Diced Cooking Competition.

20121119-103502.jpgWhats for dinner Wednesday? Not that I’ve run out of ideas, but I found a better idea and wanted to share it with you. A blog I follow ‘Rantings of an Amateur Chef’ is a really neat ‘all things cooking blog’ has come up with a competition. A pre-defined list of ingredients and reader voting. I have entered and requested to be chosen in the contest. Perhaps you will too, or perhaps you would like to follow along and figure out what others are making. Entrants will be notified in March if they’ve been selected. I hope I’m selected, but if not, I’m definitely following the contest and will hopefully be inspired to create new and fun dishes!

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

Calling all cooks:

I am announcing the first Ranting Chef cooking competition. In homage to, and in separation from a certain Food Network cooking show, I am announcing a call for entrants to a cooking competition: DICED! The competition works as follows:

  • Entrants  will be given a list of a few ingredients. With that they must create (or find) a recipe that contains and features those ingredients. They then must make the recipe, document it with a blog post, and take pictures of it. All writing and photography MUST be their own, even if they use a recipe they find elsewhere. Entrants will have a two week period from receiving the ingredient list to submit their post. I will post each blog on consecutive days
  • I will provide instructions to the readers of the blog to “like” the post as a vote. They will be asked to vote based on the…

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Its a Party!

ImageAnother helpful hint Tuesday, and its for a party too! As you may or may not know, I am the mother of twin, 6 year old boys. These not-so-little bundles of joy definitely keep me on my toes! Between their antics, work and regular chore type things that have to be done, we are a very busy family. I am also a contributor to the 30 Second Mom group. This is a great group of women who have tips and ideas to help simplify your life. There is an iPhone and Droid app, so you can get your feed of helpful ideas and hints wherever you are in your day. These little nuggets of wisdom have been helpful to me and I am sure they will be to you too. 

Here is your helpful hint:

  1. Wednesdays at 6pm Pacific Time, follow the twitter hashtag #30SecondMom and follow along with this great group of women as I lead a discussion of all things TWINS!
  2. Register here: http://ow.ly/i3YYd to win prizes during the chat
  3. Download the app! Continue the great discovery of all the useful ideas these wonderful women come up with! You won’t be sorry. 
  4. Enjoy. Sit back, relax and enjoy the extra 10 minutes a day you might gain from all the useful knowledge. 

They say it takes a village. Well, sometimes that village is virtual, but nonetheless it is a great village to be a part of. Join me! (#30SecondMom) (@TacomaLynette)

Pay off debt with food? Yep, at Tacoma Public Library

Now is a hard time for local food banks, the holidays are over, but the need remains. The Tacoma Public Library is working with local area food banks to help the food bank and help you. If you have a library fine for overdue books, bring in canned or boxed food to your local library as a way of ‘paying off’ the fines. This is great for me as I am sure I have some fines on my record, so to speak. Symptoms of a too busy life. Below is an excerpt from the Tacoma Public Library website.

Restock local food banks. Reduce your library fines. All without raiding your wallet.

The availability of food items at local food banks are traditionally at an all-time low after the December holidays, but the Tacoma Public Library is hoping to change that through a new program where library patrons can help feed the hungry while eliminating overdue fines. Beginning on February 19 Tacoma’s libraries will hold a community food drive at all 8 locations. It’s a food drive with a twist, however: for every three non-perishables items a patron donates, the library will reduce their overdue fines by $10, without a limit to the total amount waived.  The ‘Food For Fines’ food drive continues through March 2. All food items donated will be delivered to a neighborhood food bank.  More information is available by telephoning the library at 253.292.2001.

“We hope that this program will encourage people to return overdue items and clear their library records, while having the opportunity to donate food to help people in their community rather than just pay fees.” explained librarian Rhonda Kristoff, coordinator of the two-week program.

Each library branch is working with a nearby food bank to ensure donations stay in the neighborhood.  There is no limit to the number of food items the library will accept, nor to the size of the overdue fines the library will forgive.

The library is unable to accept rusty or unlabeled cans, perishable items (fruits, vegetables and raw meat), alcoholic beverages or mixes, opened or used items, home-canned and home­made items, and items within 30 days of their expiration date. “Food for Fines” donations can only be applied to overdue fines. Donations cannot be used to pay for lost or damaged items. “There’s no limit to how much food a patron can donate,” says Kristoff, “and food donations are welcome even if a patron has no fines.”

via Tacoma Public Library – Food For Fines.

Spinach Recall in Washington

Spinachman – Click for recipe

Be careful green smoothie lovers, there is another spinach recall afoot. Look at your brands and dates to make sure you are not affected!

Feb. 19, 2013 — Spinach that might have E. coli bacteria contamination is being recalled in 39 states.

Taylor Farms Retail Inc., says it is voluntarily withdrawing organic baby spinach sold in 5-ounce or 16-ounce salad trays under five brand names that have a “best by” date of Feb. 24, 2013:

Central Market Organics

Full Circle Organics

Marketside Organic

Simple Truth Organic

Taylor Farms Organic

The spinach may be contaminated with E. coli,but the company says it knows of no one who has gotten sick. If you have this spinach, Taylor Farms says you shouldn’t eat it — throw it away. The company does not say how E. coli might have contaminated the spinach.

The recalled organic baby spinach was sold in these states:

























New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina




South Carolina








More information about the affected products is available on the Taylor Farms web site or by calling the company at 855-293-9811.

SOURCE:News release, Taylor Farms Retail Inc.

via Spinach Recalled In 39 States « CBS Seattle.

Chicken and Dumplings

dumplingsLast week, I posted how to make a delicious chicken stock. This is a versatile base to use in soups, sauces and glazes. I love to make chicken and dumplings with this stock, and it is a family favorite. I say nothing is better than a fluffy biscuit floating in a sea of chicken, veggies and silky, yummy sauce!


6 C Chicken Stock
4-6 ribs of Celery
3-6 Carrots
1 medium Onion
1 clove Garlic
2 cups cubed or shredded Cooked Chicken
Parmesan Cheese


In soup pot over medium heat, chop onion and saute until just soft, add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute or less. (Cooking the onion and garlic first mellows the taste, but be sure not to burn it.) Add the Stock and chopped Celery, Carrots. Simmer the soup for about an hour or until the vegetables are tender. Mix the dumplings according to Bisquick directions, then add another Tbs of milk to make sure the dumplings are a little soggy. ***Here is the secret*** let the dumplings sit for about 3 minutes. This lets them start to raise in the mixing bowl. Scoop out tablespoon-fulls of dumpling dough and place in the gently simmering pot. Do not have the pot at a rolling boil because the dumplings will cook too fast. If you put the soup on a gentle simmer, and cover the first 1/2 of cooking time (read directions on Bisquick box) the dumpling will melt a little into the pot while it is cooking. This makes the sauce really creamy and yummy, without the adding cream to the sauce.

When the dumplings are done cooking serve and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

**Note: be prepared for many more chicken recipes as I move through my 40 pounds of chicken breasts!