Archive for July, 2009

Extra Easy Weeknight Fare

red-skinned potatoes 003  As much as I love to cook, some days I just can’t devote a whole afternoon to dinner prep.  And what exactly is this concept of “a whole afternoon  devoted to dinner prep?” I hear you ask.  Indeed.  So, for the practical person who doesn’t care to slap a frozen lasagna or a carry-out pizza on the on the table five nights a week, a meal that can be ready in a little over an hour.  And that includes a batch of fresh-from-the-oven whole grain muffins loaded with so many goodies –  carrots, pecans, golden raisins – that my gang is calling them Billy goat buns.

Tonight’s basic and simple supper does not, however, include any “tips of woody shrubs and trees” or “the occasional broad-leaved plant” that my internet research reveals as staples of the goat’s diet – they are aparently more fastidious in their eating habits than many humans – but it may just entice some of your fiber-phobic diners to consume nutrients they would otherwise eschew.

So, what’s so easy?  A return of one of our household’s staples, Ground Turkey Patties, with Steamed Broccoli, Boiled Red Skinned Potatoes, Carrot-Pecan Muffins, and a Quick Citrus Compote. (more…)

July 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

To Grill or Not To Grill

  Buttermilk Ice Cream w Fruit 005  On this lovely July morning, I look forward to our second cookout of the summer.  Some Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops, perhaps, with a hearty side dish of Brown Rice Salad, a warmed Whole Grain Mini Loaf Round, Parmesan-Crusted Eggplant Slices, and a light, zesty finish of  Homemade Buttermilk Ice Cream Topped with Fresh Blueberries and Sliced Nectarines.

And then in rains.  Halfway through the marinating of the chops, we get hit with a much needed downpour that reduces the outdoor temperature from 84 to 68 within a scant half-hour.  Now, my husband is quite patient with my culinary whims and exploits, but asking him to grill in the pouring rain would have been taking gross advantage, so we move on to Plan B.  Actually, we scramble to put together a Plan B, but the oven works fine for marinated chops or boneless ribs, so we are back in business with scarcely a hitch. (more…)

July 24, 2009 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

The Characteristics of Character

Group One 053  Develop the strength to resist the temptation to do the wrong thing.  That lure will beckon to you from every corner, but recognize that the short-term gratification of selfish impulses can lead to an unhappy and un-repairable future.  (29) (more…)

July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Coq au Vin and Other High School Memories

Coq au Vin  When I was in high school, my best friend Paula and I joined the French Club just in time to get in on a field trip to the Café de Paris in downtown Minneapolis for what was my first taste of gourmet cooking.  My mother was a good cook, but she tailored her menus to suburban family life.  On that particular October evening in the mid-sixties, I stepped through the door to a whole new realm of continental gastronomic intrigue; it forever changed my attitude toward cooking.  In fond remembrance, I decided to treat my perhaps less effusive tablemates to an approximate replay of that evening’s menu:  Coq au Vin Risi Bisi with Princess Salad, croissants, and chocolate mousse.

For the Chicken in Wine Sauce I took a quick peek at my Art of French Cooking, Volume I© for a general sense of ingredients and quantities, but took off on a simplified, non-traditional course from that point on.  The Ring of Rice and Peas and the Tossed Field Greens with Citrus Wedges are pretty self-explanatory and therefore easy to recreate.  I did substitute a Whole Wheat Baguette for the croissants and Sautéed Apple Slices for the mousse, due to both time and nutrition considerations.  So, while I guess I didn’t actually “go home again,” I got pretty darned close to the old neighborhood.  And I definitely enjoyed a singingly sweet whiff of nostalgia as that pot sat bubbling on the burner for the better part of the afternoon. (more…)

July 16, 2009 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Thanksgiving in July

Peaches and Apricots 005  We had such incredibly perfect weather most of last week – clear, sunny; upper 70s with a nice breeze.  I decided to leap through this window of opportunity and get that oven blazing.  I was also salivating over the thought of sinking my teeth into a turkey breast I had bought on sale but kept in the freezer for, well, a window of opportunity to open up!

So off we were, headed for a meal worthy of that esteemed November holiday, with a few tweaks to the details.  To the main attraction of Roasted Turkey Breast I added Brown Rice with Craisins (dried cranberries), Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinaigrette Glaze, and Sweet Potato Mini Biscuits.  For dessert, a big bowl of Sliced Peaches with a dusting of nutmeg adds a seasonal touch to this out-of-season menu.  (more…)

July 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

Slow Down, Turn Your Focus Outward, Keep the Dream Alive


             Take your time:  When you are a young child, take your time to enjoy all the wonders of the world; as you grow, don’t wish your age to be different or your body to be taller, take your time and enjoy where you are.

             As a teen remember to always take your time to think through all decisions, consult the Word of God, pray, and learn to love who you are and where you are in life.  As a young adult, take your time to discover what you want to do, and take the steps necessary to reach your goal.

             Always remember to take your time and enjoy the life you are blessed with.  As a parent don’t waste a minute.  Take your time to love, play with, enjoy, teach, cherish, and guide your children.  (39) (more…)

July 10, 2009 at 2:06 am Leave a comment

Beautiful Bulgur

 tabbouleh 001  I am exceptionally fond of whole grains.  Their full-bodied nutty flavor and complex texture squelch hunger pangs with notable efficiency, and they are a great source of dietary fiber, important B vitamins, (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).  I do now ask myself how I ever ate that gummy white fluff that was so popular in the fifties and sixties, and why the national burger chains seem so committed to offering only those airy white buns when they have shown enlightenment in other menu areas.

When I got a craving for something substantial yet cool and light the other day, I settled on a lunch of Pan-Glazed Salmon Fillet, Tabbouleh Salad, and a simple finisher of a Ripe, Juicy Pear served with a small slab of room-temperature Gouda Cheese.  This meal fit my craving “to a t,” as the saying goes – that would be “t” for “tabbouleh,” I guess. (more…)

July 6, 2009 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

Everything Hot is Cool Again

july 1-09 foodie-parm chick 002  After decades of living in Minnesota, I continue to be amused and bemused by the climate.  However hearing from friends in the Tucson area about their consistent stretches of 100° days, I was more than grateful for our recent temperature flip from 90-something last week to 60-something at the start of this week.  Not only does our little Papillion/Chihuahua-mix pup relish a long walk in the cooler weather, but I can actually cook without fear of turning the eating area into a steam room/torture chamber.

So, fire up the oven I did for a meal of Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Ratatouille Sauce, Green Beans, and Giant Polenta Fries.  For a finish, a light version of Peach Cobbler topped with a light version of vanilla bean ice cream.  A bit of international flavor about 200 miles south of International Falls. (more…)

July 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

Minnesota Miracle Worker

Mary Jo Copeland  You might expect a woman with twelve children to have a patient, motherly air about her, so no shock there.  You could also assume plenty of energy and common sense as essential to having a household of fourteen run like a handcrafted Swiss watch.  What does amaze is the sheer force of the drive to make a difference that pushed a reclusive and hurting Mary Jo Copeland out the front door of her family home and down the path of entrepreneurial benefaction at the age of 38, just as her last child was starting school.  Looking back at her troubled childhood, the surprise factor grows. (more…)

July 2, 2009 at 2:34 am 2 comments

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