Grandmother Frederiksen’s Indian Corn Pudding...

Nov 11, 2011 by

If you’ve been reading my recipes you probably guess that I am big on holiday traditions. Many years ago, shortly after my divorce, a good friend invited my two young daughters and me to spend Thanksgiving with her extended family. Knowing my preference for pies she asked me to bring basic apple and pumpkin specimens to the feast.  I agreed, but warned her I would bring my corn pudding as well. Thanksgiving simply isn’t Thanksgiving without Grandmother’s corn pudding. My friend was clearly skeptical, but polite. Thanksgiving day we showed up with boxes of steaming pies and two casseroles of corn pudding.  Still skeptical she smiled graciously as she put the first one on the buffet.  I watched quietly as her family members, with exquisite manners, each took a small bite of my corn...

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Veggie Heaven

Oct 21, 2011 by

Growing up at our house (Whitebread Ohio in the 50s) was all about meat and potatoes. Spaghetti was exotic and only came with tons of tomato sauce and meatballs. “Pasta” was a foreign concept. I was married for several years before a friend convinced me that I could make spaghetti at home (with the help of a brand new—to me—product called Ragu!). Today, however, I’m a devoted pasta fan.  I put everything on pasta short of cinnamon and sugar. Lately I’ve been experimenting with “fancy” pastas: lemon-pepper pappardelle, mushroom linguini, basil-garlic fettucini. Spaghetti squash, however, escaped me. I’d tried it and found it bland. Last week at the farmer’s market the display of lemony yellow spaghetti squash was irresistible…as were the eggplant, tomato, garlic, zucchini, mushroom, summer squash, baby gold potato, and onion displays...

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Foodie Fall!

Sep 30, 2011 by

Fall is in the air.  No, forget that, fall is here! After an outrageously hot summer, the nights are finally in the 40s and 50s. Time to bring back the comforting things in life: sweaters, flannel sheets, toasty robes, hot spiced cider and meat. Admittedly, I am a meat person.  In the summer I tend to chicken and fish, but with the first taste of fall, I crave “real” meat: soups, stews, roasts, chili, all in the best tradition of comfort food.  A favorite (and this week’s staple) is formally known as Carbonnades a la Flamande. My onion-hating daughter refers to is as “that onion thing”.  Nevertheless, she loves it! There are a couple of secrets.  First, you cook the onions until they practically disappear.  The result is gravy that is nearly the color...

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Retail Therapy Works .. Research Confirms!...

Jul 25, 2011 by

Shopping as “therapy” is effective at elevating mood, and it doesn’t lead to buyer’s regret. All of the shoppers in a research sample said they had bought themselves a treat during the past week—ranging from a fishing reel to a kitchen magnet—and 62% of the treat purchases were motivated by a desire to repair a bad mood, say A. Selin Atalay of HEC Paris in France and Margaret G. Meloy of Penn State. Asked about their post-purchase feelings, 82% of participants had only positive things to say. There seem to be few, if any, downside consequences of retail therapy, the researchers say. Source: Retail Therapy: A Strategic Effort to Improve Mood I KNEW IT!  Ever wonder why our society feels compelled to spend a fortune in time and research expense to prove what every...

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The “Hoffsicle”

Jul 7, 2011 by

I’ve never been a television person. I can go years without using my TV (when I have a working one) for anything but watching VHSs and DVDs.  (The exception: the Ohio State-Michigan game, if I can’t find friend or family with an available big-screen TV that afternoon.) I never watched Baywatch or Night Rider, so David Hasselhoff was not on my radar, until … I heard a mention of the “Hoffsicle” on NPR. (Yes, I do use a radio in the car.) It seems that despite a sluggish career, Hasselhoff was voted “smoothest TV personality of 2011”. (It is not at all clear who did the voting!) Del Monte, sensing an irresistible pun, and in honor of National Ice Cream Month, has created a raspberry-flavored popsicle shaped like David Hasselhoff—bare-chested and from the waist...

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Daddy’s Tomato Garden

Jun 24, 2011 by

My father spent most of World War II on Attu, a frozen, treeless dot in the northern Pacific at the end of the Aleutian Chain. Although he spoke little of the experience of flying bombing missions over Japan, Daddy often reminisced about the weather.  It is estimated that there are 8-10 precipitation-free days a year on the island, all of them cold! Our treasured black and white photos show Daddy in front of his plane, smiling and bundled against the snow…always snow. Three years on Attu gave my father a passion for green and growing things.  He loved mowing the lawn and puttering in his garden!  When I was just six, we moved to a small town outside Cleveland. Our tiny home had a huge yard, the back third of which quickly became Daddy’s...

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An Opera Picnic

Jun 10, 2011 by

June is opera season in St. Louis.  Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the premiere festival companies in the world.  It is dedicated to nurturing young talent in both performing and production and to presenting opera in English.  As our late, great Artistic Director Colin Graham said, “No one composer ever lived who wanted his opera to be performed in a language foreign to his audience.” OTSL is also unique in its glorious setting.  Our tiny (987 seat) theater is nestled at the foot of a hill on a leafy suburban college campus. The hill is topped by a green-and-white striped tent surrounded by picnic tables, also decked out in green-and-white and topped with ivy and candles. Patrons picnic before the opera and then gather with the cast and crew afterward for...

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Carrot, Radicchio & Ham Salad...

Jun 3, 2011 by

Somewhere years ago I read that the way to a balanced diet was to make a rainbow out of your plate. What a concept! I’d always been suspicious of the college dining hall meals  that started with (white) coleslaw and went to chicken (white meat), mashed potatoes (white), cauliflower (white), bread (white), and milk (white) and ended with ice cream (vanilla of course!).  It may have worked for Rauschenberg, but was dispiriting on a snowy (of course) Vermont winter day. This Carrot, Radicchio & Ham salad is not only simple and delicious, but glorious for its blending of colors. Ingredients 4-5 carrots, peeled and grated One small head of radicchio, shredded as for slaw Low-fat turkey ham cut into bite-sized pieces Generous handful of dried cherries Tart vinaigrette dressing (home made or a good...

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200 Years of Being Female In America...

May 18, 2011 by

A couple of weeks ago I happened on two articles, published the same day in the New York Times. Each addressed the challenges, triumphs and failures of being female in America – 200 years apart. The first, “Poor Jane’s Almanac”, told the story of Benjamin Franklin’s sister Jane. It contrasts the lives of these two close siblings.  Benjamin struggled his way out of poverty to international prominence.  Jane, married at fifteen, gave birth to twelve children and buried eleven. Certainly two of her sons, and probably her husband, went mad. She provided for her waxing and waning family as best she could. Times and circumstances kept her from the education she desired, although, as she wrote to her brother, “I Read as much as I Dare”.  Author Jill Lepore’s message is that “especially for...

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Mother’s Day Strawberry Shortcake...

May 6, 2011 by

Strawberry shortcake is a Mother’s Day tradition at our house, not because my mother particularly cares about it, but because I do, and this will be my 35th Mother’s Day as an actual mother! The reasons behind the tradition are twofold:  1) I love strawberry shortcake, and 2) I’m the cook! Somehow I’m always the cook.  A favorite family story relates the year my oldest daughter bought her first home. Long about early November I got a phone call. “Mom, now that I have my own home, I would really like to have Thanksgiving Dinner here.  We can still have Christmas at your house, but I want Thanksgiving in my own home.” (How touching!) Pause… “So how early do you have to get here to start cooking?” Tani’s Strawberry Shortcake Strawberries A pound or...

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In the Kitchen with George and Joe...

Apr 15, 2011 by

I admit to a very un-feminist yearning.  I would love to have a man around the house who would cook for me.  Growing up, we were always thrilled when Daddy decided to cook.  He did something delicious with pork chops in gravy that I’ve never been able to equal. He was also a king of the barbecue grill and made a spectacular winter soup that used to simmer on the stovetop all weekend while he added meat and vegetables as needed to keep the pot full while we all helped ourselves.  (More on that as cold weather approaches.) Then I got married.  My husband never cooked.  (To be fair, neither did his mother, so he never learned.)  My daughters have been far cleverer.  Both of them have managed to find husbands and/or boyfriends who...

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Celebrating 100 Girlfriend-to-Girlfriend Posts...

Apr 4, 2011 by

                  Sometimes when you color outside the lines magic happens! About 8 weeks ago a group of women joined together to launch a special social destination site, All The Single Girlfriends. We wanted to show the world that women 40+, who just  happened to be single (or who don’t take their total identify from their marriage, husband or kids) are living their lives with style and denial. Denial that .. we are not fabulous .. that we are not invisible . . that we are not all the same. It’s important to acknowledge the small successes along the way .. and 100 posts is cause for us to break out the bubbly.. even if it is virtual! Meet the Gf Authors! Each Gf author brings a unique idea...

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