Archive | July, 2011

Afternoon Stroll…..

17 Jul

Another way to eat well here at the Seminary is to take advantage of the food grown on the grounds.  As you stroll around campus, you will find all kinds of goodies for the community to pick and take home for dinner.  Here are some places I went and what I found.  Leave a comment if you know some places where things are growing that I missed.  Keep in mind there are herbs everywhere as well, but if it is not basil or rosemary….I probably can’t identify it, so leave a comment and tell me what you have found!

Here are some things growing by the admissions building (if you turn left right before the main entrance to campus):

Tomatoes….there are green beans there also.  Over by the entrance pillars we have:

Green and purple cabbages (they are ready, so go get one!) and brussels sprouts.  In the mini quad we have:

Broccoli and LOTS of basil.  In fact, there is basil everywhere you look around here.  No one should ever buy pesto in a jar here.  In the perennial garden there are even more beautiful looking grape tomatoes:

There are also MORE tomatoes growing along the fence by the radio tower.  Over in the triangle near Wartburg and Sieck halls there are lots of different kinds of peppers, both spicy and bell.  Perfect to go with those tomatoes!

I also found cucumbers and beets in the garden/bench area near the chapel.  The flower beds of the chapel should have some wonderful sweet potatoes this fall.  So, take an afternoon walk and you just might be rewarded with something fresh for dinner!


Not Just Green Beans

16 Jul

I think many families come to campus, having just moved and sometimes having just gotten married or are living away from family for the first time.  It can take them a long time to get acclimated to all the campus has to offer.  The Food Bank is one of those things.  Most everyone at one point or another realizes they can come to the Food Bank and get an array of canned and dry goods.  However, I didn’t know for many months that EVERY Saturday (not just the Saturdays that the Food Bank is open for staples) there is dairy, produce and packaged bread.  You have to get up early for a Saturday and you must have a bit of time to take care of the food once you get it home, but it can stretch your budget beyond what you can imagine!  For instance, this is the bounty I picked up for FREE this morning at the food bank:

It’s kind of like Christmas every Saturday.  You don’t know what you are going to get.  Most things are close to expiration, however, if you are resourceful you can use them.  The orange juice expires in 3 days.  We will probably drink it by then, but if we don’t I will freeze it in ice cube trays to make the kids orange juice slushies on a hot day.  The milk expires Sunday.  It will easily be gone by then, but typically we have found we can use the milk three or four days past expiration and it doesn’t loose quality.

I also got eggs.  Generally the eggs are very fresh, the only catch is they may have one or two broken eggs in the carton.  I simply keep empty cartons and then place the good eggs in the cartons before putting them in the fridge (being sure to wash off any “egg goo” from the broken eggs if there is any).

For the produce, if you are a smoothie lover you can find all kinds of fruit great for freezing immediately for smoothies.  In fact I may use the great Greek yogurt I got for those.  You need to bring home your produce and immediately do something with it.  For example, the grapes and strawberries had to be washed and the bad ones thrown away.  I do that as soon as I get home and package them in the fridge so we can easily grab them for snacks or at meal time.  Here are my grapes after sorting:

The apple slices and also the whole apples looked as fresh as I could go get at the store.  I got some mushrooms and some guacamole.  I got a cherry cobbler, a loaf of bread and some delicious looking 9 grain rolls (great for my new found need to use pasta!).  A special treat there today….fresh flowers!  They looked beautiful and it was a nice blessing to get those to make our table happy.

For best selection, get there at 8:30 and help unload the van and put the goods out.  You won’t be sorry and feeding your family is worth it!

Next up will be a post about all the great vegetables and herbs growing all over our campus that are just yours for the picking!

Coconut Macaroons

15 Jul

I love my fellow Sem wife and friend Jennifer.  She is funny, easy to talk to and we have lots of similar interests.  I love her the most, though, because she likes to show up on my doorstep with these:

Coconut macaroons.  Be still my heart.  Gooey, coconutty, chewy, yummy goodness.  Since my dinner last night was your basic meat on the grill and veggies, I thought I’d share the perfect “get your ingredients at the food bank” recipe that was our dessert, compliments of Jen.  Be sure to check out Jen’s blog for this recipe and more!

Coconut Macaroons


4 cups coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp Almond extract (or vanilla but almond is much tastier)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Parchment paper or waxed paper if available

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Combine milk and almond extract.
  • Add flour and mix to combine.
  • Fold in coconut.
  • Drop by rounded teaspoonful (I use a small cookie dough scooper) onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake 10-15mins until edges and top are lightly brown.
  • If desired turn on broiler to toast the tops. If you use the broiler do not take your eyes off the cookies. I stood with the oven cracked and watched them brown.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over macaroons. Use a zip lock with the corner cut to make this easier. I was out of bags and impatient so I just put a little circle of chocolate on top of each cookie.

Creamy Pasta and Chicken

14 Jul

We get breaded chicken donated by Brakebush chicken on a regular basis.  Sometimes we get tired of eating it, or just want to do something different with it.  This is how I was feeling today, so I made up a recipe to use up some of the chicken and to finish up my carton of half and half.   It was tasty and filled our bellies.


approx. 1-1.5 pounds of breaded chicken tenders (or chunks, whatever you have as you will chop them up anyway)

2 cups half and half (I’d imagine milk would work too)

1 packet vegetable soup mix

2 cups shredded cheese (any kind you prefer, I used colby)

1 pound pasta, cooked and drained (I used multi color bow tie)

First, toss your breaded chicken tenders in the oven to cook.  I used approximately 12 tenders and cooked them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

As your pasta is cooking, whisk together your half and half and your soup mix.  Let that cook on medium until the vegetables are tender, whisking frequently.  When the vegetables are tender, add in the cheese and whisk until smooth.

Meanwhile, chop up your cooked chicken into bite size pieces.  Drain your pasta.  Place pasta and chicken  in a large bowl.  Pour in your sauce and mix well, till all is coated.  Enjoy!

Mashed Potato Salad

14 Jul

I had left over mashed potatoes from Sunday’s oven fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.  I decided to try to make my mother-in-love’s mashed potato salad.  It turned out pretty good!  I need to get the actual recipe from her so I can give you the proportions correctly.  Mine went something like this:

Start two eggs on the stove to hard boil.  Take leftover potatoes (about 1 1/2 cups) and put them in a mixing bowl.  Take a tablespoon and scoop out a heaping spoonful of Miracle Whip.  Take another Tablespoon and throw in a heaping tablespoon of sour cream.  Toss in a teaspoon of relish, a dash of lemon juice and a dash of white vinegar.  Peel hard boiled eggs, put them in the bowl and smash them with a fork as you mix it all together.  Not exactly a recipe, but that’s how I roll.

Tex Mex Chicken and Rice Bake

13 Jul

This is what we had last night. I served it with a salad and cornbread. You know you have over cooked your cornbread when your husband sees you cutting it and said “Oh, that’s cornbread? I thought it was brownies”. 🙂 It was still a good meal and filled our bellies. My youngest two children just picked out the chicken and ate it. I found this recipe on Cindy’s blog and adapted it to what I had on hand. Enjoy!


1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole kernel corn (I used frozen)
3/4 cup instant rice
1 lb frozen, fully cooked chicken breast strips
3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

Stir the soup, salsa, water, corn and rice together in a large bowl. Stir in the chicken. Put in a 2qt shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand until cheese is melted.

Chocolate Syrup

12 Jul

Ah, chocolate. A food group to most women. I am no exception. My friend Chas changed my life with a post about homemade chocolate syrup. Frankly, I could eat it by the spoonful. It is fabulous over ice cream. My absolute favorite way to use it, however, is in coffee. Hot or iced with a little half and half, you could fool even those who have their daily Starbucks. It’s that good.

This is what I used for my base:

Although THIS would make me truly weak in the knees. Askinosie is not only an awesome company, but they make chocolate too. 🙂

Back to the syrup:
Mix 1/2 cup cocoa and 1 cup water in a sauce pot. Do me a favor and make sure it’s nice and deep. If it is not, this will boil over. If you do not heed my warning and it does boil over, it is not too terribly difficult to clean up. Not that it ever happened to me or anything.

After the cocoa and water are incorporated add 2 cups of sugar. Bring this to a rolling boil and keep boiling for 3 minutes. I like to keep whisking it while it boils to further prevent boil over. Not that I know anything about that. It looks like this:

Take off the heat and add 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (I personally prefer it without the vanilla). Do not start eating it with a spoon. You will burn your tongue. Do let it cool before pouring it into a pint jar and sticking it in the fridge. It thickens a bit in the fridge, so don’t be alarmed if you think it is too runny at first. Enjoy!