Country Cook News – November 30, 2012

Hi Everyone!

THIS WEEKS RECIPE
Apple Brickle Dip is a welcome wintertime fruit dip that is meant to be served with fresh apple slices. But why not think outside the dip bowl and add pretzel sticks, regular or chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers and crisp apple chips to the plate? The basic ingredients for this sweet and creamy dip with a surprising toffee crunch can easily be kept on hand so it can be whipped up in minutes. This recipe is in my cookbook, Sweet Apple Temptations, and I’ll be serving it this Saturday, December 1, at Best Wishes Gifts where I’ll be doing an annual holiday book signing. Hope to see you there!
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BLOG OF THE WEEK

On her blog, Nutmeg Nanny says, Welcome to Nutmeg Nanny! I’m a small town girl who left the cornfields of Ohio for the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley region of New York. My food is influenced by my small town roots as well as my many travels around the world. Join me on a journey through my mostly sweet, but sometimes savory life. Nutmeg has her recipe page in two categories Recipes by Category and Recipes by Ingredients and then the recipes are conveniently arranged in alphabetical order. One thing I really like about this blog is how Nutmeg makes it easy to choose a festive drink for various occasions. Her drink offerings can easily be found under the type of alcohol used in the drink such as Christmas Mimose or Kir Royale by clicking on the champagne link. Click on bourbon and you’ll find Hot Cinnamon Toddy and Warm Vanilla Cider to warm up your party guests.

This lady definitely knows how to put a spin on a recipe. Spicy Thai Pumpkin SoupBrussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds, Carrot Cake Jam from the home canning section, Maple Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce, Chicken Sausage and Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash and Eggnog Martini are done with elegance and flair. You might also find Nutmeg’s recipe contests and giveaways tempting. Nutmeg Nanny will make all of our holidays much brighter with just one click of the mouse.

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CB’s KITCHEN TIPS OR FOR TWEETERS #CBKITTIP
~~To squeeze excess liquid from grated veggies (like spinach for dips or potatoes for potato pancakes), spread grated veggies onto clean dish towel, roll up towel lengthwise and twist.
~~Don’t throw away leftover mashed potatoes, use them to thicken homemade soups. They can also be frozen in small amounts and used in the same way at a later date. I use snack size plastic bags to freeze the mashed potatoes and then flatten them to maximize storage space in the freezer.

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AMERICAN’S TEST KITCHEN
Snapware Airtight has been found by America’s Test Kitchen to be the best plastic food storage containers for keeping leftovers along with being the most practical for using in the kitchen (and part of that is being dishwasher safe).
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VEGETARIANS LOOK THE OTHER WAY

Would you take a look at this! It’s on the menu as the OMG An Eight Pound Cheeseburger!

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THIS WEEK’S ANSWER TO ASK CYNTHIA A QUESTION

Ann asked: With all the concern about buying organic, even butter, eggs and cheese, have you found any butter, eggs or cheese that don’t break the bank at the cash register?
My answer: This is a tough one because it’s a fact that buying organic costs us more. Personally, I think the way to get the best bargain is to shop around to find the grocery stores, produce markets or farms and farmers’ markets that you can trust and who consistently offer the best prices and the freshest products. Much depends on what’s available in your area.

In Albuquerque we had Whole Foods and Sunflower Market and I purchased most of my organic at Sunflower because they were cheaper although I had to closely read the organic labeling and the freshness dates. We also had a few farmer’s markets but it’s sometimes difficult to coordinate with their location and/or days of operation. Trader Joe’s is a good source if there’s one in your area, just watch the freshness codes. I also think the regular grocery stores are doing a better job of stocking organic products although labels have to be carefully read. If the grocery store products can be trusted, the items are usually, certainly not always, fresher because of a more rapid turnover.

Know your store, the pricing on various items and read your labels are my best pieces of advice. Here’s an article about What You Should & Shouldn’t Buy Organic. Thank you, Ann, for your question and your interest in Ask Cynthia a Question. Happy Holidays!

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Until next time…
CB

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