It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girls Scouts cookies are here!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Girl Scout Cookie Time is a fun annual tradition that many of us look forward to, if for no other reason than our own bit of nostalgia. remembering our own efforts at sales — or getting to eat them!

My first memory of Girl Scout cookies and still a favorite of mine, is the shortbread Trefoils. I don’t remember which came first:  eating them or selling them.   Our Granddaughter – a Brownie Scout this year and yes – selling cookies! – announced that the Samoas are 40 years old this year. I was shocked! …and prompted to look into the Girl Scout Cookie History.It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

An icon of American culture for nearly 100 years, the tradition, efforts and experiences offered to the Girl Scouts  through cookie sales has provided valuable life skills in leadership, personal development, confidence, and community involvement.

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!As early as 1917, just five years after Girl Scouting in America was started by Juliette Gordon Low, the sale of cookies has been  a way for troops to finance activities. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Girl Scouts across the country, in partnership with their mothers, baked simple sugar cookies, and sold them door-to-door, packaged by the dozen in waxed paper bags sealed with a sticker. Get the Recipe below! It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

The Greater Philadelphia Council was the first to sell commercially baked cookies (1934) and the Girl Scout Federation of New York purchased a die in the shape of Trefoil and used the words, “Girl Scout Cookies” on the boxes being sold (1935). The very next year, (1936) the  national Girl Scout association began the process to license the first commercial baker to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils. And the rest, we might say is “History”!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Cookies were replaced with calendars during World War II with shortages of the key ingredients of Sugar, Flour and Butter. After the war, the sale of cookies resumed and three varieties were offered: Shortbread, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Chocolate Mint.

A few year later, the flavors had evolved to a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled cookie, shortbread, and the chocolate mint. Since the mid-1960s, a few more varieties have been offered, with the most popular and best sellers still the Shortbread, Chocolate Mint , and the Peanut Butter Sandwich. Now known as Trefoils, Thin Mints, and Do-si-dos, these continue to be the top sellers with the Samoas catching up in popularity!

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!The cookie boxes have also undergone a steady transformation. Now, bright and colorful, they depict scenes of Girl Scouts in action: hiking, canoeing, biking and promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.

As early as the 1950s, and with the growth of suburbia, Girl Scout Cookies began being sold by girls at tables in shopping malls.

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!


Images and information from Girl



An article  by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois, was published in The American Girl magazine in July 1922, by Girl Scout nationeal headquarters. In the article, Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Cookie, circa 1922


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • additional sugar for topping (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired.
  2. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.

Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

Attractive, Delicious, and Healthy too!Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

This elegant entrée of Poached Salmon with Broccoli Rabe and Pea Shoot Coulis was just what I was looking for and it satisfied my taste buds perfectly!

I already had a couple of lovely Salmon filets and was wondering how to prepare them.  The Broccoli Rabe and Pea Shoots, both looking very fresh and ‘green’ at the market, had already tempted me and were awaiting their turn at the table. Not intending to use them all together initially, when I came across this recipe, I was intrigued as well as delighted. I just needed the mushrooms and I was ready to make this elegant entree of poached salmon for an attractive, delicious and healthy meal!

Here is the recipe. It might seem intimidating at first, but follow it through and you will be rewarded! (By the way… I puréed the pea shoots so had a thicker coulis and I used less than 2 cups of oil for the salmon – I think my results were delicious!)

Elegant Entrée of Poached Salmon

Serving Size: 4


  • 4 Fresh salmon filets, skin on
  • 6-8 cups Olive oil
  • 10 ounces Broccoli rabe
  • Mushroom jus
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • Pea shoot coulis
  • For the Mushroom Jus
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms, slices thinly
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Shallots, minced
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup White wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4 tablespoons Sherry wine
  • For the Pea Shoot Coulis
  • 8 ounces Pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup Chicken stock


    First make the Mushroom Jus
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the shallots and cook on high until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook at high heat until the mushrooms become browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the mushrooms are cooked down, add the water and both wines. Stir and cover. Allow the mixture to cook, covered, at a simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. While the jus is cooking, prepare an ice bath. Set a bowl in the ice bath and put a strainer over the bowl.
  5. After the mushrooms have finished cooking, strain the liquid into the bowl in the ice bath and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste. Discard the solids. After the jus has come to room temperature, place covered in a fridge.
  6. Next make the Pea Shoot Coulis
  7. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a cold water bath aside with a strainer submerged in the water.
  8. Once boiling, add a generous pinch or so of salt. Set a few pea shoots aside for garnishing. Add 1/3 of the remaining pea shoots to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shoots are tender.
  9. With slotted spoon, remove the shoots from the boiling water and place into the water bath. Add the remaining pea shoots in two separate additions.
  10. Once the shoots have cooled, raise the strainer out of the ice bath and squeeze them gently to remove excess water.
  11. Place the shoots into a bowl and add the chicken stock. With an emersion blender (or a regular blender) liquify the shoots.
  12. Run the liquid through a fine sieve into another bowl.
  13. Place the bowl, covered, in the fridge.
  14. For the Salmon
  15. Preheat an oven to 225 degrees. Measure the height of the salmon to determine how high the oil needs to be to cover the filets (6-8 cups). Fill a cast iron skillet (or any ovenproof pan) with oil slightly over the height of the salmon.
  16. Heat the oil to 120 degrees on a cooktop and add the filets to the oil, making sure they are covered completely.
  17. Place the skillet or pan into the oven and allow to cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the white fat from the salmon begins to come to the surface.
  18. For the Finish
  19. When the salmon has 12 minutes to go, add 1/2 cup of the mushroom jus to a saucepan and bring to simmer on high.
  20. In a separate saucepan, add the coulis and bring to a simmer.
  21. Add the broccoli rabe and the 2 TB butter to the jus and cook on high, basting to broccoli often, until the stems are tender, but still crunchy, about 8 minutes. At the same time, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the coulis and allow to melt. Salt to taste and set aside.
  22. Once the broccoli rabe is cooked, place in a dish and cover with foil. ( The salmon should be about done in the oven).
  23. Add another 1/4 cup of the jus to the saucepan and bring to a simmer at medium. Bring the salmon out of the oven and place it into the pan, skin side down.
  24. Cook the salmon skin side down lightly for a minute or so, basting the top with the jus. Flip the salmon and allow to cook briefly, until the top has a nice golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Remove the skin and set the filets in a dish and cover. Season with salt to taste.
  25. To Serve
  26. Add the coulis to a plate and allow to spread around. Place the broccoli rabe down, about 8 per person. Place the salmon on the broccoli and garnish with the leftover pea shoots. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Food52’s recipe for Olive Oil Poached Salmon. See their recipe here.



Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus & Recipes

It’s Oscar Time!

And has done it again with cleverly created menus for Oscar Night celebrations featuring recipes inspired by food themes and food ‘moments’ in each of this year’s Best Picture nominees:

13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up PopcornSpicy clams and “piccata of the gods” for American Hustle

A pizza-night menu is drawn from Theodore and Samantha’s carnival date in Her  

Outer space-themed dishes such as potato ‘meteors’ and star-shaped Linzer cookies to celebrate the celestial setting of Gravity.

Fruitcake and tea for Philomena whose enthusiasm for and love of food is evident through out the movie.

An over-the-top menu that includes sushi, steak, lobster, and Champagne reflect the lifestyle in The Wolf of Wall Street. With so many extravagant dishes, You may want to scale back this extensive menu or risk ‘incuring the wrath of your CFO and father for spending $26,000 on dinner”.

To see all nine movie-themed menus, read more.

 Plan your Oscar night around your favorite movie or the menu you can’t resist. Or pick one or more recipes from each and create your own one-of-a-kind Oscars feast.

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

Make more Oscar Night magic at home with:


Easy Appetizers

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

12 Sweet and Savory Puff Pastry Recipes

Theater-Style Snacks                                                                                                    Popcorn with a Twist

Oscar Night: Fun & Festive Menus

Microwave Popcorn Tase Test


13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up Popcorn

13 Sophisticated Ways to Dress up Popcorn








Adapted from Best Oscar Party Recipes

Image Credits:



Hooray for Hollywood!

 Roll Out the Red Carpet …It’s SHOWTIME!

The Academy Awards are the focus of this weekend’s entertainment. “Host a glamorous and delicious red carpet bash”  with these expert party-planning tips, fabulous recipes inspired by the movies, classic cocktails, and more all from

Oscar-nominated Movie Menus & Recipes


Almost overwhelming but certainly intriguing, has pulled together an exciting collection of recipes and menu ideas to help celebrate  the Oscars and beyond with the 2013 Oscar Party Planner!

Check out Movie Menu Magic for recipes and drinks inspired by 2013’s Best Picture nominees, such as:  A Cosy Breakfast for Two  with Frisee and Wild Mushroom Salad with Poached Eggs, Butter Croissants, and Cafe au lait (inspired by Amour) OR Middle Eastern Classics, with Smokey Chipotle Hummus with Garlic Bagel Chips, Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Cumin and Cinnamon, Tabbouleh and Dark Chocolate-Dipped Cherry Ice Cream Cones for dessert (inspired by Zero Dark Thirty). Hungry yet?

There are the more exotic (and potentially challenging) menus such as A Floating Indian Feast inspired by Life of Pi : Indian-Spiced Sturgeon with Mitn Yogurt Sauce, Green Bean, Corn and Coconut Stir Fry, Basamati Rice and Ginger-Cardamom Oeufs a la Neige  OR President Lincoln’s Favorites  (inspired by Lincoln): Oyster Soup with Frizzled Leeks, Bacon-Wrapped Quail stuffed with Goat Cheese, Root Vegetable Gratin and Apple Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze.

Inspired? There’s more at Share with us what you chose to prepare in celebration of Oscar night!







Tuscany and Castagnaccio – a Chestnut flour Cake

Oh, the places to go and foods to eat! Here is another delightful article from Red

Tuscany in Autumn – A Timeshare Vacation, Plus an Authentic Italian Recipe

When it comes to travelling, most of us immediately think of a summer vacation. And while the summer period is perfect for swimming in the sea and sunbathing while sipping a nice cool cocktail, the much cooler autumn period offers its beauties and possibilities, as well.

Italy offers a whole set of timeshare vacation destinations for those who love culture and sightseeing. And Italy is not only Rome and Venice: the region of Tuscany is also a wonderful destination. Tuscany is a northern province of Italy, and includes such illustrious cities as Florence, Sienna, Pisa and Lucca.

Visiting the region is not only a good idea for culture aficionados but also for those looking forward to a romantic getaway. Italy as such is considered the country of romance; this atmosphere seems to be concentrated even more densely in Tuscany. The sweet little cafés and small streets tend to get the couples closer to each other and slow down the quick rhythm of life, helping us to focus on each other and relax mentally and physically.

Plan a Tuscany timeshare rental or timeshare exchange vacation for luxury accommodations.

Thank you to our guest author, Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati, who writes the Gourmand World Award-winning book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, and is Executive Editor of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati™ blog. She is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture.

One great advantage of traveling to Tuscany off the peak season is that prices are low, it’s less crowded, and you can enjoy the atmosphere of Italy in peace. It also gives easier access to the museums, which is important when it comes to maybe the most famous – Uffizi of Florence, where you can spend hours waiting in the line if you go in the peak season.

However, the fall season offers a different Tuscany than summer or spring would. The incredible beauty of the mosaic of the thousand colours of fall transform the forests into paintings expressing the charming tranquillity of the coming season.

Apart from the natural beauty of the country that would enchant any visitor, fall offers a great opportunity for wine tasting, Tuscany being the home of several excellent wines. From November up to December the new wine festival takes place all across the region, offering the visitors a real insiders’ look and an authentic Tuscan experience.

Besides wine, chestnuts, mushroom and sausage are also favourites of the autumn season. A great range of festivals take place in Tuscany related to these products, from the wine festival of Chianti to the chestnut festival in Grosseto.

A typical food you are likely to taste if you visit one of these festivals is the Castagnaccio, a chestnut flour cake, made as follows:

1 cup chestnut flour*
3 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
5 walnuts (optional) – peeled and coarsely ground
1 tsp olive oil
approx 20 needles of rosemary

*In the U.S. chestnut flour can be found in Italian foods specialty stores, gourmet shops such as Williams-Sonoma, and some Whole Foods.

Method: First, mix the flour with the water until the mix is soft but not liquid. Add the olive oil, raisins, pine nuts and walnuts and mix them all together. Oil a pan large enough to make the dough 1 cm thick (close to ½ inch), and sprinkle the rosemary on top. Bake the cake at 200 Celsius (325 F) for around 35-40 minutes, until cracks appear on the top of it. Then let it cool and serve!

The authentic taste of this cake is enjoyable not only in Tuscany, but you can make is at home as a reminder of a wonderful fall vacation.


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