Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mary’s Memo #2281


Swing Back from Breast Cancer Cookbook: Recipes for Eating
and Living Well Every Day after Breast Cancer by Barbara C. Unell and Judith
Fertig ($29.99, Andrew McMeel Publishing, August 7, 2012) is a life-affirming
book full of 150 feel-good, easy-to-prepare recipes. As the woman’s guide to
make delicious meals and embracing a positive lifestyle, The Back in the Swing
Cookbook will make mind, body and spirit feel energized and empowered.

Created especially for breast cancer survivors by the
grassroots nonprofit organization Back in the Swing USA, the book contains new
information that answers the No. 1 question on many women’s minds: “How do I
safely and smartly prevent, and get back in the swing of life after breast
cancer?” You’ll love the fresh ingredient recipes such as Citrus Sesame Chicken
Salad, Mushroom and Broccoli and Gingersnap-Crusted Pumpkin Pie. Each recipe
also includes a complete nutritional analysis. In addition, there are tips on
exercise, nature, meditation, relaxation, positive emotions, pets, friendships
and more.  Barbara C. Unell is the
author of dozens of books about healthy living. An educator and contributor on
social issues, she’s appeared on NPR and Good Morning America. Judith Fertig is
the author of 20 cookbooks. Her work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens,
Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Saveur and Vegetarian Times.


1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1-1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon milled flaxseed

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil

1 large egg, beaten

¾ cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries Preheat
oven to 375ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  In large bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking
soda, salt, cinnamon and flaxseed. In a medium bowl, combine the applesauce,
buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg. Stir applesauce mixture into flour
mixture until just moist. Fold in the blueberries. Fill muffin cups about
two-thirds full. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the
center of muffin comes out clean. Recipe makes 1 dozen.  Source: Swing Back from Breast Cancer
Cookbook by Barbara C. Unell and Judith Fertig ($29.99, Andrews McMeel
Publishing, August 7, 2012).


Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its bright yellow
color, may strengthen your immune system. Scientists have discovered that
curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, one of the spices used in curry
seasoning, can raise the levels of an important immune system protein that
helps the immune system fight off bacteria, viruses or fungi. Scientists
already know that vitamin D strengthens the immune system but it’s still a
promising find that could lead to new drug and nutrition research. The study on
curcumin was published in the May 2012 Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition
Connection, August 2012.


If you have chronic indigestion or other symptoms
suggestive of gluten sensitivity, consult your doctor and get tested for celiac
disease before going on a gluten-free diet. (Long-term avoidance of gluten can
interfere with the diagnostic tests for celiac disease.) A positive result on
the blood test should be followed by a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm
the diagnosis.  If celiac disease
is ruled out and you continue to have problems, you can be tested for
non-celiac gluten sensitivity via “elimination and provocation” diet.

If you have a family member with celiac disease, you
should be tested even if you have no symptoms, since diagnosing and treating
the disease can help prevent intestinal damage and serious complications. Many
gastroenterologists advise initially having a simple genetic test for
predisposition to celiac disease.  Few
people are properly diagnosed for gluten problems, however, according to a
paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year, which warned that
many are undoubtedly going on highly restrictive diets unnecessarily.

It’s best to consult an experienced registered dietitian
if you have celiac disease. You can and should eat other healthy grains,
including corn, rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.  Look for “certified gluten-free” on

Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter,
August 2012.


Try buttermilk as a healthy substitute for whole milk,
butter, cream or sour cream in recipes. Most buttermilk today is made by adding
bacteria to milk to ferment it, which makes it tart. This “cultured” buttermilk
usually comes low-fat and fatfree (with just 100 or 90 calories per cup,
respectively), but it may not be fortified with vitamin D like regular milk is.
Some buttermilk is lower in lactose, and because of its acidity, it lasts longer
than regular milk.

Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness
Letter, August 2012.

Download PDF of Memo #2281

Chinese Chicken Salad

Salads. They can be a great way to add nutrition to your diet, but they can also be super boring. (Raw vegetables, again?!) I'm lucky that my husband is pretty easy to please, food-wise. He'll gobble up a salad for dinner any night of the week, as long as it's all decked out with lots of toppings. (Bonus points for homemade croutons.) However, he was a bit unsure of this salad; I think all the cabbage freaked him out! But once he tasted the first bite, he was sold.  

Chinese Chicken Salad combines crisp Napa cabbage with grilled chicken, toasted almonds, crunchy noodles, mandarin oranges, and a sweet Oriental dressing. It is seriously the only salad that I go back for second helpings of. (Even third helpings... although I don't recommend this. Too much cabbage is not always a good thing.) Start by making the dressing - it's really easy. Just some oil, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Boil it on the stove for 1 minute; then, let cool! (I somehow missed a picture of this step... oops!) For the actual salad, here's what you need:   [caption id="attachment_874" align="aligncenter" width="576"] Ramen noodles, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, Napa cabbage, and green onions.[/caption]   Napa cabbage is a great source of calcium, Vitamin A, & Vitamin C. It's got a pretty mild flavor, and it makes the perfect base for this salad.  

  The toppings are the fun part. Mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, grilled chicken breast, and crushed Ramen noodles. To crush the Ramen noodles, just put them in a zipper bag, and have at it!   [caption id="attachment_876" align="aligncenter" width="360"] I think the only time you will find Ramen noodles in my grocery cart is when I'm making this salad...[/caption]   To assemble the salad, just layer all the ingredients, and pour the dressing over the top!  

  Alternately, if you'd rather assemble the salad to take to a potluck or gathering, you can toss all the ingredients together with the dressing in a large bowl. The leftovers do not keep very well this way, so I usually assemble individual salads.  

Dig in! Sweet, crunchy, and fresh, this salad makes a great quick and easy meal. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Servings/Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Dressing
    • ½ cup vinegar
    • 1 cup sugar
    • cups oil
    • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Salad
    • 2 packages Ramen noodles, crushed
    • 1 package slivered almonds
    • 2  small or 1 large Napa cabbages
    • 4-6 stalks green onions
    • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
    • 3-4 grilled chicken breasts, diced
  Method For the dressing, mix vinegar, sugar, oil, and soy sauce in small saucepan. Bring to boil for one minute. Let cool. For the salad, chop Napa cabbage and green onions; toss together in large bowl. Top with Ramen noodles, almonds, mandarin oranges, and chicken. Toss with the dressing. Source: family favorite

Mary’s Memo #2280

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This year is the 150th anniversary of St. John

United Church of Christ, now located on the campus of Defiance College. My

friend Marilyn Mallott was a member of the committee that published “150th

Celebration Cookbook” to mark the occasion. It is loose leaf bound and lays

flat to read. Divider pages separate the categories and the back side has

helpful hints related to that chapter. Published by Morris Press, the cookbook

sells for $15.00 plus $4.00 for postage and handling. Make check or money order

payable to St. John United Church of Christ and mail to the church at 950

Webster St, Defiance, OH 43512.  Because

there are so many appealing recipes in the 188 page book, it was difficult

narrowing the selection to just two for this week’s memo but here it goes ….



(1) 12-ounce box Crispix® or

Chex® cereal


1 cup plain Cheerios®


2 cups small cheese cracker squares


1 cup oyster crackers


1 cup small pretzels


1-1/2 cups unflavored peanuts or mixed nuts


½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (from




5 tablespoons butter, melted


5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


1 tablespoon seasoned salt


1 tablespoon onion powder


1 teaspoon granulated garlic

Combine cereals, crackers,

pretzels and nuts in a large roasting pan sprayed with cooking oil. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over

all. Melt butter and add Worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder and

garlic; stir to combine. Drizzle half the seasoning mixture over the top of the

cereal mix and stir thoroughly. Drizzle the balance over the top and stir again

to thoroughly dampen the cereal-cheese mixture.  Bake in

250ºF oven for 80 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.  Turn off oven and let party mix cool

completely. Store in

tightly closed container or large Ziploc® bag. Keeps for a few weeks.  Makes approximately 18 cups.



3 eggs


2 cups sugar


1 cup oil


1 teaspoon vanilla


3 cups grated zucchini, unpeeled


1 teaspoon salt


1 teaspoon baking soda


¼ teaspoon baking powder


2-3/4 cups flour


¼ cup cocoa


1 cup chopped nuts


1 cup chocolate chips


1 cup coconut

Mix eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, zucchini, salt, baking

soda, baking powder, flour and cocoa until well blended. Add nuts,

chocolate chips and coconut. Divide mixture between 2 bread pans sprayed

with Pam®. Bake in 325ºF oven for 1 hour.

Can be made in mini pans; bake for 50 minutes.  Source: 150th Celebration Cookbook, St. John

United Church of Christ, Defiance Ohio.


In an effort to introduce shoppers to not-your-everyday-produce,

Chief and Rays featured Italian Red Torpedo Onions recently. Grown in the USA,

I had sautéed ones on a Chief Smokehouse brat sandwich at the Bryan Chief.  Torpedo onions have a red skin, are

elongated in shape and have a milder flavor than regular onions. The red

accented edges of raw ones add a nice appearance in salads and sandwiches. Use

them in gratins and other creamed onion dishes, soups and stews.

Speaking of onions, to prevent them from making you cry

when chopped, try the following: Chill beforehand; use a sharp knife to reduce

the amount of tear-causing chemical produced; aim a fan to blow the fumes away

from you; wear goggles; breathe through your mouth; use sweeter varieties. And

of course, there’s always a food processor.  Never wipe your eyes while peeling or chopping.  Source: University of California at

Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 2012.


I dare you to find a better food bargain this summer than

a $1.00 Chief Smokehouse brat sandwich with a choice of condiments at Chief and

Rays every Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 1 PM. The “Buck-a-Brat” will be running

through the end of September.

Download PDF of Memo #2280

Greek Veggie Wraps

Sigh. It's that time of year again. Time to say "So long, summer!"  

  By the time you are reading this, I am back in my classroom, welcoming all my new students with a smile. There's a certain excitement about the first week of school - new students, new teachers, new classes. I still even get excited to go back to school. (It always helps that I make sure to indulge in a couple new back-to-school outfits... teachers need new clothes, too!) To continue the excitement, I've committed to finding a few new packed lunch ideas to spice up the same-old, same-old. (Because we all know I'm not going anywhere near the school cafeteria...) I've already introduced my Orchard Harvest Chicken Salad, and today, I'm showing you some delicious Greek Veggie Wraps.  

  Wraps are such a great lunch option - easy to make, easy to take with you. These wraps are full of Greek flavor, with hummus, couscous, feta cheese, veggies, and banana peppers. They're really quick to assemble, too! (Which is definitely a bonus when you're rushing around the kitchen at 7:30am trying to find something for lunch. What can I say, I've never been one to pack lunch the night before.) If you've never had couscous, you need to try it. This was my first taste of couscous, and I loved it! It's kind of like super, super small pieces of rice. I imagine it would be a nice alternative to rice or orzo in any recipe. In these wraps, it adds the perfect texture, plus makes them a little bit more filling.   [caption id="attachment_862" align="aligncenter" width="302"] Can be found in the Ethnic food aisle.[/caption]   The hardest part about the wraps is the couscous - and it takes a whole 5 minutes. Just bring some water to boil, add the couscous (following the proportions on the box), cover & remove it from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Done!     To assemble the wraps, start with a large tortilla. You can find flavored tortillas in the deli section of the store. Spread it with a thin layer of hummus, then a few spoonfuls of couscous.   [caption id="attachment_866" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tortilla + hummus + couscous 1. Tortilla
2. Hummus
3. Couscous[/caption]   Then the veggies. Baby spinach, shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes. Then the fun stuff! Banana peppers & feta cheese. (Don't skip the banana peppers; they make the wrap!)   [caption id="attachment_867" align="aligncenter" width="800"] 4. Baby spinach + shredded carrots
5. Chopped tomato
6. Banana peppers + feta cheese[/caption]   Now, the hardest part: rolling up the wrap without losing all the fillings. Start by folding up the bottom flap. Then, fold in the sides and roll as tightly as you can into a burrito shape.     If you're taking it to go, I suggest you wrap it in foil. It stays rolled up very nicely, plus makes it super easy to eat later. These Greek Veggie Wraps are so fresh! They make such a healthy lunch, without feeling too healthy. (If you know what I mean.) I'm not gonna lie... I'm excited to pack my lunch this week. :) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Greek Veggie Wraps

  • For the wraps
    • hummus
    • cooked whole wheat couscous
    • baby spinach leaves
    • diced tomatoes
    • shredded carrots
    • chopped banana peppers
    • crumbled feta cheese
    • 10" tortilla wraps
Method To assemble wraps, lay out a wrap on a work surface and spread with a layer of hummus. Top with a spoonful of couscous. Add on the veggies, as much as you like of each. Finally, top with the banana peppers, feta, and a drizzle of the balsamic dressing. To roll wrap, fold the bottom edge up, then fold the sides inward. Roll the wrap up as tightly as you can to enclose all the fillings. If you're taking it to go, wrap it in foil for the least messy eating experience. Keep in refrigerator. Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

Mary’s Memo #2279


Not only is there less paper on toilet paper rolls, the roll

itself is now a half-inch narrower …. at least I found it to be

the case with Northern® Tissue’s 9-pack mega roll. I’m certain

other companies will follow suit. Don’t blame Chief and Rays

because it isn’t their doing. But I doubt if any action by us will

stop the downsizing of consumer products. Do manufacturers

think we won’t notice the difference? Apparently they do. 


Thanks to the internet I still keep in touch with Purdue

classmate Margaret Lines in Sun City, AZ. She’s on the Mary’s

Memo mailing list and the pickling beet instructions in the

8/6/12 issue prompted her to send “One to One to One Pickled

Beets.” She starts with 2 cans of whole beets because she

likes to slice them herself. If you prefer, I’m sure you can start

with canned sliced beets. “They are a hit at “pitch-ins and

cook-outs,” she reports. Although I didn’t ask, pitch-in I’m

sure is another name for a potluck.

(2) 14.5-ounce cans whole beets, drained and sliced

1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup cider vinegar 
A little chopped onion

Whisk marinade ingredients together (it’s not cooked). Add

drained beets to marinade and let them stand several hours

until they have a good pickled flavor, stirring several times.
Source: Margaret Ann Lines, Sun City, AZ.


unfortunately, we had “dog days of summer” in June

and July this year. So it’s important to take extra precautions

at picnics and potlucks. Tufts University Health & Nutrition

Letter for July 2012, advises the following:

1. Avoid cross contamination at the grill by using separate

brushes and utensils for raw and cooked meat.

2. Boil leftover marinade before using as a sauce on food.

3. On picnics, pack perishables separately from beverages to

reduce the warming effects of frequently opening the lid.

Keep the cooler out of direct sun and use plenty of ice.

4. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours, or one hour if

temperatures top 90 degrees.


That corn dog may look delicious, but food served at
fairs, festivals and barbecues brings a surge in cases of food

poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention. To stay safe, check that vendors are following

basics like keeping surfaces clean, using separate cutting

boards for raw meat and poultry, cooking food to the right

temperature and refrigerating perishables. For a full list go


Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2012.

I don’t know about you but it did get too hot to grill

outside many days this summer. One of those days, it motivated

me to test’s Slow Cooker Barbecued

Ribs. Also, the slow cooker makes it possible to have a taste

of outdoor grilling in the dead of winter. With few exceptions

reviewers gave this recipe high marks. It says that it

serves 8. I’m thinking 6 is more like it with 4 pounds of ribs.

I had a package that weighed almost 3 pounds and this

amount made 4 meals for me, three that are 4 rib portions

and one with 3 (I’ll eat this serving with corn-on-the-cob and

tomatoes from the garden). The homemade barbecue sauce

is very tasty and when you caramelize the ribs in the oven at

the end, slather top generously with more sauce.

Source: Recipe adapted from, the world’s

favorite recipe site. 

4 pounds baby back ribs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups ketchup (I use Hunt’s® with no fructose corn syrup)
1 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry oregano 

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
 Few dashes of Tabasco®

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Cut

in half and place in a shallow baking pan. Brown in the oven

15 minutes. Turn over and brown another 15 minutes; drain

fat. In medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, chili sauce,

brown sugar, vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco

®. Place ribs in 5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Pour sauce over

ribs and turn to coat. Cover and cook on high 1 hour; turn

to low and cook an additional 4 to 5 hours. Original recipe

said to cook ribs for 6 to 8 hours. That is way too long. To

eliminate clean-up, before caramelizing, line large shallow

baking pan with foil. Arrange ribs in a single layer and bake

for 10 minutes at 375ºF.

Download PDF of Memo #2279

Fresh Strawberry Peanut Butter Bars

It's that time again... it's almost time to go back to school! Gotta get ready for book bags, school supplies, and the ever-beloved packed lunch.  

  While PB+J is probably one of the most classic packed lunches, some people think it's pretty boring. Personally, I'm a huge fan. I don't know if it's my undying loving for peanut butter, but a crunchy PB+J sandwich on whole grain bread puts a smile on my face almost any day. For a little back-to-school treat, I've put a twist on a lunchbox classic, and turned it into a fabulous dessert. Fresh Strawberry Peanut Butter Bars - chewy peanut butter cookie base, topped with strawberry jam and diced strawberries. It's a pretty basic dessert, but the flavors just pop! If you're a PB+J fan, you will love these. They're really easy to make, too. Start with the peanut butter cookie dough - butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, flour, baking, soda, & salt.   If you're in a pinch, you could always use a roll of refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough. (I won't tell.) Press the dough into a greased 9x13-inch pan, and bake it off! That simple.  

  Once it has cooled, just spread with strawberry jam or preserves, and top with diced strawberries. Cut into bars, and there ya go!  

  The chewy peanut butter cookie combined with the fresh strawberries really takes this dessert over the top. Yum! Also - I just want to say 'thanks' to anyone who stopped by for a sample last Wednesday! It was a blast demo-ing the blog's recipes. :)  


Fresh Strawberry Peanut Butter Bars

Servings/Yield: 9x13-inch pan
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • 4 cups strawberries, halved or quartered
Method Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil beyond the edges. Set aside. In large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Spread dough in prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely on rack. Remove from pan by lifting foil. Spread jam and top with berries. Cut into bars. Serve at once or refrigerate up to 6 hours. Source: BHG  

Mary’s Memo #2277

Most of us are trying to eat better in order to lower the risk
of heart disease, cancer and other chronic disorders, as well as
control weight and simply feel our best. Healthy eating doesn’t
have to be confusing or restrictive. Simply put, foods derived
from plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes,

should make up the bulk of the calories consumed. Most
of the rest should come from low-fat or non-fat dairy products,
lean meat, poultry and fish. That means limiting highly processed
foods, fast foods and sugar drinks. In particular, eat lots
of produce. Aim for 2-1/2 cups of vegetables per day and 2 cups
fruit a day, for a 2,000 calorie diet. Include green, orange, red,
blue/purple and yellow produce. In addition to the fiber, the
nutrients and phytochemicals in these foods may help protect
against cancer and other diseases. Legumes can count as vegetables.
Choose whole fruits over juice for more fiber.
Source: Special 2012 Summer Issue University of California at
Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps produce energy and
maintain fluid balance in the body. It relaxes the blood vessels,
lowering blood pressure and ridding the body of excess fluids.
The optimum intake of potassium is 4,700 milligrams daily for
adults over age 19, according to the Food and Nutrition Board
of the Institute of Medicine. In a recent study, potassium-rich
raisins were found to lower blood pressure. Raisins are also high
in antioxidants that help protect cells in the body, and contain
the mineral boron, which is associated with increased bone
health, a plus for women at risk of osteoporosis. The nutrients
in raisins also can help protect vision. Other good sources of potassium
include potatoes (one, baked with skin, has 1,081 mg.
of potassium), bananas, lentils, beans (soy, lima, chickpeas, kidney,
pinto), dried peas, most fish, tomatoes and tomato products
(including sauce) and many fruits.
Source: DukeMedicine HealthNews, June 2012.

Be worried if no one has offered you a fresh zucchini or two
this time of year because you must be short of friends eager
to share their harvest with you! Zucchini Stuffed with Italian
Sausage is an option, especially if zucchini is medium to large
size. California Mosaic by the Junior League of Pasadena is the
source of the recipe, a favorite of my Mary Ann.

2 cups Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon kosher saltZucchini:
2 medium to large zucchini
1/4 cup olive oil (I prefer light olive oil)
8 ounces hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
(I use Chief Smokehouse brand)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
To prepare salsa, mix tomatoes, onion, olive oil, basil and salt
in a bowl.
To prepare the zucchini, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the zucchini
horizontally into halves, removing pulp but leaving the
shells intact. Chop the pulp.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet and add the zucchini pulp, sausage,
onion and garlic. Cook until sausage is brown and crumbly
and onion is tender, stirring frequently; drain. Stir in bread
crumbs, egg, cheese, salt, oregano and pepper. Spoon sausage
mixture evenly into zucchini shells. You may prepare to this
point and freeze for future use.
Cover the bottom of a shallow baking dish with salsa and arrange
the stuffed shells over the salsa. Drizzle with olive oil and
bake, covered with foil, for about 1 hour. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: California Mosaic by the Junior League of Pasadena,
California, 2008. Cookbook is available from

Mary Ann also recommended Lemon Herb Dressing from
the June Ladies Home Journal. Because both of us cook smaller
amounts of everything, I made a full recipe and refrigerated the
leftovers to use on other vegetables. When grilling outdoors my
mixture includes whole button mushrooms, asparagus stalks,
chunks of red and green bell peppers, chunks of zucchini and a
thick slice of red onion separated into rings. Cauliflower florets
and chunks of carrot are other possibilities.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Whisk together until well blended. Refrigerate leftovers.
Source: Ladies Home Journal, June 2012. Download PDF of Memo #2277

Mary’s Memo #2278


In 1946, researchers suggested that vitamin C might lower
high blood pressure. Small clinical trials conducted since then
produced conflicting results. Finally, a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials has determined that supplementation with a median dose of 500 mg vitamin C for about 8 weeks lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants with and without hypertension (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2012). Variations in the trials’ designs and their generally short length (as little as two weeks) led researchers to recommend a longer, well controlled trial to verify these results. If the findings can be reproduced, vitamin C supplements would be an inexpensive way to lower high blood pressure. Source: DukeMedicine HealthNews, July 2012. 

Are you aware of the shelf life of soft drinks? It’s shorter than you might think. I found out, not only on the internet but by calling the Snapple® toll-free number (1-800-762-7753). Because most of the time water is my beverage of choice, I found myself with unopened Peach Snapple® that was over a year old (shelf life is one year). What if I drank it anyway? Snapple® representative said flavor would be affected after expiration date and it could act like a laxative. The only reason I have any soda on hand is because I like an occasional root beer float. Here’s the scoop on A&W® taken from the internet: All diet products have a shelf life of 13 weeks; sweetened products 39 weeks and A&W® in plastic bottles 13 weeks. I had most of a case of sweetened A&W® that was over a year old and it was also discarded. So from now on when I want Peach Snapple® or a root beer float, I’ll buy single cans or bottles, not a case! Finally, there is a best used by date between the cap and the label on Snapple®.

Question: How do you pickle cooked fresh beets?
Answer: Cut 1/2 pound cleaned and boiled red beets
into 1/4-inch slices. Combine 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup sugar
and 3/4 teaspoon salt on a saucepan; bring to a boil.
Add beets and cover. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Remove
from heat; cover and chill. Recipe makes 2 servings.
Source: The Southern Heritage Vegetables Cookbook.
A good cook is always learning so I appreciate information
shoppers share when I’m working at the Bryan Chief. When I
served Chilled Marinated Asparagus, someone asked what kind
of soy sauce I used. The lady was gluten-intolerant and she said
she can have La Choy® soy sauce that is gluten-free while Kikkoman’s
® is not. I had not compared labels and was not aware of
this. In the future I will be sure it’s La Choy®.

When choosing salad dressings at the supermarket, look for a dressing that is either vegetable-oil based or replaces saturated
fat sources such as cream, whole milk or cheese with lowfat
yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese. If the label says ‘light’ or
‘low-fat,’ check the sodium content; more salt is often added to
these dressings to compensate for the reduction in fat. Aim to
keep sodium to 200 milligrams or below per serving.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection,
If you think you’re medication is causing you to gain
weight, talk to your doctor. Many commonly used drugs can
cause weight gain, including some used for depression, diabetes,
hypertension, epilepsy and certain psychiatric disorders.
Your doctor may be able to adjust your dose or prescribe an
alternate drug. Don’t stop or reduce the dose on your own.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, July

Chilled Marinated Asparagus was really popular with Bryan
Chief tasters earlier this summer. The original recipe came from The first day I served the recipe as printed but
second day reduced the oil in half, and also cut the amount of
chopped pecans in half. Avoid using skinny asparagus. Instead,
look for stalks that are just less than 1/2-inch wide so they’ll
blanch uniformally. A couple shoppers took the asparagus to
functions that weekend and everyone wanted the recipe….
always a good sign.


2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup canola oil 
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

 In saucepan, combine brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, lemon
juice and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer,
uncovered, for 5 minutes. Refrigerate until cool. Meanwhile, in
a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus.
Reduce heat; cover and simmer 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Don’t overcook. Drain and rinse in cold water (I used a tray of
ice cubes to chill even faster). Place asparagus in a large plastic
bag; add marinade. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for
2 hours or overnight; turning occasionally. Drain and discard
marinade. Arrange asparagus on a serving plate and sprinkle
with toasted pecans. Recipe serves 8.
Source: Adapted from recipe, the world’s favorite
recipe site.
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Pimento Cheeseburgers

I recently returned from a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and pimento cheese was EVERYWHERE! Pimento cheese with flatbread, pimento cheese & fried green tomato sandwiches, pimento cheese deviled eggs, pimento cheese grits... and so on. Considering I was born & raised in the good ole' Midwest, I didn't really have a clue what pimento cheese was. After some research (err... a short conversation with Siri on my iPhone), I learned it's pretty much a staple in the South. Pimento cheese is a dip/spread made with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos (the little red bits inside green olives), and various seasonings.     While I didn't partake in any pimento cheese while on vacation, as soon as I saw this recipe for Pimento Cheeseburgers, I knew it would be a winner. (And maybe it would make me feel like I was on vacation again, heh.)  

  Pimento Cheeseburgers are a twist on the classic hamburger - ground sirloin patties topped with tangy pimento cheese, which becomes the perfect topping as it melts on the grill. The cheese is jam-packed with flavor, and it gets bubbly on the grill, so it's the only condiment you need! First, start with the pimento cheese. Combine fresh grated cheddar cheese, a little bit of mayo, diced pimentos, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  

  Mix it all up really well, and set aside.   [caption id="attachment_837" align="aligncenter" width="309"] Try to avoid attacking it with crackers (or a spoon) because then you won't have enough for the burgers. Not that I have experience with this. Better yet, double the cheese recipe, and then you don't have to worry about it. ;)[/caption]   Once the cheese is done, make the burgers. Ground sirloin, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  

  Form the mixture into four patties, making an indentation in the center of each one. This helps the burgers to maintain a flat, circular shape while on the grill.  

  Grill the burgers as you usually would, and add a couple tablespoons-ful of the pimento cheese to each burger during the last couple minutes of cooking.  

  Once the burgers are done, remove them from the grill and let rest a few minutes so all the juices can settle. Serve them up on toasted hamburger buns and you have one heck of a meal! We have already had these burgers twice in two weeks, which is pretty much unheard of in this household. (I enjoy cooking too much to repeat meals, unless they are that good.)     If you'd like to sample these burgers (along with some other blog recipes), make sure to stop by Rays Market on South Cable Road (near LCC) here in Lima on Wednesday, August 8. I will be in the store from 10am - 12pm, preparing recipes and handing out samples. There will also be a Crazy 8 sale and the Ohio Grocers Association Best Bagger Contest, so lots of fun for everyone! ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pimento Cheeseburgers

Servings/Yield: 4 burgers
  • For the pimento cheese topping
    • 4-oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light is fine)
    • 1 tablespoon diced pimentos
    • 1 tablespoon grated onion
    • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • salt & pepper, to taste
  • For the burgers
    • lbs. ground sirloin
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • teaspoons salt
    • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • To serve
    • burger buns
    • lettuce
Method Heat a grill to medium-high. To make the pimento cheese, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, onion, and Worcestershire in a bowl; stir until completely combined. Set aside. To make the burger patties, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Gently knead together, being careful not to overwork. Form into four equal patties, indenting slightly in the center. Grill the burgers, turning once, until done to your liking. A couple of minutes before the burgers are finished cooking, add 2 tablespoons of the pimento cheese mixture and finish cooking so that the cheese melts on top. Remove from the grill and let rest about 5 minutes. Serve on toasted burger buns and top with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy! Source: Annie's Eats