Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Look Ahead

First of all, with this final post of 2006, I will be marking a significant milestone. For this, my friends, is my 500th post to Tummy Treasure. 500! It seems like just yesterday that I was starting out, and to reach 500, that's quite amazing to me. I'm looking forward to the year ahead and seeing where it takes me.

Secondly, I have a quick article up this morning at Kids Cuisine. Definitely check it out, because it shares food for thought on expanding the repertoire of your picky eaters. I think I'm on the right track as far as getting my kids to eat more, and this little nugget just reinforces that.

And finally, I have compiled a brief list of 10 Food Goals for me for 2007. I don't make any promises other than a sincere attempt to think about accomplishing several of my goals. Some of these goals are really just focused on common sense eating and incorporating more of the good stuff. Others are a little more frivolous and will be fun to explore. So here we go.

1. Attempt to make homemade sausage. Whether it's homemade breakfast sausage, or a grilling sausage, I'd like to try making my own and grinding my own meat. We'll see how this one goes.

2. Explore Moroccan Cuisine. I'm fascinated by the combinations of flavors associated with Moroccan food, and I would love to learn more. I'll give myself an added bonus if I can make it slightly more kid friendly.

3. Be less afraid of greens. I admit it, I tend to avoid greens like Kale, Collards, Chard, etc. I don't know why, because I love spinach, and I like turnip and beet greens. I want to get over that fear and learn to love 'em.

4. Make one recipe from every cookbook I own. I'm hedging on 70 cookbooks, surely this is doable. And as I make my way through, if I just can't find a recipe to try, then I know the cookbook needs a new home. I'll be figuring a way to track this and sharing the results. This one will be a fun challenge.

5. Experiment more with vegetarian cooking. I get so focused on the meat and 3 or meat and starch aspect of a meal. I have several vegetarian cookbooks that I love going through, I just need to hunker down and use them.

6. Prepare duck. I LOOOVE duck, but I've never prepared it. Even if it's just a couple of breasts, I will make duck at least once this year.

7. Incorporate more fish into our meals. We love fish, the kids not so much. So I tend to avoid cooking it. Fish is so healthy and good for you. And if you've read my Kids Cuisine article, you know that if I continue to eat fish, my kids eventually will too. So that's great incentive right there.

8. Eat breakfast daily/be more adventurous with breakfast. I don't always eat a good brekkie, and when I do, I get stuck in a rut. There's more to breakfast than eggs and oatmeal. I want to discover that.

9. Incorporate more beans into our diets. Why wouldn't I? Beans are great for you, and offer an excellent protein source for meatless alternatives. Specifically, I want to have plenty of dried beans on hand to do anything I want with them.

10. And finally, I want to learn more about whole-grain baking. I'll be getting the new King Arthur flour book shortly, but I already enjoy baking bread from scratch, I want to be able to make breads that are good for you, and great tasting. It would also be fun to be able to bake a cake that isn't as unhealthy as it seems (and we all know I love cake!)

Well, that's my list. Farewell to 2006, you've been kind to me.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Busy Year!

I've accomplished a lot this year! When I look back through my archives, I am simply amazed. And I also realize how wonderful blogging truly is, that I have a chronicle of the past year. I can go back and remind myself of the things we did, the recipes we tried and I have subsequently forgotten about, and the things that didn't work so well. I'm going to go through and highlight one or two things from each month.

January 2006: One of the things I discovered in January was the art of braising. I started with economical chicken parts, and moved on to discover pot roast, a true star in braising. This recipe clearly stands out, as does this recipe from Sara Foster for Pot Roast. I also began playing around with cake, and really worked on my technique in cake-baking.

February 2006: Well, the clear standout here was my foray into catering. I learned so much from that one experience, it was wonderful, and although I still need to work on my quantity, I am looking forward to doing it again sometime. Shortly before the wedding, how could I do a year in review and not mention Cheese Sandwich Day. The day when food-bloggers united against a food writer who dissed a few of our own.

March 2006: March started the beginning of my Wednesday Weigh-Ins...nothing's changed yet, but maybe 2007 is the year for me? New to the month, I mastered the pastry Pate de Choux and made my own cream puffs. I also began my year-long quest to trim the grocery budget. I'm still not where I want to be, but I am much more conscious about how much I'm spending and where I'm spending. March was also a difficult month for my family as we said goodbye to a Matriarch. But I do know that Grandmas has just celebrated the best Christmas ever! (And I'm also excited to see that spring made it's entrance mid-March last year)

April 2006: April found us enjoying spring completely, and finding one of our favorite meals ever. I also learned that I really like lamb, and I discovered the most amazing brand of coffees. The month wrapped up nicely with a caramel apple zaniness, that I don't know if it will be repeated.

May 2006: In May I discovered the versatility of ricotta cheese. I also mastered a couple of new cakes thanks to Martha, and the blogging world fell in love with asparagus.

June 2006: June, of course, brought gallons and gallons of strawberries. I discovered grocery shopping through Amazon, and a continued love affair with the farmer's market.

July 2006: July I posted about my favorite cookbooks, which are still my favorites. In between camping trips and vacations, I did manage to squeeze in a little cooking, including these fantastic refrigerator pickles.

August 2006: Well, I can't mention August without mentioning the other wedding this year. I sampled fried green tomatoes for the first time, and just thinking about them is making m drool!!! Andy mastered the smoker this summer and homemade salsa made an invasion.

September 2006: September brought on the blog-world's Things To Eat Before You Die list, the first day of school with a Laptop Lunchbox, and the most important discovery of Indian Cuisine.

October 2006: In October I learned the art of bagel-making, and discovered the best Chicken Cacciatore I'd ever prepared. Oh! And how could I forget to mention my absolute favorite brownies that I discovered.

November 2006: In November I discovered the beauty known as a soft-boiled egg. I also learned that I really want to learn how to make hard candy, and do candy sculpting. Thanksgiving was also a rousing success, and I think I've become the official Thanksgiving host for my family- what an honor!

December 2006: Well, technically it is still December. Yet, it's been a long month, and during this past month, I conquered and simplified Pierogi-making, and A Menu For Hope raised over $58,000 dollars. Chocolate invaded, and I discovered the best ginger cookies ever.

Next year? We'll see what fun it brings! Stay tuned!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Taking a break

I hope no one minds too terribly that Tummy Treasure has been taking a bit of a break this week. There hasn't been much at all to blog about food-wise, as we're relaxing post-holiday with leftovers and dining out. We literally have scads and scads of cookies and treats leftover, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with them. Part of me wants to tuck them away in the freezer for a sweet attack at another time. Part of me wants to prove I have the willpower to just toss them, and part of me wants to go to town and eat them up before they go bad. Inevitably, a large platter will make it's way to church on Sunday, but I imagine most will be like me- a little tired of the sweets.

As the year nears its close, I think back on this last year on Tummy Treasure, and I am simply amazed. Going all the way back to last January, it has been an eventful year in my kitchen! Coming up in the next day or two, watch for a "year in review" as I highlight my foodie accomplishments for 2006.

And then I want to look ahead to 2007. I want to set some goals food-wise. Maybe I'll master a couple of new techniques, or a particularily challenging dish. Maybe I'll devote one day a week to a cookbook gathering dust on the shelf. I'm also thinking about exploring other cusines from around the globe, but putting a kid-friendly twist on them. The only thing that I am certain on is that I would like to get back to Weigh-In Wednesday- it is sorely needed, I think. I am also looking to incorporate some vegetarian cooking into my repertoir. I'm not planning on using any soy replacements or anything, just a meal or two a month more than now that highlights vegetables and whole grains as a complete meal. I'd also like to do a couple more ingredient challenges, those are always fun.

Here's where my readers come in. Do you have any suggestions for me? An ingredient or two that you'd like to learn more about? Or a cuisine that you love that you'd like to share, or just a suggestion for a new cooking technique. I'd love to hear it, just leave a comment in the comment section, I promise to take all suggestions under consideration.

I hope everyone's having a great week! We've been having a great time relaxing, amid getting some long-awaited projects finished up. Today we're going shopping for fish to fill Abigail's new fish tank. And speaking of Abigail! We discovered her first ever loose tooth yesterday (actually, two of them) so we're anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first hole. Does anyone know the going rate for a first tooth? I'll be back in the next day or two with the year in review.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Buche De Noel

As promised, here is the picture of yesterday's Christmas cake. I have to say, I am still surprised at how much it actually looked like a log. I decided against making fake leaves, mushrooms, etc, and just let the log be a log. I did end up dressing it up just a bit though. We have a package of sprinkles called dirt and ants, and it was a perfect addition. The little crumbles looked like dirt, and then I had to make a little line of ants crawling across the log, it was kinda fun. The kids really liked the ants. A dusting of powdered sugar was all it really needed after that.

The cake itself? Meh. It was good for what it was, but the cake itself really lacked in flavor. The filling was good, and the frosting was good, but I tossed the recipe for the frosting and used my own. I will hunt down a different cake. This one was a chocolate cake with a white filling, and I think I like the look better of a white cake with chocolate filling, so I will try that for next year.

We had a wonderful Christmas together. We did get to spend time with my family, and that was great. We also spent time at home, just us. We ate a little too much, but that's to be expected. The kids got everything they wanted, Andy was pleasantly surprised with his MP3 player, and I was the recipient of a fantastic Cuisinart blender- bring on the smoothies! Overall, it was a wonderful couple of days, and it really only gets to continue for us this week. Andy has off work, and Abigail has off school, so bring on the fun!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Thank you to everyone who participated in A Menu For Hope. Together, we raised over $58,000!!!! Isn't that amazing! Over $58,000! Think of all the starving children who will get to eat a meal thanks to your generosity. It is so wonderful to think of all the wonderful people who made this happen.

And with that, I suspect that Tummy Treasure may be taking a few days off. I want to be able to focus on my family and enjoying our time together. I wish all of my readers here at Tummy Treasure a most wonderful Christmas! May God Bless you all richly, I will be thinking of you all warmly over the next few days. Enjoy your holiday, I will be back on the 26th. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Last Ditch Effort

It's really different for me this year. I think this is the first time ever that I have my Christmas shopping done well before Christmas. Other than a few gift cards, we were completely done two weeks ago. It's very odd to not be rushing around shopping at the last minute, but I gotta say, it's kinda nice. Today I have to do some last-minute grocery shopping, and swing by the butcher, but other than that...

I was going to post this morning on the Buche de Noel I have made for Christmas Day dinner, but I decided to freeze it before I frosted it, so I didn't get a picture of a finished product yet. You gotta love that though, a chocolate genoise is filled with a sweetened whipped cream and rolled up. The whole thing is wrapped up, in the freezer, and all it needs is to be covered with buttercream, and it's ready for eating. If you're interested, there are definitely plenty of recipes at Recipezaar, so check them out, each one is slightly different. It was definitely easier to put together than I'd anticipated.

So today I figured there may be a person or two still scrambling to find a gift for the foodie in their life. Well, how about a gift subscription? I can offer ideas for several of my favorite magazines that I receive regularly. I know I loooove the gift subscriptions I have, and it keeps giving all year long! My favorite magazine though has to be Cooking Light. They have a little something for everyone, and it's always on the lighter side. I've been a subscriber for years, and I always find inspiration there. Another new favorite for me is Eating Well. This one I get as a gift from Andy's Mom, and I really enjoy it. The information is good and solid, and I have yet to try a bad recipe. It has a good focus on eating healthy, but the recipes are much more than wheat germ and protein shakes. Gourmet and Bon Appetit are up next. I only subscribe to Gourmet, but I do pick up Bon Appetit from time to time. I really enjoy Gourmet's everyday recipes, their executive chef is Sara Moulton, so I expect quality recipes from Gourmet. It does tend to get a little heavy on the travel and restaurant reviews, but I do enjoy reading this one cover to cover. Bon Appetit is similar, but I have to say, the recipes there are a higher tier than the other magazines I read. They are never fail though- every one I've ever made has been truly decadent, but they are not necessarily everyday fare. Still, a good magazine to be receiving, and if I remember correctly, they've picked up Iron Chef Cat Cora as their executive chef, so that will be worth checking out.

Everyday Food is a recent acquisition for me. This really is about everyday cooking, and would be an excellent gift for someone who is still familiarizing themselves with cooking. The recipes are straightforward and turn out quite good. Plenty of simple cooking for those with little time on their hands. Another one I don't subscribe to, but I have enjoyed picking it up at the bookstore is Everyday with Rachael Ray. While I'm not a huge fan of hers, the magazine is very good. Plenty of recipes and ideas for everyday cooking, and it reads easily- it's not full of a lot of pretentiousness, and I like that. And finally, for the veg-head in your life, give Vegetarian Times a whirl. This is a magazine I really enjoy. Even though we're not vegetarians, there are plenty of ideas inside each issue for introducing a vegetarian meal now and then. And while they do occasionally call for a meat-alternative product, the focus is really on healthful eating, and isn't a soy-heavy magazine. There are also vegan recipes each month, for someone who may be practicing a Vegan Lifestyle.

Hopefully that helps someone! You can click on all the links above to take you directly to their homepage, which will guide you to subsription services. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


This morning I took a stroll over to First Giving to check out the totals for A Menu For Hope so far. Wow!! We are over $38,000!! How awesome is that! If you haven't taken the opportunity to share in the joy of giving, it's not too late! You have until tomorrow to participate, and sign up for some really awesome raffle prizes. I know I have my eye on quite few of them, including these, these guys, and this awesome tool for bloggers. You can follow the instructions here at First Giving to donate, and check out the complete list of prizes here. Hurry! Before time runs out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Still Looking?

Are you still looking for one or two things to round out your cookie platters? I know I always like to change things up every year and add one or two more new things. So when I saw these cookies at The Savory Notebook, they were a must try. They are so pretty, and after making them, I can also affirm that they are delicious. A dark chocolate cookie dough comes together in a snap, and is rolled in powdered sugar before baking, so that as they bake, the cookies split and get this gorgeous crackly black and white appearance. Try them, you won't be disappointed.

But maybe you're looking for something other than an actual cookie, something a little more unusual. Have you thought about biscotti? With all the sweets and goodies, a piece of biscotti can actually be refreshing. Not quite as sweet as a cookie, it goes excellent with a mug of something warm and really has endless possibilities. Cooking Light's Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti fit the bill perfectly. They easily combine on-hand ingredients, and they really taste good. The more adventurous could certainly dress them up with a bath in chocolate, but they really don't need it. And they look really good stacked up tall in a clear cellophane bag and tied with a twisty- excellent for adding to that gift basket you're procrastinating at finishing.

And finally, it's tradition week over at Well Fed. There have been several articles this week that have made me smile, you should go check them out. Especially since I shared today about my own little tradition on Kids Cuisine. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Got A Foodie On Your List?

Baffled with what to get them? Have I got the gifts for you. Sunday I was the recipient of a fantastic box of goodies from a very close friend of mine. Here's the secret, this is my favorite type of gift. I love putting together gift boxes and baskets by wandering around specialty stores and picking up a bottle of this, a bottle of that. But I love it even more when I am on the receiving end of such a gift.

Here to the right you see the most fantastic assortment of Bella Cucina Foods! On the far right is a tube of double concentrated tomato paste. Next in line we have a jar of Preserved Farmhouse Lemons, a bottle of Citrus and Fennel Sea Salt, a Porcini Pesto, Artichoke-Lemon Pesto, and then two jars of creams- one Blood Orange, one Meyer Lemon. Wow! Can you see why I might be excited!! These are more than just jars of specialty foods. These are going to be fun! Each jar is going to get some special treatment. For example, the artichoke-lemon pesto makes the best cheese dip ever, and it will do that once, and possibly it will also be tossed with chicken and penne for a quick dinner. The preserved lemons I'm really excited about. To me, that means that I need to explore some Moroccan Cuisine and feature the preserved lemons. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the tomato paste or porcini pesto, but they both will get the wheels spinning and really make me think about the best way to feature them and put them to good use. Each jar of yummy goodness here will get special treatment.

So the lesson here? Have a foodie to shop for? Pick up that never-before seen jar of preserves, or that unique looking jar of olives. I promise, the foodie in your life will be ecstatic. If you are interested in the products above, you can check them out, along with soooo many others at Bella Cucina Artful Food.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fiddle Broke

20 points to the person who can identify where today's post title came from. :-)

Today Tummy treasure is taking a bit of a break so I can nurse my sick little girl to health. She was awake in the middle of the night, and I suspect the nasty Norovirus that is going around, so I need to comfort her, and make sure I'm cleaning the house thoroughly to try and prevent the rest of us from getting it. There is a chance she just had a nervous reaction to all the excitement yesterday, as she had her Christmas play at church. But she's still looking a little green this morning, so I must go tend to her.

In lieu of a food post today, I can use today as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have food in our tummies to cause such a disturbing reaction. There are children all over the world today whose tummies hurt because they are empty. Tummies who don't remember the last time they held a slice of bread. In the spirit of the holiday season, please consider a donation to help feed the hungry around the world. Consider A Menu For Hope, a fundraiser supported by food-bloggers all around the globe. This year's campaign is raising money for The United Nations World Food Programme, a wonderful cause. Not only do you get the sense of satisfaction from donating to a worthy cause, you also get a chance to win awesome prizes for each $10 donated. For more information about donating, and checking out the list of prizes, head on over to our organizer, Chez Pim for all the details. So far, we have raised over $24,000! Let's keep it up, the campaign runs through December 22, so check it out while you have the chance!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Best Ginger Cookies Evah!

I got these cookies from my swap buddy. Normally, I have never been a huge ginger cookie fan. But apparently, I've just never had the good ones. Gingersnaps, gingerbread, I've always been on the fence with them. I enjoy them, don't get me wrong on that. But give me a choice between a ginger cookie and one with chocolate, the ginger loses. Until I tried these cookies. These are so chock full of ginger, that at first glance, the recipe seems a little scary. I mean, a whole tablespoon of ginger? 3/4 of a cup of chopped crystallized ginger? That's a lot of ginger!!!

Credit for these cookies actually goes to Music and Cats, a blogger who sent Erin these cookies in a prior BBM. And I am so glad she did. Follow the recipe exactly. I promise that you will be rewarded with the most decadent ginger cookies you've ever tasted, AND you will have a really pretty cookie to add to your cookie platters.

Ginger Spice Cookies (a.k.a. the best ginger cookies evah)
adapted from

makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup crystallized ginger
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

Turbinado sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Chop the crystallized ginger finely; mix into dry ingredients. (To keep the ginger from clumping together, sprinkle pieces across the top of the flour mixture, then fold in.) With an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture; stir just until blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter baking sheet. Pour turbinado sugar into a thick layer on a small plate. (Regular granulated sugar will work for this, too, though the larger crystals of the turbinado add an extra crunch to the cookie.) Using wet hands, form dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (I made my balls more like 1-inch, and ended up with about 48 cookies.)

Bake cookies until tops are cracked but still soft to the touch, 11-12 minutes. Cool on sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to racks and cool. Store in airtight container to maintain outer shell’s crunch… if they last that long.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Quick Variation

Last year was the first time I'd made Emeril's Coconut Indulgences. They were an instant hit, they taste just like a Mounds candy bar, which is one of my all-time favorite candy bars. For those of you across the pond, a Mounds is very much like a Bounty bar. Coconut dense inside, simply coated in chocolate. And the Coconut Indulgences are almost identical in flavor. Last year when I made them I rolled them into balls, and then flattened them slightly, so they looked like real mini candy bars.

I went to make them this year, and I felt myself being haunted. This past summer, the makers of the Mounds bar produced the singularly most spectacular candy-offering ever. It was a Tropical Orange variation on the Mounds, and I adored it. It was like sunshine in a candy bar, and it went away much too quickly. I wondered if it would be easy to recreate, so I turned to my meager confectionery supplies. I've been gathering flavorings and extracts with the hope of working with hard candy this year, and in those supplies, I possess both orange oil and a pineapple flavoring. So I added about 6 drops of orange oil and 2 drops of pineapple oil to the coconut mixture, along with some yellow-orange food coloring. And O...M...G... Heaven.

I rolled these into balls and hand dipped them into some dark chocolate. Right now they are faring safely in the freezer. Since I don't like frozen chocolate, the freezer is a very safe place if I want them to make it to Christmas. Here is the original recipe, and I have to say, add some orange oil drops at the very least- It adds a fantastic layer of flavor, and the pineapple flavoring just takes it entirely over the top.

Emeril's Coconut Indulgences

5 ounces condensed milk (I ended up using about 3/4 of a can)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package sweetened flaked coconut -- (14-ounce)
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate for dipping)

In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir well until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add the coconut and stir well to combine. With a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the candy mixture onto a baking sheet. With wet hands roll the candies into rounds. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In the top of a double boiler or metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate into a shallow bowl and, using 2 forks or toothpicks, dip the coconut balls into the chocolate and roll to coat completely. Shake off the excess, and place on a rack set over a baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining candies and let air dry, or refrigerate to harden

Thursday, December 14, 2006

They Liked It!

Tired of seeing holiday goodies on every page on every blog and website? You won't see one today here! One reason for that is that I don't have a picture to share today. :-) Another reason is that the recipe I'm sharing is not a sweet one. I have spent time cooking other than sweets and treats, but the sweets are so much more fun to share!

The recipe I'm sharing today is one that I made on Saturday. Andy had requested meatloaf for dinner, but he said I could do whatever I wanted to the meatloaf. I thought about it and thought about it, and decided that it had been a while since we had Asian flavors in my kitchen. The kids are not always receptive of Chinese style cooking, so I don't do it often. I started with an Eating Well recipe for Salisbury Steaks as my meatloaf part of dinner. I also recruited Zander to help with it. Lately if I'm in the kitchen, he wants to help, so I had him help dump ingredients in. It's so fun to see him lean over and smell something (deeply, mind you) and voice his opinion as to whether it's good or not. He loved the way Hoisin sauce smelled. That got me thinking about what we were going to have with meatloaf, and I thought something new and kid friendly was in order. Cooking Light to the rescue.

Years ago, Cooking Light published a recipe for Tofu and Fettuccine in a Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce. I always skipped over it because of the tofu, but the rest of the recipe appealed to me, so one night I made it up for Andy and I, and I thought it was pretty good, but a little spicy for the kids. This was going to be dinner, and I was going to use spaghetti, since that's what I had. And of course, Peanut Flavored spaghetti had to have meatballs, so the meatloaf turned into meatballs, and we had Asian Flavored spaghetti and meatballs. Abigail ate all her components, and Zander specifically loved the peanut sauce on the spaghetti. I had a problem with the meatballs being mushy, but I figure that's cause I used frozen bell pepper. Overall, well received, and will be made again, that's for sure

If you came here today hoping for a sweet post, you are not totally out of luck. Check out my post today over at Kids Cuisine. You can find a recipe for super simple peanut butter balls that anyone can make.

And finally, here is a reminder for A Menu For Hope. So far food blogger and blog-readers have donated over $13,000 in just a few days! Thank you so much if you've donated. And if you haven't, please consider it. The United Nations World Food Programme is a very worthy cause, and helps the hungry all over the planet. Every day we have the ability to feed ourselves as many times a day as we want, and elsewhere there are people who never know where and when their next meal is. As an appreciation for your donation, you also get a chance to win some really awesome prizes! Check out the list over at Chez Pim, along with the directions for donating.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Chocolate Class

This could get a little lengthy today. But it's all good stuff, I promise.

This year when I was contemplating my truffle making, I kept thinking about chocolate molds, and whether or not they would make a difference. My choice of truffle filling is a soft filling- I whip my ganache so it's light and fluffy and very delicate. This tends to make dipping in chocolate challenging. I decided to order some molds and see how they work. It took a few tries on my part to figure out the best way to make them work, but I think I love my truffle molds. Here is the story...
Here to the left we have your standard chocolate assortment.
Different cocoas, chocolate bars, chocolate chips, and dipping chocolates. This year my truffles are coated in dipping chocolate0 which is the large flat disks you see on the bottom. This chocolate comes pre-tempered, which makes it very easy to work with, and makes for a nice shiny coating on the truffles.

I started by melting my chocolate buttons in a double boiler. You can see that process off to the right here. I use a very small saucepan, and just set a metal bowl on top of that to melt my chocolate in. I make sure I keep the water at a simmer, and the chocolate is melted and ready to go in no time at all. The next step was to fill my molds. I used a teaspoon to shovel melted chocolate into all the little cups on one mold. Then I tapped the mold on the counter several times to give it a chance to adhere. That picture is here at the left. Now, I only let that chocolate sit still for a minute before the fun part came in. I flipped the mold upside down over a sheet of foil, and started swirling my mold to pour the chocolate out of the molds. You can see that here at the right. I just have to mention, yet again, how wonderful Reynold's Release Foil is. I swirled the excess chocolate over a sheet of that foil, and after it set, I was able to pick it right up and re-melt it. I love that foil! Anyway...

What was left after the swirling was a lovely chocolate shell just waiting for some filling. But first, I needed to let the chocolate firm up. So my trays of shells headed out to the garage to chill while I made sure my filling was ready for piping. This time I was making a mint truffle. I have shared my recipe before, and I'll direct you to that here- but I have to warn you that it is difficult to work with. Before I knew it, my shells were set, my ganache was in the piping bag, and it was time to pipe it in. This went extremely quick. In just a few minutes, all my shells were filled and back in the garage for 15 minutes to let the filling set up. (I should probably mention (now that I'm looking at the pictures) that I did use an offset spatula to scrape extra chocolate off after I swirled it. ) After the ganache had set up a bit, I took a damp finger and pushed down any peaks that had poked up when filling, and then I re-melted some of the chocolate. A teaspoon made quick work of filling the shells the rest of the way, and then I simply needed to wait. One hour later in the garage, I figured they were ready. I have learned that getting them out of the shells intact is the toughest part. And something that helps that along is the freezer. Two at a time, I set the trays of truffles in my freezer- for the briefest amount of time, I'm talking like 30 seconds or so. Then I pull the trays out and give them a sharp rap on the counter. I flip over the molds, and kind of jiggle them like an ice cube tray, and little perfect truffles come bounding out onto the counter.

My only problem with molded truffles is that it doesn't allow me to put a stringer on, and since these were minty, I wanted to be able to identify them. Instead of a stringer, I took some Peppermint chocolate bits and chopped them up pretty finely. I melted the chocolate one more time, and carefully dipped the tip of each truffle in chocolate, and then into the chopped peppermint bits. And her I present to you, my Hint of Mint Truffles, all lined up and ready for packaging.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Bit of Booze

Okay, this particular post is a bit out there for me. Other than the very occasional glass of wine, or even more rare margarita (straight up, on the rocks please!) I seldom drink. Since having babies, I just don't have the tolerance I once had, and since a Mommy has to be Mommy 24/7, drinking is not something I do often. But last Christmas, my brother and his wife shared the most wonderful drink I'd ever had, Coquito. I have spent a good deal of this past year researching and reviewing recipes, looking for the perfect Coquito recipe, and today I am proud to say that I think I have created my own version of Coquito.

Coquito is actually a coconut flavored egg-nog like drink from Puerto Rico- and let me tell you, I hate egg-nog. Even the smell turns me off. But this... this is something truly special and decadent, and I could drink this every night of the week and not get sick of it. I am certain that if I were to put the authentic version and my version head to head, mine would still be lacking, but for now, I am thrilled to be able to share my version of Coquito.

Erika's Coquito

2 cans Coconut milk
1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup dark rum
10 ounces Coco Real (found in liquor dept. by pina colada mix)(or cream of coconut)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Egg Beaters® 99% egg substitute (I used two of the cups from a 6 egg package)
1/2 cup brandy
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine Egg Beaters and rum in a mixing bowl and mix with a handheld mixer for about a minute. Add the coconut milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Coco Real. Mix well with the beater. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and brandy again mix well.

Store refrigerated in a glass bottle or glass pitcher (Leftover rum bottles work really well for this). Allow to rest for at least two days before consuming, shake well before serving. Serve well chilled.

** Your coquito should be consumed by the "best by" date on your Egg Beaters carton.

But wait! There's more to the booze post!! In addition to the coquito quest, I've still also been working on holiday food that is part of my kids heritage. A week or so ago I started searching for an Irish cookie, and I found a recipe for Irish Whiskey cookies. I wasn't totally convinced they would work, so I passed them by, but I kept finding myself drawn to the idea of these Irish Whiskey cookies. So I picked up a tub of minced candied fruit and trudged ahead. The cookies were very easy to mix together, and while they were baking I thought it was so strange to smell whiskey in the air- certainly not normal for this house anyway. After the first batch cooled, I sampled. These are softer, more cakey cookies, and you certainly can taste the whiskey, but it's subtle and lightly fruity. Instead of the citron and raisins called for, I just used mixed candied fruit, and I gotta be honest, the citron is really throwing me off. Apparently, I really don't like the citron, because the cookies without bits of citron are quite good. I did decide these cookies needed a touch more sweetness, so I made a quick glaze of powdered sugar and orange juice to top them with. A quick sprinkle of colored sugar, and I have festive little drunken cookies. They are pretty good, and I think I will make them again, I will just eliminate the citron all together. You can find the recipe for Irish Whiskey Cookies at this Christmas Cookie Website.

A Surprise!

The mail lady has been leaving package after package at my door lately. I have done almost all of my Christmas shopping online this year, so a package is becoming a usual thing. What was not usual was that yesterday there was a package with my name on it! Yes indeed, the Blogging By Mail fairy decided it was my turn! And wow, did my partner spoil me!
It is a complete box of christmas joy! Erin from erin-go-blog was so thoughtful in putting together a package that not only I would love, but that my kids would love too. She made some homemade peanut butter fudge that has the perfect amount of peanut butter- and it's sooo creamy! She also made (and I agree) The World's Best Ginger Cookie Evah! Seriously! I am going to be copying down that recipe and making it for our cookie trays, because this beats a gingersnap hands down. Have no fears blog-readers, I'll be sharing the recipe when I do make them (which happens to be from a former bbm partner of Erin's, btw). Then we have some Peanut Blossoms, which I have never made, but which the kids went nuts over. Abigail's already asked if we can try and make some ourselves, so I guess it will go onto the list as well.

Erin also tucked in a jar of hot cocoa mix and some homemade mint marshmallows which I am completely hoarding to myself. And a package of authentic Buffalo area sponge candy. It's known around here as Angel Food candy, but man, no one makes it like this. The gingerbread man you see holding a peppermint stick tragically lost his arm during shipment, but that was mended soon...ahem...and then there's still more in this package!!!! Erin sent an awesome CD of her Christmas favorites, which we've already been listening too, and then a really fun rock CD for the kids as well. (My compliments to the band Erin!) And finally there is an adorable little holiday cookbook just filled with ideas for new holiday cookies. Abigail was eyeing that one up yesterday, so I imagine we'll be putting something together soon.

What a generous box of Christmas cheer! Thank you so much to erin-go-blog for such a thoughtful package- and the recipes to go with! And a huge thank you to Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness for organizing another round of Blogging By Mail. And if anyone's curious, it looks like my package arrived safe and sound as well...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Menu for Hope

I am setting aside today's regular blog post to promote a worthy cause today. Food bloggers all around the world are participating in A Menu For Hope, an annual fundraising campaign to help feed the less fortunate. This year's donations are going to the United Nations World Food Programme. Last year's campaign raised over $17,000 dollars for earthquake victims. Food bloggers have generously donated prize upon prize to help support the cause. For a $10 donation, you receive a virtual raffle ticket for the prize of your choice. What could be more fun than that! Not only do you get to help support a very worthy cause, but you also get a chance to win some really cool stuff from all around the world. For more information on how to give A Menu for Hope, please head on over to Kalyn's Kitchen for my regions round up of some truly amazing prizes! Then head on over to Chez Pim for a complete round-up and thorough instructions. This year's Menu for Hope runs from today through December 22, please consider making a donation towards the fight to end world hunger! I will be posting a daily reminder here on Tummy Treasure for the duration of the campaign.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Maple-Walnut Fudge

This has become a favorite for me, so I've decided to banish it to the holiday baking season. Maple-walnut fudge year round is a bad idea for maintaining my waistline, but it makes a fantastic addition to a platter this time of year. It has a wonderful brwon-sugar maple flavor that literally just melts in your mouth. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to make this fantastic fudge. I use a smaller pan, and my only warning is to make sure it's set before you start cutting into it, or the whole thing kind of squishes and falls apart.

Perfect Maple Walnut Fudge

2 cups packed brown sugar
5 oz evaporated milk
1/2 pound butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Butter a 9x13-inch pan and set aside. (9x13 will produce very thin fudge. use a smaller pan if you like thicker pieces.) lining the pan with foil or paper and buttering that makes cutting and removing much easier.

n a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat very slightly and boil 10 minutes while stirring constantly. No longer! (I didn't stir constantly. I was fairly good about it, but I left it every now and then and that turned out to be ok.)

Remove from heat and add powdered sugar, vanilla and maple flavoring. Mix thoroughly with hand mixer on medium until thick and glossy - just a couple of minutes. Fold in walnuts and pour in prepared pan.

Note: This recipe also doubles easily. For thicker fudge double and still use the one pan.

Friday, December 8, 2006

A Better Pork and Beans

It was chilly yesterday! We had sub-zero wind chills for the first time this winter, and let me tell you, I just wasn't prepared for that. I mean, it was just over a week ago that it was 60 degrees and raining. And to top that off, our furnace has not been working at top speed, and our landlord's preference for heating repairmen is not reliable. When they call and say they will first be out before noon... and no one. And then they call and say they'll be out in the afternoon, and then they actually show up at 6:30? Of course, the last time we called them, it took him two weeks to get back to us, so this was progress. It turns out it isn't our imagination, but it needs a part, so the guy will be back "sometime today."

Because of the chilly temps in the house, I decided the oven needed to be going most of the day, not only would it contribute to the sub-par heating, but it was also fill the house with delicious smells. I spent the morning baking cookies, and then in the afternoon, it was a slow-braised pork roast. Perfect to combat the frigid temperatures. Pork Roast with White Beans and Cranberries was almost too simple to think it could be good. First, the roast is seared in a pan with salt, pepper, and fresh sage. After it's browned on all sides, onions are sauteed, and then the pork roast goes back in the pan, along with water, white beans, and more fresh sage. This braises in a 350 oven for 2 hours, and then dried cranberries are added for the last half hour. The smell was worth making this dish alone! The house smelled so good, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

The pork was tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The beans with cranberries had a lovely flavor as well, and overall it was a keeper. I also managed to use up some things that needed to be used up. I had some pre-soaked beans lying around, and my fresh sage was starting to look like it needed to be used. My only problem with this recipe was with the liquid in the beans. There was too much of it. The recipe calls for 5 cups, and I actually reduced that to 4, and still had way too much liquid. I ended up taking the roast out of the pan to rest so I could reduce the liquid a bit. It still worked fine, and dinner was delicious and an instant repeat.

Pork Roast with White Beans and Cranberries

This rich dish balances sweet and tart flavors from the cranberries with savory notes from the pork and sage. Garnish each serving with a fresh sage sprig.

1 pound dried navy beans (about 2 cups) (1 cup dried beans= 2 1/2 cups canned or pre-soaked)
1 (5-pound) pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed
1 1/2
teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage, divided
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (about 8 medium)
5 cups water
3 fresh sage sprigs
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Sprinkle pork roast with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Rub surface of roast with 4 teaspoons minced sage. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add roast to pan; cook for 15 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add sliced shallots to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Return roast to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, beans, 5 cups water, and sage sprigs to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover and bake at 350° for 2 hours. Add dried cranberries to pan; bake an additional 30 minutes or until roast is tender. Remove sage sprigs; discard. Remove roast from pan; shred pork with 2 forks. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons minced sage. Serve roast with bean mixture.

Yield: 13 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces roast and 1/2 cup beans)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Revisiting a Favorite

One of my favorite Christmas Cookies is my Mom's Choco-Marshmallow cookies. They are a very simple cookie, a chocolate cookie is baked most of the way through before a marshmallow half is pressed into the top. The cookie finishes baking and after it cools, it gets a layer of creamy chocolate frosting. Of all the cookies, this is the one that screams Christmas to me most. And as it turns out, this was one of Mom's favorite cookies as well, so its only fitting that it become a part of my cookie collection every year.

Today I needed to bake cookies, and as I spied the new bag of marshmallows, I smiled, and knew I'd made my decision. I pulled out the recipe, and then proceeded to assemble ingredients. I paused when I got to the cocoa. I had just picked up a can of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, and had yet to use it. Could this be the opportunity to give it a try? I could think of nothing better. So I grabbed the Special Dark. As I'm putting the ingredients together, I spied the 1/4 cup of milk. I thought about that for a second, and my eye caught my cup of coffee. It didn't take long for me to decide to swap out the milk for coffee. One thing I noticed right away about this cocoa is the color. My cookie dough turned almost black- really, an Oreo color. I could not wait, for the first taste of cookie. As soon as they were cool to the touch, one found their way to my mouth. And let me tell you, I never thought my favorite cookie could be improved upon, but this... this is a special cookie. I can't tell you if the coffee actually made a difference or not, but there will certainly be coffee in future editions of Choco-Marshmallow Cookies. The picture below is before they got their layer of frosting.
And here we have a picture of the finished product. These guys have a layer of dark chocolate buttermcream and a smattering of festive sprinkles. I love how the frosting hides the marshmallow underneath.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

An American Family

One of the things that always come out this time of year is the idea of "time honored traditions." Every other magazine or web page is asking what your favorite traditions are. Or suggesting new ones to add to your repertoire. And while I can say there are things that we do every year at Christmas time, I really don't think we have any set-in-stone traditions. So I guess that would be our tradition, is to not be traditional. We don't want Christmas to be something that is the same every year, where eventually, our kids go through the motions instead of remembering what's important to them about the holiday.

This year, Abigail has begun studying her nationalities at school. Instead of just one or two, the poor girl has a handful, and that has had me thinking that as a family, we are not just one nationality, and that truly makes us an American family. We're not immigrants, nor are we children of immigrants. Both born here, on American soil, with ancestors of several different nationalities. In trying to help Abigail learn a little about each of her nationalities, this year I will be making something from each country. Yesterday I posted about the Pierogi form her Polish heritage. Today I will be posting about her German heritage, and later I am still looking for things to explore her Dutch and Irish heritage with (I just don't think Irish whiskey is appropriate for a 6 year old.)

And so today I have a fantastic German cookie to share. Caramel Almond Wafers hail from the city of Bremen, Germany. The cookie itself is nice and buttery, with a fantastic crunch and texture to it. It reminds me of the perfect cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. This cookie base is topped with a caramelized cream and almond mixture before baking. It is a simple cookie once you've chilled the dough, and it was definitely worth making- it also makes the cut for the cookie platters this year. The only thing is that I would like a little more caramel flavor to the topping. The topping starts with cream and sugar which you reduce down. The end product really tasted a lot like sweetened condensed milk, and I can't help but wonder if that could be a shortcut. However, I'm really thinking that I need to try and make this cookie using a can of dulce de leche... I will most definitely report back if I do so. But in the meantime, you can find the recipe in the trove. It's a really good cookie.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Little Dumplings

Here we have the process of Pierogi Making. A Polish tradition at Christmas time, it's something that Andy wants to share with his kids. They don't like eating them yet, but they do enjoy making them. This year I decided to try a couple of short cuts for the first batch, and oh my! They worked incredibly well. The first shortcut was that I used my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. Pierogi dough is tough, but the mixer was able to knead it up nicely- without the addition of extra flour, resulting in an extra tender dough. It is the perfect texture when cooked up! Here is our first picture with the made pasta going through the pasta roller- a real gift to pierogi makers!

Next we use a cutter to cut large circles out of the rolled dough. I use a cutter that I bought from Pampered Chef- it's actually their Cut-N-Seal, but it's the perfect diameter for pierogi, so I removed the sealing part of the cutter.Next up we stuff the circles. Andy's absolute favorite is the one we started with, the butternut squash filling. I simply roasted a squash until tender, and scooped out the flesh. Then I sauteed some onions in butter with a pinch of nutmeg and some fresh sage. I added the squash and cooked it for a few minutes to remove moisture, and then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool completely. The fillings must be cool to stuff pierogi. Then you dollop on your filling and press the edges with a fork.

And here we have one finished tray of pierogi. I actually ended up with two trays, which I sprinkled with flour so the pierogi don't stick, and then I popped the tray into the freezer to freeze them. I was curious if it would work to freeze them before cooking them at all, and it worked wonderfully! It was just like cooking up frozen tortellini or ravioli, and it totally skipped a couple of steps up front. After the pierogi were frozen individually, I popped them off the pan and sealed them up in a Foodsaver bag.

We did cook some up to go with dinner last night, and they were awesome! I have a few more days in me to make some more pierogi in different flavors. But on tap for tomorrow... a change of venue as we discover a German tradition at Christmas time.

Monday, December 4, 2006

A Quickie

I've been a busy little beaver in the kitchen today. I revisited my bagel recipe from a few weeks ago, adding some sesame seeds this time, and am still pleased with the end results. I do think I skimped a little on the kneading time, as they are slightly on the tough side of chewy, but the are still delicious, and will be excellent toasted for breakfast with some strawberry-lemon preserves.

I started work on a rather daunting Christmas project today, but I'll share more of that tomorrow. In the meantime, I have a new article up on Kids Cuisine today. Looking for a better quick macaroni and cheese? Check out my article for some inspiration from Mr. Brown. And come back tomorrow for a glimpse at a holiday creation...

A Christmas MeMe

Claire from Cooking Is Medicine tagged me for this fun holiday themed meme.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate- but this year I'm determined to figure out how to make Coquito, a Puerto Rican Egg-Nog made with coconut milk. Mmmmm. And I really don't like egg nog, but this stuff is Mmmmm.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We don't do santa here., but most of our gifts are wrapped. When the kids were really small, I'd leave a larger present unwrapped with a big bow, but this year I think they all will be wrapped. I used to work in a toy store, so I learned to wrap ANYTHING in giftwrap.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored. We've actually been using red and white lights the last two years, and it's pretty cute on the tree. Outside is a mantage, I really don't care for the all-white light look.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, the only place to really put it up would be in a major doorway, and I would get really annoyed with my kids who would stand under it every time they walk past and interrupt whatever I'm doing for a kiss. Plus it would be pretty darn awkward on Bible Study nights..

5. When do you put your decorations up? The weekend after Thanksgiving, although Andy usually jump starts the outdoor lights earlier if the weather is nicer.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Oh gosh... has to be the sweet potatoes... or maybe Mom's scalloped corn?

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Hmmm. I will never forget one Christmas. We were eating dinner one night, when my Dad said something about hearing a thump, and I swear we all heard it and thought it was Santa upstairs. So we all run upstairs and oh my gosh! There are stockings on the beds!! Then we go running downstairs because we hear more noise, and my Dad says that he saw Santa running through the backyard, and lo and behold, there were gifts under the tree.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Ah. I was 6 when Mom sat myself and my brothers down and told us that Santa wasn't real. I remember an insane sadness and crying about it- which is why we don't do Santa.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yep! We have a family gift exchange with my brother and sisters and their families on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? It's a mish-mosh. I collect snowmen, so we have a snowman tree topper, and instead of garland I use a wide ribbon that is red and white candy striped. But the ornaments are a little bit of everything. Everything else in the house though is exclusively snowmen. Even my nativities are snowmen (I have two of those).

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Ack. Hate it. I sooo live in the wrong part of the country. My favorite Christmas, weather-wise, was Christmas in Virginia- it was balmy with a light dusting of snow, but it was definitely much warmer than Wisconsin weather.

12. Can you ice skate? Not anymore! I broke my ankle ice skating several years ago. Now my ankle throbs when there's a serious change in barometric pressure, and anytime I even think about putting on a pair of ice skates. I don't roller blade anymore either... I really hate winter, so I'm totally not into winter sports at all. That's the time for me to catch up on my reading until it's warm enough to play outside again.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Well, it wasn't my gift, but last year my baby sister Lizzie got proposed to under the Christmas tree.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending the time with family to appreciate each other and the reason for the season.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Oh gosh, another hard one. I love dessert, so I really love it all. Goodies, fudge, pies, buche de noel... you name it, I love it!

16. What tops your tree? A star with a snowman painted on it.

17. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Definitely giving. In fact, I wouldn't care if I didn't even recieve a single gift this year. I just feel like I've already been so blessed.

18. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Jingle Bells by Sandler and Young

19. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?? Yum. I like them if they are peppermint, but all the flavors they have now for candy canes are a little mind boggling, and they always disappoint me.

20. What do you serve for Christmas dinner? There is no usual here. Our Christmas plans change every year. Last year I made a ham with Pierogi for an Open House we hosted. This year I don't know what we'll be doing. Sometimes we go to my parents for turkey, but I seem to recall one year we had pizza... The only certainty for us is that there will be fruit involved- I just have to have a fruit salad or something similar available, in my mind it helps counteract the rich goodies and desserts available.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

A Night Off

This afternoon we took the kids to go see The Nutcracker. Abigail's dance school was putting it on, so we thought we should go and support her school and her classmates. It really was a wonderful performance. It was so well done- the dances were all appropriate for who was dancing, and it was also fun to see the teachers on stage with the kids. There were even some spouses and some parents on stage at times- it just had a real feeling of community. And you could also tell that everyone on stage was having a great time.

Zander enjoyed it- his favorite part was the battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King- he sat straight up to watch that part. Overall I think he enjoyed it, although he did get antsy towards the end. Abigail loved it. It was so fun to look over and see her clapping and smiling- she loved seeing her teacher dance. And at dinner tonight, Abigail revealed that she would like to be in the Nutcracker next year, and that she really wants to be Clara sometime.

All in all a very worthwhile experience. We all enjoyed it immensely, and I suspect that it has become an instant tradition for us.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Word of Mouth

This is for the local foodies who read this blog.

The word is out, and we have something to be excited about. A friend of mine went to a new store in the Green Bay area called Naked Foods Grocery- and they are just that. An organic/whole food grocer. According to my friend they are striving to have 95% organic products- and they have an in-house bakery and cafe. It's about time something came to the area! The warning here is that they are not fully stocked yet- their grand opening won't be until January, but the are open for business, and you can check them out if you so desire. I will say that I haven't been yet, but my friend is a very reliable source, and when she says it's definitely worth a trip- I listen.

The place is Naked Foods Grocery and is at 2638 Tulip Lane in Howard. Their phone number is 920-662-1622 if you'd like to give them a ring. For those scratching their heads, it's right off Cardinal Lane- which is also EB and Packerland in other parts of the city. Check it out and let's support a local opportunity to eat smarter!