Strawberries and Cream Icebox Cake

Today, because it’s Friday. Because it’s National Simplify Your Life Week. Because the summer days are going far too fast. And because I love you…I bring you this Strawberries and Cream Icebox Cake.

It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s lovely. It’s the perfect size for sharing. It doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. And it tastes like chocolate drizzled strawberry cream clouds.
Need another reason to make this this weekend? Cause I have more. As much as I would love to pretend it isn’t so, strawberry season is coming to an end. We’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity to use strawberries before we’re forced to donate our plasma just to afford them.
Speaking of affording things, I’ve been all caught up in the irony of the country debating it’s bazillion dollar debt crisis right smack in the middle of National Simplify Your Life Week. It appears all of us, even the country itself, have gotten into the habit of spending more than we can afford. It’s human nature, I suppose, to want more than what we have. To be always striving for the next greatest thing. But I’m learning more and more that in the end, stuff just ties us down. It traps us in a cycle of “never enough,” a gnawing dissatisfaction that keeps us from enjoying what we do have. 
So I’ve been thinking…how can I simplify? How can I live with less? How can I give more? As odd as it may sound my obsession with Pinterest has actually supplied me with tons of ideas to answer these questions. Find ways to recycle the old rather than buy new. Show neighbors some hospitality with a handwritten note and a jar of cookies. I even found a picture of a shirt on Pinterest that read, “Clothe your neighbor as yourself.” 
That attitude is so right on. If I can’t afford to buy a shirt for my neighbor, I shouldn’t buy one for myself. It’s not deprivation. It’s generosity. And what could be more satisfying, more fulfilling than being able to share life’s blessings with my neighbors? 
I know this post was much more serious than my usual, but I wanted to share with you the journey I’m going through. And as silly as it may sound, this cake was a part of that journey. It reminded me again that some of the best things in life come in the simplest packages. And that the best things in life are so much better when they’re shared. 
Strawberries and Cream Icebox Cake
Yield: 8-12 servings
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:
2 lbs. fresh strawberries
3 cups whipping cream 
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 sleeves graham crackers
For the ganache:
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Directions:
1. Hull the strawberries and slice them from bottom to top in thin slices.
2. Place whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip with a wire whisk until it begins to hold stiff peaks. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and whip to combine. 
3. On  your serving tray or a 9 x13 pan, spread a thin layer of whipped cream. Cover with a layer of six graham crackers. Place another thin layer of whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Cover with a layer of strawberries. Repeat three times, until there are four layers of graham crackers. 
4. On the last layer, swirl the whipped cream to desired “look”, then decorate with remaining strawberries. Refrigerate for 4 or more hours. 
5. For the ganache, heat the whipping cream over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the outside. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly before drizzling over the cake. To drizzle, place ganache in a small ziplock bag and cut a tiny hole in one corner. Squeeze top of bag to drizzle over cake. 

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