Friday, November 30, 2007 

Flickr Photo Friday

Zimtsterne (2/4)
Originally uploaded by Thorsten (

It's getting near that time....Christmas Cookies!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007 

Operation Happy Holidays

9 years and still baking up delicious memories of sweet home Montana.
The goal of "Operation Happy Holidays" was to bake, wrap and ship approximately 30,000 cookies to Montana troops stationed overseas.

...These homemade morsels have been cooked up every holiday season for nine years as a way to say "thank you" to all of Montana's military personnel who can't come home for the holidays.

"I want the troops to know Montanans appreciate the sacrifices they make, especially this time of year," said Steve Kubick, co-coordinator of the event.

Every year, the number of cookies baked is adjusted for the number of troops overseas. Judging by the amount of cookies baked this year, Kubick believes this is one of the largest groups of military personnel deployed from the state in recent memory.

More than 800 pounds of sugar and flour, 120 dozen eggs, 200 pounds of brown sugar and 250 pounds of chocolate chips — among other large-quantity necessities — went into baking 30,000 peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and snickerdoodle cookies.

Dimmer Kjelsrud, the other co-coordinator of "Operation Happy Holidays," said the cookies will be a small part of gift boxes that will be wrapped up on Saturday, along with items like candy, calling cards and beef jerky. - GreatFallsTribune

Nothing really says home like home baked cookies....

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Sunday, November 25, 2007 

When Life Gives You Turkey...

Hope y'all's TDay was fabulous and you are coming out of your tryptophan coma. Wondering what to do with that left over bird and fixings? Here are a couple of ideas...

From the San Francisco Chronicle -


Allow time to defrost the pastry, either overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • -- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked turkey meat, chopped into medium dice
  • 1 cup mix of frozen peas and pearl onions
  • 1 cup chopped precooked sweet potatoes or carrots, in medium dice
  • 1 sheet (about 9 ounces) puff pastry dough, defrosted according to package directions
  • 1 egg yolk combined with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400°.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the raw flour taste cooks off, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and wine until well combined, then slowly bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the turkey, peas and onions and carrots in a 2-quart casserole or deep-dish pie dish.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 10 by 14 inches, then cut it to fit the pan you are using with about 1 inch extra all around. If you like, cut some of the scraps into shapes to decorate the top of the potpie.

Pour the sauce into the casserole, then top with the pastry. Vent in a few places, then add any decorations, using a little water as glue, then brush the entire surface with the egg wash. Bake until the pastry puffs and reaches a deep golden brown and the inside is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Serve hot, in shallow bowls.

The Lansing State Journal has a few recipes, including this rather intriguing turkey sandwich.


Turkey has a heartier flavor than chicken and is complemented by the basil pesto in the mayonnaise dressing. To save preparation time, substitute prepared purchased pesto for homemade.

Basil Pesto
» 1 large clove garlic
» 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
» 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
» 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
» 1/2 teaspoon salt
» 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
» 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the salad
» 2 pounds turkey meat, cooked and diced
» 1 cup mayonnaise
» 1/2 cup diced celery
» 1/4 cup scallions
» 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
» 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

Make the pesto: In a food processor or blender, chop the garlic finely. Add the nuts and basil leaves, and process until fully chopped. With the motor running slowly, add the oil until it is incorporated and the pesto has a smooth consistency. Season with salt and white pepper. The pesto can be made up to one day in advance and stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for as long as one month. Makes about 1 cup.

If you like cheese, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan to the recipe; however, this variation will not freeze well.

To assemble: In a mixing bowl, combine the turkey, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of the pesto, and the diced vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. The salad can be made up to 6 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until needed. Serve with any of the Berghoff breads - rye, olive, or beer bread - or a hearty bread of your choice.

Makes 8 sandwiches.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007 

OK..I ventured out yesterday

or...rather "rolled out"...too many houses to visit, way too much to eat on Thursday. Noticed that the Downtown Trolley is "dressed up" for the occassion. They'll soon have the antlers or the Santa Cap.

Turkey Trolley
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007 

May you enjoy your

non pardoned turkeys today.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007 

Harvest Bear Hugs...

Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

to you!

Monday, November 19, 2007 

Music Monday

with Alison Moyet singing one of my all-time favorite songs. "Windmills of your Mind" from the film "The Thomas Crown Affair."

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Saturday, November 17, 2007 

My blogging buddy, Fletch

Over at "Smokies Light", is a big Rachel Ray fan. He can keep her....I'll take Tyler.

Fletch...this one's for you!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 

A Holiday Challenge

I challenge my fellow local bloggers to donate food, money or a turkey to our local foodbank.

The Santa Barbara Foodbank is running a turkey drive...they are looking for 5,000 turkeys to feed those less fortunate this holiday season. (Last year they distributed 6,000.) They are also doing a food drive...over 1,000 of pounds of food is needed this Holiday season.

And.....I challenge my fellow bloggers (food or otherwise) throughout the country to donate to their local foodbanks, too. You can find a Food Bank near you at America's Second Harvest.

Food donations from grocery stores and other "usual" donors are not in the amounts of past years. Foodbanks everywhere are dealing with smaller food donations and greater need for assistance.

It has been a tough year for organizations that feed the hungry.

First, there were the disasters. The January freeze and the recent Southern California fires drained local food banks. Then there's the economy -- and we're not just talking about foreclosures. Rising gas prices, the biofuel industry's need for wheat and corn, bad weather and a higher demand for meat products caused food prices to jump....

As a result, food banks and agencies serving free meals face two problems: Donations are down, and there are more mouths to feed. - Fresno Bee

What better way to be thankful for all our blessings than to share with others, especially food which is essential to life, learning and love of all sentient beings.


Now...let's get donating!

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George made me do it

that is....find out my little blog's "reading level"

cash advance

he's more masterful than I, though.


Monday, November 12, 2007 

Macy's going into the grocery business?

Oh, my. don't think they're not naming it Marshall Field's. At least they'll be carrying the Marshall Field's Cookbook.
Macy's is in the process of working out a deal to bring a 20,000 square-foot grocery store to the basement of its State Street flagship location in Chicago sometime early next year.

Macy's, which has faced a shopper revolt over its decision to drop the Marshall Field's banner, has come to the publicly-stated conclusion that it has done all it can to address the issues of the disaffected and has to move on to bringing in a new group of customers. Bringing in an upscale grocery store to the location would be one way to attract shoppers. - Retail Wire

The department store chain is talking to several companies about opening a 20,000-square-foot in-store supermarket, and a deal could be reached as soon as early next year, Guzzetta said. He declined to disclose candidates, but said, "I would like it to be organic." - Chicago Tribune

I'm sure they will be carrying Martha Stewart Wine. Macy's kitchen section has become "everything Martha". And, heard me right. Martha Stewart signature wine. But, the question remains - will it be a "good thing?"

If you are looking for recipes to use up that "after Thanksgiving Turkey", you might want to make Marshall Field's Walnut Room Special Sandwich!

One fresh, crispy head iceberg lettuce
Three to five thin slices of freshly roasted turkey breast (white meat only), room temperature
Three-fourths cup thousand island dressing (recipe to follow)
One thin slice of aged Swiss cheese
One fresh slice of Jewish or other mild (but flavorful) rye bread
One to two teaspoons butter, softened
Two slices of your favorite bacon
Slice of hard-boiled egg
Slice of tomato
Olive and parsley garnish

Butter rye bread and place on a large cold serving plate. Cover bread with Swiss cheese slice, followed by one or two slices of turkey. Take a nice large outer lettuce leaf from the head of iceberg and set aside. Slice the iceberg lettuce in a few large sections and arrange a section on top of the turkey and Swiss cheese.
Cover the open-face "sandwich" with big lettuce leaf. Top with several slices of turkey. Pour a very ample amount of dressing over the lettuce, allowing it to puddle slightly all around the plate. Place a slice of bacon and an olive on either side of sandwich mound. Place tomato slice and egg slice atop mound with parsley sprig. Serve immediately.

Yield: one Special Sandwich

Yield: One entree-size serving

Thousand Island Dressing

One cup real mayonnaise
One-half cup Heinz chili sauce
Two tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Two large green olives, pitted and finely chopped
One-half teaspoon dried tarragon
Dash Tabasco
Dash Worcestershire sauce
One hard-boiled egg, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Serve.

Yield: One and three-fourths cups dressing

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Not everyone is a Top Chef

And, quite frankly, that's OK. Sure you have the Stars in the kitchen, but it really requires TEAM WORK to make a restaurant work.

San Francisco, one of the foodiest of foodie towns, is finding it difficult to keep it's "kitchen staff pantry" stocked.

....Craigslist has dozens of help-wanted listings from the Bay Area's top restaurants - all vying for the dwindling numbers of experienced cooks willing to put in long, hard hours for pay that barely covers their cost of living.

"They say they have all these bills and have to pay the rent, and they can't be making $12-$13 an hour," Lahlou said.

That crunch, plus many young cooks' expectations of the "Top Chef" high life, are just two of the factors that may make San Francisco's unique mix of chef-owned high-quality neighborhood restaurants a thing of the past.

Across the country, restaurant owners complain of staffing shortages. Many partly blame the newly glamorous role of chefs in the media, which has created a legion of chef-wannabes. But San Francisco's high cost of living, minimum wage laws and new sick leave and health insurance mandates mean that restaurants are being hit harder here than in other cities. - SFGate

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Sunday, November 11, 2007 

Love America?

Have you hugged a veteran lately? Veteran's Day thoughts...from Arlington West.

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Friday, November 09, 2007 

Flickr Photo Friday

Crab Station
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Trouble in Crab Heaven

...Commercial boats were scheduled to set their crab pots this coming Wednesday for Thursday's opener that traditionally supplies Dungeness for the holiday demand. Because of the fuel spill, that opener might be in question.

...Collins is just as worried about the spill's long-term effect on the bay, which is a nursery for young Dungeness crab.

"Right now, the bay is loaded with baby Dungeness. As that fuel moves down the water column, it could devastate crab numbers for years to come." - SFGate

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007 

Bob the Turtle...back in the news

Bob the Turtle in the hospital
Originally uploaded by Athenamama.

Bob is back home with his family, but they are all still traumatized from this horrific and unconscionable incident.


A Ventura County man who tortured a family's pet tortoise was sentenced on Monday, but the tortoise's owners say they are still suffering from the attack.

...Prosecutors said Mosqueda (18 at the time) snatched the 40-pound African spurred tortoise from a backyard on July 7, slashed its legs and neck, punctured its shell and threw it against a wall.

...Meanwhile, the family who owns the tortoise says their pain continues, and the ordeal has been particularly hard on a 12-year-old autistic boy who was making great strides in his development before the vicious attack. The boy's mother, Dorothy Sullivan, said the tortoise, named Bob, was her son's lifeline "out of the silent world of autism," KNBC's Chuck Henry reported.

We are going to remember Turtle Dreams in our holiday gift giving (we're not giving gifts...we're donating to Non-Profits in people's name) We hope that you remember their wonderful work in rehabing Bob.
Turtle Dreams, the only turtle and tortoise rehabilitation center in Santa Barbara, has, since 1994, been helping not only animals found by Santa Barbara animal control and rescue agencies but injured or abandoned reptiles from all over the nation as well. - SBIndependent

Turtle Dreams
2298 Featherhill Road
Montecito, CA 93108
(805) 969-5128



Puts a new spin to the phrase...

Sweet Crude.
Chocoholics can assuage any guilt they may feel after a new process was developed that turns the by-products of making chocolate into a biofuel -- meaning you can eat your chocolate and be eco-friendly.

A truck, fuelled by the biofuel, will set out from Poole on the English south coast to Mali in West Africa later this month on a charity mission.

"The chocolate waste used to be used in landfill. But now we can make it travel as biofuel," said organizer Andy Pag who will be one of the two drivers on the trip. - Reuters

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Saturday, November 03, 2007 

Whole Foods "Emporium"

Holy mole. The new "Whole Paycheck" in Pasadena sounds MONSTEROUS.
Whole Foods Markets Inc. is opening a two-story emporium on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena on Wednesday that will be its largest store west of the Rockies. More than 50% larger than a typical Ralphs or Vons grocery, it will include a wine and tapas lounge, a massage room, an in-house fresh jam and jelly center, a sandwich bar and a seafood counter serving ceviche and shrimp cocktails.

...A key component of an aggressive Southern California expansion plan by the Austin, Texas-based company, the two-story building fills an entire block and has a quasi-industrial look of red brick, corrugated steel and glass panels. Its 300-space parking lot is below the store.

... Shoppers will enter through a 6,000-square-foot produce department stocked with 500 items and a juice bar.

...Health products, the massage room and 18 check stands fill up the remaining first-floor space.

A "carveyor" moves shopping carts between the first and second floors and runs parallel to the escalator.

The second level is essentially an upscale food court with Korean barbecue, vegetarian foods cooked to order, a meat carving station, sushi, organic sake and beer. Shoppers can eat in a sit-down area or proceed to browse the large wine department, butcher shop and the packaged goods aisles. - Latte Times
Get a load of some of their "offerings"
  • Wine and Tapas Lounge
  • Sandwich Bar
  • Seafood Bar
  • Freshly roasted nuts.
  • Italian Trattoria
  • Extensive wine department with more than 1,200 selections
  • Fresh donuts made by the hour
  • Tortilla machine making fresh corn and flour tortillas.
  • Eco-chic apparel, accessories and home goods.
  • Chocolate island with more than 50 chocolate choices and white and dark chocolate fountains.
  • Free wireless internet access.
  • Massage room, staffed with massage therapists.
  • "Veggie Grill" program with a daily rotation of fresh picked items, ready to be grilled to order by in-house chef.
  • A "Custom Catch" program where shoppers select any available seafood and customize with marinades or seasonings. Team members will cook to order: charbroil, bake, steam, deep fry, sauté, or smoked with an in-store seafood smoker.
LACurbed has more on this "ginormous" store.

Geee. Why even go home anymore. They even have their own blogs and podcasts. What next? Whole Foods Hotels for the whole Whole Foods shopping experience? Or, perhaps, their own weather station to warn of the various "micro-climates" within one of these monsters stores?

I'm hoping that their plans to infiltrate Santa Barbara are still on the "really smallish" side. And, watch out...they could be planning a monster store near you!

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Friday, November 02, 2007 

Airline food that's actually requested?

Apparently so. Midwest Airlines put it's famous cookie cookie dough on sale in supermarkets. You, too, can bake your way to the mile high club, albeit, in your own home kitchen. And, just like the airlines...the cookies are flying (off the shelves.)

Midwest Airlines Genuine Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flew off the shelves of Sendik's Food Markets on Wednesday, the first day it was made available to the public. Based on the same recipe as the fresh, baked-onboard cookies Midwest serves inflight, the frozen cookie dough made its debut at the opening of a new Sendiks Food Market in Franklin. The cookie dough is available exclusively at Milwaukee-area, Balistreri-owned and -operated Sendik's Food Markets and can also be found at its stores in Elm Grove, Grafton, Mequon, Wauwatosa and Whitefish Bay. - Midwest Airlines , JSOnline, BizJournals and

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Thursday, November 01, 2007 

trick - or- treat ;-)

trick - or- treat ;-)
Originally uploaded by C Mariani.

Come down from your sugar rush, yet?


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