Devastated Over Cereal Revelation

I’m crushed, so much so that I had to get this off my chest immediately, even before making dinner. Gasp.

I just returned from a life-changing trip to the grocery store where I found out that the very first food I ever ate when I was just six months old, Kellogg’s Product 19, is bad for you (or at least not as good as I’d thought it was). This cereal, which I enjoy(ed) dry, has been a staple in my diet for 27 years! That’s more than a quarter century, and essentially my entire life! I never before bothered to read the ingredient list; I just assumed a product boasting 19 essential vitamin and minerals wouldn’t dare contain any “bad” products. I was wrong.

The second item listed on the ingredient list, meaning the item used second most, is sugar. And you know that ingredient “high fructose corn syrup” that people are blaming for this country’s obesity epidemic? Well that’s the eighth ingredient.

This whole situation is devasting, the hypocrisy of it all. I feel deceived by my cereal, although I suppose it’s been there right in front of me this whole time and I just never chose to see it. I didn’t buy it this time but can’t guarantee I’ll be able to live without it in the future.

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Kugel-Off 2008 Winner: Congratulations Cheryl

Kugel Winner

This year’s break-the-fast was a bit more eventful than usual with the first-ever kugel-off, a mostly friendly competition determined to see which kugel would trump the others. With eight entrants, the competition was stiff. However, despite all the different varieties of kugels available, these could be placed into just two categories: noodle dessert and noodle sweet-savory (meaning as savory as possible with a noodle pudding). Surprisingly, there were no potato kugel entrants.

Six of the eight were from family members who were present, the remaining two from generous friends who wanted to participate. One of them, Cheryl Adolph, was the winner with kugel #8. You can find her delectable winning recipe below.

How it worked

Kugel sampling

The kugels were each heated and then placed on paper plates numbered K1 to K8 (“K” for kugel, just because I felt like it). All guests, except those who entered the contest, were asked to sample all the kugels and then write the number of their first choice on a card and place it in a bowl. The results were then tabulated by an accountant (my sister Marci), just like the Oscars.

All-in-all the event went smoothly, the only disruption coming after a competitive aunt tried to help by removing the number cards from the now-empty plates. Unbeknownst to her, the baker’s names were taped to the bottom of the plates, resulting in a chaotic few minutes of trying to remember which kugel went with which number. Luckily, cousin Barry was there to break the tension by proclaiming: “let’s not let kugel divide the family.”

Not to worry, we consulted the photos I’d taken earlier and got everything sorted out before announcing Cheryl as the winner. Read more of this >>

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Stuffed Buttercup Squash

Stuffed Buttercup Squash

This. Dish. ROCKS! I don’t say that often, but this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. A sweet, rich buttercup squash perfectly complimented by a savory and aromatic filling, oven-roasted until soft. It screams autumn, all warm and hardy but still (mostly) healthy and full of vegetables. This dish was inspired by a stuffed pumpkin recipe I read about on Dorie Greenspan’s blog. Her recipe is dairy-heavy and meant to serve a bunch of people, think Thanksgiving dinner, but I do plan on trying it sometime.

However, tonight was just for me – I needed one portion of something delicious, and that’s exactly what I got. The presentation was beautiful and you could easily double or even quadruple the recipe for company. I recommend serving it with simple roasted or baked chicken and sauteed greens. Read more of this >>

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Fall Produce at its Best

I think these photos speak for themselves…

Onions

Carrots

Mushrooms

Winter squash

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Really, Really Cooked Beef Stew & Beer Bread

Beef stew with beer bread

The Cubs lost a playoff game last night. And the night before. I was at the second game, the game wherein they truly self-destructed, and I can’t even begin to express the despair felt by all in the stadium. Even the Dodger fans sitting next sit me seemed a bit bummed. Of course they wanted their team to win, but still would have appreciated a good game. A day later and I’m still feeling glum (good word, right?), so I figured it was necessary to bring out the big guns with something I like to call Really, Really Cooked Beef Stew. You see, I like my stew thick with the meat falling apart as though it were braised, which let’s face it, isn’t too far of a stretch.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really think the whole meal through before I began. I got the stew going and all was good until about halfway through when I realized that I needed something to eat with the stew, namely a nice chunk of crusty bread. At this point there just wasn’t time to make a starter or even allow a rapid-rise bread the time needed to proof.

Damn it, I was glum and getting a bit hungry (also the reason why I didn’t take photos throughout). I quickly Googled “quick rise bread,” “no rise bread,” and finally “beer bread,” which is where I found my answer. I followed the recipe with two exceptions: used whole wheat flour (which incidentally expired 11 months ago – oops) and cold beer rather than room temperature. In the end I decided this bread is good to have as a back-up when you’re craving fresh, warm out-of-the-oven bread with a nice crust but wouldn’t be my first choice overall, and it has a slightly off aftertaste that is probably just the beer flavor, but a little unfamiliar to me as I rarely drink beer.

Blurry piece of beef stew
*This blurry photo was intended to show just how tender the beef was, but turned out poorly because the camera fell into the stew while taking it.

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