Friday Food. September.

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One of the easiest and delicious foods to make is Ambrosia Salad. It is always fresh tasting and perfect for summer and fall. I made it recently for Rosh Hashanah dessert and I’m planning on it again this week. You’ll find the ingredients below the photos.

Ambrosia. (c)2021
Ambrosia. (c)2021

Cool Whip and Sour Cream, folded together.

Can of crushed pineaapple

Can of mandarin oranges

Maraschino cherries, halved

Coconut flakes

Mini marshmallows

The beauty of this type of recipe is there is no recipe. Put in what feels right until it’s the consistency you want. When I make it again I will add two cans of mandarin oranges, but for the rest I used about 8 ounces of sour cream, half a container of Cool Whip, half a small bag of coconut flakes, and half a bag of mini marshmallows. If any of that is too much for your sweet tooth, add less. Too much, add more.

Set in the fridge for a couple of hours. Serve in a dessert bowl.

Friday Food. July. Dessert Cups.

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I was eating a Dole fruit cup – cherry mixed fruit or something – and I was transported back to my childhood. We didn’t have the individual plastic cups like the one I was eating from. My mother would buy the cans of fruit cocktail, and we would most definitely fight over the cherries because there were never enough, and they really were the best part.

When we would have a special dinner – a holiday dinner – whether it was Thanksgiving or Rosh Hashanah or Passover, it didn’t matter which, there was always a multi-course meal with special dishes. Some meals like Rosh Hashanah would begin on the top plate with a piece of lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a scoop of chopped liver. There might also be a soup course – matzo ball – always a good choice, even on Thanksgiving. There also might be half a grapefruit with sprinkled sugar or a small dessert dish with fruit cocktail in it.

I loved those dessert dishes. They were small and squat and sat on little pedestals. They were perfect for fruit cocktail, jello, chocolate pudding (with whipped cream), and all sorts of interesting foods. The one problem I found as a kid was the texture of the dish. It wasn’t smooth so you could never scrape all the little bits of food left from the nooks and crannies, and they were annoying to wash, but I loved opening the cabinet just over the sink and seeing them, wondering what wondrous sweet treat they would next hold for us.

I still have them although they’re packed away in our basement. I wanted to find them last month for chocolate pudding, and then again to include a photo in this post, but our basement is a mess and in need of pruning. Finding them will be a goal for the next twelve months, but in the meantime I’ve included a photo I found of them from Ebay. We’ll see in the future if this photo that matches my memory will match the real ones when I find them.

Sometimes it’s not the food that’s nostalgic, but the containers we use.

Photo from Ebay. (c)2021

How Rainbow Cake Sprinkles Are Made

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Moving away from the romanticism of Valentine’s Day, enjoy a video of how rainbow sprinkles are made. It is from Dessert Insider, and they can be followed on Facebook.

When my son was small, we really enjoyed these types of videos that Mr. Rogers would share in his Neighborhood.

Happy Valentine’s Day!​

50-46 – Sweet Potato Pie

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I met a woman at my first job after college who was from New Orleans. She brought a level of multiculturalism to the curriculum that reflected our clients – the children of the US military. We were in their child development program and I learned more there than I had ever expected.

She held a multicultural night for the staff and we each brought in something from our cultures to share. Food is the best way to come together.

I brought latkes. I have a vague memory of a table filled with fabric covers representing cultures and foods placed carefully on top. What I remember most of all, though was Sylvia’s sweet potato pie. It was the perfect consistency with beautifully browned marshmallows on top and it was amazing. I can practically taste it now.

From that moment on, I made that sweet potato pie for my family’s Thanksgiving feast. The only problem was my mother refused to believe that it was a dessert, and she served it warm and as a side dish. I could never convince her otherwise.

That was twernty-four years ago and it has remained a family tradition. I make it, not only for Thanksgiving but also for Christmas and Rosh Hashanah, sometimes even Passover. It is a family favorite. The last couple of times, I haven’t wanted all the bother of making a pie, so I’ve used the recipe, or my version of it without the graham cracker crust and called it a sweet potato casserole. It tastes just as good.

Warm or cold, side dish or dessert, I could eat this every day.

Here’s my variation of the recipe that I’ve used the last decade or so, and will be making it to bring to my sister-in-law’s on Thursday. This is our first year without my mother-in-law and as tough as that is going to be, I want my kids to have something that they’re used to having at her house.

Cook one large can of sweet potatoes or cut yams. Bring it to a boil and then drain. Mash it smooth and add one stick of unsalted butter. Mix thoroughly.

Mix in about 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Add more if you like it sweeter.

Add cinnamon and nutmeg, about a teaspoon each, although I don’t really measure. I add it directly by grating over a microplane.

Pour into a pie crust or a casserole dish and cover completely with mini-marshmallows. If I use a crust, I use the Keebler graham cracker crust that serves two extra people.

Put in a 350 degree oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Take out when the marshmallows are melty and golden-browned.

If it’s a pie, let cool a little and cut with a cake/pie slicer. If casserole, scoop out with a large spoon.

Personally , I like it right side up, with the marshmallows on top. My family doesn’t usually care, and it drives me crazy.

Birthday Cheesecake

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My son’s birthday was yesterday. He is my only child that gets a homemade birthday cake. One year he wanted pumpkin brownies for school, which weren’t too bad, but one year he asked for a cheesecake for his birthday cake.

Now, every year I offer and he accepts, and it’s his favorite. This was the first year with chocolate chips.

Yum.