Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whoa! Real fruit? Guess Again!

Whoa! Had to share this...

It's sounding more and more like you have to buy the real thing yourself to make sure you're eating what you think you're eating. I admit, I always thought if it said fruit, it was fruit. Never gave it a second thought. But read this about the "blueberries" in foods:

* Investigation: companies using "real" blueberries? Guess Again!

** And we wonder about health and weight problems when the foods are fake? Your blood should boil when you read the ingredient list! Is there any degree of honesty left in this country at all?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can it Ever be Simple for a Foodie?

"Why don't you just buy a bunch of chips and some cookies from the grocery store?" My husband is trying to be the voice of reason as I embark into crazy food town for a few days. What he says makes sense, but I am stubborn!

This weekend, we will be having several of our neighbors over for swimming, food and fireworks.(That's a picture of our girls at last year's party.) Todd's argument is reasonable. He says "We're cooking out. All you really need to make is side dishes for the cookout. You can buy snacks to have out for people to eat the rest of the day."

Perhaps it is all my years of thumbing through issues of Southern Living, but I have a compulsion to offer my guests a table full of snacks and sweets that have been made in my own kitchen. I would be so much easier if I would buy everything from the store, but I want to elicit compliments for my efforts.

So, I had better get off this computer and get busy! Lots of goodies are going to be cranked out of my kitchen today!

Here is a recipe I have already made for this weekend. These freeze beautifully. I took a plate of them to a party last weekend and they disappeared in about two minutes!

Cheeseburger Turnovers

Brown a pound of ground beef . Once the beef has been browned, stir your favorite cheeseburger condiments into the cooked beef (ketchup, mustard, onion, pickle relish, etc.) Heat thoroughly.

Next, spoon the beef onto half of a flattened canned biscuits. Top the beef with cheese. Fold the biscuit over to cover the beef and cheese. Bake at 350 until biscuit is browned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Egg Fu Leftover

Our #2 daughter keeps chickens, so we eat a lot of eggs. We've been slacking off lately, so I decided to make something that would use up a couple of them.

In the fridge, I found some leftover rice, kale and mixed veg. I beat up a couple of eggs, mixed in the leftovers, heated some peanut oil and a dash of sesame oil, and fried the mixture until lightly browned on both sides.

I didn't know how to make that brown sauce that's supposed to go on egg fu yung, so we just used soy sauce.

OM nom nom nom nom nom!

p.s. I just looked up the recipe for the sauce, and it's broth and soy sauce and cornstarch, so we didn't miss much.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mexican Street Corn

Last week at this time I was gloating over the fact that we had been having a rather cool June for southern Arizona. Famous last words, of course. Two days later the temperature in the Phoenix area topped 113 degrees, and it has stayed right around the 110 mark ever since. It is a dry heat, you bet. As I type these words the temp is 109 and the humidity is ten percent. This is not so good, wildfire-wise, and the major reason the entire southwestern United States has been on fire for the past few weeks.

It’s too hot to cook, at least indoors. People dig out their grills around here this time of year, and one of the most delightful things I’ve discovered since moving to the borderlands is that the Mexicans really know how to get the most out of grilling. If you’ve never grilled corn on the cob, this is a great time to try it. It’s quick, easy, and delicious, especially when you dress up the ears with mayonnaise and grated Cotija cheese like the street vendors all over Mexico. Cotija cheese is a hard white cheese that is similar to Parmesan, and you can substitute Parmesan if you can’t find the real thing.

To grill corn on the cob, peel back the corn husks without removing them and strip out the corn silk. Then re-cover the corn with the husks and soak them in cold water for half an hour. Remove the corn from the water and shake it off, then place the corn on the grill, cover and cook for 15 or 20 minutes. If you prefer, you can simply shuck the corn and grill right over the coals for 5 minutes or so until it begins to brown, but I like the flavor the husks impart. When the corn is done, remove the husks.

Now, this is the the important part: While the corn is still hot, baste the ears with garlic mayonnaise and roll them in freshly grated Cotija cheese (about 1 cup is enough for four ears). I like a nice squeeze of lime over everything.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dinner Theater

Tonight, thanks to a Groupon, my family is going to experience dinner theater for the first time. Afraid the children might not like the dinner being served, we bought the "dessert and show" option. I'd never even heard of the Blue Moon Dinner Theater in Johnson City, TN until I got the e-mail from Groupon. But, now, I'm wondering what I've been missing! So I did a search for dinner theaters to see what else I could find.

Check these out:

Toby's Dinner & Show - has locations in Columbia and Baltimore. Currently playing is Anything Goes, the 2011 Tony Award winning comedy.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament - has nine castle locations, including Buena Park, CA, Dallas, TX, Orlando, FL, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Myrtle Beach, SC, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Lindhurst, NJ, and Toronto, Ontario. This one looks really cool. Gorgeous horses, castles and people! If any of you have gone to one of these, did you enjoy it?

Carousel Music Theater, Boothbay Harbor, Maine - This one opens June 24 for the summer and is playing Your Hit Parade featuring songs from the 1950's and Neil Diamond.

Boulder's Dinner Theater, Boulder, Colorado - Currently playing Cats.

Mystery Dinner Playhouse - has locations in Virginia Beach, Richmond, and Williamsburg, VA and in Washington, DC.

Mystery Mansion Dinner Theater - Phoenix, AZ - billed as Arizona's longest-running mystery dinner theater.

The Fireside Theater, Fort Atkinson, WI - one of the Midwest's most popular entertainment spots and the only Actor's Equity dinner theater in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lots of Excitement, but not Enough Food

I am about to finish Iris Johansen's Fatal Tide.

This story has murder, mystery and high seas adventure, but all the characters eat is sandwiches.

Melis is a marine researcher, who lives on a tropical island with her two pet dolphins. She must leave her little piece of paradise when a mystery sends her off on an ocean adventure.

Melis and crew take off on a huge boat that has a cook on staff, but Melis only has him make her the occasional sandwich. She also regularly drinks coffee.

I suppose that being out in the ocean does limit the availability of food. The crew cannot just drop anchor to go to the gocery store.

Still, I want to read about Melis eating one good meal. Maybe by the book's end, she will be back on land where she will feat on something besides a sandwich. Sounds like a good ending to me.

In all seriousness, this is a good book. If you like adventure and have some interest in marine science, it is enthralling. While Fatal Tide does not having me craving any particular food, as most books do; it does have me wanting to be close to the ocean!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Buffet! Of! DEATH!!!

We went to Ryan's today. Nobody died. Everything was delicious and, insofar as I know, healthy and nutritious. The new Cajun joint in town must be popular, since Ryan's has recently added red beans and rice, bourbon chicken and jambalaya.


My mother hadn't been feeling well and was on antibiotics for an inflammation. After lunch, we were supposed to tour a non-profit facility with her church group, but she didn't feel up to it and we came home.

(She's feeling much better now, just getting over the inflammation and dealing with the weirdness the antibiotics create.)

But me being me, I'm thinking how easy it would be to slip something into somebody's food at a buffet. Nobody could say who had slipped it in, or what of the many foods might have contained it. It could be added to one food in a light dose so that multiple people would become ill, but in a higher dose in the victim's plate, making the murder look like sheer bad luck.

You know, it's really amazing how many people are willing to have lunch with me.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Missed Me?

Vicki back on Sunday after a very long break. I’ve been out promoting Among the Departed, the fifth Constable Molly Smith book.

I drove (yes, drove) to Victoria B.C. for the Bloody Words convention with stops along the way in various Canadian cities and a quick pop south of the border to visit the Seattle Mystery Bookstore. I put 11,000 KMs on the car. I was away for six weeks and this time, that was just too long. Particularly at this time of year. Fortunately I had a neighbourhood boy come and cut the grass, but that’s all he did and the flower beds and edges and shrubs are a mess. As for the vegetable bed – it won’t happen this year. Once I get the rest of the garden fixed up, and the pool open, it will be too late to try to tackle vegetables.

Oh, well. Next year.

I’d like to report that I had some fabulous culinary adventures on my trip, but I didn’t. I can’t think of a single meal I had that was memorable. I did take the time in Victoria to go on a tour boat with Barbara Fradkin and after that we had lunch in a little shack of a restaurant right on the harbour and ate clam chowder and that was fabulous.

I spent a week in Nelson, B.C. which is the inspiration for Trafalgar. I had breakfast at the restaurant where John and Eliza go in Among he Departed and run into a couple that don’t yet know they’re a couple. I met friends in the bar where Molly Smith has a drink with her childhood friend Nicky Nowak and Nicky makes a play for Molly’s boyfriend. I had coffee in the coffee shop where the cops from the TPD go, and where Joey Stewart first gets the idea of luring a young girl on Facebook.
Of course, those events are all fictional but the places that inspired them are real and it’s always fun to reacquaint myself with them.

Anyway, as I haven’t any adventures in eating to report on and haven’t even done much cooking since I got home, I’ll show you some of my holiday pictures. The scenery is of "Trafalgar, B.C.”and the other is Barbara Fradkin and me at Butchart Gardens in Victoria.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

White Gazpacho

It’s June in southern Arizona, which means it’s hot. Actually, it’s been rather mild for an Arizona June, which is ironic since much of the rest of the country underwent a heat wave recently. Just part of the weirdness of the weather around the world lately, I suppose.

Still, it is the desert and I’m guessing that what I consider not so hot--under 110 degrees--would seem hellish if you live in Detroit or Missoula. In any event, it’s too hot to cook and its certainly too hot to eat hot food. This is gazpacho season in Arizona.
Now, I’ve never been all that fond of cold soups, and though the traditional tomato-based gazpacho is refreshing and cool, it doesn’t really float my boat. However, from the first moment I see that gazpacho has re-appeared on local restaurant menus, I immediately start craving the one cold soup that sends me into paroxysms of delight, and that is a type of white gazpacho I first tasted long ago on a trip to Spain. I forgot all about it until twenty years later when I saw it on the menu at a Spanish restaurant in Phoenix and was able to reacquaint myself with it’s silky, garlicky goodness. There are several variations on the recipe, and it took me a while to be able to reproduce the flavors and textures that spoke to me. I like a lot of garlic, and I love the grapes! Here’s my favorite white gazpacho concoction. Happy eating!

2 cups of crustless stale white bread, ripped into small pieces (A good Italian bread is best)
2 cups of stock
1 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic (less if you’re not that big a garlic-lover)
1 tsp salt
2 cups seedless green grapes, halved.
2 or 3 tablespoons of red sherry vinegar
1/4 cup good virgin olive oil

Heat the stock just until it steams. Remove from heat and drop in the bread chunks. Let cool.
Pulse the almonds,garlic, and salt in a rood processor until the almonds are pulverized. Add the soaked bead and any unabsorbed stock into the processor, then add the cucumbers and grapes. Pulse until roughly pureed.
Add the vinegar and pulse to combine. Set the processor to blend and drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Chill well before serving. I always like to garnish each bowl with a few more halved grapes, slivered almonds, and some chunks of cucumber. A little chopped tomato on top is very pretty, if you like. I’ve also decorated with snips of green onion or chive, or fresh basil and/or thyme.

Stay cool.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Reading

This morning, my kids and I are getting ready to out to a local library where I am presenting for their Summer Reading program. The chidren in attendance are going to be one of my Kid Panels that help me to develop and edit my upcoming childrens book, Burton the Sneezing Cow.

I encourage all of my author friends to consider participating in their local library's childrens program. It is a great way to share our love of the written word with the younger generation.

Generally, the kids that attend these programs come from homes where reading is encouraged, so they tend to be a good, attentive audience.

When I do these programs, I offer a "shop while your child learns" for the parents. I bring some of my books for the parents to browse and purchase, if they want.

If kids are not your thing, then perhaps your local library has a reading club or teen group. Librarians are always looking for speakers, and they love authors!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sure as Eggs is Eggs

I'm reading Julie Hyzy's EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS to my mom. It's the third in Hyzy's White House Chef series, which now has four titles:


In spite of the punny titles, the attention to interpersonal relationships and the centrality of food, these books are more thriller than cozy. Chef Olivia Paras feels very real, and everything Hyzy introduces about Paras' character and background reinforces the likelihood that this person in this position would see beyond her job description and risk that job by fulfilling what she sees as the spirit of what she does.

Put plainly, Ollie doesn't see herself as a food technician who prepares meals to order for a highly placed client. She's that, yes, but she's also a guardian. Feeding people well is a trust that involves safeguarding their very lives, not just their preferences and palates. That being her attitude, it's absolutely believable that she would be wary where others would not, would notice things others would miss and would speak out where others would leave that to the people who got paid for speaking out.

These are books to read in a lighthearted mood: The whiff of wackiness is so delicate, a heavy mood can suppress it into slightly off-beat realism (I'm thinking of the roasted vegetable scene here).

Recipes are included at the back of the book. Just enough cooking detail worked into the text to keep it real but not enough to make non-cooks skip whole pages. Me, I like reading about cooking, but not everybody does.

Highly recommended.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Saturday, June 11, 2011

French Toast

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about bread pudding and gave a recipe for a Mexican version made with tortillas. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about bread. Of course, part of this newfound obsession may have to do with the fact that I’ve been laying off bread for about a month. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with bread, Lord knows. It’s the staff of life, after all, and I do think that if I could only eat one thing forevermore it might have to be bread in all its infinite variety.

However, when one feels the need to drop a couple of pounds, one has found that dropping bread from the diet for a while is a pretty effective way to go about it. I’ve been very good, but I am spending a lot of time daydreaming about toast.

Especially since I recently went out to brunch with a friend of mine to a local chain here in the Phoenix area called Crackers and Company. I ordered a salad and she ordered French toast. Now Crackers makes their French toast out of big fat hunks of cinnamon swirl bread, and I have to tell you that I seriously considered biting her hand off at the wrist every time she lifted her fork to her mouth.

French toast is one of my very favorite things ever. My mother made it for us occasionally, back when I was at home and young and skinny and had the metabolism of a race horse. I’d drown it in margarine and Mrs. Butterworth’s. Once I was out on my own, and especially after I married, I became interested in healthy eating. I still made French toast, but I’d make it with whole wheat bread, organic eggs, real organic butter and milk, and real maple syrup. I don’t care what you think about the wheat bread, you purists. It soaks up that egg batter real nice and believe me, it is to die for. The only thing is you either have to be Rockefeller or save up your pennies to buy a jug of real maple syrup. (It’s way worth it.)

I’ve experimented a lot with French toast over the years, as I go through my health-foodie phases. At one point I spent some time dairy-less and found a nice French toast recipe using soy milk. Since I don’t like soy milk very much, I substituted almond milk. It was so tasty that even though I gave up the dairy-free idea a long time ago, I still make almond milk French toast every once in a while.

Most of the time, though, you just can’t beat the classic recipe. Here’s how I like it:
6 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp sugar (optional. Sometimes I use sugar, but I rather like it without. If you do use sugar, add a pinch of salt.)
8 slices of bread (a firm bread is best, such as day old, whole wheat, or a 1/2 inch slice of Italian)
Butter or oil for frying (butter, please)

Mix the first four ingredients together in a flat-bottomed bowl. Soak each slice of bread in the egg mixture for about 5 seconds per side. Heat the butter in a skillet and fry each piece of bread until nice and brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Stack the toast on a plate and cover to keep warm until all the bread is cooked, or you can keep the cooked slices warm in a 250 degree oven.

Being a purist, I like my French toast with maple syrup, but fruit syrups, jams, compotes, peanut butter--all good.

In fact, if you’re feeling particularly decadent, spread cream cheese and marmalade or fruit jam between two pieces of bread before soaking, or nut butter and sliced banana, then soak the sandwiches in the batter for a few seconds per side and fry in butter until brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Now I’m hot to try making my French toast with cinnamon swirl bread. Or how about sliced cinnamon rolls?

Now you know why one feels the need to drop a couple of pounds.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Foodie News

Food News Journal provides daily links to food news around the Web. Here is a roundup of some of their most recent links:

Pediatricians Warn Against Energy and Sports Drinks for Kids - Since my son drinks Gatorade and G2 as if we own stock in the company, this article grabbed my attention. He's 15, however, and is always in motion. He's been getting up and running by eight a.m. every morning now that school's out.

Served: The Restaurant Coupon Invasion - As a Grouponer, I was almost hesitant to read this one. But I can honestly say I'm not a "Susan Uttmeyer," and I've discovered some new places by using Groupons and gift cards.

To Make a Memorable Meal, Start With a Memory - This is an interesting concept.

Making Girl Scout Cookies Better for the Planet - Good for teenagers Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen for taking the initiative on this!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Re-Creating Dinner and Deception

I once did a post describing the deception my husband planned for our first Valentine's Day when we were dating. He invited me over for dinner. When I arrived at his house, he was stirring a pot of delicious chicken spaghetti, had bread toasting in the oven and a salad set out.

Later, I found that he had not made the meal at all. My sister-in-law had made the chicken spaghetti. All Todd did was heat the bread, warm up the chicken spaghetti and pour out some bagged salad.

Last night, I recreated the infamous chicken spaghetti for dinner. My kids both loved it, and Calli enjoyed the story I had to tell abou the dish. It was so easy to make, that I think Todd could have prepared it all by himself. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Spaghetti
1 package of spaghetti
5 chicken breasts (cooked and chopped)
1 can of Ro-Tel
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of chicken broth
half a large block of Velveeta (cut into cubes)

Prepare spaghetti according ot directions. Combine Ro-Tel, soup and chicken broth. In a casserole dish, layer ingredients in the following order 1) spaghetti 2) chicken 3) soup mixture 4) cheese

Put casserole into 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Halfway through baking, stir mixture to combine.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good Food, No Beef

There is some debate on the number two cause of global warming. Some say it's deforestation. Some say it's soot. Some say it's transportation. Some say it's agriculture.

The ones who say agriculture include soot and deforestation and transportation under that umbrella: Forests are slashed and burned to make room for beef cattle, which produce methane the same way they produce manure, or to make room for monoculture grains used to feed beef cattle, which evolved to eat grass. The grain is grown using fossil-fuel-based fertilizer and is cultivated and harvested by fossil-fuel-run machines and is transported--as are the cattle--by fossil-fuel-run transport. Then the cattle pieces are transported here and there until they end up on tables.

Charlie says, "That does it. I'm not eating meat any more." I'm like, "But, honey, you haven't eaten meat in years. You're going to have to take it up before you can quit it."

Anyway, here's what we had for supper last night.

Vegetarian Taco Salad
Fantastic World Foods taco filling mix
can vegetarian refried beans--no lard
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
organic or vegan cheese
corn chips or tortilla wedges

In a soup plate (a deep plate with a wide rim), arrange lettuce and tomatoes. Heat beans, prepare mix according to package directions. Put the hot stuff on the plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Eat with chips or tortillas.

It was really good!

I think I'm fairly self-indulgent, and I'm telling you, this meal was not a sacrifice. It was pretty, too, before we mooshed it all up and poked it into our cakeholes.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Books for Joplin

One of my sisters lives in Joplin, MO. She and her family escaped destruction in the recent tornado, but her husband is a minister and as you can imagine they're really involved with post-storm service work. I live in Arizona, and have been wondering what would be the most effective thing I could do from here to help. I’ve already donated to the Red Cross, but today I saw the following post by Elaine Viets on the DorothyL Reader’s Forum. I love the idea and am doing my best to get the word out. Here’s what Elaine had to say:

The Missouri Writers Guild is collecting books for the Joplin schools, which were nearly destroyed by the recent tornado. MWG president Deb Marshall said, "They have to replace books for K-12. The high school was a total loss, as was one middle school and one elementary. Another elementary and one additional middle school were major, but not total losses. They have also asked us to assist with helping to restore the Teacher Resource Center, which was totaled also. They're looking for fiction, nonfiction and resource books.

"Books can be shipped by Media Mail to: Deb Marshall, 1203 Spartina Drive, Florissant, MO 63031," she said. "They have no place to store anything yet, so we're shipping to me until their Resource Librarian has her location established the third week of June, at which time we'll make a delivery and she can begin to catalog. Anything they cannot use will be distributed to military families in the area. Joplin has a number of National Guard units that have been deployed on numerous occasions to both Iraq and Afghanistan."Deb's email is _deb.marshall7@gmail.com_ ( .

I know you have been generous in the past and often look for good homes for gently used books. Please forward this message to any lists where you think people might be able to help.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fun Food Festivals

This weekend kicks off many food-related festivals across the country. For a list of festivals and events for the entire month of June (along with related links), visit the June 2011 Food, Beer and Wine Dining Events and Fun Food Festivals. If you know of events starting this weekend that aren't listed below, please tell us about them!

•June 1-4, 2011
Erie's Wild Rib Cook Off & Music Festival
Erie, Pennsylvania

•June 1-5, 2011
Nassau County Strawberry Festival
Bellmore, New York

•June 1-8
Old Pasadena Restaurant Week
Pasadena, CA

•June 1-30, 2011
Wisconsin Dairy Farm Breakfasts
Statewide, Wisconsin

•June 2, 2011
Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation
Ft Lauderdale, Florida

•June 2-5, 2011
Lebanon Strawberry Festival
Lebanon, Oregon

•June 2-5, 2011
Newport News Greek Festival
Newport News, Virginia

•June 2-6, 2011
Beaumont Cherry Festival
Beaumont, California

•June 2-9
Downtown Dining Week
Milwaukee, WI

•June 3, 2011
Livermush Festival
Marion, North Carolina

•June 3, 2011
Newark Strawberry Festival
Newark, Ohio

•June 3, 2011
Zoo Brew: Oregon Zoo Brewers Festival
Portland, Oregon

•June 3-4, 2011
Ole Smoky Spring Farm Fest
Maggie Valley, North Carolina

•June 3-4, 2011
6th Annual Salute! NC Wine Celebration
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

•June 3-4, 2011
Gold Wings and Ribs Fest
Pomeroy, Ohio

•June 3-4, 2011
Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Festival
Snowmass Village, Colorado

•June 3-4, 2011
SAVOR – An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
Washington , DC

•June 3-4, 2011
Newton, Illinois

•June 3-4, 2011
Wellborn Blueberry Festival
Wellborn, Florida

•June 3-4, 2011
Taste of Syracuse
Syracuse, New York

•June 3-4, 2011
Georgia Blueberry Festival
Alma, Georgia

•June 3-4, 2011
20th Annual Rhubarb Fest
Aledo, Illinois

•June 3-4, 2011
Fort Harrod Beef Festival
Fort Harrod, Kentucky

•June 3-4, 2011
Annual Lincolnton Hog Happenin
Lincolnton, North Carolina

•June 3-5, 2011
Cincinnati Food & Wine Festival
Cincinnati, Ohio

•June 3-5, 2011
Coffee Fest San Diego 2011
San Diego, California

•June 3-5, 2011
Bon Mange' Festival
Gheen, Louisiana

•June 3-5, 2011
Smokin' In Steele BBQ and Blues Festival
Owatonna, Minnesota

•June 3-5, 2011
Milk Days 2011
Harvard, Illinois

•June 3-5, 2011
Annual Greek Festival By the Bay
Perth Amboy, New Jersey

•June 3-5, 2011
Michael Arnone's 22nd Annual Crawfish Fest
Augusta, New Jersey

•June 3-5, 2011
Springville's Dairy/Ag Festival
Springville, New York

•June 3-5, 2011
Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival
Temecula, California

•June 3-5, 2011
27th Annual Buffalo Days
Luverne, Minnesota

•June 3-5, 2011
Whoop-Up Days and Rhubarb Festival
Conrad, Montana

•June 3-5, 2011
Annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade & Festival
Brattleboro, Vermont

•June 3-5, 2011
23rd Annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
Little Chute, Wisconsin

•June 3-5, 2011
West Salem June Dairy Days
West Salem, Wisconsin

•June 3-12, 2011
Palm Springs Restaurant Week
Palm Springs, California

•June 3-12, 2011
Philly Beer Week
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

•June 4, 2011
Taste of Weaver's Orchard
Morgantown, Pennsylvania

•June 4, 2011
3rd Annual International Great Beer Expo
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

•June 4, 2011
Farmers Day Parade 2011
Lynden, Washington

•June 4, 2011
Wine Festival at Snö Cove
Scranton, Pennsylvania

•June 4, 2011
West Cape May Strawberry Festival
West Cape May, New Jersey

•June 4, 2011
Strawberry Day & Pig Roast
Pittstown, New Jersey

•June 4, 2011
Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival
Berkeley, California

•June 4, 2011
Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival
Manitou Springs, Colorado

•June 4, 2011
17th Annual Mountain Brewers' Beer Fest
Idaho Falls, Idaho

•June 4, 2011
Vintage Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana

•June 4, 2011
The Rhubarb Festival
Lanesboro, Minnesota

•June 4, 2011
Strawberry Festival 2011
Bridgeton, Missouri

•June 4, 2011
Ponca City Herb Festival
Ponca City, Oklahoma

•June 4, 2011
Annual Great Chowder Cook-Off
Newport, Rhode Island

•June 4, 2011
Ashland Strawberry Faire
Ashland, Virginia

•June 4, 2011
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival
Richmond, Virginia

•June 4, 2011
13th annual Bastyr University Herb and Food Fair
Kenmore, Washington

•June 4, 2011
Beer Barons World of Beer Festival
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

•June 4, 2011
Davis BeerFest 2011
Davis, California

•June 4-5
Sausage Fest
Chicago, IL

•June 4-5, 2011
Ottawa's Two Rivers Win and Jazz Festival
Ottawa, Illinois

•June 4-5, 2011
30th Annual Art & Wine Festival
Walnut Creek, California

•June 4-5, 2011
International Horseradish Festival
Collinsville, Illinois

•June 4-5, 2011
New Orleans Oyster Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana

•June 4-5, 2011
Kimmswick Strawberry Festival
Kimmswick, Missouri

•June 4-5, 2011
5th Annual Taste for the Arts
Hermann, Missouri

•June 4-5, 2011
Troy Strawberry Festival
Troy, Ohio

•June 4-5, 2011
National MooFest Dairy Festival
Athens, Tennessee

•June 4-5, 2011
30th Annual Vintage Virginia Wine Festival
Centreville, Virginia

•June 4-5, 2011
10th Annual GardenFest
La Crosse, Wisconsin

•June 4-6, 2010
Spring Festival & Draft Horse Show
Brocton, Illinois

•June 4-19, 2011
Georgia Wine Country Festival
Dahlonega, Georgia

•June 5, 2011
Strawberry Jazz Festival
Kankakee, Illinois

•June 5, 2011
Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation
Santa Barbara, California

•June 5, 2011
Oakland A's 15th Annual Beer Festival
Oakland, California

•June 5, 2011
18th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival
Camarillo, California

•June 5, 2011
Tustin Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off
Tustin, California

•June 5, 2011
Taste of Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan

•June 5, 2011
Broad Appetit
Richmond, Virginia

•June 5-10, 2011
West Central Dairy Days
Willmar, Minnesota

•June 5-11, 2011
55th Annual Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival
Warren, Arkansas

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mom was Right... Clean Your Plate - But Not the Old One...

The old pyramid is gone. Remember when Mom always said clean your plate?

Well, now the government has offered a simpler way to suggest how we should eat, showing the food categories on a plate. The pic shows veggies as the largest category, followed by fruit, then protein and grains.

Yes, it's just a guide but... will anyone use it? But for kids especially, it's a good guideline. And maybe the real power is in Mom's hands - she can keep the graphic nearby as an extra argument against that snack or dessert. Like reading the crazy calorie count on a menu and deciding on something else. Think it would work?

** Download a short list of eating guidelines Choose My

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Down to the Wire

Flipping the calander over to June has me a little stressed. My fourth book in the Cutie Pies Chronicles is due to come out before Christmas. I am about 3000-or-so words away from it being complete. The plan was to have it ready to go to the editor by the end of June, so I think I am in pretty good shape.

That means June will have me writing furiously for a few days. After the story is complete, I will be editing like a mad-woman. Since this is four books into a series. Lots of time has to be spent going back over my first books to make sure I have stayed consistent, and checking names, ages, etc. against my log of characters. Just writing about it is making me stressed!