Monday, April 16, 2012

Beauty and the Feast

Do you like to read romantic comedies?  I love nothing better than to curl up with a good book.  Some novels involve a commitment of a couple weeks to finish, but some can be finished in a couple of afternoons.  I ran across Beauty and the Feast and loved the idea of the book.  It's a romantic comedy that tells the tale of a personal chef and her path to true love.  I loved the very descriptive details of the meals she prepares in the book.  If you aren't hungry when you start reading, you will be soon.  And, the story reveals that sometimes a way to a man's heart really is through his stomach. 
Right now Beauty and the Feast is one Amazon's top 100 free kindle books.  The list changes hourly, so check the price before ordering if you want to try it.

And, the surprise at the end?  The author included recipes for most of the food in the book!  I can't wait to try the cream cheese brownies.  Happy Reading!

Friday, April 13, 2012

What are you throwing out?

I was talking with Sunflower Sue the other day about what to do with leftover baked sweet potatoes.  We would always throw a couple of extra potatoes in the oven in case someone dropped by for dinner or in case one of us was 'extra' hungry.  If the potato went uneaten, Mom would use it for breakfast the next morning.  She would slice it in thick slices, skin and all, and then fry it in a little butter.  As it browned, she would sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar.  Now that was some good eating!  If we had leftover regular potatoes, like Russets, they would be fried up with butter and green onions.  They were good either for breakfast or as a side dish for the next night's supper.
It's the sort of thing you don't have a recipe for.  It's just something that you cook without thinking much about it.  I worry that, as a society, we are moving too far away from those traditions.  All you have to do is look around to realize we are living in a disposable society and it carries over into our food consumption.  When you pick up a fast-food meal or take-out from a restaurant, do you ever think about the waste involved?  All that packaging just so you can transport your dinner home?  I'm as guilty as the next person because sometimes I just don't want to cook.  Or, worse yet, I can't think of anything to cook.  It's easy to get stuck in a food 'rut'. 
I was taught to cook by women that lived through the Great Depression.  And, let me tell you, nothing went to waste.  At the end of the meal, if there was a tablespoon of this or that, it dared not go into the garbage.  It was saved for someones lunch the next day.  Even if you only have a few tablespoons of beans or corn leftover, you can put them in the freezer for the next time you make soup.  The key is planning.  I cringe every time I find something at the back of the refrigerator that was forgotten.  And, I can see my Grandma shaking her head at me as if saying 'look at all that wasted food'. 
I do see the wasted food, but I also think about the wasted money.  Groceries seem to be climbing higher every time I go to the store!  So, I don't just see beans and corn going in to the garbage; I see dollars too.  Every time I clean out the fridge, I vow to do better.  What have you thrown out lately?

Foodie News - "The Chew' week of April 16-20


Tune in to your local ABC Network and you'll see:


Guests for the week of April 16—20 (subject to change):

MONDAY, APRIL 16 – “ITALIA!” – Italian chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich; an hour of easy and affordable Italian dishes.

TUESDAY, APRIL 17 – “NO PLATE LIKE HOME”– Lara Spencer (“ABC’s “Good Morning America”) and author of (“I Break for Yard Sales”); homemade crafts and delicious dishes from scratch.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 – “WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER” – Emmy Award-winning actress Blythe Danner (“The Lucky One”); mouthwatering chicken dishes; audience members put their chicken wing recipes to the test.

THURSDAY, APRIL 19 – “6 DEGREES OF BACON” – Comedian Jim Gaffigan and an hour of bacon-based recipes.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 – “HAPPY EARTH DAY TO YOU” – Grammy Award-winning country singer and cookbook author, Trisha Yearwood (“Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share with your Family and Friends”); “The Chew” celebrates Earth Day.

Coming Out of Retirement

Thanks for the guest post by Donn Schroeder
My husband and I have been retired for almost 2 years now, but it looks like he is going to go back out of retirement soon. He was offered a job with a bank in a town a couple of hours away. They are just starting up and know that my husband has a lot of experience, and is successful, with starting up new banks. I think he is feeling really proud that they asked him for help, and I think he likes the idea of feeling useful and needed again. Retirement is nice, but it can be boring at times. If he takes this job, we have decided to keep our home here, and just rent an apartment there for a year, or whatever the duration of the work ended up being. It would be spelled out in the contract, I’m sure. We talked about me staying here in the house, and him going there, but I just would not feel right about us not being together. I think we should get a home security sierra vista for the house, and just leave it unoccupied for awhile.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Foodie News: Food Network Star Returns

Special Two-Hour Series Premiere Airs Sunday, May 13th at 9pm ET/PT; Preceded by Casting Special on Saturday, May 12th at 9pm ET/PT
Audience Vote Will Determine Winner, Announced in Season Finale Sunday, July 22nd at 9pm ET/PT

NEW YORK – APRIL 2, 2012 Food Network’s long-running hit primetime series Food Network Star returns to New York City this May with fifteen talented hopefuls and completely new twists for season eight – this year, returning stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis move from behind the judge’s table to square off with culinary favorite Alton Brown for a three-way team competition to find the next Food Network Star, beginning with a special two-hour premiere episode on Sunday, May 13th at 9pm ET/PT. Bobby, Giada and Alton, all television producers in addition to being culinary superstars, lead the charge to find and develop the new talent by each hand-selecting a team of five finalists, who they will produce and mentor through the ‘Star’ experience to find one winner who possesses personality and kitchen chops. Viewers can also glance into the ‘Star’ finalist selection process, with a casting special airing on May 12th and in another turn to the series plot, viewers will vote online before the July 22nd finale to determine who will receive the ultimate prize: their own Food Network show, to be produced by their ‘Star’ team leader.
“Having Bobby, Giada and Alton compete against each other to discover and develop the next Food Network Star took this series to a whole new level,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Programming and Production, Food Network. “These three iconic star/producers are ideal mentors for the talented hopefuls they found – but it’s hard to say if the competition was more intense among the finalists or their three Star mentors.”
Season eight finalists are: Philip “Ippy” Aiona (Kamuela, HI), Judson Allen (Chicago), Martie Duncan (Birmingham, Ala.), Emily Ellyn (Orlando, Fla.), Martita Jara (San Diego), Eric Lee (Petaluma, Calif.), Yvan Lemoine (Maspeth, N.Y.), Josh Lyons (Jupiter, Fla.), Linkie Marais (North Attleborough, Mass.), Nikki Martin (West Hollywood, Calif.), Malcolm Mitchell (Washington, D.C.), Michele Ragussis (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Cristie Schoen (New Orleans), Kara Sigle (Chicago) and Justin Warner (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
In the premiere episode, the fifteen hopefuls arrive in the Food Network Star kitchen in New York City to meet Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown - the culinary superstars who hand-selected them to compete on their teams. After meeting with their team leader, special guest Robert Irvine challenges the teams to their first “Star Challenge” - to create their own pop-up restaurant from the ground up, with an extremely limited budget and very little time. Each episode also features a “Producer’s Challenge,” where the contestants up for elimination each shoot a segment with their ‘Star’ mentor/producer to be presented to the selection committee in the “pitch room.” Returning judges Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson decide who stays and goes, along with a roster of guest judges scheduled to join.
Upcoming episodes feature amped-up challenges to see who has true Star quality, including a Chopped-style battle judged by Alex Guarnaschelli, Scott Conant and Marc Murphy; a Ted Allen-hosted New York Fashion Week food makeover challenge with a cash prize courtesy of Discover Card; holiday-themed specials hosted by Guy Fieri; and a Miami beachside competition where finalists shop at Target to style a VIP event for Paula Deen. Season guest stars also include Food Network’s Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Melissa d’Arabian, Jeff Mauro, Aar√≥n Sanchez and Geoffrey Zakarian, along with Entertainment Weekly’s Jess Cagle and Jill Bernstein, Entertainment Tonight’s Christina McLarty and Serious Eats’ Ed Levine.
For more Food Network Star, visit all season long for video recaps, exclusive interviews and blogs, behind-the-scenes footage, photo galleries, exclusive snapshots from the ‘Star’ house and the return of “Star Scrapbooks,” a look inside the pages of the finalists’ personal journals. Viewers can also join a season-long Food Network Star digital game, where players accumulate points and earn badges by predicting the outcome of each episode and participate in weekly fan votes. The series culminates with an unprecedented finale on Sunday, July 22nd at 9pm ET/PT, when an audience online vote will determine which finalist will become the next Food Network Star.
Food Network Star is produced by CBS EYE Too Productions.
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FOOD NETWORK ( is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring and empowering through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine has tripled its rate base and delivers a circulation of 1.4 million. Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24 hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (, DIY Network (, Great American Country (, HGTV (, and Travel Channel (, is the manager and general partner.