Summertime treats for meals

Are you ready for July? It is here, ready or not. Summer is half over and so many things not yet done. School starts again next month. Talk about time flying by. It is just a reminder not to put off anything that you want to do in your life. The past is over, the present is here, tomorrow never comes – it becomes the present. Each day is a gift – that is the reason we call it the “present.” Enjoy each day since it only comes around once in a lifetime.

We recently got back from our Catskill vacation, our favorite vacation spot. It is so peaceful in those New York mountains and we needed that. The resort to which we go is Villa Roma, outside Callicoon, N.Y. So many folks have asked about it that here are some facts about it.

It is an Italian-themed destination resort. By that I mean you don’t have to leave it for anything if you don’t want to visit the surrounding mountain villages or Bethal Woods, the site of the hippie “happening” of 1969, Woodstock. More on that later. The hotel that anchors the resort is a beautiful, Italian-style villa. It has a very classy restaurant, a cafe, gelato bar, off-track betting, outdoor and indoor swimming pools and hot tubs, a convenience store and deli and poolside bar and food stands. Also onsite are a bowling alley, fitness gym, handball court, spa, hair salon, boutique, gift shop and complete indoor game room with shuffleboard, table tennis, pool tables, boucle ball and other indoor games. For kids, there is a play area better than McDonald’s or Burger King’s, a game room for bigger kids where they can win tickets for prizes and a teen room with games, music, etc.

There are indoor and outdoor tennis, boucle ball, volleyball, basketball and horseshoes. There are, also, any game one can think of, free movies, contests and get-togethers of all kinds for the guests. Outdoor for the kids are activities such as paintball, horseback riding, go-carts, rock wall climbing and those blow-up things in which the kids like to play. There is shipboard-style horse racing, bingo, trivia contests of every kind, Texas Hold-um games and turtle races that are hilarious. Every night there is name entertainment in the Forum.

Once or twice a week, a bonfire is held. There are smores and marshmallows for everyone. One night while we were there, one of the groups that came for a convention, a firefighters group from New York City brought fireworks and put on a gigantic display that lasted more than 30 minutes. There is always something going on for anyone who wants to take part in it. Our condo for June overlooks the hotel, playing fields and pools, so we can sit on the balcony and watch all the activity if we are resting and enjoying just “watching”.

The resort has winter sports, too, but we have never gone then. The pictures of people playing in the snow and the tubing trails make me want to go some year. I am old enough that I don’t really want to ski anymore.

The local area has quaint villages, farm tours, antique shops, craft shops and neat restaurants of all kinds. The countryside is beautiful with low mountains and bubbly streams and rivers. Gorgeous..

Bethel Woods, where the original Woodstock was held, now has a museum of that happening and a state-of-the-art 15,000 seat outdoor pavilion stage where name entertainment comes from all over the country. The New York Symphony even comes there at times. It is sat in a 2,000-acre campus and has festivals of various kinds all summer and fall and has events from April through December.

We have friends that come the same time each year when we do and friends who are local residents, so it is “old home week” for us every year. It was somewhat bittersweet this year as they all remembered our son Bill and everyone liked him and shared our sorrow for the loss of him. Friends are special and we are thankful for all of them, including you in our valley.

Anyway, we are back home and tackling the projects that need to be done this summer. I am getting used to the warmer days, but I can’t say I enjoy them all that much. Seventy-five degrees is my ideal temperature. Anything warmer or cooler arouses the complaining side of me. One takes what comes, though, and tries to make the best of it. Mother Nature never promises to please all of us all the time and I think she takes delight in seeing how much she can make us complain. I try to outsmart her by smiling all the time, even if it is through clinched teeth. The garden will keep me busy enough to work out the frustration of temperatures I don’t like. Our house-sitters managed to keep the Evil One from showering the garden with weeds like I usually see when I come home and I am very thankful for that.

Our animals were so glad to us when we got home. One reason for having pets is the joy they give one by acting glad to see their humans, no matter how long they are gone. The kittens are right on the border of needing to go to new homes – they grew so fast while we were away. That will be a small problem, I’m afraid. Anyone want a cute little kitten? They are precious, but we can’t keep all of them.

I hope your summer is peaceful and relaxing, too. Make some happy memories with your loved ones. Think happy thoughts, keep the iced tea pitcher full, the swing occupied and cook outside on the grill. Summer is short, so make every day a peaceful memory. God Bless.



(A very quick and easy cake to make and the perfect thing to make shortcakes.)

Four eggs

Two cups sugar

One-half teaspoon salt

Two teaspoons flavoring

Two tablespoons butter

One cup boiling hot milk

Two cups sifted all purpose flour

Two teaspoons baking powder

Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans or one 13×9 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar, salt and flavoring. Melt butter in the hot milk and add to mixture. Sift together the flour and baking powder and quickly add to the batter. Pour into prepared pans and bake 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the pans, and until cake tests done. Cool. Serve with berries, peaches or bananas and whipped cream for short cakes. Use vanilla flavoring for most cakes but try some almond flavoring with peaches.



One pint (two cups) lightly mashed strawberries

Two tablespoons sugar

One teaspoon gelatin

One tablespoon water

Three cups heavy whipping cream, divided

Sugar to taste for frosting

Mash the strawberries and add two tablespoons sugar. Dissolve gelatin in one tablespoon water by placing over hot water until dissolved. Blend into strawberries and chill mixture. When partially set, fold in one cup of cream, whipped and sweetened to taste. Chill. Whip two cups heavy cream and sweetened to taste. Spread strawberry mixture between layers of cake (Hot Milk Sponge, Chiffon or Angel Food) and frost with the whipped cream. Use whole berries for garnish.




One cup sifted flour

One tablespoon sugar

One-and-one-half teaspoons baking powder

One-half teaspoon salt

Three tablespoons shortening

One-third to one-half cup milk

Peach filling:

Six fresh peaches

One-half cup sugar

One-half teaspoon salt

One-fourth teaspoon cinnamon

One-and-one-half tablespoons butter

For the dough, stir together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Stir in milk to make soft dough. Pat into an 8-inch cast iron skillet, letting some of the dough hang over the edge. For the filling, peel and slice peaches. Add peaches to the dough shell in skillet. Combine the sugar, salt and cinnamon and sprinkle over the peaches and dot with butter. Fold hanging dough over the peaches, leaving some space uncovered. Bake in 425-degree oven for 25 minutes.



One-half stick butter or margarine, melted in an 8-inch square baking dish

Three-fourths cup flour

Three-fourths cup sugar

Three-fourths cup milk

Two teaspoons baking powder

Two cups fruit

Three-fourths cup sugar

Mix flour, three-fourths cup sugar and baking powder. Add milk and mix. Pour over melted butter in baking dish. Combine fruit and three-fourths cup sugar and spoon evenly over mixture in baking dish. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. If fruit is sour, you might want to increase the amount of sugar on the fruit.

NOTE: Original recipe called for one stick butter or margarine, but I decreased amount to cut down on calories.



Three cups diced cooked chicken

One-and-one-half cups diced celery

Three tablespoons fresh lemon juice

One cup seedless white grapes

One cup toasted almonds

One cup mayonnaise

One-eight teaspoon pepper

One teaspoon dry mustard

One teaspoon salt

One tablespoon capers (optional)

Mix chicken, celery and lemon juice together and chill well. Add grapes and almonds. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add this mixture to the chicken mixture. Chill several hours. Serve on lettuce leaves.

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