Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Month: August 2010

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole

I awoke one morning to find an enormous zucchini on top of the kitchen island. A friend at Stephen’s work brought them in. He said there were more but he was not sure how many I would want. This giant cuke was plenty. Part of […]

White Bean Salad with Green Beans and Tomatoes

I was looking for something different to go with grilled salmon when I stumbled upon this recipe for white bean salad. It combines fresh green beans with tomatoes and olives drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette. This white bean salad makes for a great side dish […]

Family Togetherness: Story Dice

One night when tucking my son into bed he asked me to tell him a story. The sad part was my mind was blank. I could not come up with anything. I relayed the incident to a friend of mine who comforted me with her own tale of bedtime woe. We agreed our husbands were excellent storytellers but somehow over the years we lost touch with that creative side. Stephen calls it work mode. Over time with practice my friend and I have become more comfortable telling bedtime stories. Jim Jinkins is best known for his bedtime stories, “Pinky Dinky Doo”. He originally made up the Pinky’s Adventures as bed-time tales for his children. Each night after he closed the door he would write the stories down.

To make story dice you will need:
– 6 to 12 (3/8-inch) square wooden blocks.
– For the images use permanent ultra fine tip markers to draw your own pictures, stickers, stamps, a wood carving tool and stain, temporary tattoo sheets, pictures from old story books, magazines, print them from the computer using sheet labels, sticker paper or regular white paper.
– Seal the blocks after the pictures have been applied using a sealant or Modge Podge.

Use pictures of animals, transportation, food, household objects, clothing, landscapes, fairy tales and people.

To Play:
Divide the dice among the participants. Take turns rolling a single die. The first person begins the story based on the picture they roll. The next person adds to the story based on the roll of their dice and so on around the group of participants. You can opt to time each segment. Say each person has 30 seconds or a minute then the next person rolls and adds on to the story line. Or each person must tell a short story in one minute using the pictures rolled from all of their die. When they are done the next person rolls and takes their turn.

– Paint pictures on small rocks.
– If you do not want to spend the money or time making story dice use print out and laminate small slips of paper or cardboard pieces. Throw the pieces into a bowl or basket and toss.
– Make dice from card stock.
– Print a selection of pictures at the top of a page with lines across and down the page. Use the pictures create a story and the lines to write the story.

Mexican Toastadas

I have always loved spicy food. I thought I could handle heat that is until at Seventeen I traveled cross county to Texas. The salsa there was so hot my mouth was inflamed for the rest of the day. I dared not eat another lick […]

How to Cut an Onion

One of the most called for ingredients in a recipe is chopped or diced onions. If you have extremely sensitive eyes the tutorial on how to cut an onion without crying will provide a successful tear free way to chop onions.

Kansas City Style Sticky Spareribs

Kansas City Sticky Spareribs

Growing up in the South ribs were a pretty common commodity at dinner, picnics and barbecues. In Texas the golden trumpet of barbecued meats was the brisket. While here in California is seems the beloved Tri-tip takes 1st place. I have never cooked ribs before, ok once at a friends house but my sister was co-chef and we ended up charring them to death; which was not much different from the way my father grilled them. It has been 11 years since I left the Sunshine state and even longer since I had rib because I was a pour college student. I was not about to let another summer go by without the taste of ribs. Yes I have been to a BBQ restaurant our here but what they served up did not constitute fine finger lick’n Southern barbecue goodness. The worst part was what they tried to charge for the monstrosity.

This recipe was tucked away in my file folder of ‘need to try’ recipes. It is not Dale’s BBQ but they were tasty and satisfying. I have to confess though I do not have a grill so our ribs were roasted in the oven. It is not the same as eating real slow cooked smoked ribs where the meat just falls off the bone but they were moist and tender so if you do not have access to a grill it is doable.

Source: unknown
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp hot paprika
4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 racks pork spareribs (7 pounds total)
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

For Grill: Soak 3 cups woods chips in water according to the package directions or for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, celery salt, salt and pepper. Run a knife down the length of the bone side of each rack to split the skin, then season all over with the rub.

Remove the grill racks, arrange a drip pan or disposable baking sheet on one side of the grill to catch drippings. Drain the wood chips and transfer to a 2-foot long sheet of heavy duty foil. Wrap tightly creating a secure pouch, then poke 10 holes in the top to create a smoker box. Place the pouch on the side of the grill opposite the drippings pan. Set the grill racks into place, close the grill and preheat to 325 degrees.

Working quickly, arrange the ribs, meaty side up, over the drip pan. Grill, covered, turning occasionally, until the meat shrinks away from the bone and is fork tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combing the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, the ketchup, honey and vinegar over medium high heat and season with salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Brush the ribs all over with the sauce, arrange meaty side up and grill uncovered, turning once at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut the racks unto individual ribs and serve with the sauce on the side.

For a tangier less sweet sauce add more vinegar.
To bake in the oven: prepare ribs as above with rub. Wrap ribs in heavy duty foil and bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Check ribs after 2 1/2 hour mark if they are tender coat with sauce and continue to bake 20-30 minutes.Watch the ribs like a hawk. The oven tends to dry meat out especially pork.

August Resolution to Make

Photo: courtesy It amazes me that a single event can seem so far in the distance and then sneak up on me before I know it. Last Christmas I made a goal to be prepared. Unforeseen circumstances crushed that goal into tiny particles of […]

Watermelon Lime Granitas

The Summer sun is upon us and it is relentless. Thank goodness for pools and sprinklers. There is nothing more refreshing in the dead heat of summer than cool sweet juicy watermelon. “When I was a kid” watermelons used to have seeds. We would have […]

August Website Review:


Our August website review is just in time for back to school lunch box shopping. was created by Meg, a stay-at-home mom concerned with the excess waste produced in school cafeterias. Her website is not only directed at children. Hungry adults can find tasty nutritious meal ideas and up to date conservation savvy alternatives to the plastic bag lunch containers. Meg says her motivation is to “steer us all towards a healthier and more sustainable environment by promoting healthy recipes (for you and the environment) and by reducing food packaging waste.”

My favorite lunch boxes are the Go Green Lunch Box, Laptop Box and the Easy Lunch Box. They offer one convenient container with compartments to separate food. Lunch bag coolers are available at a separate cost but are a must to keep any perishables from spoiling. Be sure to visit their websites for easy healthy meal ideas.

Photo courtesy of