Nov 19 2012

Afternoon tea is a big deal at our house. I figure if it’s good enough for the Queen of England, it’s good enough for me.

Somehow the moment to just sit down, do nothing and say, “Miller Time” is very restorative. With that, and my afternoon nap, I figure I can get in two full eight hours days of work. And, if others are home to share the moment, so much the better. There is something about the ritual of preparing the tea pot that allows anticipation, while encouraging contact among the participants.

But, surely everyone has enjoyed a pot of tea and the experience surrounding it. This isn’t necessarily news. What is it I want to share?

I have to let you know about the latest tea wrinkle I’ve found. Tea flowers. The TeaPosy or tied bundles of fine teas that are drawn up into packets to blossom in a clear glass pot of boiling water.


The music, the vistas and the tea. Ah-h-h-h!

We happened upon them in a gift shop on vacation about five years ago and have been fascinated with them ever since. Not only is the tea delicious, but the visual appeal is a show stopper. I can’t think of anything else so elegant, unless it is a silver tray full of baby eclairs and petit fours to go along with the tea.

If you like the possibility of this sublime distraction as much as I do, go to visit the TeaPosy web site by clicking here.


 Glass blowers create pots to show off each TeaPosy

With the holidays almost here, mail ordering these works of art might be a good idea. I am always amazed at the relatively low prices, especially when one watches the videos to see all of the perfection required to produce each tea flower and glass pot.

Now, having afternoon tea is an unfolding display for all the senses.  


Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 3:30 am Comments (2)
Nov 18 2012

I have had the good fortune to live in many progressive, avant garde, hippy, yuppy, far out places.

And I’ve had a great sense of timing, from attending the University of Colorado at Boulder when Mork & Mindy were popular on TV in the late 1970s, to living in Upstate New York near Ithaca, the academic home of Cornell University.

In the story line of Mork & Mindy, Mindy ran a retail store on the chi-chi Pearl Street Mall in the middle of Boulder, Co. I could tell my friends back home that the athletic track where Mork stood during the beginning credits was where I ran in my running class.

And, being in Colorado, I learned to cook out of the Moosewood Cookbook as everyone did, never dreaming that someday, when I went to graduate school, I would be in Ithaca, New York, to taste the food for myself at the Moosewood Restaurant.

A pillar of vegetarian philosophy.

From the Moosewood Restaurant web site: “Moosewood, Inc. is a collectively owned business with nineteen members who share responsibilities and participate in the various jobs necessary to run what has grown from a very small natural foods restaurant to become a larger and more diversified company. Most members of the Collective have worked together for at least 15 years, and some since the restaurant’s inception in 1973. The restaurant is further staffed by a talented and dedicated group of employees whom we truly appreciate and without whom we could not operate.

With our emphasis on healthful natural foods cuisine, Moosewood Restaurant has operated successfully for thirty-eight years and has been acclaimed as a driving force in the world of creative vegetarian cooking. Moosewood was named one of the “thirteen most influential restaurants of the 20th Century” by Bon Appétìt magazine. We started in an era when many alternative businesses began, and we feel incredibly grateful to have endured, thrived and had a positive impact.

So, being in the arts, I have traveled with trendy people, although I was more of a follower than a trend setter. Living an artsy lifestyle, I learned to do and espouse trendy things.

While most of my Denver, CO friends have probably moved on to the latest current fashions, now after almost thirty five years, I am still espousing the many “fiberatorial benefits” of homemade granola. And, having made granola for as many years, I consider myself greatly accomplished. What a delight it is to make, to store and to eat. So much golden goodness at a reasonable cost, I’ve now decided to share my recipe.

Organic Granola, freshly toasted from the oven.

Sunbonnet Smart Organic Granola

Mix in a BIG bowl:

12 c.      Organic Old Fashioned Oats
1c.         Organic Sunflower Seeds
1 – 2 c.   Organic Raw Wheat Germ
1 c.        Organic coarsely chopped Walnuts
1 c.        Organic coarsely chopped Cashews
1/2c.      Organic Sesame Seeds

Heat 1 c. (or more to taste) Organic Raw Honey with 3/4 c. organic Coconut Oil
Remove Honey and Oil from heat. Let cool a bit and add 1 teas. Organic Vanilla

Mix dry goods with hot honey, oil and vanilla.   Gently stir until evenly combined.

Spread on cookie sheet with sides that has been covered with parchment paper.

Toast in a 300F degree oven until golden, stirring every now and then. The times can varying greatly depending on how deep the granola is on the cookie sheet. Empty the batches in to a second big bowl.

Once all the granola has been toasted, stir the different batches together in the second big bowl.

Add 1 c. Organic Shredded Coconut and 1 c. Organic Raisins or Currents once the granola has cooled and stir well.

Store in an airtight container.  I use 1/2 gallon Mason Jars.

This granola is delicious eaten with shredded Organic Apple and Raw/Real Milk.

Filed under: Food,Organic — admin @ 3:37 am Comments (0)
Nov 16 2012

Laine, Elaine S. Griffin, from Elaine Griffin Designs, and I should really do a commercial for Wegman’s.

She lives in New York State like I used to and New York is the land of Wegman’s. Or at least it was. There was a long time that Wegman’s was only in  New York, but now they have branched out to spread their goodness over six states including, New York Pennsylvania Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

I have been doing a happy dance for about a year, ever since Wegman’s arrived in Maryland because they are just the best grocery store I have ever seen. From their fresh bountiful vegetables to their fresh seafood department, each area is a store in itself, it is so large. And, the prices! Wegman’s has the best prices and quality of any grocery store around.

We went to Wegman’s in Frederick, MD on Thursday, November 15, 2012, shopped and had lunch. Not only do they have a real sit down restaurant in Wegman’s, but also all sorts of buffets and a big dinning area where you’re free to bring your purchases, sit on the comfy couches and enjoy your food.

And they blog! Woo-Woo! Their extensive web site includes a blog area where they feature all of the writers that contribute to their newsletters and blog.

With Wegman’s it’s not all window dressing. They are committed to health and consumer well being. They have an amazing selection of organic products, having whole green house full of the organic vegetables they grow and distribute.

And, lets not forget the Wegman’s YouTube Channel which can be found on their web site as well. Professional videos, expertly done with state of the art information to improve every family’s lives. Why, here are two examples:

Wegman’s is up to date with their nutritional information
 promoting eggs, grass fed beef and potatoes.

Wegman’s encourages Nourishing Traditions using
healthy foods as preventative medicines.

With some women it’s furs, with others, it’s diamonds, but with me, it’s Wegman’s. There is nothing I like better than going to Frederick for our shopping trips to get the best food at the best prices. And I’m glad they’re in Maryland and we don’t have to drive for eight hours up I-81 to shop in New York like we used to twice a year, just to visit Wegman’s.

That’s why, whenever I go to Wegman’s, I send out a bunch of Instagram photos because I’m so happy to be there.

I want to document the good times rolling out at the best grocery store in the world. Eh, Laine?

Filed under: Food,Health — admin @ 2:28 pm Comments (0)
Nov 13 2012

I can’t remember where I saw them, but it had to have been on Pinterest.From whence else would they come?

Or something like that. At any rate, just seeing a photo was memorable. I couldn’t resist making the Corn Dog Muffins that were calling me out to the kitchen to bake.

Just place a third of an hot dog in corn muffin batter.

Ever since discovering Corn Dogs in upstate New York at the County Fairs, I have always thought it was a shame they couldn’t be made at home, especially now that we only eat organic.

As much as I like them, I was never motivated to do the frying, even when I saw how easily they could be coated by pouring the corn meal batter into a tall glass on The Food Network. Just couldn’t get from A to B on that, call me crazy.

Cook at the oven temperature used in your muffin recipe

But, when I saw the Corn Dog Muffins on Pinterest, and it must have been Pinterest, the bottomless pit of all things crafty, I realized many strategic Corn Dog making problems had finally been solved.

What could be simpler? One makes organic corn muffins, filling the greased muffin pan wells 3/4 full of batter and just jams a third of an organic hot dog in each one.

Voici le Muffin de Mais Chien, or something like that as far as Google Translate is concerned.

Corn Dog Muffins

I’m doing some French here because, you know, French makes things fancy, and Corn Dog Muffins sound sorta’ basic. They could use some class. I started learning things like that on The Food Network when we got cable and want to pass it along.

You heard it here, first.

Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 2:53 pm Comments (1)
Nov 09 2012

I absolutely love tomatoes. I love growing and eating them.

There is nothing that says “summer” to me more than tomato plants growing in the backyard, well, except maybe going to the beach, but that’s another story.

I got my love of growing tomatoes from Punch ‘n Gro kits when I was a kid. They were handy little planters of vermiculite filled plastic trays. The directions explained to punch a pencil point through the plastic wells, water and turn the clear plastic top over to make a little greenhouse. Punch ‘n Gro had the tomato seeds in the vermiculite, under the wells of the inverted lid, so if I followed the simple directions, I got plants. Yippee!

A Punch ‘n Gro ad from the late 1970s.

I didn’t know the strategy of planting tomato plants back then. Like, for instance, now, I always am sure to plant them in organic soil three days before the full moon in February; I use temperature controlled heat mats and Bio-domes table greenhouses. I always transplant them three times, lowering the plant in the soil each time so the stem produces more roots. No, back them, things were simple. Whenever my Dad bought me a Punch ‘n Gro, I would punch it and grow it, and plant the plants in the garden.

But, now, no matter how my tomato garden happens, whether I start them from seed or buy a more exotic heirloom tomato plant from the nursery, the whole experience, start to finish, brings me a great deal of joy.

August tomatoes sunning themselves by the window.

So, after waiting all summer for the tomato plants to grow, set flowers and ripen fruits, we get to harvest. A bountiful harvest is soon followed, within the hour, by the world’s best tomato sandwiches.

Oh! They are so good. Organic Ezekiel Bread, which is a sprouted wheat, flour-less bread and organic mayonnaise, along with sliced tomatoes and Real Salt. For those who insist, and I do, some coarse grind pepper is a luscious addition.

I am uncontrollable around tomato sandwiches.

And I bet you think I’m sad because I can’t have a tomato sandwich right now, but Ha! You’d be wrong. I still have tomatoes from the garden and I can eat a tomato sandwich tonight with all of the trimmings, while you probably can’t. Sucks being you, unless you live near Whole Foods.  🙂

Addendum after pointed Comments by close friends: OK. OK. There ARE other places to get heirloom tomatoes for a tomato sandwich this time of year besides Whole Foods and me. FatCat orders them and Laine shops at wonderful Wegman’s. That does limit my greedy, self-centered pleasure somewhat, but I’ll try to get over it.

Life is good. Lip smacking, tomato sandwich in November good.

If you are interested in tomato secrets, I encourage you to purchase this crazy e-book about a family of generational tomato growers.

It’s full of great hints. I bought it in 2008 and have greatly increased my yield.

And! It’s time to think about ordering heirloom tomato seeds.

Filed under: Food,Veg Garden — admin @ 3:29 pm Comments (0)
May 22 2012

Hey there, SunbonnetSmart fans and devotees!

Having been off to parts unknown for a week, it is time to get back in the BlogHer posting saddle and get something up to amuse and delight you.

Straight from my husband’s cruising on the Internet, I will let you decide whether, from this point forward, he should be left alone, unsupervised on the computer. I’m leaning toward full oversight.

Tired of competing with HomeRearedChef in sharing the culinary spotlight, I present to you, Turtle Burgers, which will surely pull traffic from that “seafood soup” she put up this week.

This recipe is straight from Greek Yogurt & Apple Slices

There is no better novelty for the coming Memorial Day weekend, than Turtle Burgers. If you haven’t seen this captivating part of Americana, look no further. SunbonnetSmart is bringing it to you in living color.

And, with a chef, equal to Julia Child, commandeering the instructional video to plumber crack perfection

Make Turtle Burgers for family and friends this weekend.
Gather some extra cash by selling them at the Quickie Mart.

I LOVE this Comment under the video:
“Only in America. I salute you sir.”


NaBloPoMo May 2012

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Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 5:02 pm Comments (0)
Feb 29 2012

Carrots are hearty root vegetables that are easily stored for winter.

When times are tough, or even when they’re not, where can you buy ten pounds of organic food for $6.00? COSTCO, that’s where, and probably other places as well, but COSTCO is amazing as they have a number of organic foods I wasn’t expecting at such a large “big box” store. And ten pounds of organic food is ten pounds of organic goodness that can fill lots of tummies for quite a while.

I am talking about COSTCO’s organic carrots, which are the deal of the century. You just have to like carrots and yet be aware that if you eat too many at once, you can turn orange from the carrot coloring, carotene. But, other than that, these handy root vegetables will store for quite a while as long as you take them out of their plastic bags and put them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.

Slicing carrots into “Copper Pennies” begins a
side dish that will become a family treat.

COSTCO carrots, I found are even cheaper, in other areas of the country. While ten pounds of COSTCO Organic Carrots are between six and seven dollars outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, the COSTCO web site shows that ordering on-line allows you to buy ten pounds of organic carrots for, if you can believe it, $ 4.99, plus some shipping and handling, I’m sure.

Overall, carrots are a great addition to any frugal household hoping to sustain life on grated carrot raisin salad, vegetable soup, carrot cake or carrot juice. Why, one could make a whole seven course meal using carrots every step of the way. This is not beginning to mention, however, the best use of all for carrots, making Copper Pennies.

Fill a saucepan with the sliced carrots and cover
with filtered water and some pinches of Real Salt.

When the carrots have cooked, but are still firm
enough to hold their shape and not become mush,
pour off the water.

Food fantasies were big at our house when I was a kid. My dad, more than my mother, tried to make things “kid friendly” and would come up with names for things he thought we might not want to eat. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the real reason he was watching out for us. He, himself, didn’t like the serving choices and that’s why he thought he had to make them fun for us. That’s why we had “Liver Candy” for calves liver and “Baby Cabbages” for Brussels sprouts, in addition to “Copper Pennies” for cooked carrots.

Melt some grass fed organic better in a pan with
organic brown sugar. Add carrots and stir to heat through
and coat with yummy candy-like goodness.

And I suppose I continued the fun food naming trend when my kids were small. There was nothing they liked more than a little bowl of frozen peas. We called them “Pea-sicles,” named after Popsicle brand frozen ice confections.

We Serve our Copper Pennies with sour cream,
walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar, all organic.

This making “much over nothing” to bring smiles to the face of a child is lots of fun for adults as well. Coincidentally, the art of entertaining children reminds me of a post I read this week on BlogHer: It will be like an Amusement Park…only Better. A fanciful, creative post by BlogHer “dvorakoelling,” relatively new to our BlogHer world, but already participating handily.

Much like my Dad and I making up little fantasies to tickle a kid, Dvora explains how she took kiddie playacting to new heights when she turned her local supermarket and shopping mall into a Disney World of sorts. I read enchantingly as Dvora described bringing the fun of a trip to FantasyLand to her seventeen month old daughter by using their cooperative imaginations to turn shopping carts into bumper cars and mall escalators into rides. It sounds like they had fun, and I know I did as well, as I read along with Dvora, thinking of my Dad’s tricks to make everyday special. What a childhood rich in love I had with my Dad and Dvora’s daughter, Em, is enjoying everyday with her Mom, today.

I got to thinking, simple games are like COSTCO carrots: both are nourishing; both cost little.

In a world of expensive clothes, plastic and trinkets, these thoughts really made me smile!

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 2:35 pm Comments (0)
Feb 16 2012

Health food stores have been around for a long time, at least for fifty years that I can remember. Consumer demand has steady empowered the health food and supplement industry to spiral upward. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, health food stores consisted of mainly vitamin shops. Now health food stores are full service department food stores with rows of organic products, meats and seafood in addition to their vitamin selections.

We love Applegate Hot Dogs. They are real
hot dogs made with good cuts of organic beef
without preservatives

The old ideas of health foods tasting bland and of cardboard have dropped out of existence. Thank goodness the misnomer that if things are “good for you,” they must taste bad has been replaced. Now there are many fully organic products allowing tasty GMO-free, pesticide free foods to be included in healthy diets.

Remember that most corn and wheat are genetically modified, the components of which do not metabolize properly and then accumulate in the kidneys and liver. Be sure, therefore, that your breads, cookies, cakes and hot dog rolls are organic, which also means they cannot contain GMO ingredients.

It is possible to have organic hot dogs that
actually taste MUCH BETTER than the ones most
of us had as children.

As your body gets healthier and rids itself of toxic poisons, you will eventually want to be more and more careful that your organic foods are really organic and by reputable companies. When first starting to get well, however, don’t try to make massive changes all at once. Odds are, the foods labeled organic are still better than what you have been eating everyday in the processed and restaurant food world.

Organic condiments insure a
satisfying hot dog lunch.

Once you really, REALLY get on the path to wellness, you will be making your own condiments from recipes in Nourishing Traditions, the back to basic health recipe book by Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The best condiments are fermented like they used to be and provide natural probiotics for a healthy gut and digestion. But, until then, use organic products that will get you on your way.

Boy, I hope these look good to you.  I thought they
looked good when I took the photo, but tonight, maybe
I’m just tired…I think I could have made them a
little more appealing. They tasted GREAT, though!
…lights, camera, ACTION!


NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 04 2012

First in a series of three.

The Maryland Food Co-op: waiting for me to drop in since 1975.

On Friday, I again found myself at College Park, Maryland, home of the University of Maryland Terrapins. At the same time, in finding the Terrapins’ home, I also returned to the home of my once and previous self. Having gone to undergraduate school in College Park in the early 1970s, it would be twenty years before I returned this  time as a wife of a USMC Marine who was attending on the GI bill. Little did I know then, that in another twenty years the kids who were running around in diapers with the “My Dad’s a Terp” t-shirts would be attending classes and I would be waiting for them in class, just like I had been twenty years before with my husband.

It seems many current students have no sense
of the stargate in the corner.

So where would I be expected to wait comfortably? Why in the Maryland Food Co-op in the Student union building with Fair Trade coffee and organic food, of course. And how would I entertain myself for two hours while I’m there? By reading a book I just received in the mail from a friend. I was looking forward to a pleasant repast, totally unaware that the Maryland Food Co-op is actually a Star-gate worm holing into an alternate dimension. I was totally unaware when I sat down with my coffee, tabouli and vegan burrito that the entrance was near where I would be sitting in the chair. It wasn’t until I heard a whisper from Kermit the Frog that I realized this visit to the Co-op would be unlike any other.

Kermit beckons from over the Free Trade coffee,
showing the way to the stargate behind me

Kermie and I go way back, but not as far back as Kermit and the University of Maryland. Jim Henson, the genius puppeteer behind Kermit and the rest of the Muppets, was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Henson was a Studio Arts Major when he took a puppetry course in Maryland’s Department of Home Economics, changing his life and the rest of the world as well. The same world sadly lost Henson at age 53 in 1990, and ever since, the University has remembered him with tributes large and small.

Jim Henson and his Kermit the Frog sit chatting in front
of the University of Maryland Student Union.

Tomorrow: Join me for Kermit’s stargate A Wrinkle in College Park

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Filed under: Food,Processing — admin @ 6:37 pm Comments (0)
Jan 28 2012

Crab au Gratin will make you feel like a Marylander. Welcome!

One of the neatest things I ever did was get a job as a waitress. But, not just as any waitress, although I have been just any waitress since then, for I was a “Phillips Girl.” In Maryland, when kids graduate from high school, they all head to Ocean City to celebrate. And so did I. I was eighteen and I loved it at the beach, so I decided to go to Phillips Crab House and get a job. It was a job that would change my life, for many reasons, talking about The Repercussions of Unanticipated Acts, as the topic was discussed on But, I could make fifty posts about all of that, so it will have to wait, because…

A Phillips Crab House postcard from the early 1970s.

The reverse of the Phillips Crab House postcard above.

…I want to tell you about Maryland Crab au Gratin. When I worked at Phillips, it was on the menu and, as you can see from the prices, that was a while back. Phillips Crab au Gratin was on lumps of back fin crab meat, seasoned as only Phillips could. I’ve taken Phillips Crab Imperial, posted on their web site years ago, and added cheese as an au gratin tribute to my favorite Ocean City memories.

A cardboard Phillips Crab House Menu from the early 1970s.

A menu close up showing Crab au Gratin 1970s pricing.


Sunbonnet Smart Heritage Recipes

Crab au Gratin using
Phillips Crab House Crab Imperial Recipe

Crab Imperial
Yield: 6 servings
1 lb Phillips Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 egg
1 tsp Phillips Seafood Seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 oz  Hellman’s Mayonnaise
1 tsp melted butter

6 ramekins for baking
Pinch of paprika

Imperial Sauce (Don’t use for the Crab au Gratin.)
3 oz Hellman’s Mayonnaise
1 oz half & half
½ tsp Phillips Seafood Seasoning
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Combine all Crab Imperial ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE CRAB. Whip until smooth. Add crab and GENTLY toss to avoid breaking the lumps. Divide into ramekins and bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes. Combine ingredients for Imperial Sauce and whip until smooth.  Top each ramekin with Imperial Sauce and a pinch of paprika and broil until golden brown.

For Sunbonnet Smart Crab au Gratin:

1 one quart flat au gratin cookware to be used instead of 6 ramekins
½ lb good sharp cheddar cheese

I make the Crab Imperial from Phillips and use it without the Imperial Sauce. Place the Crab Imperial in a greased one quart flat au gratin cookware and bake at 400° for 15-20minutes.  Remove from oven and add shredded cheddar cheese to cover and sprinkle with paprika and Phillips seafood seasoning, if desired. Put under broiler until cheese is melted and just starting to brown.

I usually double the recipe by getting 2 lbs of Phillips Crab Meat at COSTCO, 1 lb lump and 1 lb backfin. That doubles the recipe to make two 1 quart flat au gratin cookware portions, one to eat and one to wrap well and freeze. I don’t put the cheese on when freezing the second one. I put it on after baking.

Early in the last century a boy, Ivy Flowers, swam across Tar Bay to Hoopers Island, Maryland to see a girl.  During the same period, Captain Augustus Elsworth Phillips, Jr. was the captain of the cargo schooner, McCready. Brice Phillips and Shirley Flowers, the children of these two men from the Chesapeake, would marry and have two sons, Steve and Jeffrey. With the family’s Hoopers Island packing plant as a base, the Phillips would create a worldwide empire based upon their relationship with the crab. This is the story of that family. It is also the story of the Empires of the Crab.

If you have an interest, hover your
mouse over this link: Empires Of The Crab

Amazon Review:  “This eloquently written book is more than biography, it is an evocative social-study of one family’s travel from a Chesapeake Bay backwater to modernity. Brice and Shirley Phillips were born and raised on a remote island-promontory jutting into the sea on the eastern side of Chesapeake Bay. They grew up in the crab-processing business. While preserving that, they gravitated to the seafood restaurant business, one thing including much hard work led to another, and they prospered. Their son pioneered crab processing in the Phillippines, Malaysia and mainland Asia, and the Phillips enterprise is now respected globally.”

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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NaBloPoMo November 2012