We take so much for granted, but this weekend we have a wonderful opportunity to pause and honor the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. Every year when I go to the Memorial Day program at the courthouse, I always get one of those poppies that honor the veterans, and I have been collecting them in the brim of my summer hat. I am often surprised at the people who comment on them, not knowing what they are. Those poppies trace back to a sweet old poem, which honors the fallen.

It is a lovely old poem, which no doubt many of you had to memorize in school. The poem was written during World War I to honor the fallen, and though the poem was written many years ago, its words still echo across the pages of time in a poignant, inspirational way. If you have ever visited a military cemetery, particularly Flanders, its image remains in your mind. Memorial Day actually began here in the South as a day to remember the Confederate fallen and was called Decoration Day. Soon, the observance began to evolve into a day to remember the fallen of all wars and to also honor veterans who have died since their service to the country.

Make this a good week, and if you know a fallen veteran or a fallen veteran’s family, this would be a good time to say “Thanks.”

Let me hear from you soon!!!

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Easy Cherry Salad

Perfect for your Red, White, and Blue table!

1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks drained

1 cup coconut flaked

1 cup sour cream

Combine all ingredients. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Serve in a large bowl lined with salad greens.

Coca Cola Salad

2 cups Coca-Cola

2 small boxes of Black Cherry or cherry gelatin

1 small (6 oz. or larger) can of crushed pineapple, undrained

1 small pkg. of cream cheese

1 cup pecans

Bring one cup cola to a boil and dissolve the gelatin in int. Add other ingredients. Pinch the cream cheese into tiny bits and add along with the other ingredients. Chill until set.

Orange Sherbet Salad

1 small box orange gelatin

1 pint orange sherbet

1 small can mandarin oranges

1 (6 oz.) can crushed pineapple

Dissolve gelatin with one cup hot water. While still hot stir in the sherbet and add the oranges and pineapple. Chill until set.

Fabulously Easy Key Lime Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lime juice

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

12 oz. Cool Whip

2 graham cracker crusts

Blend condensed milk and cheese until smooth. Add lime juice and mix well. Fold in Cool Whip and divide evenly into the two crusts and refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Cherry Chicken Salad from Michigan!!!!

Richard’s Note: I recently made this salad for an after-church brunch, and it was delicious, and everyone loved it. I think the buttermilk is a “secret” ingredient. It will probably go into all my chicken salads, regardless of the kind I make.

3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/3 cup diced celery

1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 Tbs. buttermilk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/3 cup cubed apples (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts, mayonnaise, milk, salt and pepper and apple if desired. Toss together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serve on toasted cracked wheat bread or croissants.

Tres Leches Cake

Richard’s Note: The name of this cake means in Spanish “Three Milks.” It has a long history is and is a favorite for celebrations. Every time I have ever make this cake there has not been even a crumb left over. People love it. I have also used a butter pecan cake mix to make it, and it is delicious, too! With its white topping, this can easily be garnished for a patriotic look, too!

Bake a white or yellow cake in a 9x13 pan as directed on the box. When cake is done, take it out of the oven and poke holes with a fork all over the cake, leaving the cake in the pan. Combine two cups whole milk, one can sweetened condensed milk and 12 ounces evaporated milk. Pour milk mixture over the cooled cake. Whip together one and one-half cups heavy whipping cream, one cup white sugar and one teaspoon vanilla. When whipped cream mixture is thick, spread over top of cake and enjoy. Store leftovers in the fridge!

Apricot Nectar Cake

Richard’s Note: After you glaze this cake, decorate it with blueberries and strawberries for a patriotic look. Both those berries go wonderfully with lemon flavor. In a pinch I have used peach or pineapple nectar to make this cake with equally good results.

1 Betty Crocker lemon cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup apricot nectar

Mix all ingredients together. Pour in bunt pan. Bake at 350° until done.

Topping:

1 cup powdered sugar and lemon juice

Mix topping as thick or thin as you desire. I make it thick enough so some stays on the top of the cake. If you pour this on while cake is hot, the cake absorbs a lot of it. Easy and delicious!

3 Week Cole Slaw

3 lbs. white cabbage, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cups sugar

1 cup cooking oil

1 cup vinegar

1 Tbs. celery seed

Combine cabbage, peppers, onions, sugar and mix well. Mix oil and vinegar, celery seed. Heat mixture over medium heat, then pour over cabbage mixture and stir until very well mixed. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. Let stand at least three days. Flavor improves, the longer it stands. Will keep refrigerated for one month.

Easy Baked Beans

4 slices bacon

1/2 cup onion chopped

2 (16 oz.) cans pork and beans in tomato sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. mustard prepared

Cook bacon until crisp in a large skillet; drain, reserving two tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside. Cook onion in reserved bacon drippings until tender but not brown. Stir in beans, bacon and remaining ingredients; combine well. Pour into an ungreased, 1 & 1/2-quart casserole or baking dish. Cover and bake at 375° for one hour.

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