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This is a little advice to always be prepared for unexpected company…
When I was a little girl, my mother always kept a pound cake in the freezer for “company”. This drove my sisters and I crazy because there were many nights we just wanted to thaw it out and eat it.
My mother used to serve us toasted pound cake with fresh fruit and ice cream for dessert on a regular basis and we just loved it.
But the pound cake in the freezer was off limits!
I never fully understood why my mother did this, until this past Friday.
Did you ever get a phone call in the morning from someone that you haven’t seen in a while and they tell you that they will be in your area late afternoon and want to stop in and say hello?
Well, I got that call Friday morning. I invited them for dessert and when I hung up I went into a mini panic.
What would I serve for dessert? Of all days, I couldn’t leave my house to run and get a dessert because I was expecting a delivery from Lowes and I had to be home, so I had to get creative.
I usually hate unexpected company because I like to plan my tablescapes and meals way ahead of time.
First the tablescape…
If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you know I always change my dishes on a monthly basis to rotate my collection. This month it is all about the strawberry. Nice and cheery. So it looked as if that would be the tablescape theme since I had everything I needed at my fingertips.
I started out with a basic white weave cotton tablecloth.
I have strawberry salad plates, table-runner and napkins already in the kitchen, so that is what I used. I had no time to fuss.
The linens are a solid white background with clusters of strawberries and small red stamped flowers.
There isn’t enough room on the table for a placemat with the table runner so I just started with a glass beaded charger. I love this charger because it adds something to the tablescape but doesn’t overpower it.
Followed by a white alabaster dinner plate and my adorable strawberry salad plates.
The dinner plates are white alabaster glass with swirling semi-opaque streaks.
The salad plates are a very heavy white melamine with clusters of strawberries around the rim.
Another piece of serveware that I purchased with these dishes is the serving bowl but I didn’t need to use it.
I just wanted to show you what was available.
I originally bought the salad plates to match a strawberry water pitcher that I bought many years ago. I used the water pitcher on Friday for homemade lemonade.
It’s fairly small for a water pitcher (only 8 X 8), which I liked because it doesn’t take up that much room on the table.
Water pitchers to me are like salt and pepper shakers. They can carry the theme of your tablescape without being in the way, and are great table accents.
Along with the water pitcher I used ceramic strawberry salt and pepper shakers on a green leaf plate.
I just loved these when I saw them because of the plate that it came on (and my love of salt & pepper shakers).
They are cute enough to be used on the kitchen counter as an accent for summer decor.
The flatware was white pearl to match the dinner plate and not clash with the napkins since my red cutlery was too dark.
I used Waterford crystal tumbler glasses, perfect for lemonade and already in the kitchen cabinet, so things were moving along.
I was in a pinch so my centerpiece had to be a jadeite cake stand. I think this color looks good as a contrast to the strawberry table runner.
I added a few jadeite salad plates, one under the cake stand and one to use with the jar of strawberries in syrup.
I had a strawberry spreader on hand in case anyone wanted some strawberries on their loaf cake and not just on their ice cream.
That completed the tablescape…
I thought the tablescape looked cute once it was set and that is when I decided to make it a blog post.
Now for the dessert…
I already mentioned that I had a jar of Italian strawberries in syrup, and I could serve them with ice cream, but that didn’t seem to be enough so I had to keep thinking.
BTW- the strawberries in syrup are not as sweet as the Amarena cherries in syrup.
I used the Italian Amarena cherries with my lemon ricotta pound cake- recipe in the index.
I bought three pounds of beautiful organic strawberries in Whole Foods for 2.99 a lb. the other day and they were staring at me when I opened the refrigerator, so they became the star of the show.
I had a recipe for “Strawberry Crisp” that I made for a friend who visited a short time ago that only ate gluten free. It is made with oat flour and no refined sugar. I don’t even know where I got the recipe from, but I knew I had all the ingredients in the pantry and that could work.
I hate when I don’t have the author of a recipe to share with you, because I always want to give credit where credit is due, so I apologize.
If anyone recognizes the recipe and knows the author, please let me know.
I wanted to have another dessert choice because the crisp was not going to be very sweet because there is no added sugar, but it is good served with ice cream.
So my last dessert was a loaf cake with a lemon glaze. The recipe is easy and it originally calls for blueberries but I switched it up with strawberries.
I added some strawberry wafers to the table that happened to be one of my recent purchases from Homegoods. I usually buys these wafers to top ice cream, but I served the wafers in a bowl as a little something extra to munch on.
So I started baking and kept thinking of mom and the pound cake in the freezer. She knew what she was doing back then.
I think from now on, I will always have a pound cake or two in the freezer for “company”. I suggest you do the same.
That could have made my life so much easier.
Mom had the right idea, as always.
If my company didn’t like strawberries, (which I thought about after the cakes were in the oven) I was ready to order a pizza or anything take out that they preferred that could be delivered, but it all worked out.
The strawberry desserts were a big hit and the visit was lovely catching up with each other.
I think mom would have been proud of my desserts today.
Plus, Bob was thrilled to come home from work to desserts…
(Recipes at the end of the post).
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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- 6 cups about 2 quarts sliced fresh strawberries
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons almond extract
- ¾ cup oats
- ¼ cup oat flour oats that have been ground into a fine flour, or can substitute with whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together strawberries cornstarch, and almond extract until completely combined.** The cornstarch should dissolve in the small amount of liquid so that you don’t see a white powder and the berries are all completely coated.
Transfer berry mixture to the prepared baking dish.
In a separate small bowl, stir together oats, oat flour, almonds, and salt. Add melted butter and maple syrup, stir until completely combined. I like to use my fingers to really mix together the ingredients into the crumble topping.
Spread oat crumble in an even layer over the top of the berries.
Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow crisp to cool before serving.
If you refrigerate the crisp, it will firm up even more and it will be easy to slice into squares.
- This keeps well in the refrigerator for at least 1 week!
- **NOTE: The sweetness of the dessert will depend on the sweetness of the berries that you’re using, since that’s the main ingredient.
- If you don’t have really sweet, fresh, local fruit, just add some sweetener of choice before baking. You can use maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, Splenda, stevia, anything that you prefer!
courtesy of Betty Crocker
REMEMBER, RECIPE WAS ORIGINALLY FOR BLUEBERRIES, SO I KEPT BLUEBERRY INSTRUCTIONS IN ITALICS IF YOU WANT TO MAKE THE ORIGINAL RECIPE.
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 9×5-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray.
In medium bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, vanilla, sour cream, lemon peel and juice.
Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Fold in 3/4 cup of the blueberries. – I substitute strawberries.
Spoon batter into pan.
Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup blueberries – I substituted strawberries on top.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely.
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 cups cold water
- In a gallon pitcher combine 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, and 6 cups cold water. Stir.
- Adjust water to taste.
- Chill and serve over ice
So sweet and pretty, Diane. Another winning
combination of family, food, and tablescape!
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Thank you Kimberly. You are always so sweet and kind with your compliments.
The plates and tablescape look great. The deserts look so good too. Very creative
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Thank you Diane. I was happy how it turned out since it was spur of the moment and Bob is loving his desserts.
Beautiful as usual!
Amazing as always! My Mom too kept a loaf cake in the freezer. Me, I usually keep brownies in my freezer. Thanks for reminding me to take them out for my company tomorrow.
Thank you Roseanne for the lovely compliment. Enjoy your brownies and your company.
My strawberry heart is in heaven!!