Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Of mice and strawberries

Maybe I'm trying to hurry spring along by focusing on all things strawberry-related, but I doubt anyone in the northern U.S. would blame me. It's been so chilly this year that I fear we'll never get a true taste of spring.

Although I only get a few small strawberries each year, I love when Michigan-grown strawberries hit our grocery stores. One of our favorite ways to serve them is with a cream cheese dip. I scribbled the recipe down after seeing it on a TV talk show years ago, when my daughter was just a baby. For the Strawberry Dip, unwrap a 3-ounce block of cream cheese and microwave it 20-30 seconds in a medium-sized bowl until it's soft and easy to whip with a fork. Add 2 large spoonsful of marshmallow creme; stir it together. Squeeze a teaspoon or so of fresh lime juice over the mixture and stir it in. Refrigerate a couple of hours and serve with fresh strawberries.

Strawberries are also tasty between layers of angel food cake with whipped cream, along with kiwi slices. One recipe idea that would never have occurred to me was for this strawberry pasta salad. Since my classmate Celia introduced me to this site, I'm eager to try it.

Last summer, strawberries and mice were the focus during one day of the 10-session "Cousin Camp" my son and I organized for my nieces. Because our camp was all about having fun while ramping up reading skills, our theme that day was mice. That day's books included one of my forever favorites, "The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR" by Don and Audrey Wood.

           If you haven't read this book with your children, you're missing out! There's lots of opportunities to use different voices and just enough mystery to keep a little one enthralled. OK, maybe you don't have to be so little ─ it's pretty obvious I'm a fan. Then again, I absolutely love children's literature.

With some sliced almonds, a little melted chocolate and some red shoestring licorice for tails, we were able to turn red, ripe strawberries into little mice the day we read this book. My creative nieces decide to top wedges of Swiss cheese with the melted chocolate too. 

 The strawberry mice were so much fun to make, and perfectly complemented our book selection that day. If you'd like to make your own, here's more information on creating the strawberry mice. Enjoy!


  1. Elle, these are so cute! The dip sounds very tasty too.

  2. Thanks Esther! It's a good thing it's so quick and easy because it disappears fast.

  3. Thanks for your visit. I have not read this book as I have no children, maybe I should go hunting for it and catch up with my own childhood. We have had one of the warmest Aprils ever, the weather seems to be different all over the world!! Take care diane

  4. Diane, there's a warm April somewhere in the world? Wish I could be on the next plane!

    If you have any interest or excuses to read children's books, this one is so much fun. Kids see how sneaky the narrator is being and the illustrations are beautiful. My daughter used to giggle over this. She's in her 20s now but I think this book still has a place in her heart.

    Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad to see you are posting again too!