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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

MaryAnn Loves Pickles

MaryAnn and I have been friends since 7th grade and can still stand each other, if you can believe that.  I don’t know how anyone can stand me after all those years, but MaryAnn just grows more loveable as the years pass.

There’s one thing about MaryAnn that I wish I could change, because it would make us that much more compatible.  She’s not a sweets person.  She likes candies, cookies, cakes, pies, but in limited quantities.  For example, you’ll never know MaryAnn to eat a half pound of cream filled chocolates in one sitting, unlike me, who can go through two pounds of the same.  MaryAnn has a salty tooth, and her favorite salty thing is pickles.  She loves pickles.  She makes pickles.  At the MN State Fair she spends money to eat a giant pickle on a stick.

That said, I finally got the opportunity to celebrate MaryAnn’s birthday with her, months after the facts.  As a change of pace, instead of taking her out to lunch I invited her to my house for an afternoon of girl time.  I prepared snacks, sandwiches, and also served the birthday girl some much wine.

But who has a birthday without a birthday cake?  MaryAnn loves salty more than sweet.  MaryAnn wants pickles.  Thanks to Google I found a recipe for pickle cupcakes.  Yes, there is such a thing, and for my good friend of many years I would make those pickle cupcakes just for her.  Not only that, I would make those pickle cupcakes with the pickles she made!

It was mostly for a joke.  After all, who ever heard of pickle cupcakes?  How good could they be?  How bad would they be.  As MaryAnn is a gracious guest she hesitantly approached the culinary experiment I presented, just for her, in honor of her.  She’s a good friend.

As you know you must sniff all questionable food before you eat it…

And then, taste…

OK, it looks like she’s ready to barf there, but she didn’t.  Even I, who thought pickle cupcakes would be truly barf-worthy, thought they were actually pretty good.  The combination of pickle batter and a cream cheese frosting was actually…good.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of MaryAnn’s delighted face when she tasted the special treat I made for her.  Trust me, she didn’t barf.

If you’d like to try these unusual cupcakes, visit Delish.  Despite my not being paid to promote the website, I recommend it for many wonderful recipes.  An absolute go-to if you’re searching for all things delicious.

Happy Birthday, MaryAnn.  May there be many more pickles in your future!

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Sweet Baby Weenies*

Oh what a wonderful Christmas I had.  I hope everyone else did too.  Even though the initial flurry of Christmas is over, I like to bask in the glow of the Christmas tree until the Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas) and reflect on the wonderful cheer that was spread in my little world.

One of the traditions in my family is that every household hosts “Christmas Cheer.”  These little gatherings are an opportunity for everyone in the family to get together to celebrate the season and to see how each household has decorated for the holiday season.  This year there was a newcomer to the mix.  My nephew Paenney has recently moved out of his parents’ house and into one of his own.  What a lovely surprise to get an invitation to his house for some holiday cheer!  He requested a heavy appetizer from the guests in attendance.  Pot luck is always a hit.

I brought some mini reuben appetizers, my mom made queso, my dad made a salami torte, Charlotte made pickle dogs and Mexican roll-ups.

Mexican roll-ups, salami torte, crackers, and pickle dogs. Yum!

 

Queso and chips, mini reubens with rye bread, and the coup de grace…

It was a wonderful variety of food, but the coup de grace was Paenney’s appetizer…

Sweet Baby Weenies.

Sweet, sweet baby weenies.

What could be better than mini hotdogs smothered in a sweet barbecue sauce?  Nothing fancy, everything delicious.  Paenney prepared a whole crockpot full of these delicacies and luckily had enough left over to feed himself for lunch at work the next day.

I salute Paenney for taking on a Christmas Cheer gathering for his family so soon after getting his own residence.  I also salute Paenney’s roommate for putting up with the likes of us for an afternoon.  Paenney also decorated his house to welcome Santa with a tree and plenty of other wonderful decorations throughout the house.

It’s hard to believe my little nephew is on his own, but I’m delighted to see he holds onto the traditions of our family, hosting a Christmas Cheer, and serving his guests the ever popular Sweet Baby Weenies.

Thanks Paenney!

*This is what Paenney calls this delectable treat.  He loves them nearly more than life itself.

It’s not too late to serve the Sweet Baby Weenies – New Year’s Eve will be upon us soon.  Weenies are the perfect way to ring in the New Year!

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MaryAnn’s Pickles

There’s something about someone else’s cooking. Or handiwork. Or home decorating. It doesn’t really matter what it is, if someone else can do something well and you can’t do it at all you appreciate that thing so much more.

Husby made a delicious meat-thing* dinner, and what goes better with hamburger than pickles? And what better pickles are there than MaryAnn’s? She knows how to make pickles and I totally don’t, which makes me appreciate hers that much more. When I take a bite out of these crunchy wonders I know MaryAnn is the most talented cucumber pickling artist since Mr. Gedney.

Look at that savory clove of garlic at the bottom of the jar.  Yum!!!

I could probably learn how to make pickles, but why should I with MaryAnn around? Whenever she offers me a jar of these dilly delights I welcome them with open arms and a watering mouth.  As far as I’m concerned she’s the Pickle Queen and always will be.

Thanks, MaryAnn – keep ’em coming!

* Meat-Thing = a bachelor term used by Husby and Pinky (Husby’s former roommate and my now brother-in-law) for seasoned hamburger spread on a piece of bread, broiled in the oven; served open-faced.

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Harriet’s Drag-The-Lake Chili

It was the 4th of July weekend many years ago when my family arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and were welcomed by the chaos of police everywhere.  Earlier that day the neighbor guy was in his boat on the lake, fell out of his boat, and was unable to get back into the boat.  He was also unable to keep his head above water.

The weather was unseasonably cold that 4th of July weekend and the police and divers were chilled to the bone, so what does Grandma Harriet do?  She whips up a potful of chili.

It’s an easy chili to “whip up,” and because this steaming bowl of goodness is associated with that dreadful day at the lake we named the dish Harriet’s Drag-The-Lake Chili.  It seems sort of morbid, but the recipe is made with ingredients you can have in the pantry in case of an emergency feeding situation, morbid or not.  You don’t have to call it by the name its known by in my family, but you might want to make it.

1 pound hamburger, browned and drained (I add a small chopped onion to this)
1 can chili starter (Bush’s Chili Magic is perfect)
1 can tomato soup
2 cans spaghetti
1 spaghetti can of water
2 tablespoons chili powder.

Mix it all up and simmer for 20 minutes.

Husby and I recently had some on a cold winter day with a piece of warm cornbread on the side.  It really hit the spot, reminded me of Grandma Harriet, and there doesn’t need to be a bunch of officials dragging the lake to make it.

Easy and delicious, drowning neighbor not required.

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Cherry Poutons

Once upon a time I knew a woman who used to love hearing me describe the food I made.  When I would have company I would describe the meals in detail she said it made her mouth water just hearing about it.  I was under the impression she was one of those women who didn’t have much time to cook, what with kids and all their after-school activities and whatnot.  Seriously, her kids were involved in sports and music and any other kind of activity that would keep them occupied nonstop.  I felt kind of sorry for them, the kids, as it didn’t seem like they had any time to just play or hang out, much less eat some decent food.

I remember one year she told me about how she took some time with her youngest child who might have been about ten or twelve years old.  They made some Christmas cookies together.  She was surprised when her son told her that was the best thing about Christmas that year, making cookies.

Tonight I made a batch of cookies that took but an hour to mix, bake, drizzle, and clean up, doing the dishes by hand.  There is no reason to not make cookies, especially at Christmas time.  If you’ve got kids they can join in with the fun.  Or at least lick the bowl.  It takes no time at all.

I never had kids, but I do have Husby.  He stays clear of the kitchen when I’m doing my Christmas baking, but is always available to sample what I’ve made and loves the sweet morsels right out of the oven.  Tonight’s cookies were new.  When he looked at them he announced, “Cherry Poutons!”  The name was a spontaneous labeling of what he saw, no matter that it didn’t mean anything.  Except for the cherry part.  There were actually cherries involved, but neither of us knows where the “pouton” came from.  I don’t even know what the cookies are titled on the recipe, but forever more they’ll be referred to as Cherry Poutons.

Christmas baking makes memories.  Like the boy who will always remember that time he made cookies with his mom.  Like a new favorite that will be known as Cherry Poutons.  I hope the tradition of baking Christmas cookies never dies and that none of us are ever too busy to treat ourselves to the sweetness that comes with the season.

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