I had the great pleasure of taking Kenya to Kentucky a few weeks ago for a mommy-son trip. We had the best time going by the house I grew up in, hanging out with cousins and grandparents, swimming and going to Huber's Orchard where I used to go with my family as a child to pick seasonal fruits and veggies. Kenya and I jumped on the back of a tractor and drove out to acres upon acres of strawberry fields, each armed with huge boxes in which to put our pickins. I'm pretty sure that Kenya ended up eating as many strawberries right there in the field as he did putting in his box (his red stained mouth and fingers gave him away), but the joy I experienced watching him buzz around, plucking one berry after another is a mental photograph I will always carry with me.
After heading back to California with strawberries still on my brain, I started playing around with idea of filling them with a mixture of soft cream cheese and sweet preserves — a kind of pop-in-your-mouth treat to enjoy anytime. As I was building them, I noticed that they resembled little red elves, so I added chocolate chip eyes to enhance the effect and make them look even cuter (and taste more decadent). We may still be months away from Christmas -- when these would also be a perfect treat -- but there's no reason you can't enjoy these festive goodies over this 4th of July when strawberries are in season, at their sweetest, delicious and ripe for the pickin'! Just ask Kenya!