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Posts tagged with Recipes

The perfect squash for Thanksgiving

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans. by Sarah Henning

I’m a sucker for squash in pretty much any form — summer, winter, grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, pureed, etc. While my hubby tires of it before winter has hit halfway, I could have it pretty much every night and be happy.

To try to keep him from rejecting it too early, I try to use as many different types as I can, and try to vary how I cook them. Butternut, red kuri, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, carnival, buttercup, pumpkin, blue hubbard, etc. — I buy pretty much every type imaginable. But, no matter what kind I buy, there’s not that much you can do differently. I mean, squash is squash.

So, I continue to play around with it. And that’s how I created this recipe, which is perfect for pretty much any cold night, but would be an epic addition to a Thanksgiving table. It combines one ubiquitous and yummy squash, butternut, with a treat that only comes for a few winter weeks fresh: the pomegranate. Mix in spices and crunchy pecans and you’ve got yourself a great side dish. Seriously, it is SO good.

A side note: The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces

1 pomegranate, seeded

½ cup pecans, broken or chopped

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large glass lasagna pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, coat the butternut squash with the coconut oil. Spread the coated squash onto your parchment-lined pan and set in the oven to roast. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

When there’s 10 minutes to go, pull your pan out and season the squash with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper and about a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon of cinnamon (just eyeball it). Stir to mix and let cook the final 10 minutes.

To serve, top with pomegranate seeds and pecans. Serves 4-6.

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A burger salad for cold weather

My winter version of a burger salad.

My winter version of a burger salad. by Sarah Henning

Ever since the cold snap a few weeks ago, I’ve been drawn to dinner bowls that are basically half salad, half fresh-from-the-stove goodness.

And my most favorite version of this hybrid dinner bowl gets its inspiration from my favorite meal at the now-shuttered Local Burger: The burger salad.

Even though Local Burger shut down at summer’s close, Hilary Brown’s fabulous “World’s Greatest Veggie Burger” have been on sale for quite some time under the brand name “Hilary’s Eat Well.” I used to buy them in bulk back in the day at Local Burger, but now you can pick up two-packs of the yummy burgers at pretty much any Lawrence grocery store (plus nationally at Whole Foods, if you happen to be reading this anywhere but Lawrence).

Anyhow, when Local Burger was open, you could get any burger on top of a salad. It was a great idea that not only upped the satiation factor but also the nutritional value of each salad. Maybe it was nostalgia, or the cooler weather, or both, but for some reason, I wanted to make my own burger salad at home.

After many attempts and combinations, I think I’ve found my absolute favorite. It’s a sweet/salty/hearty mix that’s just perfect for a weeknight fall or winter dinner.

Of course, this recipe works with my own homemade veggie burgers, but I thought when I shared this recipe, I’d share it with the burger that was the inspiration for it.

Fall Burger Salad

1 frozen/uncooked veggie burger

1 small sweet potato

5-6 Brussels sprouts

1 handful baby spinach

¼ cup sauerkraut or kimchi

Coconut oil

Dijon mustard (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. De-stem (cut off the little bottom “nub”) the Brussels sprouts and half them, and peel the sweet potato and chop it into ¼-inch rounds, halving the largest of the rounds.

Rub the tops of the Brussels with a bit of coconut oil and place them, cut side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure to line them up on one half of the sheet, as you’re going to use the other half for the burger in a few minutes. Put the sprouts in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the sweet potato pieces in a steamer pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam the sweet potato on the stove.

When your 10-minute timer goes off, take the sprouts out and flip them with tongs. Then, before putting them back in the oven, add the frozen burger patty to the open side of the parchment. Set your timer for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes are up, flip your burger and put the baking sheet back in the oven. Next, check on your potato. If you can cut through the rounds easily with a spatula, they’re done. Take them off the heat to cool a bit while your sprouts and burger finish.

Check on the burger and sprouts and either pull them out when the timer goes off, or a bit earlier.

In a bowl, put your spinach on the bottom. Next, layer with sweet potatoes and sprouts. Top with your burger, cut into eighths. Add your kraut or kimchi and top with a dollop of Dijon and a bit of black pepper. Mash it all together and eat. Serves 1.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 25: A frittata for fall in CSA land

The frittata over greens with a side of sweet potatoes.

The frittata over greens with a side of sweet potatoes. by Sarah Henning

If the cold snap wasn’t enough of a sign, my bag last week was. The end of CSA season is upon us.

I knew it was close (as evidenced by my headline last week), but what really gave it away was the choice of tofu in my bag. The folks at Rolling Prairie are great in many ways but one of them is that if there’s not enough to go around, they supplement with “prepared” items. Usually, this happens at the very beginning or the very end of the growing season and will often include choices like pesto, mushroom pate, honey and tofu. They’re all products produced by or affiliated with the farms and farmers who supply my CSA.

I suppose that rather than giving us added-value products to choose from, the farmers could just say “three bunches of radishes for you!” or “sorry, only three items today” or something like that. I love that they keep the number of items we take home each week up, rather than letting them dwindle into radish salad.

So, last week, when we got a choice of tofu, I knew that this growing season really had been horrible. And along with the tofu (which is lovely, don’t get me wrong!), came a message: Oct. 15 will be the last pickup. Which was yesterday. Which makes me sad.

Honestly, I love getting my bag every week, and it totally blows when the bag ends for many reasons, but the two most hard-hitting are:

  1. No more surprise veggies each Monday... (BOO)

  2. To quote Ned Stark, “Winter is coming”... (Double BOO)

So, after next week I’ll be back to blogging about random foodie subjects instead of just about how the heck to use all those goodies in your CSA box or bag. If you have any particular subject you want me to cover, feel free to chime in. Otherwise, I’ll probably keep sticking to local foods, healthy eating and feeding kiddos.

OK, so, what did we do with said tofu and other goodies this week? Well, we decided to start with the tofu and go from there. The other goodies in our bag were Swiss chard, sweet and hot peppers, sweet potatoes, radishes and salad mix.

Working from the tofu outward, I decided to try something a bit different. I found a recipe on one of my favorite sites that included both the tofu and the Swiss chard, plus it was pretty easy and didn’t take so long, so WIN WIN WIN.

The idea is basically to make an eggless frittata, using the tofu for the egg. The Swiss chard adds some color and flavor and I bet that you could probably use any other hardy green in its place depending on what’s in your crisper (kale, collards and even spinach would be good). We served it over baby spinach doused with balsamic vinegar and had a side of CSA sweet potatoes, done tropical style.

The resulting dinner was nice and hearty and made perfect leftovers.

Local tofu and Swiss chard make for a hearty dinner, if I do say so myself.

Local tofu and Swiss chard make for a hearty dinner, if I do say so myself. by Sarah Henning

Swiss Chard Frittata (recipe by from www.theppk.com)

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 bunch of red chard, rough stems removed, chopped well (about 4 cups)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 pound firm or extra firm tofu

1 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)

1 teaspoon wet mustard (dijon or yellow, whatever you got)

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

Several dashes fresh black pepper

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over low-medium heat. Add the oil and the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. What you’re doing here is “blonding” the garlic, it’s ready when it’s turned a light amber color.

Add the chard, oregano and and turn the heat up to medium high. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until chard is completely wilted/ Add splashes of water if needed to get the chard to cook down. Turn the heat off.

While the chard is cooking, prepare your frittata base. Give the tofu a squeeze over the sink to remove a little of the water. Use your hands to crumble and squeeze it in a large mixing bowl, until it has the consistency of ricotta cheese (about 3 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients to the tofu and mix well. When your chard is ready, incorporate it into the tofu. Be sure to get all of the garlic, but if there is any moisture in the pan try to avoid adding it to the tofu. Taste for salt.

Lightly grease an 8-inch pie plate (I used a 9-inch one) and firmly press in your frittata mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, until firm lightly browned on top. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then invert onto a plate and serve.

What’d we get during our final week? Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, apples, turnips (including black ones!), salad greens and green peppers.

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Feel Zen in the kitchen with the time-saving Buddha bowl

If you’re like me, and you probably are, based on the number of personal responses I got to my lifesaver weekend roasted veggies a few weeks back, you probably have zero to negative time to cook on weeknights.

In my house, we’re pretty much married to our weeknight schedule, which is determined by some sort of fancy algorithm based on mommy sports, daddy sports, kiddo sports and family time.

It’s as nice to be married to a schedule about as much as it is annoying to be married to a schedule. On the one-hand, it’s very easy to plan when you know exactly what you’re going to be doing each (and every) week. But it’s also nearly impossible to do anything spontaneous or labor-intensive with one’s time, such as creating picture-perfect meals.

Honestly, I barely have time to shove a fork in my mouth, let alone create something beautiful and new and different all the time. Sure, some days I’ll get on a roll and make a few particularly inspired meals. Or, we’ll have a rain-out and suddenly we’re at home with all the time in the world to make something elaborate. But, mostly, I have 30 minutes tops to make dinner, and probably 10 minutes to slurp it down.

Thus, you may have noticed that generally, the recipes I share in this space are good for more than one meal. Sometimes, they’re good for several nights of dinner, other times you can at least get a dinner and a next day’s lunch off of them. And though these ruts are nice and comforting and time-saving, they aren't exactly inspiring, to be sure.

Thus, sometimes, I do crave a meal that makes a ton, yet is totally customizable — one where you feel like you’re eating something different each night though the parts and pieces are basically all the same.

This is sort of the method behind my aforementioned weekend roasted veggies, but, really, those veggies are just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because they can be (if you want them to be) part of the gloriousness known as “the Buddha bowl.”

The Buddha bowl is a concept long loved in the vegetarian community and its versatility should speak to anyone who is short on time, including those of you who like your meat.

The basics of the Buddha bowl go a little something like this: Add a grain, add a legume, add a veggie, add seasonings/toppings, mix. For example, say you make a big pot of quinoa on Sunday. Depending on what you have in your pantry or fridge, your Buddha bowl experience could go something like this:

Sunday: Quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa and avocado

Monday: Quinoa, chickpeas, baby romaine and balsamic dressing

Tuesday: Quinoa, lentils, sautéed veggies, pasta sauce

Get the picture? It’s easy, it’s rut-preventing, customizable (my hubby’s often looks different than mine) and it totally cleans out your fridge/pantry/freezer of all the random purchases/leftovers/frozen things you’ve forgotten/gotten sick of/need to use up.

So, now that we’re up to speed on the awesomeness that is the Buddha bowl (which is so popular now that they make actual bowls called "the Buddha bowl" — the pretty blue bowl holding my salad from Delicious/Nutritious this month is one of them) here’s a recipe for the basic one at the top of the page.

It combines a bunch of really healthy and cheap foods — you know, the kind that you always plan on eating but, um, cough ... never do — which makes the following bowl perfect for those of us who tend to buy 3 pounds of lentils just because they’re on sale. (Guilty as charged...)

Note: I find it’s easiest to first prepare the sweet potatoes, and get them in the oven. Once they’re cooking, I’ll cook the quinoa and lentils in separate pots at the same time on the stove (they cook about the same amount of time). That way, everything is hot and ready at once and all you need to do is slice up your avocado to finish.

Quinoa-Lentil-Sweet Potato-Avocado Buddha Bowl

2.5 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)

2 cups cooked red or green lentils (1 cup dry)

1 recipe Sweet Potato Medallions

1 avocado, sliced

Other toppings: salsa, balsamic, hot sauce, hummus, sautéed veggies (I topped one of mine with leftover fajita veggies from a restaurant — yum!)

Layer the ingredients as you prefer in a bowl. Enjoy! Serves 4-6. (Double or triple the recipe or pieces of the recipe to get more bang for your bowl.)

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Summer burrito love in April

This past weekend it’s felt like summer. And even though the calendar says we’re a long way from July, the weather has had our family in the mood for our summer favorites. The produce isn’t quite there yet, but that’s OK. We can fake it.

I found a good price on some pretty giant zucchini, so we decided we’d make something really fabulous with it: Black Bean, Olive and Zucchini Tacos.

The zucchini gives these tacos a summery feeling, even without other traditional summer produce like tomatoes and bell peppers. Kalamata olives and garlic are easy enough to find any year, as is a simple can of black beans. So, really, as long as you can find a good pound of zucchini, you’re good to go.

Also, there’s a bonus wrapped up in this one: It is super easy to make on a weeknight and is a great way to “hide” veggies from kids. Our particular child wouldn’t touch it, BUT, I think older kids might not look twice if you just say you make black bean tacos. Just a thought.

So, here’s to faux-summer and boo to the rainy, cool April that is sure to show up sometime.

Black Bean, Olive and Zucchini Tacos (adapted from “Appetite for Reduction,” by Isa Chandra Moksowitz)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 zucchini, diced small (about 1 pound)

1-2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (optional)

Tomatillo salsa

8 flour tortillas

Preheat heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and jalapeno to the oil and sprinkle with the salt (salt will help draw the moisture out of the zukes). Saute for about 7 minutes, until the zucchini is lightly browned.

Add garlic, olives, cumin and coriander, and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add salsa verde and black beans. Cook for 5 more minutes; the salsa should reduce a bit so it’s juicy but not soupy.

Place the tortillas in a moist paper towel and heat in the microwave for 1 minute on high.

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Two-Faced March Madness Pizza

OK, I'll admit it, March Madness isn't the only sports' related item rumbling around my skull this week. It's hard to think of anything other than the Jayhawks, 'tis true, but each year at this time, one other little niggling event manages to creep in and a steal a share of the spotlight.

The Sony Ericsson Open.

Never heard of it? Shame on you! I blogged about it (sort of) back in January. (Just kidding, I know I'm not exactly in Tennis Central.)

Though it's not exactly convenient for basketball fans, the "fifth major" tennis tournament started this week, and will end the same weekend as the Final Four, as it does every year. Back in the day, when I worked in sports, this meant trying to keep one eye on tennis and one eye on basketball (Hey, I worked in Florida — which IS Tennis Central — and it wasn't weird to be a tennis fan down there).

Years later, it's the same dual-pull for me, though now my job doesn't depend on knowing every little think about both. Truth be told, while my loyalties are still a bit split, the Jayhawks trump the tennis court, every time — even if my beloved Rafa is playing.

So, I thought this week it would be fun to share a recipe with "two faces." Because, whether we want to or not, chances are most of us have more going on than KU basketball this week. Whether that other thing be work, school, family, activities or other sports (or, if you're like me, all of the above).

Thus, I introduce to you my Two-Faced March Madness Pizza.

One side is traditional and Italian. The other side is a mix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean. Together or separate, they're yummy.

Doesn't that look gorgeous? It is. And it's incredibly tasty and easy to prepare, even on a game night.

To save even more time, make the dough ahead (or use Megan Stuke's trick, and buy some), freeze it, and then put the frozen ball of dough in a bowl to thaw before you leave for work on Friday. Come home, roll it out and make some really yummy pizza before KU's 9:17 p.m. tip-off.

Heck, use all the dough and make two pizzas — by halftime you might be starved from all the jumping up and down/screaming at the TV.

Two-Faced March Madness Pizza

1 batch pizza dough, divided (I use this recipe from Mark Bittman)*

1 jar pizza sauce (We like Muir Glen)

1 bag mozzarella or pizza-blend shredded cheese

1 tub hummus (garlic hummus is really awesome on this pizza, but pick whatever type you like)

Mix of Mediterranean toppings, including: roasted garlic, marinated mushrooms, sweet peppers, marinated giant white beans ( I just raid the Mediterranean bar for whatever looks great)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roll out half the pizza dough on a floured pizza peel or cookie sheet (if you don't have a pizza/bread stone).

Spread your pizza sauce on one-half of the rolled-out dough, and hummus on the other half (you will probably only use a couple of tablespoons of sauce and hummus — do NOT dump the entire jar/tub on your pizza or it will be a soggy mess!).

Decorate the saucy half with as much cheese as you like. On the hummus side, top with your faves from the Mediterranean bar. If you like, put leftover Mediterranean goodness on the cheesy half.

Bake on a pizza stone or baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes. Pull out of the oven, and let cool a bit before you tear in.

*This recipe makes enough for two whole pizzas (8 small slices, each). If you want to make two pizzas, just make sure to have enough cheese and toppings, you should easily half enough pizza sauce and hummus for several pizzas.

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Rock Chalk Guac: The perfect snack for some March Madness

You know what goes about as well with basketball as that blue and red bird?

Guacamole.

It’s mean, green and perfect for dipping. Bonus: It’s super easy to make yourself, no need to buy mixes or the pre-made stuff.

In fact, it’s so easy to make it, there’s about a million different recipes. Some have add-ins like various chilis for spice, mayo (for smoothness) and even peas to keep the fat content down.

But, I like it basic (shocker). So, my two go-to guac recipes are pretty simple. I’ve used both many times and mostly, time (or lack thereof) decides which recipe I choose. One recipe requires some chopping, which doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take a bit. The other recipe requires no chopping whatsoever and literally can be made in 30 seconds.

The combination of ease and dip-ability make either recipe a winner during March Madness. As long as your avocados are ripe, you can have a dip platter ready for munching during the games in just a few minutes. Triple bonus: avocados are packed with good fats — monounsaturated fat and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. A small to medium Hass avocado has 227 calories, 21 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 20 percent of your daily vitamin C.

For extra vitamin C, and fewer overall calories, I usually chop up red bell peppers in dip-able sizes and use them as vehicles for guac, rather than chips. Or, I’ll put it on cucumber rounds. Or I’ll make homemade veggie burgers and put it on there (see above, with a mango sauce on black bean sliders).

Not planning to dip into some basketball? Make guac for St. Patrick’s day this week. It is green, after all.

Chunky Party Guac

3 small or 2 large avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

1/2 white or red onion, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

Juice of two limes

1 clove minced garlic

Mash avocado with a potato masher. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Easy Guacamole (adapted from www.chefchloe.com)

3 small or 2 large avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled

2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

1/4 cup salsa (I like the chunky stuff the best)

In a large bowl, mash together avocado and lime juice, then fold in salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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A week-long life-saver: Sunday night roasted veggies with easy balsamic dressing

Want a Sunday activity that will save you gobs of time on your lunches and dinners the rest of the week?

Roast a couple of pans of veggies.

You can serve the finished product over brown rice or quinoa for a hearty dinner. Spoon them over salad greens for lunch. Stuff them in a pita pocket for a hand-held meal. Or simply eat them with a fork while standing in your kitchen minutes before going to bed.

It takes a bit of time and prep work to do this (two hours, with about 45 minutes of that time hands-on), but it's totally worth it for the added veggie goodness you'll have for DAYS.

The way this works in our house is that I roast probably 10 to 12 pounds of root veggies at a time. A squash, a few sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, an onion, beets and Swiss chard.

All that fits nicely into three 2-quart lasagna dishes that can sit flush side-by-side in the oven while you do other Sunday night activities, like folding laundry and writing your blog (wink, wink).

I roast them in a balsamic vinaigrette I threw together one night while playing. It's become a major favorite because, really, I'm not sure there's any better accompaniment to any roasted veggie than fruity, tart, lovely balsamic.

This past Sunday, we had friends over for dinner. They brought that beautiful salad you see pictured above, which we served our roasted veggies on top of some plain quinoa. It was Sunday night dining at its finest: Good conversation, the kids playing (nicely!) with each other, Trade Joe's cheapo chocolate red wine and mounds of veggies and protein-heavy quinoa.

A fabulous end to the week? I think so.

A fabulous start to the week? Yes, that too.

Even with four adults munching on the veggies I prepared, we still had enough servings to get us through Wednesday and possibly Thursday with little problem. Sunday night "planning" FTW!

Roasted Veggies in Balsamic Dressing

3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 medium to large yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium squash (I used an unpeeled kabocha, but you could swap a peeled butternut), or more yams, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 parsnips or turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 red or sweet yellow onion, cut into 1/2 moons

1 bunch rainbow chard (optional), sliced into 1-inch ribbons, bottoms of stems removed

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Juice of 3 lemons, or about 3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Pinch sea salt

Pinch black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray three 2-quart or two 3-quart Pyrex lasagna pans with olive oil. Set aside.

Place all veggies except for chard in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small Pyrex glass measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the veggies and stir to coat. Portion the veggies across the lasagna pans, spreading the mixture of veggies as flat as possible. Put the pans in the oven. Set your timer for one hour, 15 minutes. Stir your veggies every 15 minutes.

If using chard, place it in the empty bowl you used when coating the other veggies and spoon the leftover dressing over your chard. If not a lot of your dressing is left in the bowl, cover with balsamic and let it marinate while the heartier veggies cook.

After an hour has elapsed, pull out your pans and layer the chard on top to cook down for the final 15 minutes. Make sure to stir once with the chard before pulling your veggies out of the oven.

Serve warm or cold over salad greens, quinoa or alone. Top with more balsamic if you love your vinegar like me. Serves eight to 10. Enjoy!

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Got a cranberry recipe? Share it to win a chance to be a VIP at NPR personality Susan Stamberg’s library benefit

A frog floats with cranberries awaiting harvest in a cranberry bog Wednesday in Wareham, Mass.

A frog floats with cranberries awaiting harvest in a cranberry bog Wednesday in Wareham, Mass.

National Public Radio's Susan Stamberg is famous as much for her on-point reporting as for a little story she first told in 1972.

The story? One about her mother-in-law’s cranberry relish — Pepto-Bismol pink and described succinctly as “sounds terrible, but tastes terrific.”

Now the folks at the Lawrence Public Library want you to have some cranberry celebrity all your own. The library has teamed up with the Cranberry Marketing Committee and others to present what they’re calling the “Cranberry Creations Recipe Contest.”

Held in advance of “An Evening with Susan Stamberg” (which is 7 p.m., March 13 at the Lied Center), a benefit for the library, the contest calls for dessert recipes made with fresh, frozen, dried or juiced cranberries. Participants have until Feb. 22 to enter up to three recipes.

“Susan’s cranberry relish story is legendary,” says Kathleen Morgan, executive director of the Lawrence Public Library Foundation. “We want to have a little fun in advance of her visit and encourage members of the community to share their own cranberry recipes.”

The contest’s grand prize winner will win two VIP tickets to Stamberg’s show, pick up a special prize-studded “Susan Stambag” and have his or her cranberry dessert prepared and served by famed Lawrence chefs Molly and Robert Krause at a VIP party following the presentation. Four runners-up will receive two tickets each to the program.

The Krauses will narrow down the initial entrants and determine five finalists who will be notified by Feb. 27. The finalists must bring samples of their creations to the library auditorium March 4 for a final judging by a panel of celebrity judges.

Entry forms and more information can be found under the “Cranberry Creations” tab at www.lawrencepubliclibraryfoundation.org.

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A sweet treat for tonight’s KU-KSU game

Tonight is the first KU-K-State basketball game of the year. Totally exciting, right? If you're feeling like you might want to show your KU spirit with more than just some fancy chips, I've got a sweet option for you. Something that shows your love of the crimson and the blue, while tasting oh-so-good after some salty pizza or other game-time meal: this Simple Berry Crisp.

It's easy, tasty and showcases the red and the blue well if you use a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. The crimson and the blue, right there and ready to eat.

And if you're a K-state fan living in Lawrence? I'm sure if you use only blueberries, you'll get the effect you want. Not that that's what I'll be doing...

Simple Berry Crisp

6 cups frozen berries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 cups granola

2 tablespoons melted butter

Vanilla yogurt or ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, gently toss together berries, sugar and flour then transfer to an ungreased (8-inch) baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together granola and butter then scatter over berries in dish. Bake until top is golden brown and berries and their juices are bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool then spoon into dishes and serve with yogurt or ice cream on top.

— Recipe from www.wholefoodsmarket.com

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