Friday, October 16, 2009

The New “Green” Pizza Box



Pizza lovers across the nation may soon have even more to love about ordering their pizza to go.  Echo Inc., has just released information regarding their new “green” pizza box. Made from 100% recycled material the top has perforated lines that are easily torn apart to create 4 plates. The bottom section has been designed to store any leftovers inside. The new “green” box will officially launch on Monday.

Click here to be directed to the article and the video.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Dessert Day


While no one really knows when it originated, October is “National Dessert Month,” and today, October 14th is recognized as “National Dessert Day”.I cannot think of a better excuse to indulge in a day of decadent desserts. So in honor of the season and this most precious day (precious to those of us who are trying to eat healthier)it seems only fitting to include a dessert made with pumpkin. 


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Crust: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Sea Salt Seasoning
8 teaspoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
Cooking Spray

Filling: 1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 package fat-free cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Red Monkey Organic Ground Allspice
1 large egg Remaining Ingredients: 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 2 teaspoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare crust:

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add flour to pan; cook 5 minutes or until light brown, stirring often.  Remove pan from heat.  Transfer flour to a bowl; cool completely.Combine cooled flour, ½ cup brown sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until combined.  Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles fine meal.  Press 1 cup of flour mixture evenly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; reserve the remaining flour mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.


To prepare filling,

spread pumpkin in an even layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 5 minutes.Combine granulated sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar, and cream cheeses in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until smooth.  Scrape pumpkin into bowl using a rubber spatula.  Add egg substitute, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, and egg; beat until smooth.  Scrape batter into baked crust.Combine reserved flour mixture and pecans in a small bowl; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons water.  Squeeze handfuls of topping to form large pieces.  Crumble over filling.Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until filling is firmly set.  Remove from heat; cool in pan on wire rack.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Forty-Three Years of Apple Butter Makin’

Since it’s humble beginning in 1967 Apple Butter Makin’ Days located in Mt. Vernon MO., celebrated 43 years this last weekend with more than 50,000 visitors making their way to the town square. With close to 400 vendors that had come from all over the country to sell their handmade items there was certainly enough to see over the three day event. From homemade jewelry to tropical fish made out of coconuts to Fall and Christmas decor this was defiantly the place to be for those of us who love to shop. On Saturday the crowd gathers for the annual Apple Butter Makin’ Days parade, afterwards things swing into action with a car show and live entertainment from area performers. The main attraction that has kept this festival growing over the years is the apple butter that is made each year on the courthouse lawn.

After a cold and rainy Friday the sun was a welcomed sight on Saturday as the temperature made it’s way into the lower 50’s. By the noon hour the weather was perfect for the spectators as well as the vendors. Before the sun had even started to rise the members of the Round Grove Church were making apple butter. The apple butter pictured above, cooks in these large kettles for 8 hours. While there are several people that make apple butter the group believes it is the wood smoke from an open fire that gives their apple butter such a unique flavor. Ground cinnamon, sugar or Splenda and red hot candies make up the rest of the recipe. It is then dipped out of the kettles and poured directly into mason jars. Once the lids are placed on the jars the heat causes the lids to seal. Then the jars are transported to a tent directly in front of the cooking area and can be purchased immediately. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the gentlemen who was stationed at one of the three kettles and he said that their butter is so popular that they bring 11 hundred pounds just to start with. I can see why because this stuff is delicious!


As we made our way around the square we stopped for a moment to listen to Mark Chapman as he performed before a large audience.

I had the opportunity to stop and visit with some of the vendors. I visited with one of the local vendors, Linda Bruenn of Linda’s Crafts from Joplin MO, who has been a part of the Apple Butter Makin’ Days for the past 15 years. She was kind enough to allow us to take a picture of her booth.

The day seemed to be flying by and suddenly I realized that it was way past lunchtime. The one thing we knew well in advance was where to eat because the Cattlemen’s Association has built a reputation around their steak sandwiches. The long lines well past the lunch hour sums it up.

Did someone say homemade root beer? One word…awesome!

As we made our way back to the car, I could not wait to get home and go through all of the goodies I had purchased. This was such a great way to begin my Christmas shopping. My calendar is already marked for the second weekend in October and for those of you who live close to Mt. Vernon I would highly recommend making plans to attend next year.