Category Archives: Food

ZaRex





If you grew up in Maine in the 70’s you know all about ZaRex. Generations of New Englanders have enjoyed ZaRex since its introduction in the late 1930s. Zarex flavored drink concentrate has been a New England favorite for over 50 years.

It was a simple mixture: 1 part syrup + 7 parts water for a sweet, flavorful drink. It could be mixed with lemonade, or soda water. It was especially popular on snow cones (shaved ice in a paper cone). ZaRex fruit punches were especially popular at birthday parties.  The colored mustaches of children running around after drinking ZaRex was quite comical.

It appears that it is not being produced at this time but I will definitely keep watch. You can too here  BRING BACK ZAREX.   If you hear about it ….do let me know where to find it.

 



Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Unicorns

You didn’t really think it was going to be unicorns did you?   ☺  The thing about Unicorn cookies, you can make any flavor you like… it’s just a package of gelatin!

 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3 oz. package of cherry flavored gelatin
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp. lemon rind (optional)
2 eggs
1½ tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
1½ cups cooking oats
Preheat oven to 375º. Place rack in center of oven.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter, gelatin and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs, orange rind and cherry extract and beat well. Combine flour, baking powder and cooking oats together and gradually add to mixing bowl, beating on low and scrapping sides of the bowl until mixed well.

Scoop by tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheets two inches apart. Bake at 375º for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Cool one minute then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Yield 5 dozen 1½-2 inch cookie gems.

Food for Thought:

Use any flavor gelatin for Unicorn cookies.  Unicorn Cookies come in all colors and flavors.  You could even make several batches and mix them all together. 

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts.  Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings.  Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip. 

Eventful Entertainment

With the country in lock-down quarantine mode, people are trying hard to come up with ideas to entertain themselves. I don’t know about you but I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous things on Facebook. Some of the ideas are wholesome and fun. Then of course there’s always a handful of people who are way out there and they have to take things a little too far. Then again, you can’t really believe everything you read on Facebook, even if they do have pictures.

Our eventful entertainment consisted of back-breaking, sun-burning strenuous digging in the garden. Planted rows of beans, tomatoes, peppers, beets, zucchini, squash, and I think there were some other fun packages of seeds thrown in the mix as well. Even my little spice garden had some leftover spices and lettuce from the year before. If this thing continues on, we will at least have some fresh vegetables in the next few months. And hey if worse comes to worst, there’s pasture of cows across the street. There’s nothing quite like a grilled steak with a fresh garden salad.





Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Ice Cream

ICE CREAM

1 can fat-free sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup preserves, peach, strawberry, pear, or blueberry (optional)

Combine condensed milk, salt, preserves and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well and set aside. In large bowl (use a large metal bowl that you have chilled in the freezer with the beaters for about 20 minutes) beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted out of mixture (about 5 minutes). Gently fold in peach mixture. Pour into a shallow 1½ quart metal pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. After two hours or when edges start to harden, gently stir ice cream; spoon into air tight container and freeze for two – three more hours. Serve in waffle bowls with your favorite toppings. Keeps in freezer for up to one week…unless you are an ice cream-a-holic.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time.
An average American eats 48 pints of ice cream in a year.
A cow gives enough milk to make 2 gallons of ice cream a day.
Vanilla is the number one flavor people choose for ice cream.
Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is the real word for “Brain Freeze” which happens when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth which sends messages to your brain that signal heat loss causing the massive headache. Hold your tongue to the roof of your mouth which will warm the sensors and get your brain out of panic mode.

Links to Previous A-Z Challenge Posts:

Anderson Stew

Bruschetta

Chocolate Filled Peanut Butter Cookies

Dumplings

Elephant Stew

Funny Bone Cup Cakes

Grasshopper Pie

Hand-Me-Down Salad

Welcome to the 2018 A-Z Blogging challenge. This will be my fourth year. Every year I take on the challenge with hopes of disciplining myself to keep writing throughout the year as much, if not more than just through the monthly challenge. (It certainly is a challenge.) Some years are better than others. Some I just lose track of time. This year I have decided to put my favorite hobbies together. A recipe that is tried and true as well as some thoughtful insight. Please note some of these recipes have been shared before, however they have gone through years of testing and this is the perfected recipe. I really hope one of my recipes or “Food for Thought” inspires you to do something great. Enjoy the read and the photos, try the recipe, share your thoughts or comments, and most of all, have FUN with the challenge this month!

Cheers,

Kimchi

 

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KIMCHI: a spicy Korean pickle that my husband recently introduced me to and now I cannot get enough of it. We bought a 14 ounce jar of it at the supermarket for $4.99 and I was hooked. It was so tasty I believe we polished it off, me more so than hubby, in two sittings. The above picture is my first batch of homemade Kimchi which I started on April 8th. I’ve been tasting it daily just like the instructions say and I cannot wait until Wednesday where it will be ready for the fridge.  I’m preparing my second batch today, which will include more vegetables.  I’m also going to prepare a batch of fruit kimchi, which according to Mr. Katz, has a very intoxicating flavor.

I recently purchased the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and found that fermentation can be done with just about anything. If you are into preparing your own homegrown, home processed food, you won’t want to be without this excellent fundamental tutorial on your bookshelf.

Kimchi recipes call for soaking the cabbage and other vegetables in a salty brine for several hours. It is similar to making homemade sauerkraut, except with more vegetables and spices. It also takes less time to ferment, and therefore ready to eat sooner.

The health benefits of consuming fermented foods are incredible. Our ancestors used techniques such as fermentation to store foods from harvest season to consume later in the year, when gardening was not in season. Fermentation preserves nutrients and breaks them down into more digestible forms. It is also high in several vitamins as the vegetables go through the life cycle of fermenting. Some ferments even function as antioxidants, and everyone knows how good those are for our health.

Most of the live cultured food you find in the grocery store, such as yogurt, and even sauerkraut, have gone through a pasteurization process that heats the food to a point where it kills the rewarding bacteria. If you want the live culture fermented food you have to go to a specialty store or make them yourself. If you have a garden and love to cook, get fermenting. You will love the benefits!

Fermentation is nutritious and delicious.

 

Be sure to check out some of the other great posts from bloggers taking part in the A-Z blogging challenge.

 

K

Act of Kindness

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Act of Kindness

Jenna sat at her desk staring out at the park across from the office building where she worked. On any given day, fifteen to twenty-five homeless people would cluster in the botanical garden around a fire which they built with debris and other trash collected. They would warm themselves until the police arrived and dispersed the vagabonds.

The deadline for the project Jenna was working on was fast approaching and her boss would be expecting the power-point presentation within the hour. She hadn’t left her desk in six hours, not to urinate, get a cup of coffee and she couldn’t remember if she ate breakfast or not. She was tired, and her usual imaginative artistic muse was on temporary hiatus. It was absolutely critical that she come up with a marketing slogan to get this client for Dunbar and Henderson.

Her cell phone beeped and a message popped up on her computer screen. Mr. Henderson wanted to speak with her in his office. Oh, great, she thought. She picked up the notebook with the marketing project and headed into her boss’s office.

“Jenna, just got a call from Tilson’s Bakery. They won’t be here until the end of the week. Got a couple more days to work on that project. Just wanted to give you the good news personally. And I want you to know, I really appreciate all of your hard work.”

“Thank you, sir.” Jenna wasn’t sure what to say or think. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. Normally under pressure she did well with creative thinking, but this project was a little more difficult than she anticipated.

Back at her desk with a bowl of soup and some crusty bread, she read the notes she had taken for Tilson’s Bakery marketing project. She looked out the window and noticed a woman in disarray pawing through the trash cans strategically placed in the park. She pulled a brown paper bag from the can, pulled out something and popped it in her mouth. A minute later she spat it out, and wiped her tongue with the back of her hand.

Jenna put on her coat and carried the food down the elevator, out the lobby and across the busy street. The view of the green was quite different at eye-level than it was from her cubical on the fourth floor of the office building. She looked around and noticed the grass compact from the travel paths of the vagrants. Finally she saw the woman sitting against a tree.

“I just want to give you this. It’s okay, it won’t hurt you.”

The woman cowered like a feral cat.

Jenna sat the bowl of soup and bread on the ground. “I’ll just leave it here for you. Have a nice day.”

When Jenna got back to her desk, she opened the marketing plan for the New England Bakery. She wrote across the top, A Small Act of Kindness Can Change a Person’s Whole Perspective. Underneath she wrote, for every item purchased, Tilson’s will donate fifty percent to the local soup kitchen to help the homeless.

Thanksgiving — Day 6: F-Words

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Day 6 of Seven Days of Thanksgiving
F-Words
Day #6: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

For Thanksgiving, a little ditty with some F-word fun,
Have faith and give thanks to the Father, Holy Spirit, and Son.

Don’t forget about your family and friends,
Forgive a debt and make amends.

Do something fruitful; feed the famished,
They’ll be grateful, and may even feel lavished.

During this fellowship, please try to remember
Life’s hard for some in November and December.

Realize some people are bearing a façade,
Don’t find fault, it’s never been outlawed.

The fact is, some people have issues, and are fearful,
Do them a favor and don’t ask, just be cheerful.

Ignore the temptation of the family feud,
Let them say what they want, it’s best to be shrewd.

Count your blessings for freedom in all your activities,
And please do enjoy all of your holiday festivities.

Thanksgiving – Day 2 – 10 Healthy Habits

health

H is for Healthy Habits

Day #2: Seven Days of Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving:  the act of giving thanks; a prayer of gratitude to God.

I am far from what you would call the poster child for “healthy”.  I’ve never been a size 6 (it just seems to me like a lot of women want to be a size 6) — maybe in the sixth grade I was but quite frankly I think that if I was a size 6 now I would look sickly.  I don’t consider myself fat, but I’m sure the powers that be in Hollywood or the rest of the world would call me just that.  Personally I like to refer to my curves as voluptuous.  When I dug out my winter wardrobe my voluptuous butt cheeks had a hard time squeezing into my voluminous jeans.  It has been a challenge to make a lifestyle change and adding exercise into our daily routine.

I can honestly say putting the extra pounds on is a lot easier and enjoyable than it is trying to take them off.  God’s word tells us that we reap what we sow in due season.  I was a Big Mac, large fry, diet coke, super-size, please, once a week kind of girl.  I remember hitting the salad bar thinking this was a good healthy choice as I loaded up my plate with cheese and ham and macaroni salad and all those other goodies you find on salad bars that are not actually salad items.  While I was hogging it into me I had no idea that the little butt cheeks were growing into bigger butt cheeks, or I should say, I refused to acknowledge that they would.

We know when we have that extra helping of mashed potatoes that we need to do a little extra work to burn the calories.  Look at the average kid today.  They are HUGE!  Yeah, you have some parents that will argue and say it’s a thyroid problem.  Most generally it has everything to do with laziness.  We live in a fast food and super sized kind of nation.  If your kid works on a farm and takes care of the animals a Happy Meal once in awhile isn’t going to make him fat — it might clog up his arteries in the long run, but how many kids are working the farm and taking care of animals?  Most kids have their butts plunked on a couch somewhere with a bag of Doritos playing a video game.  And the parents wonder why they have to pay more money for the extra-large size clothes and the kid is at risk for childhood diabetes.

Thanksgiving is definitely not a healthy holiday for me.  Too many temptations to deal with: egg nog, turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, squash soufflé, candied sweet potatoes, oyster casserole, stuffed mushrooms, bacon wrapped scallops, apple pie, pumpkin roll, pecan pie, oh YUM!  Even one bite of each of those goodies is way over a normal 2000 calorie plan.  It will be a struggle for sure and thank God for it only coming once a year.

Our health is important to all of us.  Some people take their health for granted.  If you don’t think it’s important ask someone who doesn’t have theirs. Ask someone who is sick.  It’s never too late to make a change for the better. To help with that, I’ve composed a list of ten healthy habits you can do every day that will help you live a healthier lifestyle.

TEN HEALTHY HABITS

  1. Be thankful for something every day.
  2. Do something productive every day. (Playing video games, watching TV, or surfing the internet does not count as being productive.)
  3. Say no to that second helping. (Serving sizes were created for a reason. Don’t be one who lives to eat, change that thought to ‘eat to live’.)
  4. Drink more water. An adult body is made up of about 70% water. Water does a body good.
  5. Set goals and don’t stop trying until you reach them.
  6. Get a hobby. (Again, playing video games, watching TV, and surfing the internet does not count as a hobby.)
  7. Learn something new. Discover a new recipe, go back to school, pick up knitting/crocheting, or visit a library. Never stop learning new things.
  8. Exercise more. Park in the farthest parking spot from the store, take the stairs, vacuum the whole house, or walk the dog instead of tying him out. Just move. Anything is better than nothing.
  9. Work on quitting a bad habit. Smoking, swearing, gossiping, chronic grumbling about things you cannot change, etc.
  10. Be happy. Be content with what you have because there is always someone out there that is much worse off than you are.

What change can you make to your lifestyle to be more healthy?

Canning with Crackerberries

Want to know what you will find in this book? Pickles, relishes, tomatoes, preserves, jams, jellies, and whole chapter of hodge-podge recipes. Recipes that have been passed down through they years. Just like grandma used to make.

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This book is dedicated to the men and women who toil in their gardens and sweat in their kitchens and labor over the fruits and vegetables their hard work has produced.

Here’s to you!

Love your harvest!

Printed version will be available soon, but if you just can’t wait, the Kindle E-book can be purchased HERE.

 

 

 

The Red Horned Green Monster

redhornedmonster

It was a beautiful sunny day and I was out in the garden pulling up weeds.  I saw this very interesting creature on one of my tomato vines.  It was a lime green large caterpillar of sorts, with a red horn at one end of it.  It was some what leathery looking with white strips and little black dots.  I had never seen anything quite like it.  I left it basking in the sun on my tomato vine thinking this would be cool to see it transform into a beautiful butterfly.  I went about my business of pulling weeds in the garden.

The next day I was out in the garden and I noticed my tomato plant.  It reminded me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.  I quickly began to inspect it for bugs but all I could find was the beautiful leathery caterpillar.  After a little research on-line I found this little critter is very damaging to tomato plants.  So much for raising a beautiful butterfly; it went straight to the chicken pen.  After it oozed out this purplish inky goop from where the horn was, a couple of chickens fought over it, pulled it in half and munched it down.  I assume the ink stuff was some sort of defense mechanism and I was a little concerned for the chickens that ate it hoping they were not poisoned.  They wiped their beaks off in the dirt and went about their normal scratching and pecking business.

We are similar to that caterpillar in a sense because we have the capability to destroy everything that comes in our path. Wicked people plot deception in which the innocent are captured and victimized.  From what I gather, the caterpillar eats everything in its path until it cannot eat anymore and then it burrows into the soil and remains under ground through the winter going through a metamorphosis.  In the spring it emerges into a moth.  It transforms into something not as destructive as it once was.

God created every single creature for a purpose, though I haven’t figured out what for the cockroach/palmetto bug? I understand the tobacco hornworm which has a red horn; the tomato hornworm has a dark green/black one. Both consume tomato plants—and become large dramatic moths that are important pollinators of night-blooming flowers. But I don’t care about their good habits, because their big babies really can defoliate tomato plants almost overnight.

The red horned green monster destroyed several of my tomato plants throughout the summer.  There were more than one of these little creatures and every one I caught I fed to the chickens.  These caterpillars reminded me that once God gets a hold of our hearts the renewal of our mind is transformed into a new creation.   Okay, so the ones that I caught a hold of transformed into chicken feed, but you do get the idea, yes?

We may not like all of the creatures that He created and we may question for what purpose it was created.  We may even feel this way about people sometimes.  I know I do. As I reflect on the green leathery caterpillar with the red horn, I am reminded how I thought it was pretty at first.  But then I saw how destructive it became.  Once it turned into a not so pretty moth, it was not as destructive any more, in fact it became important to the night flowers.  We should remember that people can sometimes be the same way.  They may be really pretty on the outside but inside they are full of destruction. And just the opposite, really crude on the outside, but inside is a big pussy cat.  Everyone is born that way; it is inherited by nature.  But God made everyone for a purpose and once He gets a hold of a heart, the metamorphosis can begin.

 

Ode to the Cast Iron Pan

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Pam, ferric pan, will not stick.

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Aside

   I scream, you scream, we scream for ice cream Butter pecan, maple walnut Chocolate chip cookie dough Strawberry, Rocky Road Coffee, Vanilla Plain or Sugar Rum Raisin Grape Nut Cone     I was just having a craving for … Continue reading

Summertime Distractions

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The novel is almost finished – or I keep telling myself that I just have that last chapter or two to write.  I’m so distracted.  First it was the bird nest and watching the egg hatching progress.  Soon after that a stray kitten found his way to our doorstep and he has been occupying a lot of my time.  Have you ever taken the time to watch a kitten at play?  They can keep you amused for hours. 

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On top of that, the rain has really brought out the wildlife critters.  I have started a journal of the different animals I see.  The backyard has not only been full of so many different bird species that I can’t name them all, but rabbits and skunks and my not so favorite snakes.  Now they will keep you on your toes and I am learning about the different species and whether they are dangerous or not.  (I keep my distance from all of them, unless I’m trying for a photo opportunity.)

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I can’t forget to mention about the garden and the bounty harvest.  One must be careful when picking vegetables out of the garden.  Not only do the black widow spiders love the green beans, but the turtles find their haven under the cover of the leaves.  Everyone says a turtle is slow, but I’ve seen them walk quickly across the lawn. 

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I am beginning to wonder if I have too many hobbies.  Thought I’d share one of my new recipes.  This year the summer squash harvest is bigger than the cucumber harvest (so far) so, here’s a new update on an old-time favorite recipe.  This is my granny’s secret bread and butter recipe with my update.

Bread & Butter Squickle Pickles

12 cups sliced cucumbers and summer squash

Place in ice water over night

Next morning drain and create three layers in large container with 2 cups sliced onions, and ¼ cup canning salt, ending with salt on top.  Cover with cloth and let stand at room temperature 3-4 hours.  Drain off liquid that forms. 

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3½ cups vinegar

1¼ cup water                                                                   

2 cups sugar

3 tsp celery seed

3 tsp mustard seed

1 tsp curry powder —or—

(Note: I did not have curry powder but I did some research in an old spice book and found out that curry is actually a blend of six or more of the following spices: cumin, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, pepper, dill, mace, cardamom, cloves.)

1/8 tsp of each: cumin, turmeric, ginger, dill, cardamom, ground cloves, mace & cayenne pepper.

Combine vinegar, water, sugar and spices in preserving pot and bring to a boil.  Add veggies and bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.  Pack into hot sterilized jars and seal covers according to instructions and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Yield: 8 pints

© Crackerberries 2013

The Cranberry Bog

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Cranberries grow in wet soggy bogs
A hangout spot for mosquitoes and frogs

Prickly bushes profuse, but beware of the snakes
Just some of the habitation in cranberry lakes

Commercials portray the picking as sweet
Let truth be told, don’t fall for their deceit

This I’m not sure about cranberry bogs
I think it might be, a fun place for hogs

Decayed vegetation lurks way down below
Much care is needed lest the bog over-grow

Picking the berries is very hard work
Circumspect each one then pull with a jerk

Wash fresh berries and fill a large bowl
Giggles from young ones will soon unfold

Small pudgy fingers and big smiles all stained in red
From a bog came the cranberries they were just fed

Mix up the juice with a little Vodka
Turn on the music and dance a polka

I made this all up don’t know of it to be true
Was anyone fooled? You believed it didn’t you?

Mason Jars

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Golden Harvest, Ball, Knox, Kerr and Ideal
All come with a cover when boiled should seal

Nostalgic green and blue come with a hinge
Plain or etched letters; decorated fringe

Contemplating lifestyles near and afar
My mind slumbers on the old Mason jar

So many treasures this antique will hold
Pickles and relish, some sweet and some bold

Blueberry-fig preserves and marmalade
Homemade strawberry jam like Nana made

Dried beans, neatly lined on the window sill
Spare pocket change, patience it will soon fill

Great is the Mason jar in every size
Open it up to discover the prize.