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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good and Good for You -- Oats

Since the NCAA Tournament has moved on without the ACC, I think it’s now time to put the tribute to rest and get us back to the fun and fabulous world of Superfoods.

Today I want to focus on that culinary wallflower that we all love but probably give little thought to…oats.

Oats are everywhere, in our breads, in our breakfast, in our beer! So what is it about oats that makes them so super?


Ÿ Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber (dietary fiber is about half soluble and half insoluble).
Ÿ Oats, oatmeal and oat bran contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
Ÿ Oats contain antioxidant compounds called avenanthramides that help prevent free radicals from damaging good cholesterol and as so helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ÿ Oats have a high fiber content which is necessary to keep bowel movements regular.
Eating oats help make you feel full longer – in a good way – and so makes a great aid in weight loss efforts.
Ÿ Oats have a higher level of well-balanced protein than other cereals.
Ÿ Consumption of whole grain products and dietary fiber such as oats has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.

Like other cholesterol-lowering agents, oats work most effectively when consumed as part of a low-fat, high-fiber diet so don’t forget to add in exercise!

As you can see, oats is good food! So pick an oat food, any oat food (oatmeal, oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, granola, muesli), and add it to your regular diet today.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- Maryland Turtle Trifle

[NOTE:  Apologies, have been experiencing technical difficulties with the photos for this post, if they don't show up, will try to make them available some other way.]

Okay, as much as I hate to end on a sweet note with a tribute to Maryland, I couldn't pass up the chance to try this out. If you like chocolate, caramel, Kahlua, and pecans, you've come to the right place. It's a half-n-half recipe, the pound cake had been made from scratch, but the rest is ready-made which makes the final product easy to throw together.

Turtle Trifle


Chocolate pound cake, sliced and cubed
Dulce de Leche pudding (Jell-O!)
Kahlua (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)
Pecan chips
Caramels, cubed into bits
Chocolate jimmies
Whipped cream

Chocolate pound cake

3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
6 eggs

Mix the dry ingredients, set aside.  Mix the milk and vanilla, set aside.

Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time, blending fully after each.

Add in part of the flour mix, blend. Add in part of the milk, blend. Continue to alternate until both are fully added.

Pour the batter into a lightly greased bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hr 25 minutes or until baked through.

When you take the cake out of the oven, immediately remove cake from the pan and allow to cool.

Trifle assembly

Put down a layer of pound cake cubes and sprinkle with Kahlua. Cover the layer with dulce de leche pudding and sprinkle pecan chips over it.

Made a second layer of the same.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with caramel pieces and chocolate jimmies.


You can either make a single big bowl of trifle or make individual helpings like I did for the demo.

If you don't want to use a liqueur, substitute the Kahlua with some regular coffee (caf or decaf).

Maryland got their "Terps" nickname in the 1930s because diamondback terrapins were prevelant in the Chesapeake Bay area -- much better than the "Old Liners" as they were formally known as (based on the state's nickname "The Old Line State."

Maryland's mascot's name is Testudo.

The school colors -- red, black, gold and white -- come from the state flag.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- NC State Go Pack! Snack Mix

Wanted to do something fun for my second favorite ACC team (I'm trying for impartiality in these posts...admittedly just not very hard).  To me, game time is snack time and nothing is better than grab-and-nosh mixes.  This one has got a little bite with some sweet undertones and a nice chocolate finish.  Goes well with whatever you're drinking, well, except maybe milk...

Go Pack! Snack Mix

Snyder's® Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Pretzel Pieces
Honey-roasted Almonds
Cherry Craisins®
Hershey's® Special Dark Pieces

Mix equal parts of each in a big bowl and start snacking.  I find it easiest to mix it up by putting everything in a big tupperware container, slap on the lid and shake it all about (not unlike the hokey-pokey).


Feel free to alter the proportions to suit your particular salty or sweet taste.

The Special Dark Pieces are red, deep red, and brown so provide the spirited school colors you need in a Wolfpack snack.

The name “Wolfpack” was adopted in 1920s when someone referred to the behavior of the NCSU student body at athletic events as being "like a wolf pack"; it kind of stuck.

The ACC was established in 1953 and a year later it was the NC State Men’s Basketball team who won the first ACC championship ever hosted.

Since then, the Wolfpack has won the ACC title 10 times, third only behind Duke (19) and UNC (17), making the Triangle the dominating force in ACC tournament play. (For those doing the math…yes, in 58 competitions, only 12 were NOT won by Tobacco Road teams).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- Virginia Ham and Cheese Biscuits

If you're in the south, you know that biscuits are a way of life.  These are nice little stand alone snacks, though feel free to split them open and fill them with more really can't have enough ham...or cheese...or pepper jelly...or whatever.  However you decide to dress them up or dress them down, they will be delicious.

Ham and Cheese Biscuits

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, divided
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cooked ham, chopped finely
1/2-3/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic salt

In a medium sized bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp) cold butter cut into small pieces.

Using your hands, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it takes on a crumbly appearance.  Once it is fairly uniform, mix in the cheese and ham.

Add in the milk a bit at a time until the mixture comes together into a dough. You don’t want it to be too wet or sticky, it just needs to be dry enough to roll out easily.

Roll the dough out and, using a 2” biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. If you need to, throw a little flour down on your surface to keep it from sticking.  Roll the leftover dough together to cut out more biscuits.

Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

While those are baking, melt the rest of the stick of butter and mix in 1 tsp of parsley. After the biscuits have been in the oven for 5 minutes, remove them long enough to brush with the butter mixture and continue to bake until golden brown on the underside.

Once you remove them, brush the rest of the melted butter over the biscuits.  The biscuits will absorb most of the butter so you don't have to worry about them being too greasy.

Ready to serve as a snack or a side for breakfast (or dinner for breakfast).  Makes 2-2 1/2 dozen.


You can use the dough to make bigger biscuits, or if you don't have a cutter, just grab a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball, then press it flat.

University of Virginians are known as the Cavaliers, the Cavs, the Wahoos or just the Hoos.  The latter two nicknames comes from a rally cry -- wa-hoo-wa -- used at the university in the 1880s and it just stuck.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- UNC Wine and Cheese Ramekins

For all you Tarheels out there, please note that I was kind and refrained from naming the dish "Whine and Cheese" as was my first inclination.  Wasn't that good of me to show such restraint? J

For fans of cheese and cheesy hot dips, I think you'll like this one.  I decided to bake them up in individual serving dishes, enough for one or two people to enjoy while sitting around watching basketball this week.  But you could also bake it all up together in a single dish for the whole group to share.

Wine and Cheese Ramekins

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp paprika

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Put the mixture into ramekins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until firm on top.

Remove from oven and serve with crackers.


I prefer to buy cheese blocks and fresh grate the cheese, for some reason it just seems more malleable to me when mixing into a dish, but you can buy pre-grated cheese to save yourself the time.

You can also add chopped artichoke hearts to the dish to give it some more depth and texture.

This is one of those few dishes that is NOT better as leftovers.  Reheating cheesy dip is not recommended so if you don't want to make a whole batch, the recipe is very easy to cut in half.

The city of Chapel Hill derives its name from the point where a Church of England was once located in the late 1700s (where the Carolina Inn now stands). The point was called New Hope Chapel hill which was then shortened to Chapel Hill.

The UNC ram mascot dates back to the 1920s. Their star fullback, Jack Merritt, was nicknamed "the battering ram” for his performance on the field, which gave Carolina's head cheerleader at the time the idea for the mascot. He shared his idea with the athletic business manager who gave me $25 to purchase Rameses I, a living ram who was then shipped in from Texas in time for the next pep rally.

I would say something specific about the Tarheel basketball team, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be nice, so we'll leave that alone.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- Miami Hurricane

For anyone who's been down to the Gulf Coast, you're familiar with a Hurricane -- both from the weather and the wet bar.  There are many interpretations of this recipe with various combinations of alcohol and fruit juices, but the key ingredient in all of them is the very distinct glass with the pear-shaped curve reminiscent of old time hurricane lamps.  That's where the drink gets its name.  What I'm bringing you is the TCC version of this coastal beverage.  It may not be the prettiest (similar to its namesake's game this weekend), but it's fruity and refreshing.

Miami Hurricane

1 oz. Bacardi clear rum
1 oz. Sailor Jerry spiced rum
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. white grapefruit juice
1 oz. Pom pomegranate juice
few drops Key West Key Lime juice
blood orange, for garnish
lime, for garnish

Mix everything up, pour over ice.  Garnish with wheels of orange and lime and serve up.


I added a few drops of blood orange juice as well.

If you don't like one of the types of juice, just omit it and make up the difference with the juices you do like.

The booze brands I used are what I had on hand, you can substitute with your favorite brand.

The Miami Hurricane's mascot is an ibis named Sebastian.  Because an ibis is the last to seek shelter before a hurricane and the first to come out afterwards, it is said to represents bravery.

Miami's gets its colors from an orange tree -- green represents leaves, orange represents the fruit and white represents the orange blossoms.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- Clemson Tiger Tails

Cookies with Frosted Flakes!?!?  They're greeeeeaaaaaat! Especially if you're looking for that late afternoon sugar rush.  If you're not a fan of coconut, not to worry, you can't really taste the coconut, but it's what adds the chewy to this crunchy-chewy cookie.  Trust me, Guinea Pig Papa isn't a big fan of coconut and he went back for seconds on these, the taste is well-hidden.

Clemson Tiger Tails

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup veggie oil
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup frosted flakes, crushed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup coconut flakes
milk chocolate, for drizzle
white chocolate, for drizzle
red & yellow food coloring

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a mixer, cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla until smooth.

Mix in the egg, then mix in the oil and beat until batter is lump-free.

Add in the oats, frosted flakes, pecans and coconut and stir until everything is well-coated.

Add in flour mixture and stir until all the flour is absorbed into the dough.  The dough is going to be very light and not very dense.

Take a heaping tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a short log.  Place the logs in rows on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch.  These cookies don't really brown, well, unless you burn them so if you hit some shade of notable brown, you've overcooked them.

Remove cookies from sheet and allow to cool.  Once cooled, put them back on the cookie sheets.  For easier post-drizzle clean-up, line the cookie sheet with wax paper.  Foil or plastic wrap will also work if you don't have wax paper, but the cookies will be easier to remove once done from wax paper.

For the chocolate drizzle, you can either use melting chocolate or chocolate chips.  The fastest way to melt the chocolate is to put it in a small dish in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds, remove and stir.  Then cook on high for an additional 30-35 seconds, remove again and stir until all the chocolate is melted.  This may take more or less time depending on the type of chocolate you use, best to heat it in short increments.

Take a teaspoon full of melted chocolate and drizzle the chocolate back and forth over the cookies on the sheet.  To make the orange stripes, add two drops of red food coloring and three drops of yellow to the white chocolate, then mix until the color is even.


The easiest way to crush the frosted flakes without making a huge mess is to put them in a ziplock baggie and then crunch them up.

If you don't want to commit to buying a full box of cereal, check to see if your grocery store sells Kellog's brand in individual containers.  It comes to just under 1 cup when crunched up which still works fine with the recipe.

The Clemson Tigers are really hoping to pull something out for the tourney this week since they're sitting on a bubble to see if they get in the Big Dance.

Did you know that among all the tiger-mascoted universities, Clemson's tiger paw logo is unique?  It's because it's based on the paw print of a real tiger!

Clemson's fight song comes from the well-known jazz classic, the Tiger Rag, which as it turns out was also the base song for "Stop that Pigeon" which was the theme intro to Hanna Barbera's Saturday morning cartoon classic, "Dick Dastardly & Muttley in their Flying Machines" (1969-71).  I knew I'd heard it somewhere before!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- GT Bee Sting

GA Tech Yellow Jackets play is played in March...March means spring...spring means means insects...insects that yellow jackets...yellow jackets are yellow and are bees...bees sting! 

Since spring also means light refreshing beverages it all came together in this special treat.  Now I know most of you are going to look at this and think I'm talking crazy (I am a crazy talker) and I thought the same thing when I was first introduced to this beverage, but WOW!  I was pleasantly surprised and hopefully you will be too.


Pabst Blue Ribbon or Budweiser
Fresh lemon

Mix equal parts beer and lemonade in a glass.  Swish together, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon in and garnish glass with lemon slices.  You can also make it by the pitcher for easier mass serving.

Mmmm-aaaaaahhhhh.  Refreshing.


You don't want to use a fancy pants beer with this recipe.  Too much taste in your beer will dilute the power of the lemonade and rob it of it's "light" refreshingnesss...though, as always, feel free to experiment, maybe you'll discover something better.

GA Tech is experiencing a "light" season, unburdened by many wins this year.  And their fans probably find it refreshing that they did manage to nab an elusive road win over Wake Forest on March 3.  Congratulations Yellow Jackets!  (I don't really know much more about GA Tech other than they have a decent football team and are located in Georgia.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March Madness ACC Tribute -- Bleu Deviled Eggs

It’s time for March Madness!!! As a tribute to this great month of basketball, TCC will be presenting recipes "inspired" by the ACC (sort of like making a movie "based" on a book, loosely bound, no real ties to the truth, but crazy fun just the same). Alright, let’s get this ACC party started.

Disclaimer: I will do my best to put aside my personal basketball feelings and treat all team inspirations equally and fairly as not to offend any of you, my faithful followers…BUT I make no promises (it is basketball after all).

So having said that, let’s start at the top! Saving the best for first, I begin my monthly food foray with a tribute to the mighty Blue Devils (GO DUKE!). You may not like the name, you may not like the team, but if you like the cheese, you’ll love these.

Bleu Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard boiled
1/3 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, too sweet)
¼ cup bleu cheese, crumbled
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 dashes Texas Pete
Salt, to taste
Fresh-cracked black pepper, to garnish

Prepare boiled eggs as you usually would. Cool, peel and slice horizontally.

Put the yolks in a small bowl and pre-mash with a fork until they have a fine crumbly texture.

Mix in the mayo and blend well, then add in the bleu cheese crumbles and blend until mixture is semi-smooth (don’t need to press out all the bleu cheese lumps).

Fry up the bacon and mince into small pieces. Fold into the yolk mixture.

Add in the Texas Peter and then salt to taste. The bacon should provide a good amount of salt to the flavor, but you’ll still want to adjust to suit your own tastes.

Fill in the egg holes with the bleu cheese fill and crack some black pepper over the top.

Now you’re ready to serve your fancy pants Bleu Deviled Eggs.


I used turkey bacon in mine and because turkey bacon is not as salty as pork bacon had to add a bit more salt to the mix.

If you don’t like a strong bleu cheese taste, you can cut back on the original amount and add in slowly until it’s got the bite you want.

If you don’t have Texas Pete, you can substitute your favorite hot sauce. You don’t need a lot because all you are trying to do is provide a support for the other flavors in the filling.

Duke is currently riding the top of the ACC standing, followed closely by the other blue school down the road from Durham. With a 26-3 record, they are riding high at #4 in both the AP and Coaches Polls.

The Blue Devils are expected to make a showing in the NCAA tournament, but how far they will go is anyone’s guess at this point. We Devil fans have our hopes high and fingers crossed for another back-to-back banner to hang in the rafters at Cameron.

A special shout-out to Juliet and Emily for the idea for this month's postings! They were the winners of last March's Mystery Month Theme and this was one of the ideas they presented.  Muchas gracias, chicas!