This week has been rough. For everyone. Of course the tragedies in both Boston and Texas are on our country’s mind and weigh heavy on all of our hearts. But a week ago, a couple days before bombings or explosions or wanted fugitives became our nation’s top priority, a dear friend of mine lost her father unexpectedly.
Sometimes life is crazy – it’s unfair, it’s fragile, it’s fleeting.
I don’t want to go into much more detail as my heart is breaking for my friend who I love so much. But one thing I will take away from all of this, is the importance of memories. Memories are truly the most important thing in someone’s life. Often times, I can get too caught up in the “stuff” of life and don’t take the time out to just have fun with my kids. Kids have fun regardless, but I have to make the choice to have fun. It’s something I need to work on. Chores, pick ups, drop offs, grocery shopping, cooking, baths and bedtime – these things dominate most of my days. Which is fine and also necessary, but sometimes as I am going to bed I lay awake and think about how boring most of our days are.
The majority of my most cherished childhood memories are centered around two things: vacations and food. My dad is an avid traveler and having three kids didn’t stop him when we were growing up. I believe we may have visited all 50 states, sometimes by plane (one of my most favorite things) and sometimes by car. I have truly special memories of our time in Hawaii, New Orleans, Florida, Arizona, and a slew of other places. We need to go on more vacations. If only they didn’t require so much money or planning.
Creating food memories, on the other hand, requires very little money and very little planning. Yet food memories are still up there on the list of my most beloved. Some of my most favorite food memories: my grandma’s Portuguese sweet bread and green soup, watching my Great Grandpa Sylvester slather his pancakes with peanut butter, eating pralines and beignets in New Orleans, having breakfast for dinner, my mom’s egg sandwiches with both bbq sauce and mayo (I thought everyone did this), challenging my great grandpa to peperoncini eating battles, my poppyseed birthday cake with cream cheese frosting, eating sopas at the Portuguese celebrations, eating raw mussels (ew) with salt with my great grandpa, picking cherry tomatoes off of my great grandpa’s plants and eating them like candy, my mom’s amazing fava beans, tomato sandwiches with my sweet neighbor Betty, having stinky Portuguese cheese with sourdough toast, making the horrible decision to stir in a whole can of black olives into our macaroni and cheese (my sister and I were sick for days – still cringe at the though of this food combo.) I could go on for days.
Last night, we made fruit pizzas. Not the healthiest thing to do with fruit, by far. I wasn’t going for healthy. Besides, a little cream cheese never hurt anyone. 😉 We were inspired by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, because we just watched her episode where she made individual fruit pizzas. I went the lazy route though and used store-bought sugar cookie dough. The kids had a blast making these. Olivia really got into the decorating and Penelope really just loved the fruit and the “sauce.”
Fruit Pizzas (makes 6 individual pizzas)
- 1 small roll of store-bought sugar cookie dough
- 1 small package of cream cheese (at room temp)
- 1 small jar of marshmallow creme
- almond extract (optional and not in Ree’s recipe)
- sliced fruit such as strawberries, kiwis, and anything else you like
Start by dividing your roll of cookie dough into 6 portions. Flatten each portion into a disk (I just used my hands.) Bake your cookies at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes (takes a little longer than the package states because these are big cookies.) While your cookies are baking, make the “sauce.” Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, whip up the cream cheese and marshmallow creme with a couple drops of almond extract (optional – but I’m hooked on the stuff.) You want the “sauce” to be smooth with no clumps. Once your cookies are cooled, you are ready to assemble. Slather the cookie with some “sauce” and decorate with the sliced fruit. Eat immediately. If you want to make this dessert in advance, I’d suggest keeping all of the elements separate until just before eating.