Archive for July 29, 2010

Minnesota Mysteries and Boxtop Bonuses

   This is one of those sublime summer mornings when the temperature is perfect for walking and the sun beams down from a classic azure sky tufted with powder puff clouds.  The kind of day that inspires an appreciation of the blessings of the outdoors.  Infused with motivation, the pup and I take off with grateful hearts for a 45 minute pre-breakfast march through the park. 

Rounding the corner of a neighboring block and heading toward home, we are assaulted first by a blast of heavy metal rock music and then by a horrifying sight:  a woman, tucked into the far, dark, grimy recesses of her garage, labors away on a treadmill, some cable T.V. channel blaring at her as she huffs and pumps her way toward her fitness goal for the day. 

My mind screams with confusion.  Why would anyone pass up the opportunity to be outside on a day like today – anyone living in a state where residents spend half the year cursing the ice dams at the end of their driveways and yearning to leave their cabin fever behind them in a pile by the fireplace, along with the ubiquitous Minnesota lap robe? 

I have a white-blurred mental flash of all those days when many (I am the fool who trudges right on through sleet and snow) are forced inside to chug away on whatever apparatus they have managed to wedge into the last empty corner of their basement.  

Led Zeppelin fading into the distance behind us, my mind drifts to a recent Saturday when my husband and I actually ate our dinner seated on the weight-training equipment in a dank corner of our own basement, as we tracked warnings connected to a few capricious tornadoes that skittered around us. 

That night my jittery mind had entertained fears about  power surges and a fried home computer system, and losing hundreds of filed recipes, not to mention countless hours of labor spent on various writing projects.  “But wait,” I remember thinking – note my priorities, if you will – “There is a whole storehouse of good recipes printed on food packages right in my very own kitchen.” 

When the danger passed with no damage done, I scrambled upstairs to scour my cupboards for some samples, like Effortless Spinach Salad using Ocean Spray Craisins, Chicken and Dried Plum Pizza from the Mariani Premium Pitted Prunes folks, Oat Bran Muffins from everybody’s favorite grandfather figure, the Quaker Oats guy, Amaranth Date Nut Bread from the Arrowhead Mills people, and from Bob’s Red Mill, Five Grain Cookies, Tabbouleh Cracked Wheat Salad, and Outrageous Soy Flour Muffins, loaded with tasty extras.  (Recipes below.) 

Have you gone on a treasure hunt through your pantry lately? (more…)

July 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

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