All you'll need for the crust is a 2-cup-of-flour batch of EITHER scone dough (lightly sweetened biscuit dough made with butter) OR a 2-cup-of-flour batch of pastry dough.
We ate it for breakfast, hot from the oven.

Filling:
4 large plums, pitted and coarsely chopped (just over 1 lb.)
3 Tbsp. sugar (I used turbinado sugar for its warm tones)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon OR 3 Tbsp. cinnamon chips (really, REALLY good here!)
1 Tbsp. flour or cornstarch

Toss all filling ingredients together.  Pat or roll the crust to form a circle about 10" across.  Put the filling in the middle, fold the edges over, and bake at 400 F until lightly browned and bu
 
 
There's nothing like fresh fruit in the summer, warm off a tree, juice dripping down your chin.  
However, if you want a little variety with summer's luscious bounty, here's something simple yet delicious.  It's best with fruit from the farmers' market or your own trees, but supermarket fruit will do in a pinch, though you'll want to add about 5 minutes to the baking time and maybe add an extra tablespoon of brown sugar.

Baked Peaches with Fresh Raspberries
4 ripe peaches or nectarines
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar (1 Tbsp. for very sweet, ripe peaches)- or use 1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sour cream, vanilla yogurt, or good-quality balsamic vinegar
a handful of fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 ounces, or 1/4 cup)

Turn on oven to 400 degrees F.  Spend the next five minutes washing, drying, then halving and removing the pits from the peaches or nectarines.  Set the peach halves on a baking sheet, then sprinkle with brown sugar.  Pop them into the still-heating oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.  You want them to be warmed through, just starting to soften a little, and for the brown sugar to be melted.  Set the oven to broil, and put the peaches on the highest rack in the oven for ONE minute.   Remove from the oven.

Stir the sour cream or yogurt with just enough water to make it a drizzling consistency, or use the balsamic straight.  Drizzle over the top, then add raspberries.  Eat while warm, spooning the juices from the bottom of the baking dish over the topl
 
 
Have you seen this before?  It's an example of molluscum contagiosum, and just like its name sounds, it is contagious.  

And yes, we got it.  Lame.

It's caused by a poxvirus and can stick around for quite a while.  Each bump lasts from about 6-12 weeks, but more pop up, so an infection tends to last from 8 months to two years. It can be much longer, especially in those with suppressed immune systems. 

The first time I noticed anything was when a pimple-like thing on my son's arm didn't clear up within the expected few days.  It didn't look quite right.  It reminded me a little of a chicken pox blister, but the symptoms weren't right for that either; there was no fever or anything.  Just about the time the blister finally disappeared, his younger sister had some unusual-looking bumps pop up under her arm.  Then they grew a little and spread to her torso, back, and under the other arm.  About that time I spent some time online trying to discover what this was and how to get rid of it.  If you want to get our solution without reading a bunch more, skip down to the bottom of this.  :)  

Each bump or blister is roughly shaped like a pearl, from 1/8" wide up to the size of a marble, and typically has a dimpled center.  If you pinch it off, a white waxy core often comes out with it, and the exposed spot will bleed more than you expect from such a tiny hole.  The core has the virus, which is just in the skin, so it can't stay dormant somewhere in your system. When it's gone, it's gone unless you pick up an infection somewhere else. It's most common in children under 10, but anyone can get it, and there's no permanent immunity.

It spreads through skin-to-skin contact, even things like shared clothing or towels, which is probably why three of my children got it. Things that make it worse include scratching, moisture (warm places on the body or long soaks in the tub),  a ruptured lesion touching another area, or not washing hands after touching or scratching these.

  I thought maybe they'd clear up on their own, but after 5 weeks had had enough of that, as they continued to spread.  I found all kinds of ideas online to get rid of them:
twice-daily applications of tea  tree oil or apple cider vinegar (both burn a little if undiluted),  salicylic acid, prescription-only chemicals that destroy the top layers of the bumps, liquid nitrogen followed with scraping.  Maybe different things work for different people.  
It turned out that at least 5 families in my neighborhood had children with molluscum, so us moms put our heads together to talk about what we'd each tried.  

One mom had the answer, and it wasn't any of the above.  She'd gone to the doctor (all the moms who did thought the cure was worse than the disease- if the cure even worked.  Which it didn't for most of them.)- paid $80 for a prescription cream, and the cream didn't clear it up, even after weeks.  She finally got on her knees and essentially said, "Lord, I know YOU know how to solve this; please let me know how to help my children."

The idea came to her to put olive oil on them.  So she pinched off all the blisters, being sure to remove the center with the virus.  Then she rubbed olive oil on all the spots at least twice a day, 3 or 4 times a day when she remembered.  They all cleared up.

I  tried it, keeping up the oil-rubbing regimen for about two weeks, getting rid of any new blisters that appeared. 

It worked for us!!!    Hopefully it'll work for you, too.

Picture
The pox up close and magnified. Image: Wikipedia Commons
 
 
My nephew just had a birthday, and having spent the day before at the Museum of Ancient Life, wanted-- what else?-- a dinosaur fossil cake.  His cake photo is at the end of the slide show below.  The version above was made of brownies.  Cookies and Cream Brownies. Mmm.

The fossil is made of melted white chocolate chips: melt a cup of them in the microwave (1 minute, stir) or over a double boiler, then put in a zip-top freezer-safe bag with a small corner snipped off (start with 1/8" hole and see if it it's big enough), or use a pastry bag and a #3 or #5 tip.  Trace onto waxed paper with an outline below, let it set up, then transfer to your dessert.  Good surfaces include chocolate frosting, unfrosted brownies or chocolate cake, a frosted cake coated with graham cracker or cookie crumbs, or anything else that resembles rock or dirt.

You can make all kinds of designs this way- when I turned my kids loose, they made  a pony (complete with chocolate jimmies on the mane and tale), a butterfly, a banana (covered in yellow sugar crystals), and a set of exploding fireworks.

At any rate, here's the recipe for the brownies, which were very moist and fudgy, with a crunchy, sweet topping:

Cookies and Cream Brownies
1 batch of your favorite brownie batter to fit a 9x13 pan (I used a Duncan Hines mix)
1 cup of vanilla pudding 
8 oz. chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed

Mix the brownie batter according to its directions; bake as usual.  When done, spread with the pudding, then sprinkle with the crushed cookies.  Press the crumbs down lightly to make them stay.  Best the first day; they get a little gooey by the second day.

If you're adding a 'fossil', wait until the brownies are completely cool.
 
 
Want something meaningful to do on the Fourth of July?

There's a whole slideshow of possibilities, on my home page.

Or you can find some great local thing to participate in.  If you're anywhere near the Wasatch Front, two great options are the Orem FreedomFest, and the week-long Patriot Camps for 1st-6th graders.
FreedomFest has several free events, including the Walk of Freedom, "Cries of Freedom, the Musical", and Constitution Hall.

If you'd like something low-key that keeps you inside with the air conditioning running, watch The Swamp Fox, a Disney series on a real-life Revolutionary War hero.  Keep in mind some things are embellished in it; for instance, Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox himself) was actually only 5'2" and 42 years old.  But it's good family watching and can lead to even better reading up later.