seasonal - Related Content

Pepperkaker Cookies

Monday, January 2nd 2023 6:00 am

Old Fashioned Pepperkaker

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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!

Notes:
*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.

Story: “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!

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Two-for-One Rhubarb Recipes

Friday, July 29th 2022 5:46 pm


Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

For filling, mix together: 
Diced rhubarb and sliced strawberries sliced to about the same size. Should total 5-6 Cups in any combination.
1 TBS flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup white sugar
1/2 Cup 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 Cup oatmeal
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  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.

Notes:
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!

Ingredients:
2 Cups Chopped rhubarb or combination of rhubarb and strawberries.
1/2 Cup Sugar (Adjust to your own taste)
 
Directions:

  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.  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!

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

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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.

Story:
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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Italian Biscotti

Monday, November 28th 2022 6:00 am

Italian Biscotti

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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!

Story: 
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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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

Directions:

  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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Story:
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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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)

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:

  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.

Story:
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!

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Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies

Monday, January 9th 2023 6:00 am

 

Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  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.

Story:  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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Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

Monday, October 10th 2022 6:00 am

Three Sisters Harvest Bowls

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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.

Story:
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: htpps://www.fspa.org/content/ministries/justice-peace/privilege-racism. 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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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!

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

Story:
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 recipe here or visit youtube.com 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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Fall Apple Salad and "Picking Your Own"

Monday, October 17th 2022 6:00 am

Fall Apple Salad

Ingredients:
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.)

Dressing:
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

Directions:

  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!

Story:
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. To find a pick-your-own farm for apples and much more near where you live, check out pickyourown.org. Then learn to can and freeze!

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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Christmas Chip Cookies

Monday, December 19th 2022 6:00 am

Christmas Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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.

Story:
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.

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 ecopact@fspa.org!

Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

Friday, August 26th 2022 6:00 am

Switchel - Refreshing Summertime Drink

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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.

Story:
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.

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, and food stories so keep sending them to ecopact@fspa.org!

Kolaczki Cookies

Monday, December 19th 2022 6:00 am

Kolaczki Cookies

(Koe lach' kee - Polish filled cookies)

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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.

Story:
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?

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 ecopact@fspa.org!

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.

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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!

Story:
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 delishably.com, which is also the source of the cornbread photo.

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Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Monday, November 14th 2022 6:00 am

Blossoms

Uncooked Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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.

Story: 
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 ecopact@fspa.org!

Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

Monday, September 19th 2022 6:00 am

Tomato Upside Down Cornbread

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:

  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.

Story: 
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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Pumpkin Soup

Monday, October 24th 2022 6:00 am

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
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
 
Directions:

  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.

Note:
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.

Story:
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 greatist.com.

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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 ecopact@fspa.org 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 pbs.org 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.

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 ecopact@fspa.org!

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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:

  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!

Notes:
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.

Story:
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

Ingredients:
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

Instructions:

  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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Story:
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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