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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Enjoy some citrus on National Grapefruit Day

My mother in law used to live by the policy of drinking plenty of water, eating lots of citrus and getting plenty of rest in the winter time to avoid illness. She would have been delighted today as it is national grapefruit day.
This large round fruit was named grapefruit because of its fruit clusters that have a similar texture like grapes. Grapefruits are the largest variety of citrus About 70% of the worlds supply of grapefruit are grown in florida

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla.
  4. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  7. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
  8. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice and pour over the cake.
recipe source Smitten Kitchen

Clam Chowder - filling and satisfying

In this super wet and cold weather if you are like me you are in search of a warm delicious meal that is satisfying and lasting. Today, February 25th, is also the day to nationally recognize cream cheddar. I can remember my dad telling clam chowder is not the prettiest looking dish but it is lasting and satisfying. Dress it up a bit like in this bread bowl and well even my dad would be appreciative.

3 lbs of hard shell clams (preferably small clams)             
2 cups water             
1/2 cup white wine + 1/2 cup white wine             
1/2 cup finely diced bacon             
1 1/2 cups chopped onion             
1 celery stalk, chopped             
1 large carrot, chopped
1 leek stalk, chopped             
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed             
1/2 cup flour             
4 cups peeled and cubed potatoes              
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme             
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream          
 1 cup whole milk             
Chopped fresh parsley             
On a colander, rinse the clams, discarding the ones that have broken shell or are already open;
In a heavy stock pot, over high heat, place the peels and scraps of the vegetables (onions, carrots, leek, celery and garlic) and the clams. Add 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of white wine. Cook for about 10 minutes or until you see that most of the clams have opened;  Drain the clams, reserving the precious liquid. Use a mesh strainer to avoid any of the scraps in the reserved broth. You should have 2 cups. If you don't, add water enough water to complete the two cups. Set aside;             
Let clams cool, and discard all that did NOT open. Discard the shells and scraps. Remove the meat from the shells, chop coarsely and set aside. You will have approximately 1 cup;
Rinse your stock pot, dry it and return it to the stove. Over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until just before it becomes crisp. Add the chopped onions, carrots, celery and leek. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste;
When onions become translucent, add the garlic and cook an extra two minutes;
Slowly add the flour, stirring constantly and until the flour is cooked through (about 2 minutes);
Stir in the other 1/2 cup of white wine, stirring until it begins to thicken;
Add the diced potatoes, the reserved clam broth, the clam meat, the thyme and the bay leaf, the milk and bring to a boil;
Lower the heat and simmer until potatoes are tender;
Stir in the cream, correct the salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh parsley before serving.


  • If you can't find fresh clams, this clam chowder recipe may be prepared with the canned ones. Not as delicious, but way easier.
  • In this case, just skip steps 1 through 4. And on step 8, add 1 cup of white wine to the flour and instead of the fresh clams, add two 10oz cans of minced clams and the clam liquid. Follow the remaining steps and bon appétit!
recipe source here

Illinois Weekend Weather 36 years ago

I was only about 10 years old but I can clearly remember this winter. Visiting my grandmother after the storm provided its own bit of fun. I don't remember it being so cold but do remember all the snow. My grandmother had pictures of me and my sister standing next to the gigantic hills of snow.
Do you all remember this??

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

National FFA Week

I grew up with parents who were farm kids and grand-parents who were farmers. So you can say while I was a town kid my heart belonged in the country where I spent most of my time. My grandparents were sponsors of organizations such as the farm bureau, 4H, and FFA. Each FFA chapter comes together to celebrate and honor the organization in a week long party the last week of February

A bit of history: The tradition of the week long celebration started in 1947 when the National FFA board of directors designated the week of George Washington's birthday as national FFA week. They wanted to recognize Washington's legacy as an agriculturist and farmer.

Future Farmers of America or FFA is a student organization that includes all those interested in agriculture and leadership. Members include those who desire to be future farmers, teachers, doctors, scientist, and business owners. FFA goal is to help the next generation rise up to meet the challenges, help members to develop own unique talents , and to explore interest in a broad range of agricultural career paths.



National Tortilla Chip Day


 love Tortilla chips and if you have never made your own before I must tell you that they are super easy to make. Starting with corn tortillas and preparing them you can use them to make up so many amazing dishes. But first the recipe for the tortilla chips.

  • 12 Corn tortillas, cut into triangles like a pizza
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • ground chile pepper or other favorite seasonings, optional

    Pour enough oil in a 10 inch frying pan so that you have about 1 1/2 inches deep of oil. Leave between 3/4 to 1 inch of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan. Attach your candy thermometer to the pan and heat until the temperature reads 350 degrees F. While you are waiting for the oil to get to the right temperature, cut the tortillas into eight's like a pizza. You can also cut them into any old shape your heart desires. Separate the tortilla pieces with your fingers to make sure none are sticking together. Head over to the frying pan and add a handful of tortillas gently to the hot 350 degree oil. Using tongs, turn over the chips carefully so as to not spill any oil. Continually turn the chips over while they cook. Continue to cook until the chips pretty much stop bubbling up. Use tongs to remove chips, giving them a moment to drain over the pan before placing on a paper towel covered cookie sheet. Once all the chips are out of the pan, sprinkle salt and any seasoning you desire. This will ensure the salt and spices stick to the chips. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sugar Chips

cinnamon sugar chips
There really is no difference in making cinnamon sugar chips compared to the homemade tortilla chips recipe. The technique is the same. Same oil, same cooking temperature.
The only difference is you will use flour tortillas instead of corn. You will also use cinnamon and sugar. In my video I used a ratio of 1/3 cup sugar to 1 tsp. cinnamon. You can vary these proportions to suit your taste.
Be sure to season these chips soon after taking them out of the oil.

Storing Your Homemade Tortilla Chips

Once all your chips have cooled completely, store them in a ziplock bag. They should keep several days.
To get that "just made" taste, place a bowl of chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds and everyone will think you just made them.
I hope you enjoyed our homemade tortilla chips recipe. Now go make some and have fun. Be safe.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Craft for Little Hands Design a Clover

Want to provide your child with a fun st. Patrick day craft that will allow them to become the designer. Allowing them the choice of green items to add to their clover gives them the creative power and uses their imagination. Use a range of green shades with lots of different textures, sizes and shapes. Have fun and be creative

craft resource here

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet Potato Souffle

When I was a kid I did not know that there were sweet potatoes. You see we reffered to this orange colored vegetable as a yam. It was not something that we ate all that much and for the most part it was the holidays when we would see the sweet dish mad with yams. Now days though the sweet potato has its own national day of recognition being January 22nd and is found in so many places from fries and potatoes to casseroles and soups. Yummy I found this recipe for sweet potato soufflé here

    40 oz Canned Sweet potatoes or Yams or 2 1⁄2 lb Fresh Sweet potatoes cooked
   1⁄4 c Milk
   1⁄2 c butter or margarine, melted and cooled
    3⁄4 c sugar
    2 eggs
    1 T vanilla extract
    1 c Brown Sugar
    1 c Flour
    1⁄3 c Butter/margarine chilled
    1 c chopped walnuts or pecans
With a potato masher, electric mixer, or food processor, puree the sweet potatoes. You will end up with about 3 cups of puree per 6 servings. With a whisk or electric mixer, add milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar and flour. Slice the chilled butter into the brown sugar mixture. With your fingers, a fork or pastry blender, blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and evenly mixed. Stir in the chopped nuts.
Spread sweet potato mixture in a greased or spray coated baking dish. Evenly distribute the crumbles over the sweet potatoes. Bake at 350° for 25 – 30 minutes.

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