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   Balogreene posted on Suggested Reading  Audible Books offered the first book in several series for less than half-price. I got several, and they did a great marketing job. One set of books I got was by James Rollins, his Sigma Force novels. I ended up buying the whole series. It is really interesting, part spy novel, part science fiction. Love them.
Yesterday at 21:48 EST .

   Balogreene posted on Recipes  Did anyone see a posting of food from the 40s, 50s, and 60s that made the rounds a few months ago? Most of it looked pretty bad, but my mom did make the lime jello, pineapple, cottage cheese salad. There was also this three layer sandwich loaf, "frosted" with a mix of mayo and sour cream. Mom said her cousin made it for her wedding shower in 1948. It had egg salad, tuna salad, and ham salad. We all said yuck! Now, looking more deeply into my Swedish heritage, and using Rosetta Stone to learn Swedish, I learned that loaf is a smorgastarta, traditionally made with salmon, cucumbers and herbs, and beautifully decorated. Here is a recipe for a vegetarian version I want to make next weekend. I may even make a Swedish rye for the bread.

An international selection of vegetarian sandwich spreads take on a Nordic flair in this delightful smörgåstårta co-created by home chef and cookbook editor extraordinaire Margrit Meinel Diehl and Kari Diehl.


For the artichoke spread:
1 14-ounce can artichokes, coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (about 2 ounces good Italian parmesan )
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, mashed
For the Hungarian liptauer spread:
1 cup Quark or cottage cheese
2/3 cup softened cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 Tbsp. finely minced onion
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped capers
For the spinach spread:
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. ground sage
For the smörgåstårta “frosting”:
1 cup softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
16 slices sandwich-style French or white bread (the bread needs to be fairly firm, with some texture to it. )
Cucumber slices, sweet pepper slices, quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced olives, capers, and summer savory for garnish

The day before serving (if possible, since this intensifies the flavors ):

Make your three vegetable spreads.

For the artichoke spread: Fold together the chopped artichokes, grated parmesan, mayonnaise, and mashed garlic.

For the Hungarian liptauer spread: In a food processor, combine together the Quark / cottage cheese, softened cream cheese, and butter. When blended to spread consistency, pulse in the paprika, mustard, and caraway seeds (Note: if the spread seems too thin, add additional cream cheese in 1/4-cup increments until it reaches a spreadable consistency ). Using a spatula, fold the minced onion and chopped capers into the spread.

For the spinach spread: Cook the spinach according to directions on package; drain well. Combine with softened cream cheese, salt, pepper, and sage.

To construct the smörgåstårta:

Slice the crusts off of the bread. Arrange four slices in a square pattern on a serving plate; thinly butter this bottom layer. Cover completely with the spinach spread.

Thinly butter the bottoms of four more bread slices, then place on top of the spinach layer. Thinly butter the tops of the slices. Cover completely with the Hungarian liptauer spread.

Thinly butter the bottoms of four more bread slices, then place on top of the liptauer spread. Thinly butter the tops of the slices. Cover completely

   April 19 at 14:01 EST .

   2 people like this.

   Balogreene  Cover completely with the artichoke spread. Thinly butter the bottoms of the final four slices and place on top of the artichoke layer.

If possible, cover the smörgåstårta with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If not possible, refrigerate for at least three hours to allow the flavors to blend (it will still taste fabulous! ).

One hour before serving, whisk together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and crème fraiche / sour cream. Frost the top and sides of the smörgåstårta. Then, use your creativity to arrange vegetable slices, olives, capers, and fresh herbs into a striking pattern (one of the hallmarks of the smörgåstårta, as well as of Scandinavian food in general, is that it should be as bright and attractive to the eye as to the taste! ).

Yield: serves 20 as part of a smorgasbord table.
April 19 at 14:04 EST .

  2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  My mother made a lemon/lime jello salad that had chopped celery, cottage cheese, grated carrot, and I think pineapple-been a LONG time since I had it and don't have the recipe.It was MY FAVORITE.
April 19 at 15:54 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Balogreene  Bird, my mom made that too! Jello salad was so much more than just jello. We still make one with cranberry juice (cooked from cranberries, not bought ), gelatin, celery and walnuts. The dressing is Miracle whip and sour cream blended together. My Favorite.
April 19 at 19:58 EST .

 1 person like this.

   BirdsNest  Yum! I love cranberries, we make our own whole berry cranberry sauce...Care to share the above recipe????
April 19 at 20:45 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Balogreene  I'll find it and post it tomorrow. It's one of those things you think you know by heart, but probably don't.
April 19 at 23:28 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Coffee Klatch  I might have the coolest job in the world. I get to write Technical Manuals for soldiers. The latest is a recon vehicle that can do force protection in place, or route clearance. I make sure the manual correctly tells the soldiers which buttons to press when (not even why, just when ).

Today we got to go to Fort Belvoir, on the Potomac, to play with the system. The Army let us use the equipment to see exactly how it works. The inner geek of me had the best time in a long time.It was a little over sixty, sunny, and on the river. What a way to "work"!
April 17 at 20:51 EST .

   4 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Wow!!
April 17 at 21:46 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Safetydude  Is this your doing?
April 17 at 21:54 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Yottyhere  Well!!! a mighty YAY for you Balo that had to have been a major BLAST for you today....
And it sounds like you had a perfect 'play day" weather to boot....
April 17 at 22:16 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Linder  I'll second the Wow!!
April 18 at 19:59 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Balogreene  Safetydude, remember all the boring manuals, text, tables, and line drawings? That's what I do. Luckily, I have mock-ups, or trainer units, because my quality assurance guy and I test every word in that book. But, the vehicles are never local, so I have to beg for information from engineers. You know, can the soldier really get to that wire to check it, where does the soldier sit in relation to the equipment, that kind of info. This was a blast, though the first step was at my knees, and the second step was higher than these arthritic knees wanted to do. I butt-walked down them, praying no one was filming!
April 19 at 13:45 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Safetydude  Balo...

I was a bomb loader and Weapons Systems Technician in the AF for years before I became the Wing Safety Manager for the last years of my career.

Yes, I do know from tech manuals, line drawings, tables, schematics and trouble shooting guides.

We could also call the AF 'item manager' or a civilian tech rep for answers or clarification of tec data.

And we bomb loaders lived, or died, by the check list so we spent hours and hours pouring over tec data.

We had the Army PM 'comics' in the motor pool and the security police armory.

(I got a check-out ride in a Bradly Fighting Vehicle years ago at the Catoosa Tank Range in Tennessee. Hard to believe you can have that much fun with your clothes on. )
April 19 at 17:46 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Balogreene  I agree, these vehicles are really something. And the Army PM "comics" are always wonderful. Oddly, with all Army vets at my office, we regularly read the Army Times.
April 19 at 19:53 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Gardening & Landscaping  We have made the economic decision to replace our broken air conditioner this summer, and not put in a lawn. I really suffer from the heat, and so find it best to cool the house. Next year though, we'll have a good plan.
April 12 at 12:19 EST .

   2 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Wise move. We have to have one room to be able to be cool in and that is the bedroom. All other parts of the house have fans. We cannot survive summer without some way to get cooled.
April 12 at 12:27 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Carmen  We have never had air conditioning and I have never missed it. Ceiling fans work great and I can keep all the windows open in the summer. If we finally are able to move to Tennessee however, I might change my mind.
April 13 at 13:02 EST .

   Carmen  We have never had air conditioning and I have never missed it. Ceiling fans work great and I can keep all the windows open in the summer. If we finally are able to move to Tennessee however, I might change my mind.
April 13 at 13:03 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Flaming Sword  If anyone needs a smaller fan that is incredible- check this out on Amazon.

Holmes HAPF623R-UC Blizzard 12-Inch Power Fan with Remote Control

This little stinker packs some power. I love the breeze functions. And a remote for everything. Less than $35.00 on Amazon and worth twice the price. And it's whisper quiet.
April 13 at 15:42 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Balogreene  Carmen, we didn't really have air-conditioning growing up, I had it in the dorm in college, but not again til 82, in ABQ, we had an evaporative cooler. Then 10 years in NYC, no air. I got sick in the 90 degree heat, 90 percent humidity, and no air. Now, it's like clockwork, 80 degrees, and I'm sick. With home, work, and car all being air-conditioned, it takes two or three days before I get sick. But, right now, two days of 80 degrees, no air in the house, and I'm sick.
April 13 at 22:18 EST .

   Balogreene posted on Sports  Wrigley Field is 100 years old this year.
April 2 at 20:32 EST .

   2 people like this.

   Ole buzzard  I've said it before, but I believe there is no finer place to watch a baseball game.
April 10 at 07:22 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Health & Diet  Lately I've felt horrible, exhausted, dry skin, always cold (I'm usually always warm ), sinus infection I can't get rid of, blood sugar numbers I can't get down, blood pressure too high, I could go on all day. I finally went to the Dr. for the sinus infection. The P.A. insisted I do a blood test, since I'd put it off for so long. I told her it was nonsensical to have it, cause my numbers were bad, and they were going to tell me to do things I've been doing all along. She insisted.

Two days later, they called to say my thyroid had gotten worse, despite taking synthetic thyroid. They also said, come back in a couple months for a new test, as the results of the last one were invalid. The low thyroid causes high cholesterol, high blood-sugar, low-immunity. All in addition to dry skin, cold, exhaustion, hair loss, and dry hair.

Ten days later, I got the medicine from my "wonderful" mail-in pharmacy. I've taken it for two days now, hope it kicks in soon!
April 2 at 20:12 EST .

   3 people like this.

   Cheese  Balo, I'm glad they did the blood test and found that your thyroid problem had worsened and it wasn't just the sinus infection and all that. When my low thyroid was first diagnosed and they put me on meds, they told me that it'd be about 6 weeks before I'd notice the improvement and they were exactly right -- and what a change it made in my life! Hang in there and I hope you're feeling great very soon! --Colleen
April 5 at 06:57 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Gerty  I can feel your pain, MissBalo. I have never had a sinus infection---that I know of. Last week, I had to go to the dentist because of a "phantom toothache". I call it that because I could never figure out which tooth in my upper mouth was hurting. But the pain was sharp-- although of short duration. Doctor took a few x-rays and finding nothing wrong, suggested I see my GP for a sinus infection. She said it was not all that uncommon.

Smart lady.
April 5 at 20:34 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Attercliffe  Balo, here's a fresh new article:

Why so-called 'superfoods' could be BAD for you: Nutritionist says kale can send your thyroid haywire and quinoa irritates the gut

I have kale growing in a container outside on the deck. I'm not keen on raw kale anyway so I'll serve it cooked. Watch out for curly kale in the chopped salad bags.
April 7 at 09:11 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Balogreene  After life, I saw that article too. I really dislike kale, I find it bitter. I love other greens, mustard, spinach, collard, etc. I should probably research them too. I try not to eat too many greens however, my blood tends to clot, and they are high in vitamin k, that helps blood to clot.
I have a quinoa recipe with goji berries thing I sometimes make, so I'm safe there. But, they also didn't like chia seeds. I have some, and use them because eating them lowered my friend's blood pressure.
April 12 at 12:13 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Dogs, Cats & Critters  So, this is our Misty Moon, the Puppy Mill Rescue. Last night I stopped at the grocery store on the way home (for mom ), and knew I was too tired to cook so I got Spring Rolls (vegetarian, 4 for $2 ) and Papaya Salad from my favorite Thai Restaurant. When I got home I ran the first load of stuff into the the house and dropped it on the floor. I ran out for the second load, and when I got back into the house, Misty had the bag from the Thai restaurant untied, and was pulling a styrofoam box of spring rolls out of it. She just figured I had brought her dinner.
   April 2 at 19:59 EST .

   6 people like this.

   Surfhut  Adorable little face. Now I want Thai food.
April 2 at 20:07 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Yottyhere  Yep, that got me thinking about some Thai tea, I love that stuff.
BTW she looks quite innOcent to me you must have imagined it.
April 3 at 00:04 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Recipes  Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Pepperoncini

1 pound cucumbers—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, plus cucumber spears for serving
10 small pepperoncini—4 stemmed, seeded and chopped, plus ¼ cup of liquid from the jar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon ground cumin


In a blender, puree the chopped cucumbers with the chopped pepperoncini, the pickling liquid, 2 tablespoons of the dill, the yogurt and buttermilk until very smooth. Stir in the cumin and the remaining dill and season with salt. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Ladle the soup into 6 bowls. Serve each bowl with a whole pepperoncini and cucumber spears on the side.

I never use the salt.
March 13 at 22:06 EST .

   10 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Recipes  Mount Vernon Colonial Peanut and Chestnut Soup
The restaurant at Mt. Vernon swears it's Martha Washington's recipe, but, I doubt she had canned Water Chestnuts. When I ordered this, I told the server how much I liked it. She told me they have most of the recipes available for family cooks. She then brought me this recipe.

¼ cup butter
1.5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken (or vegetable ) broth
1 quart water
1 cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup Unsalted peanuts, chopped
½ cup water chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire


Melt butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour to make a roux. Cook on medium heat while frequently stirring until the roux is light tan in color.

Once the roux is ready, add broth and water and bring to a boil.

Add peanut butter and worcestershire sauce and stir.

Hold on stove at low heat until ready to serve.

The longer it heats, the thicker it gets.

Garnish with peanut butter and water chestnuts.
March 13 at 22:01 EST .

   9 people like this.

   Balogreene posted on Recipes  Moroccan Tomato Soup (Chilled, Vegetarian )

2 medium tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes )
2 stalk celery, minced
2 scallion, finely chopped (or some onion )
1 quart chilled tomato juice (I use V-8 )
¼ cup chilled orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove minced or pressed (I use more )
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Juice of one lemon or lime )
Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce to taste


In a saucepan or a large refrigerator container, combine the tomatoes, celery, scallions, tomato juice, and orange juice.

In a small skillet on low heat, warm the olive oil. Saute the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon for just a minute, being careful not to scorch them. Stir the spice mixture into the soup, and add lemon juice and Tabasco to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

I saute the garlic, cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, then add the scallions (or onions ), celery, tomatoes, and juices. I let it cook down a bit, then cool, then run it through the blender so it is smooth. Then refrigerate it overnight.

Per 8 oz. serving: 71 calories, 1.9 g protein, 2.8 g fat, 12.1 g carbohydrate, 562 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol
March 13 at 21:56 EST .

   12 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  This sounds great for summer!
March 17 at 19:09 EST .

  6 people like this.

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