Archive for the ‘Memories Made’ Category

Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

Simple and tasty – Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

You can’t get much simpler than this. A few years ago, I was scouring cookbooks for new recipes when I found Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad. It was a hot summer, and we were often going to picnics in the park to enjoy the Thursday Night music.

This salad is like a salad you’d get from your local deli. Chunks of fruit, meat and cheese are also kid-pleasers. My youngest loves it. She’s adorable when she eats it. She takes a bite of turkey. “Turkey.” She takes a bite of apple. “Apple.” She takes a bite of cheddar. “Cheddar.” Pause. “Salad!”  She chants this the whole time, eating it in pattern. I better have about the same amount of everything on her plate!

My oldest prefers it without the dressing, and sometimes we just cut up the ingredients into slices and eat them on crackers. 🙂

The original called for green onions and some cooked pasta, but I found the pasta didn’t add anything and the onions tended to fall to the bottom of the salad and not get eaten at all, so I started leaving them out.

I’ve learned to keep the apples out of it until the last minute so they stay crisp. I suggest not making ahead more than one day, or the apples will get soggy. It doesn’t keep particularly well, so plan to eat it within a day or two. I like to cut up the turkey and cheddar, and then cut apples into it as needed.

Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

  • Oven roasted or smoked turkey breast (not sliced)
  • Block of cheddar cheese (we prefer sharp)
  • Medium, crisp apple(s) (like gala)
  • Poppyseed dressing

I don’t have a very scientific way of making this salad. I cut the turkey, cheddar, and apple into 1/2 inch cubes, and toss them into a bowl until the proportions look right. (A little more turkey than cheese, a little more cheese than apple.) Then I stir in enough dressing to coat it.

That’s the beauty of this meal; you can make only what you need! It’s great for just one person, or make a big batch to take to a potluck. Round it out by putting it on a bed of salad greens and adding a piece of crusty bread, if you like.


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I’ve never done a “round-up” before, but when my seven-year-old daughter asked me yesterday, “What can we make for the Fourth of July?” I decided it might be appropriate. This girl LOVES to celebrate the holidays with fun food and decorations. Now, I’m a low-key mama, and tend to just forget about those things, but she helps me remember them.

I don’t believe you have to go all-out and have a Pinterest-worthy party to celebrate. Sometimes, it really is about just the little things and making memories. But when you need a little inspiration, we all turn to the internet.

Red, White & Blue Cookies


These look just like my mom’s Monster Cookies, but with red, white and blue candy pieces. From Southern Living.

Fun Fourth Fruit Kebabs


Take a look at these super-simple fruit kebabs that celebrate the fruits of summer with patriotic style, from The Peaceful Mom.

Patriotic Parfaits

Of course, what could be easier than layering blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, and vanilla yogurt or whipped cream for parfaits?

Food Flags

There are so many different ways to make flags out of your food. Last year, I made one that looked a lot like this one, but I apparently did not photograph it.

This year, I wasn’t in the mood for a big to-do when the girl asked, so I opted for easy. I bought a tube of ready-made sugar cookie dough, and made “paint” out of egg mixed with food coloring. Together we patted out the dough into a rectangle, drew on a rough flag, and then I let her go to town with a paintbrush. The results may not be perfect, but she was thrilled have done something special for the holiday. We may add some frosting and fruit before all is said and done, and turn it into fruit pizza.

food flag

Happy Independence Day, everyone!



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This blog is supposed to be about making memories, and it has sort of become about food, too. So when I can combine these topics – YAY!

A family trip to a local pick-your-own berry patch yielded a big box of strawberries and a few handfuls of tart cherries. My kids, especially the seven-year-old, had a blast picking handfuls of the tiny little strawberries. The cherries are another story, which I will share soon in a later post.

Strawberries and Cherries

Strawberries and cherries, fresh from the sun

But the real memories came after we got home. The way my three-year-old was eating the strawberries by the handful, like they were candy. Watching my seven-year-old (who likes to help in the kitchen, and SOOO badly wants to be able to cook on her own) crush graham crackers for the crust of our pie. And then the delighted clamor in what has become our homemade whipped cream tradition: one beater for each girl to lick.

And of course, savoring every bite of this super-simple pie. We had a backyard berry patch yield good results a few years ago, and I tried this recipe. Loved it so much, we made it again with about half of the berries we picked. (I actually halved the recipe and made a 7-inch pie, so don’t feel like you have to make a whole pie!) It is fresh, and sweet, but not overly so, and you really get to enjoy the berries for what they are.

strawberry pie 2

Strawberries and cherries, fresh from the sun

Fresh Strawberry Pie

  • 3 pints plus 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 baked pastry shell (9 inches), OR a graham cracker crust*
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsps. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsps. cold water
  • Whipped cream, optional
strawberry glaze

Making the glaze

*I highly recommend the graham cracker crust. It really complemented. We made ours by crushing up some graham crackers and adding melted butter. Totally guessed on ratio, and it ended up more of a crumble than a crust, but it was YUMMY!

  1. Set aside one cup strawberries. Arrange remaining berries in the pie crust. With a fork, mash reserved berries and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine sugar and water, cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add mashed strawberries and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Gradually stir into strawberry mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon over strawberries in crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish and/or serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Homemade Whipped Cream

A few years ago, I looked at the ingredients in whipped topping and just decided, No, I’m going to make my own REAL whipped cream. It is SO EASY, and has far less sugar.

  • 1 half-pint whipping cream
  • 2-4 Tbsps. powdered sugar.
  • vanilla, almond or other extract, if desired

With electric mixer, beat whipping cream for a minute or two, until it is no longer super-runny. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. (I judge by taking my beaters out of the bowl. If two holes stay where I just pulled them out, it is ready. If the whipping cream oozes back into the holes, you aren’t there yet.)

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In my effort to 1) Create great memories AND 2) Clear out clutter, my family developed a new tradition: Dessert Night!

Scrumptious! That's homemade whipped cream on top and from-scratch goodness.

Once a month, we flip through all the cookbooks and magazine clippings I’ve collected over the years, and we pick a dessert that we may or may not have a reason to ever create. And we make it. Just because.


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Cardboard Castle

An abundance of cardboard = Cardboard Castle

In spite of trying to clean my house, I somehow accumulated several large cardboard boxes. Our two-year-old outgrew her second car seat, and the new one came in a big box. We bought a new kitchen sink…big box. And hubby purchased some large items from Amazon. A few random leftover boxes from Christmas and other various things and what do you have?

With a little *ahem* out-of-the-box thinking, you have the makings of a cardboard castle.


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Blue Butterfly

Just before Christmas, my husband and I took a treasured, relaxed few days to ourselves. Given that it was December, our daughter was at Grandma’s in NW Iowa, we didn’t want to go too far. The weather is not predictable that time of year, and we didn’t want to get stuck in a snow storm hundreds of miles from our families. So, we took a short jaunt to Sioux Falls, SD.

At the Sertoma Butterfly House my husband and I walked slowly (so as to avoid stepping on the residents) and quietly, as hundreds of gorgeous butterflies flitted about. I LOVE blue butterflies, and there were dozens of them here. One even landed on my husband’s back! Interestingly, their beautiful blue is only visible when they open their wings.

I even got to witness one butterfly in the struggle from the chrysalis.

Tell me readers – if I have any yet – what small moments do you treasure? How are you living in those moments?

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