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Frozen Patriotic Torte

A wonderful 4th of July Dessert 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. This patriotic dessert 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

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Red White and Blueberry Crumble Bars

An Easy Fourth of July Dessert 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? You get red, white and blueberry crumble bars! 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) Some Blueberry Factoids Did you know? In 2018, Oregon produced the most cultivated blueberries, recording 131 million pounds (60

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American Flag Taco Dip

Patriotic for the 4th of July 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 –

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Mimosa Sunrise

Why a Sunrise Drink? 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. Mimosa – always a good choice So fun! I’m pretty sure you could drizzle grenadine into any orange juice based drink and make the lovely sunrise effect.

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A Lemon Martini for 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? A lemon martini seemed like the best choice. What would 007 say? 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

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Cranberry Grapefruit Kiss

It all started here. . . 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, my favorite cranberry grapefruit drink, 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)

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Easy Pasta Salad

When I want a quick salad 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. Then add cheese and meat according to preference or mood of the day. I have found this to be a good venue for whole grain pasta. This is because the use of dressing makes it hard for “picky eaters” to distinguish between the “white stuff” and whole grain. What Veggies for the Pasta Salad? Because I had these on hand, I used tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, yellow bell pepper, green

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Juicy Lucy Burger

Have you ever heard of a “Juicy Lucy”? No? In that case, I will consider this my public service message for the day. What’s a Juicy Lucy? 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

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Grilled Pizza!

Make it Vegetarian OR Meatlovers Grilled Pizza! 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! Grilled Pizza! How to Grill Pizza Grilled 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.

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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 Quinoa Edamame Salad 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! Edamame vs. Mukimame One note about edamame: when I find a package labeled edamame in the freezer section, it is

asparagus and cannellini bean salad

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 this Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

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Spicy Mushroom-Noodle Soup

Today’s Spicy Mushroom Noodle Soup is like a great broth bowl from a yummy Ramen place. Have you noticed? Ramen has really come a long way. I don’t think I ever heard of it until I was in college. At the time, ramen meant 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