Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cherry Limeade

One year for Teacher Appreciation Week, when I was teaching middle school at Trinity Heights Christian Academy, one of the moms made us the best cherry limeade I've ever had! I've made it several times since then and it's always been a big hit.

1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1 liter of Sprite
1/4 c. maraschino cherry juice
maraschino cherries (preferably with stems)
1 lime, sliced

Combine limeade concentrate with Sprite, following amount directed on can, and cherry juice. Mix well.

Serve over ice (crushed is great!) with one or two cherries and a slice of lime.

*If you like Sonic's cherry limeade, you'll LOVE this one! It's not as syrupy sweet and has a good kick to it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dessert Quesadillas

Following a basic technique, you can make all sorts of delicious dessert quesadillas. So far, we've made some with pear preserves and with cream cheese and cinnamon apples (my favorite so far!).

flour tortillas
olive oil or butter
filling combinations: fruit and cream cheese, fruit and nutella, nutella and cream cheese, peanut butter with honey and bananas, etc.
complimentary toppings: chocolate syrup, cinnamon apple drippings, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, etc.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Spray lightly with olive oil or melt a little butter to prevent sticking.

Spread cream cheese, nutella, or peanut butter on one side of tortilla. Place other side down in the skillet. Add fillings to half the tortilla, then fold over with a spatula. Let brown lightly, then flip to the other side to brown. Remove from skillet and add desired topping(s). Serve hot. (Some combinations go well with ice cream.)

Filling/topping suggestions (though the possibilities are endless...):
* cinnamon apples with cream cheese/cinnamon sugar and cinnamon apple drippings
* peanut butter and honey with bananas (cream cheese optional)/honey and powdered sugar
* bananas with nutella/chocolate syrup
* strawberries with cream cheese/powdered sugar
* peaches with cream cheese/powdered sugar
* blueberries with cream cheese/powdered sugar
* strawberries and bananas with nutella/chocolate syrup
* nutella with chopped almonds or pecans and coconut/chocolate syrup

If you don't want to use fresh fruit, you can cook some down with a little sugar and butter to make a pie-like filling for them.


A Greek friend of mine had her sister teach a group of us how to make baklava. It's not too hard a process, just a long one, but the end result is well worth the time!

1 lb. pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, finely chopped
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 lb. phyllo dough
1 lb. butter, melted

3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 c. honey

Combine the chopped nuts with the 1/2 c. sugar and the cinnamon; set aside.

Open box of phyllo, placing the thin dough sheets on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Cover the dough with another sheet of wax paper, and cover that with a damp towel to keep the dough moist.

Line the bottom of a buttered 9x12 pan with 10-12 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with melted butter as you go.

Sprinkle the top of the 10-12 sheets with a thin layer of the nut mixture.

Cover with 3 more phyllo sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter; sprinkle with more nut mixture. Repeat once more, making a total of 3 nut mixture layers.

Cover with remaining phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter.

Chill for 25 minutes; make syrup: Combine 3 c. sugar, water, and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Boil for 10 minutes. Slowly add honey and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Let cool completely while baklava bakes. (*The syrup must be cool when you pour it over the hot baklava.)

Cut the uncooked pastry into small diamond shapes by cutting lengthwise strips, then diagonal strips. Brush with melted butter.

Bake at 325 degrees for about an hour and a half, or until slightly browned.

Remove from oven, recut along original cut marks, then slowly pour syrup over the hot baklava until it is completely absorbed. You may not need all the syrup.

Cool baklava completely before serving.

Since the baklava is preserved with honey, it will last at room temperature in a tightly closed container for several days, but it's best to refrigerate unused portions. Baklava can be refrigerated for several weeks.

Optional: Whole cloves can be stuck into each diamond shape before baking. Be sure they are removed before serving.