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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Contests and Wins

Truth and Dare: Beans For Breakfast (Grand Prize Winner)

Update 3/29/12 (“So after MUCH careful consideration and “breakfastability” testing, we have decided that the winner is The Vintage Cook and her Blackberry & Cinnamon-Adzuki Cheese Blintzes. Congratulations! We loved your transformation of the beans and their application in this dish. There is a great mixture of flavors and textures with the adzuki bean paste, ricotta cheese, and crepes…and the whipped cream blended with cinnamon and adzuki paste sounds heavenly. “)


The Truth: I’ve never made beans for breakfast.

The Dare: Marx Foods sent me a box of beans, and told me to make breakfast.

The Truth: I love this kind of challenge!

Finally, my beloved beans arrived.

beanscornedbeef 001


The white ones were Marrow beans. I immediately thought, SOUP. I’ll experiment with them last.

The little red ones were Adzuki beans, I thought, OH Yes…sounds exotic.

The yellow ones were Canary beans, aka, Mayacoba Beans. I’m thinking Lemon, how about you?

So I started the soaking.

………went to bed,

and waited a little longer. Finally, an idea!

beanscornedbeef 007


My first entry into the Bloggers Beans for Breakfast is…..

Blackberry & Cinnamon-Adzuki Cheese Blintzes


It’s amazing how far one cup of dried beans goes. After I soaked and cooked them, it rendered about three cups which is more than I needed for my recipe ideas. With the Adzuki beans, I made a tasty cinnamon paste filling. I ended up finding many uses for the remaining paste. I used 1/4 cup of it in a brew pot of masala tea, I filled french toast with it, and even tried it out in some cider. It was delicious in all of those and you couldn’t even tell there were beans in it. The girls loved the recipe creations, and my youngest even claims to hate beans. She never knew!

Blackberry & Cinnamon-Adzuki Cheese Blintzes

For the Cinnamon-Adzuki paste:

1 cup dried Adzuki beans
1cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons fine quality ground cinnamon (to taste)

Rinse and soak beans overnight. Drain and add 4 cups new water with beans in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to med-low and cook for 2 hours or until water is cooked down to almost creamy. Add beans with creamy reduction to food processor or blender. Pulse until beans are completely smooth. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Pulse until well combined. Place back in pot and cook and stir on medium until texture is rubbery thick, stir in vanilla. Cover and chill until cold.

For the crepes:

6 eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pulse the eggs, milk, flour, water, and salt until smooth. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Prepare the filling.

For the Adzuki cheese:

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup prepared cinnamon-adzuki paste
8 oz. cream cheese
1 egg yolk

With a spoon, gently stir ricotta, prepared cinnamon-adzuki, cream cheese and yolk together until blended. Cover and chill.



For the Cinnamon-Adzuki Whipped Cream Topping:


1 cup cold heavy cream
1 Tablespoons prepared Cinnamon-adzuki paste

In mixing bowl, beat cream on medium speed until soft peak forms. Add the paste and continue beating until completely incorporated. Cover and chill.


beansforbreakfast 107 beansforbreakfast 102




For the Blackberry Topping:

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
1/2 cup seedless blackberry preserves

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 ½ cup fresh blackberries (if your berries are tart, mash a little)

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 2 Tbs. of the butter, preserves and syrup until just melted, about 1 minute. Stir. Fold blackberries into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

To Make the crepes:

Coat a 10 or12-inch nonstick pan with non-stick cooking spray, and bring it to med-high heat.

Pour in about 1/3 cup of thin batter, tilting the pan to spread batter evenly. When the crepe just begins to golden on each side, turn it out onto a large flat surface with parchment or waxed paper. Let cool.

Place 1 heaping  tablespoon of Adzuki-cheese filling in the middle of the crepe. Fold the sides toward the center, then tightly fold/roll up. Heat remaining butter in skillet over med-high heat. Fry on seam side down first, and then on each side until golden. Serve with blackberry sauce and the whipped cream. Serves 6.

About Beans

One cup of cooked beans (or two-thirds of a can) provides about 12 grams of fiber — nearly half the recommended daily dose of 21 to 25 grams per day for adult women (30 to 38 grams for adult men). Beans are the protein-rich superfood. It is recommended by health professionals that we increase our bean consumption from one to three cups a week! How many of us get our one cup?

High in fiber and antioxidants, they may aid in disease prevention, too.The beans Marx Foods sent to me were incredible. Here is a little about the three types of beans, and you’ll see why they are so special. visit to order on-line.

“The Mayacoba, or Canary Bean, was named after a small village in Mexico where this new version of an old Incan food product was “re-invented”. They have a unique taste and it is said that they will not give the consumer the usual digestive reaction that other beans can give. Mayacoba Beans are yellow and about the size of a pinto bean.”

Marrow beans are large, plump white beans which have a distinctive creamy texture and a flavor which reminds some people of meat. “Marrow beans (aka Marrowfat beans) are large, egg-shaped heirloom white beans with a creamy texture and a flavor many people consider bacon-esque.”

Adzuki Beans are “small, dried, reddish brown beans, with a white ridge along one side. They are grown in Thailand and China. Azuki beans have a nutty flavor, and are commonly used in Japanese dishes. An Adzuki bean, when boiled down to sugar makes a sweet paste as anko and is used as fillings in cakes and sweet meats. They are known to be low in fat and high in protein.”


*Special Note: Be aware that undercooked beans can be distressing for the intestinal tract. I cooked all of my beans very well, and did not experience any side effects. 😀

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Grilled Steak & Black Bean Chili

I couldn’t think Cheesecake or Chowder on Super Bowl Sunday, the only thing that came to mind was a “Super Bowl” of chili. There are a lot of great recipes out there for chili and everyone has their own little method. However, if you want to make your chili really dance, throw in a steak! I mean, a grilled steak. Whenever we grill steak, I always grab an inexpensive charcoal steak and grill it and freeze for later use.

My favorite beans for chili are black beans and sometimes chili beans. Bush’s are my go to brand. It’s not just the brand. Bush’s beans win all the taste tests.

Chili is best when it cooks on low for many hours, and I would go as far as to say, it’s better the next day. So go ahead and make it the day before so all your flavors are kissing! Some people think chili demands extra cumin (beyond what’s in the packet), I disagree. 😀  The most important little hint is to buy your chili powder in packets so every batch is fresh.

We covered meat and beans, now let’s talk toppings. I had cornbread of course, crackers, tortilla chips, sliced jalapenos, chopped tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese,  hot sauce…well, just take a look. Am I missing anything?

Grilled Steak & Black Bean Chili

1 lb. leftover cooked steak, any cut, chopped into cubes (preferably grilled and chilled the night before)
1 lb. ground beef for chili, 93/7

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups diced celery

1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped

3 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced

1 (14 oz.) can hearty beef broth

1 (26.46 oz.) carton 100% pure strained tomatoes (Pomi brand is great)

1 (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted diced salsa style tomatoes

1 (1.25 oz.) pkg. your favorite chili seasoning

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper (more or less for desired heat)

2 (15 ounce) cans seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed

*Grated cheese (white cheddar or jack) and sour cream for topping


1. IN a large heavy non-stick pot over medium heat, brown the ground beef. When brown, stir in the steak cuts until cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside. Add oil to the pot, stir in the celery and onion. Sauté. Add the garlic and reduce to med-low heat.

2. Pour broth, strained tomatoes and diced tomatoes into the pot. Stir. Add the meat back to the pot as well.

3. Stir in the chili seasoning, brown sugar, and ground chipotle. Stir and cover. Let simmer, stirring periodically for three hours.

4. After three hours, stir in the rinsed black beans.  Continue to simmer for two more hours. Top with sour cream and cheese. Serves 8



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