Spring is truly here (I think!)

So far, the weather has truly been spring time, not the way it was about ten years ago when we had Easter in April and rain and sleet in the San Antonio area and everyone had to wear coats and there wasn’t much hiding of Easter eggs, unless we did it in the house! That was an Easter to remember without fondest dreams, as it was pretty miserable.
This past weekend was a wonderful family weekend, with lots of visiting and playing with three of my great-grandchildren. Due to work schedules, birth of a new great-granddaughter, and another family member moving, we weren’t a very big crowd, but we made up for it in fun. On Friday afternoon, when the first family arrived, we visited for a while and then we headed to my brother’s stock tank and tried our hand at fishing. And, that’s exactly what it was “fishing” not particularly “catching” except the kiddos did have fun pulling in small, bait-stealing catfish! I’m not real sure that we didn’t catch some of them more than once. The 8-year old caught the most and she got really great at pulling them in! The almost 4-year old did really well also; he just hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet! (I think I caught the least and the smallest; I’m not quite sure if the other two adults caught anything, but think they did.) Fish to take home or no fish to take home, we enjoyed ourselves to the max and when we got to the house, cooked the fish I “caught” at the grocery store. When the kitchen was cleaned up, we gathered around the table and colored Easter eggs, and yes, we colored the ones that weren’t boiled also. They tasted perfectly great for our Easter morning breakfast on Sunday, a day that dawned with a heavy fog that burned off before the rest of the company got here. My private “chef”, aka grandson manned the pit, along with his dad and we had a stash of patties ready and in the oven keeping warm by the time the last family arrived, which included the young lady who will soon be two.
After everyone was full of food and dessert, and leftovers were tended to, we headed back to the stock tank to take pictures of everyone! While the adults sat in chairs, the kiddos played in the dirt, had lots of photos taken with one another and the various adults and enjoyed the cool breeze, under the extremely old oak trees that have Spanish moss hanging from them as if we were way down south somewhere along a bayou! We came back to the house, and sat around watching the three of them play with sidewalk chalk, look for the Easter eggs, that the mothers had hidden and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, just being together.
When I unpacked my Easter decorations, I found the carton of cascarones that had not been used last year and perhaps not the year before, and they finally made their way outside and each of the three children had three eggs to play with, and crack on the nearest adult. This was something different for the two smallest ones, but they caught on really quickly. Next year, maybe there will have to be more of these eggs. Years ago, when these parents were small, we had cascarones, but not nearly the number we had when the grandkids that are now in the late 20s were little. In fact, the one year that all of us were here in Yoakum at my Mother’s and Dad’s, I brought twelve dozen with me. I was the only adult they were allow to smash eggs on and we had a very good time and my nieces and nephews who were around still remember that Easter! Memories, memories…
Here are a couple of strawberry desserts that you might enjoy. Both of them have been printed before, and both of them are delicious. Unless my memory fails me, this coming weekend should be the Strawberry Festival in Poteet, TX, and if you should be lucky enough to get some fresh berries, they will be delicious.
Also, the Punch Bowl Cake that was in last week’s paper can be made with fresh strawberries, in place of the cherries, with the crushed pineapple on top of them and following the rest of the directions, and then decorating the top of the dish with strawberry halves. It’s a dessert that’s beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. (When I made it several years ago, I used almost a pint of strawberry halves on the bottom and the same amount in the second layer and then still more on top and my son-in-law commented it was too pretty to eat)!
Strawberry Angel Food Cake
1 prepared Angel food cake
1 large box of sugar-free, vanilla instant pudding
1 can (20-oz) crushed pineapple
1 cup coconut
1 pound cleaned, hulled fresh strawberries
Slice Angel food cake cross-wise into three slices. Set aside. Mix together, instant pudding, crushed pineapple and coconut. Set aside. Clean strawberries and set aside. Place bottom slice of cake on serving plate, top with 1/3 of the pudding mixture, slice fresh strawberries on top of the mixture; place center layer of cake on top of strawberries; top this with 1/3 of the pudding mixture and slice strawberries over it. Add remaining layer of cake and top with sliced strawberries OR use berries that you have cut in half, placing them around the edge of the cake, cut-side down.
There are probably as many recipes for this dish as there are cooks to make it! Many cooks go to the store and buy the sponge cakes that are ready to fill with strawberries and topping; others use angel food cake cut into slices and topped with strawberries and whipped topping, and still others like the good, old-fashioned kind, like Grandma used to make! Grandma’s is made with a biscuit dough, that is baked in two layers in a cake pan, then split and filled with the berries and topping. All I can say is: “If you call it strawberry shortcake, someone will probably eat it”! Here’s a version of Grandma’s recipe.
Grandmother’s Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons solid shortening
2/3 to ¾ cup milk
2 to 3 teaspoons butter
Fresh strawberries, cleaned, cut into quarters and sweetened as desired
Whipped topping, thawed
Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until you have fine particles. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Remove from bowl to lightly floured surface, and knead gently 10 to 12 times. Pat one-half the dough into a well-greased 8 or 9-inch round pan. Dot with butter; repeat with second half of the dough, placing it on top of the first layer. Bake at 450ºF until golden brown. Remove from oven; remove from pan and allow to cool until you can handle it comfortably. Split layers apart; top with sweetened fruit and whipped topping. Place other layer on top; spoon on fruit and topping. Cut into wedges to serve. This can also be made into individual servings by dividing dough into 12 to 14 portions, patting each one into a circle; dot with butter, top with another circle; place on baking sheet and bake and serve as above.