Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekend Round-Up

Sausage Breakfast Cups
Cook's Notes: Easy meal that kids and grown-ups will enjoy. With a little advance preparation assembly goes smoothly in morning to serve as a breakfast or a brunch item. The sausage can be cooked and crumbled ahead. The cheese can be grated and placed in a zip loc bag. Add 1/2 tsp. flour to bag (shake to mix) so cheese does not stick or use prepackaged grated cheese. Mexican 4 cheeses would make a great choice to add flavor to the cups. Minis Pancakes or Minis Waffles make a sturdy base for the breakfast cups. 
The recipe can be easily halved to make 6 servings.

A standard size muffin pan was used. The recipe makes 12 breakfast cups. 
  • 12 frozen Minis Pancakes or Minis Waffles, toasted
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican 4 Cheeses
  • 2 cups Italian sausage or breakfast pork links cooked,drained and crumbled 
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 TB. half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. each  Italian seasoning and parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper and dry mustard
  • syrup
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 standard size muffin tins. 
  • Toast the Minis Pancakes or Minis Waffles. I put two in each side of the toaster to toast.
  • Place each one in bottom of muffin tin wells. 
  • In blender mix cream, eggs, spices and mix.
  • On top of pancake or waffle place tablespoon of crumbled sausage and then tablespoon of cheese. 
  • Divide the liquid among each well.
  • Bake 15-17 minutes or until filling is set and golden brown. 
  • Wait 3 minutes and remove to a wire cooling rack. 
  • Drizzle each serving with syrup. 
Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
Cook's notes: I love simple summer salads that use just a few ingredients and taste incredibly fresh. This corn, avocado and tomato salad is one of those dishes. There’s minimal cooking involved and it’s fast to put together. Sweet corn and ripe, juicy tomatoes are two summer vegetable that are made for each other. They are summer in a bowl.
Recipe serves: 4-6 servings 
  • 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen 
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, a combination of red and yellow makes a nice contrast
  • 1 cup red onions, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cubed
  • Optional : cubed Mozzarella cheese 
        Dressing :
        • In a blender or a screw top jar combine: 1 tsp. lime zest and ¼ cup lime juice, 1 tsp. dried cilantro or 1 TB. fresh cilantro, 2 TB. olive oil or lemon olive oil, 2 TB. honey, 2 garlic cloves minced and ½ tsp. salt. Optional dash of red pepper flakes to perk up the taste. 
        • Mix dressing, pour over salad or refrigerate dressing until serving. 
        • Grilling corn will give it a more smoky taste. Remove kernels from the cob with a sharp knife.
        • Add corn, onions, tomatoes, avocados and peppers and toss the salad ingredients with dressing, Serve immediately. 

        Friday, August 18, 2017

        Friday Favorites

        A DIY craft repurposing strainers for under $10.00
        Our book club selection for this month won praise from its members. Author Ivan Doig writes a lively story of simplicity where a middle-aged narrator looks back to his childhood in Montana during 1909. Here a widowed father and his three sons are doing their best to carry on after losing the mother a year earlier. 

        The family had just reached a delicate balance in their lives when something happened that changed everything. Oliver, the father sees an ad for a housekeeper who claimed she didn't cook, but wouldn't bite. Intrigued and needing help, Oliver answers the ad, and the next thing he knew, the new housekeeper, Rose, has arrived from across the country, unexpectedly bringing along her brother, Morrie who turns out to be a highly educated man, curiously content to do manual labor. As hoped, Rose whips the neglected house into order. She is a regular dust buster but not a cook much to Oliver's dismay. But as the story develops there are more things to worry about than lack of cooking skills. The sons and their father have to contend with gossip and teasing concerning the housekeeper, a widow who lives in their widowed father's home. 

        Then the gossip in the community switches direction and intensifies when the teacher runs off  with the traveling preacher and a replacement needs to be found or the school will be forced to close. Rose's brother, Morrie, now is thrust into the position to either sink or swim being a schoolmaster. 

        Doig's story is a reminder to us of the homesteaders who were intelligent, inquisitive and adventurous. They were willing to work harder than most of us can imagine to live a full life and what we came to call the American dream - to claim land. 

        I was quite impressed with the high praise this novel earned from a variety of sources which included: The Washington Post and NY Times  book reviews.

        An early fall treat 
        Some suggested adaptations for this recipe include: any crisp baking apple could be substituted for Granny Smith and milk substitution for water in icing 1-2 TB.
        This is some serious good eats with this recipe e-apple-pie-bars/

        Have you heard about this funky looking clothing line? 

        Check it out for locations near you

        Thursday, August 17, 2017

        Savoring the Tomato Season

        If only fresh garden tomatoes lasted all year long in our gardens. With the advent of recent cool unsummer like weather and rain their ripening has screeched almost to a halt. Lucky I was able to grab a few assorted sizes enough to make Tomato, Bacon and Cheese Tart. For more color could use an assortment of yellow and red tomatoes. Roma tomatoes hold their shape well for baking dishes. This recipe is an original Ever Ready Special.
        A 10 inch tart pan was used for this recipe and serves four.  There are several cooking shortcuts that can be done in advance to make assembly go faster. 
        • Fry bacon and onion together , place cooked bacon and onion on a paper towel to drain grease. 
        • Slice tomatoes, place on a paper towel, pat dry and salt to draw out their juices.
        • Grate mozzarella and cheddar cheese, place in a bowl. 
        • Use a blender to mix liquid filling, set aside or refrigerate until needed.
        • Chop fresh herbs and set aside covered with a slightly damp paper towel.  
        Tomato, Bacon and Cheese Tart


        • 1- 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom
        • pie crust rolled out to make one 11-12 inch round circle. 
        • 8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 
        • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
        • 2 large sliced tomatoes or 2 cups Roma tomatoes, halved
        • 1 cup each grated mozzarella  and cheddar cheese
        • grated Parmesan cheese about 1/3 cup 
        • 3 tsp. dried herbs-combination of parsley, oregano and basil or 3 TB.diced fresh herbs parsley, oregano and basil
        • Dijon mustard
        • 2 large eggs
        • 3/4 cup half and half
        • 1/4 cup heavy cream
        • Roll out crust on a floured wax paper circle to make an 11-12 inch circle. Place tart pan on center of the circle and flip over so crust is in the tart pan,. Trim overlapping crust from fluted edges. Prick sides and bottom crust with a fork. 

        • Use two pieces of foil to fit snugly into tart pan. 
        • Chill the crust in refrigerator 20 minutes.
        • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
        • Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and brush lightly bottom crust with Dijon mustard.
        • Layer evenly the following on bottom crust: bacon, onions, cheese, tomatoes, and herbs.
        • Place a pizza or cookie sheet on bottom rack just in case there are any drips when cooking.  
        • Carefully pour liquid filling in tart and grate Parmesan cheese over the top. 
        • Bake 30-40 minutes or until filling is set and bottom crust is browned. 
        To Reheat the next day
        Place individual slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes to crisp up the bottom crust. 

        Wednesday, August 16, 2017

        Crazy for Skittles

        Perhaps I have been away from the classroom too long. I thought this Skittles experiment to create a rainbow of colors was brilliant. Who knew there were a multitude of Skittles experiments online to access including this one with Skittles and hot water. 
        So if you happen to need a time filler during the last weeks of summer and have kids around looking for something to do this could be just the ticket for you. There are endless possibilities for arranging designs.  Be sure to watch the YouTube video and your creativity will know no bounds! 

        I watched the video several times and have concluded the type of plate and size you use makes a difference. Use a plate that has an inside dip rather than a plate  with an entire flat surface. Use a plate smaller than a large dinner plate. Some experiments called for arranging and alternating Skittles one color at a time in a circle. I personally liked using 3-4 of the same color and then keep repeating the colors as it gives a wider ray. 

        THANKS to recent post from sharing these creative Skittle ideas.

        Hypothesis: What Will Happen If You Put Skittles + Hot Water | CRAZY SKITTLES RAINBOW | Experiment with Skittles
        This video link below gives you some other Skittles color arrangement's.

        Need an idea for this years school science fair? Check this idea out using Skittles.

        Lastly, M &M's (a color coated candy) can be substituted for Skittles-another experiment to compare the results.   

        Tuesday, August 15, 2017

        Scandinavian Almond Cake

        Scandinavian Almond Cake
        Cook's notes:This very popular cake, most often prepared in a special almond cake pan, can be found at almost any American-Scandinavian get-together or holiday bazaar. Toasting the almonds adds a buttery richness to the standard recipe. Just line the greased pan with toasted almonds before adding in the batter.
        This recipe is so simple and the cake is rich, dense, buttery with a deep almond flavor.  DELICIOUS!
        My neighbor Joanne found  the recipe and served it at a recent neighborhood gathering.  
        I made a blueberry sauce to drizzle over the top but fresh berries would work too. 
        • 1- 1/4 cups sugar
        • 1 large egg
        • 1- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
        • 2/3 cup milk-regular or 2%
        • 1- 1/4 cups all purpose flour
        • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
        • 1 stick melted butter
        • Beat sugar, egg, extract and milk together. Then add flour and baking powder, beat together, blend in melted butter with a whisk and mix well. Do not over beat. 
        • Spray pan generously with non-stick baking spray. Pour batter into pan. 
        • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean. 30 minutes worked well for a cake pan.

        Pan choices-round cake pan, loaf pan or splurge and buy an almond cake pan online for $29.99 
         Don't forget a cup of tea or coffee for this tasty cake.   
        Blueberry-Lemon Sauce:

        • 2 tablespoons sugar 
        • 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
        • 1 cup blueberries 
        • 1/2 cup water 
        • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 
        • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice 
        • Mix sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan, add in blueberries, water, lemon peel and lemon juice. 
        • Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly and boil 1 minute. 
        • Remove from heat, and cool. Serve at room temperature. 

        Monday, August 14, 2017

        2017 Northwoods Art and Book Festival Part Two: Artists

        Creativity knew no bounds at The Northwoods Art and Book Festival. It is known for its high quality original art pieces in a variety of art media that includes paint, clay, fiber, metal, wood, jewelry and photography. 
        This year was no exception with such creative displays featuring local talented artists. 
        Heidi's booth had repurposed lawn art that used trays, pans and bowls to create whimsical yard art flowers
        Original jewelry displays were popular shopping destinations for the ladies.  
        Such a  wide variety of original pieces on display.   
        Local artist Jo Guttormson weaves her basket magic with these  original designs.   
        Linda Kieffer shared her amazing talent with her oil paintings. 
        This colorful eye catching display was hand painted children's clothing.  

        The youngest artist at the festival is pictured here with his mother, He and his younger brother had original creations that included jewelry, watercolor and sketches. Quite impressive for their young 
        Sharing their musical talents at the festival were were Tim and Jan Marr. They play a mix of folk, country and soft rock music-mostly as duets. Tim plays acoustic guitar and Jan often accompanies on harmonica. They can be seen at events around the area or performing the pre-show for the Thursday matinees at the Wood Tick Theater in Akeley. They are from the Longville area. 
        Children's art and face painting were a big hit. The young lady above made a point to tell me she was not done and working very hard on finishing it. 

        Oh, lets not forget the yummy food- 
        The Lions supplied brats, hot dogs, delicious pool chips on a stick and walking tacos which are always a hit.
        The Char House,a local restaurant sold delicious fruit bowls.
        On the left is Scott their chef and on the right owner of Char House, Linda 
        And Linnea with her artisan breads baked in her backyard pizza oven selling 85 loaves that day! I felt fortunate to snag a loaf of her most popular bread cranberry walnut before it sold out. 

        Yes it was quite challenging for the judges to arrive at three winning artists in three categories. Congratulations to--Reading left to right
        Best of Show Award
        Darrell and Margo Magnussen
        Most Creative Award
        Heidi Tretbar

        Spirit of the North Award
        Benjamin and Carrie Pogatshnik
        See you next year August 11, 2018 for the 23rd Annual NAC Festival

        Sunday, August 13, 2017

        2017 Northwoods Art and Book Festival Part One:Book Arts

        Cook's Notes:
        Take the talents of 37 Minnesota authors, mix with assorted titles and genre, spice it up with visitors of all ages, combine with animated literary conversations and book signings, add in a tantalizing program on how to collect family stories and you have a recipe for success. 
        It was a glorious day for a festival. Check out this sky.  

        With so many books and so many choices book lovers found a little bit of heaven at the 2017 Northwoods Art and Book Festival. 

        Here are the talented Minnesota authors who trekked to Hackensack for this event to share and sign their books. Take note of their creative table settings. The photos were taken just before the festival started.
        UCC Location
         Kim Kane-non fiction on aging  and gratitude
        Kimberlee Bastian-YA historical fiction 
        Wanda Bastian-adult fiction 
        Laura Hansen-poetry 
        Marge Barrett-memoir and poetry
        Shirley Greves (pen name) Rosemary Vaughn-romance novel in 3 parts 
        Paul Sailer-World War II history (aviation) 
        Joel Arnold- YA historical fiction, mystery, horror
        Frank Weber-mystery 
        Jeanne Cooney-Hot Dish Mystery Series
        Candace Simar-historical fiction set in Minnesota
        Sharon Harris-Talking Stick Books-Poems and Stories by other Minnesota Writers  
        Mike Lein-creative non-fiction 
        Faith Sullivan-fiction
        Anthony Swann-poetry
        Geoffrey Ferster-non fiction current events, International affairs
        Mary Knox Johnson-children's books
        Pat Dennis-mysteries, memoir, young adult, humor
        Marilyn Jax-mystery series
        Gene Stark-books on local and rural topics
        Mary Claire Lockman-fiction children and young people
        Margo Hansen-Christian fiction romance MN late 1800's  
        Judith Hendrickson-daily devotional books
        Craig Nagel-novels, essays

        Meg Corrigan-memoir, novel, devotional
        Joe Krogman-John Harwell Mystery Series
        Jim Proebstle-historical fiction and non-fiction
        Midge Bubany-mystery series
        Joanna Dymond-children's animal fiction

        Nodin Press (participant in 2017 Northwoods Art and Book Festival ) oversight and was not photographed-owner Norton Stillman 
        Since 1967 Nodin Press has been publishing books about Minnesota and the surrounding region. Its extensive backlist catalog includes books about nature, sports, gardening, nostalgia, poetry, memoir and other forms of literature.

        Community Building Location
        Sherri Majamaki-children's book
        Karen Winkleman-Effortless Weight Loss
        Mark Munger-Cloquet River Press
        Joan Rydberg-Doll Sculpting and book
        Roland Martell-military history
        Don Housman-children's books and art display
        Dawn Rossbach (left) author children's book The Cookie Garden and author Linda Henry (right) The Cookie Garden 

        Special Presentation by Faith Sullivan
        Now or Never: Capturing Family Stories