Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Ghoulish Goodies

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Here’s a couple haunting recipes from Ghoulish Goodies by Sharon Bowers.

Chocolate Spider Clusters

Chocolate candy with an arachnid vibe, these spidery clusters get their creepy appeal from gleaming red candy eyes. If you have time before the chocolate sets up, pull a few chow mein noodle legs upward in each cluster to wave around.

Makes about 2 dozen

1 6-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups chow mein noodles

1/4 cup red hots or red mini M&Ms

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

2. Melt the chocolate on top of a double-boiler or in a microwave, in 10-second bursts, stirring frequently and being careful not to overheat.

3. Stir in the chow mein noodles and drop by tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Press two red candies on one edge of each cluster to make eyes and lift a few chow mein legs up to give a spidery impression. Allow to cool and harden in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Screaming Red Punch with a Hand

Kids love the icy hand floating in the punch. Freeze a couple in case you break the fingers pulling off the glove. The trick is to use scissors and slit alongside each finger. You can not pull the glove off the ice hand as if you were pulling it off a real hand. If you find it too difficult, you can always put the hand in the punch with the glove still on.

Makes 24 servings

New rubber surgical or food service glove

2 quarts apple juice

2 quarts cranberry juice

2 liters ginger ale

1. Rinse the glove inside and out several times with cold water to make sure it doesn’t have any powder. Fill with water and tie the wrist tightly with a twist tie. Freeze solid.

2. Mix the juices and ginger ale ingredients in a large punch bowl. Peel the glove carefully off the hand and float it in the punch.

Find more wonderfully frightful recipes in Ghoulish Goodies.

For the Salad Days of Summer, a Couple of Our Favorites

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Try out a couple of summer salad recipes from our Eat, Drink & Be Chinaberry cookbook (sorry, out-of-print).

This makes enough for an army of hungry eaters or for a few days of yummy salad eating.
-Patti Pitcher; Seattle, Washington

1 lb flaggolet beans (the small greenish Italian bean-very yummy)
3 giant tomatoes, diced
2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
Small handful of each: basil, dill and oregano-mince
1-1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I use sheep feta-Valbreso)

Cook beans until deliciously tender. Add minced herbs, diced vegies and crumbled feta. Dress lightly with equal parts of:
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
One clove garlic, minced (or more if you love garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir and eat.

A perfect choice for a cold buffet; not peppery.
-Joan Barasovska; New Orleans, Louisiana

1 chicken, cooked, meat diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped green grapes (seedless)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 T lemon juice
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
Salt to taste
Chopped parsley to garnish

Cover chicken with water, bring to boil, skim foam, reduce heat, simmer one hour, remove from pot, cool, remove chicken from bones and skin, dice and place in large bowl.
Add celery, scallions, grapes.

Mix mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, curry, spices in a small bowl until smooth. Pour over salad, mix gently, refrigerate several hours.

Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book by Bob Sloan

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Techniques, Tips, Stories and More Than 100 Great Recipes

I’m hard-pressed to decide whether it’s the recipes or the humor that makes this book one that the Man-of-the-Family simply must have. Sloan’s wit will make any grill-fearing or even ”there’s nothing I don’t know about grills” guy want to hunker down in the easy chair and read the book cover to cover.

A must-have for any family prone to BBQ, Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book has recipes for appetizers, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, burgers/dogs/brats, pizzas…the list goes on and on. Add to that its funny musings and really helpful technical info, and the book lacks for nothing. Get it for Dad.

Review by Ann Ruethling

From the author, Bob Sloan:
If you’re like me, then Father’s Day is a chance to make a request for someone in your household to provide you with your favorite food. For me, that would be some barbecue. If you’re also like me, you don’t trust anyone else to smoke the ribs or brisket but yourself. So what’s a dad to do? Well, here’s a solution that’s worked for me–have your wife and/or kids throw together these Barbecue Pork Burgers for lunch. They’re not true, pure, unequivocally absolute barbecue, but they allowed my family to feel as if they were making something special for me–Dad–on my Day of Days. The burgers, in fact, do have that essential barbecue flavor, which is a perfect fix to hold me over until dinner. That’s when the ribs I have coated with my special dry rub the night before will be coming off the grill. Hey, I know it’s supposed to be My Special Day and everyone is supposed to be taking care of me, but I just can’t help myself. Anyway, there is no greater gift than my family eating together–especially when we’re getting our hands messy in unison eating barbecue. For great smoked barbecue recipes, check out Dad’s Awesome Grill Book.

An exclusive recipe for Chinaberry Customers from Bob Sloan:

Barbecued Pork Burger

This burger captures the spirit of an authentic down-home pulled-pork barbecue sandwich. Let the sauce soak into the bun and eat it with a fork. It will definitely give you a heady barbecue rush.

  • Burgers
    • 1 1/2 pound ground pork
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
    • 2 tablespoons favorite bottled barbecue sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 hamburger buns

Place the ground pork in a medium bowl. Add all the ingredients except the oil and gently mix together until just combined. Shape the meat into 4 burgers about 3/4 inch thick and 4 inches across, handling as little as possible. Make a 1/4-inch dimple in the center of each burger about the size of a half-dollar about the size of a half-dollar with the tips of your middle 3 fingers.
Place a skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat, and let it get very hot, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and spread it evenly over the pan. Arrange the burgers so they aren’t touching and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn and cook 4 to 5 minutes more, or until the meat is no longer pink inside (160 F).
Serve in hamburger buns topped with additional barbecue sauce.
For charcoal grilled burgers, make a medium-hot fire (see note page 14). Cook the burgers for 5 minutes. Turn and cook 4 to 5 minutes more.
For gas grilled burgers, preheat on high until grill is very hot, about 500 F. Cook the burgers for 5 minutes with the lid closed. Turn and cook 4 to 5 minutes more, again with the lid closed.
Makes 4 burgers

Feeding Your Green Baby

Saturday, April 11th, 2009


Feeding Your Green Baby

Feeding Your Green Baby

I found this article on the website. It was written by Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers from

If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint making organic baby food is a great way to go. Consider the green facts:

Organic- Organic fruits and vegetables are the best choice for making baby food. They are the most natural ingredients and organic foods drastically reduce harm to the environment.

Less waste - When you make your own baby food, there are no jars, labels or metal lids to dispose or to recycle.

No factory required - Just a little energy to steam foods and run a blender is all you need to make your baby’s meals! Did someone say near “zero” greenhouse gases?

Local - Your baby’s food does not need to trucked to you from a factory thousands of miles away. Instead you can simply buy organic produce from your local farm market and get started.

Healthy - Homemade baby food is safe and nutritious. Baby food jars are often lined with bisphenol-A, a controversial hormone disruptor that should be avoided. In addition, homemade baby food has no preservatives, additives or chemicals - it is pure and natural goodness.

Homemade baby food and healthy meals in less than 30 minutes per week:

To prepare: Wash, peel and cut fresh fruits or vegetables, then stove-top steam or microwave in less than 10 minutes. Create a very smooth texture with a blender of food processor. Add a little water if needed to reach pudding-like texture. Pour into baby food storage trays, cover and freeze overnight. Pop cubes out and store in freezer in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Frozen baby food cubes last up to 2 months.

To Serve: Select frozen baby food cubes from the freezer place in a dish and thaw or warm. Stir food before serving and check the temperature. If you want to thicken something, use baby cereal, yogurt or mashed banana. For thinning, use breast milk/formula, 100% juice or low-sodium soup stock.

Making healthy Meals: You can mix different baby food cubes together to create tasty, healthy meals. You can also add yogurt, melted cheese, ground nuts, mashed pasta/rice to introduce new flavors and textures. Here are a few ideas:

  • Green peas and sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash and mashed banana
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and melted cheese
  • Peaches, pears and oatmeal baby cereal
  • Black beans, corn and rice
  • Strawberries, apples, yogurt and ground pecans

The bottom line: Making baby food is a great gift to give the environment and your baby. Plus homemade baby food tastes great. Who knows? Your baby may even grow up to like the taste of Brussels sprouts and mangoes!

Apple Puree

6 medium golden delicious apples

Step 1: Prep - Wash, peel, core and cut apples into one-inch (3 cm) slices.

Step 2: Cook - Place apples in a microwave safe dish. Cover. Cook 5 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Cook an additional 5 minutes. The apples are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

Step 3: Puree - Place apples and cooking juices into a blender or a food processor. Puree to a smooth texture.

Step 4: Freeze - Spoon into So Easy Baby Food Trays or ice cube trays. Cover. Place in freezer eight to 10 hours or overnight. Remove cubes from trays, place in storage container or freezer bag, and return immediately to the freezer.

Makes 24 1-ounce servings. Stays fresh for two months in the freezer.

To serve, select frozen apple cubes from the freezer, defrost and warm, check the temperature and feed.

Age to introduce: About 6 months.

About the Authors:
Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby ( They are the creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit and Good Clean Fun Placemats.

Hot and Delicious Soups

Friday, March 13th, 2009

With much of the country still within winter’s chilly grasp, it’s a great time of year for warm, comforting, and delicious soups. Enjoy!


From Nancy Jacobson at Chinaberry

1 pound of Italian sausage
2 small carrots, chopped (about 6 oz.)
1 onion, chopped (about 6 oz.)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1½ quarts of chicken broth (I use the Trader Joe’s organic)
1 14½ oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can white beans (rinsed and drained)
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 cup dry pasta shells (or some kind of small shape)
2 quarts of fresh spinach leaves (about 6 oz.). I measure them by packing them into a quart measure
Parmesan cheese

  1. Squeeze the sausages from casings into a 4-6 quart pan over high heat and brown, stirring often, breaking the pieces apart until crumbly (8-10 minutes). Drain all but one tablespoon of fat.
  2. Add carrots, onion, and garlic; stir often until onion is limp, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomatoes (including juice), beans, and basil and bring to a boil.
  4. * Add pasta, reduce heart, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until pasta is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds.
  5. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

* Note: This is fine if you will be serving/eating it all at one sitting. I cook the pasta separately so that it’s not sitting in the leftover soup swelling up.


Janet Kelly’s (Chinaberry) wonderful vegetarian soup was adapted from a recipe in Today’s Health & Wellness magazine.

1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped; or 1/3 cup frozen chopped onion
1 small red bell paper, cored, seeded, and chopped (about ½ cup)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 14½-ounce can reduced-sodium diced tomatoes
2 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed kaboche, acorn, butternut, or blue Hubbard winter squash
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs reduced-fat peanut butter
4 kale leaves (about 6 ounces), stemmed and shredded
¼ tsp salt

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Swirl in the canola oil, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the cayenne, cook 5 seconds, then stir in the tomatoes, squash, broth, and peanut butter until the peanut butter dissolves. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the squash is soft, about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while.
  3. Stir in kale, cover again, and cook until kale is tender and squash falls apart to thicken the soup, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and spoon into bowls. Serve at once.


Homemade Bread Recipes

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

These deliciously warm homemade bread recipes–Whole Wheat Rolls, Bran Muffins & Empire State Muffins–are from the Eat, Drink and Be Chinaberry cookbook (sorry, out-of-print).

“Great with soup, or shaped into a burger bun, these are wonderful with anything you want to sandwich in between two halves.”
- Ann Ruethling (from Chinaberry); San Diego, California

2 T dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup hot water
1/4-1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
6 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water and let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes).
Combine the hot water, honey, oil and salt, mixing until the honey is dissolved.
Add eggs and stir well.
Add yeast mixture. (But make sure the hot water has cooled enough so that it doesn’t kill the yeast. Also there is no need to knead!)
Add flour and mix well.
(If you plan to use the dough immediately, add 1/2 cup more flour. Otherwise, refrigerate for 1-3 hours or so, at which point it will be firmer and easier to handle.)
Shape the dough into rolls, slash tops.
Allow to rise. (They will rise very quickly - the warmer your kitchen, the quicker.
Bake at 425° for 10-20 minutes.


Chocolate-Almond Lace Cookies

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Makes about 20 cookies
My most sought after holiday cookie recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup ground, blanched almonds
2 T milk
1 tsp almond extract
3-1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with foil; butter and flour foil.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add sugar, flour and salt and stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.

Mix in almonds and milk and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and blend in almond extract. Let cool slightly.

Drop batter onto prepared baking sheets by teaspoons, spacing 3-1/2 to 4 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Let stand about 2 minutes to firm slightly, then remove cookies from foil and transfer to rack to cool.

Using thin metal spatula, spread layer of chocolate on bottom side of half of cookies. Cover with flat side of plain cookie to form sandwich. Cool on rack until chocolate is set.

Two Scrumptious Holiday Salads

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

From Rev. Holly Whitcomb; Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Serves 6-8

This is a simple, festive and colorful salad for the holidays or just for any day.

6-8 red apples, washed, cored and chopped in small pieces
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
6 oz. package of Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 8-oz carton vanilla yogurt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together apples, pecans and Craisins. Make a dressing of vanilla yogurt and nutmeg. Pour over fruit and nut mixture and toss together.

From Pamela L. Smith; Flushing, New York

8 cups assorted greens
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 oz mandarin oranges — drained
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup candied pecans or toasted pecans

4 T raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 T sugar

Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Combine all other ingredients in large bowl. Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

A Huge Holiday Hit: Cranberry Salsa

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

From Janet Kelly at Chinaberry from our cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Chinaberry (sorry, now out-of-print):

1 package fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
3 large oranges
A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup finely chopped chives

Put ½ package cranberries in saucepan over low heat. Add sugar, cook slightly, crushing the cranberries. Let cool.

Slightly chop the remaining half package of cranberries. Add to the cooled mixture above.

Add small chunks of fresh orange (remove the pith, otherwise known as the “white stuff”). Then add cilantro and chives.

Chill, then serve with chips

Gingerbread People

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Here is a recipe for Gingerbread People from the Chinaberry book Christmas Cookies by Sharon O’Connor. This set would make a great gift (even for yourself!); it contains recipe cards and a CD with music from The Nutcracker Ballet–a perfect combination of “ingredients.”

From the author: A spicy dough that bakes into delicious, semisoft gingerbread figures. This is the cookie I most look forward to baking every December.

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
Powdered Sugar Icing (recipes follows)
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses until blended.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice and stir until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling out.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into gingerbread people or other fun shapes. Transfer the figures to a baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. If you wish, drizzle or spread the cookies with powdered sugar icing. Or, use a pastry bag to pipe designs onto the cookies and make faces and buttons with raisins and cinnamon red hots. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
    Makes about 40 cookies.

Cook’s Tips: While the cookies are still hot and slightly soft, you can press raisins, cinnamon red hots, and other candy into the dough.

Powdered Sugar Icing: A shiny, easy-to-make icing.
1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, pinch of salt, drops of food coloring (optional)
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth and thick enough to spread.