Friday, January 31, 2014

Game's On: Part II

Game Day, the perfect time to incorporate some healthy snack options into your regular buffet to save on calories and grams of fat. 
 It's A Wrap (idea from BHG) 
Wrap sandwiches using tortillas, whole grain flatbread or romaine lettuce. Some filling ideas include: cooked chicken, turkey, sweet peppers, tomatoes. mozzarella cheese, grated carrots, roasted red peppers, hummus. Follow this link to 11 wrap sandwich ideas

  Roasted  Red Pepper and Artichoke Pizza (idea from BHG)
prepared pizza crust, pizza sauce mixed with 1 tsp. crushed basil, 1 jar of drained marinated artichoke hearts,1 cup roasted red peppers and grated mozzarella cheese.
Spinach Dip (idea from
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 5 oz. can water chestnuts, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 TB. fresh chives 
  • Pulse shallot and water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped
  • Add cream cheese, cottage cheese,yogurt, lemon juice, salt/pepper and pulse just til combined
  • Add in spinach and chives and pulse till incorporated
  • Refrigerate several hours to meld flavors 
Macho Nacho (idea from BHG)
Cook's note:  Prepared chips can be substituted for tortilla chips 
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
  • 2 TB fresh or canned chile peppers
  • 1 cup canned corn drained
  • corn tortillas
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Stack six 7-8 inch corn tortillas and cut stack into wedges
  • Place wedges in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes
  • Set wedges aside and turn temperature to 425 degrees
  • In a saucepan, add beans, salsa and corn and heat just till heated through
  • Spoon bean mixture over tortilla wedges  and garnish with cheese, roasted red pepper and chiles
  • Bake 3-5 minutes
Next blog posting: Healthy dessert alternatives for game day 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Game's On

Cook's notes: Get ready for the Super Bowl with some crowd pleasing recipes. The next few blog postings will feature a variety of foods perfect for your game day gathering.

I was astounded to read online that this year it is projected that Americans will eat 1.25 billion wings during Super Bowl XLVIII, about 20 million more than last year's record level. The projection is based on more chicken available and lower prices according to the National Chicken's Council 2014 Wing Report.

Gosh, that's nearly four wings for every man, woman and child in America. Laid wingtip to wingtip, they would stretch from Seattle to MetLife Stadium. How can this be???

So I am thinking it might be a good idea to start shopping early for chicken wings just in case there is a shortage ;)
I recently discovered Lawry's Teriyaki Marinade which has lots of possibilities  for chicken and pork recipes. The marinade fuses together pineapple juice, soy sauce and Asian seasonings. And it does not have MSG. The marinade is an easy way to make baked chicken wings. 
This adapted recipe comes from 

Honey Glazed Teriyaki Chicken Wings
  • 2 lbs. chicken wings
  • 1 cup Teriyaki Marinade with Pineapple Juice
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 3 TB. sesame seeds
  • optional pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Place chicken wings in a large resealable plastic bag or glass dish
  • Add 1/2 cup of the marinade and turn chicken wings to coat well
  • Refrigerate several hours
  • Remove from bag and discard marinade 
  • Mix honey and 1/2 cup marinade in a large bowl
  • Add wings and coat well, bake on a lightly greased foil lined cookie sheet at 400 for 20 minutes, turn and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Bake 25 minutes longer till crispy

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken
Cook's notes: Bake these appetizers ahead and keep warm on a cookie sheet in oven covered with foil. The spice amounts can be adjusted depending on personal preferences.
recipe adapted from
  • 4 large chicken breasts cut in thirds (12 pieces)
  • 6-8 bacon slices
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TB. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • Mix on a plate chili powder, garlic powder and paprika
  • Sprinkle brown sugar on waxed paper
  • Lightly roll each chicken piece in spices, wrap a piece of bacon around chicken and secure with a toothpick
  • Roll bacon wrapped chicken lightly in brown sugar, place in a glass baking pan sprayed with PAM
  • Bake at 375 40 minutes-check halfway through baking time, if chicken sticking to pan move it a bit
Sloppy Joes
Cook’s notes: If serving a big crowd this recipe is perfect as you can feed  45. The recipe can easily be halved.
This recipes tastes the best when made a day or two before for flavors to meld. 
A crockpot can be used for this recipe but cook meat first before adding in all the ingredients. Cook on low 3- 5 hours and stir occasionally. Cooking tip: use a Cuisinart to pulse the browned meat with celery and onions for smaller pieces.  
  • 6 lbs. of hamburger 
  • 5 cups chopped onion 
  • 5 cups chopped celery 
  • 8 cans of chicken gumbo soup 
  • 2 cups of catsup 
  • 1 TB. salt 
  • 3 TB. chili powder 
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 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 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 
  • Use a slotted spoon to serve in buns 
Note on Pinterest (right side of blog) I have created two new boards: Game Day Recipes and Food for Thought (quotes about food)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Seasonal Plate

Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.

Yevgrny Yevtushenko (1993-  )

Yevgeni Yevtushenko  is a Russian poet, writer, actor, and film director 

who is best known for his poem 'Babi Yar' and the eponymous symphony

made in collaboration with composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

This week's submission for The Seasonal Plate; Seasonal Inspired Food Pairings

Cinnamon Spiced Beef Stroganoff, Parmesan Knots (recipe posted   January 24, 2014) and Southern Buttermilk Red Velvet Cake (recipe published February 2013)  Winter Salad is not featured in the photo.
Cinnamon Spiced Beef Stroganoff

Cook’s notes: Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. The recipe did not appear in English cookbooks until 1932, and it was not until the 1950s, after World War II, that beef stroganoff became popular for elegant dinner parties in America.

This recipe is a twist on an old classic and serves 4. It was adapted from Midwest Living February 2013
Suggested wine pairings include a medium bodied red, The Seven Deadly Zins or a Pinot Noir, BearBoat
· 1 lb. beef sirloin cut into small chunks
· 1 TB. butter
· ½ tsp. salt
· ¾ tsp. cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp. ground coriander
· 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
· Dash ground cloves
· 1 small onion chopped
· 2 garlic cloves minced
· 2 cups sliced mushrooms, rinsed, patted dry
· 2 cups beef broth less sodium (I tested with Swansons)
· 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
· ¾ cup lite sour cream
· ½ cup heavy cream or half and half
· 3 TB. flour
· ½ tsp. crushed dried thyme
· ½ tsp. crushed dried rosemary
· 1 tsp. parsley flakes
· 1/4 cup dry white wine, dry vermouth, sherry or dry red wine
· Place in a bowl: salt, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cloves with 1 TB. flour, toss beef cubes in mixture and let sit 10 minutes
  Brown meat on high heat 1 minute per side in a nonstick skillet, stirring constantly
· Place browned beef cubes on paper towel, set aside
· Wipe skillet clean and melt 1 TB. butter
· Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic for 8 minutes
· In a bowl combine mustard, beef broth, cream, sour cream, thyme, rosemary, parsley with 3 TB. flour- whisk to blend well
· Add broth mixture to the onion /mushrooms and garlic mixture, cook on low heat till thickened about 20    minutes
· Add in beef cubes, cook on low heat 10 minutes longer
· Add in wine, blend well and cook 2 minutes more
· Serve beef tips and sauce over wide egg noodles

Southern Buttermilk Red Velvet Cake
Cook's notes: Traditionally the Red Velvet Cake is baked in two layers with a cream cheese frosting filling, frosted on top and sides of the cake, then sprinkled with toasted pecans. Other options include baking in a 13 x 9 pan instead or making cupcakes.Crushed walnuts can be substituted for the pecans sprinkled over the cream cheese frosting. Buttermilk is the magical ingredient that makes the cake very moist. I used two tablespoons of food coloring to give the cake a rich red color.
recipe adapted from

· 2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
· 1-1/4 cups sugar
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/2 tsp. salt
· 4 heaping teaspoons unsweetened baking cocoa powder
· 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
· 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
· 2 large eggs, at room temperature
· 2 TB. red food coloring
· 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
· 1 tsp. vanilla extract 

· Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 2 round cake pans or a 13 x 9 pan.
· In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder
. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla
· Using a mixer combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
· Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pan/pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake about 22 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the side and the center of the cakes come out clean using a toothpick
· Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. Cool 5 minutes
· Invert the cakes onto plates lined with wax paper and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Cook's notes: Double the ingredients if making a two layer cake
· 3 cups powdered sugar
· 3 oz. package softened cream cheese
· 1 TB. softened butter
· 1 tsp. vanilla
· 1/4 cup milk (start with 1/4 cup adding milk by the tablespoons to obtain the correct consistency)
crushed pecans or walnuts
· Beat until smooth and frost

Winter Fruit Salad-serves 6
· baby kale and mixed greens or Romaine mixed with baby spinach
· 1 apple and 1 pear sliced
· 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1/3 cup cashews
· red onion slices and prepared poppyseed dressing

Mix all ingredients and drizzle with poppyseed dressing
optional adding grated Swiss cheese or crumbled Feta on top of salad

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mexican Lasagna

The World According to Bella
Surviving the Polar Vortex at the Lake
Check out my latest blog for WWN

Today I wasted no time doing 'my business' outside at -30!! But then I went right back to bed. I was slightly encouraged by a warm-up two hours later when it read...
With not much to do in the house that's fun I find I need more belly rubs.
Mrs. S keeps busy cooking something. The food drops from her Mexican Lasagna were really good, especially the sausage bits.
Love, Bella
Mexican Lasagna
Cook’s notes:
The following recipe was prepared in a 9 x 9 baking dish and serves 6-8. For a 13 x 9 pan double the ingredients below and divide into thirds and create three corn tortilla layers. Pair the main dish with cornbread, fruit salad and Mexican beer. This dish would be great for a Super Bowl gathering.
  • 1-lb. ground beef or Chorizo sausage
  • ½-3/4 cup onions diced
  • ½ green pepper, seeded, diced
  • ½ red pepper seeded, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • optional chiles
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 1-16 oz. jar of salsa
  • 1/3 of the can refried beans
  • 8 oz. of enchilada sauce
  • ½ can of corn (11 oz.) drained and rinsed (could use Mexican style corn)
  • ½ can of black beans (15 oz.) or dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups (small package) of Mexican cheese (package found in dairy section)
  • 1 package of yellow corn tortillas (6 inch size) you will need 10 for a 9 inch baking dish  
  • optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, lettuce, sliced black olives, guacamole
  • Brown ground beef or sausage with onions, red/green peppers and minced garlic
  • Drain and add mixture back to fry pan
  • Add in spices, salsa, enchilada sauce, refried beans, corn, beans
  • Cook on low heat for 10 minutes uncovered
  • Grease 9 x 9 baking pan and place 4 tortillas in bottom of pan overlapping-to fill in spaces. Tear another tortilla into fourths to fill in corners and sides
  • Place half of the meat mixture on top of tortillas and ½ of the cheese
  • Repeat with another layer ending with cheeses, black olives can be added at this time
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes-remove foil and cook 10 minutes longer
  • Let set 15 minutes before cutting
  • Serve on the side chopped tomatoes/lettuce/sour cream/guacamole


Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet Potatoes

Question of the day...


While both yams and sweet potatoes are flowering plants (angiosperms), they are not related. A sweet potato is not a type of yam and a yam is not a type of sweet potato. Yams are native to Africa and Asia, and thus over 90% of yam crops are grown in Africa. They are closely related to lilies. There are many different varieties of yams which range drastically in size. They are also usually starchier and drier than sweet potatoes.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. These potatoes can range not only in size, but in skin color and flesh color. Varieties of sweet potatoes are grown in the United States.

Sweet potatoes are a fiber-rich root vegetable. There are over 6,000 varieties of sweet potatoes internationally. So think 'out of the box' besides the sugary marshmallow  dishes that appear at the Thanksgiving table and consider these easy side recipes.    
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Almonds
Cook's notes: Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence 
serves 4
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp, each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large bowl add olive oil, honey, cinnamon, salt, pepper and whisk to blend well
  • Add in cubed sweet potatoes and stir to coat 
  • On a foil lined sheet lightly spray PAM and arrange potatoes in a single layer 
  • Roast for 35 minutes or until tender-stir halfway through cooking 
  • Last 15 minutes of cooking time add in whole roasted almonds 
Roasted Root Vegetables
Cook's notes: This is a versatile healthy side dish.  You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Some include parsnips, beets. asparagus, Brussels sprouts and celery root. Remember if not using fresh spices the dried spice amount is HALF the amount of the fresh.
Mix the oil, vinegar and spices first before chopping vegetables for flavors to blend and the rosemary to soften.   
Since some vegetables take longer to cook such as squash, potatoes and carrots they will need a head start in the roasting time.
Consider lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper as an alternative to foil.  
Recipe adapted from  and serves 6-8
  • 1 small butter squash, cubed
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and diced 
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 2 potatoes Yukon gold, red or fingerlings
  • 2 large carrots cut diagonally
  • 1 small red onion quartered into pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TB. chopped fresh   thyme
  • 2 TB. fresh rosemary 
  • 3 TB. olive oil
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar 
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400
  • In a large bowl mix the oil, vinegar, spices, salt and pepper
  • Coat the chopped vegetables with the oil mixture and set aside the vegetables that will roast faster
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with Pam 
  • Spread vegetables on baking sheet with garlic and onions, roast for 25 minutes-stirring once
  • Add in rest of vegetables and cook 20 minutes longer or until tender. Be sure to stir once or twice during the last part of the roasting time to prevent sticking   

The World According to Bella
How to Survive the Polar Vortex

I left this poster up on screen  to remind Mr. C and Mrs. S  that I needed some attention.  When I got up it was -23 and I am stuck inside with not much to do but nap, eat and nap. I keep checking thermometer and it's not moving much. Even though 
Mrs. S showed me the news article Beat the Cold  with Indoor Dog Activities  I got bored really fast with all her ideas.
Like how many times do you think I can do the Stairway Dash before my legs begin to hurt ?
Hide and Seek was fine but we ended  going through all  the rest of my doggie bones and there's nothing left I want to go seek.
Under, Over and Through was just plain dumb. Mr. C was trying to teach me certain tricks like perfecting my handstand walking on 2 feet, crawling under the coffee table without getting stuck and roll over and pretend I am dead. All I want to do is  roll over put my legs up in the air and wait for someone to give me a belly rub.  
The article promised these active games would engage me physically and mentally to tire me out and that being inside is every bit as fun as being outside. All I can say is don't believe everything you read!

Love, Bella (writing from the center of the polar vortex.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The World According to Bella

I got tired of listening to Mrs. S read about the polar vortex...
"As the coldest air in 20 years surges into major population centers in the United States, many are raising eyebrows over its rare cause: the positioning of the polar vortex.
A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season.

The frigid air found its way into the United States when the polar vortex was pushed South, reaching southern Canada and the northern Plains, Midwest and northeastern portions of the United States.

"This is why we've had such extreme cold," Brett Anderson, metrologist from

The polar vortex moves around at times during the course of the winter, but rarely do you see it get pushed this far south," Anderson said.

A large, powerful high pressure system originating in the Eastern Pacific is stretching to the North Pole, shoving the vortex farther south than is typical, allowing it to settle in Canada and the U.S.

I was soooooooooo bored and had more important things to worry about. Like how to get over the snowbanks to catch the deer at end of the driveway 

or the chipmunk that just scampered up the tree I couldn't reach because of the deep snow and trying to keep my paws from freezing. 
The best part of my weekend was being out on the lake while Mr. C and and Mrs. S skied. I felt like a greyhound sprinting across the frozen tundra trying to catch the birds, I was so excited to explore places I had only seen from the shore or boat. 
Mrs. S is hoping today is her lucky day with a winning raffle ticket in the Back to Hack drawing.
We liked seeing some of the snow sculptures in town
Lucette (Paul Bunyan's girlfriend) even got a warm scarf as she watched over the Polar Plunge on Birch Lake. 

I gave Mrs. S my best tail wag hoping to go on a sleigh ride but the driver said No Dogs Allowed.   

I needed a nap after all of this. I was exhausted. 
But just as I was drifting off to sleep I heard Mrs. S say something about trying a new recipe. Maybe you should check back tomorrow and see what she made. 
Love, Bella

PS. This is from Mrs. S
33 recipes for your slow cooker

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Brownie Makeover

Cherry Cabernet Brownies

Cook's notes: Cherry Cabernet Brownies gives brownies a makeover with cherries soaked in red wine adding a wonderful distinctive flavor. The recipe is from BHG Special Interest Publication 2013 Brownies and Bars. Below the recipe is an option of cutting the brownies into heart shapes and frosting with same Chocolate Ganache. 
Note: if using a 13 x 9 inch pan the brownies will be thinner and a 9 x 9 pan brownies will be thicker. I have included the two baking times in the directions. 
Other Valentine cooking ideas can be accessed to the right of the blog by clicking on Pinterest and finding my board labeled Valentine's Day.

Ingredients Brownies: 
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or another fruity red wine 
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp.salt
  • In a small saucepan combine dried cherries and wine. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Using two sheets of foil turn a 13 x 9 pan upside and shape the foil over the outside of the pan extending the foil a few inches 
  •  Lift the foil shape off baking pan and ease it into the baking pan right side up

  • Lightly spray foil with Pam and spread batter evenly into the pan 
  • In a saucepan melt chocolate and butter over low heat until melted, whisk a few times
  • Gradually whisk in sugar  and stir until dissolved
  • Whisk in eggs one at a time
  • In a small bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder
  • Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture until combined
  • Stir in undrained cherries
  • Bake for 25 minutes using a 9 x 9 pan  and 22 minutes for a 13 x 9 pan 
  • Cool pan on a wire rack
  • Frost with ganache and refrigerate till set
  • Cut bars and remove from foil
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache 
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chips and 1/2 cup bittersweet chips
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 TB. raspberry jam
  • In a large measuring glass combine 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup whipping cream and 1 TB. raspberry jam 
  • Microwave on high 1 minute stirring every 30 seconds. Let stand one hour or until slightly thickened and pour evenly over brownies in the pan. Refrigerate one hour or until set  

Heart Shaped Brownie

Make sure the baked brownies are chilled- just gently push down and then lift up the brownie slab and pull the cutter away. Carefully push out the heart-shaped brownie and remove to a tray. If you cut the next row of hearts upside-down, you’ll get more hearts out of the batch. Frost with ganache chocolate.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Sandra Lee is an American celebrity cooking show host and author. She is known for her "Semi-Homemade" cooking concept, which Lee describes as using 70 percent pre-packaged products and 30 percent fresh items.
This link will take you to some of her selected recipes.
Easy Parmesan Knots
Cook's notes: Easy Parmesan Knots recipe comes from Pillsbury and reminds me  of something Sandra Lee might make. It was easy to put together using prepared biscuits. The homemade part (a bit of a stretch) using seasonings and grated Parmesan cheese. The rolls make a good side for soups and pasta. The recipe makes 8 rolls. 
  • 1 tube refrigerated Pillsbury Grand Layers Buttermilk Biscuits
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 egg beaten with a whisk
  • Lightly flour a sheet of wax paper
  • Flour your hands and roll each biscuit into a 10-12 inch rope and tie into a knot , tuck ends under and place each biscuit 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet
  • On a plate mix dried herbs together
  • Brush each biscuit with an egg wash and sprinkle with herbs 
  • Grate Parmesan cheese over the top


  • Bake at 400 degrees 8-10 minutes 
Looking for a new soup or stew recipe? Follow this link for 51 soup/stew  recipes from Southern Living

I am still on Cheez-It  Scrabble Junior and found these fun valentine ideas using the crackers. The links give you free download printable.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Back to Hack

WCCO-TV’s Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer are hitting the road in the Mobile Weather Watcher to visit the best spots in cabin country during the winter.
The trip is called “Goin’ to the Frozen Lake!” 
This week they are in Hackensack, MN for the "Back to Hack" fest which includes a variety of winter activities:snowmobile races, snow sculptures, ice fishing contests, run/walk marathon and indoor games. 

Despite the frigid temperatures this couple is enjoying being indoors and keeping warm for the WCCO weather segment. that was broadcasted from a local grill/bar.  

The WCCO announcers and their producer were busy studying their notes for the upcoming 10:00 PM newscast. I managed to sneak in behind to get my picture taken.
Frank Vascellaro is second from the left and Chris Schaffer is on the far right. I had a great spot for viewing newscast. I am on the far left wearing a blue striped top.
The interesting thing is that Chris and Frank did not have teleprompters to use but notes scribbled on paper. When Chris did the weather he was looking down at his iPad for weather information.
I applaud WCCO for doing this 'Going to the Lakes ' series in winter and in summer. They target small communities that often do not get a lot of press encouraging others to come and visit the area.
WCCO researches each area visited and on their newscast highlights special attractions. Judging by the crowds this was a great community builder. 
We have had some very cold weather lately that has even forced schools to close. I am happy to report the weekend promises a warm-up just in time for Saturday's "Polar Plunge".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Whole Lotta Fun

A Recipe for Fun

5 boxes of Cheez-It Scrabble Junior

26 bags of Cheez-It Scrabble Junior 

= a whole lotta Kindergarten fun.

activity: sorting crackers in piles with letters that are alike 

bingo activity: each child has a bingo sheet with a different sight word on each square. The caller says the sight word and child places a Cheez-It that has the beginning letter of the sight word. Game plays like bingo. 
activity: a grid bingo sheet that has a lower case letter on each square. The caller shows a upper case letter and child places a cracker on a square with a matching lower case letter.   Game plays like bingo.

My daughter found this activity on Pinterest.  This social network site is gaining in popularity with teachers as a great classroom resource. 
I had never heard of Cheez-It Scrabble Junior. Now this is a product with lots of possibilities with young children for word and letter identification. And if you are one of those people who enjoy reading the cereal box in the morning than you'd probably like the back of this box to play for a quick scrabble game.   
Now I suppose you are wondering how this all works with children wanting to eat their bag of crackers. I was pleasantly surprised at the self restraint they showed. So we told them to eat any broken crackers before they started to sort.  

One last Cheez-It thought. If you were to guess... which letter do you think shows up the most in one box? 
I was surprised to find it was E :)

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...