Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Great news! 1873 backpacks collected

The Livingston Educational Service Agency assembled 1873 backpacks filled with school supplies for its eighth “Backpacks for Kids” project. This is an increase over the 1200 backpacks filled last year. The great response from donors will allow LESA to host another backpack distribution tonight (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. at LESA, 1425 W. Grand River Avenue, Howell, MI. LESA distributed 930 backpacks at their first distribution date last week, and today more students in grades K-12 can take advantage of "Backpacks for Kids" available to all families who welcome assistance with back-to-school expenses. Extra backpacks will be distributed year round through LACASA and OLSHA. For more information, call LESA at 517-546-6833.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

Sally S. served these Pumpkin Bars with her watermelon salad. The recipe is a favorite that she got from her sister's mother-in-law, Jessie C. Sally said, "This is so moist and delicious that you don’t need to frost it, but if you want to (the frosting recipe is below)." 

Pumpkin Bars
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped nuts—or more *
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees
  • Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 glass pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  • Cool and cut

one stick margarine (or butter) softened
1/2 tspn vanilla
1 Tbl. cream
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Spread frosting on cooled bars
Sprinkle with more chopped nuts *

Arugula & watermelon salad

Sally S. says this salad from nutrition expert Jean Carper is easy and delicious and we can all vouch for the delicious part! Lucky us, Sally is widening our greenery horizons -- this was my first experience with peppery arugula. Wonderful! I can never hear the word "arugula" without remembering Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven saying, "Arugula! It's a VEG-A-TA-BULL."

Arugula and Watermelon Salad (Jean Carper)
1 package arugula (Kroger’s carries it pre-packaged, one pkg will serve six)
2-3 cups watermelon chunks
4 – 6 oz. goat cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Rinse and dry arugula. Chill
  • Cut up about 2-3 cups of watermelon. Set aside until ready to put salad together.
  • Bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to boil, boil gently about five minutes until reduced by half, should be syrupy.
  • When ready to serve mix together the arugula and watermelon chunks in a large bowl.
  • Pour 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar reduction over salad. Add crumbled goat cheese on top. (If the vinegar is poured over the goat cheese, it turns brown—not so appetizing, so put cheese on top.
  • Pass extra vinegar in a small pitcher when serving salad.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mrs. Z's Egg Salad Sandwiches

Yesterday Kathleen Z. treated us to her mother-in-law's egg salad sandwiches on croissants -- a very nice variation on the standard egg salad. This is how she makes it (amounts are suggestions only and can be varied to taste). Kathleen made hers with chicken and it was very, very good.
Egg salad with tuna or chicken
Hard boiled eggs, chopped (5 or 6)
Chicken or tuna, chopped or minced (canned, 6-8 oz.)
Apple, diced (one apple)
Celery, diced (about 1/2 cup or so)
mayonaise (1/3 cup or to taste)
salt & pepper

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Herb Pasta

Betty L. also served us this delicious pasta salad from Good Housekeeping magazine -- perfect for a hot August afternoon.

Summer Herb Pasta (Good Housekeeping)

16 oz. corkscrew pasta
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup feta
1/2 tsp. lemon peel, grated
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 plum tomatoes
  • Cook pasta in salted water. Drain pasta, saving 1/3 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot.
  • Combine ricotta, feta, lemon peel, salt and pepper.
  • Stir 1/3 cup pasta cooking water into ricotta mixture.
  • Toss mixture with pasta.
  • Stir in herbs and chopped tomatoes.
Serves 4

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

Betty L. served this yummy Roasted Shrimp and Orzo at our August get-together. She is a big fan of Ina Garten. This recipe is from Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook.
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo (Barefoot Contessa at Home)

1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tbl. olive oil, + enough to drizzle over shrimp
3/4 lb. orzo (rice shaped pasta)
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 lbs. peeled and deveined shrimp (16-18 count per pound)
1 cup scallion, minced
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 cup fresh flat leaved parsley, chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
12 oz. feta, large diced
  • Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
  • Cook orzo al dente in water with 1 tbl. salt and dash of olive oil for 9-11 minutes. Drain.
  • Whisk lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Pour over hot pasta in bowl and stir.
  • Put shrimp on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and roast 5-6 minutes until cooked.
  • Add shrimp to orzo. Add scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Toss. Add feta and stir easy.
  • Allow flavors to blend at room temperature for one hour, or refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 6

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuna/Chicken and White Bean Salad

Kathy T. made this delicious salad with chicken, but we thought tuna would be a great choice, too.

Tuna/Chicken & White Bean Salad (Southern Living Magazine)

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 (15 ½ ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12 ounce) can of solid white tuna in spring water, drained and broken into chunks
OR 1 can of chicken (I bought chicken breasts and seasoned and cooked them. KT)
Bib lettuce leaves
Tomato wedges or grape tomatoes, halved (optional)

Whisk together the first 9 ingredients. Add the beans and tuna (or chicken) tossing gently. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve on lettuce with tomato, if desired.

3 to 4 servings

Chocolate Mousse

Kathy T. served this yummy mousse one sunny summer afternoon.

Chocolate Mousse (Southern Living Magazine)

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
2-1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum
Garnishes: whipped cream and grated chocolate

Microwave chocolate morsels and ½ cup of cream in a small glass bowl at HIGH for 1 ½ minutes or until melted, stirring twice. Stir in vanilla and rum, blending well. Cool for 5 minutes.

Beat remaining 2 cups of cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold this whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Pipe or spoon the mousse into a large serving bowl or dessert dishes. Garnish with additional whipped cream and grated chocolate if desired. Chill 2 hours or over night.

Makes 6 to 8 servings