Mary’s Memo – February 15th


Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea that is whisked into hot water or milk. This antioxidant-rich green tea may soon show up in coffee houses including Starbucks. It may become the Nespresso of 2016. Sharp recently introduced
an Instant Matcha Maker.


Walnuts are considered a superfood, and particularly good for the brain because they contain a wide variety of nutrients that benefit the brain. About 7 walnuts a day is enough to make a difference in your mental functioning. Recent research shows that people who regularly eat walnuts score consistently higher on memory tests, comprehension and information-processing speed than those who eat few or no walnuts. All varieties of nuts contain nutrients, but walnuts contain more brain-healthy antioxidants, vitamin E and folic acid than other nuts, and are the only nut that contains a significant amount of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic (ALA). Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improved brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to change throughout life), better learning and memory, and lower risk of mental disorders, such as depression and dementia. Other nutritional benefits of walnuts include protein, polyphenols (antioxidants), B6, arginine (an amino acid involved in protein synthesis and cell division), melatonin and minerals such as copper, manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Recommended consumption per day is about an ounce-and-a-half a day.
Source: Duke Medicine HealthNews, February 2016.


Eating everything in moderation has long been popular wisdom, though without much scientific evidence to support it. Now a new study has put that dictum to the test. Greater diversity was not associated with better outcomes as measured by waist circumference and risk of type 2 diabetes, and people eating “everything in moderation” were more likely to add inches around the middle. The problem with this traditional advice may be that people apply it equally to healthy and unhealthy foods. Eating a more diverse diet means consuming a greater variety of fruits and vegetables but also sugary sodas, cookies, potato chips and cupcakes. Even “in moderation,” such choices contribute to intake of trans fats, sugar, sodium, starch and refined carbohydrates, outweighing the benefits of healthy foods. “Americans with the healthiest diets actually eat a relatively small range of healthy foods,” says Dariush Mozafarian, MD, DrPH, senior author of the study and dean of Tufts Friedman School, as well as editor-in-chief of the Tufts Diet & Nutrition Letter. “These results suggest that in modern diets, eating ‘everything in moderation’ is actually worse than eating a smaller number of healthy foods.” It still makes sense to eat a “rainbow” of different colored fruits and vegetables, to ensure that you’re getting a full range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. But don’t worry too much if your choices among the healthy “rainbow” are limited to your tastes and budget. There’s nothing wrong with eating broccoli or blueberries several times a week and skipping Brussels sprouts and kiwi fruit if that’s what you prefer. Finding a few healthy favorites and sticking with them is better than branching out to eat “everything” if that means consuming a ”moderate” amount of donuts, chips, fries and double cheeseburgers.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2016.


Salmon patties are a good choice and I’m partial to the recipe in my cookbook. If you need fewer than 8 patties, they do freeze well. Although I prefer red sockeye salmon, pink salmon is cheaper and works. Dill weed, one of the seasonings, is also a plus


• 2 cups soft bread crumbs (easy to do in a food processor, pulsing on and off)
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 1/2 cup minced scallions including tops
• 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 14 3/4-ounce can red sockeye salmon, drained
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil or Canola oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs with eggs, onion, dill weed, lemon juice and pepper; mix well. Add salmon, breaking fish into small pieces and removing any bones. Shape salmon into 8 patties, each about 1/2-inch thick. In large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add salmon patties and cook until golden on both sides and hot throughout. Serve with cocktail or tartar sauce on the side. Recipe makes 4 2-patty servings.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – February 8th


Mother made pie crust with Crisco. Daughter Mary Ann uses lard and butter. But in my opinion lard makes the flakiest crust. Salt enhances the flavor and use 1 teaspoon per double crusted pie. When I was a county extension agent in Indiana at a Purdue 4-H Club Roundup, I watched the national cherry pie champion use cold milk instead of ice water in her pie crust and I’ve used it ever since in mine. It gives the crust a more golden color when baked. Finally, I could not get along without a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover and Mother also used one when they became available. I use the set when I make rolled cookie dough and bread. Practice makes perfect when it comes to making pie crust. If you’re still intimidated by the thought of making your own, Pillsbury’s refrigerated crust is the way to go. Having cut many a pie at church dinners, some pie bakers would be better off using one of these!


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup fresh lard
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup chilled milk (whatever kind that you use)

In a food processor or electric mixer with dough hook, Pulse on and off to make coarse crumbs. Add milk gradually until dough clings together in a ball. Divide dough into 4 parts. If not using immediately, form each ball into a round flat disk and store in freezer bag until needed. Recipe makes 2 double crusts.


There’s good news at your local supermarket. “You should walk into a supermarket with a very positive attitude,: says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory and executive editor of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “The availability of healthy and affordable foods has greatly expanded in recent years. A smart strategy of “hunting and gathering,” Lichtenstein says, can fill your cart with nutritious, budget friendly items that can be turned into healthy meals with a minimum of fuss. Making a list and sticking to it is the first step in nutrition-wise “foraging.” It insures that you’ll buy only what you really need for meals and helps you reduce waste and avoid impulse purchase. Even canned-goods aisles contain healthy choices, especially if you choose foods like canned beans. They're an excellent choice and a protein alternative to meat, as well as convenient. Tomatoes are another wise canned choice, Lichtenstein notes, “Sometimes canned tomatoes are more flavorful than fresh because they are processed at the peak of ripeness. Canned tomatoes may also include varieties that are more flavorful but that don’t ship well as whole, fresh tomatoes.” The lycopene in canned tomatoes and tomato sauces is more accessible than in fresh, uncooked tomatoes. Reduced-sodium soups have become more widely available, too, improving options in a section of the supermarket that was once a sodium-laden disaster zone.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2016.


For a snack, daughter-in-law Kelly Thaman brought Cracker Toffee to the Thaman Christmas dinner. She got the recipe from one of the ladies with whom she works at school. You’ll need a 13x18-half sheet pan or one close to this size to make the toffee


• 1 1/2 packages saltine crackers (or as many as you can fit into the pan in one layer)
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
• Chopped pecans, walnuts or any other kind of nut would be good but they are optional

Line pan with parchment paper sprayed with a little Pam. Bring to a boil the butter and sugar and boil for 2 to 3 minutes (browned and bubbly when the sugar is melted). Pour mixture over the crackers (don’t worry if all the crackers are not covered because mixture will spread as it bakes) and bake in preheated 3500F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully pull out of oven because the liquid at this point will be very hot and will burn you badly if spilled. Let set for 3 to 4 minutes and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let set for a few minutes until they melt and then spread with a spatula until covered. Sprinkle with nuts if you like. Cool 20 minutes and then store in the refrigerator to harden up. When cooled and hardened, break into pieces.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – February 1st


Onions and garlic, two members of the allium family of vegetables, add unmistakable flavors to foods, but they also provide your body with natural chemicals called phytonutrients that are linked with many health benefits. “Alliums contain substances that, when broken down by chopping, crushing or mincing , are exposed to each other, creating a compound called allicin. Some studies have found that allicin may act as an antioxidant; consuming allicin has been linked to lower blood pressure, improved blood flow and prevention of plaque build-up in the arteries,” explains Rissa Landman, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

The allium family include cultivated, edible bulbs and their leaves, such as leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, scallions and chives, as well as varieties that grow wild such as ramps (wild leeks). If allium plants are allowed to flower, they produce edible shoots and flowers, such as garlic scapes and purple chive flowers. Onions and shallots contain phenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Consuming flavonoids is associated with decreased risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. However, not all onions are created equal, according to Landman. “Sweet onions have been bred to please our palates; however, they have lost some of their powerful antioxidant compounds in the process,” she explains. In general, the less sharp the flavor (think yellow onions and shallots), the higher the phytonutrient content. While sweet onion may be more palatable if you are serving them raw, Landman suggests using yellow onions or shallots when cooking. “The process of cooking and caramelization will bring out the onions’ natural sweetness, and you will maximize your intake of beneficial compounds, she says. To get more allium vegetables into your diet, snip fresh scallions or chives over salads, dips and pasta dishes, start soups and stews with diced, sautéed onions and include leeks in potato-based dishes; leeks in potato dishes; leek and potato soup is a classic example of a delicious way to get phytonutrients that allium vegetables provide. And one final suggestion: “To reap the most benefits from your alliums, they should be allowed to sit for at least 10 minutes after chopping, slicing or mincing to allow allicin compound to become stable before heating,” advises Landman.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, February 2016.


According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, Researchers from John Hopkins University analyzed health records of nearly 164,000 children ages 3 to 18 and found that those who had taken antibiotics at least seven times by age15, gained, on average, an extra three pounds. That’s not much, but researchers suggested that the cumulative effect may continue into adulthood. The connection to weight gain is biologically plausible, since antibiotics kill harmful bacteria but also other species that are vital to gastrointestinal health and that may affect nutrient and calorie absorptions as well as appetite. Antibiotics are essential, even life-saving, treatments for bacterial infections, but too often they’re prescribed for colds and other viral infections that cannot possibly be helped by the drugs.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2016.


I look forward to receiving Annie Watts Cloncs Christmas letter because in addition to information about their family as well as a recipe and words of wisdom. In her 2015 letter, Annie shared her version of guacamole following a trip to Central Mexico 15 years ago. Two secrets, she says for great guacamole is a ripe (but not TOO soft) Hass avocado and mashing with a fork for a chunky texture.


• 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
• 2 TB finely chopped sweet onion, optional
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

In small bowl, coarsely mash avocado with a fork; stir in onion, garlic powder and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Variations:
-Add 1/4 cup diced tomatoes.
-Add finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chiles, or a dash of hot sauce to taste.

Recipe makes 3/4 cup.

Annie’s words of wisdom:
Good friends are like quilts... they age with you, and yet never lose their warmth. Take good care of them!

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – January 25th


It’s unusual for me to not get a cookbook for Christmas but it happened in 2015. That said, I took it upon myself to buy Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentis, published in 2015 by Pam Krauss Books, a division of Penguin Random House. The regular price of the cookbook is $35.00 but my copy came from at a reduced price. Giada and Ina Garten are my favorites on the Food Network. In Happy Cooking, she shares how she strikes a balance in order to maintain her vibrant good health and make cooking and eating well an everyday ritual. In Happy Cooking, she provides a road map to year-round good eating, all while making your time in the kitchen feel more rewarding and stress free. Filled with nearly 200 recipes including for breakfast Oatmeal with Olive Oil and Oranges, a container of Lentil Salad Nicosia for lunch, Salmon with Seasonless Succotash for dinner and a rich Peanut Butter Expresso Brownie for dessert, Happy Cooking is Giada’s guide to cooking up a happy life!


The last weekend in January is a reminder of the blizzard that hit our area in 1998. Even though we were warned of its coming, most people were unprepared for what followed. Ever since then, nothing is better for supermarket sales than a pending snow storm warning. Fortunately we had power in our area. My Aunt Marion who lived along the shores of Lake Erie didn’t. She had to cook in her wood-burning fireplace. Although I have gas logs now, I can cook on my outdoor grill. I just have to be sure there is an adequate supply of propane available.


Dietary supplements lead to an estimated 23,000 visits U.S. emergency rooms and more and 2.100 hospitalizations every year, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Federal officials analyzed nationally representative data from 63 emergency departments over a decade. Nearly 30 percent of the visits involved young adults ages 20 to 34, and 20 percent unsupervised children. Supplements containing herbs and other “complementary” compounds accounted for two-thirds of the visits; vitamins and minerals and other nutrients, the other one-third, Supplements marketed for weight loss and energy boosting were the most common culprits, often causing cardiac symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain and fast heartbeat.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2016.


On the most basic level, good dental health depends largely on manual labor - that is, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, helped along by tooth-protecting fluoride and periodic professional checkups and cleanings. A healthy diet and lifestyle (particularly the avoidance of tobacco) play big rolls in oral health, too, as do genetic factors, but nothing can take the place of daily cleanings
SOURCE: University of California at Berkeley Special Issue Winter Issue.


You are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables but occasionally it’s okay to indulge yourself and Betty Crocker suggests doing it with her Triple Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake. Be sure you use Betty Crocker cake mix.


• 1 Betty Crocker SuperMoist devil’s food cake mix
• 2/3 cup butter, melted
• 3 eggs
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened caking cocoa
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• Whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 3500F. Grease 13x9-inch (3-quart baking dish) with butter or cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cake mix and ½ cup of the melted butter., 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Press in bottom of baking dish. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 2 eggs and baking cocoa; beat until smooth. On low speed, add powdered sugar in two additions. Add remaining ¼ cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in pan on top of cake mixture. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center appears set but still slightly jiggles when shaken. Cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream. Source: Betty Crocker recipe.


While Nacho Cheese Doritos deliver a quick burst of flavor, their taste is deliberately ambiguous. Food scientists note this sidesteps “sensory specific satiety,” fooling the brain into eating more. Someone gave me a bag as part of a Christmas present and that explains why I couldn’t stop eating them once the bag was open!

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – January 18th


In my Christmas stocking from daughter Mary Ann was a 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis (www.; October 2015; softback/$24.95) stands out as a real comfort food cookbook. The author’s Classic Grilled Two Cheese sandwich is a perfect choice when paired with creamy tomato soup in the wintertime! You’ll need a panini grill or a large skillet to make the recipe.


• 8 slices white or whole-grain bread
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
• 4-ounces Muenster cheese, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Brush one side of each bread slice with butter. Place on work surface, buttered side down. Top 4 bread slices equally with Muenster and Cheddar cheeses. Cover with remaining bread slices, buttered side up, and press gently. Place sandwiches on preheated panini grill or in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once if using a skillet, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 sandwiches. Source: 125 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches www.robertrose. ca

Alison Lewis is a nationally known recipe developer, television and social media food spokesperson and consultant,. mom food blogger, food educator, food photographer/ stylist and nutritionist and is president of Ingredients, Inc., a food consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama.


You’ve heard the term “highly processed” to food, probably in contexts suggesting that this is an unhealthy attribute. But what does this term mean, how many foods fall into this category, and why are they often frowned upon? Food processing is any procedure that alters food from its natural state, such as heating, freezing, milling, mixing and adding flavorings. Cooking and preparing raw ingredients at home is also processing them, but "processed" is almost always reserved for commercial foods, usually packaged. Of course, food processing can be a good thing... It helps "insure a safe, diverse, abundant and accessible food supply," according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But many experts believe excessive consumption of highly processed foods leads to poor diets and (and high obesity rates). That may be especially true of ready-to-eat foods, which can be consumed quickly and easily. To test this notion, the new study looked at purchases of packaged foods and beverages from more than 150,000 households and analyzed them in terms of their processing and nutritional quality. The of daily calories; Moderately processed foods and those processed for basic preservation accounted for another 30 percent of calories; Unprocessed or minimally processed foods accounted for only 7 percent of total calories. Unsurprisingly, the study found that highly processed supply not only most of our calories but also a disproportionate share of sugar, sodium and saturated fat that we eat. What’s to be done? Food companies sometimes try to develop highly foods that are healthier, though they haven’t has a good track record with this , and consumer often don’t like the results.. The alternative: Buy more whole of minimally processed foods and do the “processing” yourself. It’s called home cooking.

Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2016.


Via the internet, I subscribe to recipes. Many of my friends do, also, including daughter Mary Ann.. A 12/11/15 recipe that was appealing to me was Stovetop-Braised Carrots and Parsnips. Usually I do such combinations in the oven.


• 1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved if more than 1/2- inch thick
• 1 pound parsnips, peeled, trimmed and halved if more than 1/2-inch thick
• 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin oil or an equal amount of each
• Iodized salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Chopped fresh parsley, dill or basil for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and garnish in a skillet with a cover; add water. Bring to a boil, then cover and adjust heat so mixture simmers gently. Cook until vegetables are tender and liquid is almost gone, about a half hour. Check every few minutes and add more water if necessary. Uncover and boil off remaining liquid if necessary, then taste and adjus seasoning, adding lemon juice as needed. Garnish and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 4 servings. Source: Adapted from New York Times recipe.

Note: We live in what is known as the goiter belt. Processed foods are lacking in iodized salt so it is important to buy it when shopping.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – January 11th


In my Christmas stocking from daughter Mary Ann was a rolled up copy of Better Homes & Gardens Slow Cooker magazine cookbook. I can recall when a hardback cookbook cost less! As a result, I rebel against paying $9.99 for one. We’re including two slow cooker recipes. The first being French-Fried Onion Dip and the second Supreme Pizza Fondue.


• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Lemon Cake Mix
• 16-ounce carton sour cream
• 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, cubed
• 2/3 cup Hellmann’s Light mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 2-8 ounce can French-fried onions, divided
• Rye or pumpernickel toasts

In a 1 1/2 or 2-quart slow cooker combine first 6 ingredients (through flour). Reserve 2 tablespoons of the French-fried onions for topping. Stir the remaining onions into cheese mixture. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, whisk until smooth, adding milk if needed to reach the right consistency Serve immediately or keep warm, covered, or on low up to 2 hours. Serve with toasts. Recipe makes 26 servings.


• 4 ounces bulk pork sausage
• 4 ounces ground chuck
• 1/4 cup chopped red onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 24 to 32-ounce jar marinara sauce
• 1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
• 1 teaspoon basil or oregano
• 1/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
• Toasted focaccia

In medium skillet cook the first 4 ingredients (through garlic) over medium high heat until meat is browned. Drain off fat. In 1 1/2 to 2-quart slow cooker combine meat mixture and the next 5 ingredients (through basil). Cook and cover on low for 3 hours. Stir in sweet pepper. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes more. Serve with focaccia. Recipe makes 16 (1/4 cup) servings.


With the holiday season behind us, every publication I know of focuses on healthy food choices. Hopefully, you are doing the same.


Q: I can’t find light molasses. Do I use less dark molasses in my molasses cookie recipe?
A: No, use the same amount.

Q: What’s the difference between a shallot and a scallion?
A: A shallot is milder than a scallion (or green onion).


The nutritional differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk is small; goats milk has a little more calcium, protein, fat and potassium but a little less of some other nutrients. Children who are allergic to cow’s milk are also likely to be allergic to goat’s milk. Moreover, goat’s milk contains nearly as much lactose (milk sugar) as cow’s milk, so if you’re lactose intolerant, it is not the answer. Make sure any milk you drink is pasteurized [goat’s milk often is not.)
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, January 2016.


Eating processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunchmeat and hot dogs may cause colorectal cancer, says a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) published on October 26, 2915 in The Lancet Oncology. The report, based on a review of 800 studies, also found that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb, mutton, goat) may raise the risk of the disease. The WHO recommended reduced intakes of processed foods after finding that , for every 50 grams (1.8-ounces) of processed meats consumed daily , the risk of colorectal cancer may increase by 18 percent. Fifty grams is the equivalent of two slices of bacon) The evidence associating red meat and cancer was not as strong, but still significant.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, January 2016.


• 2 cups mashed potatoes
• 3 large eggs, beaten
• 1 cup Parmesan or Swiss cheese, divided
• 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Sour cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 4000F and lightly grease the cups of a mini muffin tin. Whisk together the mashed potatoes, eggs and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato cups are are set, browned on the top and hot. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a knife to gently release them from the pan. Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired.
Source: Adapted from recipe.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – January 4th


When I’m doing my monthly demo at the Bryan Chief so many tasters ask if the recipe is in my cookbook. The first thing this tells me is that you were generous enough to purchase a cookbook but you haven’t made many of the recipes. None of this year’s best recipe are repeats starting with Three Ingredient Lemon Loaf that I took this to several parties last spring.


• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Lemon Cake Mix
• 1 5.3-ounce container Dannon Oikos Lemon Meringue Greek Yogurt
• 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 3500F. Spray 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper for easier removal. In large bowl, beat cake mix, yogurt and water 1 minute with electric mixer on low speed, then medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping side of bowl as necessary. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes (check at 45 minutes) or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes; run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen. Remove from pan to cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker internet recipe. Next best recipe of 2015 was Ruth Cochran’s Corn Salad, another one that I made several times for myself.


• 2 parts white grape juice, chilled
• 1 14.4-ounce package Birdseye frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
• 2 cups reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup Hellmann’s Light mayonnaise
• 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 1 10.5-ounce package coarsely crushed Fritos Chili Cheese Corn Chips
• McCormick California garlic salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together except Frito Chips. Just before serving, add chips or sprinkle on top of single portions.
Source: Adapted from Ruth Cochran’s recipe, Fishers, IN.

As memo readers know, anything with dill in it gets my attention. Niece, Jennifer shared Dill Pickle Soup that’s wonderful! Note that it’s best eaten the day it’s made.


• 5 1/2 cups Swanson’s Chicken Broth or Stock
• 1 3/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (5 to 6 medium)
• 2 cups chopped carrots (2 to 3 large ones)
• 1 cup chopped dill pickle (small dice – about 3 large whole dills)
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 cups pickle juice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt*
• 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil. In medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, into soup. This will also break up some of the potatoes which is fine. You might see some initial balls form, but between whisking and boiling all will disappear so don’t panic! Add pickle juice, Old Bay, pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 minutes more and remove from heat. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings. *All pickle juice is not created equal so taste before you add additional salt. Source: Adapted from recipe via Jennifer Trentadue Shinn, Wheeling, West Virginia

The next best recipe of 2015 is Swiss Chicken from the August 24th memo. I made major changes in the ingredient amounts and as a result, cut the calories.


• 1 teaspoon dry minced onion
• 4 skinned chicken breast halves with ribs attached
• 4 slices Our Family Swiss cheese slices
• 1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup, undiluted
• 3/4 cup Italian-flavored dry bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup butter, melted (half stick)

For easy clean-up put a liner in 5 to 6-quart slow cooker and extend over the rim. Arrange thawed chicken breasts (never frozen) in the bottom. Put a cheese slice on each breast. Spoon soup on top of each chicken piece and sprinkle buttered bread crumps over top (bread crumbs make a dressing for chicken) Cook on high for 1 hour; reduce heat to low and cook an additional 7 hours. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from A Day in Motherhood recipe at

PS: Any food that crunches is on my snack list and that includes Bugles that reached the age of 50 in 2015. I couldn’t resist buying a 14.5-ounce anniversary package in late December. Bag said better if used by October, 2015 but I have news for General Mills, once a bag of any crunchy snack is opened, “they’re a goner!”

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – December 28th


Although I receive review copies of many cookbooks throughout the year, there are ones that I buy because they are either best sellers or I’ve heard or read about them. They included during 2015 Mr. & Mrs. Sunday’s Suppers by Lorraine Wallace, Trisha’s Table by Trisha Yearwood, Brunch at Bobby’s by Bobby Flay, The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond and the Dairy Good Cookbook from America’s Dairy Farm Families. They may be available from at a reduced price.


If you expect guests on either day, you’ll need some ideas for what to serve. Regarding a beverage for adults, Chocolate Eggnog (also known as “the recipe” by our family and in my cookbook) is delicious. Ditto for White Grape Juice Punch that children and non-imbibers can enjoy. A thoughtful host and hostess provide both kinds.


• 3 cups dairy eggnog, chilled
• 1 cup chocolate milk made by mixing 1 tablespoon Hershey Dark Chocolate Syrup with whatever kind of milk that you have on hand
• 1/2 cup crème de cacao

In large pitcher, combine eggnog, chocolate milk and crème de cacao. Cover and chill. Recipe makes 10 ½-cup servings. I refer to the next recipe as Bryan Punch because I never had it until I came here to live. It’s essential that you make it with Canada Dry ginger ale. No other brand is acceptable because the taste will not be the same.


• 2 parts white grape juice, chilled
• 1 part Canada Dry ginger ale, chilled
Pour white grape juice into punch bowl. Slowly add Canada Dry ginger ale. Add ice ring made of additional white grape juice.

As for appetizers, Wonton Snacks can be made ahead. I have never seen this recipe in any other cookbook and that’s saying a lot considering how many cookbooks I have!


• 1 package won ton wrappers
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
• Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven 3750. Cut won ton wrappers in half. Brush with
butter and press buttered-side-down in Parmesan cheese. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in oven for 5 to 7 minutes (watch so they don’t burn). Cool on cake rack and store in covered container until served.

Another recipe that is always served as an appetizer at Thaman gatherings, no matter what time of year, is Zippy Beef Olive Spread. Hopefully you agree that it’s worth making! The very first time that I served it to our family was on a Super Bowl Sunday. Although I really don’t care about the game itself, I make the dip for old time’s sake every year.


• 1 teaspoon dry minced onion
• 1 tablespoon dry sherry (not cooking type)
• 8-ounce package cream cheese (can be reduced-fat)
• 2 tablespoons Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise
• 2 1/2-ounce jar dried beef, finely snipped
• 1/4 cup drained and sliced pimiento-stuffed olives

Soften dry minced onion in sherry. Blend with cream cheese and light mayonnaise. Stir in dried beef and sliced olives. Spread can also be made in food processor. Store in the refrigerator. When I was president of the Bryan Hospital Auxiliary from 1976 to 1978, it seemed like a logical time to publish a cookbook, and that we did, called Tasty Prescriptions. Artist Donna Burns did the clever illustrations. It was loose-leaf bound and published by what was then Century Press. In addition to members’favorites we had recipes from celebrities as well. My Ham and Cheese Custard Squares made in a jelly roll pan make 48 squares, a good amount for a party.


• Pastry for double crust 9-inch pie
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3/4 pound boiled ham, diced or chipped
• 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
• 2 whole large eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• 2 cups evaporated milk
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 3500. Line a 10x15-inch jellyroll pan with pastry, making fluted edge about 3/4th inches high. Sprinkle flour evenly over bottom of crust. Arrange meat and cheese over crust. Whisk eggs with a fork; add evaporated milk and seasonings. Pour over crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until filling is set. Cut into 48 squares and serve hot. Note: Recipe may be prepared ahead and baked when needed.
Source: Tasty Prescriptions Cookbook, 1978.

NEXT WEEK: Best Recipes of 2015

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – December 21st


This has to be the year of the spiralizer and I know of two cookbooks written on the subject. The latest is 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes by Marilyn Haugen and Jennifer Williams (, September 2015. Softcover/$19.95. Parsnip Spaghetti with Pine Nut Basil Pesto sounds like a good winter side dish and one to make on my meatless Monday.


• 3 parsnips, peeled and ends cut flat
• 1/4 cup cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, divided
• 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
• Kosher salt
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 cup packed fresh basil
• 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
• Freshly ground pepper

Using spiralizer, cut parsnips into thin strands. In large bowl, combine parsnips, 1 tablespoon oil. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing to coat. Set aside. In small food processor combine garlic, basil, pine nuts and the remaining lemon juice; process until smooth. With motor running, through the feed tube, gradually add the remaining oil, processing until combined. Add the pesto to the parsnip mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Recipe makes 4 servings. Author Jennifer Williams has spent the last decade cultivating her passions for food and health. Marilyn Haugen is a successful cookbook author and food blogger. Order 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes via or at your favorite book store.


I know people who are experts making homemade pumpkin rolls but it is too labor-intensive for me! Chief sells a commercially-made one called Dutch Country Pumpkin Roll that tastes wonderful and also freezes well that I have served to company the last two months. During this busy time, don’t hesitate to buy it. Container can also be recycled.


Many friends that graduated with me are no longer here but I do keep in touch with a few including Margaret Lines who lives in Sun City, AZ. Margaret majored in what was in earlier days called institution management but now Hotel Restaurant Management and Tourism. Like me, she’s still involved with food, even though she will be 90 next July. In a recent email she said she makes Pumpkin Cranberry Bread for friends at holiday time and she was gracious enough to share her recipe with us.


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour two 9x5-inch loaf pans. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl of mixer. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and orange juice. Add to flour mixture until wellblended. Fold in cranberries. Spoon into prepared loaf pans.Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack until completely cooled. Recipe makes 2 loaves.
Source: Margaret Lines, Sun City, AZ.


Who isn’t interested in something that can be made in 5 minutes during this busy week! Not only can the candy be made in 5 minutes, it has only five ingredients!


• 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces (2 cups)
• 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (1/2 of a 14 oz can)
• 1 tablespoon water
• 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In medium glass bowl, combine chocolate pieces, sweetened condensed milk and water. Microwave, uncovered, on 100% power for 1 minute, or until chocolate is smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in nuts. Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet into a 9x6-inch rectangle. Chill fudge about 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 1½-inch squares. Makes 24.


• 3 cups fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon Better than Chicken Bouillon
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 3 cups of whatever milk that you drink
• 2 tablespoons white wine or dry sherry

Combine mushrooms, onion and butter in a 2½-quart glass casserole. Cook in microwave on high, uncovered, for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms are just about tender, stirring once. Add flour, bouillon and pepper and mix well. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Microwave on high, uncovered, 7 to 8 minutes or until heated through. Recipe makes 4 to 5 servings.
Source: Revised recipe from Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It cookbook.

Merry Christmas to All!

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – December 14th


The Food Network has certainly encouraged cooks to be more adventuresome. And it isn’t unusual to see supermarket shoppers with recipes on their electronic devices shopping for ingredients, many of which they have never used before. They in particular will be interested in Simply Vietnamese Cooking, 135 Recipes, by Nanci McDermott (; September 2015, Softcover/$19.95). Bright, delicate and satisfying, the cuisine of Vietnam is phenomenal. Sour flavors are balanced by salty ones, while sweet notes are answered by heat from chiles. Nanci’s easy recipes will help you make an array of traditional dishes with widely available ingredients. And all feature that wonderful balance between fresh herbs and spices (except for the sweets and drinks). You’ll find speedy stir-fries, vibrant salads and soothing soups, as well as numerous recipes for cooking meat and seafood. You’ll soon be enjoying an array of authentic, classic recipes that really are fast enough to prepare during a busy work week. With extensive information on ingredients, substitutions and time-saving techniques, along with suggested menus, you’ll be cooking sumptuous Vietnamese in your home kitchen in no time.


Liking toasted bread, I was alarmed to hear on television recently that it could cause cancer. My “go to” person at Purdue about these matters is Dinah Dalder, MS, RD, CNSC, CD, Dietetics Program Manager, Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University. Upon checking, she had never heard of such a thing. That said, Dinah advised me to enjoy toasted bread.


Nuts are on the “hot” list of healthy foods due to several studies that have linked them with a range of health benefits. One study found that eating nuts is associated with a lower risk of some cancers and type 2 diabetes. Another study linked nut consumption with a longer life, and other research found that replacing a high carb snack with almonds helped reduce belly fat. “In addition, nuts are linked with heart health,” says Georgia Giannopoulos, RD, CDN, a senior dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. “Nuts are packed with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and eating unsaturated instead of saturated fats, and eating unsaturated fats has been linked with improved HDL cholesterol and decreased LDL cholesterol.” In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that eating one and-a-half ounces of most nuts daily will help lower your risk of heart disease. “Nuts are a rich source of fiber and protein, as well as several essential vitamins and minerals,” says Giannopoulos. “Nuts may satisfy your appetite more quickly and keep hunger pains at bay longer than if you eat processed snack foods, many of which are lacking in fiber and protein,” explains Giannopoulos. Snacking on nuts may help with weight loss efforts by curbing your hunger and preventing you from overeating. Replacing carbohydrates, such as bread or crackers, with nuts also can also help achieve better control of blood glucose levels of primary goal for more than 21 million Americans with diagnosed diabetes. And nuts are good sources of potassium and magnesium, minerals that lower blood cholesterol, are also found in nuts. Don’t go overboard. One serving of nuts is equal to one ounce or about one quarter cup or one handful, of nuts. Since nuts are calorie-dense as well as nutrient-dense, they should be eaten in moderation (one serving per day) as part of a well-balanced diet.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, December 2015.


Having a dinner party this month? My suggestion is Chicken and Mushroom Skillet in a Creamy Asiago and Mustard Sauce. I made a number of changes in the recipe including replacing button mushrooms with Baby Bellas, vermouth instead of white wine and evaporated milk for whipping cream. Eight boneless, skinless thighs can replace the four breast halves if you prefer.


• 2 TB oil or butter or one tablespoon of each
• 4 boneless skinless breast halves, pounded thin
• 8 ounce package of Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1/3 cup vermouth
• 1/2 cup chicken broth
• 1/2 cup evaporated milk
• 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup asiago cheese, shredded

Heat oil in heavy bottomed large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 6 minutes per side, before setting aside. Add mushrooms and onion and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Mix in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add vermouth and deglaze the pan. Add broth and evaporated milk, mix in mustards, season to taste with salt and pepper, add chicken, bring to a boil and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Mix in cheese and let it melt, remove from heat and enjoy! Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from www. recipe.

Download PDF