Some Church’s Favorite Fruit Punch

…that I spiked later with devil’s juice from Sweden, because I have a drinking problem.

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We will briefly go to serious talk and I’ll denote to my dear readers that this recipe comes from the First Presbyterian Church in what I’m guessing is Bloomington, Indiana since this also comes from Tastes of Monroe County.

I have to admit I was never crazy about fruit punch or lemonade as a kid and whenever there was a fish fry, barbecue, or spaghetti dinner in my town they were always serving punch or lemonade, much to my younger self’s dismay.

I was always like, “What?! No rootbeer? No Sprite? I have to drink water??? Ugh! I guess I’ll have lemonade. I refuse to drink something like water that would nourish and replenish my body!”

As an adult, I get sad if there’s no alcohol, but at least water and I are cool with each other.

Anyway, this punch is actually called Favorite Fruit Punch. I wasn’t being a total sassy pants with the title. That’s what is written on the page folks.

I can’t help but wonder if the good parishioners of First Presbyterian voted on this or if they have some kind of punch committee or if it is one person’s favorite and they were like ok we’ll add that to the community cookbook? I mean how did they come to this conclusion? I truly want to know.

What you’ll need.

  • 1 6oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 10oz package frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 2 liter bottle of ginger ale

The first step is to blend all the fruits together in a blender until it is well blended. Then you are supposed to freeze it into a mold.

I don’t understand why the freezing step is necessary and would love to hear from a punch expert about why. My best guess is so that it remains cold for a long period of time because otherwise I don’t understand the point.

I froze it and once it was frozen I poured ginger ale on top and waited almost an hour for it to thaw out so I could drink it.

It ended up being worth the wait. My favorite taste was the tartness that came from the lemonade concentrate. It paired well with the strawberries and the pineapple helped subdue it so it wasn’t overpowering. I couldn’t detect the ginger ale which surprised me. I’m sure it helped water down the fruit flavors in general so they weren’t overpowering.

As I said earlier, I ended up spiking it with Svedka vodka, but I did try it without as well. Both were tasty, but if you got something you can put alcohol in and it’s after 5 you might as well do so.

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Your friendly neighborhood fruit punch

 

 

 

Dolmas Dolmados of the Grapes

Dolmas are not something I’m too keen of. They look like a green version of a cat puke hairball to me. I know they aren’t hairy and fuzzy, it’s the shape that makes me feel that way.

As I’ve said many a time, I have problems and that’s my best explanation of how my mind works.

Before writing this entry, I admittedly thought dolmas were a Greek dish, but they actually originate from Turkey. I can’t help but wonder if that’s kind of awkward for Turks to know that most people associate dolmas as a Greek dish given all their past conflict or is it revenge for the Greeks to take on the dolmas of the world? These are deep questions that I’d like to discuss.

We will have to put that discussion on hold though because now we need to focus on how the people of Tastes of Monroe County make their dolmas.

What you’ll need

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of currants
  • 1 8oz jar of grape leaves,
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of bay leaves
  • 1 whole lime

The first step is to cook your rice. I prefer the rice cooker method, but if you don’t have one just follow the instructions in your packaging. Whatever method you use, you’ll want the rice to cool so don’t leave it on the burner.

As your rice cooks and cools, you will saute the onion in some olive oil until the onion softens. Once softened add the dill, cardamom, nutmeg, salt and currants. Provided that your rice has cooled, mix this mixture with your rice.

I suppose  you could do it before the rice cools though. It’s not going to affect your dolma rolling.

Now get out your grape leaves.

I have to mention that I had trouble finding grape leaves that weren’t already stuffed. In LA, I found them at Gelson’s and I think I spotted some at Trader Joe’s after the fact, but I’m not sure. I often find an ingredient I was searching for at Trader Joe’s after the fact. This tells me that I should always ask first, just in case.

Anyway, you must drain and rinse your leaves before you start filling them up. Hygiene is important even in the vegetable world. To fill, you just pile a fair heap of rice mixture on your grape leaf and then roll it into a pouch.

Once that’s done, you prepare the dolmas for baking by placing them in an oiled dish with slices of lemon and bay leaves on top.

Then, for dressing, you will squeeze your lime into a cup and add an equal amount of olive oil. In other words, if you squeezed half a cup of lime juice, then you will add half a cup of olive oil.

This mixture will be poured on top of the dolmas and then they will be baked for 45 minutes at 350.

When the time is up, all you have to do next is chill. I’m talking about the dolmas, but you can chill while they are cooking and after too.

The final result wasn’t bad. I liked it ok, which I feel is saying a lot, because I don’t like dolmas. I discovered that my problem with dolmas is the grape leaves. I think grape leaves are gross. An ex of mine would say they are trash. I admittedly like that term so I’m stealing it. Grape leaves are trash leaves when it comes to eating them.

The jar of leaves I got was huge so I tried to cook my leftovers as a side dish. I used a similar recipe to collared greens, which is something I do like but you can’t always make trash pretty. I tried. I really did. I stuffed down a few bites, but it made me gag so I put that trash in the trash.

Life is too short to eat something you don’t like. If you do like dolmas, though, I think this is a solid recipe to try out. If not, hopefully this was entertaining because otherwise I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Tell me I’m pretty and funny!!!

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2 little dolmas sitting on a dish, hanging out, being eaten and stuff

 

 

 

Mayo Blob Dip

The official name for this dip is Delicious Cracker Spread and is from Tastes of Monroe County. Mine wasn’t quite delicious and looked like a white blob. I have no doubts that this could have been a delicious cracker spread and I have theories as to why this is. The mysteries of the infamous blob have never been solved, but after my experience with this dip I feel that I may have made a ground breaking discovery!

Steve McQueen and I would have made an excellent team.

My theory will best be understood if I expound onto you the origins of this gelatinous being. These origins are, 2 cups of mayonnaise, 2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese, and 2 cups of chopped onions.

The mayo blob’s membrane is a mix of all these ingredients, but for it to mature you must also incubate for 20 minutes under 350 degrees.

This all seems simple enough, but I believe you don’t need 2 cups of mayo. I’d reduce this down to one in a half cups, because my blob tasted mostly like mayo. This wasn’t a terrible thing, but it did keep it from being delicious. I brought it over to my friend Megumi’s place and we doctored it up by adding more cheese and some spice. The cheese really did the trick, which makes my theory promising.

Perhaps if the infamous blob had just been nurtured more with cheese, it would not have sought out revenge against the good people of Downingtown, PA.

This blob is friendlier then his cousin of fame.

This blob is friendlier then his cousin of fame.

Cranberry Punch that you Can Spike and Give a Kick To

This recipe comes from Tastes of Monroe County aka the cookbook of Bloomington, Indiana and surrounding areas.

I brought this punch to two events, because the recipe is a whopping serving of 50 people. The first event was just a hangout at my friend Megumi’s and the other was a Prom Theme party a friend of mine invited me to. I made so much punch. Megumi, her husband, and I drank a fair amount of it, but I still had a ton left. I was going to throw it out when I remembered this prom party and realized that spiked punch is kind of thing with proms. At least that’s what Back to the Future and various other movies have taught me.

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I was a little less discreet then these kids

So I brought my punch to this party where it blended very well with vodka and helped me mix with a slew of people I didn’t know. Thankfully I was able to converse with a handful of people. This is good news for me, because I tend to be that girl who stands in a corner and doesn’t talk to anyone at parties. In fact, eons ago a friend of mine took me to a party where he was the only person I knew. I sat on a couch and didn’t talk to anyone. I just sat and observed everyone. At one point this guy, who was probably intoxicated, just blurted out, “You’re one of those creepy girls who just sits there and stares at everyone, aren’t you?”

I didn’t know what else to do but laugh, which just made things worse. Then my friend got pissed off and kind of yelled at the guy. It was real awkward, but it did make me feel good that my friend stuck up for me.

Now that I’m older and slightly more comfortable with myself, I’ve found a way to handle my social inadequacy. Whenever I’m at a party and not talking to anyone, I try to find the other quiet person in the room. You kill two birds with one stone that way and more often than not, you find a kindred spirit.

Enough about parties and how I’m awkward at them. Let me tell you how to make this punch.

You will need, 1 12oz can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 6oz can frozen lemonade, 3 qt. of Cranberry Juice, 1 20 oz can of pineapple juice, and 1 1/2 qt. of water.

I recommend reducing this recipe in half by the way, unless you have a huge party coming up. Whatever you decide to do, the steps to making this are not difficult. Obviously, you’re going to add all these things together in a giant bowl. The only note I have is that the frozen juices do have instructions to add water and that should be followed. The additional water that is added doesn’t need to be exact. I didn’t add a quart of water and my punch turned out great.

I say just use your judgment as far as the additional water goes.

Other than that, this punch is tasty. It’s not too sweet nor tart. It’s flavor is blended nicely. It’s great as a mixer, but it’s just as good on its own as well. I’m not surprised by this, though. Punch is a Midwestern specialty afterall.

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I served mine in my sweet new glass from Roswell!

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

This recipe comes from Tastes of Monroe County and it reminds me a lot of the garlic and herb wheat thins you can buy at the grocery store. I think they are better even and probably healthier too.

The biggest struggle I had with this recipe was trying to find the oyster crackers at Von’s. It took me forever to find them. I almost gave up, but eventually found them on the bottom shelf near the saltine crackers. I was also a little perplexed by the recipe asking for salad oil. Salad oil is basically whatever oil you are cool with when making your own dressing. I had to google that to figure that out though. I used olive oil, but other alternatives are grape seed oil, vegetable oil, or whatever you like really.

Other than that, this is real easy and simple to make. It’s pretty much shake and bake without the little girl who helps and with crackers instead of chicken or whatever you shake and bake with.

Thanks for helping kid.

Anyway, you mix the oyster crackers, a cup of olive oil, one package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry salad dressing mix, a teaspoon of dill weed, and a bit of lemon pepper and garlic powder and spread on a cookie sheet. Make sure that the oil has absorbed as evenly as possible and bake in a 300 degree oven. After 15-20 minutes you will have a nice, crispy, and tasty snack.

Not much to this one, but those are sometimes the best recipes anyway.

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Oyster Crackers

A Not So Crabby Crab Dip

My next recipe is from Taste of Monroe County. I was just in Monroe County a couple of days ago actually. Monroe County, as I have mentioned earlier, is a county in Indiana. Most of my family and my best friend now live there. It’s the best city, in my opinion, to live in Indiana.

I get teased a lot there though, because Monroe County is where Indiana University resides. I went to IU’s rival school which is Purdue. I went to Purdue mainly because my boyfriend at the time was going there. I made sure that wasn’t the only reason, but I probably would have gone to IU if it wasn’t for him. I don’t regret this though. I have a lot of great memories of Purdue and one of my favorite roles was from a play I did while I was there.

I get teased by my Dad mostly because he is an IU alumni. My brother and sister are too. My brother likes to tease me every once in awhile along with my Dad, but my sister doesn’t seem to care. It’s all in good fun though. I especially like using my Purdue credit card when I’m in town and noting how often I get made fun of.

My brother always has to “warn” me to be careful about flashing my credit card around town. Not because someone might steal it, oh no, but because I’m basically flashing blue in Blood territory.

This recipe was as easy as an IU sorority girl, which is great, but also sad. Sad for the IU girl, great for the crab dip, in case you didn’t catch on.

The first easy step in this recipe is to dissolve a pack of gelatin in boiling water. Then you add mayonnaise and cream cheese. After those three ingredients are mixed you just add the remaining ingredients which are green onions, celery, and a can of crab meat. The recipe actually calls for 1-2 cans of crab meat, but I just put in one.

One seemed to be efficient. I felt like any more crab added would have taken away from the balance of flavoring. I seemed to make the right call because I brought this to a movie night gathering where it was completely devoured by my friends. I’ve discovered that anything with cream cheese tends to do that though. It’s the easiest trick in the book, like when an IU sorority girl… Ok, I’ll stop.

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Crab mix in a bowl

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A tasty treat for willowy black widows

Tiny Worlds of Cheese with Olive Cores

Cheese is amazing! I love it so much! I could never be a Vegan. If someone told me I couldn’t have cheese anymore, I’m not sure I’d want to live. A world without cheese for this girl, is a sad one.

As you might have guessed my next recipe features cheese and comes from this wonderful cookbook.

photo_1Monroe County is a county from my homestate of Indiana. It is the county where Bloomington and Indiana University is located. This is not where I grew up though. I grew up in a town called Clinton which is about an hour and a half away from Bloomington. For my next entry I’m actually going to write about my hometown’s cookbook, so hooray for foreshadowing!

My parents love Bloomington so much that they have a condo there where they spend most of their weekends. I can’t say I blame them. It’s a cool little college town with some amazing restaurants. This cookbook is also amazing because some of these restaurants were kind enough to publish their recipes in this wonderful cookbook.

I’m still in the appetizer section, so this recipe is cheese puffs with olives on the inside. It was very easy to make. You mix grated sharp cheddar cheese with flour, a bit of hot sauce, pepper, salt, and some other spices.Then you slowly add in olive oil. Once the flour is down to the right consistency you just take an olive and wrap it up lovingly into a ball of cheese.

Once you have used up all of your mixture, you freeze the balls for 24 hours. Then you heat the oven for 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once those 15 minutes are done, you have a plethora of tiny worlds of cheese.

When I finally got to taste them, they strangely reminded me of Cheetos. Not exactly, but similar. I was racking my brain for a good hour about what exactly they tasted like. Cheetos wasn’t quite right. Finally I figured it out. They are very similar to those highly addictive cheddar cheese biscuits from Red Lobster only with olives inside. Sounds a bit strange, but trust me, it’s good.

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