Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game's On

My favorite part of the Super Bowl is watching the commercials. The Doritos commercials scored among the highest of all the ads that aired during Super Bowl 46. Remember this one?
The following recipes were submitted by MB
Chili Con Queso
1lb. ground beef
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1- 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 4oz. can chopped green chili peppers - drained and seeded
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
16 oz. cubed American cheese
dash of garlic powder

Brown meat. Cook green onions until tender but not brown. Add remaining ingredients, stir until cheese melts.
Serve in chafing dish or fondue pot to keep hot. Use large dip size Frito's.
Party Mix
2 quarts popped corn
2 cups slim pretzel sticks
2 cups cheese curls
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Mix popcorn, pretzels, cheese curls, and peanuts in a shallow pan.
Melt butter and stir in seasonings. Pour over dry mix and mix well.
Bake 45 min., stirring several times.
Salmon Spread
1- 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. grated onion
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. prepared white horseradish
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1- 15 oz. can pink or red salmon without skin and bones
1 sliced green onion

Mix cream cheese, grated onion, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, pepper - blend well. Add salmon, stir until creamy.
Pour into serving dish, garnish with green onion.

Serve with cocktail rye bread, crackers, cucumber slices.

Follow this link for Top 10 Game Day Appetizers from Holiday Central. Check out  the ever popular Sausage Wrapped in Bacon for the buffet table.
Hope you enjoyed the run of Super Bowl appetizers.
Last but not least, thanks to friends and family members who help supply me with recipes and links for a Super Bowl feast.  

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Something for the ladies...

Thought I'd move Super Bowl appetizers up a notch for the ladies in the group and offer Red Velvet Cupcakes.

A Red Velvet Cake is one that has a dark red or red-brown color. It is traditionally prepared as a layer cake with cream cheese frosting. The reddish color is from the red food coloring added to batter. When researching recipes I found varying degrees of how much cocoa is used and the amount of red food coloring. One recipe even had a whole bottle of red added to batter. I passed on that recipe.
The cake and its original recipe originated from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However it is widely considered a southern recipe. A resurgence of this cake's popularity is partly attributed to the film Steel Magnolias (1989) in which the groom's cake was a Red Velvet Cake in the shape of an armadillo.
Urban legend has it that a story with a recipe in the 1920's began circulating. The cake had been served at the New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Here is one account that came from the  book The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Brunvand.

Our friend, Dean Blair, got on a bus in San Jose one morning and shortly after, a lady got on the bus and started passing out these 3 x 5 cards with the recipe for “Red Velvet Cake.” She said she had recently been in New York and had dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria and had this cake. After she returned to San Jose, she wrote to the hotel asking for the name of the chef who had originated the cake, and if she could have the recipe.
Subsequently she received the recipe in the mail along with a bill for something like $350 from the chef. She took the matter to her attorney, and he advised her that she would have to pay it because she had not inquired beforehand if there would be a charge for the service, and if so, how much it would be. Consequently, she apparently thought this would be a good way to get even with the chef.
Because of this popular story and similar variations, Red Velvet Cake is also known as Waldorf-Astoria Cake, $100 Cake, $200 Cake, etc. I guess yowill have to decide for yourself how much of this story you want to believe.
In this photo my daughter is holding our dessert plate with one of the goodies being her favorite Red Velvet Cake.  
I thought Red Velvet Cupcakes would be a good balance for a Super Bowl offerings. I jazzed them up a bit with Valentine cupcake liners and Valentine decorations. I picked Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) recipe and the only change made was reducing sugar from 1-1/2 cups to 1-1/3 cups.
Red Velvet Cupcakes 
makes 16 cupcakes and you will need 3 different bowls
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (be sure to shake container first before pouring)
  • 1 TB. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven  to 350 and line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners
Bowl #1
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt
Bowl #2
Combine buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla
Bowl #3 
Beat butter and sugar till fluffy, add in eggs one at a time and beat till well mixed
With mixer on low speed in bowl #3 
Add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients alternating in 3 parts beginning and ending with dry ingredients
Mix until all is combined
Using a mixing cup (1/3 cup)fill muffin liners about 3/4 full  
Bake 18 minutes
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1- 3 oz. package cream cheese softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 TB. butter
  • milk 
  • Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla
  • Add in powdered sugar
  • Add enough milk to get the necessary spreading consistency-do tablespoons at a time
The World According to Bella
On The Bad List Again
It took me less that 24 hours at the lake to get into trouble. I was fine with it all but Mr. C and Mrs S. were embarrassed. But really it was not exactly my fault. How was I to know our next door neighbor had his dinner out in a snowbank! I saw it there in a plastic bag and thought it was for the taking. How could I  possibly resist 2 pieces of cleaned fish fillets. He has a refrigerator. Why wouldn't he use that rather than putting something outside so tempting? 
I had just polished the fillets off when Mr. C caught me with the plastic bag in my mouth. / really had my tail between my legs when the neighbor came over asking us about his bag of fish. Guess I was busted. 

Lucky though Mrs. S came to the rescue. She had just made a new batch of Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup and gave him a heaping bowl.  
As for me, perhaps my roaming days at the lake are soon to be over.  
Love, Bella

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Super Bowl Challenge

Anyone up for this challenge to recreate the halftime appetizer pictured?
Well...if not... I did have several friends who rose to the challenge sending me their must haves for Super Bowl weekend. 
recipe submitted by Kathleen
Mexican Dip ala Patty  (My niece made up this recipe years ago for a cooking class contest and won second prize!!-hence the name)
  •  1 medium sized jar of salsa  (any brand, any "temperature", chunky. thin)
  • 1- 8 ounce sour cream
  • 1- 8 ounce whipped Philadelphia cream cheese
  • Mix well and then add 1 package (8 to 12 ounce) shredded cheese of choice: cheddar, Mexican or Colby)
  • Chill at least 2 hours before serving
  • Serve with chips  (I like the Scoops)
recipe submitted by JRW
Florentine Artichoke Dip
  • 1/2 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry with paper towel
  • 1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry with paper towel  and chopped 
  • 1-8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 TB. lemon juice
  • scant tsp. garlic from a jar
  • grated Provolone cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 TB. melted butter
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • Combine drained and dried spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, lemon juice,garlic and Parmesan cheese
  • Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish  
  • Sprinkle with grated Provolone cheese
  • Mix parsley flakes, bread crumbs and melted butter 
  • Sprinkle over the top of dip and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes uncovered
recipe submitted by MB
7 Layer Dip
  • 1-16 ounce can of refried beans
  • 1 (1-1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese
  • 4 ounces sliced olives
  • 1 cup tomato
Directions:Layer in this order:
1-16 oz. refried beans mixed w/ 1/2 package taco seasoning.
1 cup sour cream.
1 cup guacamole.
1 cup salsa.
1 cup chopped lettuce.
1 cup Mexican cheese.
4 oz. sliced olives.
1 cup chopped tomatoes.
Need more ideas? 

Check out this link for super bowl appetizers. Spicy sweet deviled eggs that look like footballs caught my attention as well as Andouille Mini Dogs.

Follow this link is to five different ways to make chicken wings from epicurious

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dinner Conversation with Cod

Lutefisk continues to generate much conversation even on the second day. After featuring this ethnic dish on Ever Ready blog the subject came up at a recent dinner party. I was amazed  how each one of the eight guests had some opinion on the subject of cod. I heard about family recipes, places that held Lutefisk dinners, what sides are best served with the dish, how to prepare lutefisk and the list just goes on.
But the biggest revelation was from one lady who told us about how her book group read Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky and really enjoyed it. This book is the story of Atlantic Cod fishing over the past 1,000 years, how it has shaped political discourse, impacted diverse cultures and the environment and how nations have struggled over centuries to protect this fish.  All the reviews of this book I read were favorable. Many reviewers were amazed that a 250 some page book on cod could hold their attention. It was attributed to the author's witty and informative style. So perhaps you need to put it on your list. 
I am sure that you do not need a reminder about the upcoming Super Bowl weekend. If  you plan to do any entertaining and looking for some ideas this week's blog will feature recipes that work for a crowd.  
Did you know that it is projected that Americans will consume over 1.25 billion chicken wings next weekend? Chicken wings have become a staple for Super Bowl entertaining and run a close second to dips and spreads which remain top of the entertaining list. 
 Sloppy Joes
This recipe serves 45 hungry football fans
Cook’s note:
This dish tastes even better the second day after flavors meld
Use a Cuisinart to chop/grind the browned meat with celery and onions
Serve in a crock pot or soup pot
  • 6 lbs. of hamburger
  • 5 cups chopped onion
  • 5-7 cups chopped celery
  • 8 cans of chicken gumbo soup
  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 TB. salt
  • 3 TB. chili powder
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 TB. prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 4 cans of chunky tomatoes (basil/garlic/oregano)
  • Brown meat with celery and onion then drain
  • In a food processor add meat mixture pulse a few cups at a time to crumble
  • In a large soup pot add all the rest of the ingredients to the hamburger mixture
  • Simmer (uncovered) 1-1/2 hours stirring frequently or place in a crock pot and cook on low 4 hours

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Oh Lutefisk
by Red Stangeland 
[Sung to the tune of 'O Tannunbaum]
Lutefisk... Oh Lutefisk... how fragrant your aroma
Oh Lutefisk... Oh Lutefisk... You put me, in a coma
You smell so strong... You look like glue
You taste yust like an overshoe
Put Lutefisk ... come Saturday
I tink I'll eat you anyway.
This was one meal that was worth a whole blog just in itself with the table conversation that ensued at a local restaurant while dining out with family members.  After much discussion it was decided to order Lutefisk as an appetizer. That  way each person could try a small piece. And believe me that is all you would want!
Did you know
- that you must NOT cook lutefisk in aluminum vessels as it will darken the kettle.
- there is a town in Minnesota named Madison, after Madison, Wisconsin, that is called the Lutefisk capital of the world?
- that thanks to the freezing facilities of today it would be possible to eat lutefisk all the year round?
This dried cod fish resembles a quivering hunk of white Jell-O. Lutefisk is usually served with a white cream and a small cup of butter which helps the taste. Sides are usually mashed potatoes and peas.
Lutefisk spelled In Sweden = Lutfisk In Denmark = Ludefisk In Norway = Lutefisk
It is a traditional dish of Nordic countries. It is made from aged air dried whitefish (cod) and lye. It is gelatinous in texture and has an extremely pungent odor. The name lutefisk literally means lye fish. Lutefisk typically turns up in stores and markets during the winter holiday season. There is a website which is an authoritative guide to annual Lutefisk dinners  throughout the Upper Midwest and Minnesota at mostly Lutheran churches, VFW and Legion clubs and cultural gatherings. 
Those who have consumed a Lutefisk dinner seem to earn boasting rights to this regional fare. Jokes, songs, books,shirts, bags,aprons  and comedy routines are just some of popular offshoots of Lutefisk humor. 
Opinions are divided on how to cook it. Baking or boiling seem to be the most popular methods. It is one heritage recipe that is stubbornly unimproved and needs to be seen and tasted to be understood. 
I thought these words from Jeffrey Steingarten were rather eloquent.
  • Interview with Jeffrey Steingarten, author of The Man Who Ate Everything (translated quote from a 1999 article in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet:)
"Lutefisk is not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction. It is currently the only exception for the man who ate everything. Otherwise, I am fairly liberal, I gladly eat worms and insects, but I draw the line on lutefisk."
"What is special with lutefisk?"
"Lutefisk is the Norwegians' attempt at conquering the world. When they discovered that Viking raids didn't give world supremacy, they invented a meal so terrifying, so cruel, that they could scare people to become one's subordinates. And if I'm not terribly wrong, you will be able to do it as well."
"But some people say that they like lutefisk. Do you think they tell the truth?"
"I do not know. Of all food, lutefisk is the only one that I don't take any stand on. I simply cannot decide whether it is nice or disgusting, if the taste is interesting or commonplace. The only thing I know, is that I like bacon, mustard and lefse. Lutefisk is an example of food that almost doesn't taste anything, but is so full of emotions that the taste buds get knocked out."
Minnesota lutefisk recipes reflect the Scandinavian heritage of our state.
Some love it, some hate it, but if you want a "real" Minnesota food experience you should try lutefisk at least once! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Soul-Warming and Satisfying Soup

This is how I feel waiting out the Arctic blast that hovers over the state. Even Bella sticks her nose out the door and decides being inside...not so bad. I know another bowl of soup will keep me warm.

Italian Sausage Spinach Tortellini Soup
Cook's notes: One of the best things about this soup recipe is its versatility with lots of options: Italian sausage or turkey sausage, green beans or peppers or cubed yellow squash, chicken broth or beef broth, cheese tortellini or tri color tortellini, spinach or cabbage, spices
Here is my version of this hearty rustic soup that works well for a main meal. It is also one of those soups that tastes better the second day.
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 LB. Italian sausage
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium zucchini diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1-32 oz. container of chicken broth (low sodium and fat free)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes diced and drained on a paper towel
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1- 6 oz. package baby spinach (remove stems)
  • 1- 9 oz. package fresh or frozen tortellini
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Rosemary, basil and oregano
  • In soup pot brown sausage and drain off fat-set meat aside on a paper towel
  • In 2 TB. olive oil saute garlic and onions
  • Add in zucchini, peppers, carrots, celery and chopped fresh tomatoes and continue cooking about 4 minutes
  • Add in spices, meat, can of diced tomatoes, broth, water  and simmer on medium low covered 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender
  • Add in tortellini and spinach and cook uncovered 10 more minutes  
Note:To serve soup on a second day the tortellini will have absorbed liquid much like the previously posted chicken noodle soup so will need to add more broth

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Easy Party Ideas

It's not too early to be thinking about party ideas for Superbowl entertaining and Valentine's Day. Here are some ideas I found on Pinterest
This is such an easy treat to make. You need pretzels, Hershey’s heart shaped chocolates or Dove chocolates, and M & M's. Unwrap each chocolate and place them on a pretzel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Just as the chocolate starts to get melty immediately remove them from the oven. Press a Valentine M&M to top them off adding a bit of color.
Heart Shape Peanut Butter Butter Cookies
This recipe comes from Betty Crocker. It can be made two ways.
  • Need I box of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix 
  • Heart shape milk chocolate candies 
  • Heat oven to 375 and follow directions on box to form dough 
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar 
  • Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes 
  • Immediately press chocolate heart into top of each cookie 
  • Cool cookies on wire rack 
#2 Peanut Butter Cookies from Betty Crocker Cookie Book p.79
Cook's notes: This has been one of my favorite tried and true recipes from the book. You know its a keeper when food stains highlight the page :)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar 
  • 1/4 cup butter softened 
  • 1/4 cup margarine 
  • 1/2 cup chunky Skippy Peanut Butter 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1-1/4 cups flour (I use half whole wheat and half white flour) 
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • Beat sugars, butter, margarine, peanut butter and egg 
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and place bowl in freezer for an hour or refrigerator for three hours 
  • Heat oven to 375 
  • Shape dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on an ungreased sheet 
  • Place 3 inches apart and bake 9 minutes 
  • Immediately add chocolate heart
Use red hots to decorate Valentine cupcakes
Make bags of popcorn and add in Valentine M and M's
This was just too cute of an idea to pass up posting!
Love Potion Drink
Serves 1
  • pink lemonade
  • raspberry sherbet
  • Sprite
  • vodka
  • Fill serving glass half full with pink lemonade, 1 large scoop of sherbet, 1 oz. vodka, 4 oz. Sprite
  • Pour all of this in blender and mix well

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creamed Tomato Bisque Soup

Tomato Bisque Soup
Cook's notes: I used parts from several different recipes so think I am safe to call it my own now :) This recipe is quite economical to make and really tasted better the next day. It is quite flavorful with all the spices. I would suggest following all the steps till the cream part then refrigerate soup. The next day heat soup on medium low uncovered stirring in the heavy cream-1/4 cup. Do not let the mixture boil. This recipe makes 6-1/2 cups.
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 TB. flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth (Swansons fat free-low sodium)
  • 1 large can (24 oz.) Hunts Plum Whole Tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp.sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. marjoram
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste at end of cooking time
  • In a soup pot saute in butter onion, garlic,celery about 4 minutes
  • On low heat add in flour mix well. Add in broth, tomato paste, Plum Tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf and all spices
  • Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low cover and simmer 25 minutes
  • Remove bay leaves with a slotted spoon
  • In thirds puree the soup mixture in a food processor or blender and then add back to soup pot (left some little pieces in soup mixture so not entirely smooth but that was a personal preference)
  • On low heat uncovered add in cream and heat mixture thoroughly but do not let boil

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Homemade Gift of Friendship

. . . what I like doing best is Nothing."

"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it.” 

Just in case today might be that sort of day where you have nothing to do perhaps you might consider making Tuxedo Brownies In A Jar and pass it along to a friend. Or make several jars and save them for Valentine's Day gifts.
Tuxedo Brownies In A Jar

Recipe from Christmas All Through The House by Gooseberry Patch
  • 1/2 cup walnuts 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup flour plus 2 TB. flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • Use one quart jars (wide mouth) can be purchased from Dollar Store or Michaels
  • Black ribbon for bow tie from a craft store
  • Layer the ingredients in the jar as listed above
  • Be sure to pack down all ingredients after each addition 
  • Secure lid and include the following baking directions on a gift card
Baking Instructions:
  • Empty brownie mix in a large bowl
  • Add 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and one tsp. vanilla
  • Stir till ingredients are all moistened
  • Pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan
  • Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes

Monday, January 21, 2013


What better day than the Inauguration to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, one of  the Founding Fathers of America and Martin Luther King, social activist.
It truly was an impressive sight today just watching on TV the huge crowd that had gathered to witness the Inauguration of the President's second term. The theme for all the speeches appeared to be one of unity, diversity and collective effort. 
The words of inaugural poet Richard Blanco were quite stirring. He now joins the exclusive club of inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. Blanco is the youngest inaugural poet and first Cuban American poet. His poem One Day reflected his immigrant experiences as well as hopes and dreams for America.I am hoping this poem will be published so everyone who did not hear it will have a chance to read his powerful words.   

Adapted from BHG Ultimate Casseroles publication

Cook's notes: This warm casserole is much needed today since we are in sub-zero temperatures.
Cheese and Vegetable Rice Casserole
  • 2 cups diced fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn thawed
  • 1 package Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice cooked
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar of roasted sweet red pepper drained, and chopped or use ½ diced red pepper
  • 1- 4 oz. can diced green chile pepper drained
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs mixed with 1-1/2 TB melted butter
  • optional spices ¼ tsp. cumin and ½ tsp. chili powder
  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish
  • Cook rice as directed on package and set aside
  • In a large bowl add vegetables, beans, onions, red peppers, chile peppers or spices, cooked rice, 1 cup of the mixed cheeses and broth
  • Mix well and place in casserole dish
  • Add rest of mixed cheeses and sprinkle with bread crumbs mixed with melted butter and 1 TB parsley flakes
  • Bake uncovered 35 minutes until mixture is heated through and crumbs are golden
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Sunday, January 20, 2013


This 5 LB. bag of carrots recently purchased sent me scrambling to find carrot recipes before the expiration date. My second Costco trip like the first left me dazed over the sheer size and quantities of the products available. I scoured the store trying to find items we could use. Keep in mind we are a party of three if you include Bella. Since Bella likes carrots I thought we'd be safe purchasing this bag even though 5 LBS. was the smallest bag I could find. YIKES...still a lot of carrots!
At one family gathering on Thanksgiving several siblings and I got into a heated discussion if baby carrots were really real. I had read in the paper there was a 1-800 number for carrot hotline questions. I am not making this up. So after a lengthy discussion with a person from the hotline and looking online we have concluded yes indeed they are really real!
Carrots are a root vegetable. According to Internet sources...
      "Manufactured" baby carrots , or cut and peel, are what you see most often in the shops  - are carrot shaped slices of peeled carrots invented in the late 1980's by Mike Yurosek, a California farmer, as a way of making use of carrots which are too twisted or knobbly for sale as full-size carrots. Yurosek was unhappy at having to discard as much as 400 tonnes of  carrots a day because of their imperfections, and looked for a way to reclaim what would otherwise be a waste product. He was able to find an industrial green bean cutter, which cut his carrots into 5 cm lengths, and by placing these lengths into an industrial potato peeler, he created the baby carrot. 
The much decreased waste is also used either for juicing or as animal fodder. Perhaps most important, the baby-cut method allows growers to use far more of the carrot than they used to. In the past, a third or more of a carrot crop could have been easily tossed away, but baby-cut allows more partial carrots to be used, and the peeling process actually removes less of the outer skin that you might imagine. They are sold in single-serving packs with ranch dressing for dipping on the side. They're passed out on airplanes and sold in plastic containers designed to fit in a car's cup holder. At Disney World, and MacDonald's burgers now come two ways:with fries or baby carrots.
There is nothing "wrong" with manufactured baby carrots. They are a food that humans have enjoyed for centuries, chock-full of goodness that we need to keep our bodies functioning."
So now that you are enlightened with baby carrot information we can move on to some recipes that will help me use up a 5 LB. bag.
 Roasted Carrots
Cook's notes: Roasting carrots draws out their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor. Most recipes I found recommended a high oven temperature of 400 for 20 minutes. But I found after 20 minutes carrots not quite crisp tender so sealed them with foil so as not to have them dry out and then added 15 minutes more cooking time. 
  • baby carrots sliced diagonally
  • orange slices
  • onion rings 
  • olive oil
  • dried dill weed or thyme
  • dried parsley flakes
  • Preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with large piece of foil
  • Slice carrots and toss in a bowl with 2 TB. olive oil
  • Arrange carrots on foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, dried dill weed and parsley flakes over the top
  • Place cut orange slices and onion rings on top
  • Bake on foil 20 minutes, then cover the carrots with foil piece to seal and bake 15 minutes more
Optional sprinkle crumbled almonds to serve or coarsely chopped  pistachios

Carrot Cake (my mother's favorite)

Cook's notes: this is a very moist cake and using whole wheat flour makes it more healthy and gives the cake a nice texture. 
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB. cinnamon
  • 1-1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple –drained
  • 1-3/4-2 cups grated carrots (use food processor)
  • 1-1/2 crushed nuts
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1-cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut-optional
  • Beat eggs      
  • Add rest of ingredients and beat well about 2 minutes
  • Bake @350 for 30 minutes
 Cream Cheese Frosting 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TB. vanilla
  • 1- 3-oz. package softened cream cheese
  • Add milk as needed to get right consistency
  • Sprinkle crushed nuts on top
  • Frost and refrigerate
  • Take out of refrigerator about ½ hour before serving

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Pooh Day

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...” 
A.A. Milne
Today might just be that kind of day to sit and think or write or enjoy a book. These two new books are very interesting reads. If you liked the book Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier and Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland then you might also like Painted Girls  by Cathy Marie Buchanan. All three book are historical fiction and the stories weave tales based on famous works of art.  
On the cover of this book toward bottom is featured  Edgar Degas's sculpture titled Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.  The sculpture was first exhibited in 1881 in Paris. It depicts the very young working class girls of the ballet. 
This is quite an imaginative and inventive story about the girl who modeled for Degas, Marie van Goethem. The story highlights the struggle of Marie's family and her sisters who face poverty and the prejudices of the poor in Paris during the time of cultural change in the 19th century. Each sister faces sexual predation with punishing choices  that change them physically and emotionally. Their story is also a tribute to their sisterly love and you can't help admire all characters in the novel as they fight for dignity. 
The book is informative with a lot of information about ballet, opera, 19th life in Paris and Degas.  It does read a bit like the movie/play/book Les Miserables and is quite a mesmerizing story.
This is Tracy Chevalier new novel set in the United States and also during the 19th century but in the 1850's in Oberlin, Ohio. Honor Bright is the main character. She emigrates to the US from Bristol with he sister Grace. Honor is accompanying her sister to US who is moving to there to be married. Her sister becomes ill on the journey before reaching Ohio and dies. Honor decides to continues the journey and settles in Oberlin. This town is a major stop on the Underground Railroad to many Quakers and escaped freed slaves. Honor  eventually marries but is faced with difficult choices. Her new family opposes her work in the Underground Railroad. Chevalier in this book as in Girl With A Pearl Earring, is attentive to research and detail. Her readers learn a lot about quilting and the inner workings of the Underground Railroad. 
So if reading is just not quite how you want to spend the day perhaps one of these recipes will appeal to you. They are both quite easy and take little time to assemble. 
Garlic Cheese Sticks
Cook’s notes: These breadsticks go well with the chicken corn chowder recipe posted January 17, 2013 and chicken noodle soup recipe posted December 31, 2012
Garlic Cheese Sticks recipe from February 2013
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp.  prepared  garlic (comes in a jar)
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tube (can) refrigerated bread-stick dough
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 375 and spray PAM lightly to a cookie sheet
  • In a bowl combine Parmesan, garlic, pepper and salt
  • Unroll dough on a lightly floured surface and brush with oil
  • Sprinkle cheese mixture on dough and press gently so it adheres
  • Separate dough into sticks at the perforations and stretch each one to 10-12 inches-then twist into a spiral
  • Arrange breadsticks 1 inch apart on cookie sheet
  • Bake till golden about 12-15 minutes
  • Let cool a few minutes before removing from sheet 
  Salad Italiano
Salad Italiano recipe from February 2013
serves 4-6
Cook's note: It may be necessary to double dressing since makes only 1/2 cup 
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I substituted Miracle Whip)
  • 3 TB. milk
  • 1 TB. red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp. prepared garlic (comes in a jar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bag of mixed greens
  • 1 cup sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup Caesar croutons
  • ¾ cup carrots sliced diagonally
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup pepper rings
  • slices of red onion
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, garlic and seasoning and place mixture in blender to mix well
  • Season dressing with salt and pepper and refrigerate one hour to meld flavors
  • Stir dressing before adding in salad mix, cucumbers, croutons, carrots, celery and pepper rings

Meet Minnesota Author Barbara Saefke

NAC 2020 AUTHOR VIRTUAL TOUR MEET MINNESOTA AUTHOR BARBARA SAEFKE Barbara E. Saefke author Mystery and Romance Barbara...