Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mary’s Memo #2264

     Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for fifth of May. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day (that is a national holiday celebrated on September 16). Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Pueblo. Although observed in that area, Cinco de Mayo is an opportunity for American Hispanics to celebrate their Mexican heritage, much as Irish Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

     Pumpkin Ravioli with Butter Caramel Whipped Cream, made with Pillsbury® Crescent dough sheets was the winning recipe. The recipe, submitted by Christina Verelli, Devon, PA, won a million dollars plus $10,000 worth of G.E. appliances. Total calories in one serving of the dessert are 380 with 220 from fat. I like desserts with fewer calories but my big problem with today’s Bake Off recipes in general, and it’s probably a generation thing, is that they don’t compare to recipes that were winners in early Bake Off’s when basic ingredients were used, not pre-packaged convenience ones. Years ago it was called the $25,000 Pillsbury® Bake Off and that was big money! I’m still making some of the recipes that won including Mint Surprise Cookies, Dilly Casserole Bread, Open Sesame Pie and Tunnel of Fudge Cake. The cake was so popular that it inspired Nordic Ware® to make a bundt cake pan to make it.

     A tomato of a different color may put more antioxidants on your plate. Oregon State University scientists have developed a purple-skinned tomato, dubbed Indigo Rose, that’s high in anthocyanins, pigments with antioxidant properties typically found in berries. The Indigo Rose is the result of a hybridization program that began in the 1960s with crossbreeding of standard tomatoes from Chile and the Galapagos Islands. The purple tomato, scientists pointed out, is not genetically modified. Despite its striking hue, the Indigo Rose “tastes just like a tomato,” said horticulture professor Jim Myers. They don’t know, however, whether what they’ve learned from test tube studies will prove to be true in the human body. The Indigo Rose is available for home gardens from several seed catalogs.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, April 2012.

     All products are not created equal. With hardly any exceptions, store brands cost less. Whether they are the same or better than name brand ones will vary by consumer and product. For example, store brand pasta tastes the same to me and I’m not fussy about what sugar I buy. When it comes to canned goods, I use more brand names than store brands. Ditto for frozen food. There are also name brand products I prefer to any other brands including Folger’s® coffee, Hellmann’s ® Light Mayonnaise, Daisy® cottage cheese and sour cream products, Sechler® pickles, Jif® peanut butter and McCormick® spices and seasonings to name a few. The best way to judge a product is to actually compare one brand with another.
If you can’t tell a difference by all means use the one
that is cheaper. Keep in mind that your perception of taste and appearance may be different from mine and that’s okay, too. Please note that Essential Everyday, distributed by Supervalu, Inc., is replacing the Flavorite name at Chief and Rays. SAY OLE TO THIS PIE!


1 cup finely crushed pretzels1/3 cup Land O'Lakes® Butter, melted3 tablespoons sugarFilling:1 pound package fresh strawberries, hulled2 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened1/3 cup limeade concentrate (from 12-ounce can), slightly thawed2 tablespoons orange juice (replace orange juice with 2 tablespoons tequila for adults-only version)Garnish:1/2 cup whipping cream1 tablespoon powdered sugarFreshly grated lime zestHeat oven to 350ºF. Combine all crust ingredients in medium bowl; mix well. Press onto bottom and up sides of ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.Place strawberries in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade or 5-cup blender container. Cover; process on high speed until finely chopped. Add ice cream, limeade and orange juice. Continue processing until well mixed. Spoon ice cream mixture into prepared crust. Smooth top with back of spoon. Freeze until firm (4 hours or overnight).Remove pie from freezer before serving. Meanwhile, place whipping cream and powdered sugar in small bowl; beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Cut pie into wedges; garnish each slice with whipped cream and lime zest mixture. Recipe makes 8 servings, 290 calories each.
Source: Land O'Lakes® recipe.
Download PDF of Memo #2264

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandpa. During the school year, I would spend the afternoons at his house, and in the summer, we were together a lot. One thing I do remember is that he always had a patch of rhubarb growing in the back yard. I can't remember him baking much, except for a couple delicious rhubarb desserts, Rhubarb Cobbler and Rhubarb Crumb Pie.  

  One time, I remember him making Rhubarb Cobbler with me, teaching me each and every step along the way. It wasn't until after it came out of the oven that we realized we had used baking soda instead of baking powder! No wonder it didn't rise properly. However, I'm pretty sure we still devoured it.   Today, I'm sharing with you an adaptation of my grandpa's Rhubarb Crumb Pie with the addition of strawberries. Nothing is quite like the combination of strawberries and rhubarb! If you've never tried it, you're in for a treat. The sweet strawberries balance the tangy rhubarb quite perfectly, if I do say so myself. Top it off with a crumb topping and you've almost got the perfect dessert. All that's needed is a scoop of vanilla ice cream!     Start with the fruit - 2 cups of diced strawberries and 2 cups of diced rhubarb. If you can't find fresh rhubarb, frozen works just fine! Just be sure to thaw it and squeeze out the extra moisture.  

    Combine the fruit with a little lot of sugar (this is not for low-sugar diets!), a bit of flour, and some eggs to hold it all together. Pour it into the crust, and then make your crumb topping.  


  For the topping, combine a bit of flour and brown sugar and cut in the cold butter until it's crumbly. You can use two knives, a pastry cutter, or even just rub the butter with your fingers until it becomes crumbly. (Which in my opinion is the easiest.)  


  Spread the topping over the crust, and after 50 minutes in the oven, you have pie perfection!  

  My recommendation? Serve it warm, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  

  Pie and ice cream... life can't get much better. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Pie


8 servings One 9-inch pie
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 2 cups diced strawberries
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • dash salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Crumb Topping
    • ¾ cup flour
    • ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons cold butter


Preheat oven to 400*F. Roll pie crust into pan and up the sides; flute edges. In large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour, salt, and eggs. Pour into prepared pie crust. To make crumb topping, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over pie. Bake in preheated oven 50-55 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
Source: Adapted from a family recipe

Mary’s Memo #2263

     Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking by Kimberly Mayone and Kitty Broihier, published by Sterling in March 2012, is good for those of you who must eat gluten-free as well as those of us who don’t! The slow cooker is one of my best “appliance friends” and I’m game to try a new slow cooker dish, whether it’s gluten-free or not! This cookbook is packed with 140 budgetfriendly, flavorful slow cooker recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These imaginative recipes incorporate fresh vegetables, whole grains and everyday grocery store items. Because many people who follow a gluten-free diet also follow a dairy-free one, there are clearly marked recipes that are either dairy-free or can be easily prepared dairy-free with a few simple substitutions. A comprehensive vegetarian chapter and a chapter with non-slow cooker sides such as Curried Broccoli Slaw and Green Beans Almandine are also included.
     Kimberly Mayone is a published cookbook author and owner of WOW Delicious, a company that works with clients to develop recipes to their specifications. She is also the author of the Everyday Low-Carb Slow Cooker Cookbook and The Big Book of Low Carb. Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, is a published cookbook author and owner of NutriComm Inc., a food and nutrition communications consulting company serving food companies and public relations firms. In addition to being the co-author of the Everyday Low-Carb Slow Cooker Cookbook and The Big Book of Low-Carb with Mayone, she is also the author of Everything Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutritional Supplements Book.
     According to the authors, Beef Stroganoff is considered a dish of the 50’s but it appeared in cookbooks as early as the 1930s. The recipe that follows contains all the standard ingredients you’re accustomed to; it’s just easier because it’s slow cooked. Serve with your favorite gluten-free pasta or rice.

1-1/4 pounds sirloin tip steak, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1/2-inch slices1 medium onion, chopped(1) 8-pounce package baby bella mushrooms, sliced1/4 cup cold water2 tablespoons cornstarch1 tablespoon beef bouillon (such as Organic Better Than Bouillon®)1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon minced garlic1/2 cup sour cream2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)Add the steak, onions and mushrooms to the slow cooker; set aside. In small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved and mixture has no lumps. Pour it into slow cooker; then stir in beef bouillon, salt and garlic. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours (or 4 hours on HIGH). Turn off slow cooker; stir in sour cream. Serve over noodles or rice. If desired, garnish with fresh dill. Recipe makes 4 servings (about 1-1/4 cups each).
     The next time you’re following a recipe that calls for butter, try a butter alternative instead. Made with vegetable oils, they tend to have less saturated fat and sometimes fewer calories, Consumer Reports’ most recent tests found one, Land O’Lakes® Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil that tastes close to the real thing. Just check the label or contact the company to make sure
the product can be used for cooking and baking, since some work only as spreads. (Land O’Lakes® says its product can be used for cooking and baking.)
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, April 2012.

     Here’s more evidence that eating right is good for your brain and that a diet low in key nutrients and high in unhealthy fats may actually contribute to cognitive decline with aging. Researchers report that adults with higher blood levels of the B vitamins, vitamin C, D and E and omega-3s scored better on tests of mental performance and showed healthier brains on MRI scans.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, April 2012.

     Clafouti has been around for a long time. Originating in France, traditional claufouti is made with dark sweet cherries but other fruit may be used including strawberries. It’s part pudding and part cake but guaranteed to please the palate.

1/2 tablespoon butter8-ounces strawberries, sliced vertically2 teaspoons cornstarch3 eggs1 cup milk2/3 cup flour1/2 cup sugar1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla1/4 teaspoon saltPowdered sugarPreheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 2-quart oblong baking dish. Toss strawberries with cornstarch. Arrange in prepared baking dish. In a blender or food processor combine eggs, milk, flour, sugar and vanilla. Pour over strawberries. Bake until puffed, about 50 minutes. Serve warm.
Source: Adapted from a Sunset® recipe.
Download PDF of Memo #2263

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chicken

It's getting to be that time of year again... the temperatures rising, the days are getting longer, and the sun is shining! (Except for this past weekend. Where did those 40*F days come from?! I'm ready for summer!) I don't know about you, but as the seasons change, so does my palate. In the warmer months, I start to crave colder foods - smoothies, fruit, salads, ice cream. Oh, who am I kidding, I crave ice cream all year round. It's just much easier to convince my husband to run up to the Dairy Queen in the middle of July than in December. Since strawberries are just oh-so-juicy and delicious right now, I've got a light and refreshing Strawberry Spinach Salad for you today. Tender baby spinach leaves, topped with chicken fresh off the grill, sweet strawberries, toasted almonds, and tangy feta cheese. All tossed together in a simple sesame vinaigrette.     And you all know the best part about eating a salad for dinner? You can totally justify that carb-o-licious side dish. Grab a loaf of tasty Artisan bread from the bakery section or indulge in my latest obsession, Bacon Cheddar Scones.  

  Now, for the salads. Start with the toasted almonds. Just melt down a tablespoon of butter, add the sliced almonds and sugar, and cook over medium-high heat until they have lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. They'll start smelling really good when they're done; that's how you can know when to take them off the heat.  

  Once you've got the almonds done, go ahead and start the chicken on the grill. (Or if you want to make it even easier, pick up a rotisserie chicken! They're on special this week, just $5.99!) While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing. Minced onion, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, sesame seeds, paprika, sugar, and olive oil! I like to use an old peanut butter jar (cleaned out of course) because then I can just screw the lid on tight, and shake it all up! Then it's already in a nice little container to pop in the fridge. (Again, if you'd rather go simple, pick up a bottle of your favorite salad dressing. Poppyseed would be delicious!)   [caption id="attachment_552" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Mmm... salad dressing."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_553" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Shake, shake, shake!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_554" align="aligncenter" width="454" caption="Ready to go!"][/caption]   After you've got the dressing mixed up, slice the strawberries and set aside. Slice up the chicken and get a nice little assembly line ready.  

  For each salad, just plate up some spinach, strawberries, almonds, chicken, and feta cheese. Drizzle it all with as much dressing as you like, and dig in!  

  My husband and I enjoyed these salads outside on the patio. Here's to hoping that warm weather comes back to stay! ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chicken


4 entree servings, 8 side dish servings
  • For the almonds
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • ¾ cup sliced almonds
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • For the salad
    • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
    • 1 quart strawberries
    • 4-oz. crumbled feta cheese
    • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • salt & pepper
  • For the dressing
    • ¼ cup finely minced sweet onion
    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    • pinch paprika
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


For the almonds, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. For dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar or sealed container; shake vigorously to combine. To prepare the salads, grill the chicken. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and grill over medium-high heat until done. (Alternately, you could cook on an indoor griddle or on the stove.) Wash strawberries and cut into thin slices. To assemble, place baby spinach leaves on plate. Top with grilled chicken pieces, sliced strawberries, toasted almonds, and crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle with dressing, and serve!
 Source: Dressing & almonds from Annie's Eats

Mary’s Memo #2261

     Don’t get me wrong, Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, authors of Wicked Good Barbecue with Andrea Pyenson, can barbecue for me anytime they want and I’ll eat every bite! However, most of their recipes are too labor intensive for me. That said, Wicked Good Barbecue by a couple of guys from Boston includes a wealth of information useful to anyone who cooks outdoors and likes to smoke their choices.
      Husbands, is the award winning chef/owner of Tremont 647 in Boston where he has enticed patrons with his adventurous American cuisine for over a decade. When he’s not in Boston he’s on the BBQ trail with his championship-winning iQUE team. As part of
the iQUE team, co-author Chris Hart has dominated the BBQ circuit for the past 10 years. Although he spends his days developing software, his passion for cooking barbecue has him on the iQUE team weekends, putting his talents against the best pit masters in the US.
     Regarding the useful information in Wicked Good Barbecue, I didn’t know that turbinado (raw sugar) doesn’t burn as easily as white or brown sugar in a dry rub. The recipe follows minus MSG that’s listed as optional anyway. Hard-to-find ingredients can be ordered from

1 cup turbinado sugar3/4 cup kosher salt1/2 cup Spanish paprika6 tablespoons chili powder2 tablespoons cumin seeds, freshly ground4 teaspoons mixed peppercorns, freshly ground4 teaspoons garlic granules3 teaspoons onion granules1 teaspoon chipotle powderPlace all ingredients in a spice blender and pulse until it becomes a fine powder. Refrigerate in an airtight container. This rub will keep indefinitely, but try to use within a month to ensure freshest flavor. Recipe makes 3 cups.
Source: Wicked Good Barbecue by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart; Fair Winds Press, February 2012; paperback with color photos $21.99 US. Order from ON JICAMA
     Jicama (pronounced HEE-kah-mah), also known as the Mexican potato, has a sweet, nutty flavor. It can be cooked, but I like it best raw. After purchase, store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks. Peel just before serving. Cut in sticks like you would do French fries or slice. Jicama is a fair source of vitamin C and potassium. It’s especially good with southwestern-flavored dip or your favorite salsa.
     According to a recent article in the British Dental Journal, acidic ingredients in sugar-free candies and beverages, used for flavoring and as preservatives, don’t cause cavities, but they do weaken enamel, leading to irreversible dental erosion. In addition, sorbitol and some other sugar alcohols, used as reduced-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free chewing gums, are fermented into acid by bacteria in the mouth and thus cause damage, too. In contrast, the sugar alcohol xylitol, also used in some sugar-free gums, is okay, perhaps beneficial, for your teeth. If you consume acidic sugar-free foods and vegetables, rinse your mouth afterwards with water.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, April 2012.STRAWBERRY FEST STILL ON AT CHIEF & RAYS

     Rave reviews for this salad when I served it at the Bryan
Chief. I had planned to reserve it for the 2012 Christmas sheet but
instead we’re sharing it now during Chief and Rays Strawberry Fest.


6 cups spinach, stems removed3 cups endive4-ounce package crumbled feta cheese1 pound package strawberries, sliced2 cups candied pecans (recipe follows)Salt and pepper to taste1 cup Citrus vinaigrette or enough to moisten the greens but not drench them        Toss just before serving.
        Citrus Vinaigrette:
1 cup olive oil (I prefer light)Zest of 1 orange¼ cup Florida brand orange juice¼ cup white wine vinegar1 tablespoon minced red onion1 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 tablespoon sugarIn blender combine all ingredients except olive oil. Slowly add oil to form a thick emulsion.
        Candied Pecans:
1 egg white at room temperature2 cups pecan halves½ cup packed light brown sugar1 teaspoon kosher salt1 teaspoon vanillaWhisk egg white until frothy; add brown sugar, salt and vanilla. Toss pecans in mixture until coated. Spread in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from paper. Cool completely. Pecans can be prepared ahead of time, also vinaigrette.
Source: Adapted from recipe by CQ Restaurant Chef Eric Sayers, Hilton Head Island, SC.

Download PDF of Memo #2261

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Breakfast isn't a meal that I cook often. Yes, we eat breakfast, but it's usually a toasted bagel or bowl of instant oatmeal. Not so exciting. It's hard when you've got to be out the door by 7:30am during the week! (I can't even imagine throwing kids into the mix.) So, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to actually cook breakfast. I love to whip up a batch of fresh-baked scones or cinnamon rolls. If I'm feeling really motivated, I'll mix up some pancakes or French toast. Which leads me to today's recipe. Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.  

  A few months ago, my husband and I visited our favorite bed & breakfast up in Michigan, and they served this awesome strawberry stuffed French toast. After "mmmmm"-ing through the whole entire meal, I was bound and determined to re-create it. For this special French toast, thick Italian bread slices are stuffed with a sweet strawberry-cream cheese mixture, and grilled to perfection. It's crisp on the outside, and tender and chewy with a pop of sweet cream cheese on the inside. It might just be the best breakfast I've ever made. Start off with some good bakery bread. Rays and Chief Supermarkets have some great artisan breads to choose from - I chose an Italian loaf, but French or sourdough would be great as well.  

    Cut it into thick slices; you should get between 6 and 8 total. I cut my middle slices in half because they were really big.  

  Then, you want to cut a slit into each of the bread slices. Don't cut all the way through, but cut enough so you can spread the filling around in there.     For the filling, combine some softened cream cheese, strawberry jam, and diced fresh strawberries that have soaked in sugar for a bit.  

  Now here comes the tricky part. Spoon a bit of the cream cheese mixture into each bread slice, spreading it evenly to every nook and cranny. You might get a bit messy, but that's ok!  

  Now it's time for the egg mixture. Combine a few eggs, milk, cinnamon, and almond extract in a shallow bowl. (Better for soaking the bread in.)  

  After a quick dip in the egg mixture and a few minutes on the griddle, it's ready to be devoured!  

  Garnished with some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup, this is the perfect decadent weekend breakfast. (Hint, hint - Mother's Day is just around the corner!) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast


4-6 servings
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 4-oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam or jelly
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • maple syrup, for serving


Place diced strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar to allow the juices to come out. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. Slice bread into 2-inch thick slices. (You should get between 6 and 8 slices.) Cut a slit in each of the thick slices, making a pocket in which to put the filling. For the filling, combine softened cream cheese with strawberry jam and sugared strawberries. Place a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each bread pocket, spreading it to the corners. For the coating, combine eggs, milk, almond/vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl until thoroughly mixed. Coat each side of the bread for about 5-10 seconds, until it has soaked up some of the egg mixture. Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat, and coat it with butter. Cook French toast 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup. **Leftovers taste great heated in a 400*F oven for 10-15 minutes.
 Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Glazed Strawberry Fruit Salad

It's getting to be that time of year, where cook-outs, family get-togethers, and potlucks are around every corner. While getting together with friends and family is always fun, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to decide what side dish to bring to share. No worries... I've got the perfect potluck pleaser. This Glazed Strawberry Fruit Salad is a always a hit!   Fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, pineapple, and mandarin oranges all combine with a citrusy glaze for a delicious addition to any menu. You could even switch it up a bit, and mix-and-match your favorite fruits.  

  For as long as I remember, we've had this fruit salad at almost every family get-together, especially my birthday. One year, for my 11th birthday, my parents threw me a "cooking class" birthday party at the local kitchen store. I got to invite several friends and choose the menu of what we would prepare, and we were taught a hands-on cooking class by one of the professional chefs. How fun! Well, of course, I chose this delectable fruit salad as one of the recipes, and as always, it was delicious. I even remember officially naming it "Yummy Fruit Salad." So creative, I know. (What can I say, I was only 11!) I've changed the name now to reflect the best parts about the fruit salad - the glaze and the fresh strawberries!   [caption id="attachment_518" align="aligncenter" width="553" caption="The goods... except I forgot to put the bananas in the picture! Doh!"][/caption]   It starts off with a simple glaze that is made by heating cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix with mandarin orange juice and pineapple juice until it's thick and bubbly.  

  After letting the glaze cool, you simply pour it over the fresh fruit and mix to combine. That easy!  

  Take advantage of the sweet, fresh strawberries and give this recipe a try!  


Glazed Strawberry Fruit Salad

Servings/Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 large box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding
  • 1 large can pineapple chunks
  • 2 cans mandarin oranges
  • 2 quart strawberries, quartered
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 bananas, sliced


Drain pineapple and one can mandarin oranges, reserving juices. Heat juices and dry pudding mix in saucepan over medium heat until thick and bubbly. When cool, stir in remaining fruits and chill.   Source: family favorite

Mary’s Memo #2260

     Kraft’s bunny-shaped, vanilla-flavored marshmallows
inspired me to look up Mother’s recipe for 5-Cup Fruit Salad. Light sour cream with half the fat was not available when she first made this fruit salad but I used it in my 2012 version and could not tell the difference!


1 cup pineapple chunks canned in juice, well drained1 cup Mandarin oranges, well drained1 cup flaked coconut1 cup Kraft® Bunny-Shaped Marshmallows1 cup Daisy brand reduced-fat sour creamGently fold together the 5 ingredients being careful not to damage the pastel colored marshmallows. Chill thoroughly. Note: I served on Boston lettuce cups with an additional bunny marshmallow on top for a club meeting in late March. Single recipe makes about (5) 1-cup servings.DID YOU KNOW?
     I do recycle everything I can but it wasn’t until Mary Ann called it to my attention that the plastic carto ns that blackberries, red raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are sold in are recyclable, regardless of their origin. Look for the triangle on the bottom with a 1 inside it.A FUN RECIPE FOR SPRING
     My friend and former Bryanite, Eleanor Heyman, sent me a recipe for a Three-Two-One Cake in February. She got it from another former Bryanite, Marcia Leslie Engel, who like Eleanor, lives in California. I thought it was perfect for my March article in the Williams County Department of Aging Newsletter but because so many people loved the concept when I served it, I decided to also share the recipe in Mary’s Memo. Keep in mind that you can use any flavor cake mix but my preference is yellow or white with angel food because it makes the mix more versatile. You must use angel food cake mix regardless of the other cake mix chosen. Be sure to cook in a 1-1/2 cup to 2-cup microwave-safe container or it will overflow.THREE-TWO-ONE CAKE
1 regular size box of angel food cake mix1 box yellow or white cake mix (or whatever flavor you prefer)2 tablespoons water1 minute on high in the microwave.
Mix both cake mixes together until well blended. Store in an airtight
container. To make individual cakes, mix together 3 tablespoons mix with
2 tablespoons water in microwave-safe container. Microwave, uncovered,
on high for 1 minute. Cool slightly and top with a scoop of vanilla ice
cream and mixed fresh berries or ice cream with whatever topping you

     A new Center for Disease (CDC) report gives Americans' diet a failing grade. The Healthy Eating Index, comparing how people actually eat against the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, scored the typical US diet at only 60 points out of a possible 100. The only categories in which US adults are getting enough are total grains, meat and beans; we’re falling short on everything else, especially dark green and orange vegetables and whole grains. What are we consuming instead? Too many calories from sugary foods and alcohol, along with too much sodium. Overall, women scored better than men, and people age 60 and up did better on fruit and vegetable intake and calories from sugar and alcohol.
Source: Tufts Health&Nutrition Letter, March 2012.


     A diet packed with fruits and vegetables appear to reduce the risk of stroke, even in women who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published in the December 1, 2011 online edition of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
     Researchers in Sweden studied the relationship between total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and the incidence of stroke in 31,035 cardiovascular disease-free women and in 5,680 women with a history of the condition. Their ages ranged from 49 to 83. TAC measures the cumulative capacity of all antioxidants in a person’s diet to reduce diseasecausing radicals. Antioxidants are also thought to limit blood clotting, blood pressure and inflammation. The researchers monitored the health of the women for periods ranging from 9 to 11 years, as well as their dietary records that measured total antioxidant capacity. Although the subjects were women in Sweden, the authors think the results
would be applicable to men and to people in other
countries. The bottom line: Eat more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to lower the risk of stroke.
Source: DukeMedicine HealthNews, March 2012. Download PDF of Memo #2260

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

This week's recipe has a bit of a story behind it... so here we go!  

  I went to a very small college - only about 1000 students. Only a few of those students majored in math education, myself included, so let's just say I took the majority of my classes with the same six or so people and the same professor. Fortunately, I loved the professor and got along great with my fellow math education majors. One of the other math ed majors, Alissa, and I were also on the track/cross country teams together, so we were pretty close friends. My college was located in a super small town, full of down-home friendly people. One time, our math professor invited all his students over to his house to learn cake decorating from his mom. (His mom also happened to be the campus gardener. She could always be seen around campus planting flowers here and there, along with her two little Yorkshire Terriers. So cute.) Anyway, many people were invited to learn to decorate cakes, but guess who were the only ones who showed up? Yes... myself & Alissa. Let's just say we got a lot of one-on-one instruction from this sweet lil' old lady. All was going well, but when it was time to learn how to make buttercream roses, we didn't do such a great job. And she wasn't afraid to let us know! I know I'll never be able to decorate a cake again without thinking of sweet Ella Peters. So what does this story have to do with Hawaiian Wedding Cake? The recipe comes from Ella Peters herself! It's a moist banana-pineapple cake, topped with cream cheese frosting. The cake comes together all in one bowl, which makes it perfect when you're in a time crunch or just don't feel like doing dishes. (And who does?)  

  Let's get baking! Start by mixing up the batter. Flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, mashed banana, and crushed pineapple with juice. Add chopped pecans if you're a nut person. (I am definitely a nut person.)  

  Then it's ready to bake! Into a 350*F oven for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  

  While it's cooling, whip up the cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a bit of whipping cream, whipped together until it's light and fluffy.  

  Once the cake's cool, frost away!  


I got a lil' fancy with my piping bag, but it tastes just as good if you spread it with a spatula. Promise!

[caption id="attachment_504" align="aligncenter" width="553" caption="Just look at those chunks of pineapple! Yum!"][/caption]

I'm thinking this might just be the perfect dessert for Easter next Sunday! Happy baking!


Hawaiian Wedding Cake


12-15 servings 13x9-inch pan
  • For cake
    • 2¼ cups flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • dash salt
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 large smashed banana
    • 20-oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
    • 1 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • For cream cheese frosting
    • 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 to 4 tbsp. heavy whipping cream (or milk)


Combine all cake ingredients in a bowl; mix by hand. Pour into a greased & floured 13x9-inch pan. Bake at 350*F about 40-50 minutes until spongy. (It should bounce back when pressed.) Let cool. For frosting, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until well-blended. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until completely incorporated. Add whipping cream until you reach the desired consistency; beat on high until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cake with cream cheese frosting. Store in refrigerator.