Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day comes but once a year, but thoughts of Daddy go on forever. Whenever I make his world famous Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe, I know he’s nearby, helping me get it just right.

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My Dad loved to entertain. The son of a well known hostess, my grandmother, Daddy had grown up on the thrill and satisfaction of planning social affairs. In his later years, he loved bringing happiness to those around him, coming up with novel party touches for our gathered fun-seekers. When a get-together was planned at our home, therefore, a flurry of activity would ensue. First and foremost was the menu, as food and beverages were the star attractions.

Menu planning, therefore, was the reason my Dad clipped recipes constantly. From the newspaper; from any magazine that crossed his path; from a dish he favored at a restaurant that, “required,” he call the Chef to the dining room for a consultation, he was obsessed with having recipe resource files handy for ready reference. He wanted to be able to produce just the right treat at just the right time, to dependably provide what any social situation demanded, at a moment’s notice. Now, we must remember this was in the 1980s and 90s, before the widespread Internet, much less Pinterest, so keeping track of favorite foods required proactive forethought and a filing system.

And, what a filing system he had! Boxes and boxes of 3″ x 5″ cards in plastic file boxes filling up the bottom of a bookcase near his reading chair. Directly next to his chair was a table with a drawer holding his “clipping” supplies: an X-acto knife to accurately cut out the recipe, fresh 3″ x 5″ cards and a roll of Scotch Magic Tape. While the family talked after dinner, Daddy would be clipping and filing, delighted with his latest conquests and acquisitions. He would excitedly interrupt conversation to read recipes, wanting to see if they, “sounded good,” as we would, “Ooh!,” and, “Ah!,” his latest find.

My Dad's Ultimate Cole Slaw, recent recreations (click to enlarge)Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw, recently recreated (click to enlarge)

And, things proceeded predictably in such a fashion for years. The quiet rattling of the Washington Post Newspaper Wednesday Food Section, along with the opening and closing of the drawer in the table next to his chair. This, comfortably blanketed by the flickering cocoon of the TV screen, made for pleasant evenings, and now, warm memories. It was an idyllic suburban scene, that is, it was…until he became even more acutely obsessed with one particular dish: Cole Slaw.

How it happened and why it happened, I cannot be sure. There is a good chance he was refused the revelation of a Cole Slaw recipe at a church supper, and became determined to recreate the elusive dish. But, all I know is he started buying cabbages. Lots of cabbages. The cabbages marched into the refrigerator with carrots and seemingly endless jars of mayonnaise, followed by a legion or  two of fresh lemons. These were his art materials, and my grandmother’s Pyrex mixing bowls were his canvas.

Cole Slaw, he had decided was the perfect pot luck supper dish. It was inexpensive to make; was healthy and, “provided roughage.” That was Daddy’s Cole Slaw strategy. And, when one stopped to think about it, Cole Slaw was indeed the perfect side dish, fitting into any church supper array of serving tabled fancies.

And, so the search began. 3″ x 5″ file boxes were no longer adequate. He moved to taping Cole Slaw recipes to 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper. As he made a recipe in the kitchen, if it made the cut, it remained unsullied, but if it was rejected, it was crossed off, right through it, with a mighty, “X.” This frantic quest went on for months, but as the research continued, he began to fine tune his efforts.

He said he wanted a natural Cole Slaw, with a cold, not cooked dressing. One with a lemon, not vinegar base. He wanted the creaminess of mayonnaise, but not to have it, too “mayonnaisey,” because, “All that fat makes me sick.” He liked adding celery seeds, but not too many. And, for color, there should be one carrot, and one carrot only, grated in along with the cabbage. Salt and pepper should be added, and finally the Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe had been born.

And, I am ready to share it. Here, right now.

But, you must understand the recipe is presented with the same persnickety-ness of my Dad’s approach. In other words, he felt there was NO WAY to accurately represent the proportions like any other recipe, because, “…of COURSE that depends upon the size of your cabbage!” So, I am going to give his recipe to you and hope for the best. I am hoping you can bridge the gap, blending the simple flavors to your tastes and that, with a bit of research and development, you will come up with your own Cole Slaw recipe, sure to be an heirloom hit at friend and family gatherings.

Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw

1 Cabbage, cored, quartered and grated

1 Carrot, grated

Lemon juice to taste (I usually use three)

Granulated sugar to taste (Not overwhelming sweet…unless you like that)

Mayonnaise (Start with a cup and add, if needed, to make a runny dressing as you stir with a big spoon and the juices are released from the cabbage)

A sprinkle of whole Celery Seed. (Start with a TBSP, and see what you think.)

Salt and Pepper, to taste, then mix well and refrigerate.

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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:13 am Comments (2)
Feb 25 2013

Barbarian hordes visiting? Huns coming over for boardgames? Or, are you just spending a quiet afternoon at home with the fam? This recipe will keep you ahead of the pack. Maybe.

It was a Sunday like many others. We were enjoying the nothingness when organic corn chips in the kitchen apparently sounded an alarm. As if on cue, all testosterone laden individuals rose up from the couch in unison. Lock step they went into the kitchen to initiate a feeding frenzy. The target was home made nachos. And, “So what?,” I thought. It was the first of many mistakes I would make that day.

It was a nice calm Sunday until….

What could be the harm, I thought? Nachos on a Sunday afternoon. How sublime. But, that’s because I wasn’t in the kitchen to see two pounds of hamburger being cooked and stirred. Sure, I knew hamburger was cooking, but TWO POUNDS? Never would have it occurred to me.  I was a babe and uninitiated into the world of MACHO NACHOS. Katie bar the door!

Would two and a half pounds of chips be enough?

And, you know those BIG $5 bags of organic corn chips at COSTCO? The chips who felt macho enough to sound the nacho alarm in the first place? Well, it never would have occurred to me the ENTIRE BAG would be stacked up in a ROASTING PAN to make a corn chip mountain. Common sense would dictate reasonable portions, but no, the feeding frenzy preparation was in full swing.

Fit for a king or restaurant parties of ten.

A WHOLE JAR of organic jalapenos and TWO POUNDS of shredded Amish raw milk cheese complemented the TWO RIPE ORGANIC AVACADOS added to the WHOLE JAR of organic salsa. All of this was transported into the oven via a system of steampunk wenches, pullies and airlifts. The shear weight of the snack was too much to lift by human musculature alone as they were left to bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Ceiling Cam shot of the HALF PINT sour cream application.

And, none of this did I know until the roasting pan of MAN NACHOS  was wheeled out into the living room by a legion of gladiators using ropes and rolling wooden logs to lessen the friction of the roasting pan over the living room rug. I was left to feel the pain as chip crumbs, melted cheese, jalapeno juice and salsa seeds flew in my direction. I had to get out an old camping rain poncho to put on the weather the storm.

All of which leaves me to say it will be a long time before unsupervised chefs are allowed in the kitchen again. My life is a nightmare. Save. Me.

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Nov 26 2012

Traditional foods provide traditional health, the robust health carrying our human species down through the millennia.

When one is aware of their body and the preventative health measures the body can perform when it’s in working order, food as medicine becomes a profound concept. Every bite must be nutrient dense, full of building blocks to create and maintain the immune system that fights our microscopic battles. Every bite must provide vitamins and minerals so that metabolic cycles are able to finish their work manufacturing muscle, nerve, bone, connective and circulatory tissues. And, let’s not forget brain function. Every nerve in the central and autonomic nervous systems must be nutrient fed to function properly.

So, following the www.WestonAPrice.org food guidelines, even desserts can be nutrient dense. A great example is this gingerbread made with blackstrap molasses, a sweetener full of iron and other vitamins and minerals. This is the type of food served in Williamsburg, VA and in colonial America. This is the food served throughout the Civil War and up into the late 19th century when industrialization evolved from the improving of manufactured products into a movement to improve nature.

Rather than just mechanizing the labor required to grow agricultural products, chemists also tried to increase crop yield by implementing chemical growth products and pesticides. In the long run, these chemicals have lessened crop output.

In addition, monoculture, or the growing of one crop over immense acreage without a rotation of crops to replenish the soil, has had disastrous consequences. Far from improving food output, our quality of life is severely threatened due to these short sighted practices. Building up the land in an organic, sustainable manner is truly the only option for feeding the world.

Meet Joel Salatin, the leader in sustainable agriculture.

Blackstrap Gingerbread, all ingredients organic

2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup olive oil

Grease 8x8x2″ baking pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into a large bowl.  Beat eggs in a medium size bowl until frothy.

Stir in buttermilk, molasses and oil, mixing well.
Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing well.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes or so, or until top springs back when pressed.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Prick top with fork and pour on lemon sauce, stopping when pan is full, using rest for topping when serving.
Serve warm with Lemon Sauce.

Lemon Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan, mixing well.
Stir in boiling water and bring to boil again, stirring constantly.
Lower heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and clear.
Stir in butter, lemon rind and juice.
Pour over warm Blackstrap Gingerbread.

And, this spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.  🙂

Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 2:57 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)
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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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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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 BlogHer.com 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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Dec 14 2011

Now, organic sweet peppers can be grown in summer
and purchased in winter allowing inexpensive stuffed
peppers to be enjoyed all year long.

Who doesn’t like stuffed peppers? I was leading the pack on loving them, but always dreaded softening them up in boiling water as it seemed too much fuss and bother. Enter the radiant convention oven, the one I have made by The Sharper Image. What an option! By putting a small amount of filtered water in the bottom, the peppers steam and soften while they cook. Yay! One less thing to do.

To make stuffed peppers in a convection oven, don’t worry
about softening them in boiling water.  Just see how many
will fit in, cut the tops off and clean out pith and seeds.

I actually baked these peppers last August when the garden had so many peppers getting ripe, it was hard to imagine they would ever stop. But, as I photographed and readied the post for an August, I realized that although it would be timely with the seasonal pepper harvest, this recipe should be saved for Christmas. With all of the vivid red and green, I thought, this meal is a holiday affair, whether it likes it or not.

Make the stuffing by cooking two pounds of grass fed hamburger
with onion, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Add a glass jar of
organic spaghetti sauce
and two cups of uncooked basmati rice.
Fill skillet up with water and let cook down until rice is done.

We had only grown hot peppers before this year.  I don’t know why I felt intimidated to grow sweet peppers, how much different could they be? But, seeing them at the store, so large and radiant, I thought that surely we could not grow something so wonderful as they must be difficult. WRONG! They were a delightful treasure all summer long, produced prolifically and made us feel like real homestead gardeners.

Fill the raw sweet peppers with the rice mixture, top with
croutons and pats of grass fed organic butter. Pour in
filtered water, 1″ deep, so the peppers will be steamed.

Having so many, however, begged for stuffed peppers, but, as I mentioned, I always dreaded the tapping of my fingers, waiting for the water to boil and the dipping of the peppers in to the boiling water. In addition, I never could master the timing on when to take them out of the water. Underdone, they were too crunchy after baking and overdone, they tore, daring you to fill them and successfully stand them up in the baking pan. I found boiled peppers to be as cooperative as a couple of napless two year olds.

Sprinkle stuffed peppers with paprika and turn on the radiant
convection oven to 375° and cooked until peppers are wilted.

That’s when I decided to try and make stuffed peppers in my radiant convention oven. Especially beneficial in summer, when I avoid heating up the large kitchen oven and the rest of the house, the convention oven is a miraculous addition to any store of appliances. Sitting on the counter like a little space pod, it takes me where “no cook has gone before.” In short, I love the thing.

Wow! Here sweet stuffed peppers are aboard the
Mother Ship making yummies for our tummies.

With all of the voluptuous organic sweet peppers in the stores right now, grab a radiant convection oven at the store, or dust yours off after finding it in the cabinet, but please! Start enjoying this economical entree more often, because now you don’t have to deal with dipping the peppers in boiling water.  And, by filling the oven to capacity with stuffed peppers, you can make enough to get yourself or the family though more than one meal by cooking ahead for the week. Save a few for lunch and dinners, then individually wrap and freeze the rest. These freeze very well and can easily be heated up in the radiant convection oven for quick nourishment.

Once the peppers are wilted, cut slices of organic sharp
chedder raw milk cheese and place on top of the stuffing
of each pepper. Heat at 375° until cheese is melted.

Although I have had convection ovens since Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, made a splash with them in 1993, the heating element of the radiant convection oven makes it easier to brown and melt. It really is a nice feature and now, I wouldn’t want a convection oven without radiant heat. I bought my radiant convection oven by The Sharper Image at Bed, Bath and Beyond, using one of their great coupons AND waiting for a sale.

Here’s how the stuffed peppers looked just before
I turned off the oven to EAT THEM!

Christmas Stuffed Peppers are a tasty entree made easy by the convenience of a radiant convection oven. The sweet peppers can be filled raw and set standing in the oven to be steamed by adding about an inch of filtered water to the bottom of the oven bowl.  The radiant convection oven is a time saving, money saving addition to any kitchen as it uses far less power than a regular oven and doesn’t heat up the kitchen in hot summer weather. In addition, a radiant convection oven is easily cleaned by adding four inches of water and a few drops of soap.  By placing the top back on and turning the dial to “clean,” the oven will vortex the water without heat to emulsify any fat and make the bowl easy to rinse. You will be amazed at how fast food cooks and I bet, if you haven’t tried one before, you will decide its your favorite kitchen helper. See what you think! Thanks for stopping by and come back to see us!

NaBloPoMo 2011


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Filed under: Food,Recipes — admin @ 3:46 pm Comments (0)
May 31 2011

Raspberry Cheese Breakfast Bars are so good,
you’ll take one bite, yell “Yippee-Ya-Hoo!” and ask
“Where have you BEEN all my life?”

These Raspberry Cheese Breakfast Bars and I were destined to be friends. I copied this recipe from a source long forgotten before I made a point to reference my recipes and date my acquisitions, taking it back to at least the late 1960s. As I read the recipe and mentally visualized the forthcoming product, the bars sounded so good, I even had copied the recipe down on a three by five index card, intending to make it immediately. That intention fell by the wayside an unknown number of years ago. The index card was, thank goodness, tucked inside my family recipe book that I had long before I had a family: sort of a recipe “hope chest” in a notebook.

And so, fast forward to early 2000, when I did have my own family waiting to be fed. By that time, I had moved the card around in my recipe book for years, using it as a place holder and never giving it the attention it deserved. Until one day, all of a sudden I realized the card I keep moving around from page to page might just have a great recipe on it! And so, I baked a batch and couldn’t believe I had waited so long to try them. When I thought of all of the years I had let slip by without these Raspberry Cheese Breakfast Bars, I decided to make up for lost time and made a batch the next day and the next week and very often since then as well.

Raspberry Cheese Breakfast Bars

Note: All ingredients are organic with butter and cream cheese from grass fed cows and egg from free range chickens.

Mix and reserve 1 1/2 cup for topping:

1 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal (rolled oats)
1       cup whole wheat flour
1       cup sugar
1       cup flaked coconut
1       cup chopped nuts
3/4    cup soft butter
1/2    cup packed brown sugar

Pat remaining mixture in UNGREASED rectangular 9 x 13 inch pan

Spread with 1 cup raspberry jam

Bake 15 minutes at 350°and cool for 5 minutes


1/3   cup sugar
1      egg
1      8oz package cream cheese

Drop blobs over jam and smooth to cover.

Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top of cream cheese layer.

Bake until golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.

Cut into 36 bars, 2″ x 1 1/2.”

So, what I am telling you is to MAKE THESE BARS RIGHT AWAY! Don’t let this recipe sit on your computer, or if you print it out, on your desk, or if you write it on an index card like I did, in your recipe book “hope chest.” Make them right now, TODAY! You’ll be glad you did and…

…you will save yourself longing for the
 time you could have spent together.

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Dec 24 2010

Sugar Plums are a delightful, old fashioned treat.
Easy to make and healthy to eat, they do not require baking.

How to Make Sugar Plums
a recipe from Elizabeth LaBau


Ingredients for Sugar Plums

  • 3 oz (1/2 cup) chopped pitted dates
  • 3 oz (1/2 cup) chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) dried cranberries
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) chopped prunes
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp fruit jam
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Mix Fruit and Nuts

Start by placing the chopped dates, walnuts, cranberries, prunes, and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor. If you don’t have a processor you can do it by hand and just chop everything together until it’s in very small pieces and starts sticking together.

So once all of your fruits and nuts are in the work bowl, pulse the processor several times until everything is in small pieces and is well-mixed.

Add Ingredients and Mix into a Ball

Now add the jam, cinnamon, and cloves. Give it several long pulses until the mixture begins to come together in a ball. Here’s a bit of trivia while you’re mixing: sugarplums get their name from the prunes, or dried plums, in the recipe.

Stop and check it once it starts to come together: when you press it between your fingers it should hold itself in a ball, but you want to retain some texture and be able to see individual pieces of fruit and nuts. Don’t blend it so much that it turns into a sticky paste!

Roll Candy through Sugar

To finish your sugarplums, place the granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll the candy into small balls, and roll them in the granulated sugar. To make it a bit healthier, you could roll them in chopped nuts or coconut instead.

How to Serve and Store Sugar Plums

To keep things neat, serve them in paper candy cups. These sugarplums last for weeks if you keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This mixture also makes an amazing natural energy bar, so you can enjoy the fruity, nutty flavors year-round.

To watch Elizabeth LaBau make her Sugar Plums, click here.

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