Entries from blogs tagged with “Sarah Henning”

Homemade pita chips: The perfect snack from the Super Bowl through March Madness

On Sunday, I imagine chances are you dipped a chip into something, be it salsa, bean dip, melted cheese or even hummus. The Super Bowl is one of those times when it's nearly impossible not to put out some sort of dip and dipper combination.

My house is no exception. But, as you may have noticed, I like to make things myself (if possible). I've made some homemade tortilla chips before, but for the Super Bowl, we were in a hummus-y sort of mood. So, we bought a pack of pita bread and decided to try to make our own pita chips while watching the Giants beat the Patriots.

The results, as you can see from the pic above, look pretty much exactly like the kind you can buy pre-made in bags at the store. I'm not necessarily sure if they're cheaper to make at home, but it does feel nice to be able to control the amount of oil and salt used to ensure these chips are as healthy as possible.

Bonus: They were super easy!

Homemade Pita Chips

2 pita pockets (I used Jerusalem Cafe and Bakery's)

Olive oil

Sea Salt

Garlic powder

Cumin (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each pita in half. Next, carefully tease apart each pita pocket with a serrated knife.

Slice into little wedge shapes. Place wedges on two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of each wedge with olive oil. Once all your wedges are oiled, sprinkle on salt, garlic powder and cumin (if using) to taste.

Place in oven for 7 to 8 minutes (watch them carefully, they burn easily!). Remove and enjoy! Serves 2 to 4.

We served our pita chips with red lentils, roasted onions and basmati rice (and the requisite hummus). The dish was a bit bland, so the saltiness of the chips most definitely helped.

An unusual Super Bowl meal? Yeah, probably, but the chips are definitely a keeper through March Madness.


I know where you can get the perfect party bowl for Super Bowl Sunday: Souper Bowl Saturday

Bowls and cups of many sizes were available for sale Saturday at the annual Souper Bowl fundraiser for the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

Bowls and cups of many sizes were available for sale Saturday at the annual Souper Bowl fundraiser for the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. by Kevin Anderson

I used to love the Super Bowl just for the big game nature of it. You know: the excitement, the sportsmanship, the FOOD.

Now, I love it because it reminds me of a great fundraiser put on each year by the Lawrence Arts Center.

If you've never been, the Souper Bowl is awesome. It's the Saturday before each Super Bowl (In this case: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday) and it's a shopping trip, lunch and a philanthropic experience rolled into one.

Basically, center students have created over 500 bowls that will be available for sale. Prices vary, but start at $10. With each bowl purchased, the buyer gets complimentary soup, bread and a drink.

For more information about the event, which is in its 15th year, go here.


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


“American Idol”: Eudora’s Jason “Wolf” Hamlin makes it to Hollywood!

America is waking up with a song in its heart this morning for Jason "Wolf" Hamlin.

The 2005 Eudora High School grad made it to the Hollywood round of "American Idol" last night with his rendition of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

If you missed it, take a look at Jason above, sharing his story with the judges and host Ryan Seacrest before wowing with his voice and use of the "git-fiddle" made for him by his late father.


A reason to watch American Idol Sunday: Eudora singer will appear

Eudora High School students Jason Hamlin, left, and Caleb Pettengill will be attending their prom as pirates.

Eudora High School students Jason Hamlin, left, and Caleb Pettengill will be attending their prom as pirates. by Jared Soares/Journal-World Photo

According to sources at Eudora High School, 2005 grad Jason Hamlin (left, dressed as a pirate for prom back in his high school days in 2005) will be on American Idol this Sunday on FOX.

Hamlin auditioned for the annual singing competition in San Diego and apparently gets air time in a special episode, to appear after the NFC Championship game. The episode will start around 9 p.m., though the timing depends on the game.

The show, which is its 12th season, debuted last Wednesday and showed its second episode on Thursday. The current episodes are showcasing the audition process, in which amateur singers try to make it to Hollywood.

Kansas City native David Cook won the show's seventh season in 2008. Check back at next week to see if Hamlin made it to Hollywood.


Fun (and scary) food facts for your Friday

The other day, I downloaded "25 Amazing Facts about Food" by Mike Adams and David Guiterrez of It's a fun and free guide and the reporting looks pretty sound to me.

Most of the 25 facts I already knew, like No. 8: peach pits are the basis for an anti-cancer medicine known as "laetrile." (This was in a story I wrote awhile ago.) But some of the facts were new, and totally interesting:

No. 1: The most expensive cup of coffee in the world will cost you $80 a mug and is made from "beans partially digested and defecated by the Asian palm civet." The coffee? Kopi luwak.

No. 4: L-cysteine, an ingredient often found in commercial breads, is "derived from human hair." Why is it in there? It is an amino acid that works as a dough conditioner. I could make a joke about "pillowy bread" right now, but I won't.

No. 9: That confectioner's glaze ingredient you see in candies is actually the same thing as "shellac" ... which is sold at hardware stores for use as a wood varnish and seal. No matter what it's called and how it's used, it comes from "a chemical secreted by female lac bugs."

No. 20: Oregano, so good dried and put on pizza, apparently has a higher antioxidant content than the antioxidant superstar to the masses, the blueberry. It has four times the antioxidants of the little berries. Plus, it's got "12 times that of oranges and 42 times that of apples."

No. 23: The reason you're probably more likely to eat rice than quinoa? The Spanish banned quinoa and amaranth in the New World because the conquistadores were "scornful of their use in native religious ceremonies." Maybe if they'd known about the foods' high amounts of amino acids, they would've reconsidered. And, I'm pretty sure paella made with quinoa would be super tasty!

So, there's a bit of education for your Friday. If you want more, check out the full excellent report here. Have a fabulous weekend!


Paula Deen cooks up disappointment with diabetes drug announcement

Usually, when I see Paula Deen's thousand-watt smile and Kewpie doll eyes I think of one thing: Butter.

In an amazingly memorable episode of "Iron Chef America" the Southern cook teamed up with Cat Cora to take on Tyler Florence and Robert Irvine in "Battle: Sugar!" In the episode, Paula plays to the audience, cackling with deep-fried energy and one-liners, making the other three chefs and a sous chef in elf gear look like scenery. All the while, she's putting on a show within a show with made-for-TV moves such as grabbing a pound of butter, dumping it in a pan with a half-melted loaf of processed cheese and chirping for the camera, "My favorite ingredient, butter!"

So, naturally, my association with Paula Deen and butter, is normal. And, I imagine, many of you also have the very same direction association. Makes sense, right? Right.

But ever since Tuesday morning, when I see those impossibly blue eyes and wide grin of Southern hospitality, all I can think is: What a waste.

In case you missed it, the queen of Southern cooking confirmed Tuesday morning on the "Today" show that she has Type-II diabetes. Like many Americans, she had no clue until she went to her doctor for a routine physical ... three years ago.

Never mind that she's been whipping up sweet potato praline crunch pie and other heart-stopping delights for three years since finding out that she'd need watch her blood glucose levels. That's untruthful and severely reckless behavior, to be sure, but what was really disappointing came next.

Next, rather than launching a new line of diabetic-friendly recipes or talking about how she's overhauled her diet in the name of health, Deen instead batted her eyelashes, put that grin in place and announced to the world she was to be a paid spokeswoman for a diabetes drug company.

Of course, because the hot glare of the "Today" show lights doesn't come without a probing question or two, Al Roker (yes, they had the giggly weatherman interview Paula) tried his best to do an impression of a hard-hitting journalist and asked her directly if her rich recipes had anything and everything to do with her diagnosis. After a great deal of hokey-pokeying around like an experienced politician, her collective answer on the subject seemed to amount to this: "I'm not a doctor, I'm a chef. Here, take this drug."

Now, I know Paula Deen didn't sign up to be a moral compass when she burst onto the cooking scene in the mid-1990s, all personality and butter pats. Anyone who becomes a celebrity doesn't automatically lose the chance for independent thought, going against the grain or making unpopular decisions. Celebrities are people too, and they aren't perfect, as we've seen time and time again.

But, and it's a voluminous but, celebrities do have to think a bit harder about their actions because their influence is at a premium. I suppose that is why I was so disappointed with Paula on Tuesday. She missed out on a fabulous chance to reach out to the masses and promote healthy eating.

Because of her personality and power and history, if she had said, "Hey, I have diabetes and though I still like rich foods, I am learning to cook in a healthful way and I want to share my healthier recipes with you," that would've been incredible. We all know where she's been (fried mac and cheese, Krispy Kreme bread pudding) and if a lifestyle change were where she was going, it would mean much to many Americans who are struggling with diabetes or pre-diabetes. There would be a certain, "If Paula can change, I can too" oomph attached to such a decision that could light a fire for someone who can relate to her right down to a diabetes diagnosis.

But she didn't do that. Instead, she told us rich foods were merely a puzzle piece in the diabetes epidemic. True, yes, genetics do play a role, as does exercise and weight, to be sure. But diet is a puzzle piece so massive, it would basically play the role of Brazil if diabetes happened to look like South America.

To be fair, Paula's sons have just launched a show that includes healthier recipes called, ironically or not, "Not My Mama's Meals." But you know what? That's not enough.

That show isn't Paula's baby, and it doesn't come with the weight of her word. We could watch her health-minded son, Bobby, make "Bobby's Lighter Gooey Butter Cake," for the masses but, for all his good intentions, an entire season's worth of recipes from Bobby Deen isn't worth an iota of what his mother could've done with a single statement and some personal responsibility.

Instead, her announcement smacks of greed as much as mutual disappointment and it's certainly a bitter taste.

With the backlash she's gotten since her announcement, I hope that Paula decides to use her powers for the greater good, and gets into the kitchen to whip up healthier, diabetes-friendly fare that tastes good — and has the potential to help millions of sick Americans find the road to better health, butter be darned.


Immunity help in a glass (I hope)

For this week's food page, I wrote about smoothies — a drink for which my fandom never seems to wane. Which, of course you already know if you read this blog regularly.

My story included a bunch of possibilities for great smoothies, depending on your health goals in the new year.

I have my own health goals in the new year, too, of course, but right now my most immediate health goal is not getting the snotty, goopy cold my kiddo has contracted from his school friends. Though, as the other parents out there know (and non-parents, too, probably), avoiding a child's cold can be like trying not to get damp in a hurricane.

When kids aren't feeling well, they want to cling and be comforted and wipe their little noses on something nearby, and it's probably not going to be on the tissue you handed them five seconds earlier. Rather, your pant leg, sleeve, shoulder or whatever appendage is nearest to that little face is probably what they're going to go for, especially while feeling all achy and in the mood to cuddle.

Therefore, since last Friday, I've been washing my hands constantly, reminding myself NOT to touch my face and trying to combat the kiddo's cold with my best weapon — a smoothie. The kiddo will drink nearly anything if you call it a smoothie. So, I've been working on his immunity and mine with greens in blended form.

A recent favorite has been this one, which involves greens in two forms: spinach and a green powder, which is made up of a plethora of healthy plants from the land and the sea.

I don't know if it'll keep this cold at bay (or heal the kiddo any faster), but it can't hurt.

Double Green Smoothie

1 banana

1 handful spinach

1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder

1 teaspoon Vitamineral Green or any other green powder (spirulina, chlorella, a mix)

1 to 1-1/2 cups water

Blend all in a blender. Serves 1 to 2.


Easy winter salad — no lettuce or tomato in sight

We had a great conversation yesterday about being meatless in the Midwest. Please, keep it up! I'd love to hear more suggestions on where to eat as a vegetarian in Lawrence.

And, while you're munching on that, let's talk briefly about eating meatless at home, shall we?

Salad is a staple in our house, and that's no different in the winter. Though, I do know vegetarians and omnivores alike who have a hard time embracing salads when temperatures dip below freezing. Suddenly, lettuce seems a bit too, well, cold. And because tomatoes and many other basic salad ingredients aren't in season, it can be hard to keep a healthy salad habit going.

So, I encourage you to branch out. A salad is really just a random conglomeration of things, and it doesn't necessarily need to involve lettuce and tomato. It's no secret I'm a huge kale salad fan, and I've even written an entire story on winter salads. There really are a ton of options, including one I came up with on a whim last night.

Said salad (above) really is the perfect definition of "a random conglomeration of things." And it was soooo good.

I started with the last of my leftover squash and then took a look in the fridge to see what would go with it. I had a few wilty kale leaves, an about-to-turn avocado, a huge vat of kalamata olives from Costco and a jar of kimchi I'd bought this weekend in an effort to increase my intake of probiotics beyond just my (out-of-control) kombucha addiction.

The result was a healthy late-in-the-week dinner that I'm so glad I found.

Kimchi Squash Kale Salad

1/2 bunch green kale

1 to 2 cups chopped cooked squash (I used 1.5 roasted sweet dumpling squash)

1/2 cup kimchi (or more)

1/2 avocado, chopped

Kalamata olives

Tear the kale leaves into small pieces and discard the stems. Put the pieces in a bowl and top with avocado, massaging it gently into the kale pieces. Top with squash, kimchi and olives. Enjoy! Serves 1 as a dinner salad or 2 as a side salad.


Dead meat: The New York Times’ terrible take on vegetarianism in Kansas City

Strawberry Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing is a simple combination
of romaine lettuce, strawberry slices and almond slivers.

Strawberry Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing is a simple combination of romaine lettuce, strawberry slices and almond slivers. by AP Photo

Earlier this week, I was somewhat livid. I'm not the type to get angry, and the source of my anger was kind of surprising, I suppose, if you know how journalists are: The New York Times.

More specifically, a story posted on Tuesday entitled "Meatless in the Midwest: A Tale of Survival."

In it, we read the story of A.G. Sulzberger, who in the year that he had been assigned to the Times' Kansas City bureau, had been, well, hungry.

And no wonder, by the sound of it, he'd spent a lot of time checking out the region's famed barbecue joints with colleagues and friends, all the while doing some really terrific coverage of the tornado in Joplin and the Iowa Caucus.

In reading his tale of "survival" at first I was really upset. Seething, I described it as not so much a tale of survival as a dated, elitist tongue-in-cheek painting of how the Midwest is still the frontier, devoid of culture. (See, I was MAD!).

His sources included a restaurateur who knows better (“The mentality of the Midwest is, green is garnish,” explained Heidi Van Pelt-Belle, who runs Füd.) and a guy who turned vegetarian in Omaha and then moved to New York, where, presumably, he could be with his kind.

I thought, "How could they print this?" Then, "Who is this article for?" When I thought about it, all I could come up with were New Yorkers who have never been west of the Mississippi, or possibly ex-Midwesterners (like the Brooklynite) who would relish the fact that they were smart to leave in the first place.

As someone born and raised in Kansas City, I went from upset to outright offended. I thought of all the eyes who'd seen that article before publication — editors, designers, web producers — and thought, "Really? No one thought, 'Hey maybe this is a bad idea?'"

Someone had to have thought about the fact that people in the Midwest read The New York Times. In fact, they had to have known we read the Times because they opened a bureau here. And there's no more sure-fire way to piss off your neighbors than by making fun of them and thinking they're too dumb to know about it.

And pissed off they were. Twitter blew up, Facebook, too, all with angry Midwesterners going on the defense.

So, I did something I never do. I emailed another journalist about the article he wrote. And not just any journalist — the SON of the publisher of the most powerful paper in the country. Yes, A.G. is Arthur, son of the publisher and, thus, the heir to the Times.

I was very cordial about it, introduced myself, told him I cover food and that I grew up vegetarian in Kansas City and told him that it was a crime that he hadn't seemed to have found Eden Alley or Mudpie Bakery. Both of which are completely vegetarian (in Mudpie's case, vegan) and hugely popular (Eden Alley has been my favorite restaurant for more than half my life). He had hinted that Kansas City had two fully vegetarian restaurants, meaning Füd and Eden Alley, but because he'd only talked to the owner of Füd, I figured maybe he wasn't in the know.

After I sent that message, I started to feel bad for Arthur. I know what it's like to be a vegetarian journalist in a strange place with weird hours, lots of stress and coworkers who'd rather power through lunch in an effort to save money and calories for later sustenance over pints and darts.

I also knew that though my message was in good taste and cheerful, his inbox was probably brimming with hate mail. Emails spewing rage and probably calling him out for being just another East Coast snob. Or picking on him for being born into power. Or chastising him for going against his people — how could he turn his back on other vegetarians? How?!

That night, I received a response from Arthur. Simple, professional and shocking, because I totally expected to be skirted away with the inbox riptide.

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the note. I have actually been to Eden Alley a few times. As for the restaurant in Omaha, thats great news and I'll look forward to checking it out.

Best, Arthur

It's a nice note — short, to the point, and proves that he read my message and thought about it. (I had mentioned that Isa is opening a vegan restaurant in Omaha).

So, look, though I'm late to the party, I was asked by several people to write about the "tale" that upset both vegetarians and omnivores alike.

But I'm not going to go on about how it's all an elitist conspiracy from rich people on the coasts to look down upon the Midwest.

Because that's just as big a stereotype as saying that vegetarians are as rare four-leaf clovers once you land in the pastures past the Mississippi.

And it also feeds into another stereotype: That vegetarians are back-biters, eager to look down on everyone, even their own kind, for silly reasons like a personal preference for honey or subsisting on vegetarian (but not so healthy) deep-dish pizza.

So, I'm not going to do that.

Instead, I'm going to take my friend Christine's suggestion and make a list of some wonderful vegetarian options in Lawrence, should Arthur or any visiting vegetarian need to know.

In no certain order:

Honestly, this list could go on and on. Lawrence is rife with vegetarian options, and they're all wonderful.

I am aware this isn't the case everywhere in the Midwest. And, like Arthur, I have dined on what amounts to being iceberg lettuce salad. But we do have options ... and it would be nice to have more.

What's your favorite veggie meal in Lawrence?


Reaping the benefits of Monday night “planning”

There. See? I had my leftovers. The kale salad for lunch, the squash for dinner, along with some homemade pizza.

And it was tasty ... almost like I planned it.

P.S. On that pizza, in case you're wondering, is pizza sauce, roasted garlic, marinated mushrooms, avocado and some cashew cheese. Put the cheese on the squash too — yum!


Weeknight dinner: Healthy, and worth the “work”

Monday nights usually are not my most shining moments in the kitchen. They tend to involve dishing out whatever we made Sunday night, or if one of us ate the remainder of Sunday's dinner for lunch on Monday ... rushing around trying to throw something suitable together.

Yes, I'm horrible at meal planning. When I shop, I know exactly what I want to eat that week, but it always seems that I misjudge how much each dish will make, and how long that dish will really stick around. Sometimes, I make things and realize that we ate the whole thing, leftovers be darned. Other times, we make something and it lurks in the fridge for days, uneaten in favor of something more exciting than leftovers ... until it dies a moldy death in the trashcan.

So, I'm trying to improve on this. And, thus, this Monday, I was determined to make something healthy and tasty from scratch — and have enough left over for lunch and dinner today. Complicating the fact, was that the kiddo and I went to play with a school friend after work while the hubby went running. We finally got home around 7, with the kiddo famished and the hubby on his way back, STARVING.

My solution? Doing two things at once. As soon as I got the kiddo settled with his requested dinner (baby carrots, provolone and a leftover smoothie), I decided make a double batch of my favorite kale salad recipe plus a roasted dumpling squash recipe I learned during my cooking class with Isa.

It ended up timing out perfectly so that the squash and the salad were done within seconds of each other. I started the squash first, then set to washing and chopping all my salad ingredients. By the time the squash needed to come out of the oven to be seasoned, the salad was combined, the kiddo was ready for bed and the hubby was home and ready to eat. I pulled the squash out to cool, put the kiddo to bed and then we chowed down.

Simple. On a Monday. Who knew?

You already have the salad recipe, so here's how to make the squash. Feel free to sub in acorn squash, though know you can't eat the skin on acorn like you can on dumpling squash.

Simple Roasted Dumpling Squash

4 sweet dumpling squash (similar in size)

Olive oil (in a mister, if you have one)



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut squash in half, along the equator (don't try to cut through the stem!). Scoop out and discard the seeds.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray or rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the parchment paper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the oiled parchment. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.

When done, pull it out of the oven and use a hot pad or spatula to flip over the squash, so that they cool with the flesh "up." Once you have them facing upward, sprinkle with salt and dust with cinnamon. Let cool and enjoy.

P.S.: I had enough salad left over for a honkin' lunch today and saved the leftover squash for dinner tonight. Yay for planning (sort of).


What books are on your to-read list this year?

Anna Luna, clerk at The Dusty Bookshelf, 708 Mass., sorts through the children's section of the store. The bookstore was voted best bookstore in the 2011 Best of Lawrence competition.

Anna Luna, clerk at The Dusty Bookshelf, 708 Mass., sorts through the children's section of the store. The bookstore was voted best bookstore in the 2011 Best of Lawrence competition. by Kevin Anderson

This week, I talked to book specialists in town for their lists of must-read books for 2012. And, afterward, I must admit, my reading wish list received a few additional pages.

Basically, I want to read nearly every book they mentioned, plus the ones I'd already lined up on my "to-read" list.

And that list is a long one and getting longer, as I've been moving slowly through the five published books of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series (which begins with "A Game of Thrones"). I've finished the first three and am now taking a break to read three books I received for Christmas: "Aftertaste" by Meredeth Mileti, "Double Dexter" by Jeff Lindsay and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot. Then, it'll be back to books four and five of Martin's series before moving on to the laundry list of other books I can't wait to sink my teeth into.

What books are you looking forward to curling up to this winter?


Spanish omelets and biceps — you’re welcome

Hey, remember the other day when I shared this video and mentioned that Kilian Jornet was my second-favorite Spanish athlete? Well, I think I also said that Rafael Nadal was very favorite Spanish athlete (and probably favorite current athlete in general).

Well, Rafa's ears must have been burning because yesterday I got this in the mail:

It's a brochure for the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. I went twice when I was working on the sports desk at The Palm Beach Post. It's a fabulous event with really great food (Crepes! Sushi! Focaccia sandwiches!), but besides the good eats, it's a bunch of fun. The world's best players all attend (the reason it's referred to as the "fifth major") and if you sit in the cheap seats of the main stadium, you can look out on the crisp blue waters of Biscayne Bay while watching world-class tennis and eating said crepes (with Nutella, natch).

I know this isn't a sports blog, more of a space dedicated to food and the arts, but I hope you'll agree there's a lot of artistry and food related to sports. There is most definitely a creative streak in nearly any top athlete and what they do is art, no matter the sport. And the food — who doesn't love to eat while watching a good game, match or tournament? Some of the most impressive spreads of the year come during the Super Bowl or March Madness. Plus, athletes and food often make an appearance in many an artwork (Have you seen some of our great photos on It's ART, I tell you.). You see — really, it's all interconnected.

The Sony Ericsson Open doesn't start until March 19, but my Rafa-bedecked brochure is a good reminder that The Australian Open is right around the corner, beginning Monday, Jan. 16. Despite the funky timezone conversion, it's easy to check it out — just watch a match or two with your breakfast (Spanish omelet, perhaps?). You'll be happy you did.

P.S.: What's my deal with Spanish athletes? Well, I studied abroad in Spain in college and have a soft spot for pretty much any Spaniard. So, yeah.


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


A healthy start to the new year

Have you resolved to be healthier in the new year? Maybe to start working out or sneak in a few more fruits and vegetables into your diet?

Well, I've got a two-part inspiration kick-starter this morning for those of you trying to go for health in the New Year.

The first is a really inspiring video from my second favorite Spanish athlete, Kilian Jornet. (My very favorite is Rafael Nadal — I've been following him since he was 16, so don't give my guff about just liking him for the biceps.) Kilian is an ultrarunner/super athlete who is as likely to run 100 miles as he is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or ski down some of the world's steepest slopes. He made this joyful video to welcome in 2012, and it's a pretty inspiring 3 minutes.

The second bit of inspiration is something for those of you looking to eat more fruits and veggies in 2012. As you can tell from this blog, I'm a huge fan of fruits and veggies, and I'm about as likely to eat them in a salad as I am in a liquid form.

So, for any of you who might have a juicer stored away somewhere, get it out, dust it off and check out this juicy recipe we made on New Year's Day (pictured above). It's not the prettiest juice out there (Is it green? Is it red?), but it's tasty, healthy and packed full of some really beneficial fruits and veggies.

Green Juice Glass of Red

1 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)

4 stems kale (I used dinosaur kale)

1 head celery

2 small apples, cored

Run all through the juicer. Serves 1. Enjoy!


Dear diary: An attempt to resolve

I've made a resolution.

It seems a bit silly, but it's a habit I want to start and why not start it in 2012?

What do I want to do? To journal daily.

The reason I think this sounds silly is because I'm paid to write and blog and typically DO write daily. But, I don't really record what happened that day in my life, or that of my husband or kiddo. Of course, I post daily on a number of sites — Twitter, Facebook, DailyMile, this one — but I consider those to be snippets more than actual records of happenings. Rather, I feel like I've already forgotten so much in the young life of my son and there are things I'd like to record there, but haven't.

So, I'm going to try to write something in one place every day. If possible. And hopefully, it'll turn out to be useful and fun to read later. Silly? Maybe. But I've got to try.

Any grand resolutions out there? Silly ones? Ones you're sure you'll totally nail in 2012? And if you're not resolving, why not?


I’m not a stalker, I promise … I just like to eat.

So, we all have our own personal little celebrities, right? The people we just adore and think to be totally incredible ... even if half the population has no freaking clue who they are.

Right? Right.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to meet one of my very favorite cookbook authors/personal celebrities: Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

If you've followed this blog, you've probably noticed I reference a lot of Isa's recipes and books. I've been a big fan of hers for years (as is my husband, who claims he'll try ANY of her recipes at least once), but of course, I never thought I'd get to meet her. I mean, because who gets to meet a famous cookbook author in the flesh?

Well, me, that's who. Along with my friend Coleen (that's her in the pink hair — she's dyed it pink to support our friend Shelley, who you can read about here), I met Isa Dec. 17 in Omaha of all places.

Here's the story: Isa is from Brooklyn (which she references a lot in her books), but a few years ago she moved to Portland, Ore. In Portland, she met a guy, who ended up moving to Omaha. After doing the whole long distance thing, this punk-rock Brooklynite author moved to Omaha in the name of love. Cool, huh? (And we got to meet her boyfriend too, he was awesome).

And the move is a good thing for crazy people like me and Coleen, who decided to drive up to Omaha and back in a single day to attend Isa's first Omaha cooking class. I got up at 4 in the morning to make it there and didn't get home until nearly 8 that night, but you know what? It was totally worth it.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Scratch that: I will do it again — Isa's opening a restaurant and we definitely want to check that out!

But you know what's funny? Even though the class was $35 — about double the member price of most Merc classes — there were some people at the class who had no idea who Isa was. Maybe they just thought the class would be something fun to go to on a Saturday morning. I don't know, but what I do know was that it was kind of cute that they didn't know that Isa's quite the celebrity to some folks (like "the travelers" as Isa called us). One lady suggested Isa try out for "The Next Food Network Star" (Isa got her start with her own show in Brooklyn) and that was even with Isa's books right there all lined up for purchase (and they clearly weren't self-published). I had to laugh, but I was impressed all the same — it takes quite a person to attract both the crazies (hello!) and the uninitiated.

Have you ever got a chance to meet your own "personal" celebrity? Who was it and how'd it happen?


Recipe: Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

Sometimes, I just have to ask myself, "WHY must you love foods that STAIN so?"

Blueberry season is one of those times. My kiddo likes the little berries about as much as I do, and between the two of us, we're constantly spotted black-and-blue all summer long.

Same goes, in truth, for pomegranate season. Though, I have learned the best way for seeding a pomegranate to avoid a kitchen that looks like a murder scene (seeding it underwater is the trick — the seeds won't detonate on your backsplash and the pith floats to the top while the seeds sink), I still seem to stain my clothes, counter or kid with pomegranate juice.

That said, it's TOTALLY worth it. Both these fruits are super high in antioxidants because of their dark color, and are foods you should devour whenever you get the chance. Their antioxidants fight damage-causing free radicals and may even protect you from the possibility of cancer. Reason enough to sacrifice a few stained pieces of clothing, right?

Right. And thanks to the miracle of frozen fruit, I've been enjoying these two powerhouses together this winter. Fresh pomegranate seeds (or arils) mixed with frozen blueberries and other goodies have been the basis of more than a few smoothies recently. I seeded about seven pomegranates this weekend (I like to do several at once), and I've been alternating eating them out of hand as well as blended.

If you like pomegranate juice, but hate the price (it IS very expensive, no?), I totally recommend trying your hand at a pomegranate-tinged smoothie. Because they're in season right now, whole pomegranates cost about $1.50 a pop, and you'll get maybe a cup's worth of seeds with each one. That's a lot of cancer-fighting power, right there.

So, here's a truly tasty, healthy, power-packed recipe for your new year. The pic above shows about two-thirds of the recipe — my son drinks the rest in his own cup (and then begs for more). Bonus: He's less likely to make a mess with a smoothie than eating fresh berries and arils out of hand.

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

1 cup blueberries (frozen or thawed)

1 handful (or more!) pomegranate seeds

1 banana

1 scoop protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon hemp seed (optional, but good for Omega-3s)

2 teaspoons chia seed (optional, to sprinkle on top, good for Omega-3s)

1.5 to 2 cups water

Blend everything but chia seeds in a blender until smooth. To serve, sprinkle chia seed on top. Serves 1-2.


Be sure to tune for the final episode of “Opera is my Hobby”

Every week since Sept. 19, 1952, Jim Seaver has shared his love of opera with Kansas Public Radio listeners. But this week, that will come to an end.

At 7 p.m. Friday, KPR will air the final episode of "Opera is my Hobby," which will, fittingly, cover Strauss' "Die Fledermaus" which is often associated with the New Year.

"Opera" is the longest-running show on KPR and one of the longest continuously running radio programs ever. Seaver died in March at the age of 92 and, ever since, KPR has been presenting encore programs with help from the Seaver family.

For more than 40 years, Seaver taught at Kansas University, teaching thousands of students Western Civilization and Ancient History. He retired from academia in the late 1980s but kept producing his radio show until the month of his death. Until his death, Seaver's show was the second-longest-running public radio show with its original host.


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