Monthly Archives: November 2010

Mary’s Memo #2190


I don’t know about you but I’m thinking about how to simplify what I have to do between now and Christmas. Gift giving is at the top of the list. There is more than one reason why I give gift cards instead of presents. The first one is that it’s expensive to send gifts. That’s not to say that I don’t mail any packages or buy stocking stuffers, but it limits them. My grandchildren don’t live near me so I’ve already asked them what gift cards they prefer and this works for us. I would remind you that Chief and Rays have gift cards galore including Chief cards so look for them in the front of the store. Another gift option is a food basket available in many sizes and prices.

Stock up on Hallmark Christmas cards and wrappings, also holiday paper products from cupcake liners to napkins and cocktail picks at Chief and Rays. The house wares aisle has a big selection of kitchen gadgets for your use or to give as gifts.

Earlier, I recommended buying baking supplies when they were on sale. If you didn’t follow my advice then it’s time now! Start planning what holiday foods you’ll be making and buy accordingly.

Christmas gives me a chance to use my cooking skills to the max but for those of you who find cooking and baking a chore, take advantage of all the things that Chief’s and Rays’ deli bakery can do for you. Order meat and/or cheese and relish trays for holiday entertaining. For smaller parties and get-togethers the deli has a variety of appetizers, cheese balls and dips.

Now to the nitty gritty: Don’t wait until the last minute to do major cleaning like washing windows and shampooing carpeting (rental machine is available at Chief and Rays). If you have Christmas china and glassware, use it all month, not just when company comes. Being older, my attitude may be different from younger people and even my mother and grandmother before me but it’s worth thinking about: You can’t take your “treasures” with you so enjoy using them while you’re here!


There’s no denial that we can put on extra pounds during the holidays unless we’re careful. That’s why information from the November Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor seemed timely to share.

“According to recent research, drinking water before every meal can help increase weight loss. Dieters who drank two eight-ounce glasses of water before meals three times a day during a 12-week period lost about five more pounds than dieters who didn’t drink water prior to their meals. The study results were presented in August 2010 at the 240th Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society. All of the study participants ate a low-calorie diet during the course of the study. After 12 weeks, the pre-meal water drinkers lost an average of 15.5 pounds, while the non-water drinkers lost an average of 11 pounds.”

Weil Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor,isu November 2010.


Even at Christmas I know that cooks appreciate easy, make-ahead recipes and my sister Ann’s Peanut Butter Cups meets these criteria. Furthermore, they taste yummy and freeze well! If you don’t use all of them at Christmas, they’re good later. After the first of the year, you may want to peel off the tell-tale Christmas wrappers before serving.


1 pound butterscotch patties or bark
1-1/2 cups peanut butter, either creamy or crunchy
Hershey Mini Kisses

Melt together butterscotch patties and peanut butter in microwave on medium high until mixture blends together (it doesn’t take long). Carefully spoon mixture into petit-four case. Before candy sets, top each with a Mini Kiss. Nut breads are another good make-ahead. I like this pumpkin nut bread recipe best because it’s made with butter instead of oil. Oil makes moist bread but it isn’t as flavorful.


2 cups packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup softened butter
4 eggs
(1) 15-ounce can pumpkin
½ cup milk
3-1/2 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Cream together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in pumpkin and milk. Mix dry ingredients together and add pumpkin mixture. Don’t over-mix. Line (2) 9x5x3-inch baking pans with parchment paper, then grease. Spoon pumpkin batter into pans, dividing evenly. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool. Wrap in foil and a suitable plastic bag if you plan to freeze bread

Download PDF of Memo #2190

Mary’s Memo #2189


Marvin M. Lipman, MD, has been Consumer Union’s chief medical advisor since 1967. A diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and clinical professor emeritus of medicine at New York Medical College, Lipman had this advice about Thanksgiving dinner:

Don’t arrive famished. Have a snack an hour or two before.
Stay away from finger food at the hors d’oeuvres table.
Eat the salad first.
Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.
Taste everything to your liking but take small portions.
Resist seconds.
Eat slowly and participate in conversation.
Skip dessert or at least go easy on it. Fruit is preferable.
Limit alcohol intake to one glass of wine and drink at least one full glass of water.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health, November 2010.


Now that you’ve been warned about not eating too much, let’s talk about the foods of Thanksgiving. Remember, Dr. Lipman said to taste everything you like, just eat smaller amounts

I’m adding a kale side dish to my menu this year. Cooked or raw, kale is a suitable replacement for spinach and much more nutrient-dense than Popeye’s favorite. I thought I’d put it to the test at the Bryan Chief. I replaced the frozen spinach in Spinach-Cheese Casserole on page 81 in my cookbook with Glory Brand ready-to-use kale. Since the original recipe called for frozen spinach, I thought 4 cups of blanched kale would yield about the same amount of vegetable and it worked. I’ll be doubling the recipe for my holiday dinner but here’s the 6 servings version for you to try. Bryan tasters gave it a “thumbs up” and many bought ingredients to make it that day. Others took the recipe saying they planned to serve it or take it to a Thanksgiving meal.


1 lb. cream-style cottage cheese
4 cups ready-to-use kale (available at Chief and Rays), blanched and well drained
3 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ lb. reduced-fat Kraft Velveeta cheese cut in small cubes
¼ cup (half stick) butter, slivered
1-1/2 teaspoons flour

Mix ingredients together. Bake in ungreased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish for one hour or until set (check after 50 minutes). Recipe makes 6 servings.


Other recipes I’ll be making from “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It” include Nina Trentadue’s recipe for Thanksgiving/ Christmas Sweet Potatoes on page 80. Niece Nina reached perfection with this recipe and even people who don’t like sweet potatoes give it high marks! A large relish tray replaces a salad with Mrs. Dale Rupp’s Best Vegetable Dip on page 3 served on the side. Cranberry muffins on page 21 will be made ahead and reheated for the meal. Besides Libby Famous Pumpkin Pie (recipe on the label), Orpha Tomlinson’s Pumpkin Date Torte on page 87 will also be available. This continues to be one of my favorite fall desserts.

Download PDF of Memo #2189

Mary’s Memo #2188


If I were to name one food that I think a lot about this month, it has to be pumpkin! Although I’m a cook-fromscratch kind of gal, I’m a Libby canned pumpkin person and always have been! Whether you cook your own pumpkin or get it from a can, it’s a healthy food to include in your diet. Pumpkin is a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium. It helps prevent hardening of the arteries which can cause strokes and/or heart disease. A study by the USDA indicated that diets high in pumpkin as a fiber source tended to curb the appetite yet provide more food for the same calorie count. Sounds good to me!

There are hundreds of pumpkin pie recipes and except for pumpkin chiffon pie introduced by Knox Gelatin in the 30s, my pumpkin pie recipe of choice is printed on the Libby label. A lot of people must agree because it’s been on the can as long as I can remember. But there are other things to do with pumpkin besides making pies. Libby suggests using it to enrich food by adding to spaghetti sauce, mashed potatoes, even hot cocoa. For more ideas visit their web site: To connect with their consumer hotline, call 1-800-854-0374, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 8 PM, Eastern Time.

You might be surprised to know that a lot of the pumpkin Libby processes is grown in Ohio. After contacting Libby’s consumer hotline, they sent this recipe for Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies.


2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies. For Glaze: In medium size bowl combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; blend together until smooth. For variation, add ½ cup chocolate chips or nuts to the recipe.

Source: Libby’s Pumpkin recipe.

Although Pumpkin Chews isn’t in my cookbook, it’s in my recipe file and a good keeper!


½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 large egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup quick-cooking oatmeal
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In large bowl cream together butter, brown and white sugar, pumpkin pie spice, egg and pumpkin. Mix dry ingredients together. Add to creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire rack. Store in covered container with wax paper separating layers. Recipe makes 3-1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.


Have you tried Glory Foods Kale Greens? It’s trimmed and cleaned and ready to open the bag and cook. Some stores may also have Glory Foods Collard Greens packaged the same way. Kale is a favorite in the southern United States but is growing in popularity in other regions. Kale is an ancient food and according to Food Lover’s Companion it’s been cultivated for over 2000 years. Kale, a cruciferous vegetable, has a mild cabbage flavor and can replace spinach in recipes. It’s also used in salads, pasta and potato dishes. A good source of calcium, iron and folate, it contains a variety of phytochemicals including cancer-fighting lutein. In a study of 130 bladder cancer patients and an equal number of control subjects, those who had consumed kale regularly had a lower risk of bladder cancer, reports David Grotto, RD, LDN, spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. The author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life emphasizes that kale‘s nutrient density makes it one of the healthiest foods to add to your diet.
Download PDF of Memo #2188

Mary’s Memo #2186


I’ve purchased a copy of every edition of the Food Lover’s
Companion because each one contained new entries. While
perusing cookbooks at a Border’s recently I discovered the
Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion, a hardback edition with
gilded edge. I didn’t buy it there because it was $29.99 while
at it was only $19.95. There are 6,700 entries
plus more detailed information about cooking, reliable ways
to preserve and store foods plus hundreds of illustrations.
I’m glad I bought a copy and I think other “foodies” may
be interested in doing the same. The Deluxe Food Lover’s
Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst is
published by Barron’s. Sharon Tyler Herbst is deceased since
2007 but husband, Ron, also a successful food author with a
degree in Hotel Restaurant Management, finished the 4th
edition as well as the hardback. I refer to the Food Lover’s
Companion often and yes, when I don’t know the answer to
your food questions!


Although this is the November 1st memo, I'm writing
this on September 27th, designated as Family Meal Night
in the U.S. There was a time when most families ate meals
together. But not anymore! Too many people eat on the run
and not as a family. Most cooking was “from scratch,” not
from a box. It made me think about recipes Mother made for
us like Baked Pork Chops in Casserole. Contemporary cooks
will put their stamp of approval on this recipe, also, because
only 6 ingredients are needed to make it!

2 cups thinly sliced raw potatoes
4 lean boneless pork chops
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can undiluted condensed tomato soup
In buttered 2-quart baking dish alternate layers of potatoes
and onions. Rub pork chops with salt and pepper and place
on potato mixture. Spread soup evenly over top. Bake in
preheated 375ºF oven until meat is done and potatoes are
soft, about 1 hour. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Chicken Huntington serves more people but it’s an
inexpensive entree for family or company meals.


1/4 cup flour
2 cups Swanson Chicken Broth without MSG
4 ounce jar chopped pimiento, drained
1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of
Mushroom Soup
1 pound cubed sharp Cheddar cheese
(1) 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions.
Melt butter; add flour and make a paste. Gradually whisk
in chicken broth and cook until thickened. Combine
cooked chicken, white sauce, macaroni, chopped pimiento,
mushroom soup, cubed cheese and thawed peas. Spoon into
9x13-inch baking dish. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 1
hour. Recipe makes 12 servings.

Tasters gave Thin French Apple Tart a “thumbs up” when I
served it at the Bryan Chief recently. At home I make mine
with homemade crust but tasters liked the convenience of
doing it with a Pillsbury refrigerated one. For “store bought”
it’s the best one on the market!

Half of 15-oz. package Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use apple pie spice)
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and
thinly sliced (weigh at the store)
2-1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place pie dough on floured
pasty cloth; roll into 12-inch circle. Place in 12-inch pizza
pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon
over crust. Arrange apple slices spoke-like on top, working
from outside edge to the center. Sprinkle apple slices with
remaining sugar mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Combine
honey and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on
high 40 seconds. Brush honey mixture over warm tart. Recipe
makes 8 servings.

Source: Cooking Light recipe.


In a June 2009 study, Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic
found that Celiac Disease (CD) is four times more common
now than it was in the 1950s. “Something has changed in
our environment to make it much more common,” he said.
“The study suggests we may need to consider looking for
celiac disease in the general population, more like we do in
testing for cholesterol or blood pressure.”

Source: Duke University HealthNews, October 2010. Download PDF of Memo #2186