Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jump Into A Book and Taste Spring's Finest Strawberries

Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon in Central Park. During his career with the Beatles and in his solo work, Lennon's music gave hope and inspiration for world peace and his memory and mission lives on in Strawberry Fields.
Jump Into A Book is a blog site devoted to children's books created by Valerie Budayr. She is passionate about making books come alive with featured book lists, activities to enhance stories, poems, author chats and thoughtful articles on literacy posted several times a week.

Valerie is also the co-founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. She is committed to raising awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity and multicultural characters and is also working to get more of these books into classrooms and libraries.

Award-winning authors, Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters, have created this wonderful book "A Year in the Secret Garden" based on the classic book,"The Secret Garden." The book introduces new generations of families to the magic of this classic tale in a modern and innovative way that creates special learning and play times outside in nature. This book encourages families to step away from technology and into the kitchen, garden, reading nook and craft room.

Inside the book you will find an introduction to the book the "Secret Garden". It also includes monthly recipes and gardening activities and DIY fun crafts/activities with step by step instructions. I must say the concept of this book is brilliant featuring activities based on a children's classic plus giving children exposure to Edwardian England. I see a lot of value in developing appreciation for literature based on the classics.

To order a printed copy or an eBook version follow this link  g
One of my favorite days to check in on the blog Wednesdays when recipes and craft ideas are shared. Today's posting  on strawberries caught my attention. 
Check out this delicious looking shortcake. It looks yummy and is on top of my list to try. Follow the above link for the recipe.
Strawberry Shortcake Southern Style

strawberry shortcake

Ever heard of the word chowchow? It is a noun and means a tangy concoction of fresh-picked and quick pickled produce beloved by Southern cooks. 
I had to do some sleuthing because I had never heard the term. 

Chow-chow (Chowchow, Chow Chow) is a Nova Scotian and American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. These ingredients are pickled in a canning jar and served cold.

Chow-chow is regionally associated with the Southern United States, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, the Appalachian Mountains, and soul food. The recipes vary greatly; some varieties are sweeter than others. Pennsylvania chow-chow, known by the Wos-Wit brand [the company is located outside Tamaqua PA], is generally much sweeter than the southern varieties.
So the word chowchows seem to just roll off my lips bringing you a recipe from Southern Living May 2015.
Strawberry-Blueberry Relish  
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TB. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. lime zest 
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 TB.fresh lime juice 
  • 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries 
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries 
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • 3 TB. minced red onion
  • optional 2 TB. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add jalapeño, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice.
  • Stir together strawberries and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add vinegar mixture, and stir to coat. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 days.
Serve with your favorite cornbread recipe. 


  1. What a wonderful blog post! YES, I agree Valarie has tons of amazing and original resources on her blog and her books are perfect for middle readers as well. Suddenly, I am craving strawberries and whipped cream! :)

  2. HI Sue !! A huge thank you for sharing Jump into a Book with your readers as well as A Year in the Secret Garden. So happy to know I have a kindred spirit in John Lennon and strawberries !!! Thanks again./Valarie