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Spaghetti with Zucchini from Nerano

Monday, July 24th 2023 6:00 am


About 2 C mild vegetable oil (sunflower and or olive oil can be used)

8-10 small zucchini  (about 3# by my kitchen scale)

1 ½ C torn, fresh basil

Sea salt to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound spaghetti

2-3 C grated parmesan cheese


Put the oil in a large pot (like a Dutch oven) and bring to almost boiling over medium high heat.

Slice the zucchini into thin rounds (1/4” or less).  Fry in the hot oil until it is golden brown.  Remove and set aside on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with torn basil and sea salt.  This can be done in batches.  See option to deep frying below.

Transfer zucchini mixture to a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil, if needed, to prevent them from clumping together.

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.  (About 2 minutes before recommended cooking time.)  Strain, reserving about 2 C of the pasta cooking water.

Place the cooked pasta in a large pot over low heat along with the zucchini mixture and gently combine.  Add the pasta water, a little at a time, to create a cream texture.  You may not need all 2 C of the water. 

Add the cheese to the mixture  a little at a time and continue to combine by stirring gently and tossing.

When the mixture has a slight creaminess, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Option to deep frying: Put zucchini rounds in a bowl and coat lightly with olive oil.  Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in a 360 degree oven until browned.  Watch closely and turn them to avoid burning.  You can also put the sheet under the broiler at the end of cooking to produce browning.

Note:  The zucchini mixture can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days.  It can also be used in a frittata, as a side dish or in a cheese sandwich.  You’ll also see this recipe using shredded Provolone cheese, garlic, or butter, but this one comes from Stanley Tucci, author of “Taste”.  He swears version of "Spaghetti con Zucchine alla Nerano" is the only authentic one!  Sounds like a proud Italian!

You can also add zucchini to pasta salad, hot pasta dishes, as a side, in veggie kebabs, eggs, soups like Minestrone, to replace lasagna noodles, grilled and in baked goods like cookies and quick breads. See a few more “Seasoned Franciscan zucchini posts: “Zucchini Waffles and “Zucchini Brownies” 8/12/22, “Summer Squash and Onions” 8/22/22.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Story:   After a short out of town trip, we came home to a monster garden zucchini (which we'll use in waffles) and several small ones.  We used then in “Pasta with Zucchini from Navaro” (a small town on the Italian Amalfi coast).  It’s a yummy favorite of Stanley Tucci, who admits his life revolves around food!

Besides the recipes, what interested me in his memoir “Taste: My Life Through Food” was his Italian American upbringing and his love for all things tasty, including cocktails.  Ironically, he survived mouth cancer and, gratefully, regained his ability to eat and taste solid food after the challenges of treatment. 



Basic Bread Recipe

Monday, April 10th 2023 6:00 am

2 1/2 C warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 packet or 1 T yeast (regular or quick rise)
2 T oil or melted butter (optional)
1 T brown sugar, honey, or other sweeteners
6 C flour (A good combination is: 2 1/2 whole wheat and 3 1/2 white. You may use a combination of whole wheat, white whole wheat, all-purpose white flour or bread flour. You may substitute I C wheat germ or flax seed meal for 1 C whole wheat flour. If adding wheat germ or flax meal, add it with the yeast so that these heavier flours can soften as yeast activates.)
1 T salt


  1. Sprinkle yeast onto the water. Stir or whisk to wet yeast granules completely. Mix sweetener and oil, if using, into the wet ingredients until dissolved. Let stand for about 10 minutes as the yeast activates. As you wait, gather and/or measure other ingredients. Grease your pans.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually to make a soft, somewhat sticky dough, adding the salt toward the end.
  3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface for kneading. Kneading dough is as simple as pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your palm, folding it over itself with your fingers, and pulling it back. Adjust the amount of flour so that the dough does not feel waterlogged or runny. If it feels too stiff and you feel strain in your fingers as you knead, add a sprinkle of water. Knead for about 10-20 minutes until the dough loses its wet quality and you can see specks of bran against a lighter dough. It might still be a bit sticky.
  4. Clean the bowl and oil it lightly. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and put it in the bowl. Move it around in the bowl to collect some oil and then turn it over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dry towel. Be sure there is enough room for the dough to double. Keep the bowl in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes, up to an hour, as time allows. This develops flavor as well as lift.
  5. When the dough is doubled, let it rise a second time, if time allows. This means to deflate the dough, form it into a ball, return to the bowl and cover for another 45 minutes. You can skip the 2nd rise. However, this develops flavor.
  6. Divide dough into 2 large or 3 small loaves. Squeeze out any air and shape or roll tightly into loaves, making sure the seam is tight and on the bottom as you place them each in a greased pan. Cover and let rise again, until dough rises to just above the top of the pan, about 30 minutes. Slit the loaf in several places with a sharp knife or razor to let air escape in the oven. This can be done once diagonally across the length of the loaf or several times diagonally across its width. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 – 35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the loaf is about 185-190 degrees.

Christians celebrate 50 days of Easter, giving us time to celebrate Resurrection transformation: to be of service, forgive, prayerfully plant seeds, surrender to joy, bake bread. A Basic Bread Recipe guides us to bake this "transformational Easter food!" Also included: a reflection inspired by baker theologian Peter Reinhart called From Wheat to Eat.

Transformation From Wheat to Eat
On Holy Thursday, Christians celebrate Jesus by giving thanks, breaking bread, and sharing with his friends. Christians believe that ordinary food is transformed into Christ’s very presence and promise to be among us always. Fed by the Eternal Word made Flesh, we can discover goodness in each person, each living thing. The FSPA to whom we are drawn has a particular focus on the Eucharist, the bread of life.

A wheat seed planted in the dark earth is warmed, fed, and watered. It breaks open and dies.
Without its protective shell, it lives again, transformed into a rising green blade of wheat.
When mature, wheat stalks are harvested, cut down, and killed.

Separated from straw and chaff, some seeds are planted, the next generation, a sign of God’s promise.
Other seeds crushed between stones are never to give birth, dying once more and transformed into flour.
Human hands mix flour with water to form a sort of "clay", which in Hebrew is the same word as “Adam” or "human!" 
Yeast - a living mix of organisms found in the air - is added. Reactivated in water, yeast transforms a lump of dough from clay to bread.

Fed by honey or molasses and the sugars in the flour, sister yeast eats sugar and emits carbon dioxide. Eating sugar and burping air, it leavens and gives lightness and flavor to dough that otherwise would be dense and heavy.
As hands knead this potential food, protein (gluten) in the wheat flour is stretched, and cross-knitted into elastic, pliable strands. The capacity to rise and become something new is nurtured through rhythmic work.

The dough must now rest, expanding slowly, in a warm place. The baker deflates the dough and undisturbed, it rises again.
Skilled hands form risen dough into loaves and place them in pans for one last rise. The beautiful loaves now must be slashed to let air escape in the heat of the oven. In Italian, the oven is “il forno” and in a wonderful unity of roles, the baker (also called "il forno") receives bread for baking.

Heat brings more change. Does it ever end? At a certain temperature, sugars in the pale dough caramelize and form a brown crust. Heated even more, the yeast dies, having given itself completely. When the bread comes from the oven, its transformation continues. The crumb and texture continue to take shape. Bread cools. We eat. This transformational food becomes us, uniting all who bless, break and share him. We become what we receive, one loaf, one Body, transformed into food for others.

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Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Monday, August 15th 2022 2:27 pm

Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice

3 cups riced cauliflower (see notes for how to rice it)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, or unsalted butter
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice, or juice from one fresh lime
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil or butter. Once hot, add the riced cauliflower.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is tender, but still has a little bite, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove from heat, add the lime juice and chopped cilantro, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


  • There are a few options when ricing cauliflower. Regardless of which approach you choose, start with clean, dry cauliflower florets and peeled stem.
    • Chef's knife: On a large cutting board, chop the cauliflower until the size of large grains of rice.
    • Grater: Use the medium-sized holes of a box grater to grate the cauliflower.
    • Food processor: Pulse the florets until the desired size is reached. Don't over-process.
  • If you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, try this recipe with just the lime, or substitute chopped parsley, mint, or even epazote.
  • For a heartier variation, try red Spanish style cauliflower rice. Add minced garlic and tomato puree.
  • Or if you prefer, try cauliflower with just butter and salt.

Cauliflower is one of those veggies that I only seem to like when I don't realize I'm eating it.  But since someone gave me a few heads the other day, I've been looking for ways to use it.  I found this recipe that includes not just the florets (the parts you get in a veggie tray) but also the stems.  And to top it off, it's an easy and quick recipe that I used as a side-dish this weekend.  I used the food processor option to rice it.  This recipe and photo was taken and adapted from The Spruce Eats.

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Hmong Egg Rolls

Monday, March 13th 2023 6:00 am

1/2 bag of Vermicelli Glass Noodles (found in Asian section of store)
1 package egg roll wrappers
1/4 C oyster sauce or soy sauce for a milder flavor
1/8 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 head cabbage
3-4 carrots, cut in match-sticks
1/2 bundle of cilantro (optional)
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 bag of bean sprouts
Cooking oil (up to 1 qt, if deep frying) *See below for how to bake rather than deep fry.
1 egg yolk, whisked smooth in a small bowl


  1. Thaw egg roll wrappers at room temperature, NOT in the microwave.
  2. Soak noodles in hot water for 15-30 minutes. Drain off water in a colander and cut noodles in half using scissors.
  3. Heat cooking oil to 325 degrees in a large Dutch oven or frying pan (if deep frying).
  4. Shred cabbage thinly, chop onions and cilantro and mix well with noodles, carrots and other ingredients.
  5. See the diagram below for illustration on how to wrap egg rolls.  Kids love to help!
  6. Place 1 egg roll wrapper (corner facing you) on the counter in front of you (keep others covered with a damp cloth).
  7. Place 1/4-1/2 C of filling diagonally in the center of the wrapper.
  8. Fold the corner (facing you) up over the filling. Fold in both sides.
  9. Moisten the edges of the last flap with egg yolk and roll over until the flap is completely wound around the egg roll.
  10. When all egg rolls are “rolled,” put several in a frying pan, leaving room between each egg roll.
  11. Turn egg rolls over when golden brown (fry for about 3 minutes on each side).
  12. Drain on a paper towel-lined cooking sheet. Keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remaining egg rol


  • For extra protein in the recipe above, add 10 oz package of firm or extra firm tofu, with moisture squeezed out.
  • Egg roll filling can also include meat,  Cook and drain about 1/2 # of ground pork or beef for the recipe above.
  • To bake rather than deep fry egg rolls, preheat oven to 400. Place a pan 1/2 filled with water on the bottom rack. Bake on a parchment or foil-lined, greased baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning rolls halfway through until golden brown.
  • Serve with rice, soy sauce and any sauce of your choice as an appetizer or a meal.

Who doesn’t like egg rolls? They are a celebration food!   When the Hmong Community Center has an egg roll sale in La Crosse there is often a line out the door! Yee Xiong, virtual worker at St. Rose Convent, used to make this recipe on special occasions at the Villa to entice Sisters and staff to the Terrace for an event!  She will tell you that they are served at important family occasions in Hmong culture. Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean cuisines have their own version. Needless to say, they are made with love and care, often by a big kitchen team!

Foods like egg rolls carry stories, memories and culture from one generation to the next. Most ethnicities have some kind of hand-held fried, baked or steamed food with a special filling: Italian rice balls, Polish pierogi, Mexican empanadas and tamales, to name a few. What ethnic dishes convey your cultural identity, meatless or not? Share one or just its name and we’ll do some research!

To learn more about Hmong culture, see the website of a popular La Crosse Restaurant, Hmong Golden Egg Rolls, pictured above. Also, see the La Crosse Public Library website. Their main campus has displays of Hmong clothing, Hmong terature and more.

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I'm Passing the Baton!

Friday, August 19th 2022 12:37 pm

Hello again, Iggy here, in what will be my last update on The Seasoned Franciscan. But worry not! The recipe swap will go on with Vicki Lopez-Kaley taking the lead as of Monday (Aug. 22, 2022). Vicki will be slowing the pace of recipe posts to once per week, but may also include posts about how to can and preserve food, among other things, so be on the lookout for that!

It's been a journey getting this recipe swap up and running. I've learned so much about what goes into setting up a webpage. Even on an established site like, it's a lot. Also about promotion and getting the word out. I talk about The Seasoned Franciscan frequently, saying I've posted this or that or that someone should check out our recipe page, and sometimes I get curious questions and sometimes I don't. And both of those are ok, this isn't for everyone.

I do have some final thoughts I'd like to share. We're starting to get off the ground with people sending in recipes, and I hope we keep gaining momentum! Remember, the categories do not have to overlap (there's not a lot about that tortellini recipe that's seasonal or foraged), and we're very interested in sharing the different ways people like to eat. I hope in the future we see more indigenous, ethnic, and heritage recipes. I know I'll be sending in my Austrian Kaiserschmarrn (a spin on pancakes) recipe as soon as I find it since that part of my heritage is incredibly important to me. I think it's incredibly important to explore not just our own heritages but also the ethnicities we share this earth with in order to grow as a healthy society. So please, share recipes you may have found that your grandmother made for you, share the ones that you've found that your friend taught you years ago, and share the ones that you've learned through your travels and experiences. And share recipes that are new to you, too, since the world of food continues to be exciting and innovative!

With an emotional heart, it is time for me to say goodbye. I'll still send recipes in, but since I will no longer serve with FSPA after today I will no longer be creating posts. But I'll be following along, and I'm excited to see and try what you like to eat! Happy cooking to you all!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Quick Chicken Pot Pie

Monday, January 30th 2023 6:00 am

1 can (10.5 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup, not diluted
1/2 C milk
2 cups cooked, shredded or chopped chicken (see options below)
2 C frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, corn, peas), thawed (about one 10-oz package)
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese (optional)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves)
3/4 C Bisquick baking mix
1/4 C cornmeal (optional)
1 egg
1/2 C milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9” deep-dish pie plate, or a 9” square baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together condensed soup, milk, chicken, thawed vegetables, cheese and thyme.
  3. Transfer the chicken mixture to the prepared dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the remaining ingredients for the topping. Pour over the chicken mixture.
  5. Bake the pot pie for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot.

Chicken Options:
Rotisserie chicken: Shred and use in recipe, as instructed.
Boiled/pulled chicken: Boil about 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken.
Leftover chicken: Put leftover grilled or baked chicken from a previous meal to good use.
Canned chicken: Differs in quality, price, taste and texture.

I recently made turkey pot pie, mostly from scratch. It was delicious, but took some time, even with store-bought crusts! This recipe from The Seasoned Mom (pictured above) is quick and satisfying. It relies on pantry staples like canned soup, frozen veggies and baking mix rather than “from scratch” ingredients, with several easy options for the chicken. Read on for a list of pantry staples that both chefs and nutritionists recommend!

Pantry Recommendations:
Canned vegetables and fruits: When fresh or home canned isn’t an option, canned corn, tomatoes (diced, whole, crushed, paste, juice), butternut squash, pumpkin, broth and legumes, especially low salt and organic options are good pantry choices. Green vegetables (asparagus, green beans, peas) aren’t suited to canning and lose nutrients and flavor during the thermal canning process. The same is true for canned meats. Frozen is the best alternative to fresh fruit rather than canned due to added sugars and preservatives. Unless it’s grown locally, fruit in the grocery store is often picked unripe. This allows them time to fully ripen during transportation. It also gives them less time to develop a full range of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants. Prepared pantry items, such as salsa, water chestnuts, anchovies, capers, green chilis, olives and pickled jalapeños also add interest to many recipes.

Frozen vegetables and fruits: Freshly picked fruits and vegetables straight from the farm or garden are of the highest quality. Frozen options offer convenience, affordability, and a longer shelf life than their fresh counterparts. Because ripe produce is typically frozen right after harvest, it retains much of its nutrient value. Recommendations include broccoli, peas, corn, carrots, butternut squash, artichoke hearts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower rice, edamame, and spinach. Frozen berries and other fruits that you will consume within the recommended “shelf” life are good options when fresh is not in season. Frozen organic produce is often available.

Baking mixes: Box mixes are typically less healthy than baking from scratch, but are considerably less time-consuming, such as General Mills' Bisquick in the recipe above. When shopping, consider a few whole grain and organic brands for biscuits, pancakes, cakes and more. Bob’s Red Mill has a wide range of products and Kodiak brand specializes in high-protein ingredients. Consider making a homemade Bisquick substitute to control the ingredients in lots of your favorite dishes!

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Pasta Fresca

Monday, September 26th 2022 6:00 am

Pasta Fresca

4 C chopped ripe tomatoes
6-8 large fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound butterfly (bow tie) or fusilli pasta
½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes (The block type, can be substituted.)
grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional)

(Fresh Mozzarella comes in a large white ball sealed in plastic or in other sizes. It is sometimes packaged in a slightly salted liquid. Fresh is creamier and softer than block cheese, and worth a taste! Try Belgioso brand, an award-winning cheese made in Denmark, WI near Green Bay!)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.
Set aside 1 cup of the chopped tomatoes and 2 of the basil leaves. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining tomatoes and basil with the garlic and olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, stir in the pasta. Return to a boil. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cut the reserved basil leaves into thin strips.
Drain the cooked pasta. Toss it immediately with the mozzarella cheese cubes. Add the sauce and mix well.
Top with the reserved tomatoes, basil, and grated cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Per 8 oz serving: 273 calories, 11.7g protein, 9.2 grams fat, 36.2 grams carbohydrate, 173 mg sodium, 63 mg cholesterol

Summer abundance. It pours forth richly and wonderfully in oh so many ways. Including tomatoes! Making quick and easy meals gives us more time to enjoy summer abundance. This is one of the Margaret Bluske family's favorite quick and easy recipes, made all the more delicious by the fact that it is strictly for this time of year when the tomatoes are vine-ripened and the basil is fresh. Enjoy, courtesy of The Moosewood Collective and Margaret Bluske.

Buying local can be as local as our own garden tomatoes, basil and garlic. It used to mean foraging in the nearby forest or hunting and fishing, too.  In our day, buying local is a discipline that can do wonders for the earth. Buying from local storekeepers, farmers, and industries honors people who work the land and support the community through goods and services. When a household, workplace or any institution to which we belong buys local, the connection we have with our neighbors grows stronger.

Consider these local sources: farmer's markets, local food co-op, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), bartering, regional farms and businesses like Belgioso Cheese noted above.  Although we may sometimes enjoy the convenience of shopping online or at a big chain, the effort to buy local protects the earth and all who inhabit Our Common Home all year and in this Season of Creation.

The photo above was taken at Pedal Pushers’ Café in Lanesboro, Minnesota. They buy fresh and local organic food – Farm to Table - as much as possible, saving fuel, pesticides/herbicides, local jobs and the family farm economy.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Native American Heritage Month

Monday, October 31st 2022 6:00 am

One Halloween, our daughter wanted to dress up as her favorite movie heroine, Pocahontas. The music, theme and spirit of the Disney film captured her deeply. We had a dilemma. Her 8-year-old heart was in a place of real admiration and couldn’t fully grasp why this might be perceived as disrespectful. We explained as much as we could. Still disappointed, we found another costume route and agreed to read together about native peoples. It was a family lesson about the appropriation of another culture without true knowledge of it.

National Native American Heritage Month in November invites us to explore the heritage, culture and experience of Indigenous peoples both historically and in American life today. What has humanity gained from their knowledge and experience? And what wisdom do we still find difficult to follow?

This month The Seasoned Franciscan will include recipes for foods sacred to Native Americans. What experiences do you have with corn? cranberries? wild rice? turkey? other game and fish? If you are in Wisconsin, these are all indigenous to where we live, but other regions have their own indigenous richness. Use these recipes to explore the stories they pass on.

Besides learning about Native American life, this month is a time to honor the Saints' triumphant, our own ancestors who came before us. We are invited to explore our own food heritage from the ethnic groups that most influence our identity and also what grows near where we live. What foods convey your values, spirit and stories during the holidays, for example? Please share your recipes and stories.

We’ll also touch on a few principles that may be new to you:

The Seventh Generation: Native American tribes hold dear the concept of seven generations of planning. It means that the impact of decisions today should consider the potential benefits or harm that would be felt by seven future generations. That is about 150 years. This is a principle that shaped the US Constitution!

The Seventh Generation Principle today is generally referred to regarding decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources and ensuring those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future.

For many tribes, strengthening the next seven generations starts with nutrition. Studies in their own communities document a rise in obesity, diabetes and youth becoming increasingly obese at younger ages. Studies show that native peoples who return to eating as their ancestors did rather than a Standard American Diet have positive results in their weight, chronic disease management and overall health.

Food “Sovereignty” is important to native peoples all over the world. Food Sovereignty is “the right to define, produce and consume foods that are appropriate to their culture and produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods” rather than controlled by corporations.” – Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

Some examples of Food Sovereignty are:

  • the Oneida Nation near Green Bay is planting, harvesting, processing and sharing the indigenous white flint corn which is so healthy for their future physically, economically and spiritually.
  • American Indians in Wisconsin, Montana and other areas are carving out grazing rights for Bison and working to live in harmony with cattle rancher.
  • Our local Ho-Chunk DNR is encouraging native gardeners and farmers to grow heirloom squash for its cultural and nutritional value. These are all means to keep their lives and identity flourish for the next 150 years: seven generations!

*The first recorded concepts of the Seventh Generation Principle date back to the writing of The Great Law of Haudenosaunee Confederacy, although the actual date is undetermined, the range of conjectures place its writing anywhere from 1142 to 1500 AD. The Great Law of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy formed the political, ceremonial, and social fabric of the Five Nation Confederacy (later Six). The Great Law of Haudenosaunee Confederacy is also credited as being a contributing influence on the American Constitution, due to Benjamin Franklin’s great respect for the Haudenosaunee system of government (source:

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Japanese Pancakes - Okonomiyaki

Monday, April 24th 2023 6:00 am

2 eggs or 1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid that remains when you drain canned legumes, like pintos)
1 C vegetable broth
2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C fresh or frozen thinly sliced cabbage, coleslaw mix (no dressing), or other cabbage-like greens (e.g. bok choy)


  1. Heat pan or griddle over medium-high heat
  2. Combine eggs/aquafaba, flour, and cabbage
  3. Slowly incorporate vegetable broth, stirring in with a whisk until the batter is pancake batter consistency
  4. Ladle 3/8 cup batter onto pan or griddle
  5. Cook until liquid around edges have fully cooked and then flip to other side to finish cooking
  6. Serve with a tangy sauce made of one part mustard to two parts mayonnaise (serves 10 4-inch pancakes)

Meredeth Hink shares a recipe “that should be appropriate for this time of year. I have been making these pancakes for my family since I was in high school. They are easy to make and a great way to use up leftover vegetables, especially cabbage/coleslaw mix. They can be made vegetarian or vegan (if you use the aquafaba, which is basically the water saved from canned beans).”

Okonomiyaki, in its different variations, started to become more popular during WWII when rice became scarce and residents had to be creative in using other more readily available ingredients. The simple wheat pancake fit the bill and and people started to add more ingredients such as eggs, pork, cabbage and mayo-based sauce.

Japanese values of culture, health and the environment are seen in Japanese school lunches. In grades 1 and above there are no snacks. Food is made from scratch. Fruit, veggies, meat, fish, milk, etc. are from school farms and local sources. Processed foods are avoided: no tater tots, frozen pizza, frozen breaded meat or fish patties and fruit rather than sugary desserts. Compare your experience of school lunch with that of Japan, by clicking: American and Japanese people swap school lunches.

“The 45-minute lunch period is considered as an educational period, same as math or reading”, said the principal of Gr 1-6 elementary school with 682 students in Saitama. Observe in a 9-minute video: School Lunch in Japan - It isn't just about eating.

In many countries, and some US communities, change is coming in schools and other institutions. In the US, changes in the food system are slow for 3 main reasons.

Business: Large US and global food companies have relationships and investments with institutions like school boards and other leaders who decide where to buy food.

Media: Advertising dollars spent on high-calorie, low-nutritional foods lead highly processed options to be more in demand by students (and many parents) than fresh produce and made-from-scratch options. Many kids do not get homemade food at home to notice the difference. Many adults don't cook from scratch often.

Budget: Fresh food cooked daily from scratch is harder and takes more time and investment. Schools and other institutions must believe it's worth the effort to prioritize the health of both eaters and the planet.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes for our Lady of Guadalupe

Monday, December 12th 2022 6:00 am

Mexican Wedding Cakes

(Also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies)

1 C butter, softened
8 T of powdered sugar
2 C all-purpose flour
1 C chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 T milk
Powdered sugar (to roll cookies in after baked)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together with a mixer.
  3. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 min
  4. Cool, then shake in a plastic bag of powdered sugar. Consider making a batch without nuts.

In Mexico and among many connected with cultures south of the U.S. border, Dec. 12th is a favorite Marian feast day. People dress up and many bring roses as they attend early morning Mass, complete with Mariachi music. All are welcome to celebrate with food. The devotion and reverence are unlike anything you have ever seen.

Our Lady’s image preserved on the cloak of Juan Diego is one of a dark-complected, pregnant woman standing in the posture of a conqueror over evil and resembling a revered Aztec princess. Her appearance as a woman who looked like them drew the hearts of the native people to embrace the Christian mystery of the Incarnation. Isn’t it just like our God to come in the familiar!

An old friend, Ana Maria makes these “Mexican Wedding Cakes” that are just like the Russian Tea Cakes or Snowball Cookies other cultures make for the holidays. A good thing by any name is loved by all! In Our Lady's honor, bake!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Welcome to the Seasoned Franciscan!

Tuesday, July 26th 2022 10:19 am

Hello and welcome!

I’m Iggy Bauer, a current AmeriCorps Service Member with FSPA. I’m one of those people that likes to cook my own meals and try new things, and I avoid fast food. Even when I buy pre-made food (like macaroni and cheese or cereal), I like to dress it up when I can. When people ask me why, my usual response is, “Life’s too short to eat cr**py food.” And it is! There’s a whole world of flavors out there that we don’t always think about eating. For instance, next time you make a box of macaroni and cheese, why not add some caramelized onion and extra shredded cheese?

But even more than wanting to fill my life with good food, I want to learn and show people how to eat sustainably. This recipe-sharing page comes from a mixture of that goal and the Laudato Si’ goals that I’ve been immersing myself in for most of the last year. Laudato Si’ asks us to care for the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor, to adopt simple lifestyles, and to embrace ecological economics, all of which can be helped by being mindful of what we eat and how that affects the world around us. To me, eating sustainably is an adventure in trying new recipes and new foods, and looking at different ways to set up a meal.

Eating Seasonally

Part of the goal of this webpage is to show how to eat more sustainably by eating seasonally and locally. Food that comes from the garden in town (and the FSPA garden), or the small family farm just a few miles away, is almost always going to have a lower carbon footprint, not to mention a higher impact on the local economy and the livelihoods of our neighbors. This helps us eat seasonally, too, since the gardeners and farmers will provide what they have at the moment: cucumbers and tomatoes in the summer, squash and potatoes in the fall, meats and preserved goods in the winter, asparagus and lettuce in the spring, and everything in between.

Exploring our Heritages

But there’s another aspect to eating sustainably, and that’s remembering the people and cultural part of eating. These are things we’ve almost lost in the decades of tv dinners and boxed food. We’ve largely forgotten how to cook the way our grandmothers and their mothers did, making everything from scratch and passing recipes down through generations. While we share recipes that we remember from our childhoods (or perhaps recipes that we’ve perfected and plan to pass down in our own families), we can also discover rich recipes from cultures that may not be our own.

Embracing Indigenous and Ethnic Foods

Indigenous and ethnic groups have ways of preparing food that are incredibly flavorful and different from what we’d expect, and these foods are generally better for the land it comes from. And when we share recipes between cultures, we help grow and preserve those cultures. I encourage you to watch this TED Talk by Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe woman from White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. She talks about how important it is to be mindful of what you’re eating by showing how her people view food as their relatives, as well as discussing some problems with our larger food systems as they currently are.

Submitting Recipes and Subscribing to our Page

I’d go into these problems more, but I’ve already talked too long. You’re here for recipes, right? Through the end of my AmeriCorps service term with FSPA, I’ll be uploading the recipes we’ve all shared one at a time throughout the week. Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving in mid-August (which is coming up faster than expected). After I’m done, Affiliate Vicki Lopez-Kaley will be taking over for me. Recipes will still be shared, but more likely only once a week.

Remember, you can always subscribe at the bottom of this page or any recipe page so that new recipes go straight to your email inbox! The best way to get recipes to us is by emailing them to, or by submitting physical copies to the St. Rose front desk (look for the Recipe Swap Box). We’ll keep on accepting new recipes, so please keep sending them! Happy cooking!

Easy Homemade Salsa and How to Can It

Friday, September 2nd 2022 6:00 am

Easy Homemade Salsa

Note the amounts listed for 2 pints to eat right away or 8 pints to can for later. Seven jars fill a typical canner!

Ingredients:                                        2 pints               8 pints
Fresh tomatoes, peeled                       2 C                     8 C
Diced onion                                         1 medium           4 medium
Finely minced garlic                             2 cloves             8 cloves
Green Pepper, diced                            1                        4
Diced green chilis                                 4 oz can            4 - 4 oz cans
OR diced Jalapeno Peppers                2                        8
Chili powder                                         1/4 tsp               1 tsp
Wine vinegar                                        1 T                     1/4 C  (4 T)
Salt                                                       1/4 tsp               1 tsp
Tabasco sauce OR dried chili flakes    1/8 tsp               1/2 tsp


  1. Wash tomatoes and green peppers in cold running water.
  2. To peel tomatoes, fill a large pan with water and bring to a boil. Gently lower fresh tomatoes into the water and boil for about 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put cold water in your sink or into a large bowl. Gently lift tomatoes out of boiling water and place them in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Add ice cubes, as necessary to cool the tomatoes. Briefly strain the cool tomatoes and place in a clean bowl.
  5. Use a paring knife to core them and remove the peels. Chop or break into smaller pieces.
  6. Mix tomatoes and other ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Put in a blender if a smoother mixture is desired.  Bring to room temperature before canning.

This recipe from a friend Karen Imholte is great with chips, as a base for chili with beans, or in Mexican dishes.  Canning it gives you “summer in a jar” all year long!  Heat the salsa before putting in hot jars for water bath canning. More info below.

We once bought a house with a large basement lined with wooden shelves against one wall. Labels still designated places for jars of peaches, tomatoes, beans, sauerkraut, relish and more. It brought memories of my NaNa’s basement! If you have memories of canning, or a recipe, share it with The Seasoned Franciscan. Here’s a tune called “Canned Goods” from Greg Brown to spark some memories.

Learn to Can tomato products and other seasonal vegetables and fruits from experts at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They get credit for this post’s photo, too. Use good ingredients, the right tools and food safety facts. Work with a trusted cookbook or the NCFHC. It also calls for a communal effort. Call a friend or your Grandma!

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"Cooking Joyfully" from the Pantry

Monday, January 16th 2023 6:00 am

After turkey leftovers were gone and cookies put away in one way or another, I thought about Cooking Joyfully, the subtitle of this recipe swap. In mid-winter, Cooking Joyfully can be a challenge for me. I no longer have fresh summer tomatoes or just-picked winter squash. There are no holiday feasts to motivate me day after day and meal after meal. There is Easter, but until then, the meatless meals of Lent can get boring. “What can keep me Cooking Joyfully at this time of year?”

My conclusion was this: I have more than plenty of meal options in my cupboards, fridge and freezer which I call the pantry! And…I have to use what I have! This means rethinking my pantry. Can I consider the PANTRY as a tool (dare I say SKILL) to foster Cooking Joyfully? Even a small area to store snacks is a pantry and a privilege. Why a privilege? Here are 3 examples:

1.) If I am unhoused, food storage may be my pockets or a backpack for high-calorie food to keep me going. A church or school food pantry may sustain me, but it’s not my own. 2.) When transportation options and cash are limited, I may choose high-calorie convenience foods to satisfy the family. No time to plan out a healthy menu! 3.) American grocery stores are examples of abundance. In fact, a common source of culture shock for immigrants or for missionaries returning to the states is how much food we have. There is enough to feed a small country in one store! In our privilege, we take that for granted. Is my pantry OVER-full?

Consider how creating a more mindful and sustainable pantry can support Cooking Joyfully. If you're privileged to have a stocked pantry as I am, let's shop in it and cook from it with that in mind. It may lead us to live more simply and be more generous. We can start by asking ourselves a few questions.

For example: Do I know what’s in my cupboards? How many meals would I find there? What pantry items, (including fridge and freezer) do I use frequently? Which help me cook healthy food with some ease? What items are inexpensive and versatile for healthy meals and enjoyable snacks? How could I improve meal planning? Do I make a shopping list? Which grocery aisles would I like to avoid more often...snacks, soft drinks, processed foods, red meat?

Our answers will be as different as we are and, hopefully, will lead to some insight and action. We may create more JOY in the ways we interact with food. You are welcome to share your “from the pantry” and “Cooking Joyfully” recipes and experiences.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Monday, November 14th 2022 6:00 am


Uncooked Cranberry Relish

1 12-ounce bag of whole fresh cranberries, washed and patted dry (remove any bruised or unripe fruits)
1 thin-skinned, seedless orange
1 C sugar


  1. Wash the cranberries and orange and pat dry. Remove any bruised or unripe berries. 
  2. Cut the oranges into quarters. Remove the seeds and then chop them up roughly.
  3. Either in an old-fashioned meat grinder or food processor, chop the raw cranberries and oranges.
  4. Transfer to a glass or ceramic serving bowl and add the sugar.
  5. Cover with plastic and let stand for 24 hours. Refrigerate after that; this will keep for 2 weeks.
  6. Leftovers can be used as a dressing for leftover turkey sandwiches.

The recipe above is an old-fashioned salad for holiday tables. What canned, cooked, or other cranberry recipes are in your food heritage? Cranberries or Mashkiigimin in Ojibwe have been used by American Indians for many purposes. The berry has immense medicinal properties. It is high in antioxidants and many other nutrients. Its juice can be used as a dye to brighten the colors of blankets and rugs. English settlers thought the cranberry flower resembled a Sandhill Crane and gave it the name “cran” berry as you can see in the photo above from the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers. The site also has some great recipes!

Today, cranberries are farmed. They don’t grow in water, but on land. Wisconsin cranberry marshes are flooded when the fruit is fully ripe to help in the harvest. Inside each berry are small air pockets that allow them to float so modern harvesting machines can easily pick them up. Cranberries are the leading fruit crop of Wisconsin, its official state fruit. Sauce, dried and fresh cranberries make up 95% of its use. Because of their tartness, only about 5% are consumed as juice. Cranberry information is from the American Indian School Nutrition toolkit.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Pumpkin Soup

Monday, October 24th 2022 6:00 am

Pumpkin Soup

2 whole pie pumpkins, washed OR
3 15 oz cans “pure” pumpkin puree (see note for more about canned pumpkin)
1 qt. (4 oz) vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 C heavy cream or evaporated milk
1/3 C maple syrup (local to your region, if possible)
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
extra cream and toasted pumpkin seeds, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. If using fresh pie pumpkins, place them on a cookie sheet and roast them until slightly shriveled and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then slice in half and carefully scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop flesh into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a pot, heat up the pumpkin flesh (fresh or canned) with the stock and maple syrup until simmering. If using fresh, you will need to mash out the big chunks, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and nutmeg and completely combine. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Reheat if needed. Garnish with a drizzle of cream and pumpkin seeds, if available.

Small sugar pumpkins have denser, meatier, more colorful, sweeter flesh than the large ones we use as decoration, so if you do want to make pie (or other pumpkin) recipes completely from scratch, use those. Canned “Pumpkin Puree” is a mixture of squashes, bred for their resemblance to the smaller pie pumpkin. In contrast, canned “Pumpkin Pie Filling” includes added spices, sugar, salt, and water.

Many scholars use food as a means of tracing history and culture. What can we learn from the simple pumpkin? For example, the first Thanksgiving in 1621, is not likely to have had pumpkin pie on the menu since there were no ovens for baking in America at the time, no European wheat or enough sugar to make this dessert.

But, some Native peoples made pumpkin porridge with milk, honey, and spices poured into hollowed-out pumpkin shells, which were roasted whole in hot ashes until blackened, soft, and steamy. Later, with the use of metal pots brought by the colonizers, they had more cooking options. Don't I take my oven for granted!

Pumpkins and squash are believed to be native to Central America. The very first wild pumpkins were probably extremely bitter and small, but once they began to be cultivated by indigenous farmers for their flesh, they grew sweeter and more palatable. As tribes established extensive trade routes, many seed varieties traveled north, including this nutritious “sister” and its siblings tomatoes, potatoes, chilis and more. Once Europeans came to America, they began growing pumpkins as a staple food crop. European explorers as far back as the 1530s brought pumpkin seeds home with them, which explains why French and English cookbooks in the 1600s contain pumpkin recipes. Today, even China and India are among the largest pumpkin growers in the world.

Some of these details come from Jen Wheeler at

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Meat and Bulgur Sloppy Joe's

Monday, May 8th 2023 6:00 am

2 T extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz lean ground beef or turkey
1/4 C bulgur (*see note)
2 T chili powder
1 tsp smoked or regular paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C water
1/3 C ketchup
1/3 C tomato sauce (low sodium or salt-free)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
Serves 4

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer pink, 3-4 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Stir in remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the bulgur is tender, 10-12 minutes.

Traditionally served with pickles and potato chips as pictured above by in The Untold Truth of Sloppy Joes.

*Note: Bulgur is a quick-cooking whole grain that’s made by parboiling, drying and grinding or cracking wheat berries. It can be fine or coarse, which has a similar texture as cooked ground meat. Using it in this recipe cuts the saturated fat in half and adds 6 grams of fiber. With a whole wheat bun, the fiber count goes up some more!

Bulgur can be found in the whole foods section in bags or in bulk. Bob's Red Mill is a popular brand. Click this All Recipe link for a video version of preparing this recipe using all beef!

Bulgur: Bulgur is a whole grain, meaning it contains the endosperm, germ and bran of the grain. Because it comes from the whole wheat seed or “berry”, it is rich in fiber, B vitamins and other nutrients and has a nutty taste no matter what seasonings are used. The wheat berry itself can also be used after cooking in many similar dishes.

Bulgur is a wheat product. We picture “amber waves of grain”, wheat shining in the sun across the American Plains. While wheat grows in many parts of the world today, the humble origin of wheat is Egypt, the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean or the “fertile crescent.” Originally, foraged, early cultivated species of wheat were einkorn, emmer and spelt which are gaining interest today for their health benefits.

The first bread was most likely baked in Egypt where archeologists believe it may have been the result of flour accidentally falling into the brewing barley beer. Huge wood-fired ovens have been unearthed in Egypt which may have been built and stoked with wood by the hands of Hebrew slaves and others. Jesus and his friends would have been raised on whole wheat barley and wheat loaves of all kinds.

Cooked, bulgur can be added to bread dough (reduce flour in recipe by 3/4 C and water by 1/4 C.) Use it in a Greek Salad called Tabouli or as a substitute for rice or couscous.

Sloppy Joes: Some believe that this popular sandwich is a more flavorful version of a Midwest “loose meat” sandwich like Iowa’s Maid-Rite or Nu-Way. writes that the Sloppy Joe got its start in Sioux City where a cook named Joe (translate “common” Joe) added tomato sauce and seasonings to a loose hamburger, making it sloppy. Others claim it originated in a messy or “sloppy” restaurant owned by Jose Otero in Havana, Cuba. His sandwich became known by his nickname, “Sloppy Joe.” It seems a famous patron was Ernest Hemmingway who convinced a friend in Key West, Florida to Americanize the sandwich and rename his restaurant “Sloppy Joe’s!” This eatery still serves over 50,000 “Sloppy Joes” and hosts a yearly Hemmingway look-a-like contest. Conagra's Hunts Foods (known for tomato products and ketchup) developed a special sauce named “Manwich,” advertising that “a sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal!” presenting an even quicker route to the convenient dish.

The Sloppy Joe is a popular school lunch item and can be made for a crowd at home in a slow cooker or “Nesco.” Today the Sloppy Joe has meatless versions using all bulgur or TVP (textured vegetable protein). A leaner version called the Sloppy Jane, is made with ground turkey. Sloppy Joe filling can be served on a hoagie and topped with cheese, wrapped in lettuce or a tortilla, embellished with coleslaw and onions. Variations make it an even more popular recipe!

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Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

Friday, August 5th 2022 5:46 pm

Seed to Skin Squash Sage Pasta

5–7 sage leaves
(or 1 tbsp dried sage)
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped (keep the skin and seeds)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (save the skins for your vegetable stock or compost them)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp paprika
3/4 Cup milk
1 pound pasta
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Handful of shredded kale


  1. Preheat your oven to 390 F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sage, squash seeds and skins with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Remove from the tray once roasted and lightly crisped. Separate the sage, seeds and skins for later.
  3. Put your butternut squash, garlic and onion on the same baking tray with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and the paprika. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp and the flesh is soft. Once ready, leave to cool on the baking tray.
  4. To a blender or food processor, add your roasted garlic and onion and half of the milk. Give this a good blend until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted butternut squash, a few leaves of roasted sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until thick and a bit chunky still – if you blend at a high speed continuously you’ll end up making a soup.
  5. Cook the pasta until tender (or cooked to your liking), then transfer to a serving bowl with heaping spoonfuls of the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Serve with the roasted pumpkin skins and toasted seeds. Adding a bit of leafy greens like shredded kale can really give this dish more nutritional value (we musn’t forget our greens).

While looking for new food scrap recipes, I came across this yummy-looking pasta. I haven't had a squash yet in order to try it, so if you do please let me know how it turns out! I'm really looking forward to fall and an end to summer's heat this year, so I wanted to post a fall recipe a little early. I think this one is intriguing since I'm used to eating squash seeds (I love roasted pumpkin seeds in the fall) but I've never thought to eat the skins. This recipe is adapted from Chef Max La Manna.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Pepperkaker Cookies

Monday, January 2nd 2023 6:00 am

Old Fashioned Pepperkaker

2 C sugar
3/4 C plus 2 T butter
1/3 C light syrup*
2/3 C heavy cream
1 T cognac (optional) brandy, wine or sherry also work well
4 tsp ginger
4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp cloves, crushed *
1 T baking soda
6 -7 C flour


  1. In a large saucepan, add the sugar, butter and syrup. Stir together and heat until melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the mixture has cooled down a bit, stir in the heavy cream and cognac, if using.
  3. Add the spices, baking soda and a little flour at a time to the mixture. Check the dough just before you have added 6 C flour. You want a smooth and relatively firm dough, so you may not use all of the flour.
  4. Take the dough out of the pan, cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Allow the dough to stand at room temperature for a little while before rolling out the dough. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pieces of the dough to a thickness of about 0.5 cm (even slightly less) and cut into shapes as desired. Place on a prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You want the edges to brown a little and crisp up. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. You can decorate the pepperkaker with icing or powdered sugar or anything else your heart desires. Store in cookie tins and enjoy!

*Syrup (or sirap) in Norway is made from sugar beets, not corn. It is a kind of light liquid molasses syrup with a caramel flavor. Therefore, you may substitute light syrup with golden syrup (like Lyle’s Golden Syrup). It is possible to use corn syrup, but light syrup in Norway is fairly thin and sweet with a taste of brown sugar. Alternatively, you can swap in some molasses for a darker color and deeper taste.

*You may crush whole cloves rather than use ground cloves. Crushed cloves are more coarse, which gives some texture and a more pronounced flavor. Adds to that rustic feel.

“This recipe is one which I have made the last few years for Christmas,” said Director of Affiliation Michael Krueger. “It is a Norwegian gingerbread recipe. Due to freshly ground cloves and pepper, it has a spicier taste to it. Using either molasses or light syrup, you can create a darker or lighter dough when preparing the cookies.”

Pepperkaker means “pepper cookies.” In Sweden, pepperkaker is eaten at Christmas and during Fika, meaning at any coffee break. It is also often served with Glögg which is Swedish mulled wine. They also taste great with milk! It is also very common to make pepperkakshus or gingerbread houses. They are made with a template for walls and roof and are thicker so the parts are easier to assemble with melted sugar and decorated with icing and candy. The Swedish Architecture and Design Center in Stockholm have hosted yearly competitions where children, architects and designers compete. So, Pepperkaker are taken seriously in Sweden!

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Tuna and Noodles Hot Dish

Monday, February 6th 2023 6:00 am

4 ounces wide egg noodles (slightly more than 2 cups)
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (see substitution below)
1/2 C milk
2 cans (5 oz each) of tuna in water, drained
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1 C potato chips, coarsely crushed
1/2 C frozen peas (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish; set aside. See variations below.
  2. Cook noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions, until al dente (about 5-6 minutes). Drain.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together condensed soup and milk. Gently stir in the cooked noodles, tuna and peas (if using). Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
  4. Sprinkle cheese on top, then crushed potato chips.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly.


  • Double the ingredients and bake in a deep 9x13-inch dish to serve a larger crowd.
  • Double the recipe. Tightly wrap 1 pan full with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for another meal. See "How to Freeze" section for details.
  • Top the hot dish with crushed Ritz crackers, buttered breadcrumbs, crushed French-fried onions, or crushed cornflakes cereal instead of potato chips.
  • Omit the peas, or substitute with a different vegetable like leftover corn or blanched broccoli florets, steamed or canned green beans or frozen (thawed) mixed vegetables.
  • Add canned mushrooms or sauteed fresh mushrooms.
  • Substitute leftover chicken or turkey in place of the tuna!

Tuna and noodles hot dish, aka casserole, is part of the upper, Midwest's unique food story. This recipe is similar to the one from a Campbell’s soup label. Is the quick supper that many of us grew up on! It’s a quick “from the pantry” meal that appeals to all ages. Maybe it’s the potato chip crust! We called Mrs. DeCur's version “Toodles and Nuna,” a slip of the tongue that stuck! What’s your favorite “hot dish” memory?

About Campbell's:

  • The humble beginnings of this company and the innovations and acquisitions that followed are not unlike the stories of other world food giants.  In 1869, Joseph Campbell, a wholesale produce vendor teamed up with Abraham Anderson, a commercial canner and packer to form Anderson & Campbell in Camden, New Jersey.  Soon the first jar of Beefsteak Tomato Soup became the signature product of what would soon be called Campbell’s Soup Company. By 1897, chemist John T. Dorrance invented condensed soup. He followed his father as CEO. Campbell’s products were distributed nationwide by 1911.  They now have plants worldwide!
  • In 1915, the company acquired “Franco-American”; “V-8” in 1941; "Pepperidge Farm" in 1963; “Pace Foods” in 1995; “Pacific Foods” in 2017; “Snyder’s-Lance” in 2018.  The list of familiar products under the Campbell umbrella is long including Swanson Pot pies, Prego, Milano cookies, and Goldfish!
  • Not without health controversies, Campbell’s lowered and then increased the salt content of its soup products.  Like other canners,  they address concerns over bisphenol A (BPA) chemicals in can linings and have agreed to label products that contain genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
  • Descendants of the Dorrance family still own a large block of shares in the company.  Speculation continues as to when they might sell to a larger food conglomerate. If you are interested in big business, the Forbes' Magazine story of what these heirs will do now reads a bit like a “soup” opera of conflicted characters!

Forbes' listed the 10 largest food companies in 2022: They are Nestle, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Coco-Cola Co, Mondelez International, Arthur-Daniels-Midland Company, Diageo PLC, Kweichow Moutai Co, Tyson Foods Inc and Danone (aka Dannon).

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Maple Amaranth Cornbread

Monday, April 17th 2023 6:00 am

1 C yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 C amaranth (may substitute all-purpose flour)
3 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 T maple syrup (pure is best!) 
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1/3 C warm water
1/2 C coconut oil (may substitute sunflower or corn oil)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8” baking dish with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add maple syrup and sweet pepper
  3. Stir in water until just combined, then add oil (a few lumps are fine)
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and gently smooth the batter
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Option: Brush additional maple syrup on cornbread as a glaze while still hot.

Story: The recipe Maple Amaranth Cornbread is shared by Meg Paulino who has been part of maple syrup production on Saint Joseph Ridge. It was posted by the Ho-Chunk Nation's Division of Health as a Harvest of the Month. For Indigenous people, both maple syrup and amaranth have many uses and sacred connections to their food sovereignty, culture and spirituality.

Amaranth Facts:

Amaranth has more than 70 species. It can grow up to 9’ and has bright purple, red, or yellow flowers. The young plants and growing tips of older plants make nutritious vegetables that can be boiled like spinach or eaten raw as salad.

Some varieties are valued ornamental plants as both the leaves and the flowers can be stunning. Others are grown for their seeds which can be cooked whole or ground into flour. The plant is indigenous to North and Central America but also grown today in China, India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. It is shown above during harvest in India.

Amaranth is considered a seed. The seed is about the size of a pinhead. Amaranth has 9 grams of protein per cup and twice the amount of protein as rice and corn. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It is also is gluten-free, and high in minerals and antioxidants.

It is harvested and stored much like other common cereals like quinoa and buckwheat. It can be stored whole in the pantry for 4 months or in the freezer for 8 months. Amaranth flour can be kept in the pantry for 2 months or in the freezer for up to 4 months. It pairs well with squash, corn, cinnamon, vanilla and chocolate. We would find Amaranth in the whole foods section of a coop or other grocery store. Bob's Red Mill is one of many companies that sells amaranth and other whole foods. Amaranth can be foraged. However, if it grows in an area that may have been sprayed or grows in pesticide-sprayed soil, it will most likely absorb the toxic chemicals, making the plant itself toxic.

This hardy plant has followed the cycles of colonization which brought it from its origins in mesoamerican to China, India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. The harvest of amaranth is shown above in India. Colorful names have been used for it's many species such as African spinach, bush greens, callaloo, Chinese spinach, golden grain of the Gods, Indian spinach, Joseph's coat, yin-choi and love-lies-bleeding and pigweed.

Ancient Indigenous Food:
The Aztecs of mesoamerica cultivated amaranth as one of their major crops and used it during several seasonal festivals honoring various deities. The American Indian Health and Diet Project describes one festival in May during which milled amaranth and toasted corn seeds are mixed with honey or maguay sap (much like agave). This sweet dough was used to make idols that represented the war god Huitzilopochtli. Food historian Jonathan D. Sauer writes that "during the festival meal these idols are broken up, distributed, and eaten in a communion-like ceremony."

"In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors banned the plant's cultivation, fearing that the spiritual connection with it would stymie the establishment of Catholicism on the continent. Quinoa had a similar demise, but was rediscovered centuries later."

Ecology journalist Cecilia Cowell writes in the Guardian, "It could feed the world: amaranth, a health trend 8,000 years old that survived colonization." She reports that "for many Indigenous farmers in Guatemala and the United States, growing amaranth has provided a degree of economic independence, but it has also offered a route to food sovereignty.

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Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

Monday, October 10th 2022 6:00 am

Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

For the squash:

2 C butternut, Seminole pumpkin or kabocha squash, peeled and cubed
pinch of salt
1 T balsamic vinegar (other vinegars will do)
1 T olive oil

For the beans and corn:
1-2 T olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, diced (other mild onion will do)
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 T chopped fresh parsley (1 ½ tsp dried)
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves (1 ½ tsp dried)
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves (1/3 tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/3 tsp dried)
2 ears corn (about 1½ C)
1 1/2 C pre-cooked or canned beans
salt and pepper, to taste
Serve with: wild rice, quinoa, arugula, or kale


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the squash cubes with salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until tender all the way through when you poke them with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a large Dutch oven for a few minutes, stirring. Add celery. Cook until both are soft and translucent. Stir in the red pepper and herbs.
  4. Slice the corn off the cobs and stir into the pot. Gently fold in the beans. Simmer, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Build your bowl with wild rice, quinoa, kale, and/or arugula as the base. Top with the corn and beans mixture and roasted squash. Garnish with some fresh herbs, as you like.
  6. Learn more about peeling, cubing and roasting squash here and learn more about how to substitute dried herbs with fresh here.

Indigenous People's Day this week (see below) invites us to explore native culture and foods. Native American languages do not use the pronoun "it" when referring to the natural world. "It" is for items made by human hands. Trees, animals, rocks and water are "he" or "she." How would humans treat the earth if we spoke of creation as brothers and sisters? If we saw in each creature the presence of the divine? Saint Francis of Assisi did as he prayed "Laudato Si'" or "Praised be the Lord through Sister Air." Would we listen to earth’s wisdom before imposing our ideas and consumer mentality on members of our family? How should we treat our relatives, the soil, plants and rivers? The ore and oil and gas deep in the earth? 

The companion planting technique devised by indigenous farmers called "3 Sisters" is still practiced today. Planted in the same bed, corn provides a trellis for the beans, beans add nitrogen to the soil, and large squash leaves shade out the weeds around all three. This companion planting allows all three sisters and the whole community to thrive. Something for humans to imitate!

Columbus Day (October 12) acknowledged Christopher C. and other explorers who came to the western hemisphere in the 14 and 1500's. Indigenous People's Day (around October 12) is new in some communities to acknowledge and celebrate the original people who lived on land we now occupy, whole nations who were often displaced or destroyed along with their language, food ways, spirituality. We can work for justice. See: We will explore more in November, during American Indian Heritage Month with recipes and stories. Share your favorite recipe for squash, wild rice, berries and cranberries!

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Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies

Monday, January 9th 2023 6:00 am


Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 C plus 1 C white sugar
2 1/2 C blanched almond flour
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 tsp kosher salt
4 egg large whites, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Measure ¼ tsp of the spice mixture into another small bowl, stir in ¼ C sugar and set this sugar & spice mixture aside.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, combine the almond flour and remaining spice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up any lumps, until fragrant and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool until barely warm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. To the almond flour mixture, whisk in the remaining 1? C sugar, the cocoa and salt. Use a spatula to stir in the egg whites and vanilla until evenly moistened. Stir in the chocolate. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Using two soupspoons, drop a few 2-tablespoon portions of dough into the spiced sugar, then gently roll to coat evenly. Arrange the sugar-coated balls on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Bake until the cookies have cracks in their surfaces and a toothpick inserted into a cookie at the center of the baking sheets comes out with few crumbs attached, 12 to 15 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Michael Krueger related that this recipe is from Lisa Brouellette (a WIS-Corp Intern). Lisa discovered it on Milk Street's website and shared with Michael and others when they were setting up for the Advent luminary hike on Saint Joseph Ridge. Lisa said the cookies have a wonderful taste, are fairly simple to prepare, and they fill you up!

*The photo above is from Milk Street Kitchen. Milk Street Kitchen is a PBS cooking series hosted by Chris Kimball. Their Erika Bruce tells us that the recipe “is a loose interpretation of the Swiss Chocolate-Almond holiday cookie known as Baler Brunsli. Traditionally, the dough is rolled and cut into shapes before baking, but Milk Street opted for an easier drop cookie studded with bits of chocolate. Even without butter, they are intensely rich and happen to be gluten-free, too!”

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Sister Sarah's Unbelievable 3-ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pie

Friday, August 19th 2022 12:31 pm

Sister Sarah's Unbelievable 3-ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pie

1 12-ounce bag of vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce block of silken tofu, drained (see more about Tofu below)
1 vegan graham cracker pie crust


  1. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips for 45 seconds. Mix with a fork until smooth. (If the chocolate is still lumpy, microwave for 20-second intervals, mixing in between, until the chocolate is completely smooth.)
  2. In a blender or food processor/blender, blend the melted chocolate and tofu, until creamy.
  3. Pour the tofu-chocolate mixture into the pie crust and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until the filling solidifies. The pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  4. Top it with whatever you like..bananas, coconut, nuts, a pinch of sea salt, a little red pepper...or eat it in its delicious simplicity.

Some folks add a little vanilla to the mixture.

This recipe was submitted by Sister Eileen McKenzie, who says: "Sr. Sarah Hennessey introduced me to this amazingly delicious and unbelievably simple chocolate pie recipe. Enjoy!"

I'm always ready for chocolate, and it's even better when I find something easy to make! I hope we all enjoy this recipe; just reading it is making my mouth water for a yummy, creamy cool chocolate pie. It sounds perfect for these dog days of summer!

More about Tofu: Tofu is made from soybeans. The beans are cooked and the remaining liquid (soymilk) is coagulated. The resulting curds are pressed into solid white blocks of varying softness; it can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm or super firm.

Silken tofu is tender and prized for its smooth texture. It’s made with a coagulant which produces a jelly-like texture. In contrast to the traditional style of tofu, also known as “regular” tofu, “block” tofu, or “brick tofu”, silken tofu does not have holes visible to the naked eye. is a common egg substitute for vegan baking recipes. Because precise measurements are more important in baking than in cooking, excess water can negatively affect your baking recipe.

To drain Tofu: Place your silken tofu on a plate and let it sit for a few minutes. The tofu will weep. Once the excess liquid pools on the plate, you can easily pour out the water.

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Christmas Chip Cookies

Monday, December 19th 2022 6:00 am

Christmas Chip Cookies

1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 C butter (2 sticks)
1 C vegetable oil
1 C flaked coconut
1 C regular oatmeal
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 pkg (12 oz) mixture of caramel and chocolate chips or 3/4 C each
3 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 C Rice Krispies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients and drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet.
  2. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe was passed on by Bonnie Sacis to Sister Antona Schedlo. “The cookies just melt in your mouth”, says Sister Antona! Sounds like a sweet treat recipe for any time of year.

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Monastery Lentil Soup from "Diet for a Small Planet"

Monday, February 20th 2023 6:00 am

1 C dry lentils
2 T olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
3 C vegetable or chicken stock
Salt to taste
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1 can peeled tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1/4 C dry sherry or white wine
Grated swiss cheese for topping


  1. Sort and wash lentils; set aside
  2. In a large pot, sauté the carrots and onions in the olive oil 3 – 5 minutes
  3. Add thyme and marjoram, and sauté for 1 min. more
  4. Add stock, parsley, salt, lentils and tomatoes; bring to a boil
  5. Turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender (45 min)
  6. Add the sherry or wine, (if desired)
  7. Serve topped with grated Swiss cheese

“I have been making this recipe for over 25 years and still love it!  Originally found in the book ‘Diet for a Small Planet.’  Going to make it this week! The original recipe says it's great accompanied by cornbread!” - Jean Feeney

Diet for a Small Planet first published in 1971 was a life-changing book for many of us in the 70’s and 80’s. It wasn’t an easy read as author Francis Moore Lappe outlined the huge cost of eating high on the food chain, especially animal proteins from factory farms.  What stuck with me was that plant protein – legumes and whole grains – was not that hard to include in my pantry and weekly meals.  My eating habits shifted, but I didn’t know what to do about bigger issues.

Over 50 years later, climate change and the growth of corporate farms and giant meat processing corporations make our choices important for our small, warming planet.  With care as consumers and an openness to learn about food and farm policy, we can help be the conversion needed for Mother Earth and our human family.

Anyone want to start a book group? Here is my next read:
Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition and Health
by Marion Nestle in conversation with Kerri Trueman

In an easy Question and Response format, Nestle relies on her work as a nutrition scientist.  She “encourages us to vote with our forks, but urges us also to vote with our votes to make it easier for everyone to make healthier dietary choices.”  She educates us to ask questions and “engage in politics to advocate for food systems that make better food available and affordable to everyone, that adequately compensate everyone who works to produce, prepare, or serve food, and that deal with food in ways that conserve and sustain the environment.”

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Native American Corn Hominy Soup

Tuesday, November 8th 2022 6:00 am

Hominy Corn Soup

3/4 pound pork loin chops, cubed (save the bones for the soup as well)
2 15.5 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15.5 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper


  1. In a large deep pot of salted water, bring the meat (and bones, if using) to a boil. Cook at a gentle boil for 45 minutes. This creates a flavorful broth.
    Add the hominy to the pot gently boil for another 45 minutes. In the meantime, boil the diced potatoes in a separate pot until fork tender, drain and cool to stop the cooking process.
    Add the cooled potatoes and beans to the soup mixture. Add up to 2 C of water to the soup until it is your desired consistency.
    Variations: Pork hocks, salt pork can be used. Omit or limit salt. You can also use chicken thighs and substitute stock instead of water.

First the chemistry, then the history and culture of hominy. Hominy is processed corn loved for its puffy, slightly chewy kernels. Hominy is the result of a long cooking process in which the mature dried flint (field) corn kernels are cooked with wood ash (aka lye) causing a chemical reaction called nixtamalization. A solution of lye (potassium hydroxide - which can be produced from water and wood ash) or of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide from limestone) is the first step. Next the husked are removed from the grains, rinsed and cooked again. Soaking the corn in lye kills the seed's germs, which keeps it from sprouting while in storage. Finally, in addition to providing a source of dietary calcium, the lye or lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin (B3) can be assimilated by the digestive tract. People consume hominy in intact kernels, grind it into sand-sized particles for grits, or into flour.  

This food and the process that allows it to be stored for years has been vital to the health and food culture of middle America. It honors their commitment to 7 generations. Many tribes strive to have a 3 year supply of dried corn on hand in case of drought or other hardship. Traders brought maize/corn along all their routes and today, it is often bartered and rarely sold.

Corn is a sacred food and bringing it from seed to table is a sacred process. Ceremonies using tobacco, drumming, songs, chants and blessings are a part of all involved. It is done with gratitude for the whole community. To see for yourself, watch the following videos showing Native people working with corn.

PBS Wisconsin: Wisconsin Foodie
Travel with Wisconsin Foodie to the Oneida Reservation outside of Green Bay, WI to meet Laura Manthe and Rebecca Webster, cousins and members of the Oneida Nation. They are part of a White Corn Growers Cooperative and are revitalizing an ancient heirloom food within the Oneida Nation, White Corn. You’ll notice their values, hard work and passion. Host Luke Zahn gets a personal tutorial on how to prepare White Corn Soup. “It is more than eating a bowl of soup. It feels like you are being woven into a very large story, a very beautiful story.” Watch it here:

CBS Docs: Stories from the Land
An Oneida chef and a knowledge keeper guide you through the traditional way of making Corn Soup. As we learn about the soup and how it’s made, we also learn about how the process is deeply rooted in the culture. From the way the corn is harvested, to the way hardwood ashes are used as part of the process, to the way the soup is distributed to the elders of the community as an acknowledgment of the work they do. All from a humble bowl of corn soup. Watch it here:

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Easy Corn, Beans and Salsa Main Dish

Monday, August 29th 2022 6:00 am

Easy Corn, Beans and Salsa Main Dish

2 C fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed in a bowl of hot water
2 C or 1  16 oz jar salsa
1 can or (2 C homemade) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T corn oil or your preferred salad oil
1 T lime juice or vinegar of your choice. (The tang of red wine vinegar is good!)
1 package of Taco seasoning OR
   - 1 tsp ground cumin
   - 1/2 tsp chili powder
   - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
   - 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
3 T chopped fresh cilantro, optional
1 sliced avocado on the side, optional
4 C cooked brown or white rice (or cooked grain of your choice) cooked according to package directions (see note below)


  1. Combine thawed corn, salsa, drained beans in a large bowl
  2. Add spices and acid.  Stir, tasting for salt or other spices
  3. For a cold salad, mix with the cooled grain
  4. For a hot meal, heat in a skillet and serve over your warm grain. Add lime juice or vinegar as you prefer

A rice cooker is a great investment! You can cook a full batch and put the remainder in freezer bags to freeze for quick recipes like this. Couscous and quinoa also cook quickly. Cooked bulger works well in this recipe. Find them in the rice or pasta or natural foods aisle. Bulger lends itself to freezing. Use the other half in bread dough or in Greek salad like Tabouli when cukes, tomatoes and parsley are in season.

Commercially frozen vegetables are typically processed within hours of harvest which preserves their nutritional value. For me, fresh flavor is a great reason to eat seasonally. Local fresh sweet corn is tastier and juicier than frozen or any shipped in from a distance. So, how do we “put up” fresh sweet corn? Don’t let the following 10 step process overwhelm you. Remember, you can thaw a bag of corn in hot water and have sweetness of summer for chowder, salads, salsa, loaded muffins and cornbread for months!

For a complete guide to blanching vegetables, see the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

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Double Zucchini Recipes!

Friday, August 12th 2022 3:29 pm

Zucchini Waffles

Depending on the size of your waffle baker, this recipe should yield anywhere from 4 (large) to 8 waffles.This recipe can also be used for pancakes.Have leftover waffle batter? Use all of the batter to make waffles and freeze the leftovers! Homemade frozen waffles! Just for fun: add in some chocolate chips! Serves 4

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup milk any: whole, 2%, almond 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 cup plain yogurt
1 heaping cup grated zucchini squeezed in a dishtowel or cheese cloth


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, yogurt and the grated zucchini. Fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until somewhat smooth and combined.
  2. Preheat your waffle baker and spray with non-stick baking spray or wipe down lightly with butter to grease the waffle baker. Cook waffles (using about 1/2 cup batter per waffle) until golden and crisp. Every waffle baker is different so cook according to waffle baker instructions. Mine takes about 2 1/2 minutes per waffle. Repeat until all of the waffle batter has been used. Serve with fresh fruit or maple syrup if desired! Enjoy!

If freezing the waffles, they freeze and re-heat better if they are smaller so, with my waffle baker, I break/separate my waffles into the little triangles and freeze those.

It's zucchini season! This over-abundant veggie is a form of summer squash, and I've always found it hard to use it all up without freezing it. But I also have a deep love for breakfast foods, especially pancakes. I'll be trying the pancake version of this recipe soon, I think! Recipe submitted by Vicki Lopez-Kaley.

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, shredded
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat together the oil and sugar.
  3. Add the egg and mix well.  Add the vanilla and shredded zucchini and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  6. Use butter or oil to grease a 9X13-inch baking pan.  Spread mixture into prepared pan (batter will be thick) and smooth into an even layer.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center of the brownies springs back when gently touched.  Cool on a wire cooling rack.
  8. Frost brownies once they are completely cooled, if desired.


  • Cut granulated sugar in half (3/4 cup), and use 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour (instead of 2 cups all-purpose flour) for a healthier version of this recipe!
  • You can also add nuts, caramel, marshmallows, chocolate or peanut butter chips, or whatever you'd like to the top of the brownie batter right before putting it into the oven.

Remember being a kid? The other day, the FSPA garden hosted the Boys and Girls Club for a weeding extravaganza. Sister Lucy also had the kids try store-bought veggies versus garden-harvested ones, and she made these brownies to go with it. The kids could almost always tell which veggies came from the garden! And when it came to the brownies, they preferred the ones without nuts. I wonder if I could have told the difference between veggies when I was a kid? Recipe submitted by Sister Lucy Slinger.

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Spritz Cookies

Monday, December 26th 2022 6:00 am

Spritz Cookies

Ingredients for Cookies:
1 C unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Decorating:
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 C white chocolate chips, melted
Sparkling sugar
Finely shredded coconut
Christmas sprinkles

Directions (cookies):

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, salt and almond extract. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add flour, beating until just incorporated.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  6. Using a cookie press, stamp the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets using the desired decorative templates. If the dough becomes too warm, chill it for 15 to 30 minutes and then continue stamping.
  7. If desired, sprinkle cookies with Christmas sprinkles.
  8. Bake the cookies until light golden, 9 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through the cook time.
  9. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. 

Directions (decorating):

  1. Place the semisweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in 2 separate small microwavable bowls.
  2. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth (or, melt in a double boiler or a bowl over boiling water).
  3. Drizzle the melted chocolate on the cookies or dip them, topping with sparkling sugar, finely shredded coconut and Christmas sprinkles, if desired. Chocolate is common when making Swedish Spritz.

Spritz are a Christmas favorite in lots of households and it takes practice (and cookie press or pastry bag skills) to make them!  My father-in-law learned to bake in the Navy and eventually had his own family bakery. He inherited the treasured wooden cookie press (pictured above) from one of his employers.
Spritz are crisp, fragile and buttery tasting. They originated in Germany around the 16th century. They are also known as Spritzgebäck (German), Swedish Butter Cookies or Pressed Butter Cookies. The original German name, “Spritzgeback” refers to verb “Spritzen”, meaning “to squirt”. German style Spritz cookies were made through squirting or pushing the soft dough through a cookie press. Norwegian style Spritz is traditionally in shapes of S's and O's.

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Summer Squash Casserole

Monday, August 22nd 2022 6:00 am

Summer Squash Casserole

Here’s an easy Summer Squash Casserole with roots in the southern U.S. Read on to meet southern chef Vivian Howard, view her “Old School Squash and Onions” recipe and hear her stories.

Makes 8 - 10 side dish servings. If you don’t need 8-10 servings, you could make two casseroles and share one with a friend!

3 lb. yellow squash (4 small), cut in 1 / 4” thick slices
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2  large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 C mayonnaise
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1 T  chopped fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried) OR 1 tsp dried dill weed
3 T butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 1/2  sleeves round butter crackers, such as Ritz, broken (about 3 C)
1/4 C  grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Combine squash and onion on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Toss well to combine. Cook for 25 minutes, until squash is slightly softened and has released its liquid. Drain the mixture through a colander. Press gently with paper towels to remove some extra moisture. Let cool a bit as you prepare other ingredients.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, thyme and black pepper and stir together. Fold in warm squash and onions (You don’t want them to be hot from the oven.). Transfer mixture to buttered 3-qt. baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (You can do the recipe this far and store in the fridge to finish later. If doing so, add topping (step 3) and cook (step 4) in the microwave for about 15 minutes!).

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, cracker pieces and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle in an even layer top on top of the casserole. Return to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes more, until crackers are golden brown and the edges are bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Most produce is available year-round when shipped from warm climates. But, foods in their season are most delicious! Flavor is only one benefit of seasonal eating. The Seasoned Franciscan will explore them all.

In the Midwest, summer squash and onions are in season in late July/early August. Native to Central and South America as far back as 10,000 years ago, summer squash (from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked) is a staple in Native American and Mexican cuisine.  Summer squash come in many varieties, shapes and sizes.  Smaller ones have a better texture, fewer large seeds and more concentrated flavor.  Larger ones are better suited to baking and stuffing.

Learn more:
Restaurant owner and cookbook author Vivian Howard is one of my favorite PBS chefs. She honors seasonal local foods and the African American and Indigenous roots of many southern soul food dishes, the connection between culture and food. Vivian makes this northern girl want to explore more food and culture stories of the south. When describing summer squash she says, it’s “not boring!” “She is elegant, feminine and delicious!” What a beautiful image! Find her Squash and Onions Recipe below or watch her make it herself. You might get interested in other southern foods that do well in northern gardens!

View Vivian’s by visiting to watch her make it herself. (I used oil and butter instead of bacon fat and to make it a main dish added cooked ground turkey with Mexican spices. Any leftover meat will do!)

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Food and Memories

Monday, November 28th 2022 6:00 am

Food and Memories

I hope you had a memorable Thanksgiving and that you can savor all the moments of Advent and Christmastime. I want to share what The Seasoned Franciscan’s focus will be for the upcoming weeks with a story.

One year, I joined my quilting friends at a craft camp: like a hunting camp for crafters! I’m not a quilter, but I did bring a wooden box of my Mom’s recipe cards and newspaper clippings faded and shaggy. I was determined to organize and enjoy them. And it was an adventure! Besides sorting them into categories (there were 45 cake recipes!), smells and stories brought me back to her table and kitchen. I laughed and cried and peppered by friends with her presence throughout the weekend.

Have you ever looked through family recipes? What memories did you discover in this cake or that bread or in a special Christmas cookie? Food is a meaningful part of our lives, in particular during the holidays.

During December and possibly into 2023, The Seasoned Franciscan invites you to: send in a favorite Christmas cookie or other celebration recipe. We encourage you to share a story of the memories the recipe evokes. Send it to or bring it to the SRC reception desk.

Let’s explore how food brings us together. How favorite dishes help create community, make memories and carry the stories and values of people in a unique way. We saw this in recipes from the heritage of American Indian people. How do food and memories create a connection in your heritage?

Also, on November 28th at 7 pm, PBS will air a special called “Food and Memories” by Jerry Apps and his daughter Susan Apps-Bodilly. Check your local listings for the station if you get PBS Wisconsin OR go to and watch live on your computer.

Jerry is an author, storyteller and historian who has other specials on farm life and more. In this special, the Apps trace the food memories of their family that might spur a memory in you. Whether we grew up in town, in the city or in farm country, we can all relate to his memories around the table. Jerry says: “Food is so much more important than merely nutrition, so much more than something to eat.” Food can connect us to a much bigger story.

Learn more about food and culture:

Unless we descend from Native Americans, we all come from immigrants, right? We can look back at how food expresses our origins. To learn more about immigrant food cultures other than white European, check out another favorite PBS series called No Passport Required.

In this series, Chef Marcus Samuelson goes to major US cities to explore how immigrant populations keep culture and values alive through food. An Ethiopian adopted by a Swedish family, Chef Marcus has a unique sensitivity to how food expresses identity. He visits Philadelphia’s Italian American sub-culture through delis, food “clubs” and restaurants. In Houston, he explores Nigerian and West African food traditions. He does all of this with great questions, respect and a sense of fun.

Here are some of his travels for surprising cultures and food traditions. Go with him to Boston for Portuguese, Brazilian and Cape Verdean food, Las Vegas for Chinese, Chicago for Mexican, LA for Armenian, Seattle for Filipino, New Orleans for Vietnamese, Detroit for Middle Eastern, Queens, NYC for Indo-Guyanese, Miami for Haitian, and Washington, DC for his own Ethiopian foods. Marcus shows us the connections between food, culture and identity in an educational and fun adventure: no passport required.

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What Does "Food Scraps" Even Mean?

Wednesday, August 3rd 2022 5:16 pm

Hi there, Iggy here! Last week’s recipes were all under the seasonal category, and I talked a lot about what eating seasonally meant in my first post. This week, I’m changing focus to present food scrap recipes! I got an interesting question the other day about what “food scraps” means, so I thought I’d try to clear it up with a short post.

The woman I was talking to thought food scraps meant what you scrape off your plate after a meal, and she seemed a little disgusted by the idea. I can’t blame her! Luckily, that’s not at all what I’m talking about. What you scrape off your plate is called post-consumer food waste, and that should almost always be dumped. This is different from leftovers, or what you save to put in your fridge to eat later, although leftovers can sometimes be great for repurposing (I’m thinking about those turkey sandwiches from Thanksgiving, yummm!).  

No, what I mean by food scraps is pre-consumer food waste. This is what you might generate while prepping your meal, things like potato peels, squash seeds and (in the case of Monday’s recipe) broccoli stems. A lot of pre-consumer waste is still edible and often more nutritious than the parts we normally eat. For instance, apple peels have a lot more vitamins and minerals in them than the white flesh of the apple. Maybe if we include those skins in our apple pies, we could call it a healthy meal? I wish, haha.

Now that you know a little more about what I mean by food scraps, what kind of recipes do you have that call for them? I’m posting up my recipes for broccoli stems and squash extras this week. Maybe you have a special casserole or a bone broth soup? I’d love to see them and share them for you!

P.S. I didn't have a good clear picture of food scraps to share, so I hope you enjoy this one I took the other day of a pair of sunflowers up at the FSPA gardens!

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Fall Apple Salad and "Picking Your Own"

Monday, October 17th 2022 6:00 am

Fall Apple Salad


1 large bunch kale
2 apples that are crisp
1/3 C dried cranberries
1/3 C toasted pumpkin seeds
¾ C goat cheese, crumbled.  (Feta is a good alternative, if you prefer.)

1 small shallot, minced
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
3 T vinegar, apple cider vinegar is best!
1 T local honey or maple syrup 
2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Remove tough ribs from kale. Tear or chop leaves into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with half the extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and use your hands to massage kale leaves until tender.
  2. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the remaining extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Core 1 apple. (Peeling is optional as the peel contains good nutrition.) Chop it into bite-sized pieces. With the second apple, core and quarter it. Use a cheese grater to make apple "snow." Add to the salad bowl.
  4. Add dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds (see note below). Drizzle dressing over the ingredients.Toss to combine and thoroughly coat each item with dressing.
  5. Crumble cheese over the top and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Optional: Add shredded carrots, broccoli or cauliflower flowerets, leftover chicken, etc. to the salad if you are in the mood to clean out the fridge!

In September and October, local Apples are at their peak in most of North America and non-farm kids of all ages (like our grandkids!) can enjoy markets for "pick your own" and bagged apples. 

Freezing apples:
Years ago, I acquired an apple peeler-corer-slicer that earns its place in our tool drawer when apples are in season. Your great-grandma may have had one. Most orchard shops and hardware stores sell them. Here are some apple freezing tips.

Prepare what is called "acidulated" water: a fancy name for water plus acid. Use about 1/4 cup lemon juice to 1 quart of cold water. As soon as you clean, peel, core and slice your fruit, with a gadget or by hand, let the slices swim in a bowl of lemon water to prevent them from browning. At this point, you could can them, but since freezers came on the scene in the 1950s, it is another simple way.

Strain (do not rinse) and pack apples tightly in freezer bags and label. It's a very good practice to keep records of what, when and where any food goes in your freezer (and your fridge and pantry) to reduce waste and aid in meal planning. Plan on wintertime apple crisp, applesauce, apple bread or pie!

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Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

Monday, September 19th 2022 6:00 am

Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

3 medium tomatoes sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3-5 T grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
several grinds black pepper
1/2 C fresh dill chopped OR 4 tsp dried
3/4 C medium grind cornmeal
1-1 1/4 C milk
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt (less if using regular salt or if using salted butter)
6 T melted butter
1 T sugar
3/4 C plain yogurt or sour cream
2 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut out a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of a 10-10 1/2-inch cast iron skillet. Lightly oil the upper side of the parchment with oil.
  2. Place tomatoes in a single layer, cut side up, on the parchment to cover the entire skillet. Top with a grind or two of pepper, most of the dill (reserving just enough for garnish), and a generous layer of fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese- between 1/4 and 1/2 cup.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the milk and cornmeal over medium heat. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until it is the consistency of the batter and completely lump-free, about 3-4 minutes. If it gets too thick add 1 or 2 T. of milk. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper together in a large bowl; set aside.
  5. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar, and add to the cooked cornmeal mixture. Next whisk in the yogurt. Make sure the cornmeal mixture isn’t so hot it will cook the eggs and then whisk in the eggs until thoroughly combined. Fold in flour mixture until thoroughly combined and the batter is very thick.
  6. Pour the batter into the skillet, then smooth it into an even layer over the tomatoes. Bake until the top is golden brown, and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the skillet, 22 to 25 minutes.
  7. Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edge of the pan. Invert onto a large plate and carefully remove the layer of parchment.
  8. Garnish with remaining fresh dill and an additional sprinkle of grated cheese.
  9. Slice into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.
  10. Can be covered and stored at room temperature for one or two days.

At this time of year, tomatoes couldn't be more gorgeous! This recipe celebrates them. One of the healing secrets of food is that when we slow down, we can more intensely appreciate the beauty of what Mother earth produces! Use all your senses to take in the color and shape, fragrance, and intricacy of the fruits of creation!

Try this exercise at meal or snack time soon: Take time as you shop and look around at the beauty of fresh food. Take it slow as you prepare food and before you eat. Touch and smell a fresh fruit or vegetable. Break it open. Look for the colors and patterns of seeds, juice, flesh and skin. Consider it as an artist in awe of his or her creation. Become aware of the God who made food just to please us, to offer what earth’s creatures need.Take a small taste and notice how it feels in your mouth, individual flavors and textures. Be mindful as you slowly chew and swallow each bite. Let yourself sense what this product of soil, wind, water and hands has brought to your table and to life. Continue to eat slowly as you honor our brother and sister plants and animals who heal and nourish the world.

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Mashed Butternut Squash

Monday, October 3rd 2022 6:00 am

Mashed Butternut Squash


1 large butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds
2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T pure maple syrup plus additional to taste  (You may substitute brown sugar)
1 tsp kosher salt divided, plus additional to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper divided, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg freshly grated if possible
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper optional
1/4 C almond milk or milk of choice use half and half or full-fat coconut milk for a richer flavor
2 T Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast optional but very good
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional

(Some seasonings, herbs and cheese are optional for your taste. Omit the black pepper, cayenne cheese and parsley, if you plan to use the mashed or pureed squash in sweet or dessert recipes!)


Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Wash and dry the squash. Trim off the top and bottom ends, then carefully slice it in half lengthwise. (No need to peel it.) Scoop out the seeds. Place it cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet,

Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the maple syrup. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, if using. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or longer depending upon the size of your squash, until very tender and the squash pierces easily with a fork. Let rest until cool enough to handle.

Carefully scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add spices of your choice:  nutmeg, cayenne, milk, Parmesan, parsley, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mash the butternut squash, either by hand with a potato masher, or with an electric hand mixer on low speed or stand mixer on low speed, until it is as smooth as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like. Enjoy hot.

To store: Place leftover mashed butternut squash in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

To reheat: Gently rewarm mashed squash in a Dutch oven or skillet on the stove over medium-low heat, adding a splash of milk as needed for moisture. You can also rewarm this recipe in the microwave. 

To freeze: Store butternut squash in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

To make ahead: Cut the squash in half, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day in advance. You can also cut, roast, and scoop out the squash ahead of time. Store the roasted squash in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance, then finish the recipe as directed. 

Story:  Butternut Squash, one of the Three Sisters in American Indian cuisine, is a fall favorite to many!  Native American farmers planted Sister Corn to provide a sturdy stalk on which Sister Bean could climb.  Sister Squash with its big leaves shaded the ground around them all from hot sun and hungry animals. Original Local refers to the food ways of Native peoples, who called the western hemisphere home long before European settlers arrived.  On October 12, alongside Columbus Day, many communities celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day to recognize the culture, wisdom and contributions of those whose ancestors honored this land.  Perhaps we can celebrate with some ancient local foods like the 3 Sisters, cranberries, foraged greens, wild rice, fish or game.

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Canned Fish for Light Meals and Snacks

Monday, March 27th 2023 6:00 am

This post is not typical, but a list of ways to use canned fish other than tuna and salmon for a healthy, quick, meatless snack or meal! Canned fish may already be a pantry staple for you or a new adventure to try! Read on for some "fishy" facts you may find interesting for Lent and all year round!

Canned fish like sardines, herring, anchovies, tuna and salmon are already cooked and packed in water, oil, even tomato sauce!
Fried Sardines: Fry canned sardines in butter or oil on both sides. Carefully remove the upper half of the fish to eat. Remove the bones and spine and eat the other half as a snack, on a cracker or in a sandwich with avocado or your favorite sandwich veggies. Like canned salmon, the small bones are not harmful to eat and contain calcium.
Sardine or Anchovy Salad: Place a couple of sardines or anchovies on a green salad for healthy protein. Pureed anchovies can also be bought in a tube and used in authentic Caesar Salad Dressing or to add a meaty "umami" flavor to a meatless dish.
Canned Herring (grown-up sardines) often have bones removed and can be eaten right out of the can (tin, in Britain). Serve on crackers with cream cheese, sliced carrots, diced onions. Both canned herring and sardines are good on toasted bread and topped with any of the following: chopped olives, sliced peppers, chopped chili or green onions, a splash of vinegar or lemon juice and some oil or sauce from the can.
Pickled Herring is a popular appetizer or snack with Scandinavian and European folks who lived along the Northern waters where the fish was abundant.
Pizza Sardelle: Top a regular pizza with several rinsed canned sardines. Add a complimentary vegetable topping like red onions, olives or roasted peppers.
Sardine Pasta: A box of spaghetti, can of diced tomatoes or sauce and 2 4oz cans of sardines are the beginning of a new taste in pasta. Amp up the flavor with a splash of lemon juice, dried chili flakes, salt, garlic, a few capers or anchovies for a quick supper.

More tinned fish appetizer ideas can be found for a new trend called the Spring "Sea" cuterie Board on the website of dietitian Jenny Shea Rawn.

When we think of Lenten abstinence and meatless meals, fish may remind you of a favorite fish restaurant, Friday Fish Fry, Church fundraisers, or a tuna hot dish. A partner in mission recently suggested that Seasoned Franciscan feature meatless recipes with sardines. Some research led to some simple recipes and some "fishy" facts about canned fish and fish, in general.

  • Fish are economically, socially, & ecologically important across the globe. They figure in many of the world's major religions as part of a religious fast from meat. More about fasts below!
  • Sardines and Herring are not often found fresh in U.S. markets, but are available (near canned tuna and salmon) canned in oil, sometimes smoked and fileted.
  • Sardines, mackerel, and herring all have slightly different tastes. Sardines and herring are more assertive, while mackerel is milder and buttery, but they can all be used in similar ways.
  • Sardines, once plentiful in the Mediterranean off the coast of Sardinia are literally "small fish." When they grow larger, they are known as herring. They both have a mild, salty fish flavor. Some people find the smell to be strong for their taste.
  • Herring (and sardines) contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon or tuna. Our bodies can't make these fats, so they must be sourced from foods such as fatty fish, grains, ground flax seed, walnuts, navy beans. Herring contains less mercury than other omega-3-rich fish like some tuna, king mackerel, swordfish and halibut.
  • A kipper is herring that is split in half, salted, and usually smoked. Other fish and meat that are split in half are also considered "kippered". Kipper/Herring is popular in the UK and Europe.
  • Atlantic herring is one of the most common fishes of the Gulf of Maine. Atlantic herring are schooling, filter-feeding fish eaten by a variety of marine mammals, sea birds and fish.
  • Sardines and anchovies are often confused with each other. Anchovies are slightly smaller in size and have dark, reddish-grey flesh. Sardines are larger with white flesh. Anchovies are more often salt-cured, which gives them a more pungent, fishier flavor.
  • Cod is another common fish from the North Atlantic. The Vikings were good at preserving cod with salt, smoke or lye (some Scandinavians enjoy lutefisk). Dried and salted cod was a form of "fish jerky" taken on long ocean passages. The route the Vikings took at the end of the first millennium — Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland — matches up with the natural range of the Atlantic cod and led them to reach the North American continent. Even Culver's serves North Atlantic Cod and Walleye sandwiches that appeal to Midwesterners!

Fasting and Fish:

  • Jesus died on a Friday. As early as the 1st century, people have written of fasting on Friday to recall Jesus' self-giving love.
  • Even though fish is animal flesh, it has been acceptable for religious fasting purposes as a "meatless" protein. The reasons are varied and often bizarre, even "fishy." For example, "Fish are not warm-blooded and so don't bleed when slaughtered." "God did not condemn the waters after Adam's fall, so fish are a sign of God's mercy." "The Pope's brother was a fisherman." It's more likely that meat was a celebration food and more accessible to people of means. Fish was accessible to those less privileged. So, as promoted by the Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl, during a fast we eat less, in general, and opt for more simple recipes in solidarity with people of simple means.
  • Catholics, in days past, were are obliged to refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays in Lent and all during the year. It served as a witness, as part of Catholic identity and to strengthen the practices of penance and prayer.
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decided in 1966, to allow Catholics to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent if they perform a different act of penance in its place. Was relying on the faithful to do this on their own unrealistic? What does "penance" mean to people of faith today?
  • In 1962, a few years before the Vatican relaxed the rules, Lou Groen, an enterprising McDonald's franchise owner in a largely Catholic part of Cincinnati, found himself struggling to sell burgers on Fridays reported, Smithsonian Magazine. His solution? The Filet-O-Fish Sandwich.
  • My favorite "fish" fact: In 2011, the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales re-introduced the spiritual practice of meatless Fridays all throughout the year. In November of 2022, they again urged all Catholics to "refresh" their Friday meat abstinence, in part, as a way to recognize "the environmental impact of meat production" and the harm it is having on "God's creation." Read more in a 12/22/22 article in "Civil Eats", a newsletter about health, the environment, farming and food policy.

Fish Fry Traditions:

  • Travel Wisconsin reports that German and Polish Catholic immigrants settled in Milwaukee in the 1860s and began the tradition of the Friday fish fry. During Lent, they didn't eat meat on Fridays, instead eating the fish they caught in Lake Michigan, especially perch and other panfish. Taverns picked up the tradition as did churches to raise money.
  • The tradition of fish fry has deep roots in black communities. During the era of slavery. "The work schedule on the plantation would slow down by noon on Saturday, so enslaved people had the rest of that day to do what they wanted," writes food historian and "soul food" scholar Adrian E. Miller. "Those who finished work early could go fishing and bring back their catch to be fried that night; Plantation owners didn't mind because it was one less meal they had to provide." So the fish fry started as a Saturday-night thing on plantations. After Emancipation, the tradition became a business for some African-Americans, who brought inexpensive fish fries with them (along with BBQ and fried chicken) as they migrated from the South.
  • As black families moved to cities, the fish fry tradition moved to Friday nights, possibly influenced by Catholics. "Fish markets would have sales those nights", Miller explains, "so it was cheaper to fund a Friday fish fry business or church fundraiser."
  • He continues, "The fish fry is not unique to the black community: Any group living near a body of water or an ocean would fry or grill fish." You can learn a lot about culture through stories of food.

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Red Rice for African American History Month

Monday, February 13th 2023 6:00 am

3 slices bacon, diced OR 3 T butter
1/2 C finely diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 C long-grain rice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 C chicken or vegetable stock or water


  1. If using bacon, saute it in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5-7 minutes. Drain bacon on a paper towel. If using butter, heat it in the pan until melted.
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in rice and cook 2-3 minutes, until it is no longer translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let stand covered for about 5-10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  4. If you used bacon, sprinkle bacon pieces over rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Variation: For Spanish rice, stir in 1/3 cup minced green pepper with the onion and garlic, a pinch of cumin with the seasonings and reduce tomato paste to 3 T.

Carolina Gold Rice which was original to this dish has been preserved by generations of Gullah-Geechee farmers and cooks. They are the descendants of enslaved Africans who were isolated on the barrier Sea Islands of Georgia and the Carolinas. Their knowledge of growing this crop made the port city of Charleston, NC wealthy within the sordid history of slavery. This is only one story of the unsung, foundational contributions African Americans have made to Southern cuisine, “soul food” and American cuisine, in general!

We learn from Jennifer Jensen Wallace in Dethroning the Deceitful Pork Chop that “Southern food has elements of African American food, but all African American food isn’t southern. Likewise, soul food is African American food, but not all African American Food is soul food.” If you find this confusing, it shows that what white people know about African American food culture is often full of stereotypes and deserves a respectful and inquisitive look!

Learn More:
One resource is journalist Toni Tipton-Martin who provided the “Red Rice” recipe above in the acclaimed cookbook “Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking”. Through her collection of African American cookbooks, she “decoded” myths and stereotypes in her book “The Jemima Code” which showcased the skills, knowledge and ingenuity of African American cooks and chefs. Beyond slave cabin gardens and kitchens, they created masterpieces in white plantation houses and educated young chefs. They became caterers, managers and entrepreneurs. They encountered other cuisines as they moved through New Orleans and the southwest. Later, they nourished the growing Black pride of the African American community through the long struggle for human rights.

Ms. Tipton-Martin who has been editor-in-chief of Cook’s Country since 2019 won the 2021 Julia Child Award. Hear more about her contribution to an appreciation of African American Food Culture by clicking on this link. Another resource for Low Country Cuisine and Gold Rice is chef, writer and PBS contributor Vivian Howard. Check out her PBS food and culture documentary Somewhere South at about minute 16:10 or watch the whole episode of explorations of "porridge!" Thirdly, read about Glen Roberts who markets Carolina Gold Rice pictured above and other heirloom grains through Anson Mills.

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Peach Cobbler

Wednesday, July 27th 2022 10:30 am

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients for peach filling:
5 peaches (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for batter:
6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
Ground cinnamon


  1. Add sliced peaches, sugar, and salt to a saucepan and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes, until sugar is dissolved and juices are coming from the peaches. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice butter into pieces and add to a 9x9 inch baking dish (or baking dish of similar size). Put dish with butter into the oven and allow butter to melt while oven preheats. Remove the dish from the oven once the butter is melted.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in milk until just combined. Pour the batter mixture into the dish on top of the melted butter and smooth it into an even layer.
  4. Spoon the peaches and juice over the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, to taste.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 38-40 minutes. Serve warm with maple nut ice cream, if desired.


  • If you use canned peaches, then do not use the 3/4 cup white sugar or 1/4 teaspoon salt in “Ingredients for peaches,” and skip step one. Make sure to keep the juice with the peaches, do not drain it out.
  • You can substitute any ice cream for the maple nut, but that’s my favorite with this recipe!
  • For an extra kick, add some ginger to the cinnamon sprinkled on top. Or omit the cinnamon/ginger altogether.

Every time summer comes around, I start craving peach cobbler. I know the peaches are ripening and perfectly juicy, and just waiting to be baked up and served with ice cream. This is a recipe that I've adapted over the years and one that I hope to pass on to my daughter!

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Red Lentil Tacos

Monday, April 3rd 2023 6:00 am

2 C red lentils, rinsed and debris removed
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (omit for less spice)
1 tsp salt


  1. Add 3 cups of water to a medium pot.
  2. Stir in the lentils and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 8-9 minutes.
  3. When the lentils are tender, drain.
  4. Gently mix the spices into the lentils.
  5. Serve with your favorite taco fixings! Enjoy!

Spiced with delicious taco seasonings, these lentil tacos are a healthier alternative to ground meat, made with only a few simple ingredients. Whip them up in just 20 minutes! The recipe can be adapted as a gluten-free or vegan entrée. Lentils, native to Greece and the Middle East, are from the pulse or legume family and are part of almost all cuisines.

Lentils are the easiest legume to prepare because they do not need to be soaked in water prior to cooking! A climate change fact: When rotating crops, regenerative farmers often plan lentils and other "pulses" in a fallow row on which animals can graze. Legumes, even green beans, add natural nitrogen fertilizer to the soil.

More Meatless Meal Resources 
Near the end of Lent, several resources have surfaced for those who may wish to continue to limit meat consumption. Carrie Thompson, executive director of the Sustainability Institute and co-creator of the Green Goose Chase, told the La Crosse Tribune (3/28/2023) that for Americans, "the most impactful action individuals can take (to slow climate change) is to eat a plant-rich diet. This doesn't mean never eating meat again, but cutting meat from 1 or 2 meals a week not only has climate benefits, but it benefits your own health and well-being, too." 

The Earthbeats section of NCR (National Catholic Reporter) provides Recipes for an Eco-Friendly Lent. Elizabeth Varga of "At Elizabeth's Table" shares the recipe pictured above along with other plant-based dishes.

2022 Mercy Meatless Mondays resource from the Sisters of Mercy has recipes, information and reflections on food and climate change. The Sisters of Mercy Justice Team encourages the Mercy Community to refrain from eating meat on Mondays, in addition to Fridays in Lent as is a Catholic tradition. Earthbeat also covers the Sisters of Mercy stance on eating with the planet in mind. This is one way to care for Earth, as meat production consumes large amounts of water and energy and produces more greenhouse gasses than a vegetarian diet.

Meatless Mondays is a global secular campaign offering recipes, including kid-friendly foods and info on the connection between food and climate change.

Finally, a 6-minute video called The Diet that Helps Reduce Climate Change by M. Sanjayan, CEO and researcher from Climate International presents an entertaining and fact-filled scientist's view.

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Salmon Pie

Monday, January 23rd 2023 6:00 am

7 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 C chopped scallions
8 oz crumbled feta, mozzarella or jack cheese
1 - 7 oz can flaked salmon or tuna (use 2 cans for more salmon goodness)
1/2 tsp dill weed
1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch deep dish: see below for crustless variation)
1/2 C milk
4 eggs


  1. Mix spinach, scallions, cheese, fish and dill. Turn into the pie shell.
  2. Beat together eggs and milk. Pour over the spinach mixture. 
  3. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the tip of the knife comes out clean.


  • Serve with lemon or a simple dill sauce (as pictured above).
  • Vegetables like shredded zucchini, blanched kale or leftover carrots can substitute for spinach.
  • This New England Salmon Pie includes mashed potatoes and a top crust!
  • This Crustless Salmon "Impossible" Pie omits the pastry shell, incorporating Bisquick-type baking mix from your pantry.  

Salmon is found all over the northern oceans including Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia. When I think of salmon, I remember the fresh Coho salmon that thrived near the south shore of Lake Superior and in the Black River. Our dear neighbor Bob would often gift our family with fresh salmon after a successful outing on the big Lake. This was usually to thank my Grandfather for skillfully filleting Bob's catch. To this day, salmon is my favorite fish: fresh, smoked or canned. As you can read below, sourcing healthy ocean and freshwater fish of all kinds is not as simple as it used to be!

Salmon Facts:
Some canned salmon includes skin, spine and smaller bones. You can remove all of that. Or remove the dark skin for aesthetic reasons and thoroughly mash the soft bones with a fork, adding nutrients to the finished dish. It’s the cook’s choice.

According to nutritionists, high-protein salmon is one of the best-canned foods to keep in your pantry. It’s versatile, resists spoiling and is relatively economical, especially if you look for healthy, quality brands. This is true of other canned fish: tuna, sardines and mackerel.

Canned salmon is an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and other nutrients such as calcium. A USDA study found higher levels of two omega-3 in canned pink and red salmon than in fresh.

When shopping for canned salmon, consider the source. If a can of salmon is labeled Alaskan pink or sockeye salmon, it contains Wild Alaska Salmon. According to Consumer Reports, wild salmon contains less mercury than most farmed, is safer when it comes to pesticides and is less likely to contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Alaska’s salmon fisheries are well-managed making the fish healthier with high omega-3 content and few contaminants. They are more sustainable than just about any other salmon fishery.

Sadly, most other farmed salmon (and all salmon labeled “Atlantic salmon”) are raised in tightly packed, open-net pens often rife with parasites and diseases that threaten the wild salmon trying to swim by to their ancestral spawning waters. Farmed salmon are fed fish meal, given antibiotics to combat diseases and have levels of PCBs high enough to rate a health advisory from EDF.

On a hopeful note, fresh-water farmed coho salmon have earned the Best Choice status from Seafood Watch. Consumer pressure may encourage more farms to adopt better practices.

On a Food Sovereignty Note:
In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, indigenous botanist, teacher and poet, describes the effort to remove dams on rivers in the Pacific Northwest. This returns rivers with outlets to the ocean to habitat for salmon. Native peoples have long fished these fertile tributaries to take only what they could use of brother salmon. It is good news for sustainability and for indigenous food sovereignty.

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Kolaczki Cookies

Monday, December 19th 2022 6:00 am

Kolaczki Cookies

(Koe lach' kee - Polish filled cookies)

8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 C butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (or pure vanilla if you have it) *See note #2 below.
4 T sugar
3 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C filling, such as fruit preserves or jam, nut or poppy seed or any Solo brand filling
1/4 C powdered sugar


  1. Cream the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla. Stir in flour and salt.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Roll out the dough by first dusting the surface (mat or countertop) with granular sugar.
  5. Roll to 1/8 inch and cut into 2-inch squares. Use a knife or pizza cutter. A fluted pastry cutter creates a zig-zag pattern along the edge of the cookies.
  6. Place a tsp of filling in the center of each square. Fold over opposite corners and seal well with a dab of water on one corner.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until corners just begin to brown. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Note #1: The original recipe for this cookie calls for 1 small packet or 1 T of “vanilla sugar” which is readily available in Europe, but not in the U.S. unless you want to make your own or get it from Amazon! Many “old world” baking products and methods did not travel well with immigrants and they made do with what was available in America. For example, sugar was either very expensive (in the colonies) or rationed (in WWII), so sorghum or maple syrup had to suffice!

Note #2: To make your own fruit filling, combine 3/4 cup dried apricots (or other dried fruit), 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer until the fruit is tender, about 15 minutes. Let it cool and mash or purée with an immersion blender or food processor.

Father Conrad Targonski, OFM (chaplain at Viterbo University) replied “Kolaczki”, when asked to name his favorite Polish Christmas cookie!

There is a lot of debate as to the origins of kolaczki and different ways to prounounce its name. The Polish claim it, but so do the Slovaks, Croatians, Czechs, Scandinavians and others. To Bohemians, Kolaczki is a sweet pastry like a breakfast roll. For other Eastern Europeans they are round thumb-print style cookies with jam in the middle of the circle. Square, diamond-shaped, or traditional crescent filled as in the recipe above are all sometimes referred to as Kolaczki. The boundaries of Eastern European countries and perhaps their food cultures were shared and fluid, dependent on who was in power! In every case, they are made with pride in tradition and often with stories.

What foods are traditional in your heritage? Why not try them this year at Christmas or Easter or explore the cuisine of another culture in your winter and Easter baking?

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Two-for-One Rhubarb Recipes - Repeated from last season!

Monday, June 26th 2023 6:00 am

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

For filling, mix together: 
5-6 C total diced rhubarb and strawberries, cutto about the same size.
1 T flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C white sugar
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)
Put filling in a baking pan, metal or glass. I prefer a 6 – 10 cup glass pan, as it makes a deeper, browner portion than a 9 x 12 cake pan. It’s the cook’s preference!

For topping, mix together: 
3/4 C oatmeal
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder


  1. Add 1/3 C melted butter and mix topping well.
  2. Distribute topping evenly over the rhubarb and strawberry filling.
  3. Bake in a preheated 325 – 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes.

Sliced peeled apples may also be used instead of strawberries. If using apples, the 40 minute time is best to soften the apples.

Rhubarb Sauce

To harvest rhubarb, look for stalks that are turning red. Pull the stalk from the outside of the plant and get the roots. Don’t cut it near the ground as you want it to keep producing!

If you don’t have time or enough rhubarb to make pie or another dessert, this sauce is easy and quick. With just a little sugar, it is great on its own, over ice cream or to top yogurt. Adjust the recipe below according to the amount of rhubarb you have. This sauce is also good with other berries added. Strawberries are an example that get ripe at about the same time!

2 C Chopped rhubarb or combination of rhubarb and strawberries.
1/2 C Sugar (Adjust to your own taste)

  1. Wash the stalks and remove leaves and any discolored root ends.
  2. Chop into pieces about 1 inch (smaller if your stalks are thin).
  3. Add pieces to a medium size saucepan or skillet.  Remember, it will spatter when hot and could burn the cook!
  4. Sweeten it with the sugar and adjust according to your taste.
  5. Add a splash of water to help break down the fibers.
  6. Begin to cook the mixture on medium heat stirring constantly.  When it begins to bubble, turn the heat to a low simmer.
  7. Stir occasionally, so you can tell how thick it’s getting and to keep it from sticking or burning! Let it reduce to the consistency you like, about 20-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: Season the sauce after it is cooked, tasting as you go. Additions include a small amount of cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract or a little lemon zest.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the sauce completely.
  9. Store it in a covered container. It will last a couple of weeks in the fridge or freeze it for later!

You can also freeze the raw rhubarb pieces in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air. Defrost to use when you have enough rhubarb and time to make your recipe!

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These Rhubarb Crisp and Sauce Recipes are worth repeating this season when both rhubarb and strawberries are plentiful.  Strawberries are the "leaders of the berry people" and tell a story of sharing gifts, according to Native American Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer.  “Strawberries first shaped my view of a world full of gifts simply scattered at your feet. A gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it. And yet it appears." Click on Robin's name above for an excerpt on strawberries from her book "Braiding Sweetgrass".  Or listen to her TED talk on The Honorable Harvest which features the first berries of summer.

The Season of Creation

Thursday, September 1st 2022 6:00 am

Season of Creation 2022

Earth has distinct seasons, each with unique gifts, wisdom and challenges. In faith communities, we observe seasons of fasting, feasting, quiet listening and high holy ceremonies, public and private.  A person’s life and the life of a community are made up of seasons as we mature and hear the signs of the times.

This year – from Sept. 1 to the feast of St. Francis on Oct. 4 – Pope Francis invites us to enter deeply into “The Season of Creation.” It is a time to reflect on how we cultivate our relationship with creation. The food we eat is one aspect of that relationship, but there is so much more to ask ourselves.

When we show up as part of the natural world, how do we listen? When the Earth community is stripped of its dignity by human attitudes and actions, how do we bring about justice? Do we honor creation as we shop, cook, eat, and spend money and time? How will the voice of the natural world inform our choices as we give our time, our money and our vote?

We can’t fully honor creation on our own. When it’s hard to be optimistic about the future we can build communities of hope to strengthen us for action. Let us pledge to listen more closely to creation and to what is ours to do. Let’s read, discuss and learn not only how to love creation, but how she loves and cares for us. We can be more grateful for Creation’s gifts and live so that earth may be grateful for us because we continue to do and be different because we listened to God’s voice speaking through hers.

Season of Creation Opportunities:

Explore this ecumenical site for various opportunities:

Although the events below are local to the La Crosse area, watch for more ways that the Integral Ecology Office will promote the Laudato Si Action Platform throughout this next year.

Taize Prayer Service: Welcoming the Season of Creation | Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. | FSPA Prayer Garden across from chapel
Click here
for a link to the service.

Care for Creation Mass | Tuesday, Sept. 20, 11 a.m. |  Mary of the Angels Chapel

Canticle of the Sun Prayer Service | Tuesday, Oct. 4, 11:50 a.m. | FSPA Prayer Garden across from Chapel

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Wild Rice Soup

Monday, November 21st 2022 6:00 am

Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients: (makes 8 servings - 2 cups each)
3 C water
1 C wild rice (manoomin)
6 C butternut squash: peeled, seeded, cubed OR 2 1/2 lbs
3/4 C diced onion
3 T olive oil
4 C vegetable broth
1 C milk
2 C home-cooked or canned Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in wild rice and simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or just until kernels puff open.
  3. While rice cooks, put squash on a baking sheet. Stir in 1 T oil and 1 tsp salt. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onions. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent, but not brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. When squash is tender, set aside one-half of it. Cook the remaining squash for another 15 minutes or until mashable. Add to a large soup pot and mash.
  6. To the soup pot, add broth and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Uncover rice, fluff with a fork, and simmer an additional 5 minutes, if still wet.
  8. Add rice and the squash you set aside to the soup pot. Add beans, onions, pepper and ½ tsp salt. Mix and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Stir all ingredients together. Taste and adjust for seasoning before serving.

Variations:  add sausage, chicken, turkey or mushrooms. Substitute nut milk, carrots for squash.

Black pepper was brought in by European settlers. It has been added to this recipe to accommodate common tastes. One pound of uncooked wild rice measures about 2 2/3 cups and will yield about 8 to 10 cups cooked. When cooking wild rice, plan on using 3 to 4 cups of liquid for every cup of uncooked rice. Rinse the rice first to remove any debris. 1 cup uncooked wild rice = 3 to 4 cups cooked wild rice. Wild rice can be served hot, warm or cold; for breakfast, in salads, stuffing, breads and more.

Wild rice is a wonderfully balanced food, providing protein and fiber. A serving of wild rice contains fewer calories and double the protein content of brown rice. It contains the micronutrient Manganese, an antioxidant,and plays a role in keeping your cells healthy. Quinoa (another indigenous grain native to South American Incans) is similar to wild rice in terms of nutritional benefits.

Wild Rice (Manoomin) has been used within American Indian communities, such as the Ojibwe (or Chippewa) and Menominee, for thousands of years. Menomonee  in Algonquin means “people of the rice.” It was and continues to be a staple in traditional diets and its harvest is full of gratitude, reverence and ceremony. American Indians continue to nurture the crop, a sacred food. Today’s Ojibwe descend from the Algonquins of what is now the eastern US and SE Canada who faced troubles with European settlers. Legend says they were told go west to find the “food that grows on water.” The discovery of the “good berry” or wild rice was the answer to prayer and sustained their people in a new land.

Wild rice is actually a grass native to North America, mainly in the Great Lakes region. It grows in shallow lakes and streams. When processed by traditional ways, it lasts for many seasons, providing food security. There are now 70 major rice fields around Wisconsin alone.Today, traditional rice fields are challenged by warming waters and contamination by mining and other industrial run-off. The fight to stop oil pipeline 3 near the Bad River Reservation is an attempt to save the manoomin and other species vital to tribal members.

Watch a fascinating 33-minute video on the harvest and processing of Manoomin: Dancing the Wild Rice.

A very short PBS video Manoomin: Food that Grows on Water follows Fred Ackley Jr. from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community of Mole Lake as he harvests and processes manoomin, or wild rice which he calls "medicine". He explores the importance of prayer and tradition for cultural survival.

The information above comes from the American Indian Traditional Foods Wisconsin Farm to School Toolkit produced for use in USDA School meals programs by the Wisconsin State Department of Instruction.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) has an informative Manoomin-Goodberry brochure about its nutritional value, detailed description of harvesting and how to find tribal retailers for traditional verses “paddy” grown manoomin.

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Sister Eulalia's Cornbread

Monday, September 12th 2022 6:00 am

Sister Eulalia's Cornbread

Here is a recipe from one of the older Sisters who worked many years in the St. Rose kitchen. It's a nice fall/winter recipe.

1/2 C fat (used bacon grease) Vegetable oil is a good substitute.
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C cornmeal
1 Cup flour
2 T baking powder   
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease and flour a 9” x 9” pan
  3. In a medium bowl, combine fat and sugar. Add eggs and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the fat, sugar, egg mixture, alternating with the milk
  6. Bake in prepared pan for 30 to 35 minutes.  Poke a knife in the center and if it comes out clean, it's done!

Many of us did not know Sister Eulalia, yet her cornbread is remembered long after she has passed from our midst! When we make something with love, the gift and the love it embodies is present.

Memory and love linger. Christians believe that love never dies. In this recipe, remember a “house” Sister who fed and cleaned for a whole community of Sisters so that they could minister. Do you have food memories of loved ones, of a person who prepared a meal so you could be nourished in a time of need? Thank someone this week for gifts made with love. Remember them as we recall Sister Eulalia and are reminded to put love into small acts like cooking, shopping and homemaking for one or for a household.

Corn Facts:

  • Archeologists discovered evidence of corn that grew wild near modern-day Mexico City as early as 7,000 years ago.
  • Maize began as wild grass. Seeds clung to its stalk and over time farmers selected seeds from the best ears to breed a food more like what we think of as corn today.
  • Christopher Columbus described maize kernels as “affixed by nature in a wondrous manner and in form and size like garden peas.” Native to middle America, corn had never been seen by Europeans. They didn’t know how to use or grow it until natives shared their knowledge of a food source that was their sacred sister.
  • Wide-ranging trading routes brought maize to other tribes. The Iroquois dried and pounded its kernels into flour and made a paste by adding water. Sometimes nuts or berries were added. Small loaves of this paste were cooked in boiling water until they floated like dumplings. The dough was also baked or fried in oil pressed from sunflower seeds.
  • By adding wheat flour from the old world and sweeteners like maple syrup, molasses or honey, settlers built on the basics. When available, eggs and yeast improved this staple grain.
  • The use of cornmeal was important to enslaved people because flour was not often available to them. Cornbread biscuits, hoecakes (fire-roasted on the back of a clean shovel), spoon bread and corn grits were ways that poor families of all walks of life valued corn as a sustaining food. It is a favorite in the Southern and Northern states. Corn remains a sacred basic to Native peoples and throughout Central and South American cultures in the form of tortillas, tamales, corn cakes, pozole, hominy and more. 

The tidbits above are adapted from, which is also the source of the cornbread photo.

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Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

Friday, August 26th 2022 6:00 am

Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

1/3 C sugar
2/3 C water
1/4 C mint
1/4 C lemon balm (or substitute with more mint!)
1/2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C orange juice
2 quarts ginger ale


  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil and set aside. Squeeze citrus juices and finely chop mint and lemon balm.
  2. Add orange and lemon juices to the hot sugar syrup. Remove from the heat, add chopped herbs and cover. Let steep for at least 1 hour.
  3. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer or sieve. Add ginger ale and serve chilled.
  4. Note: All mint may be used instead of lemon balm.

Meg Paulino got this recipe from an herb farm in Seattle many years ago and it is her favorite summertime drink!

This drink was often served to farmers at hay harvest time to quench the thirst of parched field workers and is sometimes called “haymaker’s punch”. Lemons are rich in electrolytes and Switchel sounds more refreshing than Gatorade on a harvest time day.

Switchel dates back to colonial times when products like maple syrup would have been used for sweetener. Vinegar and ginger juice were common ingredients in the absence of acidic lemon and modern ginger ale.  Stories are told of gatherings of the Constitutional Congress where a punch bowl of Switchel was served sweetened with cane sugar or molasses and spiked with rum all from the West Indies.

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Lentils Mexicanas

Monday, August 8th 2022 6:22 pm

Lentils Mexicanas

Lentils don’t need to be soaked in water to rehydrate them like other legumes so they are quick to prepare. Consider cooking extra lentils when you make this recipe and freezing the rest in a freezer bag. They are quick to thaw in a sink of hot water and you'll have a last-minute meal or appetizer in a hurry.

1 Cup dried lentils (any variety)
2 Cups water
1/2 Cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
Pinch salt
One 2.5 oz can green olives, sliced OR one 4 oz can diced green chilies
One 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
2 Cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs chopped parsley OR cilantro
3 Cups tortilla chips, tortillas or cooked rice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and sort lentils in a strainer, removing dirt and any stones you may find. Simmer lentils in water, covered for 30 minutes.
  3. Sauté onions in oil until translucent. Add a pinch of salt and spices. Stir in garlic and sauté for a minute. Reserve 2 Tbs olives. Stir in remaining olives, tomatoes and chilies.
  4. Add lentils and spread mixture in a 9” X 9” dish or casserole. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.
  5. Bake uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped olives and parsley. Serve with chips, rolled in a tortilla, or over cooked rice.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle cheese over mixture and serve right from the pan with extra cheese at the table!  Discover your own way to enjoy this dish!

Lentils Greccio: For a Greek variation, use Green or Kalamata olives; change spices to 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp ground coriander, add a pinch of chili flakes. Change cheese to 1/2 to 1 Cup crumbled feta.

Lentils Italiano: For an Italian version, use green, black, or Kalamata olives; change spices to 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil and add a pinch of chili flakes. Change cheese to 2 cups grated Mozzarella.

This is one of the first recipes Vicki sent for this swap, and she's not the only one to recommend it to me so it must be good! This is a main dish that can be eaten with rice or tortilla chips, and as you can see it is very versatile. Today's picture comes from The Spruce Eats. I didn't know much about lentils, but their website is very informative!

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Easy Vegetable Frittata

Monday, March 6th 2023 6:00 am

Makes 6 servings

10 large eggs
5 T heavy cream, half-and-half or whole milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 C (4 ounces) shredded cheese, like cheddar or Fontina
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 C vegetables total
*Choose 2 or 3, such as onion, mushrooms, diced peppers, zucchini, small cooked broccoli florets, potatoes or carrots. May be raw, fresh or cooked leftovers.
1 1/2 C packed baby spinach (optional)
*If using frozen veggies, thaw and squeeze the moisture out.
Chopped or torn fresh herbs like parsley, chives or dill (optional).


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with cream, 1/2 tsp of the salt, pepper and cheese.
  3. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe 10-inch skillet on medium high heat. (Non-stick or a well-seasoned cast iron pan are best).
  4. Add vegetables (except spinach). Cook, stirring every once in a while until the they are soft and have a little bit of color; about 5 minutes.
  5. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt, then add the spinach. Toss the spinach around the pan until it’s slightly wilted and bright green.
  6. Whisk egg mixture once more, then pour into the skillet. Move the pan back and forth to distribute the egg around the vegetables. Stir and cook until edges start to pull away from the pan, 5-7 minutes.
  7. Slide the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the eggs are barely set and the frittata trembles — like jello — when you give the pan a gentle shake. Keep an eye on it as it bakes and check the frittata a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done.
  8. Serve hot or cold with fresh herbs on top.

Frittata is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner and a great way to use whatever veggies you have on hand or leftover pasta. It’s easier than quiche, but may take practice to get it set how you like it!

My Italian heritage is the source of this family favorite. My grandmother made it completely on the stovetop, using a big Rubbermaid spatula to slowly ease cooked eggs to the center without scrambling them. She could flip the whole thing in the pan, to get both sides cooked perfectly. This was not genius, just experience! (She’d been learning to cook since she was eight!) Does she sound like a grandma or great-grandma in your ancestry? What meatless dishes come to you from your food heritage? We’ll be sharing some this Lent!

About the price of eggs:
Eggs have long been an economical source of protein and remain so, even in with the prices we’ve seen in the last year. “The average price of a dozen eggs goes up and up and that’s for the cheapest kinds” says Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics.  Egg prices now may show signs of coming down.  As of February 24, 2023 the average price was $2.45 a dozen

Reasons for high egg prices are listed by the New York Times as follows, according to Nestle, dietician, author and public health and food systems expert:

  • Inflation
  • The war in Ukraine
  • Higher feed costs
  • Higher energy costs (those hens have to be kept warm)
  • Avian flu (44 million hens died or were killed)
  • Higher-than-normal demand
  • “It could get worse.” Nestle continues. “Avian flu infects animals as well as birds and could infect us. How’s that for a cheery thought? Small egg farms, anyone?”

Seriously, do any of you get eggs from a local organic free-range egg farmer? It makes sense for the animals, our environment, the local economy and the taste!

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Italian Biscotti

Monday, November 28th 2022 6:00 am

Italian Biscotti

2 eggs
1/2 C plus 2 T sugar
1 stick (1/2 C) butter or margarine, softened
1 T brandy
1 – ½ T anise seeds
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray.
  2. Beat the eggs by hand or in a mixer. Add sugar and beat together.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat softened butter and combine with the sugar/egg mixture. Add liquid flavorings.
  4. Gently stir dry ingredients into the egg/sugar/butter mixture.
  5. Form dough into 2 loaves on a large parchment paper lined or sprayed cookie sheet. Loaves should be about 3/4” high x 4” wide x 8” long. Space the loaves at least 2 inches apart to allow for rising during baking.
  6. 1st Bake: Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Check frequently. Remove from oven and carefully move loaves to a cooking rack until cool. Increase oven heat to 375 degrees.
  7. Transfer loaves one at a time to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. This can be done straight across the loaf or at a 45-degree angle.
  8. 2nd Bake: Lay each biscotto on its side on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and toast at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, turning each one over after 5 minutes.
  9. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Serve with coffee or wine for dunking!

Biscotti means “twice baked.” Some historians believe that these semi-sweet biscuits traveled on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria because they were dry, did not mold and tasted better than the tradition fare of hardtack and dried meat. Today, they can be found with every flavor and ingredient imaginable and vary from tender, like in this recipe, to very hard.

In many Italian families, biscotti are a celebration cookie made for Christmas, Easter, Weddings, and Baptisms. I remember that one of my brothers-in-law took such a liking to the biscotti that my Auntie made for our wedding that for years he asked for “those good hard cookies” at every Kaley Christmas. And he got them! We think he liked to dunk them in wine as was our custom!

Many wedding preparation folks say, “You do not just marry your spouse, but you marry the family.” Food can carry family stories and make the blending easier. I love making biscotti to honor and remember my family and their values. We like the traditional biscotti and a great double chocolate variety, but we have also literally made room for contributions of other Christmas cookies that join the family parties as our circle widens.

As families bend and grow, it is good to honor those who came before us. Even the smallest food traditions or customs, help us remember where and who it is we came from! Celebration foods can hold memories to share with all those around the table.

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Bran "Penitential" Biscuits

Monday, February 27th 2023 6:00 am

1 C shortening (or 1/2 C margarine and 1/2 C butter)
4 T sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C blackstrap (or regular) molasses
3 C wheat bran (wheat germ or crushed bran flakes cereal)
3 C flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 C buttermilk OR 1 C milk plus 2 tsp lemon juice

Raisins or other dried fruit (optional)


  1. Cream shortening and sugar
  2. Add eggs and molasses
  3. Fold in dried fruit, if using
  4. Use ice cream scoop to drop biscuits onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutesMakes 18-24 biscuits depending upon size
  6. Mix bran, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together
  7. Add dry mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk

This r
ecipe was provided through the kindness of Sister Marcella Marie Dreikosen and shared by St. Rose Convent nurse Zona Kern. Zona found it posted by Cwyn on a blog called "Death by Tea." Zona writes, “Over the years many sisters have mentioned that "penitential biscuits" were being served to them on occasion. (Apparently it used to be on Good Friday.) This year one of the sisters brought a biscuit to the nurses to try and it was very good. Later I googled "penitential biscuit" and this recipe attributed to Sister Marcella Marie Dreikosen came up!

In "Death by Tea" Cwyn writes: “These salty sweet biscuits were served on meatless Fridays along with salad for the noon meal. Sister Marcella ran the kitchen in those days. She is retired now, and graciously hunted down this old recipe which suggests it is no longer being made. The name Penitential Biscuit is a bit of a misnomer because they are so delicious, and Sister Marcella didn't like anyone calling them Penitential Biscuits.

"’It's a bran biscuit,’ she said, a little offended at the idea that the biscuits might be a penance to eat, or aren't very good.

“But in fact they are so wonderfully savory and sweet, we would say "Penitential" as a loving bit of humor, that we are supposed to be doing a penance but the sisters in the kitchen loved us all so much that instead we are eating beautifully.  Before today, I have not had these biscuits for 28 years. I put raisins in my recipe, though we never had raisins in these biscuits.”

Note from Vicki:
Lent invites us to simplify, to abstain from excess, to eat lower on the food chain, less meat and more plant and planet centered. What Lenten recipe do you consider too tasty to be "penitential?" Share it at

As Lent begins, you might enjoy a thoughtful essay by Dr. Christine Valters Paintner entitled "A Different Kind of Fast" written for Abbey of the Arts.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry

Monday, August 1st 2022 6:09 pm

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry

2 cups carrots, sliced into rounds or in ribbons
2 cups peeled broccoli stems, sliced
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt to taste


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broth and heat it briefly.
  2. Add the carrots and a few drops of soy sauce. Cook and stir for a minute or two.
  3. Add the broccoli stems. Cook and stir for another minute or two.
  4. Add the remaining soy sauce, scallions, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Cook and stir for a minute. Cover and cook for a few more minutes. Continue cooking to your desired tenderness. Depending on how long you cook this, you may need to add a splash of water or more soy sauce to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan. If needed, adjust seasoning to taste by adding a little more seasoning.

Don't have scallions on hand? Substitute a small onion (or half of a large one) and slice it thinly so that it cooks faster.

This morning in the FSPA garden, someone was dared to eat a piece of broccoli straight off of the plant (I know, I'd do this without a dare in a heartbeat too!). Of course he ate it, but just as he was about to toss the stem we onlookers stopped him. The stem of the broccoli is the sweetest part! "That's just a matter of opinion," he said, rolling his eyes, but he took a bite anyway. Those same eyes widened as he realized we were right! I was planning on waiting to share this recipe, but this seemed like a sign that this is the right time for it. This recipe was adapted from the website Natural Kitchen, and the picture also came from that website.

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Enchilada Casserole

Monday, March 20th 2023 6:00 am

For sauce:

3 C ready-made Enchilada Sauce OR ...
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 C diced white onion, divided
2 small garlic cloves, diced
1 dried chipotle or Ancho chile pepper, stemmed
11/2 T chili powder
1 1/2 T dried oregano, Mexican, if available

For Enchiladas:
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
16 corn tortillas (5"-6")
2 C frozen peppers, any color, diced
2 C frozen corn
2 C shredded mild cheddar, Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, divided


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • If making homemade Enchilada Sauce, combine tomatoes, 1 cup onion, garlic, chile, chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt in a blender; puree on high until smooth, about 1 minute OR use bottled Enchilada sauce.
  • Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer 4 tortillas over the sauce. Top with 1/2 cup peppers, 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup of cheese and 1/4 cup of the remaining onion. Repeat the layers twice. Top with the remaining tortillas, peppers, corn and onion. Spread the remaining sauce on top.
  • Coat a large piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish tightly. Bake the enchiladas for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Continue baking until the cheese is melted and the edges are starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Homemade enchilada sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Label it well and make a freezer “pantry list” to remind you it’s there for next time!

An easy meatless Enchilada Casserole with a side of refried beans offers protein and veggies! This dish from Eating Well (pictured above), uses convenient, vegetables frozen at their peak of flavor and nutrients! I discovered organic veggies and fruits grown locally in my grocer’s organic freezer section. Look where you shop!

Organic products (produce, grains, dairy, meat) cost a bit more, but are an investment in the future of the environment and human health. At the recent Marbleseed Organic Farming Conferency (formerly MOSES), I bought a pass to visit just the exhibits on the last day. The exhibitor from Sno Pac Foods in Caledonia, MN. was excited to talk about their frozen fruits and vegetables, locally grown and widely distributed. This SE Minnesota company founded by JP Gengler has been organic for over 70 years, out of concern "for both the health of the people who are eating his (Gengler's) products, as well as being a good steward to the land we farm" as noted on the Sno Pact Foods website. When you can’t grow and process garden, store or farmer’s market produce, there are other organic options.

FSPA support their own organic garden and ethical use of the land on Saint Joseph Ridge. FSPA also supports the Logan Northside Neighborhood Garden to honor the earth and its people. We can vote for Mother earth with our forks, our funds and as advocates for good food products and policy.

Meaning of "Organic:" According to dietitian Sarah Brandt of the La Crosse Tribune (3.15.23), "Foods that carry the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic seal are produced without any synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. Organic foods also do not contain any GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Farms and food producers must be inspected by the USDA to confirm their organic status." Within the label "organic" there are various levels: "'100% Organic:' - The product is completely organic or made of only organic ingredients, 'Organic' - At least 95% of the ingredients are organic, 'Made with organic ingredients' - At least 70% organic ingredients; these products do not qualify for a USDA organic seal." It takes effort to be an informed consumer, but it's worth it.

An Indigenous farmer's perspective on the term "organic"

Another discovery boat Marbleseed's book exhibit The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming quotes a North Carolina Cherokee farmer named Kevin Welch. Kevin works with the Cherokee Center for Food and the Cherokee Seed Bank. He says, "We use the term 'best management practices.' We don't use the term 'organic.' Organic is a government-produced word. Labeling your stuff organic is what people do to sell. Commercial growers use the word for marketing. But for a lot of small growers, we can't afford not to be 'organic.' Have you seen the prices of all those chemicals? We just plant complementary plants; we use pepper spray; we make our own compost. This is just wise and the best thing to do good for your plans and the environment." Sounds to me a like JP Gengler!

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Iggy's Tortellini

Wednesday, August 17th 2022 3:37 pm

Iggy's Tortellini

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into slices or strips
2 portabella mushroom heads, washed and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound cheese-filled tortellini
2 jars alfredo sauce
1 pound of fresh baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
Grated parmesan cheese to taste


  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, on medium-low heat. Add onion, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Let them cook on low to medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate pot, cook tortellini as instructed. For me, this means bringing water to a boil, adding my tortellini, and cooking for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini once it's done cooking and set aside.
  3. Add garlic to onion mixture, bringing heat up to medium. Let cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring.
  4. Add alfredo sauce, thyme, and baby spinach to onion mixture. Stir until baby spinach starts to wilt.
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in tortellini. Serve hot with grated parmesan on top.


  • This recipe is adaptable in many ways. Add whatever vegetables you'd like to the onion mixture. I like to add broccoli if I've got it.
  • If you like asparagus, add that when you would add the baby spinach.
  • My family prefers a lot of garlic, so I frequently use a head or more in this recipe. Use more or less as you prefer.

This meal is a favorite in my household, and it comes together quickly. It’s requested often enough that I just keep tortellini in my fridge, and it's always a relief to me as far as cooking since the hardest part is chopping an onion and always brings a smile to my fiance's face when we're eating. Here’s hoping our daughter likes it as much as we do when she’s old enough to eat solid foods!

P.S. I didn't have a picture of this "Dinner at Iggy's House," so I've sent one of my favorite flowers instead. I think morning glories are beautiful, but be careful to keep them contained if you plant them!

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Quinoa Atamalada or “Tamale – like" Quinoa

Monday, May 1st 2023 6:00 am

1 T oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp aji amarillo paste (see substitutions below)
1 C quinoa
Salt and pepper
1/4 C evaporated milk
1/2 C queso fresco in cubes (or any white, fresh cheese)
2 T parsley, chopped
Serves 4

Aji Amarillo Paste is a sweet and spicy yellow pepper condiment that may be hard to find. In its place, use one of the following chopped peppers: sweet red or serrano.

Queso Fresco (fresh cheese) is similar in taste and texture to feta, farmer's cheese, fresh mozzarella, ricotta salata (semi-dry ricotta).


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and saute the onion, garlic, and aji amarillo paste for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir constantly.
  2. Add the quinoa, stir well, and cover with water (about 4 times the amount of quinoa, which is 4 Cups).
  3. Bring to a boil, and simmer for half an hour. If it dries out, add more water. It should have the consistency of a thick soup. Add salt and pepper. Some people prefer it a bit thick, almost like polenta or risotto.
  4. When ready, add the milk, cheese cubes and parsley. Taste for seasoning and serve with rice as pictured above on Peru Delights website.

Quinoa (keen' wah) is a grain native to the Americas along with wild rice, amaranth, corn and mesquite. These grains have ancient histories and all provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant protein. Today, due to its popularity as a healthy plant protein, quinoa is one of Peru's major farm exports and no longer as affordable to native Peruvians as it once was.

Quinoa cooks more quickly than rice, making it a convenient ingredient. It can be added ot soups, stews, salads, breakfast "porridge", and even beer-like drinks! Find quinoa in the natural foods section of your favorite store. For other authentic Peruvian recipes with Quinoa, click here.

An Andean legend describes a young boy watched over the crops by Lake Titicaca because his people thought they were being stolen. One night, he discovered a group of girls in the crops, so he made them go away. They turned into birds and flew away to the stars. Bewildered, the boy went looking for one of the stars on the back of a condor and found her. She fed him with quinoa and when he returned to Earth, she gave him this seed so that he would feed his people.

Like amaranth, quinoa was believed to be too important in Incan culture by Spanish conquerors. It was outlawed as a food staple and for use in Incan ceremonies. Rice was introduced by the Spaniards to replace quinoa.

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