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Today is February 27

In 1827 the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans.

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National Strawberry Day

Fun Facts: Over 53% of 7- to 9-year-olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.

• Eight strawberries will provide 140 % of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids.

• Native forms of strawberries adapt to various climates and are indigenous to every major continent except Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

• The fruit size of the very early strawberries was very small.

• Seventy percent of a strawberry’s roots are located in the top three inches of soil.

• Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.

• One cup of strawberries is only 55 calories.

• There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.

• Strawberries are a member of the rose family.

• The flavor of a strawberry is influenced by weather, the variety and stage of ripeness when harvested.

• On average, there are 200 seeds in a strawberry.

• Ninety-four percent of United States households consume strawberries.

Strawberry Sauce

This sauce can be used to spoon over yogurt with fresh strawberries, ice cream, pound cake or your favorite dessert. Great as topping for pancakes and waffles too.

2/3 cup sugar

1 pint strawberries, washed and hulled

1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Allow the syrup to cool completely. Hasten cooling by setting pan in a shallow bowl of ice water.

Place half the berries in the jar of a blender; add lemon juice and all the cooled syrup. Puree until smooth.

Press through fine sieve to remove some of the strawberry seeds, if desired.

Coarsely chop remaining strawberries and add to strawberry puree. Serve.

Can be stored refrigerated, in tightly covered containers for up to four days.

Fabulous Strawberry Muffins

Firm, fresh strawberries work best in this recipe, but when the season is over, substitute blueberries, cherries or chopped peaches.

2 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup melted butter

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

Additional sugar for topping

Pre heat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.

On a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir well until all ingredient are well blended.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour liquid mixture in and the strawberries.

Using a large spoon, gently fold ingredients just until moist do not overmix.

Spoon the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with about 1/2 teaspoon sugar, if desired.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

For more Fun Facts and recipes visit: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/strawberries/index.cfm

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Girl Scout Cookie Weekend

Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of its girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

Peppermint Chip Cheesecake

Prep: 20 min.; Bake: 1 hour + chilling

1 package (10 ounces) Thin Mints® Girl Scout Cookies, crushed

3 tablespoons butter, melted

FILLING:

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

5 teaspoons cornstarch

3–4 drops green food coloring, optional

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolk; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the cream, extracts, and food coloring if desired. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 325° for 50–60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.

For more information about Girl Scout Cookie Recipes,  history or buying cookies visit https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies.html

Lagniappe

A goldfish story

The Website largest.com, which reports on “the Largest Things in the World,” will need to update its goldfish page that lists a 5-pound, 4-ounce goldfish caught in the U.K. in 2017 by a 10-year-old girl as the world’s largest. The one found recently in Greenville, S.C. by researchers surveying the fish population in Oak Grove Lake weighed in at a whopping nine pounds, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

What would you do?

When James and Clarrisa Munford took possession of their new home in Columbia, South Carolina, they found a collection of very valuable rare coins dating back to the 19th Century hidden away inside a closet. The 46 gold Liberty $5 coins and 18 Morgan silver dollars are said to be worth about $25,000, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. Did they keep the treasure? The Mumfords say they didn’t even think that to be an option. Instead, without hesitation, they contacted the home’s former owner, who is a coin collector, and informed him of their find. He said he normally puts the coins he collects in a safe and had completely forgotten that, for some reason, he’d stashed these coins in the closet. Honesty is the best policy.