Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dads' Delish Dish: Mid East Chicken Kebabs

The menu for our Fathers Day picnic included Bob's favorite Chicken Kebabs and Homemade Pitas.  Since we were gone most of the day before, I ground the wheat berries and made the bread dough on Friday and placed the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  When I arrived home, I pulled the dough from the refrigerator, divided it into 6 dough balls and let them rest for 30 minutes prior to shaping.  These rise perfectly!

Arab Bread

(6 pitas-12 Servings)

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar and yeast in mixing bowl with dough hook in place.
2 cups whole wheat  flour (ground from hard red spring wheat)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast

Add warm water to bowl.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl.
2 cup very warm water (125 degrees)

Add remaining whole wheat flour.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Slowly add all purpose flour, beating on low speed and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.  Knead for about 10 minutes, until dough leaves sides of bowl.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Place dough in large greased bowl.  Turn to coat with olive oil spray.  Cover and place in the refrigerator (or if baking within a few hours:  let rise at room temperature).

When ready to bake, divide dough into 6 balls and let rest on floured surface for 30 minutes.

Flatten each dough ball into a 6 inch round.  Place on a preheated stone in a 425F oven and bake for 10 minutes.  

The chicken kebabs are delicious hot or cold.

Mid East Chicken Kebabs

(Serves 4)

2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Mix garlic, lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice in a measuring cup.  Pour over chicken thighs and marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, place on skewers.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  Lower heat to 325 and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until internal temperature of chicken is 165 F.

Almond Yogurt Sauce

(Serves 6)

2 tablespoon almond butter  
Pinch of cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded.
 Blend all ingredients together in mini food processor.

Our picnic today was close to home, in the Rock City section of Coopers Rock (WV) State Park.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Big Hand for Grilled Cheese (Book Review)

It's not my 21st birthday nor my first apartment.  In fact I'm a retired senior in my 30+ year home.  "Grilled Cheese & Beer" by Kevin Vanblarcum and James Edward Davis is an adventure in cheeses, toppings, breads and beverages.  For me, it was a welcome opportunity to try something new.

The book is divided in chapters by skill level. 
  • Basics
  • Advanced
  • Expert
  • Let's Get Crazy
My testings include Johnny Appleseed (pictured above) from Chapter One, topped with thinly sliced apples and caramelized onion which made for a delicious luncheon.
The Big Kahuna is from Chapter Two, a delicious combo of roasted pork, Havarti, and grilled pineapple.

Twilight Provolone from Chapter Three has shaved beef and an egg over easy.  It was a 4 napkin meal without a crumb left on the plate.

The Sweet Treat from Chapter Four has creamy cheese, berries, chocolate and cinnamon.  This was a delicious way for me to start my summery day.

Grilled Cheese & Beer is easy to navigate, with two pages per recipe-one page with pictures and the adjourning page for the recipe and beverage pairing.

Like the variety in ingredients, there are choices for equipment.  Pan, oven, toaster oven and grill are all options.

Toppings include many fruits and vegetables:  avocados,  asparagus, pickled beets, cucumbers and spinach are a few of the choices.  Proteins accompaniments include beef, pork, poultry, tuna and egg.  Garnishes or glazes include honey, balsamic reduction, horseradish, cherry jam, barbecue sauce, pesto, salsa and maple syrup.  Potatoes and soba noodles are in recipes too.

I enjoyed the new combinations for this old favorite.  I was able to use ingredients I have on hand and to try some new.  I made modifications to adjust to smaller servings, less fat and sugar that is my normal routine.  I stopped at our local bakery to try some new breads and rolls.



Holly Grant, Media Relations
Hatherleigh Press, Ltd. 
Phone: 347-627-0083

Grilled Cheese & Beer Cookbook
Perfect for Dads and Grads

May 19, 2017 (New York, NY): GRILLED CHEESE & BEER is spiced with wit and a passion for all things grilled cheese and beer, with easy-to-follow instructions that make it perfect for any skill level. It contains over 50 one-of-a-kind grilled cheese sandwich recipes, perfectly paired with craft beers designed to draw out the full flavor of each ingredient.

GRILLED CHEESE & BEER is the perfect gift for dads especially those who enjoy grilling and drinking some cold brew. It's also ideal for any recent graduates looking for a fun cookbook full of simple, delicious sandwiches. Combining an extensive knowledge of beer making, food, and good humor, authors Kevin VanBlarcum and Eddie Davis have created a very special collection that will thrill sandwich lovers everywhere.

Check out some recipe names from GRILLED CHEESE & BEER: Bacon Me Crazy, Muenster Mash, Dragon Ball Cheese, Hamwise Gamgee, Revenge of the Swiss, Not Your Dad's Fried Bologna, and many, many more!


Kevin VanBlarcum is a brewer at Keegan Ales in Kingston, NY. After graduating from the University at Albany, he began pursuing a career in the brewing industry. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Kevin currently resides in Pine Hill, New York. James Edward "Eddie" Davis has honed his skills as a chef from Brooklyn, NY to the Catskills. Eddie fell in love with the culinary arts and began to hone his skills at a local favorite, The Caboose.

# # #

Written by Kevin VanBlarcum & James Edward Davis
978-1-57826-653-1, $16.95 paperback
978-1-57826-654-8, $12.99 eBook

Published by Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Penguin Random House.
Available wherever books are sold.

MEDIA: For review copies or to schedule interviews, please contact Ryan Tumambing at 347-627-0083 or email

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Picnic Spuds

One of my first contributions to the Sunday meal was potato salad.  The cooked potato salad dressing I learned to make in junior high school is the best.  While many versions call for cooking the dressing in a double boiler, I found that it works fine in my non-stick saucepan providing I continuously stir it with a wire whisk.  

Cooked Potato Salad Dressing

(For 2 cups of salad)

Beat egg, sugar, flour, salt and dry mustard in a non-stick saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously with a wire whisk and cook until thick.
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Stir in water and vinegar.  Cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly with whisk.
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon vinegar

Remove from burner.  Mix in mayonnaise.
2 tablespoon mayonnaise made with olive oil. 
Our menu today featured meatloaf with a simple sauce of whole grain mustard and one pack of orange marmalade.  For dessert we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries made by our friend Patty for the local farmers market.

To keep the foods at a safe temperature for transport, we pack surrounded by ice blocks in insulated containers.  The food is contained in shallow layers either in a glass container or ziploc back that transmits the cold temperature quickly.

It was especially gratifying to add the first of our snap peas to the salad and in the garnish.  This was my first experience with growing peas.

We enjoyed watching the pair of Eastern bluebirds gathering the picnic for their children at Stonewall Jackson Resort too.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ohiopyle in Style

Who wouldn't love a summer afternoon picnic in the forest with only the sound of a rushing creek behind you?  Today's adventure was at Ohiopyle State Park near Farmington, Pennsylvania in the Laurel Highlands.  Our menu featured baked flank steak with mushrooms and Spelt Tabbouleh.  I've learned the cooking method that produces the most tender flank steak is baking in a broth, covered, for 2 hours at 350F.  I baked this one in 1 cup apple juice, 1 cup beef broth and 1/4 cup tomato paste.  The original recipe for the tabbouleh called for farro and tomatoes of which I had neither, so my recipe is an adaptation.  The fresh mint really makes the salad!

Spelt Tabbouleh

(Serves 4)

Cook spelt in water until tender.  (I cooked mine in 2 cups of water in my counter top pressure cooker for 45 minutes.)
1/4 cup spelt

Saute garlic, celery, carrots and squash in olive oil for 5 minutes.
2 tablespoon green garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow squash, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Steam broccoli and bok choy in water in microwave for 2 minutes.  Drain and add to sauteed vegetables.
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup chopped bok choy

Stir in drained and cooled spelt, herbs, juice, cucumbers and olive oil.
1 tablespoon parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, snipped
Juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sharing Farmers Market Combos

Customers enjoyed our farm fresh sampling of Thai Beef Salad on Cucumber Slices so much they purchased over 60 pounds of the thin sliced round steak and all of the cucumbers at the market.  It was a good food day and report day with a 100% sanitation inspection score by the county health department. 

I'd never tried the thin sliced steak before and found it very easy to cook.  This salad was good hot and cold.

Our water today was made with pureed pineapple cores and frozen raspberries.  The chilled water was also very good.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Apple Butter Meatballs

Apple Butter is easy to make in a slow cooker, and local Italian sausage with just a few other ingredients made for an easy meatball.  This was a delicious combo.  The recipe was inspired by Southern Living.

Apple Butter

(4 Servings)

Mix all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low 4-6 hours until reduced by 1/2.  Blend until smooth.
12 apples, peeled and chunked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice


(2 Servings)

Mix ingredients until binds together.  Form 2 tablespoon size meatballs.  Bake at 325 F. until center reaches 165 F.  Drain fat and cover with heated apple butter.
6 ounce Sweet Italian Sausage
1 egg
1/4 cup grated apple
2 tablespoon onion, diced
2 Tablespoon Parmigiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoon wheat germ


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Picnic at Morris Park

After a stop at the Vietnam Memorial in Fairmont, we set our red, white and tableware on a peaceful table in a rustic woodland park nearby.  I made a salad on sticks with yesterday's roasting chicken and vegetables, a hard cooked egg, cheese, and a few raw vegetables.  The dessert was a chocolate souffle with mascarpone topping and berries.  The original recipe is in the May issue of Food and wine Magazine. 

Chocolate Souffle with Mascarpone

(Serves 8-10)

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa powder, flours and baking powder.
10 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not the Dutch processed kind)
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon baking powder

Separate eggs.
5 eggs

In mixer bowl with whisk, beat egg yolks at medium speed until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Egg yolks

Beat in sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
1/2 cup sugar

Beat in the butter at medium speed a tablespoon at a time. 
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, alternating with the milk.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup skim milk
Scrape the batter into a large bowl.

Clean the mixing bowl and whisk.  Beat the egg whites at medium speed until thick and foamy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Beat until the whites are thick and glossy, about 1 minute longer.  With rubber spatula, mix one-third of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaing whites until not streaks remain.
5 egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar

Place batter in a 7 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper and greased with olive oil spray.
Bake at 375 F. for 45 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes.  Take from pan and remove paper.  Cook further on rack. 

Whip mascarpone, milk and sugar at medium speed until soft peaks form.
Serve cake with topping and fresh berries. 
3/4 cup cup mascarpone
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
1 tablespoon sugar


Saturday, May 27, 2017

WV AND celebrates Diamond Anniversary

It was 25 years earlier when 100 dietitians assembled in a Cleveland hospital basement and formed ADA.  The first year was spent serving the country during a time of war.

In the midst of the second world war, dietitians in Charleston, corresponding with other dietitians in the state, met to arrange for affiliation.  Mildred Kent Shaw of Ohio Valley General Hospital was elected the first president.

15 members were present at the first annual meeting, yet a ballroom was filled with commercial and professional exhibits.  There was opportunity!

A topic at the second annual meeting was Food Rationing.  Many dietitians were teaching Red Cross Nutrition Courses.  West Virginia dietitians acted as hostesses to the Virginia and Caroline Dietetic Association.

In 1950, Charleston dietitians met with representative of the Diabetes Committee to standardize diabetic diets.  WVDA assumed much responsibility for Camp Kno Koma-West Virginia's free camp for diabetic children.  Members continue the work today.

In 1952, the WVDA scholarship program was established.  To date, we've awarded 54 scholarships.

Alida Thistleton, president in 1960, recalls a challenging time during her presidency:  They wanted to meet at an historic hotel when they learned that one member of their group would not be allowed in the hotel.  So they tried another hotel.  Yes, they were told, there was a table near the door and the member could come in the back door and sit there.  WVDA had come face to face with segregation.

In the 1970s, journal clubs for the purpose of acquiring continuing education hours were formed in many areas of the state.  WVU Medicine's journal club still meets once a month!

Many hospitals in the state had traineeships in their dietary departments, providing an ADA approved route to membership.

Nutribird was a shared education theme featured in nutrition education projects throughout the state and nation.

A 2004 relay Run Obesity Out of West Virginia raised awareness across the state with community events in seven cities.

In 2009, a childhood obesity essay contest was conducted for seventh grade students throughout the state with prizes presented at the West Virginia capital Easter egg hunt.

The annual "Dietitians Day at the Legislature" provides the opportunity to meet with elected officials in their capital offices.

West Virginia dietitians exhibit posters at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo annually.

West Virginia dietitians perform in key roles in public health initiatives and serve on numberous food and nutrition boards and commissions.

The 75th anniversary commemoration booklets, "Snapshots of the First 75 Years" was published for the gala celebration.  Cindy Gay, editor, compiled photographs and tributes submitted by members with interviews from the original historian, Annabelle Cruise.  30 members wrote tributes, with history of the transition from food person to an important member of the healthcare team, obtaining liscensure, the formation of internships, early steps to obtaining insurance coverage and reimbursement, and much praise for the professionalism of the membership.

We were honored to have Academy President-Elect, Donna Marin, speak.

Marshall Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created an exhibit of artifacts from the 75 years.

A copy of the commemorative book was presented to Donna Martin for the national records.

"West Virginia began with a small group of dietitians scatted throughout the state.  Now their efforts, and those who followed, including many women and a few men, are a matter of record in our national office."



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Short Pilgrimage through "Food On Foot" (Book Review)

This historical book researching eating on trails and in the wild confirm my belief that the "food and planning is an important part of any walk or outdoor activity".  Dried fruits, seeds, nuts and flatbreads were common selections.  Different cultures had elaborate selections such as freshly roasted kebabs.  "In open air, the appetite is good and to make your own meals is pleasurable".  Pioneers, who hunted along the trail, supplemented meals with meats and vegetables.  

Army rations have come along way to now include poppy seed cake, cranberries, spiced apple cider, peant butter and crackers.  A World War II favorite was SPAM.

The Roman marchers carried wheat and handmills to bake flatbreads in clay pots called clibanus.

The mountain climbers nourishment got harder as the altitude increased.  Climbers had to monitor the color of their urine to determine sufficient hydration.


From the publisher:

World traveler, mountain climbing enthusiast, and scholar Demet Güzey introduces readers to the vital connection between food and human expedition in Food on Foot (April 8, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-4422-5506-7; Hardcover $38.00; 236 pages; Rowman & Littlefield), the next installment in the Food on the Go series. From pilgrims to pioneers, soldiers to explorers, the only limit to humanity’s reach is the food they can find along the way, and Güzey examines the myriad ways we have approached this problem over the centuries and across landscapes.

From tinned foods to foraging in the arctic wilderness, worm-infested hardtack to palate-dulling army rations, loss of appetite in high altitudes to champagne and caviar at base camps, Güzey gives a thoroughly researched and insightful account of how we manage food on foot, and how disaster strikes when we fail to manage it well.

Firsthand accounts, authentic artifacts and photographs, expert opinions, and recipes reveal new perspectives on lesser known as well as more famous expeditions, such as the disastrous end of the Donner Party, the stranded men of Shackleton on Elephant Island, and the first successful summit of Mount Everest. An extensive bibliography provides ample opportunities for further reading. 

This culinary history book is a great gift for adventurous food lovers and food-loving adventurers.

About the Author:Demet Güzey, PhD, is a writer and lecturer of food and culture with a passion for trekking in high mountains. She has published numerous articles in academic journals and magazines, ranging from Food Biophysics to Gastronomica, and climbed some grand mountains, such as Mont Blanc and Mount Ararat. You can read more about her at

This book is not a cookbook, yet I was compelled to create a meal from one of the scenarios in the book.  My favorite travelers were the Pilgrims who traveled places where food was shared.  The Tuscan route might include vegetable soup and day old bread with a sweet cake called Spongata.  Here is my version:


(Serves 8-10)

Cover fruit with alcohol and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hires.
13 grams golden raisins
7 ounce assorted diced dried fruit ( I used figs, dates, cherries, apricots, cranberries and blueberries)
Wines, brandy and gold rum to cover the fruit

Grind spices in a seed grinder.
1 gram cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
Fresh grated nutmeg
Squeeze liquor from dried fruit.  Combine fruit with nuts, wheat germ, spices, wheat germ, honey and salt.
66 grams roasted and ground walnuts
10 grams roasted and ground almonds
13 grams wheat germ
33 grams warm honey 
Pinch of salt

Cut buttery spread into flour-salt mixture.  Stir in liquor.  Add enough cold water to form a dough.  Divide dough in half.  Roll to fit and 8 inch springform pan.  Press into bottom of pan and slightly up the side.  Fill with fruit and nut mix.  Cover with second dough half, rolled to fit the pan.  Press dough together to enclose all of fruited mix.
132 grams whole wheat pastry flour
54 grams Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/8th teaspoon salt
26 ml liquor (drained from fruit )
1-2 tablespoon cold water

Bake in 350 F. oven for 20 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Rainy Day Picnic at Ryerson Station

We enjoyed our Sunday afternoon picnic under a shelter, surrounded by sounds of a variety of birds and light rain.  Our menu today featured:

Pork Tenderloin with Spring Onion Sauce
Creamy Coleslaw
Cinnamon Apples
Chocolate Strawberry Cobbler

I've made the cobbler before.  Interesting that the juice from the berries combines with the dry cocoa to make a delightful sauce like chocolate syrup with less sugar! Since the onion sauce has a slight amount of sugar and the slaw as well, I eliminated any sugar in the apples and simply sauteed 2 apples in 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread with cinnamon and nutmeg.


Pork Tenderloin with Spring Onion Sauce

(Serves 4-6)

Press minced garlic into top of pork tenderloin.  Place in instant pot.  Surround with wine, juice, seasonings and vinegar.  Lock lid in place.  Place timer on 45 minutes.
1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
6 cloves garlic, minced
1-6 ounce bottle White Zinfandel
1-6 ounce bottle apple juice
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon low sodium beef base
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Slice thinly and store in refrigerator in cooking liquid.

Bring broth and onions to a simmer on stove top.  Cook until most of broth is evaporated.  Stir in vinegar and jelly.  Serve on top sliced pork loin.
1 bunch spring onions, diced (include green)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 packet apple jelly
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Our picnic today was at Ryerson Station (Pa.) State Park near Wind Ridge.  There are hiking trails, fishing, camping and a beautiful (free) swimming pool.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mingo Mimosa

A perfect picnic day and Mothers Day calls for a toast!  I was happy to find Champagne in 6 ounce bottles-just the right amount to add to a 4 ounce orange juice to fill 2 champagne glasses.  

Our picnic today featured Shrimp-Rice Noodle Salad and Buckwheat Strawberry Shortcakes.  The mason jar salad, inspired by Rachael Ray , was layered in a pint size mason jar with the dressing on the bottom.  When shaken and poured onto the plate, the luncheon was ready to eat.

I layered each jar as follows:
  • Fresh parsley and mint leaves
  • Dressing
  • Sauteed shrimp in minced garlic and sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground roasted walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoon grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoon diced grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon grated radishes
Here is the dressing for 2 I put together:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoon mirin
2 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
Juice from 2 limes
4 teaspoon rice vinegar 

The buckwheat shortcakes were inspired by Eating Well.  Mine are layered with fresh strawberries and a yogurt blend of strawberries, nonfat plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup (makes 2 servings).  The picnic was at Mingo Creek Park, a Washington County Pa. park.

My serviceware today featured a serving tray my husband gave me for Mothers Day and champagne glasses from our WV Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Gala held earlier in the week.  Here's the the toast at the gala where we enjoyed Chocolate MOOtinis!