Here is a toast to June. A month of celebrating life events – weddings, anniversaries, graduations and finally an end to winter. It is the kick off month of summer and the sudden realization that the kids will be home all day long. I always put summer and Kool-Aid together like salt and pepper, mustard and ketchup. They always pair up. Here are some fun recipes to kick off the summer season. The first is one of the best wedding or graduation punches. It does not matter the flavor of Kool-Aid, just the color you want to create. Kool-Aid is also used to make the brightest play dough kids can mold all summer long.
    Of course, right now, we are up to our elbows in rhubarb. Here is another twist on a rhubarb jam using cherry pie filling. I do not remember where I found this recipe, but it is a keeper. And, I could not close out this column without something to go with June Dairy Month. My sister makes the best hot fudge sauce. It is also the basis for her fudge frosting recipe. I like to keep a jar of fudge sauce in the fridge to satisfy a sudden chocolate craving. Just a spoonful or two will do the trick. Enjoy.

Kim’s wedding punch by Judy Berg
2 packages Kool-Aid
2 cups sugar
2 quarts water
1 large can pineapple juice
1 pint sherbet
1 quart ginger ale
     Mix first five ingredients together. Put in pretty salad mold or bundt cake pan and freeze. When ready to serve, put molded slush in punch bowl and add ginger ale.  

Play dough
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Food coloring
    Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat. Stir until it forms a ball. Knead until smooth. Store in Ziploc bag. Squeeze out air. For really bright colors, use dry Kool-Aid.

Rhubarb cherry freezer jam
3 cups cut up rhubarb
1 cup water
5 cups sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
2 (3-ounce) packages cherry Jell-O
1/4 tsp. almond extract
    Cook rhubarb in water until tender. Add sugar and cook 10 minutes. Add pie filling; cook 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Add Jell-O and extract. Cool. Pour into jars. Freeze when completely cool.

Hot fudge sauce by Nancy Dowell
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. cocoa
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
    Mix first six ingredients in heavy bottom saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil vigorously for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool; beat in vanilla. Great over ice cream. Can reheat in microwave. Can also add powdered sugar and a couple of tablespoons of milk to make fudge frosting.
Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net.