Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catawba Indians- Turkey Stew

By Melanie Knight- Courtesy of The Lancaster News

Forests have traded their green leaves for a crisp fall wardrobe of gold, red and orange.
As you enjoy in this breathtaking display of natural beauty, take a moment to consider this rich land and its historic people.

The Catawba Indians have lived in this region for more than 13,000 years.
Their traditional foods include turkey, squash, pumpkins, corn, deer, nuts, beans, duck, dove, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sugar berries and honey.
So next time you savor any of these traditional Catawba foods, say “huwah” and “koree” which translate to “thanks” and “good.”

Beckee Garris of the Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office, said the Catawbas were a close knit, matriarchal community. Extended families lived together in round houses called “suuks” and whenever game like deer was killed, it was shared throughout the village.
“They looked after each other, especially in the 1800s and 1900s,” she said.
Garris said the Catawbas weren’t concerned with material things.

If a young man was trying to impress a young lady he was courting, he would carve a flute out of river cane and compose songs and lyrics for her. When she was out working, he would hide and serenade her from a distance.
“This way, a girl could judge a man by his heart,” Garris said. “If she liked the music, she would have her father or brother bring him to the house. He would then be allowed to play outside the house, but he would not be allowed inside until they were married.”

At the wedding, a blanket dance would be performed.
Garris said in the beginning, the bride and groom would be wrapped in separate blankets. But by the end of the dance, they would be wrapped in the same blanket.
The individual blankets would then be carried behind the new couple and filled with gifts and written blessings.

Congress has designated the annual Yap Ye Iswa festival that celebrates the Catawba Indians’ cultural heritage a local legacy.
This past Saturday, the Catawba Nation celebrated its culture during the annual Yap Ye Iswa (Day of the Catawba) festival at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
Activities included Native American dance and drumming demonstrations, displays of Catawba Indian pottery, storytelling and musical performances, lectures on local American Indian history and culture, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations of traditional Native American dishes.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to share Garris’ recipe for a traditonal Catawba Turkey Stew.
And try the a Corn on the Cob Cupcakes recipe to add a Native American look to the dinner table.

Turkey Stew
3 1-pound cooked turkey roasts
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 12-ounce package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pound onions, chopped
1 8-ounce package dried tomatoes
5 pounds white potatoes
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic
3 cans chicken broth
2 bell peppers (optional)
Salt to taste
– Wash and cut vegetables into bite sized pieces. Cut turkey into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients in slow cookers and fill with water to cover ingredients. Simmer on high until stew begins to bubble.
– Turn cookers on low and cook overnight. Salt to taste.
Makes 12-15 servings.
– Recipe by Beckee Garris of the Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office
Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
24 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Yellow food coloring
About 3 1/2 cups small jelly beans (Jelly Bellys) in assorted yellow, cream and white colors (red, black and blue shades for Indian corn)
Optional decorations:
4 pieces yellow fruit chews (Laffy Taffys, Starbursts)
1 tablespoon each black and white decorating sugars (available at baking supply stores)
8 sets of corn holders
– Tint the vanilla frosting pale yellow with the food coloring. Working with three cupcakes at a time, spread yellow frosting on top of each. Arrange about 5 rows of jelly beans, close together, on each cupcake. Place the 3 cupcakes side-by-side on a corn dish or a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, frosting and jelly beans.
– Optional: Cut the fruit chews into eight 1-inch squares and soften the edges slightly by hand so that they look melted. Place one square on top of each group of 3 cupcakes. Sprinkle with the sugars. Insert 1 corn holder, in each of the end cupcakes. Makes eight “ears of corn” (24 cupcakes).
– Recipe from “Hello, Cupcake!” by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Twilight Party Ideas & Menu

She’s a clumsy seventeen-year-old girl, he’s an elegant “vegetarian” vampire. They live in the rainiest town in the U.S.A, Forks Washington. This supernatural, modern day romance by Stephenie Meyer between Bella Swan and Edward Cullen has ignited a global cult following. Originally intended for late teens and young adults, commonly referred to as “Twilighters”, this four-book saga has also inspired a fanatical married adult female following known as “Twilight Moms”.

Here are some ideas and a menu so you can host your own Twilight premier party for the movie debut on November 21st. Oh yeah, get ready to pick are you on Team Edward or Team Jacob? And they thought the Harry Potter fans were obsessed…

v Decorate the table with red delicious apples- like on the cover of Twilight, fill a fruit bowl with them, or set 1 at each place setting
v To recreate the ruffled tulip, get silk white peonies and using red nail polish or craft paint, paint in some red, use the New Moon book cover as a guide
v Tie red ribbons to the stems of the glass ware and dessert cups, match the color from the Eclipse book cover
v Scatter chess pieces down the center of the table, to incorporate Breaking Dawn
v Use black or red tablecloths, napkins, balloons and streamers
v Don’t’ set the table with any spoons, only Forks
v For music, play any Twilight playlist, the new soundtrack or just straight Muse.
v Doggie Treats-Sugar cookies shaped like dog bones in case any werewolves drop in.
v Wrap the trees in your yard with twinkling white lights to welcome your guests, Alice Cullen’s signature mark

Mushroom Ravioli with Mushroom Sauce Cathy Lowe
10 ounces mushroom ravioli, or cheese filled ravioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup brandy
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan

2 slices frozen garlic bread, prepared to package directions
Spring mix salad and dressing of your choice

Prepare ravioli according to package directions. Heat olive oil in a skillet, Cook mushrooms until tender and stir in garlic. Add brandy and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. When cream has thickened stir in ¼ cup of cheese. Stir in cooked ravioli and gently simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve with parmesan, garlic bread and salad.
Makes 2 servings.

Topaz Dreams and Golden Grizzlies Melanie Knight inspired by
1 package Butterscotch Instant Pudding
2 cups applesauce
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup thawed cool whip

2 cups thawed cool whip
4 cups Honey Teddy Grahams

Beat dry pudding mix, applesauce and cinnamon in medium bowl with wire whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping. Alternate butterscotch mixture and cool whip in tall dessert glasses. Garnish edges with teddy grahams.
Makes 4 servings.

Mini Apple Twilights Melanie Knight inspired by The Barefoot Kitchen Witch
5 Golden Delicious apples, cored and sliced into nickel sized pieces
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 –9” ready to bake rolled dough pie crusts
1 egg white- beaten
2 tablespoons sugar- large crystal

Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
Mix apples, lemon juice, apple sauce, brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Grease muffin pan. Roll out dough and cut 12, 4-inch circles and 12, 3-inch circles out of the dough. Place the 4-inch in each muffin cup and fill with apple mixture. Top each mini-pie with a 3-inch circle and press edges together. Cut 4 slits in each pie top. Brush each pie with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before removing from muffin pan.
Makes 12 servings.

Newborn Melanie Knight original
1 cup black cherry cranberry juice
1 cup ginger ale
splash pineapple juice

Mix together, serve over ice.
Makes 1 serving

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recipes: Haunted Halloween

Fire up your cauldron and get out your broom! Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, get ready for Halloween on the double! You don’t need a magic spell to make your home the best haunt in town, just follow these decadent decorating tips and ghastly menu.

Decadent Decorations:
Place a branch in your chandelier, stretch fake spider webs over it, top with black plastic spider. This is a must for a spooky dinner party.
Use the fake spider web to get that special “haunted house” feel. Drape on pictures, mirrors and doorways. Face it, who doesn’t get creeped out by a house full of cobwebs?
Take a 4 foot tall dead branch and shove it into a flower pot filled with dirt to stabilize. Decorate it with orange lights, spider webs, tissue paper ghosts and plastic spiders. You can use Christmas ornament hooks to hang snack size candy bars on the tree. Try two of these placed on each side of your front door to mark your house for tricker-treaters.

Ghoulish Menu

Yummy Mummy Calzone Melanie Knight inspired by Taste of Home
1 13.8 ounce can refrigerated pizza dough
1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pizza sauce
50 slices pepperoni
1/2 cup black olives (save a couple for the eyes)
optional- bacon, ham, crumbled sausage, bell peppers
1 egg, beaten

Roll out the dough into a rounded triangle shape (think slice of pizza shape), about 14-in. high x 11-in. wide at the base of the triangle. Place each on a baking sheet with the tip of the triangle toward you. Lightly score a 4-in.-wide rectangle in the center of the triangle 2 in. from the top and bottom. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips at an angle up to the score line, leaving a triangle in the top center of the wide end for the head.

Inside the scored rectangle in the center, layer cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni and black olives. Add optional ingredients at this time. Shape the top center triangle into a head. Starting at the feet, fold alternating strips of dough at an angle across filling, stopping at the last strip on each side.

Brush dough with egg. For eyes, press 1/2 olive slice for each closed eye. Bake at 350 ° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Makes 4 servings.

Shrunken Head Punch Melanie Knight inspired by Martha Stewart
4-6 Granny Smith apples
1 gallon apple cider
1-2 liter ginger ale
8-12 whole cloves for eyes

Peel the apples. Carve eyes and a frowning mouth. Push a clove in for each eye. Mix punch in equal parts apple cider and ginger ale. Let shrunken heads float in punch. Serves

Lady Fingers Melanie Knight inspired by Martha Stewart
3-5 drops red food coloring
1-zip lock bag
16 whole almonds
1-8 ounce can crescent rolls

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place almonds and food coloring in a zip lock bag. Shake to coat almonds completely. Set aside.

Unroll crescents and separate into 4 rectangles (follow precut perforations). Press triangle perforations back together Cut each rectangle into 4 short strips (16 total). Take each strip into your hand and squeeze gently to create “knuckles”. Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Position almond nails on 1 end of each finger and push into dough to attach.
Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
Makes 16 lady fingers.

Graveyard Cupcakes Melanie Knight inspired by http://www.pillsbury/.com
1container (16 oz) vanilla frosting
5-10 drops green food color
24 unfrosted cupcakes
1 tube (0.68 oz) black decorating gel (not food color)
24 lady finger cookies
10 Oreo cookies, remove the white stuffing and crumble the chocolate cookies

Place frosting in small bowl and mix well with green food color. Frost cupcakes. Write “RIP” on 1 end of each cookie with the decorating gel. Press other end of cookies into cupcakes to form "gravestones." Sprinkle cookie crumbs around each "gravestone".
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hippie Chicks

Well, all our hard work paid off. The Lancaster Navel Academy-Home of the Hippie Chicks, put on a stellar performance at the Indian Land Fall Festival on Oct 4th for the new library.
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

RECIPE- Crunch Top Apple Pie

There is something about fall weather that always makes you crave a hot, home cooked apple pie!

Crunch Top Apple Pie Paula Deen

Paula's Perfect Pie Crust, recipe follows
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon the apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie.
For crunch topping:
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

Paula's Perfect Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
12 tablespoons butter, (1 1/2 sticks) cold and cubed
1/4 cup to 1⁄2 cup ice water
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn't get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball. When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie.
Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Recipe- Shrimp and Grits

inspired by Emeril Lagasse
2 pounds medium shimp, peeled and deveined
3 teaspooons creole seasoning
8 ounces country ham-diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, or canned, low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Grits- see recipe below

Season the shrimp with 1 teaspoon creole seasoning and salt. Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the country ham, cooking for about 3 minutes. Remove the ham to a plate, and add the shrimp to the pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and heat the oil. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons creole to the pan, stirring well, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook until reduced slightly, 5 minutes.
Stir the cream, green onions and parsley into the sauce and return the ham and shrimp to the pan. Return sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until reduced slightly. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over grits.
Makes 4-6 servings

Tyler Florence
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the grits, place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and butter, season with salt and pepper.
Makes 6-8 servings
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Last Supper?

OK- So they fired up the giant LHC atom smasher yesterday (straight out of a Dr. Who episode in my opinion) and the question comes up. Forget last lecture, if this is the end of the world- what would your last supper be?
Mine would be my mother's meatloaf, as a leftover, sliced and fried in a frying pan. She has no recipe, but it always tastes the same. I don't know what she does to the ketchup, but it forms a thick crust packed with flavor over the top. It's the only dish I can't duplicate- and the one I will one day tell my grandkids about.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Recipe: Cap'n Crunch French Toast

It’s the only day you get to sleep in, so skip that early breakfast and enjoy a champagne brunch.

Crunch-atize Me Cap’n!
It’s the new rebel yell of anyone who caught the Comfort Food episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network. This episode featured a decadent double stack of French toast that had been dipped in Cap’n Crunch before it was grilled in butter, then topped with an avalanche of whipped cream and berries. Anyone who can capture the crunchy sweetness of a cartoon Saturday morning and serve it up on a plate is pure genius. They gave out ingredients on the show, but not quantities. Here’s my version of the Baltimore’s Blue Moon Café Cap’n Crunch French Toast.

Cap’n Crunch French Toast Melanie Knight- inspired by Blue Moon Café
4 cups Cap’n Crunch original cereal (no Crunch Berries)
10 slices Texas bread (thick sliced bread)
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons butter
Whipped cream for topping
1 pint strawberries
½ pound seedless grapes

Place the cereal in a casserole dish and crunch it into crumbs with the bottom of a glass.
Mix the eggs, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together and place in a shallow dish. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Take 1 slice of brad, dip both sides in the egg mixture, then coast with the Cap’n Crunch crumbs. Cook each side 2-3 minutes until light brown. Repeat for the other 9 slices of bread.

Stack 2 French toasts on the center of the plate. Top with a generous helping of whipped cream and strawberries and grapes.
Makes 5 servings.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recipe: Turkish Delight

This is a dainty after dinner dessert. So light, you won't notice you just ate 10!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Labor Day Twisted Recipes

By Melanie Knight - Courtesy of The Lancaster News

Your summer dinners are starting to drag.
Don’t worry; you aren’t alone. It’s easy to get into a rut preparing the same meals over and over again.
But it’s just as easy to snap out of it and start a culinary revolution by twisting something old into something new. Just put a spin on your favorite recipes by doing the summertime twist.
An updated version of the tried and true All-American cheeseburger and Baked Sweet Potato Fries will keep your Labor Day cookout guests on their toes.
Switch it up by serving broccoli salad instead of coleslaw and a Cherry Sunset in place of lemonade.
Top the meal with individual Mini-Peach cobbler served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Now that you’ve got a new set of kitchen tricks to try, it’s time to twist the rest of the summer away.

Inside-Out Bacon Cheeseburgers
8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 1/3 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend or coarse salt and black pepper
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 hamburger buns
Sliced tomatoes and lettuce
Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles (optional)
– Preheat grill to high.
– In a medium pan, brown bacon over medium high heat and drain on paper towel lined plate. Crumble when cool to touch. Divide bacon and cheese into 4 equal parts.
– Combine ground beef with Worcestershire and steak seasoning or salt and pepper. Divide meat into 4 equal parts. Take 1/4 of the meat in your hand and make a well in the center of it. Pile in 1/4 of cheese and bacon, then carefully form the burger around the cheese and bacon filling. Make sure the fillings are completely covered with meat. When all four patties are formed, drizzle burgers with oil and place on hot grill.
– Cook for 2 minutes on each side over high heat, reduce heat to medium low and cook burgers for 7 to 8 minutes longer, turning occasionally. Do not press down on burgers as they cook. Transfer burgers to a plate and let them rest 5 minutes before serving.
– Assemble burgers, buns and your choice of condiments. As you bite into the burgers, you will find the cheesy-bacon surprise at the center. Makes 4 servings.
– Recipe by Rachel Ray (
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4- inch strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
– Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
– Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd.
– Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3-5 servings.
– Recipe by Paula Deen (
Broccoli Salad
1 large bunch broccoli florets (cut off florets before smooth stalk begins)
8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled or 1/2 cup bacon bits
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
– Mix together broccoli florets, bacon, nuts, onions and any optional ingredients.
– Mix together dressing. Pour on top and stir to combine. Makes 4-6 servings.
– Recipe by Frankie Pate
Mini-Peach Cobblers
1 box yellow cake mix
1-14 ounce can sliced peaches in juice
1/2 cup orange juice (can substitute apple juice)
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Nonstick cooking spray
– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– Spray 12-unit cupcake/muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
– Open can of peaches and reserve juice. Mix peach juice, orange juice and cake mix by hand in large bowl until mixed. Fill muffin cups half full with batter (discard excess). Divide peach slices between 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Push slices into muffin cups, covering with batter.
– Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve each cobbler with 2 scoops vanilla ice cream (optional).
– Recipe by Melanie Knight, inspired by Roy Cross
Cherry Sunset
16 maraschino cherries and juice
4 cups lemonade
2 cup orange juice
Maraschino cherries, lemon slices and orange slices (for garnish)
– Place four cherries in the bottom of each glass. Pour in 1/2 cup orange juice, then 1 cup lemonade.
– For garnish, slice cherries in half, then cut a slit from the center to the side so it can sit on the side of the glass. Cut the same slit in the lemon and orange and slices. Place cherry on the side of the glass, so the slit straddles the glass edge and follow it with the sliced lemon and orange. Makes 4 servings.
– Recipe by Melanie Knight

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recipe: Road Kill

OK-so I can't find my recipe for road kill. But I think my brother has it...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will Ride for Food- UPDATE

Remember the story I did about the Star Riders' bike rally for Feed the Children? Well- they qualified for an 18 wheeler food truck from FTC and it will be here @ Nov 8th. Hope Food Bank will screen the families. Should be enough food for 400 families to get 1 box of food and 1 box of general goods (soap-etc). How awesome is that! Thanks again for all your help!

Star Riders ROCK!!!

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits

Best ever!- even better the next day after all the juices stew in the fridge-

Miss Leslie’s Ham Salad on Biscuits Rachel Ray

2 tubes, 6 pieces each, large bake-off biscuits
1 pound cooked ham from the deli, 1/4-inch thick slices,
diced 3 ribs celery, from the heart, finely chopped
1/2 cup salad olives with pimento, drained, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped (wear gloves)
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley - a couple of handfuls of leaves
1/3 cup mayonnaise, just enough to bind salad
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons dill pickle relish Salt and black pepper

Prepare bake-off biscuits to package directions, 8 to 10 minutes in the oven. Cool biscuits on wire rack.
Combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasonings, to taste.
Split cool biscuits and fill with Leslie's ham salad. Salad is even better on the second day.Makes 6 servings (2 biscuits each).
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Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white pizza...

Just like the ones I used to know-
Rachel Ray-

1 store bought pizza dough - or pick one up from your favorite pizzeria
Extra- virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 cups whole or part skim ricotta
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone

canadian bacon-optional
1 pouch 10 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup, shredded

Preheat a pizza stone if you use one along with the oven to 425 degrees F.
Stretch dough to form a pie and transfer to stone or pizza baking tray. Pierce the dough with the tines of a fork in several places. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil around the crust. Mix the ricotta cheese with garlic and parsley and season it with salt and black pepper. Spread the ricotta across the dough. Top the pizza with mozzarella or provolone. Bake until crispy, 20 minutes. Top the white pizza pie with the shredded basil leaves, cut and serve.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recipe: Cherry Sunset

Why oh why does summer have to end? Let us take the next several weeks and say goodbye with a Cherry Sunset. I top mine off with cheap champagne- you know- the Grand Spumante $4/bottle stuff. Po' Man's champagne is white wine mixed with gingerale- also a delicious drink for derelicts.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Team USA Olympic Cupcakes

Team USA Cupcakes
Decoration inspired by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone,

1 package butter recipe cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 stick butter- room temperature
1-2 cans coconut supreme pre-made frosting (any white icing will work)
1 cup small fresh blueberries, washed and dried
1 roll red-colored fruit snack or fruit leather (Fruit Roll-Ups) cut into 1/8 inch strips by 2 inches longPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Combine softened butter, eggs, water and cake mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase to medium speed and beat another 2 minutes.Divide batter evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature on wire racks before proceeding or cool quickly 10-15 minutes in the freezer. Spread frosting on tops of cooled cupcakes. Use blueberries to stud cupcakes in rows (for stars) over the upper left quarter of the cupcake. Place red fruit strips across the remainder of the cupcake surface in rows (for stripes) over frosting. Trim fruit strips where they hang over edges. Makes 24 cupcakes
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sultan's Delight

Sultan’s Delight/ Turkish Delight

It’s the daily question every mother dreads, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” You’ve already jaded your family with every fried meat, casserole and pasta dish in your arsenal, so what’s left? Don’t despair-Turn to a country known for hundreds of years for turning out succulent meals, the Republic of Turkey.

Turkish cuisine is the result of 600 years of the Ottoman Empire rule where hundreds of the Sultan’s Chef’s would perfect their specialties and compete to please the royal family in the Imperial Kitchen of the Topkapi Palace. Here, thirteen hundred kitchen staff were housed in several buildings under ten domes with elaborate kitchens. How else could they have come up with such enticing desserts as twisted turban, sultan, saray (palace), lady's navel and nightingale's nest? Even little Edmund Pevensie couldn’t resist the White Witch when she offered him Turkish Delights. The Sultan also had the benefit of controlling the Spice Road and the crossroads of the Far East and Mediterranean. In this fashion, the taste of the royal family became the taste of the people.

"To drink one cup of coffee together guarantees forty years of friendship". This Turkish saying sums up the ancient pastime of socializing over coffee and sweets. Once the coffee is gone, the hostess reads each guests fortune by placing the saucer over the coffee cup, swishing and inverting both the cup and saucer. The patterns of the coffee ground remaining in the cup are then “read”.

Elaborate rituals and social customs emerged as coffee fused itself into the culture. According to Burak Sansal, a tour guide for Turkey, when a man wishes to marry a lady, he and his family pays a visit to her family’s home. Her efficiency as a potential wife is judged by her preparation of the coffee. It is also her chance to make her opinion known. A definite yes is conveyed by serving sweet coffee. A no is conveyed by serving coffee with no sugar, or even serving coffee with salt.

In Turkey, food is a way of life. Our American lifestyle of eating on the go or grabbing a bite to eat would be an alien concept in Turkey. The food protocol of the Turkish Embassy states that “It is inconceivable for the household members to eat alone”. They are expected to enjoy three sit down meals a day where they share the events of the day. They also enjoy elaborate picnics, which they refer to as "stealing a day from fate."

Take a tip from the Turks and steal your own day from fate. If you can’t live like a king, with these recipes, you can at least eat like a Sultan.

Chicken Shish Kebab (Tavuk Sis Kebap)
2 pounds chicken breast, boneless, cut in medium sized cubes1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper, powder
1 garlic clove, smashed with salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix ingredients in a gallon size zip lock and marinade. Overnight is best, but 30 minutes will do. Divide up the chicken cubes and place on four to six skewers. Grill the chicken until the juices run clear. Make sure to turn the skewers so that all sides are cooked equally.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Sultan Reshad's Pilaf (Sultan Reşat Pilavı) www.turkish
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 medium onion- chopped
1 slice bread, make wet with water
1 pound ground hamburger
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large tomato, diced

Put water, butter and salt in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir in rice; mix slowly. Cover and simmer for 15-21 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
Combine ground meat, bread (made wet with water and squeezed dry), diced onions, salt and pepper; in a bowl; mix well. Shape into balls 3/4 inch in diameter. Put flour in a shallow bowl and roll the meatballs to coat them. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Brown meat balls on all sides in oil. Remove from skillet. Add minced tomatoes into drippings; mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in meat balls. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Arrange rice pilaf on a serving plate in circular form (donut shape). Place meat balls with sauce in center. Serve hot. This dish was prepared in the kitchens of Sultan Reshad’s Court.
Makes 6 servings

Turkish Delight (Lokum)

1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin (2-packages -7 grams each)
¼ cup cold water
¼ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flavored extract-(recommend raspberry)
1/8 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup confectioners' sugar
Food coloring (Use appropriate color to match flavor.)

Soften gelatin in cold water. Add sugar to boiling water. Bring to boil. Stir in softened gelatin. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add flavoring and coloring. Pour into ungreased, 4-inch square pan (or plastic storage container). Add nuts and stir gently. Chill in fridge for @ 30 minutes. When firm, remove from container and invert onto confectioner sugar dusted cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Roll in confectioners' sugar. Store in a jar at room temperature.
Makes 8 servings

Nightingale's Nest (Bülbül Yuvası)

1 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 frozen filo pastry (strudel) sheets
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4cup white corn syrup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Optional toppings- ground walnuts & whipped cream

Mix walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside. Place one sheet of filo pastry on a clean surface. Brush with butter. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon walnut filling evenly over the sheet. Place a thin 1-inch rolling pin (or thick handled spatula) at the narrow end of the sheet and roll up the pastry on the pin. Gently push the rolled-up pastry from both ends towards the center to compress. Pull out the rolling pin. Form into a spiral/nest shape and place on a buttered baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheets. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Add lemon juice to syrup and mix to combine. Pour syrup over hot nests, allow time to absorb syrup and cool. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with ground walnuts and whipped cream

Makes 6 servings.

Turkish Coffee (Türk kahvesi )

The sweetness can be adjusted to your liking. This version falls somewhere between orta and sekerli. Depending on the amount of sugar added per cup, Turkish coffee is served in four variations: Sade -without sugar, Az Sekerli- 1/2 sugar cube, Orta- 1 sugar cube, Sekerli- 2 sugar cubes.

2 cups water
1/4 cup finely ground strong coffee beans (Arabica ground for espresso)
2 tablespoons sugar
optional- sugar cubes, half & half
Combine water, ground coffee, and sugar in small saucepan or Turkish coffeepot. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves; bring just to simmer (coffee will foam and rise to top edge of pan). Divide half of coffee among 6 small cups, pouring slowly to avoid breaking foam on top. Return pan to low heat and let mixture foam again to top edge of pan. Carefully pour remaining coffee into cups, leaving grounds in saucepan. Serve immediately. Gingerly sip coffee, but stop before you get to the grounds at the bottom of the cup. You can also put a sugar cube in your cheek to sweeten the coffee as you sip it.
Makes 6 servings.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Fun while it lasted- time to pop the cork!

Thanks for all your votes! However- I didn't make the top 4 :( in the Bush Beans Recipe Contest.
Top 12 still ROCKS though!!!!

It was still a wild ride-now I am addicted

Thanks again for all your support! I'm popping a bottle of homemade Knight Castle Chardonnay...
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Latitude Adjustment

By Melanie Knight – posted courtesy of The Lancaster News
School’s out for summer, it’s blistering hot and the natives are getting restless. Instead of dreaming about a tropical getaway, why not enjoy your own mini “stay-cation” at home?
Grab a Tiki torch, Hawaiian shirt, pina colada and get ready to limbo. With these simple ideas and recipes, you can host your own backyard luau and hula dance into the sunset.
According to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a traditional luau is the Hawaiian way of celebrating a major event, such as a life milestone, graduation or wedding, by enjoying several days of food, music and dance with family and friends. It was originally a way to unite the guests and with each dish having a symbolic meaning, like strength and virtue.
Your luau doesn’t have to be on an island to harbor the same feelings of goodwill.
Just keep the words of Benny Kai, the PCC “Ambassador of Aloha” in mind.
“Whenever you’re at a Hawaiian luau, you are ohana (family),” he said.
Getting ready
To get guests ready for a “latitude adjustment,” transform your backyard into a tropical paradise with these decorating ideas from that use supplies from a party supply store.
– To decorate, use anything with flowers, palm trees, fake parrots, fruit and sea shells. Arrange flowers down the center length of the table and accent with pineapples, coconuts and seashells. Perch a plastic parrot in your chandelier or on top of the refrigerator.
– Make simple leis out of colorful crepe streamers twisted together and taped into individual 30-inch loops.
– Drawstring trash bags become adjustable grass skirts by cutting 1-inch wide strips vertically from the bottom to 10 inches below the drawstring (heavy-duty bags work best). Use several of these to top your patio umbrella, or use them as a grass skirt along the edge of the table.
– Dig out those Christmas lights and string them up around your patio.
– Tiki torches work double duty – adding atmosphere to your party and keeping the mosquitoes away if you use citronella oil.
– Serve frozen cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic). Pina coladas and pineapple iced tea will instantly chill out your guests.
– Download some traditional Hawaiian music. Mix it up with some Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and Don Ho’s “Gold.”
– Greet each guest as they arrive with a hearty “aloha” (hello/goodbye and love), a “honi” (kiss) on the cheek, and a “lei” (garland of flowers). You can pick up some more Hawaiian words and phrases at They even have the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian.
– Dancing is an integral part of a luau, so get a lively round of limbo going. A bamboo stalk works best for this game, but a broom will do. Two people hold the stick and each person has to bend backward and dance under the stick without touching it. Once everyone goes under, the stick is lowered 2 to 4 inches and the next round starts.
– Give the natives a chance to grab a frozen drink, then round them up again for and see who can hula like a “kama`aina” (true Hawaiian native). Being the host, you should practice before hand by checking out some hula dancing on
Now that you’ve got the tropical fever, here’s a sample menu to keep get you started. Aloha!

Luau recipes
Grilled Pineapple Pound Cake a la Mode
1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 slices pound cake
Strawberries or raspberries, for topping
Nuts, for topping
Whipped cream, for topping

– Drain pineapple, reserving 1/3 cup juice and six pineapple rings (save remaining juice and pineapple for another use).
– Combine juice, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
– Brush half of the mixture on both sides of pineapple and cake slices.
– On an uncovered grill over medium heat, cook pineapple and cake for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown, brushing occasionally with remaining pineapple juice mixture. Top each slice of cake with a pineapple ring. Top with berries, nuts and whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

– By Paula Deen (

Beef Teriyaki
1 pound steak, cut into 1-inch cubes (round, sirloin or rib-eye will work)
1 15-ounce can pineapple chunks with juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil (can substitute olive oil)

– Combine all ingredients, including liquid from pineapple. Marinate, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
– Thread beef and pineapple alternately on skewers. Discard leftover marinade. Place on hot grill, turn every 5 minutes so meat cooks evenly. Cook to your preference – rare, medium, well done. Makes 4 servings

– By Rhonda Parkinson (

Pineapple Iced Tea
6 tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups boiling water
Fresh mint
Juice of 3 lemons
5 tablespoons pineapple juice

– Place tea bags and sugar in a 2-quart pitcher. Add 4 cups of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags.
– Steep fresh mint leaves in tea for at least three minutes. Remove mint leaves. Add lemon and pineapple juices.
– Add cold water to the pitcher. Serve over ice. Garnish with pineapple and fresh mint leaves.

– By John Fischer (

Aloha Sweet Potatoes
1 15-ounce canned yams/sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup shredded coconut

– Slice sweet potatoes about 1/2-inch thick.
– In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and water and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sweet potatoes to skillet. Cook gently; tossing lightly until sweet potatoes are glazed. Sprinkle with coconut before serving. Makes 4 servings.

– From

Huli Huli Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1 piece ginger root, crushed
1 clove garlic, crushed
Grilled pineapple slices and maraschino cherries (optional)

– Combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, ginger root, and garlic. Stir well.
– Place chicken on a hot outdoor grill. Baste the chicken frequently and continue grilling for about 10-15 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Double check by slicing into the thickest part of chicken breast. The inside should be white, not pink. Garnish with grilled pineapple slices and cherries (optional). Makes 4-6 servings.

– By John Fischer (

Pina Colada
2.5 ounces light rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cream of coconut
3/4 cup crushed ice
Pineapple chunks (for garnish)

– Place ingredients in blender, reserving pineapple chunks for garnish, and process until smooth, about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with reserved pineapple chunks, if desired. Leave out rum for a non-alcoholic “mocktail.” Makes 1 serving.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Your invited to the party when I win!

I love this stuff! I'm in the top 12!
Don't just vote for me 'cause I'm the obvious winner, Vote for me 'cause I'm the best.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't make me backsplash you!

Kitchen makeover gone wild- we bought the wrong box of metallic tile, but it looks like some mistakes are better than the original idea.
Oh yeah- my contractor is hot.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Interested in learning the 'dance of the orient'?

By Melanie Knight – For The Lancaster News , photo by Aaron Morrison

Chingy-ching, chingy-ching. Hundreds of dangling gold coins ring out as Ashley Pate, with her arms outstretched and her hands in cutsie pose, swings her hips in a tight Egyptian shimmy, then a low American cabaret. As the exotic drums beat, she moves on to Nile hands and snake arms, then traveling Arabics and Baladies. It's Raks Sharki, Arabic for "dance of the orient," and Pate's practicing the techniques taught in the beginner belly dance class at Springdale Recreation Center.Forget the Hollywood image of a harem girl writhing to seduce the sultan, the real origins of belly dancing are family oriented. According to class instructor Cassidy Switzer, this 1,000-year-old dance began as a way to prepare the body for childbirth and was not performed in front of men. It later evolved into a dance of celebration and is still a central element of weddings in modern-day Egypt. It is a dance that is flattering to all female shapes and ages – it's the great-grandmother of line dancing.Switzer carefully laid out each move to show its grace and elegance to avoid crossing the line and being "skanky" because that's not what belly dancing is about. There is a hands-crossed, over-the-chest move known as "giving your heart away, then taking it back" that is designed to keep the performer from flashing the audience during a Big Mama, a move where you draw a huge circle with your hips.Each student had her own reason for taking the class – curiosity, fun and exercise topped the list. Patty Davidson, 56, was delighted to see this offered in Lancaster. She had previously attended classes in Charlotte as part of her recovery from a hernia operation and talked her granddaughter, Amanda Green, 26, into signing up. Davidson designed and sewed a pink hip scarf with black fringe and hand-beaded silver beads for Green. Green wore it for the last class as she showed off her favorite move, the figure-eight bicycle hip.The class also had some welcome side effects, according to students. "It's helping me lose my muffin top," said Bobbie Stewart, referring to her love handles. Teresa Boyd said she noticed that after a few classes, her waist resembled a Co-cola bottle, it just went in." Annette Rape could feel her muscles toning up and felt the class was "fun " not like exercise." From the small talk gathered before and after class, husbands aren't complaining either.If you think you are up for the challenge, the next belly dancing class begins June 6 and ends July 18. Classes are from 6:30-7:30 p.m., on Tuesdays or Fridays. Cost is $55. For details, call the Springdale Recreation Center at 285-5545.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh Tarah!

I just love Tarah! This is my new friend. She has ears, but got shy and hid them when we took this picture. She is an 11 month old baby Alpaca.
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Will Ride to Feed the Children

The Star Riders of Lancaster beat their goal of $2000 and raised $2325 for Feed the Children. Thanks to everyone who came out to support.

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Another MAson Masterpiece

Another fantastic shot from my 2 yr old photographer.
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Stranded with only marshmellows to eat

Yes, we were really stranded. Stranded with a couple of 1st time campers. If I had a mute button, I would have used it.
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