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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Aug 31, 2012

Family Friday Cinnamon Rolls - Kathleen Low

A few weeks ago, some of my coworkers had to work on a Sunday.  Management provided breakfast, I tweaked it with these cinnamon rolls.  I really like them not only because they are my mother's recipe, but because they are not overly sweet.  You can select the amount of butter/cinnamon/sugar you like, maybe even go crazy and add some fresh nutmeg.  I topped mine with a very light coating of butter cream frosting.

  1 Cup Milk                                                                              1/4 Cup Warm Water
  1/4 Cup Butter                                                                         1/4 Cup Sugar
  2 Eggs                                                                                      3 Cup Flour
  1 Cake Compressed Yeast                                                      

Heat milk to luke warm, add yeast which has been dissolved in warm water.  Add 2 cups flour and beat well.   Cover and let rise double, add salt sugar, melted butter and egg and let it rise again.  Roll out.  Cover with cinnamon, butter and sugar.  Roll, cut, place in pan. Let raise.  Heat oven to 350 and bake.

Aug 30, 2012

Baked Southwest Stew

I had frozen corn remaining from last year and fresh tomatoes from this year.  Leftover marinade from steaks the night before and a can of black beans led to this concoction.  We ate it both as a stew with tortilla chips crushed in it and as a dip, using the tortilla chips to scoop it.  Next time, I think I might cook it half way then top it with corn bread batter to finish.  The Lawry's Baja Chipolte Marinade worked wonders in this recipe.  If you don't like things extra spicy, omit the red hot.  I, on the other hand, used Franks Red Hot Extra Hot.

15 Ounce Black Beans, Drained And  Rinsed            3/4 Cup Lawry's Baja Chipolte Marinade
3 Cups Corn                                                            1 Tbl Frank's Red Hot
1 1/2 Cups Diced Tomatoes                                      11 Ounce Chicken Breast, Cubed

Spray a 13 - 9 pan with non stick cooking spray, set aside**.  Heat oven to 450.
Combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, marinade, red hot and chicken.  Stir thoroughly.  Pour into pan and roast for 25 - 30 minutes.

**If you prefer, you can cook this in a slow cooker on high for 3 - 4 hours.

Aug 29, 2012

Corn and Potato Chowder

This the season for potatoes and corn at you farmers market and in your CSA.  Try this chowder on a cool evening.

    1/2 Lb Bacon                               4 Cups Potato, Diced

    3 Tsp Garlic, Minced                   1 1/2 Cups Carrot, Shredded

    1 Cup Green Pepper, Chopped    3 Cups Corn

    Salt, To Taste                               1 Cup Milk

    Pepper, To Taste                           1/2 Tsp Thyme

    2 Tbl Flour                                   Pinch Cayenne

    4 Cups Chicken Stock    

Cook bacon in a soup pot until crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Remove most of the grease from the pan, keeping enough to sautee the vegetables.  Toss in the green peppers and garlic., cook until garlic is fragrant.  Sprinkle flour on vegetables, add broth and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook until potatoes are soft.  Add the carrots and corn and simmer 5 minutes more.  Stir in the milk, thyme, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over low heat until just beginning to simmer.  Stir in crumbled bacon.

Aug 28, 2012

Potatoes and Rice - Oh Mh

Recently, a friend of mine posted about Arborio rice.  That post started my wheels spinning - what is the difference between rice.  Originally, I wanted to cover every type of rice - White, brown, black, mahogany, basmati, arborio.....the list went on, and on.......and on..........that idea was quickly squashed.  So the above chart is a general overview of white and brown rice - the two types that most of us are familiar with.  The weight for all is 100 grams.

I was not surprised to find that the lowly russet potato had fewer calories, but I was surprised at the number of fewer calories.  I use a lot of arborio rice making risotto, but when I need rice for a dish otherwise, I usually use brown or a black/mahogany mix.  White rice is a rice that has been processed to remove the husk, bran and germ removed.  You are essentially left with just a starch.  The amount of starch varies between short, medium and long grains.  The packaging of the rice says not a significant value of some things, such as protein, but it is still there.  There are pages and pages of data available about rice varieties and many types to try.  I found many of them in my local grocery store in the organic section, but I have yet to find Forbidden Rice.  Maybe in Manhattan on our trip?

Aug 27, 2012

Coconut Rice Pudding

I love rice pudding.  I love it even more made this way - coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes and powder really make it known as coconut.

  1 Qt 1% Milk                                                                       14 Ounce Coconut Milk
  2 Cups Water                                                                       3/4 Cup flaked coconut
  1 Cup arborio rice                                                                 1/3 Cup coconut powder
  1/2 Cup sugar                                                                         

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, rice and sugar with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 30 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is very tender and the liquid is thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a medium saucepan, toast the flaked coconut over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden. Transfer to a plate and repeat with coconut powder.  Stir coconut into pudding.

Aug 26, 2012

Week 34 - 42.73

This week, I learned about Lake Louise recreation area at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website

Lake Louise
Lake Louise was made in 1932, when the south fork of Wolf Creek was dammed. Water depth in this 164-acre impoundment averages nine feet, with a maximum depth of 25 feet. Anglers and hunters come to this area for its abundant game. The park is located in the heart of pheasant and duck country.

I should be turning north toward North Dakota by next week.

Aug 24, 2012

Skillet Cookies - Kathleen Ronk

My mother often told me that these were my sister's favorite cookies.  They are quite good, and I am partial to the coconut on the outside.   DO NOT try and double this recipe - it doesn't end well.  I really like the fact that I can find the dates in my local Giant's bulk food section.

    1 Tbl Butter    2 1/2 Cup Rice Krispies

    1 Cup Sugar    1 Cup Nuts, Chopped

    2 Large Eggs    Coconut

    1 Cup Dates    

Put butter, sugar, egg and dates in skilled and cook until mixture looks like scrambled eggs.  remove from heat.  Add 2 1/2 cups

rice krispies and nuts.  roll into balls and roll in coconut.

Aug 23, 2012

Tortilla Chips

I know, there are many, many varieties of corn chips available in your supermarket aisle.  Why make your own?  What if Lou want a different, or smaller, shape?  Let's not think about reading the back of the make your own.

It's easy - all you need is an oil that withstands high heat (I use sunflower) and corn tortillas.

Heat the oil in a skillet while you cut the tortillas into the shapes and sizes you want.  Fry in batches until golden brown, remove from oil and season.

That's it.  They go great in yesterday's soup.

Aug 22, 2012

Pinto Bean Soup

This soup can be made with vegetable stock to make it a vegetarian dish.  The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes a fairly small amount and it freezes well.

  1 Cup Dry Pinto Beans   + water to soak                                2 Tsp cumin
  1 Head Roasted Garlic                                                           4 Cup Chicken Stock
  1.5 Cup Roma Tomatoes, Diced                                              3 1/2 Cup Water
  2 Tsp Dried Basil                                                                   4 Ounce Diced Chilies
  1 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika                                                  6 Ounce Baby Spinach
  1 1/2 Tbl chili powder                                                            

Cover the pinto beans with water and soak over night.  The next morning: Drain and rinse the pinto beans and add them to the bowl of a slow cooker. To the beans, add the garlic, tomatoes, oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, broth, water and chilies.  Cook on low 6 hours. Once the time has passed, turn the cooker to warm, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the spinach.  Let sit until spinach has wilted.  Serve with tortilla strips.

Aug 21, 2012

Just Call

Recently, we had to travel for an illness in the family at the very last-minute.  Chances of finding a kennel for an undetermined length of time?  Slim to none, so we had two choices - one of us didn't go or find a pet friendly hotel.  Here is what I found that may be helpful to you:

1. is an excellent start to your pet friendly hotel search.  They gave me an excellent list to start from and, while I did not book through them this time, they are very helpful when booking online or by phone.

2.  Always ask what the pet policy is - it will keep you from being caught in a difficult situation.  The first hotel I booked had an additional pet fee - not unusual.  They also had a policy that the pet should not be left unattended.   We were going to a hospital and she is not a certified therapy dog - taking her was not an option, that is why we were taking her portable kennel.  Had I not asked, we would have been in a bind.

3.  Always call the hotel in question - I have found that most Best Western's are dog friendly, but not on  Not only did calling give us another option, it saved us money.  The website showed that they were all booked, but calling allowed me to find that they keep a room for hospital families at a special rate.   Instead of $149, it was $82 (plus the $15 pet fee)

Go forth and travel with your dog - it is a lot of fun and, even in situations like this, less stressful.

Aug 19, 2012

Week 33 - 45.87

Still crossing South Dakota.  This week, some trivia from - check out the site for 30 additional facts:

  1. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum began drilling into the 6,200-foot Mount Rushmore in 1927. Creation of the Shrine to Democracy took 14 years and cost a mere $1 million, though it's now deemed priceless.
  2. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are sculpted into Mount Rushmore the world's greatest mountain carving.
  3. Fossilized remains of life 50 million years ago have been arranged in unusual forms, which is Lemmon's mark of distinction at the world's largest petrified wood park.
  4. Perhaps the most significant fur trade/military fort on the western American frontier, Fort Pierre Chouteau was the largest (almost 300' square) and best equipped trading post in the northern Great Plains. Built in 1832 by John Jacob Astor's (1763-1848) American Fur Company as part of its expansion into the Upper Missouri region, the trading activities at the site exemplified the commercial alliance critical to the success of the fur business.
  5. Jack McCall was tried, convicted and hanged two miles north of Yankton in 1877 for the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Yankton cemetery.
  6. The site of a rich gold strike in 1875, Deadwood retains its mining town atmosphere. While Deadwood is one of the most highly publicized mining towns of the trans-Mississippi West, much of its fame rests on the famous or infamous characters that passed through.
  7. Tom Brokaw of NBC graduated from Yankton High School and the University of South Dakota.
  8. Belle Fourche is the geographical center of the United States of America, designated in 1959 and noted by an official marker and sheepherder's monument called a "Stone Johnnie".
  9. Bowdle is known for the tallest water tower in South Dakota.
  10. Clark is the Potato Capital of South Dakota. Clark is home to the world famous Mashed Potato Wrestling contest.
  11. In 1803, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, a real-estate deal that at the time doubled the size of the United States.
  12. South Dakota is the home of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes, which make up the Sioux Nation.
  13. Custer State Park is home to a herd of 1,500 free-roaming bison. Bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. Historically, the bison played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing and shelter.
  14. Jewel Cave is the third-longest cave in the world. More than 120 miles of passages have been surveyed. Calcite crystals that glitter when illuminated give the cave its name.
  15. With more than 82 miles of mapped passages, Wind Cave contains the world's largest display of a rare formation called boxwork.
  16. The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world's largest sculpture (563' high, 641' long, carved in the round). It is the focal point of an educational and cultural memorial to and for the North American Indian.
  17. Badlands National Park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.
  18. Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.
  19. Sage Creek Wilderness is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America.
  20. The name "Black Hills" comes from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, which mean "hills that are black". Seen from a distance, these pine-covered hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black.

Aug 18, 2012

One Second After

This book is so real it is quite sobering.  Within the pages of One Second After, by William R. Forstchen, anyone can follow what can happen one second after an event that wipes out all of the technology that we depend on.  This book explores the first year after such an event, outlines what that event may be and explores just how unprepared we are.  It made me quite happy that I have retained the knowledge of how to 'put up' food, garden and general survival.  Learn more at the website or just go pick up the book.  You will be glad, and sorry, you did.

Family Friday - A Day Late

Due to spending time with family, family Friday's recipe is a day late.  This was on of my favorite things to make when I needed something different for school.  it is quick, easy and different.

  6 Oz Butterscotch Chips                                                          1 No 303 Can Chinese Noodles
  6 Oz Chocolate Chips                                                             

Melt chips, mix in Chinese noodles.  Put on wax paper and cool.

Aug 16, 2012

Summer Vegetable Risotto

Use that summer bounty.  Any vegetables you have can be used, just pre steam them in so they are cooked to stir in at the end.

  3 Tbl butter                                                                            1 Cup Carrot, Diced
  2 Tbl Onion, Minced                                                               1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  2 Cups Arborio Rice                                                               1 Tsp Dried Rosemary, Crushed
  1 Cup White Wine                                                                  1/2 Cup Low Fat Mozzarella
  32 Ounce Chicken Stock                                                         2 Tbl fresh basil leaves, finely
  1 Cup Tomatoes, Diced                                                           -chopped
  1 Cup Bell Pepper, Diced                                                        Salt and pepper to taste

Put stock in a small sauce pan and keep warm.

Steam peppers and carrots until soft, set aside.

Add rosemary, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to tomatoes and set aside.

Warm the butter over medium heat in a deep sauté pan add the onion and stir until translucent.  Add the rice and cook until opaque.
Add wine and stir until absorbed.  Add stock, a cup at a time, cooking until fully absorbed after each addition.  When rice is almost done and you add your last cup of stock (or water, if you need more liquid), stir in the tomatoes.  When all of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in basil and cheese.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Aug 15, 2012

Cooking Duck

If you ask Hubby, his favorite way for me to make duck is to order it off of a menu.  While he likes duck, he would most often prefer something else.  I am okay with that, but I also appreciate that he will eat it when I make it.  If I am totally honest, I also have to say that I like having the extra leftovers so I have lunch for several days and don't have to share :)

Duck is a high fat poultry, so it is handled a little differently from chicken.

Option 1:  Duck Breast Only
If you have been marinading your duck for the last day or so after my Monday post, I though I should start with how to cook duck breast.  First - score the skin and fat with cuts about one inch apart.  Start with a cold pan and put the duck breast in the pan SKIN SIDE DOWN.  Most of the cooking will occur with the skin down - this will render the fat and help keep your meat moist as it will have limited contact with the pan.  This also allows your skin to crisp.  When your duck is almost done, remove it from the pan, remove most of the grease from the pan, and return the duck to the pan skin side up turn it for the last 5 - 10 minutes.  I highly recommend a deep pan and/or a splatter guard.  Temperature - chefs will tell you to cook duck to medium rare to rare.  I am sorry, but I just cannot do that.  I prefer mine medium - about 130 degrees.

If you prefer, you can render the fat then finish the duck in a 375 - 400 degree oven until the desired temperature.  Allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Option 2:  Whole Duck
Roasted duck is wonderful.  Because it is a higher fat content, I do not recommend stuffing.  That does not mean that you cannot put flavor enhancers in the cavities in the duck.  Using the blueberry chambord sauce?  Then put strawberries and raspberries with a little rosemary in the cavity.  I at least recommend salt and pepper. 

Slow Roasting -
Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Poke the duck all over with a sharp skewer breast side down in a pan.  Roast for 1 hour.  Remove, poke, put in pan breast side up, roast for 1 hour.  Cook to desired doneness (130 for medium).  This can take 4 hours or more, so I recommend removing the rendered duck fat at the 2 and or 3 hour mark.  Remove and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Aug 14, 2012

Blueberry Chambord Sauce for Duck

This pairs nicely with the marinade posted yesterday. Frozen blueberries can be used but should be completely thawed before use.

  1.5 Cups Duck Stock                                                               1/4 Cup Blueberries
  1/4 Tsp Olive Oil                                                                     1/4 Tsp Salt
  1 Tsp Garlic                                                                             1/4 Tsp Pepper
  2 Tbl Chambord                                                                     

Boil stock until only 1/2 cup remains.

While reducing, heat oil in a small saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook until golden.  Add the chambord and reduce by half.
When both liquids are reduced to the proper amount, combine and add the blueberries.  Simmer for 5 minutes and pour into a blender.  Add salt and pepper and blend carefully until smooth.  Pour through a strainer.

Aug 13, 2012

Duck Marinade

I was lucky to find duck breast at my local farmers market.  This marinade, combined with a Blueberry Chambord Sauce was delicious (stay tuned).  Don't know how to cook duck?  Come back Wednesday.  I used Three Ships to the Wind from Adams County Winery for the wine - I like to cook with wines that I also like to drink.  Any red can be used, but leaning to the dry side is better.  I loved the flavor imbued by the long marinade time combined with the vacuum marinador

    1/3 Cup Blueberries                 1/4 Tsp Fresh Rosemary

    1 Cup Red Wine.                      1/4 Tsp Black Pepper

    1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar      1 Tsp Garlic

    1/4 Cup Carrot                         1 Lb Duck Breast, Skin On

    1/4 Cup Celery    

Crush blueberries and rosemary.  Mince garlic.  Dice carrot and celery.  Combine all ingredients except duck breast and mix well, pour into a pan.  Place duck breast skin side up in marinade.  Marinade at least 24 hours.

Aug 12, 2012

Week 32 - 55.1

This week's travels put me near Lake Byron, South Dakota.  From the South Dakota Beautiful Website "Lake Byron is the only natural lake in the area that offers premium recreational opportunities. Lake Byron has been one of the top producers of trophy walleye in the state, located just 15 miles northeast of Huron.
This lake provides excellent family fishing for walleye, perch, crappie, pike and bullhead. The lake is also a premium site for water skiing, boating, camping, swimming and picnicking.
Take the family on a true South Dakota vacation and camp on the banks of Lake Byron. Enjoy the fishing, the hiking and the water sports available." 

Not only is it a habitat for Walleye, the Lake Byron Development Association recently posted the picture below.  It is a snapping turtle, approximately 40 inches long, that washed up on the shores of the lake with apparent propeller damage.  Sometimes I am glad not knowing what I am swimming with.

Aug 11, 2012

Food Saver

If you garden, hunt, shop at farmer's markets or belong to a CSA, a food saver will be your friend.   No?  If you cook, marinade, have leftovers, buy in bulk, a food saver will be your friend.  Food Saver is a registered trademark of a line of tools used to preserve food and so mich more.  Ours has been used to freeze corn, venison, sausage, green peppers, and lots of other items.  It prevents freezer burn, make it easy to freeze individual portions and has a handy label strip so you can record date, item and weight.  You can get containers to put individual portions of leftovers into that can then be sealed and used for lunches.  By virtue of the vacuum seal, they last longer.

Recently, I also discovered using the food saver to marinade food.  It was used for the tenderloin recipe posted earlier and I put 4 duck breasts in one earlier this week.  The vacuum cycle allows for quick marinade, but you can let it sit longer as well.

While they can be purchased many places, I prefer to order directly from - coupons, specials and great service make them hard to beat.

Aug 10, 2012

Molasses Cookies - Dorothy Thomas

Family Friday continues with Hubby's grandmother's molasses cookies.  The original instructions were just 'drop by spoon, sprinkle sugar.'. I have elaborated a tinge.  I used shortening in place of lard.

    1 Cup Lard    1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
    1 Cup Sugar    2 Tsp Baking Soda
    2 Large Eggs    1 Cup Boiling Water
    1 Cup Molasses    5 Cups Flour
    1 Tsp Cinnamon    1 Tsp Baking Powder
    1/2 Tsp Cloves    

Drop from

Sprinkle Sugar

Heat oven to 375.

Cream together lard and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each.  
Add Molasses, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  In a measuring cup, combine water and 
baking soda.  In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder.  To the
molasses mixture, add water mixture alternately with flour mixture.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet then do one of the following:

1.  Sprinkle with sugar


2.  Flatten with a cup dipped in sugar.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until lightly browned.