Bacon, how could you? I thought we were friends.

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Image from

This week the World Health Organization announced that bacon, ham, and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as tobacco.

Harder to keep them lit, though. Fortunately I’m down to only two packs of bacon a day.

In honor of that new information =

Suspended Coffees.

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One of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in a long time.

Suspended Coffees is the advanced purchase of a cup of coffee. It is a pay-it-forward, anonymous act of charity and kindness. Suspended coffee or pending coffee (caffè sospeso) is a cup of coffee, paid for in advance by a willing coffee shop customer, as an anonymous act of charity for anyone who is in need and with less fortune.

The idea originated in Naples, Italy around 100 years ago. Customers of coffee shops would pay twice for one espresso, instructing the barista to log the paid but untaken beverage in an “in suspense” chart (caffè pagato or a caffè sospeso). The barista would record what the patron paid for, such as an espresso, cappuccino, or even a pastry. Paid items would remain in the log book until someone less fortunate would come and inquire if there was anything paid for or in suspense. The barista would check the log and say, “Yes, there is a paid cappuccino. May I serve it to you?” The beauty of this form of charity was multifaceted.

Read more about it here.

Black-Eyed Pea and Mango Salad with Honey-Cumin Vinaigrette Dressing. NOM NOM NOM.

Image from — Her pic, not mine.

Mango, cumin, and cilantro. Kimberly M. from Poor Girl Eats Well introduced me to this particular combo, and I’ve been jonesin’ for it ever since.

It was just too damn hot to cook this week. So I threw this together. A one-pound bag of frozen black-eyed peas generated enough chill to keep the rest of the ingredients cool.

Peeling a mango is a colossal PITA, because as soon as the skin comes off the flesh becomes unbelievably slippery. Canned mango, believe it or not, is harder to find in East Central Minnesota than fresh ones. Worth it, though. And this is probably common knowledge, but pick out the softest, squishiest avocado you can find. Soft = ripe. The peel just slides right off, and the flesh is ready to go. Just be careful tossing the salad so the avo doesn’t become guac.

I cut up a couple of broiled chicken breast pieces and tossed them in, to make it a complete protein. Yeah, I’m nutrition-conscious like that.


Strawberry Limeade. NOM NOM NOM.


The recipe is from Kimberly M. at Poor Girl Eats Well. The pic, believe it or not, is from my kitchen.

I can’t believe I actually made this. Finding key limes is definitely worth your time.


Black Cherry Berry Iced Tea with Mint and Lime. NOM NOM NOM.

Image from flickr

The Sioux City Beverage Company in Iowa used to make a soft drink called “Kentucky Nip Sparkling Cherry Julep.” This stuff was fantastic. Cherry, berry, mint, and a hint of lime.

It was never easy to find north of Iowa, and anyway the company got gulped down by a bigger conglomerate. It’s now been rebranded as “Sioux City Cherries’n’Mint.” Doesn’t quite have the same pizazz as “Kentucky Nip,” nor the image of the dignified Kentucky Colonel enjoying his afternoon refreshment.

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The Celestial Seasonings company makes a caffeine-free herbal tea called “Black Cherry Berry.” Blackberry leaves, sweet cherries, black cherry flavor, hibiscus, rosehips, chicory, hawthorn berries, and chamomile. Sounds healthy.

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So I made two gallons of the Black Cherry Berry tea using the environmentally-friendly “sun tea” procedure. (It is not for me I speak, but for our Mother Earth.) I muddled up about a dozen fresh mint leaves using a mortar and pestle, added those to the tea. Finally I tossed in a couple of packets of True Lime.tea

And here it is. Holy cow, is this stuff good. Even without sugar it tastes just about exactly like “Kentucky Nip.” Not carbonated, true, but that’s not such a bad thing either.


Watermelon with cinnamon and mint. NOM NOM NOM

Holy god, is this stuff good.


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Red Onion-Rosemary Marmalade. NOM NOM NOM.

red onion

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I’ve waxed rhapsodic about recipes by Kimberly A. Rosales, a/k/a Poor Girl Eats Well. Here and here, to be precise. After this one I don’t think I’ll ever follow anyone else’s recipes for as long as I live. Though, based on PGEW’s favorite ingredients, I’ll be screwed bigtime if my small town grocery store stops selling mango, cumin, and cilantro.

This may not actually be the best sandwich I’ve ever made, but if it isn’t I can’t remember another one that was. I’m not used to kale – we never had it growing up – but it adds a slight tartness to the sandwich. Just don’t put it in too soon, or else it’ll wilt and get mushy.

The real prize, though, is the red onion and rosemary marmalade. Man oh man, I could have eaten the whole bowl of this in one sitting. Balsamic vinegar is the ticket. Carmelizing the red onion is kind of a trick but the results are well worth it. Family and friends, I’m putting you on notice: I’ll be bringing this to every pot luck you invite me to from now on.

Here’s the recipe.  Note also that Kimberly has a cookbook coming out soon.

Warren Zevon once famously said that the secret of life is to enjoy every sandwich. Here’s one that will do the trick, Warren.


Ginger People Ginger Spread. NOM NOM NOM


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You know I loves me some ginger. One of my top five favorite flavors.

Just picked this up as an impulse purchase. Ginger People Ginger Spread.

Having some on toast right now. Holy Mother Bear, is this good.

Might pair it up with honey butter.


Jicama Salad. NOM NOM NOM.

Image from They julienned the jicama. I don’t know how to do that, so mine didn’t look quite this good.
But I just like to say “julienned the jicama.”

I pretty much always follow a recipe to the letter. I very rarely freestyle. This has set me up for considerable mockery over the years. “Oh noes! This recipe calls for Gold Medal flour, and all we have is Pillsbury!” You get the idea.

Originally I got this recipe from the Simply Recipes website. Made it several times for various events, of course following the recipe to the letter, to good reviews. The original recipe called for a cut-up orange, cayenne pepper, and paprika.The orange was a good addition but the cayenne overpowered the other flavors, and the paprika made it all look like a  bowlful of Cheetos.

So I got inspired, mostly through the example of Kimberly from Poor Girl Eats Well. Yes, it’s true; I actually strayed from the recipe. (“Borrrnn to be wiiiiiiiillld….”) She introduced me to the amazing combination of mango, cumin, and cilantro.

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I used canned mango slices. Maybe that’s blasphemy. But peeling the mango and the jicama are both time-consuming; doing both would have taken all damn day. Interestingly, though, a fresh mango is easier to find here in my small Lake Wobegon town than canned slices. Dried mango is fairly easy to locate too. Even jicama. Go figure.

Here’s how, mostly via Simply Recipes:

  • 1 large jicama (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed (Julienne or shred it if you feel like it. I don’t. Just peeling the damn thing is enough of a PITA.)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large cucumber, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 mango, peeled, seeded, and cubed (Slices if that’s what’s available. About 3-4 slices.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (I use Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice, the kind they use at the bar in daiquiris and whatnot. Any lime juice should work.)
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • Salt (Kosher, and lots of it.)

Toss together the jicama, bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, mango, and cilantro in a large serving bowl.

Pour lime juice over all. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin. Season generously with salt. Let sit a half-hour before serving.

There’s something about how the mango, cumin, and cilantro meld that just rocks. I brought it to a potluck at the office – it didn’t go over like I’d hoped – but those who liked it really liked it and asked for the recipe. No worries: that much more for me.


Girl Scout Mango Crèmes With Nutrifusion™. NOM NOM NOM.

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Brand new Girl Scout cookies.Mango Crèmes. With Nutrifusion™, whatever that is, so that makes them practically health food.

Manohmanohman, are these good. It’s quite possible mango will join lemon and ginger as my favorite flavors. Seriously, get some before cookie season is over.


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