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Frozen Patriotic Torte

The Fourth of July isn’t one of those holidays associated with a certain food so much as a place: outside. The almost certainly warm holiday means eating outdoors is preferred. And you want something cold and refreshing. Layers of Jell-O? That’s one approach. The Frozen Patriotic Torte seriously ups the game! This marvelous recipe is courtesy of the folks at wisconsincheese.com and requires no baking, just mixing and freezing. Perfect for a hot summer day! Picture this (or, just look at the photo): A white base of mascarpone cheese, whipped cream and pound cake, accented with blueberries and raspberries producing

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Red White and Blueberry Crumble Bars

Here’s a red, white and blue version of a simple berry-crumble bar. I found this recipe years ago on Allrecipes.com, using blueberries. The notes said that any berry would work, so I thought why not strawberry? Better yet, why not both? By making this half blueberry and half strawberry, you create red, white and blue all in one 9×13 pan. (I’m counting the neutral-colored crust as white here) Simply mix up the dough ingredients and pat half of it into a 9×13 pan. The berries are mixed with some sugar and cornstarch and then added to the pan. The rest

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American Flag Taco Dip

I don’t exactly know why, but I simply LOVE to make red, white and blue food for the Fourth of July! When my kids were young, it was layered Jell-O. At some point, I graduated to layered cakes and other foods. No matter what direction I take, I always want to have at least one item with the right colors on July 4th and that’s why I have been eagerly anticipating this week leading up to the Fourth – and now it’s here! YAY! That is my theme from now until Independence Day – all recipes will have a red,

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Mimosa Sunrise

Today, June 21, is the summer solstice. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of the year. What better way to commemorate this day than with a sunrise drink? (No, I don’t mean a drink at sunrise. Unless you are so inclined of course. No judging here!) My first thought was tequila sunrise, but I wanted something different, so I tried a Mimosa. So fun! I’m pretty sure you could drizzle grenadine into any orange juice based drink and make the lovely sunrise effect. What I like about this drink is that it is

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National Martini Day!

Good Morning! June 19 is National Martini Day. So, of course, my decision for what to make was already made for me. A martini, obvi. But which one? The traditional martini is made with gin and vermouth, garnished with olives or a lemon twist. Purists will say to only stir a martini. Some, like James Bond, feel martinis should be shaken not stirred. I for one, do NOT intend to disagree with 007.   What I think is much more fun is the development of martinis with all the other types of liquor available. Since I prefer vodka to gin,

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Cranberry Grapefruit Kiss

Here in Madison, Wisconsin there used to be THE perfect (to me) restaurant. It had something for everyone: think bar food, wonderful salads and appetizers, decent prices, plenty of seating, a casual, friendly crowd, and in the summer a HUGE outdoor patio. Those who live in Wisconsin LOVE places with outdoor seating, even though it’s relevant only 3-4 months of the year. It makes up a tiny bit for those days of winter. ⛄️ So, I was particularly sad when this restaurant closed. Something about using the (truly awesome) location for a different purpose. What?! Don’t they know? We NEEDED

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Easy Pasta Salad

When a quick salad is needed to go with whatever is on the grill, pasta salad is an easy choice. I typically use whatever fresh vegetables happen to be on hand plus cheese and meat according to preference or mood of the day. I have found this to be a good venue for whole grain pasta, since the use of a dressing makes it hard for those “picky eaters” to distinguish between the “white stuff” and whole grain. This time I used tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, yellow bell pepper, green onions, salami and mild brick cheese with rotini pasta. My dressing

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Juicy Lucy

Have you ever heard of a “Juicy Lucy”? No? In that case, I will consider this my public service message for the day J. A Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger with cheese inside the patty instead of on top resulting in a melted core of cheese. Cool, hey? Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the inventor of the burger, though other bars and restaurants have their own interpretations. One, “Matt’s Bar, where I had my first JL (and not my last) ” uses a different spelling: “Jucy Lucy.” Cooking the cheese in the burger gives you two “wins.” The

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Grilled Pizza!

Make it Vegetarian OR Meatlovers! Pizza is America’s favorite food, according to a survey by the California Pizza Kitchen. (I’m sure they were COMPLETELY unbiased, LOL). But it is summer, and we love to grill. So can we combine these two loves? Yes, we CAN! Grilling pizza is essentially just a technique to get used to, particularly for the crust. Once you have that figured out, the rest is easy. The pizza can then be customized with whatever ingredients are preferred. Please note: I do all my grilling on a gas grill. In theory this can also be done on

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Quinoa Edamame Salad

With summer coming isn’t it nice to have an “easy button” to throw together last-minute salads? This one is something I quite literally THREW TOGETHER, using .. whatever .. in my fridge and freezer. I liked it so much, I make it regularly. On purpose! Both quinoa and edamame provide a protein punch. Corn gives hints of sweetness, and grape tomatoes provide a mild tang. I’ve also used cooked carrots and peas with success.  The possibilities are endless! One note about edamame: when I find a package labeled edamame in the freezer section, it is a package of beans in

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Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

I was raised on a farm where we grew our own asparagus, so for me this vegetable always shouts “Spring!” Luckily, due to the marvels of modern growing and shipping practices, we have access to this vegetable almost year round. But let’s face it: Asparagus is still best in the spring. Sometimes all you want to do is steam your asparagus and have it on the side with fish or even steak. But other times, you want something different. And for that we go to one of my cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. And it delivers! By including cannellini beans

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Spicy Mushroom-Noodle Soup

You know, ramen has come a long way. I don’t think I ever heard of it until I was in college. At the time, ramen meant cheap instant noodles with a flavor packet. And cheap! What were they, three or four packs for a dollar? Perfect dorm room fare: Carbs that didn’t require a lot of cooking or kitchen equipment. Of course, you were always hungry an hour after. Fast forward to today. Ramen has been dressed up and taken downtown. Seems like there’s a ramen restaurant on every other corner, each claiming to be better than the last. How