough to remove it, just make sure it is tight.

ENJOY!! Save the jars for your next batch 🙂

Strawberry Muffins

I have shared some of the fun things we made after our visit to the strawberry farm.  Here are the FANTASTIC muffins we made.

Here is what you will need:

Strawberry Muffins

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

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Slice strawberries and sprinkle some of the sugar on them.  Set aside.  (I use an egg slicer to cut them.)

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Mix together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

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Add oil, vanilla, and milk and mix well.

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Gently fold in strawberries.

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Fill greased muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full and sprinkle sugar on top of each muffin.

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Bake on 375 for about 22 minutes.  Run a knife around each muffin and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack.

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Then, try to keep the kids away until breakfast the NEXT morning……….

Strawberry Bread

When my family and I visited the local strawberry farm we ended up with lots of berries that we needed to put to good use.  I have a bread recipe that I modified to make this fantastic little loaf.

Here is what you will need

1 cup strawberries, sliced

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

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Take your strawberries and slice them.  Sprinkle a little of your sugar over them and set aside.  (I use an egg slicer and it makes this job lightning fast!)

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Combine Flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

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Add eggs and oil and vanilla.

IMG_4911Fold in the strawberries.

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Pour into a greased bread pan.

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Sprinkle with sugar on top.

Strawberry Bread

Bake on 350 for about 40 minutes.  (Until a spaghetti noodle comes out clean……or a toothpick for you traditional folk.)  Run a knife around the edges of the loaf to keep from sticking to the sides.  Let sit for about five minutes and then turn it over onto a cooling rack.

ENJOY!!!!

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