Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honoring Our Heroes

Memorial Day is a day for honoring the heroes who courageously fought to keep our lands free.  The Saturday before Memorial Day, hundreds of volunteers meet at the Biloxi Veterans Cemetery to decorate the cemetery with a beautiful display of flags.  We have been participating in this meaningful event for many years.  My husband's father and sister are buried at this cemetery as well as my aunt and uncle.  It is a special privilege to place a flag at their grave.  It is also a loving tribute to our soldiers and loved ones.  If you have a similar activity near you, I urge you to join this year in honoring the heroes in your community.
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Cinco de Mayo Celebration!

Our family is all about parties.  We love any opportunity to get together for food and fun.  Cinco de Mayo is one of our favorite holiday gatherings.  The menu always includes my mother's famous enchiladas, homemade tamales, a pot of simmering beans, tacos, tortillas, fresh salsas, homemade guacamole, and tres leches cake.  Today, I am sharing with you my contribution to our celebration.  Come join the party!
Let's start with a fabulous, easy corn salsa.  I like to mix this in a large Mason jar.  Great for taking on picnics.  I could eat a whole jar of this!

The starting line-up for Corn Salsa:
1 and 1/2 cups of plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup whole kernal corn, canned, frozen, or for a real treat, grilled fresh corn
1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Tortilla chips
 Combine the first 5 ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Isn't that pretty?
 Mix and and chill until ready to serve.  Serve with tortilla scoops.
Next is a tasty Mexican layered salad.  I found this recipe years ago in a Southern Living Cooking Light cookbook.

The starting line-up for Mexican Layered Salad:
1 (9 ounce) box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) package of reduced fat shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican mix
3 green onions, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
     (Don't know how that purple onion and garlic ended up in the picture...this recipe does not use either!)

Prepare cornbread mix according to the package direction, adding chiles to the mixture.  Bake, cool, crumble and set aside.  In a small chopper or mixer, process mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt until smooth.  I love cilantro!
Now lets begin layering our salad.  Layer a 4 quart trifle bowl with half shredded lettuce, half of crumbled cornbread, and then drizzle on half of the mayo mixture.  Next layer half each of the black beans, corn, shredded cheese, green onions and tomatoes.  Repeat the layers.  Cover and chill 1 to 2 hours before serving.

My last contribution to today's party is a simple Tres Leches cake.  I became quite an expert at this cake while my youngest son was taking Spanish.  It was requested at every event! 

The starting line-up for Easy Tres Leches Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 pint whipping cream
1 large container of cool whip
Prepare the cake mix according to box directions.  Bake and let cool.  Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients that makes this cake a "tres leches" or three milk cake:  condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whipping cream. 
After cooling, poke LOTS of holes in the cake.  The more holes, the more that yummy, creamy deliciousness will soak into the cake.  Pour the contents of the milk mixture slowly over the cake. Don't worry, all of this additional milk will soak into the cake quickly.
Place in the refrigerator.  Prior to serving, cover with Cool Whip. You can also whip up whipping cream and sugar to top this cake, but I find that we like the lighter taste of Cool Whip on this particular cake.  Enjoy this cake dripping in tres leches!
I hope you try one or all of these recipes at your next Mexican fiesta.   Let me know what you think!
Happy Cinco de Mayo from Still Woods Farmhouse!
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