Thursday, May 27, 2010

Watermelon Sherbet - A Dessert That Would Make Martha Stewart Smile!

2 quarts raspberry sherbet
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels (regular or mini)
1 quart pineapple or lemon sherbet
1 quart lime sherbet

Line a baking sheet with tin foil or use a disposable 13x9x2-inch foil container.
Scoop both quarts of raspberry sherbet into a large mixing bowl and add chocolate chips.
Mix well.
Spoon mixture onto foil, mounding in the center to create a shape that resembles half of a watermelon .
Return to freezer and freeze at least 1 hour.
Remove from freezer and scoop the lemon or pineapple sherbet on top of the raspberry layer, smoothing evenly over the entire surface.
Return to freezer for at least 1 hour.
Remove from freezer and repeat process with lime sherbet.
Return to freezer, covered with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. 
To serve: Slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1 –inch thick slices or as desired.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Life as a Work of Art

Imagine that when you are born, you arrive with a brand new canvas, fresh paints, brushes and a clean paint palette. A few seconds before you emerge into the world, God smiles at you, kisses your forehead and says, “I can’t wait to see your masterpiece when we meet face-to-face again!” Next thing you know, you’re being cleaned up by a nurse, bundled up and introduced to a lot of new people!  And so it begins…your life!

At first we are completely dependent on others to provide for our needs, but even as infants, we are observant of the stimulus around us, both positive and negative, hence, the first base colors emerge on our life canvas. Then we grow older and our sense of “self” develops as we learn that behavior choices have good and bad consequences as even more colors are added to our canvas.  

Now things are really getting interesting!  We discover more about our family and family values, develop friendships and become a full-fledged participant in life. Our autonomy is growing and sense of self is growing stronger.  We gain knowledge at school, learn social skills, try sports, learn about winning and losing, develop independent and artistic interests. Suddenly we are immersed in the new world of societal, gender and ethnic boundaries, as well as biases. We vividly realize how big the planet Earth is and how many different types of people and places there are to experience! We make a myriad of choices everyday. To some, this is exciting, to others overwhelming. Individual perspective is born of our life experiences and so our life canvas continues to explode with many new images and colors.

From an early age we are taught what to value, what is bad and what is good, what is permitted and what is not.  We also, from quite an early age, develop discernment and innately “know” what works for us and what does not. We, as the consummate artist of our life, find that we have the ability to blend colors or paint with the unaltered color in its original form.  We can paint details or go abstract; we can paint in jewel tones or pastel. What a wonderful discovery! What an amazing gift from God! Now we understand the ultimate, selfless gift of “free choice.” Our life canvas is whatever we choose it to be. At birth, we were not given a canvas with an outline imprinted on it to “fill in” with colors already designated.  We were not told what images or colors were required. It is solely up to us! There is no panel of judges to determine whether our life canvas is good or bad, worthy or unworthy of acclaim. Every life canvas is a masterpiece in God’s eyes. You can’t get it wrong and what’s even more exciting is that you are free to change it at will!

The colors, images and style of your life canvas reflect all of your experiences and choices from the day you were born. It is a “work in progress” until you return home to present your personal masterpiece to God. Think about it. Really contemplate it. You emerged with all of the tools you will ever need. It does not matter what your circumstances were at birth or what they are right now.  You can choose to stay with the current life canvas and color palette or decide to change it. What will you paint today?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Magnificent Planet Deserves Respect and Gratitude!

Mother Earth is filled with beauty. Open your eyes to the miracle of the tapestry of life around you. Really look at the plants, trees, animals, bodies of water...from the majestic ocean or lake to the retention pond in your own backyard. All are teeming with life! Let's be observant of nature's gifts that surround us daily. Try to imagine as you drive to work or the grocery store how it would appear if there were no trees, grass or plants softening your view. If it were only our concrete buildings, roads and barricades. Pretty dismal, eh? Let's all be in gratitude every moment for the amazing beauty that surrounds of charge! May we remember to be "good stewards" of our gifts and do whatever we can to protect, preserve and nuture "Mother Nature" which so lovingly embraces us. The Earth is a loving, breathing, evolving being. May we treat her with respect and gratitude the way that God intended.

We can get politically involved (see or simply start by making small changes such as shutting off the running water from the faucet when brushing teeth, using environmentally friendly products and recycling. 

By the way, Walmart has a new line of organic pesticide products by a company called EcoSMART ( that are safe for use around children, pets and will not harm the they smell wonderful! I know the insects are also a gift to the planet and assist in many ways, but sometimes we don't want them underfoot! Using an environmentally safe product when necessary will prevent harmful chemical run off into the bodies of water that are sources for our drinking water! Together we CAN make a difference. 

Please feel free to post helpful conservation tips and recommended products! One way you can make your voice heard right now is to visit:

Recipe: Fresh Fruit Trifle - A Side Dish for Spring & Summer Entertaining!

                3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
                8 oz. carton of strawberry yogurt
                1 tbsp. sugar
                2 tsp. lemon juice
                2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
                ¼ tsp. almond extract

                2 cups fresh blueberries
                3 ripe peaches, peeled, sliced or 1 large can sliced peaches
                2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
                2 cups seedless green grapes
                1-20 oz. can mandarin orange segments, drained

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and lemon juice. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add whipped topping and almond extract; continue beating until smooth and thick. Refrigerate.

In a large glass serving bowl (trifle bowl works best), layer blueberries, peaches and strawberries.  Spoon on half of the whipped topping mixture.  Layer on grapes and mandarin orange segments. Spoon remaining half of the whipped topping over to within one inch of edge.  Yield: approx. 24 (1/2 cup) servings. Note: Any combination of fresh or well drained canned fruit can be used.

Garnish – Strawberry flower blossoms:
 Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice strawberry starting at tip to within 1/8 inch of the base.  Slice in alternating angles to more times. Spread the “petals” of your strawberry open and place a fresh blueberry in the center. Create as many strawberry flowers as desired for garnish.

2 photos:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Grove Park Inn Spa in Asheville, North Carolina

Wow...if you want to experience the "ultimate" in spas, one place to try is the Grove Park Inn and Spa in Asheville, North Carolina! Being a spa junkie for years, I dreamed about visiting this particular spa after viewing the photos online and finally had a chance to experience it first hand in March! Photos do not do justice to the beauty of this pampering destination! The main room of the spa is like being in a mythical cavern underground with three cascading waterfalls. It has two pools with relaxing music piped in underwater. If you can float, you've got it made and may never want to leave the pool! They're filled with mineral water at the perfect temperature. Then, if that were not enough, there are two hot tubs flanking the pools with waterfalls that provide a natural massage. All you have to do it change your positions under the heavy streams of water and it works on all your muscles. Be ready to feel like a tranquil jellyfish! Lingering is encouraged on a chaise or chair with ample hooks for robes and plenty of thirsty towels.

But wait there's much you go outside to a deck with a huge fireplace and large hot tub with the customary section of water jets and also an area that has none for those who would like to just soak and chat. This outdoor hot tub experience is further enhanced by a spectacular view of the golf course and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since the spa is typically open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, you can even enjoy this outdoor hot tub experience under the stars!

Of course, both men and women have separate locker rooms and like any world-class spa, you are presented with a locker, cuddly soft robe and spa sandals. I found the facilities to be impeccably clean and well organized for convenience and comfort. The staff was properly adept, efficient, cordial and helpful. While you wait for your spa treatment, you can relax in a cozy area complete with fire in a rock fireplace, buttery leather chairs with foot ottomans and there are even soft throws for added warmth. You can snack on healthful goodies, flavored water and assorted teas too. I could have been happy sitting in the waiting room all day with a magazine or a book! If you get hungry, there's a cafe where you can enjoy "good eats and drinks" in your spa robe.

Enjoying the spa can consist of a day pass to enjoy the spa amenities which include: mineral pools, an inhalation room, contrast plunge pool, waterfall massage pools, steam room, dry sauna and outdoor hot tub and/or the fitness room. The other option is to book a special treatment and then all of the spa amenities are included. As with most high quality spas, the Grove Park Spa offers therapeutic body treatments, massage, facials, manicure and pedicures for both men and women. There are even some special packages for couples. 

I chose the Spirit of Renewal massage with Kathy H. and can I tell was bliss! I floated out of the treatment room and was led to a softly lit room where I parked myself in a plush leather chair by the stone fireplace with a warm aromatherapy wrap caressing my neck. I thought to myself...I must have died and gone directly to heaven! But I eventually came back to earth and headed back to the grotto and my mineral pool with the soothing music....ahhhhhhhhh! 

Leaving the spa is tough, but when you really have to...don't worry...they have everything there to get you ready to return to "the real world" in the form of showers with all of their signature items: shampoo, conditioner and body wash, fluffy towels, razors, an automatic squeegee for your wet bathing suit, bags for your suit and a room filled with everything you need to dry and style your hair! Okay, so there's no makeup artist in the room...or a're just going to have to do it yourself! Imagine! Grin! 

Unfortunately, shutterbug that I am, it is prohibited to take photos in the spa...anywhere! You can see photos online. I was able to take this one outside the doors of the spa of the waterfall and rocks that are a backdrop for the main clubhouse. I feel fortunate for being able to experience the spa and hope that if you have the good fortune to visit, you too will have a "bliss filled" experience as well. Sometimes you have to give yourself a gift and the Grove Park Inn has "My Seal of Approval!"