Weeki Wachee Weekend for Christmas

Weeki Wachee Weekend for Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s December, 2019, a beautiful weekend for the two of us to get away and immerse ourselves in all things Weeki Wachee Springs, and Mermaid’s.  🙂  Weeki Wachee is a State Park in Florida located in Spring Hill.  It is also the home of the live Mermaid’s.  Hey, this is Florida, the home of Disney World so you know that anything is possible here.

We are Gordon and Julie

Spend the weekend with us as we explore the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park on a Kayaking Adventure.  Join us as we watch Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid performed by live mermaids at the Mermaid Theater, and come with us on a Picnic with an array of foods that your favorite Little Mermaid’s love to eat!

Spring Hill, Florida

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Home of the Mermaids

Swimming Their Tails Off Since 1947

Click Here For:  Weeki Wachee State Park

To the far left in the photo above is the Mermaid’s Lagoon where they perform the shows.

I do have to admit that I am very excited for this trip.  It’s only about a couple of hours away from where we live in Florida.  Gordon and I love going on these little adventures in the Autumn and Winter months of Florida because the tourist season is over and the weather is cooler and not as sweltering hot as it is in the summer months. 

It’s also a lot of fun being a “tourist” in December because of all the Christmas decorations that are up and the nice mood of the people that you encounter because it is the Christmas Season.

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Our Mermaid Picnic

(Recipes are at the bottom of the page.)

On whatever trip or adventure that we may go on, I love to take food to match the occasion.  I do love a good theme!  Therefore, I came up with these easy foods to cook and prepare that would be perfect for our picnic.

Our Menu

Cans of Sardines and Smoked Oysters

Citrus Shrimp with Star Fruit on Skewers

Conical Bamboo Shoots

Scallop and Crab Fritters

Deviled Eggs and

Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs

Shrimp and Pasta Salad

Coconut Filled  Caramel w/ Green Apples

Tarts with Key Lime Cream

Key Lime and Chocolate Candies

Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Ornament Shaped Bottles

Cans of Sardines and Smoked Oysters

(Most likely the preferred cuisine of the average Mermaid.)

My Fishnet and Shells Drape our Picnic Table

Here we have my Tarts with Key Lime Cream, Some Chocolate and Key Lime Treats, and a Coconut Filled Caramel and Green Apples for Dipping.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Ornament Shaped Bottles

Conical Shaped Bamboo

Citrus Shrimp and Star Fruit Skewers

Scallop and Crab Fitters, Shrimp and Pasta Seafood Salad, and Deviled Eggs, and Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs

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The Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs are on a bed of Marinated Artichoke Herbed Seasoned Hearts.

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Check out our other Mermaid Themed Posts:

Click Here For:  Miranda the Mermaid Fish

I love the Betta Fish.  They have such nice personalities.  And yes, fish do have personalities.  You can see my sweet Miranda in her cute little clam shell where she is resting.

I do love all the bright colors that I created for my sweet Miranda.

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Click Here For:  Mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs

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Click Here For:  My Mermaid Lagoon Christmas in the Nook

This is probably my most favorite Girly Christmas EVER!

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Now It’s Time to go Kayaking in Weeki Wachee Springs!

Click Here For:  Weeki Wachee Kayak Rentals

This kayak rental is located on the same property as the Weeki Wachee Mermaid Park.  It is very convenient parking with bathrooms and changing rooms where you check in.  It really is ideal!

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We checked in for the 11:00 a.m. reservation.  It was still a bit cool. 

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Kayak Rental Tip:  Rent a Kayak that has a higher back and you will have a more pleasant adventure.  The higher back is just a bit more comfortable.

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Our First Kayak Selfie

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The Bird Life is Beautiful and they gladly pose for you!

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So Tranquil……

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Other Kayaker’s Paddling By

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Looks like it’s about time for a Kayak Snack.

Kayak Snack

GATOR JERKY

(Well, they eat us.  Time to return the favor.)

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Beautiful Cypress Knees on these strong magnificent Cypress Trees

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This is pure BLISS!

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I don’t think that I can properly explain to you just how serene this kayak trip was.

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My advice to all:  Photograph your life!

I do love this photo.  All the rays shining down on me.

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I love these series of photos that Gordon took of me. 

The water is so lovely and highlighted and tranquil.  You can clearly see the path that I am on. 

Hopefully, a good one!

Oh, there may be an obstacle in my path but I have no problem pushing it aside in order to continue on my journey.

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Time to Paddle QUICKLY!!!

We did not see any snakes here.  BUT, Water Moccasin’s are very aggressive snakes and will come after you.  That old saying that if you leave snakes alone they will leave you alone is all nonsense when it comes to Rattlesnakes, Hognosed Rattlesnakes, and Water Moccasin’s.  They are very aggressive and will chase you down.  It is best to avoid them at all costs!  But here they will skim across the water in pursuit of you!  So, Paddle Quickly!!!!

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Approaching the Manatee’s

The only reason we know about these manatee’s was because a motor boat that drove by us told us about them and the woman complimented me on my hair.  🙂 

It is difficult to see what is directly underneath you.  You kind of have to be above it.  We were very grateful for the woman telling us where to look for them.

So Lovely and Beautiful!  A Family of 3!

I am literally pointing down at them for Gordon to take the photos.

You can see a TAIL here!

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A Lovely Family of 3

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This truly was the climax of our kayak adventure!

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Some of these areas along this 5.5 miles reminded me of that movie Deliverance. 

It did get a little spooky at times.  🙂

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Gordon with a Camera

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Me with a Camera

This photo just reminds me of all the creeks in my youth where I would walk barefoot over the rocks searching for little critters to catch and play with.  And to release back into the creek when I was finished playing with them.  You know, like salamanders and such.

This photo is a funny story.  I saw that great log told Gordon to position himself underneath it and I will take a photo of him.  So, as he is doing his best to paddle into place, the current is suddenly taking me away and I am literally twisted backwards taking photo after photo with no control over my kayak and laughing my head off.  It was funny.  🙂

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Seeing as how it is December I couldn’t help but admire the lovely red berries and green leaves here as we paddled by.

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Waiting for that looser to catch up!

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Oh Look!  It’s Barbie’s DREAM Swamp House!

Honestly!  If Barbie were to have a house in a swamp this is it!  I can only imagine that there is probably lots of bright pink and purple on the inside.  🙂

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In some cases while we were kayaking we would come across the most beautiful homes where the water is very deep, and in other cases we would come across shack’s on the side of the springs.  There is a part where we kayaked over that is 141 feet deep down called Hospital Hole.  Diver’s actually Scuba dive down into it.  It is a sulfur springs and the fish and manatees go there to clean themselves.

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Exhausted!  On the Bus to be taken back to our car by the Kayak Business.

Hey, I just paddled 5.5 miles in a Kayak!  I’m looking pretty good considering that I’m 58.

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Now it’s time for the Mermaid’s.

The Weeki Wachee Mermaid’s are a very happy childhood memory for me for when my Grandparents brought me here when I was about 5 or 6.

The Weeki Wachee Mermaid Entrance

Merry Christmas!

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Found a Pub for some Refreshments

I just wanted a snack but Gordon got lunch. 

His lunch looked a heck of a lot better than my snack.

Julie’s Nacho’s

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Mermaid Theater

The Beautiful Mermaid’s

I loved this shot as we are entering the park.

The mermaid’s getting ready for their show.

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Inside the Theater

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid

The Lovely Mermaid’s Telling the Story

I want you to understand that these young women are athlete’s.  They are breathing through a tube underwater for hours.  They swim around, hover in place, do tricks, perform, smile, blow kisses with their air tube, mouth the lines of the dialog, swim in formation, use the air tube to blow their hair upwards otherwise it gets in their faces.  They can do what our Navy Seal’s do except they do it prettier.  AND WITH A MERMAID TAIL!  These women are tough and they deserve some credit for that.

The Mermaid’s Performing

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The Little Mermaid and her Sisters

The Little Mermaid and her Prince Charming

Ah, the romance has started.

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The Leads

The Little Mermaid now has Legs and she is Dancing.

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Bottom Line:  They ended up together and happily ever after…….

I do admit that I loved the show a lot more when I was 5 or 6 but I am glad that Gordon and I saw it.  Although I don’t have a photo, my favorite part was when the show was over and the lead mermaid swam over to the window to smile and wave at a young girl of about 5.  I’m sure that is in her contract to do things like that but I felt the child’s feelings and she was thrilled and she will remember it forever.  It’s those little moments that make people happy and create good memories.  I was happy to be a part of it.

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My Favorite Mold-A-Matic Wax Machine

I’ve loved these machines since my youth coming to see the Florida attractions. 

My very first wax figure was that of a gray elephant.

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The Mold-A-Matic

Out Pops My Mermaid

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There were beautiful peacock’s on the grounds, of course.

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Now It’s Time For Our Picnic

My Vintage Mermaid

Something that I, Julie, enjoy doing is planning a menu of foods that compliment whatever excursion that we may be going on.  (As I stated in the introduction above.)  I love a good theme!  It’s fun coming up with a menu and gathering up whatever props that may go with that theme.  Most of the things here we already had.  It was just a matter of deciding which food item would go where and with what cutlery or adornment.  I also don’t mind hauling all these things to a park for a picnic.  The presentation is important to me.  This is my creativity at it’s best and I’m not going to stifle it just to pack lightly.

Hey!  I’m not known as The Queen of the Carry-On’s” for nothing! 

I do have a reputation to maintain.  🙂

Our Menu

Cans of Sardines and Smoked Oysters

Citrus Shrimp with Star Fruit on Skewers

Conical Bamboo Shoots

Scallop and Crab Fritters

Deviled Eggs and

Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs

Shrimp and Pasta Salad

Coconut Filled  Caramel w/ Green Apples

Tarts with Key Lime Cream

Key Lime and Chocolate Candies

Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Ornament Shaped Bottles

If mermaid’s actually did exist then I would assume this is more authentic to their diet, Sardines and Smoked Oysters.

Photo Left are our Key Lime and Chocolate Candies with my Tarts with Key Lime Cream on an old bottle that a sailor must have discarded and a mermaid found.  🙂

Photo Right is a Caramel Filled Coconut and some Green Apples for Dipping.  When I saw that coconut at the Latin Supermarket I knew it would be perfect here.  It is delicious!

Because there is no alcohol allowed in the parks I chose these ornament filled non-alcoholic mixers for us to sip on.  AND, if you notice I have my fish net all along the table.

We were thrilled to find these conical shaped bamboo shoots at the Asian Supermarket. 

They just look perfect for our picnic!

Our Citrus Shrimp with Star Fruit Skewers

(In my mind mermaid’s would of course eat shrimp and how better to eat them than to cook them in a citrus fruit juice?  Perhaps some overhanging orange tree near where the mermaid’s lay out in the sun on the rocks where they could marinate their shrimp in the juices in the sun.  That was my thinking anyway.)

In Hawaii the local people will buy raw shrimp and then use lemon juice and cook them in the sun and then eat them.  So, why not merfolk?  🙂

Scallop and Crab Fritters and Deviled Eggs and Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs

I, Julie, adore Deviled Eggs so I wanted to make some for this outing because I figured that eggs would be a mermaid food.  🙂  However, I also figured that the mermaids would make them a bit different than I do, perhaps stuffing them with crab.  So, that’s what I did and they were delicious!

Here I placed the Deviled Stuffed Crab Eggs onto a bed of lettuce and covered with Marinated Artichoke Hearts in Herbs.  Perfect!

Citrus Shrimp with Star Fruit on Skewers

Marinated and then cooked in the sun.

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A Lovely Mermaid Wine to get us in the mood to cook and prepare our foods for our picnic.

Spooky and Sparky in the Nook

Spooky and Sparky love being in the kitchen when we cook or even do dishes.  They just love to be around us no matter where we are in the house.

Our Kitchen Nook Christmas Tree Coming In and Out of Focus

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RECIPES START HERE!

Our Conical Bamboo Shoots could not be easier than opening a can.  We didn’t know what to expect when we bought them but they are very beautiful and festive and seeing as how I do love to eat bamboo shoots they are good.  But, just to give you a scale there is one per can.  Don’t expect there to be a few in each can.  If you want more than one then you have to keep buying up cans.

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Shrimp Seafood Salad

Served on a lovely bed of lettuce in a nice scallop dish of ours.

Getting All the Ingredients Together

Ingredients:

1 Box Small Shell Pasta

1 1/2 Cup Shaved Coconut – sweetened or unsweetened

2 Celery Stalks – thinly diced

1 Shallot – diced

1/2 Lb. bag of Salad Shrimp – de-veined

2 inch’s of Wasabi – or less if desired

1 Cup Miracle Whip

2 Tbsp. Mirin (Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning)

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Onion Powder

1 tsp. Sweet Paprika

Boil your shell pasta according to package directions.

On a sheet pan, spread out 1 Cup shaved coconut for even cooking.  Save the rest of the coconut for later use.  Place the coconut into a pre-heated 350’F oven and roast for 10 to 15 min. stirring occasionally for even browning.

While your coconut is in the oven, slice your celery stalk in half then half again.

Now, dice the thin stalks into even pieces.

Check your coconut and remove when brown as seen below.

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With the pasta cooked as directed, pour into a colander and rinse with cold running water to stop the cooking process.

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Slice off the root end and peel the skin off your shallot.

Slice your shallot into thin rings.

Rinse your salad shrimp in cool water.

In a small bowl, add your Wasabi and Miracle Whip

Now, add your Mirin and garlic powder…

then your onion powder and sweet paprika.

Using a rubber spatula, stir all the ingredients together well.

Add your diced celery and shallots to the bowl…

Then your pasta, shrimp, and roasted coconut.

Using your spatula, fold all your ingredients together.

Lastly, add your uncooked shaved coconut and stir to combine.

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Scallop and Crab Fritters

Ingredients:

1 Cup Fritter Mix

1/2 Cup Water

1 lb. Lump Crab Meat

1/2 lb. Scallops

Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Onion Powder

Salt to taste

Paprika

Sweet Paprika

Rinse your Scallops

Pour enough vegetable oil into a medium pot so that it is ~3 inches deep and heat to 350’F.

Mix the fritter mix as described on the package… here I am placing the water into a medium sized bowl.

Add your eggs to the bowl…

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Then add your fritter mix.

Whisk the ingredients together until just combined.

Add your lump crab meat to the mix…

….then add your scallops.

Now add your onion powder and salt to taste.

Fold all the ingredients together.

Now, add your regular and sweet paprika to the bowl.

Fold the mixture together.

Using a large spoon, scoop up some of the fritter mixture and carefully drop it into your 350’F oil.

Turn the fritters over when browned.

Place no more than 4 fritters in at a time, so as not to cool down the oil during frying.

Delicious!

Granted, they taste best immediately after being cooked but they were nice on our picnic as well.

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Deviled Crab Stuffed Eggs

AND,

Deviled Eggs

I am a huge fan of Deviled Eggs and I love to make them as often as possible but this time I wanted to not only make my favorite Deviled Eggs, but to expand on that idea and make some Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs.

So, here are my ingredients for my Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs.

I would first like to state that where Deviled Eggs are concerned I eyeball everything.  I really don’t use measurements.  My taste buds are my measurements.  But, here is a list of the ingredients involved.

Ingredients:

Hard Boiled Eggs (As many as you like.  Cut in half with the yolks removed and set into a bowl.)

Mayonnaise

Yellow Mustard

Lump Crab

Mild Piquante Peppers Whole

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Shakes of Tabasco Sauce

Pickle Relish

Pickle Juice

Wasabi Paste

Paprika

Old Bay Seasoning

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You can find this canned crab in the seafood section of your local grocery store.  It can be a bit pricey as in about $20.00 a can for 1 pound.

I have been making Deviled Eggs for so long that I really just eyeballed the ingredients here and placed them all into a bowl.  Mix together.

I wanted to add something tangy to this recipe so I got the idea to add some of these peppers that we already had in the refrigerator.  I did chop them up into small chunks.

Now, just mix together and taste.  If it needs more of something then add it.  I do love to sweeten my Deviled Eggs with some pickle juice.  So, add a little at a time until you get the right taste.  Same with the black pepper, same with the other spices and ingredients.

Now just place the mixture into empty hard boiled eggs and sprinkle with some paprika if you like.  I placed a whole yolk in the center and surrounded it with wasabi just because.  🙂

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Citrus Shrimp and Star Fruit Skewers

For this recipe our Shrimp is already cooked. 

It’s just a matter of doing a marinade and adding the Star Fruit.

Here Gordon is Slicing our Star Fruit, hence the name.

I can always make Gordon laugh!  🙂

Here Gordon is placing the Shrimp and the Star Fruit onto Skewers.

We then just drizzled some Orange Sauce over the Shrimp and Star Fruit in order to flavor it.  We then kept it in a sealed container in our cooler until our picnic.

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Julie’s Tarts with Key Lime Cream

I wanted to make something very Florida with a shout out to a subdued Christmas treat.  I wanted it to be a bit light and something that you could eat in 2 bites.  I knew that I wanted it to be of a citrus nature hence, the Key Lime Cream.  Therefore I bring to you my Tarts with Key Lime Cream.

The Entire Ingredients

I think I need to divide the ingredients and first describe to you the tarts.

To Make the Tarts

3 Cups All Purpose Flour

3 T. Granulated Sugar (I think a flavored sugar would be nice here.  For example, how about a key lime, or a lemon, or an orange sugar?)

3/4 Cup of Softened Butter or Margarine

1/4 t. Salt

1/3 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar

1 Egg

1 Egg Yolk

2 t. Vanilla Extract

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In your electric mixer cream your softened butter/margarine, the granulated sugar, and the confectioner’s sugar on a medium speed.

When blended add your egg and egg yolk along with the vanilla and mix on a high speed for 2 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add your flour and salt to the mixture until the dough begins to come together in small clumps. 

Place the dough onto your counter or in my case, my large cutting board.  I did place some flour down so that my dough wouldn’t stick to it.

I then kneaded it all together and divided it into 2 balls and wrapped them in Saran Wrap and placed them both in the refrigerator to firm up.

Into the Refrigerator They Go!

(For at least 30 minutes or so.)

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In the meantime I got out my mini-muffin tins and sprayed them with a butter flavored cooking oil.

Because it is Christmas I wanted to use the tree tins as well as the mini round.

After about 30 minutes the dough is ready so remove from the refrigerator and start to press it into the tins.  Don’t make them flat, make sure there is a dimple in the center for the key lime cream to sit and not flow off.

Preheat your oven to 375F

Use a fork to poke some holes into each muffin tin cup and then place into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set.  Then after 30 minutes place into the oven for 8-10 minutes until the tarts are golden brown.

Into the Oven They Go!

Remove from the oven and when cool enough place them onto a cooling rack.

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Now It’s Time to Make the Cream

This Topping will be CREAMY NOT FLUFFY

Grating Strips of Lime Zest

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Key Lime or Lime Juice

Lime Jello (About 8 teaspoons.)

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar

1 Cup Heavy Cream, Whipped

4 Egg Yolks

2 Egg Whites

2 T. Key Lime Liquor

8 ounces Sugar Free Cool Whip

Lime Zest

Green Food Coloring

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Squeeze about a half a cup of lime/key lime juice into a small saucepan.  Add a couple (2) of teaspoons of the Lime Jello to the juice and let sit for about 5 minutes.

My Freshly Squeezed Limes and Zest Strips

The Lime Juice and Lime Jello

Turn the burner onto a low heat stirring constantly until the Jello has dissolved.  Now you want to set aside in order to cool.

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Now for the Eggs and Egg Yolks

 

In your mixer you now want to whip together the egg yolks and only half of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Also your lime zest.  

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Add the Jello and Lime Juice mixture from the saucepan and stir to combine.

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Now you want to take a large bowl and fill it with ice and cold water.  Then place your mixing bowl over top of the ice and cold water mixture.  You want to stir until this thickens up a bit.

Here is where I add the Key Lime Liquor.

Now, in a clean bowl we want to add our egg whites and whisk together on a medium setting.  While this is happening we want to add the rest of our granulated sugar.  We can now add that to the other bowl. 

Here I am trying to whisk together some heavy cream, about 1 cup.  In the meantime I am also adding the 8oz. of Cool Whip to the main mixture and stirring together. 

Next I am combining the small heavy cream bowl to the larger bowl and whipping together for a few minutes on a medium setting.

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It’s here that I am adding more teaspoons of the Lime Jello and the Confectioner’s Sugar and mixing by hand until combined. 

Now you want to refrigerate overnight.

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If you like you can use some nice glasses and layer the tarts and cream until they reach the top!  🙂

This makes a nice Parfait.  Just add a Christmas Tree Tart with some Lime Zest to top it off and you have a very nice and festive Florida dessert.

Refrigerate and Serve When Ready

To make these Tarts all I did was to drizzle some of the cream over them adding some lime zest.

Delicious!

The Weeki Wachee Vintage Mermaid mugs are optional for your picnic.  🙂

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As a lovely little edible gift this Christmas we gave our loved ones these chocolate seashell’s.  Not only are they beautiful but they are quite creamy and tasty. 

Who Doesn’t Love Chocolate?

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Merry Christmas!

SEE YOU later,

Julie and Gordon