Chocolate Is A Fine Drink

While I was in Seattle I had the opportunity to chat with (and film) Rodney Snyder, who is an expert chocolate historian and the Research Director for The Historic Division of Mars. He has published books and visited over seventy cocoa and chocolate factories all over the world.

Aside from discovering chocolate has been consumed as a drink for most of it’s existence, I also learned these fascinating facts:

  • Grinding the roasted beans, combined with other unique indigenous plants, would have led to the first chocolate drink. The chocolate recipes included ingredients such as ground corn, allspice, chili pepper, pine nuts, and ear flower (custard apple). The chocolate drink was poured back and forth from one vessel to another until it was foamy (similar to the froth on modern-day cappuccinos).
  • The story of the origin of chocolate and cocoa pods were part of religious ceremonies. Chocolate was reserved for adult males and consumed by priests, high government officials, military officers, distinguished warriors, and occasionally sacrificial victims of ritual purposes.
  • John and Abigail Adams were very fond of chocolate. In 1779, John Adams, while in Spain, wrote, “Ladies drink chocolate in the Spanish fashion. Each lady took a cup of hot chocolate and drank it, and then cakes and bread and butter were served; then each lady took another cup of cold water, and here ended the repast.”

They kindly gave me a warm sample of this “Chocolate Tea”, made from their chocolate. It tastes like a luxurious melted spiced chocolate drink, perfect for sipping. Regular old hot chocolate fails in comparison.

American Heritage Chocolate (Division of Mars) is an authentic line of products that celebrates the history of chocolate. Their recipe is made with all-natural ingredients and shares the same character as chocolate made in the colonial times. If you would like to try it you can order it on-line. For recipes visit:


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Contests and Wins

More to the Upside-Down Spurtle Saga

There’s great news. I’m not the only one who uses her spurtle upside-down.

I’m not planning to change my technique, even though I know it’s wrong. Or is it? I think I just might have to make two pots of Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, one with the spurtle right-side up, and one upside-down. What if a creamier bowl of oats evolves from using it the wrong way?

I found a 2010 article by Amy Rosen, an award-winning Food & Travel Writer who was using her spurtle upside-down.

“Why are you using the handle end to stir with?” asked my brother David.

“No dummy,” I countered, “that’s the beater end of the spurtle. It helps to break down the lumps.”

“That’s just for show,” he insisted. “It’s a decorative handle.”

After learning that her technique was wrong, she concludes.

“And the more I think about it the more I realize just how lucky I am that I didn’t participate in the Golden Spurtle this year, as planned. Could you imagine the humiliation of using an upside-down spurtle during the world porridge making competition?

They would have kicked me out of Scotland!”


Well, there you have it.

Am I still holding out hope that Bob’s Red Mill will call?

Yes. 🙂

But the question remains, would they allow me to use my spurtle upside-down in The Golden Spurtle Competition?


Link to Amy Rosen’s blog post: The Curious Case of the Upside-Down Spurtle on National Nosh.

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Contests and Wins

Reversing The Curse of The Spurtle

I found myself in quite the quandary after my “Spar For The Spurtle” entry. My Entry  (click here to see my entry into Bob’s Red Mill Spar For the Spurtle Contest)

Being a lefty, I couldn’t help but to accidentally stir with my left hand. It’s easy to forget when you’re in the heat of cooking up a great recipe. But as you know, I’m superstitious.

I realized in the fury of my stir that I was violating the golden rule of all time: NEVER STIR A SPURTLE WITH YOUR LEFT HAND!

Why? Because legend has it that if you stir with your left hand, you will be cursed with the devil.

Remember, it was only last year that I found out my strange wooden porridge-stirring tool was actually called a “Spurtle” or sometimes called a “Theevil.” Look, it even has the word “evil” in it!

When I realized my mistake, I grabbed the salt and threw it over my left shoulder. The reason for doing this is to throw salt into the devils eyes to scare him away.

After I submitted my video, I noticed at the end, a silhouette of my husbands face was hovering in the reflection over my right shoulder. I took this as a sign that good spirits were on my side and I had corrected my wrongdoing. Certainly my husband is an angel and his presence on my right shoulder is reassuring.

I’ve waited and waited, nothing bad yet has occurred. Only I just found out, I was using the spurtle UPSIDE DOWN!

This can only mean one thing, a new legend has been created, by me! If by using the spurtle upside down, I was able to reverse the evil spirits, then south paw cooks everywhere will be able to stir porridge with their native hand.

I won’t know until the finalists are announced if I was able to change the legend- by stirring with the spurtle upside down. Stay tuned…. 🙂

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Contests and WinsVideos

Bob’s Red Mill Spar For The Spurtle II ~ Paradise Porridge Potstickers

Hi Friends!

I am a huge fan of Bob’s Red Mill products. I first started using them about 5 years ago when my daughter Ellie was diagnosed with Autism and we tried the gluten-free/casein-free diets. Bob’s offers so many varieties of cooking ingredients that are of the highest quality. That special diet didn’t seem to have any connection to Ellie’s autism, but I will never forget the challenge I faced as a mom trying to make delicious foods under those restrictions.

When I heard about Bob’s Spar For The Spurtle contest again this year, I knew I had to enter. Here are the details of the prize package, and the written recipe to follow for my entry! Enjoy~ and cross your fingers!

“Based on the video submissions, three finalists will be chosen to receive the ultimate trip for Bob’s Red Mill fans. The finalist prize package includes:

Roundtrip airfare to Portland, Oregon
Three-nights’ accommodations at a downtown Portland hotel
A tour of Bob’s Red Mill led by company founder Bob Moore
A gift basket filled with Bob’s Red Mill products, merchandise and olive oil from California Olive Ranch
$100 Bob’s Red Mill Gift Card
A spot in the live cook-off on August 10 for a chance at the Grand Prize
$100 for cook-off supplies

The winner of the live cook-off will receive the grand prize, which includes the following:

Round-trip airfare for two to Scotland to represent Bob’s Red Mill at the 19th annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship in October 2012
Two nights’ accommodations in Edinburgh, three nights’ accommodations in Carrbridge (for two)
Rail transportation between Edinburgh and Carrbridge (for two)
$2500 cash!”

Paradise Porridge Potstickers

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
2 1/2 cups filtered water, divided
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup natural dry-roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 cup fresh ripe mango, peeled, seeded, fine diced
1 small ripe banana, no brown spots, fine diced
gyoza wrappers
3 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 cup local honey
6 ounces fresh raspberries, sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup frozen coconut milk, coconut gelato, or vanilla ice cream

1. Soak 1/2 cup of Bob’s Steel Cut Oats in 1 cup filtered water (covered) overnight in the refrigerator.

2. In a heavy 3-quart pot, bring 1 1/2 cups filtered water to a rapid boil on high heat. Add salt.

3. Drain oats in cheesecloth-line colander over bowl. Reserve the oat-water. Stir oats into boiling water. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In last two minutes, remove lid, increase heat to stir out moisture and oats become very thick. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and cool for two minutes.

4. Stir in nuts, Bob’s Red Mill Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar, nutmeg, mango, and banana.

5. Dampen the inner edges of wrappers with oat water. Place a tbs. of oat mixture on center of each wrapper, fold and pinch closed along the moistened edge with fingertips to make a moon shape. Dip in oat-water and shake excess.

6. Heat oil in a non-stick 12-inch fry pan to medium. Add the dumplings and cook until the bottoms are just light golden. Turn dumplings over and replace lid, cook another two minutes. Remove with slotted spatula onto serving plate.

7. Drizzle on the honey. Garnish with raspberries and one small scoop of frozen dessert.

Makes about 30 dumplings

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Off to Seattle, Again!~ Blogher Food 12′

Umbrella? Check

Rain Coat? Check

Stuffed Monkey? Check

Ruby Slippers? Check

Girdle? Check (just kidding)

My adrenaline is flowing off the charts today as I pack for my direct flight to that paradise of culture, Seattle. There are so many things I didn’t get to do last time I was there because I was in competition mode.

This time, I will actually go IN the Space Needle. I’ll ride a boat, visit an art museum, hang out with fellow Moms and Foodie friends on a scavenger hunt, feast of Blogher Food 12′ tastings…it just doesn’t get any better than this.

Until we meet again, take a look at my last visit to Seattle.

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