Friday, April 8, 2016

Strawberry Spring Thaw

It's spring break at our house.  The sun is shining, the grass is green, the spring flowers are peeking up and I'm thinking of this long time family favorite.

This is a dessert that my mom has made for years and years.  Usually during the spring when the strawberries are in season.  Why the name "Spring Thaw?"  I don't know but would assume that spring brings about a thaw, at least in the cold, snowy mountains.  This dessert is frosty strawberry goodness.  Do you like my reasoning?

The is an old tried and true recipe from the coveted family dessert binder.  I haven't met a person that loved strawberries, that didn't love this dessert.

My mom's handwriting.  Even though I have most of my recipes online or on the computer I still like to keep the recipes that family members actually hand write.  Even has some strawberry sauce on it just to keep it real.

Strawberry Spring Thaw

Mix together and put in jelly roll pan (or 9X13 pan).
1/2 cup margarine-melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we use walnuts)

  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Cool.

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 pt. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Mix all ingredients (except the whipped cream) in mixer and beat for about 10-15 min.  
Must triple in size.  Fold in whipped cream.

Layer crumbs, then strawberry mixture, then crumbs in a spring form pan.  
Freeze at least overnight.

We normally just use a 9x13 pan but if you decide to use the spring form pan you can create masterpieces like this!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

High School Parking Lot Spaces=Artwork

 Isn't this the coolest thing ever!  Parking slot artwork!  

Evidently this high school in San Diego county invites their senior students to invest in a little property.

For a small fee the student can purchase a space to call their very own for their last year of high school.  The seniors come very early in the morning a couple of weeks before the beginning of the new school year and stake out their parking place.  First come, first choice.

They are given specific instructions of what can be used to "paint" their place.  Once completed and approved they are responsible for the upkeep throughout the year.

The spot is theirs to park in every school day.  
As we parked our car it felt like we were covering up great works of art.  BTW-we were there on a Saturday.

  So many talented seniors.  

I thought it was a great way to encourage responsibility and pride of least for one entire school year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

NOW PLAYING-Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

I was asked to be in charge of our Jr. High School's Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week.  Of course I said YES, along with a huge committee of very capable, creative people.

As our committee was searching for fun TA week themes and ideas, we had a hard time coming up with older student events.  Most of the ideas online were for elementary aged kids.  We tweaked those ideas a bit and came up with what we thought could be a great Jr. High fun-filled week.

We love our teachers and think they deserve much more than just one week...  

But like the brochure advertises--
Be prepared to experience the week of a lifetime...or at least four days of great food and fun.

Brochure outside  

Brochure inside

The brochures were folded and then slipped into a cellophane bag with a movie treat inside.

They were delivered the Friday before TA Week so all would know what to plan for the next week.

The school teacher/staff lunchroom was set up on that same Friday.

To avoid unnecessary spending we borrowed "decor" from several of our parent's home theater rooms.  The decor set a perfect stage for the week.

One of our moms made gigantic signs to remind the students of the fun they were invited to participate in, with their teachers.

Vader Taters and More
Star Wars themed lunch

The teachers had a visit from Mr. Vader.  They also packed their own sack lunch with all kinds of options (see brochure).

The teacher movie quiz was introduced.

We also displayed all the movie trivia questions for the students to try and guess as well. 1-15

Disney Scene It
Students vs. teachers during lunch break was awesome!

Breakfast Club Awaits You
Entry into the Breakfast Club was by Detention slip only

The detention slip was stapled to a little cello bag of Captain Crunch and a Pixie stick.  Put in the teacher boxes the day before to remind them to come a bit early for breakfast.

We served breakfast casseroles, fresh pastries and orange rolls, fruit, OJ and milk.  And by the way...All of the food for each meal was donated by local vendors and our wonderful parents.

The students and teachers participated in a TOP GUN Paper Airplane contest at lunch time.  We definitely had some crazy flight plans.

FROZEN Ice Cream Parlor
After school ice cream sundae bar

Olaf was there.

Along with some beautiful snowflakes and FROZEN banners.

The invite/reminders for the teacher boxes were snowman parts.

And then of course all the gourmet ice cream and fixins.  

The lunchtime activity with the students was a Napoleon Dynamite dance-off.  It was HILARIOUS!  I wish I could show you the pictures.

NACHO Average Salad Bar
Wear your stretchy pantsfor an authentic lunch time fiesta.  Mucho food to eat. No Lucha Libre wrestling, please. 

Because it was St. Patrick's Day we also served delicious Mint Brownies and other homemade finger desserts.

The Movie Quiz contest winners were announced and awarded Movie Pack Prizes.  All of the candy was donated by our local Nestle company.  Nice!

The packs also included local movie theater tickets, popcorn and RedBox Gift cards.  There were even a few grand prizes that had restaurant gift cards, hair stylist coupons, gym memberships, etc.  (Containers came from Oriental Trading)

Find the RedBox template here 

The week ended on day four...teachers (and students) were calendared to have Friday off from school.  I'm sure that was the best treat of all!

Friday was rest day for the Teacher Appreciation Committee.  We don't know how teachers do it every single school day!

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Ramos House Cafe

If you are traveling in Southern California, at or near San Juan Capistrano there is a MUST STOP place to relax and enjoy, especially the food.  My sister introduced me to this wonderful Cafe and now I have a favorite place to brunch!

"The idea of the Ramos House is simple.  Like the old days, it's owner lives and works at the house.  The wines are kept in the cellar, the herbs are grown in the garden and the ice cream is turned out back.  The menu changes daily and everything is made from scratch."  
Welcome to my home-John Q

31752 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA  

Hours: 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM

As we entered the garden patio this framed "welcome" greeted us.  I loved it!  I'm not sure if my cell phone snapping pictures was what "Q" was referring to as nonsense but I'm hoping he doesn't mind my adoration of his place.

The small patio retreat was enchanting.  A small, very-much-at-home cat meandered through the tables as if to remind us that we were just visiting.

So many interesting and clever pieces adorned the patio.  A very large downspout hung from the top of the metal roof to the floor and made it's way into a little stream patio side.  Evidently when it rains the metal roof sings a very exuberant song.  Large worn cabinets filled with potted herbs and greenery framed the walls.

Tin shaped covers for overhead lighting offered a soft glow.

The shiny wood tables were simply set with a chilled water carafe, lime slices in mason jars and a potted herb.

 Great, fresh choices on the menu.

The pleasant server suggested we begin our brunch with a plate of Apple Cinnamon Beignets.  It was a very good choice!  It was the kind of bite that melts in your mouth-good.

My sister and I shared another delectable dish, Smoked Bacon Scramble w/Rocket & Apple Fried Potatoes.  The presentation was beautiful and our taste buds were delighted.

We were also treated to a Buttermilk Biscuit w/Apple Butter.  Flaky, buttery and large enough to share.  Good thing we were sharing because the food portions were quite generous.

At the end of our dining experience the bill was presented in a vintage looking leather bound booklet.  We were so excited about the "look" that we almost forgot to pay the very reasonable bill.  


After brunch we meandered (like the cat) out of the patio into ole time San Juan Capistrano.  The cobble stone pathways and soft dirt roads made for a nice little stroll.  Quaint Spanish style shops offered fun and interesting gifts to purchase, like this clever, funny card.  The picture kind of reminded me of our mom.  I wonder if she does diddly squats.

We decided that Los Rios Street, and especially The Ramos House Cafe was definitely a place we wanted to visit again, and again.

Thank you Carri.  I loved our little outing.