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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.

Sep 30, 2012

Week 39 - 39.35

We have arrived in Bismarck, ND.  Bismarck is a capital with a very nice hometown feel.  I was safe walking alone both early morning and late night.  I met a very nice coffee shop owner and had some great Mexican and Irish Pub Food.  It is like stepping back in time.

The local drugstore still has a cafeteria counter.
And the buildings have wonderful architecture.

And Where else can you go to find a Rock and Roll McDonald's

That displays various classic cars throughout the year

And is decked out to make any rock and roller or motor head nostalgic.

Sep 29, 2012

Bean Chili

Fall is here, time for chili.  For a vegetarian dish, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.  Serves 8.

15 Ounce Black Beans, rinsed and drained                                  1 Head Roasted Garlic
15 Ounce Dark Red Kidney Beans,  rinsed and drained               3 Tbl Chipolte Pepper In Adobo
15 Ounce Navy Beans, rinsed and drained                                               -Sauce, finely chopped
2 Cup Green Pepper, chopped                                                    1/2 Tbl Ground Cumin
2 Tbl Chili Powder                                                                     1/4 Tsp Salad Dressing
1 Tbl Ancho Chili Powder                                                         29 Ounce Petit Diced Tomatoes
14 Ounce Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth                                          

Combine all ingredients in a 4 to 5 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (high for 4 to 5).

Per Serving: 233 Cal (9% from Fat, 25% from Protein, 66% from Carb); 15 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 41 g  Carb; 14 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 105 mg Calcium; 5 mg Iron; 894 mg Sodium

Sep 28, 2012

Creamy Frosting - Kathleen Ronk

This frosting is about as easy as it gets, without opening a pre made tub.  You can also add cinnamon or use a different flavoring.

  2 Tbl Water                                                                           1 Large Egg
  4 1/2 Tbl Sugar                                                                      2/3 Cup Crisco
  2 1/3 Cup Confectioners Sugar                                               1 Tsp Vanilla

Boil water and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.  Mix confection sugar and egg.  Blend with syrup.  Add crisco until creamy.  Whip in Vanilla.

Sep 27, 2012

Roasted Cod for Two

I had an abundance of plum and very colorful grape tomatoes from my CSA, so I made this fish dish.  Hubby was astounded and even commented that I was eating tomatoes.  They were cooked....not pureed, but at least cooked.  If you like onion, you can stir it into the tomatoes and eat it with the fish.  That is not for me - I hate how I feel with hives or on antihistamines.  This went quite well with a black and mahogany rice mix (pictured below).

  2 Cups Plum Tomato, Quartered                                              1/4 Tsp Thyme
  1 Small Onion, Quartered                                                        1/2 Tsp kosher salt, divided
  1 Tbl Orange Zest                                                                    Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1 Medium Orange                                                                    12 Ounce Cod, Boneless, Skinless
  1 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                    

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine tomatoes, orange zest, oil and thyme in a 3-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; stir to combine.  Lay quartered onion on top.  Roast until the tomatoes begin to soften and the onion begins to brown.  Remove from the oven and Increase oven temperature to 450F.

While vegetables cook, brush one side of the fish with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove the onion from the pan.  Place fish oiled side down on top of the vegetables and then oil, salt and pepper the other side.  Squeeze orange over everything.  Return pan to the oven and bake until the fish is opaque in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes.   To serve, divide the fish and vegetables among 2 plates.

Per Serving: 298 Cal (25% from Fat, 44% from Protein, 31% from Carb); 33 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 24 g Carb; 5 g Fiber; 15 g Sugar; 100 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 691 mg Sodium

Sep 26, 2012

Cream Caramel Cake

Thankfully, I have a hubby who is willing to try new recipes.  For my birthday, I asked for a Cream Caramel Cake I found on the Better Homes and Gardens website.  The only change I asked him to make was to omit the mocha syrup from the recipe and divide the quantities needed between the Bailey's and the Kahlua.  This cake is wonderful.

Sep 24, 2012

A Quiche for men - No, really.

Yes, it is a quiche, but it is a Taco Quiche.  Not manly enough?  Use wild game.  We use more than 1 dash of Frank's Red Hot Extra Hot.

 2 Lb lean ground beef                                            1/2 Cup sour cream
 2 Envelopes Taco Seasoning                                   3 C Lettuce, Chopped
 4 Large eggs                                                         3/4 Cup Tomatoes, Chopped
  3/4 Cup milk                                                         1/4 Cup Green Peppers, Chopped
  1 1/4 Cup biscuit mix                                             1/4 Cup Sliced Black Olives 
  1 Dash hot pepper sauce (optional)                         2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

In a skillet, brown beef; drain.  Add taco seasoning and prepare according to the package directions (add hot pepper sauce, if using).  Spoon meat into a greased  13x9x2" baking dish.  In a bowl, beat eggs and milk.  Add biscuit mix and pepper; mix well.  Pour over meat.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees or 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 5-10 minutes.  Spread sour cream over top; sprinkle with lettuce, tomato, green pepper, olives and cheese.  Serve immediately.

Sep 23, 2012

Week 38 - 53.38

This week we find Appert Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  This refuge is part of the migratory bird refuge created by President Herbert Hoover in 1932.  The relatively shallow basing allows for perfect habitat for migrating birds.

Sep 22, 2012

Shawnee Park - or - Abby's Big Day

After spending the morning walking up and down the mountain hanging a tree stand, we decided that a nice, mostly flat walk was in order.  We found ourselves at Shawnee Park on Lake Shore Trail.

I got to walk with Dad.

It was a nice walk

with lots of benches.

Good things to sniff.

Nice grass for rooching in.
A dam to cross

And lots of nice things to see.

Sep 21, 2012

Mom's Green Beans

It doesn't get much easier than this, although the instructions might need some clarity.

  1 Tsp Vinegar                                                                          1 Qt Green Beans

Cook 20 minutes, jar and seal

Pack beans into quart jars, add 1 tsp vinegar.  Cover with boiling water, leaving 1/4 inch headroom.  Lid, ring and cook in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Sep 20, 2012

3 P's Soup

This soup has Pasta, Potato and Pancetta.  It serves 10 and goes great with yesterday's crackers. 

  1 Tbl Olive Oil                                                                         8 Cups Chicken Stock
  1 Tbl Scallion, Minced                                                             1/2 Cup Tomatoes, Diced
  1 Tbl Garlic, Minced                                                                Salt and freshly ground black
  9 Ounce Pancetta, diced                                                          -pepper, to taste
  3/4 Cups Carrot, Diced                                                            2 1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta
  2 Cups Potatoes, Diced                                                           

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the pancetta for about 3 minutes.  Add the scallion and garlic and cook about a minute until fragrant.  Add the carrot and potato and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for another 5 minutes.  Pour in the stock, lower the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, until the pasta is Al dente, about 6 minutes.  Immediately ladle the soup into bowls.

Per Serving: 252 Cal (51% from Fat, 31% from Protein, 17% from Carb); 19 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 7 g Mono Fat;  11 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 25 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1911 mg Sodium

Sep 19, 2012

Kicked Up Cheddar Crackers

Soup time is upon us, and some soups just scream for crackers.  If you like Cheez-It® crackers, especially the ones with Tabasco, you will like these.  Just a bit of spice from the Crushed Red Peppers adds a nice kick.  No time to cook?  No problem that is why you can buy Cheez-It®.

  2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour                                                       4 Tbl unsalted butter, chilled and
  1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour                                                    -diced
  3/4 Tsp salt                                                                              8 Ounce Vermont Cheddar, grated
  1 Tsp Red Chili Pepper                                                            3.5 Tbl Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and chilies. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.

Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese and pulse to combine.  Add 2 tablespoons of the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until combined.  Add water an additional 1/2 tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball. Pulse in additional water 1/2 tbl at a time, if needed, to get the dough to hold together.  It really well come together into a ball - look:

Line a sheet pan with non stick foil and roll the dough out to a 1/8-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter trim the dough into the sizes you want.  Bake until the crackers are deep golden brown and crunchy, 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of your crackers. Take them out when the just begin to brown.  Watch the crackers carefully as they go from almost done to a little too done quite quickly. Cool completely on the pan.

Sep 18, 2012

Dog Trivia

Today's trivia Tuesday is dog trivia from

-Female dog bites are twice as numerous as male bites.
-The name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box is Bingo.
-The Beatles song Martha My Dear was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha." 
-The canine nose works one million times more efficiently than the human nose.
-The average dog has 42 permanent teeth.

  Most domestic dogs are capable of reaching speeds of 32 km's per hour when running flat out but the members of the greyhound family may reach speeds up to 70 km's per hour.

  A male dog urinates with one leg up to better mark his territory. The scent can tell him many things, including size and health. The size is judged by the height of the stain. Male dogs although, do not actually need to lift their leg.

  A dogs ear is very sensitive, full of sensory nerves that help to preserve hearing. Never, blow into a dogs ear, even gently can hurt a dog. It's not the actual act of wind, but the frequency at which you blow. It's like running your fingers on a blackboard, amplifiedhundreds of times.

Sep 17, 2012

Zesty Red Potatoes

Zesty red potatoes as easy as 1 - 2 - 3

    6 medium red potatoes, halved and    1/2 Cup butter or margarine, melted

    -thinly sliced    1/2 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes

    1 small onion, halved and thinly    salt to taste


1.  Thinly slice 6 potatoes and put on a 9 by 9 baking pan lined with nonstick foil.

2.  Combined 1/2 cup salted butter (melted), 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper and 1/4 tsp salt, drizzle over potatoes.

3. Cover and bake at 400 degrees 25 to 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Arrange potatoes and onion in an ungreased 9-in. square baking dish. Combine butter, pepper flakes and salt; drizzle over potatoes and onion. Cover and bake at 400 degrees until potatoes are soft.

Sep 16, 2012

Week 37 - 43.87

This week, heading north to North Dakota, finds me nearing the state line, but still in South Dakota.  I shouldn't leave the state without mentioning the following:

Badlands National Park - - "People are drawn to the rugged beauty of the Badlands. These striking geologic deposits contain one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient mammals such as the rhino, horse, and saber-toothed cat once roamed here. The park’s 244,000 acres protect an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today."

Black Hills National Forest -!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPwhQoY6BdkOyoCAPkATlA!/?ss=110203&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=FSE_003853&navid=091000000000000&pnavid=null&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ttype=main&pname=Black%2520Hills%2520National%2520Forest-%2520Home/ - "The Black Hills are in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, covering an area 125 miles long and 65 miles wide. Enjoy yourself while viewing the many rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, and deep blue lakes."

Mount Rushmore  - - "Mount Rushmore National Memorial is visited by nearly three million people each year that come to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota and learn about the birth, growth, development and preservation of the country. From the history of the first inhabitants to the diversity of America today, Mount Rushmore brings visitors face to face with the rich heritage we all share."

Wind Cave National Park - - "Swaying prairie grasses, forested hillsides, and an array of wildlife such as bison, elk, and prairie dogs welcome visitors to our country’s seventh-oldest national park and one of its few remaining intact prairies. Secreted beneath is one of the world’s longest caves, Wind Cave. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this complex labyrinth of passages contains a unique formation – boxwork."

Sep 15, 2012

William H. Kain County Park

Abby and I went for a walk today at the William H. Kain County Park in York, PA.  From the brochure at their pavilion, it was established in 1976 from an agreement between the County of York and the York Water Company and named after the water company president at the time.  The park offers Fishing at both Lake Redman and Lake Williams, boating, pavilion rentals, picnicking, a playground, volleyball, horseshoe pits, hunting and a stage.

We hiked several pieces of different trails, some of them could be done independently.  The trails that receive the most use were well marked and mostly cleared of fallen trees.  Some of those that did not appear to be well used were not marked well, or at all, and not cleared of fallen trees.  Following is the route we took (minus those areas which we walked that ended up being very long wrong way's).

We parked at the Water Street parking area (if you only want to do trail loop 1 or 2, use the parking area on George Street across from Redman Dam).  This is a large area with parking for vehicles with boat trailers attached and standard size vehicles.  There are also restrooms and picnic tables.  When you arrive, drive around the area for boat parking.  When you get to the far end and turn back toward where you started your loop, if you look to the left, there is the trail head you are about to use marked with a 4.  Return to where you started your loop, cross the road and park near the restrooms.

Walk back to the trail head and start up the hill.  Before long, you come to an open area and have the option to go straight, turn right or turn left.  Turn left here and follow the trail along Lake Williams.  When you come to the fork, you will see a very confusing trail marker with a 3 and a 4 -and the both appear to go two directions.  Stay left here, continuing around the lake.  Trust me, if you go right, you climb a hill that you really don't want to climb.

As you make your way around the lake, you will begin to hear the traffic on George Street and start to climb a hill.  When you get to the top, turn left and walk along George Street.  About half way down the hill, you have a choice.  You will see a yellow gate across the road from you that connects to a stone path leading up to the dam.  You can cross the road here and do the balloon loop or continue down the road to the parking area.  We chose to do the balloon loop, so we crossed the road and walked across Lake Redman Dam.

When you get to he far end of the dam, bear right and proceed up trail 1.  Going up this side allows for a fairly straight walk on a wide path up the hill.  You will pass a trail marker for Trail 7 - do not take that branch.  Continue up the hill under the power lines and around the left turn, where you will see the power lines again.  Even though it is a climb, the view at the top is worth it.
Continue following trail 1 down the other side of the ridge line through a series of switchbacks and you will end up across from where you started.

 Walk back across the dam and return to your starting point.  Hubby was goose hunting this day, so he was unable to join us.  We took this picture so he knew we found what he was hunting for:
When you get back to George Street, cross the road and turn right.  Walk until you come to a parking area.  You will see a path behind the guardrail marked with a 2 - follow this trail across the end of the lake and turn left into the grass.  Follow the edge of the lake until you see a left turn with a number 2 trail marker.  Follow this trail up the hill and around the end of the lake - you should not bear right onto 2 C.  Going up the hill allows for a nice view from above the lake and Abby found lots of things to sniff.
You will go back down hill to lake level and bear right, continue to parallel the lake.  At this time, you can see the bottom of the dam you crossed to take trail 1.
Continue to enjoy the easy walk around the lake until you find Belle's Bench.
Just Past Bell's Bench, you find the trail marker for 2A.  Continue past this entrance, staying on trail 2.  According to the map provided at the pavilion, trail 2A is a loop.  By continuing on trail 2, we did pass the next connector of 2A, but I cannot vouch for the trail quality or if it has been cleared of fallen debris.  If you take this trail, let me know.  After you pass the second marker for 2A, you will come to a right turn marked 2.  You can make this turn, but it is a rocky climb.  I suggest going straight here and taking the next trail on the right marked 2.  CAUTION - while you could, according to the map, travel straight to trail 2B, I found that this area is not well marked, found several dead ends where the trail was blocked by trees and ended up doing a big circle just to climb hill 2 again.  What started as a 6.2 mile hike ended up at about 9.5.

Sorry, back to hill 2, climb the hill to a T and turn left.  Follow trail 2 until you see the yellow gate.  Here, you can turn left and it will take you to water street OR you can go straight through the gate to water street.  Either way, turn left onto water street.  There is no sidewalk and people were not driving the posted speed limit, but it is not a horribly busy road and I did not feel uncomfortable, even walking a dog.  Cross the dam at the bottom of Lake Williams (labeled 'One Lane Bridge') and continue walking on Water Street for about 3/4 mile until you see a picnic area on your left.  Walk along the top of the picnic area, staying on the road past the guardrails at the end of the area.  Shortly, you will see a break in the guardrail and a path through the trees to the left.  Take this trail to the next road, turn left onto that road and follow it to the parking area.

I believe there is a path from the top of the picnic area to this same road, but I did not travel that way, so I cannot say for sure.  If you have been there, or if you take this hike, let me know.

Sep 14, 2012

Mom's Warm Slaw

As fall cools off and cabbage is still at the farmers market, try this warm slaw side dish.  It is listed below exactly as I received it from my mother.  I used apple cider vinegar - 2 tablespoons.

  1 Small Cabbage                                                                      Vinegar, To Taste
  1 Cup Sour Cream                                                                   Pepper, To Taste
  Salt, To Taste                                                                          

Shred cabbage and cook until tender (do not brown).  Add sour cream, salt, pepper and vinegar.

Sep 13, 2012

White Chocoate Pecan Cookies

I like to use pecans because macadamias feel too fatty to me.

    1 C Butter                                          1 3/4 C Flour

    2 Tbl Milk                                         1 Tsp Baking Soda

    3/4 C Brown Sugar                           1/2 Tsp Salt

    1/2 C Sugar                                       6 Oz White Chocolate Chips

    1 Egg                                                 1 C Pecans, Chopped

    1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla    

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream Crisco and milk until well blended.  Add sugars gradually.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in white chocolate and nuts.  Drop spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Sep 12, 2012

Szechuan Scallops

Ask people that know me, and they will say they are a little surprised that I made this, let alone like it.  I'll admit - I have not traditionally been a fan of scallops, but they are growing on me.  Hubby is willing to eat things that aren't his favorite since I like them (duck, venison), so I like to return the favor.  I used Cullari's White on White to make the sauce (then serve with dinner).  Although the measurements are for a serving of two, this will easily make three servings.

  1 1/2 Tbl Low Sodium Soy Sauce                                            1 Tbl Fresh Ginger, Minced
  1 1/2 Tbl Dry White Wine                                                       1 Tbl Scallion, Minced
  1 1/2 Tbl Rice Vinegar                                                             1/2 Tbl Garlic, Minced
  1/2 Tbl Brown Sugar                                                                1.5 Cups Pimento Pepper, Diced
  1/2 Tbl dried red pepper flakes                                                1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts,
  12 Ounce Scallops, Cut Into 1"                                                -Drained
  -Pieces                                                                                     2 Tsp cornstarch
  4 Ounce Rice Noodles                                                             1/2 Cup chicken broth
  2 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil                                                   

Combine the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, brown sugar and red pepper flakes in a medium-sized non-corrosive bowl. Add the scallops and stir to coat them with the marinade. Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Cook the noodles to package directions while you prepare the stir fry.

Heat the oil over medium heat until very hot. Add the ginger, scallion and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the red pepper, sliced scallions and water chestnuts and stir-fry until pepper just begins to soften. Add the scallops and their marinade and stir-fry until the scallops turn opaque.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the broth. Add the broth to the skillet and heat just until boiling. Serve over hot noodles.

Per Serving: 374 Cal (26% from Fat, 23% from Protein, 51% from Carb); 21 g Protein; 11 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 4 g Mono Fat;  47 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 6 g Sugar; 53 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 830 mg Sodium

Sep 11, 2012

Tuesday Trivia - Umami

Way back when in high school biology, I learned that there were 4 basic tastes - sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  Recently, I have heard the term umami.  The actual taste is savory, but the name umami was adopted in 1985 at the first symposium of the Umami International Symposium in Hawaii (though savory was originally conceived as a flavor in 1908).  From, "... umami is a pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. As the taste of umami itself is subtle and blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavors, most people don't recognize umami when they encounter it, but it plays an important role making food taste delicious."

Sep 10, 2012

Whole Wheat Pancakes

These make a nice option for a healthier breakfast - try replacing some of the whole wheat flour with buckwheat flour.  Don't have buttermilk?  Use sour milk.

  1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour                                                       1 Cup Buttermilk
  2 Tsp Baking Powder                                                               3 Tbl Vegetable Oil
  1/2 Tsp Salt                                                                              2 Large Eggs
  1 Tbl Brown Sugar                                                                  

Beat well. Mix flour into liquids until flour is moistened. Pour onto lightly greased griddle.  Cook first side until full of bubbles and flip. 

Per Serving: 121 Cal (45% from Fat, 14% from Protein, 41% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 13 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 3 g Sugar; 104 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 287 mg Sodium