Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turkey Tips and Tons of recipes

Turkey is day is fast approaching. Here are just a few tips to keep you organized when cooking the big bird!

  • If you want to have leftovers, plan approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person.

  • If you have a large number of guests coming, you might want to cook 2 smaller birds as opposed to one larger one. (Less cooking time)

If you're wondering how long you need to roast the turkey you can use this as a guideline:

  • 12 pounds: 3-4 hours at 325

  • 15 pounds: 4-4 1/2 hours at 325

  • 18 pounds: 4 1/2-5 hours at 325

  • 20 pounds: 5-6 hours at 325

And if you're wondering how much food to plan for when preparing your side dishes:

  • 1 pound bag of carrots = 4-5 servings

  • 1 (12 oz.) bag of cranberries = 2 1/4 c. sauce

  • 1 (16 oz.) can of cranberry sauce = 6 servings

  • 1/3 cup of gravy per person

  • 1 1/2 pounds of green beans = 6-8 servings

  • 1 (5 pound bag) potatoes (mashed) = 10-12 servings


If you want to visit a REALLY fun website check out

It has tons of holiday recipes, interactive games, crafts and activities for kids. It is awesome!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fudge and Forgotten Delights

Do you like to do lots of baking for the holidays? Just a few family favorites each year? We shared a couple of fudge recipes on the show today.

A favorite that a listener called in last year is Milky Way fudge, made with Milky Way candy bars. Very YUMMY and very easy!

Milky Way Fudge

3 regular size Milky Way candy bars

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

Place all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl. Melt until smooth. Pour into greased 8x8" glass dish. Chill until firm.

This recipe was also shared on today's program. It would be a festive touch to your holiday dessert platter with the red cranberries...

Cranberry Nut Fudge

1 tsp. butter

1 (16 oz.) can milk chocolate frosting

1 (12 oz.) pkg. milk chocolate chips

1 (6 oz.) pkg. dried cranberries

1/2 c. chopped pecans

LIne an 8" square dish with foil and grease the foil with butter; set aside. In heavy saucepan, combine frosting and chocolate chips. cook and stir over medium low heat until chips are melted. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1" squares. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 2 pounds.

In the Book Nook segment today we spoke with Lesley M.M. Blume, author of "LET'S BRING BACK-AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FORGOTTEN YET DELIGHTFUL, CHIC, USEFUL, CURIOUS AND OTHERWISE COMMENDABLE THINGS FROM TIMES GONE BY". It's a whimsical and beautifully illustrated collection of objects, recipes, words, and even people that she feels should be re-introduced...

As I read through the book, I easily flagged about two dozen things. For instance: door-to-door peddlers (I remember the Fuller Brush Man and the Minnesota Woolen Mills rep who stopped at our house once every six weeks or so). Good Cracker Jack prizes (I liked to collect all the circus train cars). Homely Christmas Trees. (No matter what our tree really looked like, Dad always proclaimed it was "The prettiest tree we ever had!")

There are so many more items that will trigger your memories. A fun read, and a great gift to give or receive.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In the "Book Nook" this week:

Monday, November 15th: Lesley M. M. Blume, "LET'S BRING BACK"-
a whimsical, beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of forgotten yet delightfully, useful, curious and otherwise commendable things from time gone by. As I read the book, I flagged many little bits and pieces that jogged a memory. For instance: poloroid cameras (I remember seeing the picture develop before my eyes and thinking it was MAGIC!), princess phones (I so badly wanted one as a teenager but received a "slim-line" instead), good Cracker Jack prizes (my favorites: the circus wagon cars), bandstands (we had a raised wooden platform, painted green in the city park where I grew up-we gathered there on warm summer evenings to hear local musicians. It was also the place where my sister and I would pretend we were girlfriends of the Beatles and we would haul park benches onto the stage to form our "apartments"). A fun read to resurrect memories and to spark conversation with other family members.

Wednesday, November 17th: Julie Klamm, "YOU HAD ME AT WOOF-How dogs taught me the secret of happiness".
A fun little book about the pets in our lives, what they can teach us.

Thursday, November 18th: Christine Lindner, this year's Alice in Dairyland will be in studio to talk about the "Something Special from Wisconsin" program-just in time for holiday gift giving...

Friday, November 19th: Debbie Macomber, "GOD'S GUEST LIST", a FANTASTIC read! Debbie makes you think about all the people God has placed in your life for various reasons...It will really give you reason to pause, take stock and look at your relationships in a new way...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gratitude and Guests

Today's Quote:
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it."-William Arthur Ward

I spoke with Walter Green today in the "Book Nook" segment. Walter has writtten a very powerful book, "THIS IS THE MOMENT". He recorded his year long journey (victory lap as he calls it), contacting 44 individuals who impacted his life. The book is divided into three sections: how and why he chose to make this voyage, his life story and the final section gives the reader helpful hints and tips on how to arrange your own "journey". You don't have to contact 44 people. Just start with one. His website can get you started and in this season of "Thankfulness" ...why not give it a try.
His website is

We also implemented a new feature on the show-"Morning Blend with Marsha". Marsha Egan is a business efficiency expert and she will be my guest every 3rd Monday to discuss topics that will help us all achieve our best personal, professional and organizational goals.
For more information on Marsha, check out her website: . Today, Marsha gave great tips on email.
  • Avoid using reply all.
  • Copy fewer people-copy only people in critical need of the info.
  • Stop using BCC. Blind copies are secretive.
  • Avoid one-word responses. You don't need to reply "Thank-you" or "Great" or "OK".
  • Resist forwarding. You don't need to send it on to clutter up someone else's email box.
  • Don't send email when angry or emotional.
  • Pick up the phone. Sometimes messages need to be finalized with a quick phone call.

And if you are expecting holiday guests (for either Thanksgiving or Christmas), keep these tips in mind...

  • Test drive the guest room. (Sleep in the bed. Is it comfy? Fix drafty windows, make sure the room is dark enough for sleeping). Get an alarm clock that works and have enough blankets
  • Create space. Free up areas in the closet and dresser
  • Jazz thins up. Add some magazines or books you think they might be interested in.
  • Take inventory. Do you have enough towels, sheets, air mattresses, etc. Don't buy-borrow from a friend.
  • Lay out entertainment. T.V. remote, board games, movies, etc.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Nook guests this week

This week I have a slate of very interesting guests:

Monday, November 8th: Walter Green, "THIS IS THE MOMENT"Walter takes us with him on his "journey" or "victory lap" as he calls it.He visits 44 individuals who have impacted his life and he talks about the benefits of gratitude.

We also will kick off our "Morning Blend with Marsha" segments today. Marsha Egan is a Business Efficiency Expert and she'll be sharing tips and ways we can improve our personal and professional goals. Today we'll be discussing email and how it can waste our time/productivity.

Tuesday, November 8th: Paul Huljich (pronounced hugh-litch) will discuss his debut novel "BETRAYAL OF LOVE AND FREEDOM". Paul was a very successful entrepeneur, worth nearly $100 million at the height of his career and by age 45 it all unraveled. He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. He experienced a mental breakdown, lost his rights as a citizen and was made a ward of the state. Twelve years later, he has found a natural cure for his disorder and continues to be symptom free. His novel is loosely based on his life...

Thursday, November 11th: Doug Shauer, "IF I'M SO SMART, WHERE DID ALL MY MONEY GO". A very timely book that can help give better fiscal directions for all of us

Friday, November 12th: Sheila Roberts, "The Snow Globe". Should be a fun interview with one of my favorite authors. Sheila is an accomplished best-selling novelist. she has published 27 books in the past 22 years. This novel is a fun "Christmas" story about the spirit of giving, and why we must believe in ourselves.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Treats and Sandwiches

Today is National Sandwich Day, so celebrate by sampling something you’ve never tried before; inventing a new kind; or simply enjoying your favorite. Did you know that the first sandwich is said to have been made by the ancient Jewish sage Hillel the Elder, who is said to have put meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs inside matzo (or flat, unleavened bread) during Passover?

There are so many types of sandwiches: Au jus, Club, Cheesesteak, Dagwood, Fluffernutter (one of MY favorites!), grilled (as in cheese), PB & J, Po ‘boy, Rueben, Sub and Tea sandwiches, just to name a few.

The craziest sandwich I ever heard about was a “Mustard/Chocolate Star” combination between two slices of white bread. Today on the program a listener called in to say that her sister has always loved “mayonnaise and pickles”. What’s your favorite sandwich? Or the craziest combo you’ve ever eaten?

A listener shared a "sweet treat" idea for the holidays. (See photo above.)Very easy to assemble and young helpers in the kitchen would have fun making - AND EATING! these! They are "adorable". Almost too cute to eat.
Christmas Mice
1 (12oz,) pkg. of semisweet chocolate chips
1 jar 10 oz maraschino cherries with stems, drained and patted dry
36 milk chocolate Kisses with stripes (“Hugs”)
Sliced almonds
Place chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for1 minute stirring twice.
For each mouse, dip cherry by stem into melted chocolate to coat. Place coated cherry on a large baking sheet. Immediately press the flat bottom of a chocolate kiss up against the cherry to form the head. Insert two almond slices between head and body to form ears. The stem will become the tail. Use a toothpick and dip in melted chocolate to make eyes & on the tip of the kiss to make a nose. (Or use a plastic bag, snipped, filled with chocolate and squeeze the amount out to form eyes and nose). Chill mice in refrigerator about 15 minutes or until chocolate is set. Remove from pan with a thin spatula. Put in airtight container and cover. (Store for up to two days in refrigerator). Yield: 36 mice.

Hassle Free Holiday Tip:
Use boxed cake mixes or pre-made cookie dough to jump start your holiday baking. Better Homes and Gardens has a great website with 100 days of Holiday Ideas. Baking, cooking, decorating and other tips all available at their website. See recipe below for “Chocolate Chip Kisses”.

Chocolate Chip Kisses
1 (18 oz.) pkg. refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
32 milk chocolate kisses
Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375. In large resealable bag, combine cookie dough, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg; seal bag. Using your hands, squeeze and knead dough mixture together in bag until combined. Remove dough from bag. Shape dough into 1” balls. Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately press a kiss into center of each cookie. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. Sift powdered sugar over cooled cookies. Makes 32 cookies. (To store: layer cookies between waxed paper in airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where did the time go? Last time I "blogged" it was the beginning of October and now it's the start of November. Guess I took my "birthday month" off !
A quick recap of authors I interviewed in October:
  • Chip Haynes has a very provacative book regarding "Peak Oil". "Peak of the Devil: 100 questions (and answers) about Peak Oil. He covers all angles of our dependency on oil; how it affects almost everything we touch and offers some intereseting suggestions about what we can do.
  • Jack La Lanne and his lovely wife Elaine. We talked about the release of his "Better Balance for Life" kit. At 96, he's still going stong! As the "Godfather of Fitness", he's accomplished so many things. AND he and Elaine have been married for 62 years.
  • Chad Lewis has written about the paranormal for many years. His newest book, "Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations" has some very interesting stories...
  • Bonnie Taub-Dix has a very interesting book about reading and deciphering food labels. "Read it Before you Eat it" is easy to read, easy to understand and probably something we all should look at just a little bit more closely
  • "Southern Pies" is a beautiful book all about pies! Nancy McDermott shares the recipe, and also the story behind it as well. Beautifully photographed and will some sinfully delicious pies. A great gift for that special baker or cook on your Christmas list.

And those are just a few of the highlights!

I also participated in the first Women's Expo held here in Beaver Dam. It was well attended and I had lots of fun meeting my listeners and sharing recipe ideas for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happiness and Halloween

Today is National Smile Day. Did you know that smiling has many benefits?
  • A natural drug: smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin which all help make us feel good. People who are naturally happy seem to be in good health all of the time.
  • A stress reducer: It's hard to be negative when you're smiling! When we smile our facial muscles relax, causing us to feel less stressed.
  • You'll look less tired: When you smile, you'll look younger!
  • More confidence: A smile will make you seem more successful, confident and put together. Those who are upbeat and approachable are more likely to be promoted before anyone else. A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable and competant than a non-smiling person
  • A boost to your immune system: Because you are more relaxed when you smile, you help boost your immune system; thereby lessening your chances of getting sick. Smiling prevents colds and flu, too! So start smiling and cut down all those visits to the doctor.
  • Lower Blood Pressure: When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure.

Today's Quote:

"A smile is a curve that sets everything straight" ~Phyllis Diller

If you're going to be hosting a Halloween party for the young (or even the young at heart!) try these easy Trick or Treat Tips:

Keep decorations simple. You can make ghosts from tissue paper or Kleenex; paper chains with orange and black construction paper and you can purchase inexpensive decorations like spider webs, balloons and crepe paper at the Dollar Stores.

When carving pumpkins keep the seeds. Season and bake until crisp and golden.

Put a spooky spin on everyday foods. Punch becomes "Witches Brew", bowls of chili-"Creepy Cauldrons" and sweet snacks can be "Graveyard Goodies". Peel some seedless grapes and you've got "Monster Eyeballs"!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Folk Music, Fall and Fun

I love October! It's the best part of the autumn season (plus it's my birthday month!). The leaves are really showing their colors, the air is crisp, fresh and exhilarating, wood smoke wafts through the air and it's more fun to be in the kitchen testing recipes and baking. What is your favorite month?

I had a chance to speak with the Grammy Award winning musician George Winston today. He is performing at the Schauer Center in Hartford tomorrow, Saturday, October 2nd at 2pm. What a great guest! I love his style of music. He's been creating music for over 40 years and got started on organ music because he heard "The Doors" and was hooked. Since then, he's played "stride" piano music but I think he's most well known for his "folk piano" solos. George said that his goal is to play everything that his three most admired artists have done.

(The Doors, Professor Longhair and Vince Guaraldi-and he's well on his way to doing just that).

His latest album features the works of Vince Guaraldi. If you grew up in the 60's and 70's you may not recognize that name, but you would instantly know Vince's music as he did all the instrumentals for the "Peanuts Gang" T.V. shows. George's latest solo piano release "LOVE WILL COME" is available now. You might want to pick up a copy. You will be enchanted!

Today's Quote: Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gingerbread and Good Neighbors

Today is National Good Neighbor Day.
So why not offer to do something nice for one of your neighbors. Maybe you can help them with outside yard work, run errands, or bake an extra batch of cookies to share.

If you don't know your neighbors, today would be a good day to get acquainted. Why not try these delicious Gingerbread Cupcakes and share them?

1 c. all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt
1 slightly beaten egg white

1/3 c. molasses
1/3 c. water

3 Tbsp. cooking oil
Sifted powdered sugar (optional)

Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, soda & salt; set aside. In small mixing bowl
Stir together egg white, molasses, water & oil. Stir molasses mixture into flour mixture just until blended. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for
15-20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in center. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or cool. Yield: 8 cupcakes

How to make a "Murphect" Muffin:
  • Don't over mix!
  • Recipes with less butter and sugar will give you a more "bread-like" muffin. Those with more butter and sugar will result in a more "cake-like" muffin.
  • All ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin.
  • Thick, lumpy batter is good.
  • Position the oven rack in the middle for best heat distribution.
  • Let muffins cool a few minutes before turning out of the pan.
  • Muffins are best when made fresh, however, if you wish, wrap cooled muffins in plastic wrap; freeze for up to two months. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Women's Expo, "Wicked-the Musical" and Wonderful Games

Planning is underway for the first ever Women's Expo and I've been busy too. It will be held at Heritage Village Shops on Thursday, October 21st from 2-7pm. I will be giving demonstrations of how to make an edible witches hat (photo on right), frighteningly fun cupcakes, and instructions and tips on how to have a "boo-tiful" breakfast bash, since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year.

Fall is my most favorite time of year. Lots of great holidays to celebrate! Decorations to put out, food to bake and tips to share. Hope to see all of you at the Women's Expo! It should be lots of fun.

Are you a fan of the "Wizard of Oz'? It used to be shown on TV once a year-I think around Thanksgiving. We would all gather around to watch and I usually had to sing softly to my younger brothers and sisters at bedtime, because they would be too scared to fall asleep on their own. (Those flying monkeys and the guards at the castle weren't very nice!
This past weekend I saw the production of "Wicked" at the Overture Center in Madison. It's been on the circuit for a few years now, but I hadn't seen it and wasn't too familiar with the story line. WOW! It's a very creative story about the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East and Glinda, the Good. The actors were very powerful, the music magical and the entire show was fantastic. I don't want to give too much away but I was very glad to know that good does triumph over evil!

Today we talked with Leigh Anderson. She spent 3 years playing games and the result is a wonderful book, "THE GAMES BIBLE". It showcases 300 different games for singles, couples, families, children-there is something for everyone. If you love to play games, or need a christmas gift idea for friends or a family member who does, this is the book to purchase.
Leigh lists all the games by category (13 of them), the rules, the gear and supplies you'll need and also the strategies needed to win. A couple of the games she mentioned during the interview: "25 Letters", "Ministry of Silence", "Counter Squirt" and "Mr. Hit". Check it out by visiting the website:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This week's Book Nook...

Monday, September 27th
"THE GAMES BIBLE" - Leigh Anderson

Tuesday, September 28th

Wednesday, September 29th
"GEORGE WINSTON"- will talk to us about his upcoming concert at the Schauer Center in Hartford

Thursday, September 39th
"SHE'S GOT GAME" - Melissa Malamut

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Books, Baking Tips and your Brain

We spoke with Dr. Stan Cupery on Tuesday.
Dr. Cupery is a local retired physician. He lived and worked in Beaver Dam for over 25 years and also opened a clinic in nearby Randolph for 5 years. He had started the concept of this novel back in the 1980's but got so busy with his practice and his family that it had to be shelved until recently. His novel, SCARS OF EASTON, is a medical intrigue set in the 1960's. It's always a pleasure to speak with someone from the area. Dr. Cupery's book is available at the Beaver Dam Community Hospital gift shop and also at our local bookstore, Book World.

Did you know you can flavor coconut to enhance your recipes?

One of my listeners called with these tips-

To 1 & 1/3 c. coconut add:

  • 1-2 Tbsp. dry JELL-O (any flavor)

  • 1/2 tsp. baking cocoa + 1/2 tsp. instant coffee

  • 1/4 tsp. imitation maply flavoring

  • 2 Tbsp. juice from strawberries or other fruit

  • 3-4 tsp. orange juice concentrate

On Wednesday, we talked with Dr. Martha Burns, a practicing clinician and faculty member at Northwestern University, about training kids brains and "brain fitness". Dr. Burns said that during the summer, children can lose much of the knowledge they've gained during the previous school year. We talked about the need for parents to be "pro-active" if they notice that their children are falling behind in their studies. There are various "brain games" that you can engage your children in-30 minutes per day of brain fitness might be just what is needed to make the difference. For more information, you can go to

I was scheduled to talk with Mari Frank, about her book "THE IDIOTS GUIDE TO IDENTITY THEFT" today, however, she had an unexpected conflict so we have rescheduled that interview for early October. I think almost everyone knows someone who has gotten their identity stolen. Mari is a lawyer and lives in California. She has vested interest in this subject because it also happened to her. This topic should make for a very interesting interview.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Money and Makeup

Today's guest in the "Book Nook" segment was Herb Phillips. We had a facinating conversation regarding his book, "MOMMA ALWAYS SAID, 'PAY YOURSELF FIRST'". If you are looking for ways to attain your financial goals, or just want to start saving a little bit each week, you've got to get Herb's book. It is a common sense, easy to read, easy to understand approach to saving.

Herb is a retired United States Air Force officer. He served his country for more than 30 years as a Personnel Officer in Human Resources and has spent countless hours counseling enlisted members and officers in financial matters. He shares personal stories and experiences and weaves his wit, wisdom, throughout each chapter.

  • The book is filled with lots of great advice. Herb says you need to:
    pay yourself first
  • be disciplined
  • be persistent
  • realize that you don't need a lot of money to get started
  • AND that it's never too late to begin!

Last Friday, I had a fun conversation with Carmindy-"Makeup Artist to the Stars" and celebrity makeup artist on the hit the television show, "What Not To Wear". We talked about fall fashion trends.

Thanks to the pop culture influence of popular shows such as "Mad Men" we're going to see dramatic cat eyes and iconic red lips set the tone for makeup this fall. Carmindy said that everyone can wear red lipstick, it's just a matter of the right coloration.
If you have a light skin tone, you'll want cherry red lip color; medium skin tones-fire engine red and darker skin tones-blood red lipstick

As far as fashion goes, you'll see a reemergence of styles from the 50's and 60's. they will however be more updated. Body hugging fashions, higher necklines, more conservative styles and high boots are just a few of the trends.

Todays Kitchen Tip:

If you're trying to slice an ice cream cake try this: Fill a bowl with hot water. Make your first cut through the frozen cake with a knife; dip the knife in the hot water before making a second slice. the hot knife will slice right through the frozen ice cream and the crust with a minimum of effort.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Nook this week:

Monday, September 13th: Herb Phillips,

A great "common sense" approach to saving money!

Tuesday, September 14th: Dr. Stanley Cupery

A medical intrigue, set in the 1960's written by retired local doctor.

Wednesday, September 14th: Martha Burns
"How to train your child's brain"

Thursday, September 15th: Mari J. Frank

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day and Laundry

Labor Day marks the end of summer (well almost!) and although we should have some warm days left it's time to think about getting out the sweaters, sweatshirts and warmer clothing. It's also time to get those heavier comforters back on the bed. In fact, I got my down comforter out of storage, aired it on the line on Saturday and snuggled all comfy, cozy that night.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The colors on the trees, the crisp, acrid smell of burning leaves and wood burning in the fireplace; of soups, stews, homemade applesauce with cinnamon; pumpking bars and all those wonderful fall foods. The weather is sunny and mild during the day, and cooler in the evenings. Ahhhhhh great things to look forward to!

Last week I shared some tips on how to dry laundry faster. I love to hang sheets on the line and try to do so for as long as I can. If you want to save money try using a clothesline but if you don't have room or don't have a clothesline try these

  • Put heavy clothes and towels through a second spin cycle on a top-loading washer or a "drain & spin" cycle on a front loader.
  • When one load is done in the dryer, add the next load ASAP-a hot dryer is more efficient than a cold one
  • Add a dry towel to a wet load; it will absorb the dampness and help get items toastier, faster!
  • Add 1/2 c. vinegar to your load of towels or demin if you're going to hang on the line. They will dry nice and soft!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Nook guests this week

A full schedule awaits this week with some great guests:

Tuesday, September 7th-

Kathy Hetzel from the UW-Extension office will talk about the 2010 Dodge County Clean Sweep Program scheduled for Friday, September 17th and Saturday, September 18th. Tune in to find out what items will be accepted...

Wednesday, September 8th-

John Shors-"THE WISHING TREES"- an AMAZING book that I just finished reading. The novel is about love, loss, hope and wishes. Ian and his 11 year old daughter Mattie (having recently buried their wife/mother) journey together through Japan, Tibet, Hong Kong and many other Asian countries trying to find joy and happiness once again.

Thursday, September 9th-

Susan Butler-"WOMEN COUNT- A GUIDE TO CHANGING THE WORLD" will talk about women in business, as entrepreneurs and how things have changed over the years. She'll also talk about what women can expect in the future...Should be a very interesting interview...

and on Friday, September 10th-

We will speak with CARMINDY-of "WHAT NOT TO WEAR". She'll be discussing fall fashions and trends.

It should be a GREAT week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Writing and the Weather

We talked with Dee Dees today. She's also known as "The Life Story Lady" and had some great thoughts on capturing the memories and thoughts of family members-or even your own history. Her book, 'HOW TO WRITE YOUR LIFE STORY IN 28 DAYS", is a short and to the point, and gives you a chance to talk with older family members to get their stories before it's too late. Dee says you don't need to be a "gifted writer" and you don't need to worry about grammar, etc. In fact, she says it's very easy to get started. Just pretend you are writing a letter to a friend. She offers 15 free writing tips and lists the top 10 mistakes people make when writing their memoirs. You can get this information by emailing her at

Another great point she made is that you don't necessarily have to wait until you reach retirement years. Young adults could give this as a gift to their parents; or you could do this at the time your child is born as a lasting gift and legacy for them to cherish when they grow up. Check out Dee's book! She makes the process EASY!

It's been awhile since I've been able to blog. Just like all things, I guess we need to set priorities and make time to do the things we like to do...
I've been waiting until the end of the day, and by then I usually have run out of time.
I like to think of September as a time when we can wipe the slate clean from summer obligations/vacations, etc. The kids go back to school and fall seems to be a great time to set new resolutions and get into new routines.
Therefore, one of my resolutions for this fall--to faithfully check in and blog about the show, the authors or just what's on my mind.

We received a "taste" of things to come-weatherwise today. Temperatures only reached about 60 degrees! It was quite windy but wonderful to be able to open the windows for fresh air. The labor day weekend weather forecast looks great!

Enjoy the time off with your family this long last summer holiday weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salt, Safety and Summer Fun

According to Salt Institute there are over 14,000 ways to use this common and readily available mineral. For thousands of years salt, (sodium chloride) has been used to preserve food and for cleaning. You might want to try these tips next time you pull the salt shaker out of the cupboard....
Test egg freshness: 2 tsp. in cup of water. Place egg in cup. Fresh egg will sink, older egg will float b/c air cell in egg increases as it ages, and older egg is more buoyant
Shell nuts more easily: soak pecans or walnuts in salt water for several hours before shelling to make it easier to remove the meat
Remove odors from hands: you can wash with soap and water and then rub hands on stainless steel to get rid of odors or rub fingers with salt and a vinegar combo to remove garlic-onion smells
Extend the life of cheese: prevent mold on cheese by wrapping in a cloth moistened with saltwater before refrigerating
Save the bottom of your oven: if a pie or casserole bubbles over in oven, place handful of salt on top of spill. It won’t smoke and smell, and it will bake into a crust that makes the baked on mess much easier to clean when it has cooled

If you have college bound students in your household and you're busy gathering all those supplies sheets, towels, fan, as well as all the other "stuff" you might want to also talk to your student about keeping their "stuff" and themselves safe on campus.

· Many freshmen like to adopt an “open-door” policy but this is an invitation to would be thieves
· If you have computer or laptop, tether it to something solid using a security cable. Or motion sensors for laptops are also available
· For small valuables, keep in a trunk. It can also double as a nightstand
· Room safes have been scaled down to look less intimidating
· If roommate loses their key, don’t leave door open; contact resident assistant to get new lock and key
· Keep a small fire extinguisher if you have appliances in room.
· A Kevlar blanket is good to have on hand to smother flames
· Female students should carry a small can of pepper spray
· College students are at a much greater risk for identity theft so don’t give out bank, credit card, or social security information over the phone or on-line. And be sure to shred sensitive documents (A small shredded is a good idea to have in the dorm)
· If you suspect id theft: go to for help

What's more fun in the summer than an afternoon at the fair?

We did the Idea Exchange Show live from Radio Park. I remember going to the fair with my grandfather. He cleaned and repaired guns and would always have a booth during the fair. He'd pick me up in the morning, Mom would pack a lunch for me and then I was free to wander the grounds. I'd walk through the buildings looking at all the exhibits first. Then I would make my over to the midway. My favorite rides were the Carousel (loved the calliope music) and the Ferris Wheel (The best spot to be able see for miles and miles at the top!). I would always stop for cotton candy and I threw away all my nickles (or was it quarters?) trying to pitch them on the cut glass plates in order to win a HUGE pastel colored teddy bear.

Much to my dismay, I never did get that stuffed animal! But it was always fun to spend a day at the fair!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Connecting, College and Communication

Are you an iConnected Parent?

We had a facinating conversation with Dr. Barbara Hofer, author of the book "THE iCONNECTED PARENT: STAYING CLOSE TO YOUR KIDS IN COLLEGE (AND BEYOND) WHILE LETTING THEM GROW UP". Dr. Hofer, a Middlebury College psychology professor and Abigail Sullivan Moore, a journalist who has reported on college and highs school trends have written a very compelling account of this new parenting phenomenon.

What is an iConnected parent? It is someone who is deeply involved in their children's lives, even as they approach adulthood, by utelizing the technology of instant communication. (cell phones, text messaging, email, facebook, etc).

I was amazed at some of the finding from the study. Most students connected with their parents in some way, at least 2 times per day. AND they were satisfied with the amount of contact and involvement that their parents were giving. Dr. Hofer documents parents who edit their children's papers, help in the selection of classes, and who call the dean or professor when their child recieves a poor grade! Some parents go so far as to accompany their children to job interviews for internships and full time positions once they have graduated! (I cannot imagine my children needing that much contact from me. As they each left for college, they knew I was always only a phone call away, but they also realized that it was their time to make decisions and choices because I was not "going to college" with them.
Because we are so connected with cell phones, and other ways of instant communication, children tend to rely more heavily on their parents today than in previous times. This book is a MUST READ for every parent of a college bound student because it offers sound advice when considering appropriate boundaries for the amount of involvement parents should take.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bratwurst and Back to School

Today is Bratwurst Day-so celebrate!
Once the weather turns colder and I am not able to use my grill, I like to cook brats in the oven. They turn out (almost) as great as on the grill!
Preheat your oven to 350.
Grease a 9x13" baking pan. Add a package of brats (single layer).
Pour 1/2 can beer (or 1/4-1/2 c. water) over brats.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes. Turn half way through cooking.
They brown up nicely and go great on Packer Game Days, when it's too cold to "tailgate" outside before the game!

It's hard to believe that kids will be heading back to school in just a few weeks. We always celebrated with a "end-of-summer" party at our house.
My children would invite a few friends, we'd have special summertime foods, play some games, turn on the sprinkler and decorate folders or make book covers. The kids always had fun and it was a great way to end the summer. Do you have any first day of school traditions? Here are a few thought-starters or things you might like to try:

  • Make something special for breakfast. How about homemade apple pie or another fun, family favorite? Only for the first day!

  • Let them each select their own backpack and take a picture. Over the years you will have captured their interests, personality and be able to mark that milestone in their lives that might otherwise go unknown

  • Fill a jar with 30 pieces of candy and use as a countdown. Your child will be able to see, as he/she gets to select one piece each day, that the first day of school is getting closer and closer.

  • Pack a note with a loving messgage, joke or drawing into their backpack or lunchbox

  • Make a bracelet, necklace or braid a pair of shoelaces that they can wear on the first day

  • Decorate a backpack with a beaded key chain, pom-poms or a name tag

  • Hide a small treat, such as a sticker or small toy in their pocket

  • Make a special after school snack

And embrace the fact that they are venturing into new territory. They'll have many new and exciting experiences during the coming school year and you can watch, observe and encourage them.

We talked with Missy Chase Lapine, about her book "THE SNEAKY CHEF: SIMPLE STRATEGIES FOR HIDING HEALTHY FOODS IN KIDS' FAVORITE MEALS". Since it's almost time for kids to go back to school, why not pick up a copy of Missy's book and introduce your child to healthier eating the easy way. They won't even know that they've eaten sweet potatoes, or white beans in the blondie brownies! The book is more than just a cookbook, although it does cover recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks. Missy explains her philosophy about food, the reasons why certain foods are so good for you and gives the recipes for the purees that you can make ahead and freeze. Who knows, you may find that besides being good for the kids, it's great for everyone in the family!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Nook segments for this week

Here's a run down on what we'll be discussing in the Book Nook segment this week:

Monday, August 16th-Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef, will be my guest at 10:05am. Missy is the author of the New York Times bestseller: The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. She's also a member of Parenting Magazine's team of experts, the "Mom Squad". We'll find out great, creative ways to get kids to eat "healthy"-and her recipes can help each of us as well!

Tuesday, August 17th we'll be talking with Dr. Barbara Hofer about her book "The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up. I'm still reading the book and according to the back of the jacket-every parent of a college-bound high school student should read this book.

Friday, August 20th we'll be discussing back-to-school financial expenses. Pam Krueger, financial expert will be here to talk about budgeting tips and monetary advice for parents.
So tune in if you can and check back here later in the week for updates and summaries.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kids and Kool-Aid

By my calculations, summer vacation will soon be over. It's almost the middle of August and most schools start right after the Labor Day holiday. Time to think KIDS and back to school.

We talked with Dr. Susan Rupp, of Columbus Chiropractic today. She offered some guidelines for "Backpack Safety"...

  • The backpack SHOULD NOT be taller than the child's back

  • If purchasing a "one strap" type you need to be sure to alternate the way your child carries it. Dr. Rupp suggested carrying on left side on the way TO school and on the right side on the way FROM school.

  • Your child's backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of his/her total body weight. For instance: if your child weighs 60 pounds the backpack should be no more than 6 pounds.

  • And be sure your child places the heaviest books/items closest to their back when loading the pack. This will allow the overall weight to be more evenly distributed.

Today is National Kool-Aid day and there will be big celebrations in Hastings, Nebraska, the birthplace of Kool-Aid. There will be big name entertainment and the world's largest Kool-Aid stand (22 flavors!). Edwin Perkins invented the powdered drink mix when he was about 12-13 years old, in his mother's kitchen. (1927). The six original flavors were: strawberry, cherry, lemon-lime, grape, orange and raspberry. The entire family got involved in the business and during the depression the business really took off as families could purchase a packet for $ .10 and enjoy a pitcher full of refreshment. In 1931, Edwin moved the business to Chicago and partnered with Fred Schmitt from Milwaukee. In 1953 the business was sold to General Foods which in turn was bought out by Kraft Foods in the early 1970's.

The "smiley faced" pitcher advertising logo was developed in 1954 because the art director of the advertising campaign was working from home in New York in January and watched his young son draw smiley faced patterns on a frosted window pane! In 1975, "Pitcher Man" became "Kool-Aid Man" when he was given arms and legs.

Over 500 million gallons of Kool-Aid are consumed around the world each year!!!

Here are a couple of fun Kool-Aid recipes:

Kool-Aid Blocks
6 pkg. Knox unflavored gelatin
3 pkg. Kool-Aid, any flavor
1 ½ c. sugar
4 c. hot water
Mix all ingredients until thoroughly dissolved. Pour into 9x13” pan. Chill until firm and cut into 1” or 2” squares.

Kool-Aid Pie
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
36 vanilla wafers
1 c. sugar
1 (0.13 oz.) pkg. unsweetened lemon-lime flavored drink mix
Whipped topping
Pour milk into small metal or glass mixing bowl. Add beaters to the bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Coat a 9” pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom and sides of plate with wafers. Beat milk until soft peaks form. Add sugar and drink mix; beat until thoroughly mixed. Spoon over wafers; freeze for at least 4 hours. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Careers and Creamscicles

Today is Creamsicle Day
I remember buying orange ones from the corner grocery store as I was growing up. On a hot summer day, there was nothing better!
The word "creamsicle" is a brand name-owned by Unilever, however the name has come to describe any ice cream snack (homemade or store bought) that has a vanilla ice cream center. Orange used to be the only flavor available but now you'll find blue raspberry, lime, grape and raspberry. They also are available in 100 Calorie Bars, Low Fat, No Sugar Added and Sugar Free Bars. Can't you almost taste one right now?
If you're craving a creamsicle here is a way to make your own!

Frozen Orange Creamsicle
2 small pkg. sugar free orange JELL-O®
2 packets Splenda®, NutraSweet® or Sweet “N Low®
1 c. heavy cream
2 c. boiling water
1 c. crushed ice
Add 2 c. boiling water to JELL-O & mix as package directs. Mix well until fully dissolved. Add crushed ice & stir to melt ice and cool mixture. Add sweetener & heavy cream. Mix well. Pour into individual cups or freezer bowl. Chill until firm. (You can also use freezer pop holders).

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
1 ½ c. vanilla ice cream
1 c. mandarin orange sections, fresh or canned
½ c. heavy cream or milk
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Smoothie may be thin. If thicker texture is desired add more ice cream or frozen concentrate.


Career Intuitive-Sue Frederick was my guest on today's show. She is the author of "I CAN SEE YOUR DREAM JOB". We always have a great time with Sue. We took calls from listeners and based on their birthdate, Sue gave career advice and their birthpath number. If you'd like more information, you get pick up a copy of her book, or visit her website: I'm a "22". Check it out. It's facinating and fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

M & C and Mosquitos

By M & C, I mean macaroni and cheese.
And who doesn't love this great comfort food? Do you like the "homemade variety", the "blue box" (this was the only kind my children would eat!) or do you like to mix mac and cheese with other add-in?

A recent study found that lots of people like to think "outside the box" and came up with other additions to this basic meal. The top 10 "add-ins" are as follows:
1. Tuna
2. Extra Cheese
3. Tomatoes
4. Ground Beef
5. Diced Ham
6. Bacon/Bacon Bits
7. Peas
8. Broccoli
9. Hot Dogs
10. Cream of Mushroom soup

You might like to get even more creative and add sliced green onions and a dash of mustard- or sour cream (instead of milk), salsa, extra cheese and leftover taco meat. Do you have a favorite add-in? If you haven't made any mac and cheese in a while, maybe it's time to break out a box-get creative and make it special with these or other combinations....

We talked about the growing mosquito population and how they are so aggravating! One of my listeners called in this solution to keep them away from your yard:
1 capful lemon-scented dish detergent
1 capful lemon-scented ammonia
1 capful mint mouthwash
Place all ingredients in an "ortho-type" bottle, attach it to your hose and spray the yard until all solution is gone.

"Bounce" dryer sheets also work well to keep mosquitos away. Just rub sheet on exposed skin. You can also keep a sheet tucked in your sock or pocket.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mustard and More...

The first Saturday in August is always National Mustard Day. (It was created back in 1991 by the National Mustard Museum). There will be big celebrations in Middleton, Wisconsin because it is the NEW home of the National Mustard Museum. The museum had been housed in Mount Horeb, just a little south of Madison for many years, and recently relocated to Middleton.
Did you know that the museum features an extensive collection of over 5000 jars, bottles and tubes from each of our 50 states and from more than 60 countries worldwide?

It also boasts a gift shop and gourmet food emporium. You can check it out at

I also found out some interesting bits of Mustard Trivia:
· More than 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed worldwide each year.
· Mustard is the second most-used spice in the United States. (Peppercorns come in at #1)
· In one year at New York’s Yankee Stadium more than 1600 gallons plus 2,000,000 individual packets of mustard are consumed
· Pope John Paul the XXII was so fond of mustard that he created a new Vatican position-grand moutardier du pape (grand mustard-maker to the pope)
· The ancient Chinese considered mustard an aphrodisiacGerm lore advises a bride to sew mustard seeds into the hem of her wedding dress to assure her dominance of the household.

Mustard has never been my favorite condiment-give me ketchup and onions on hot dogs, brats and burgers! However, I am learning to appreciate its flavor and pungency because I do like some types of honey mustard dipping sauce and use when cooking.

We also talked about the best way to preserve fresh dill. If you have an overabundance in your garden, or you're going to stop at a farmers market this weekend here are a few long term storage tips. Just remember that freezing dill will cause it to become limp, however it will still maintain its flavor. Here's how to freeze fresh dill:
1. Rinse whole sprigs of fresh dill in cool water to remove all dirt and grit. Shake off excess water and spin dry or pat between layers of paper towels to remove as much surface moisture as possible.
2. Trim off long stem ends, leaving only an inch or so attached to the feathery foliage. Place a couple of sprigs together inside a resealable plastic freezer storage bag. Gently press out all air and seal. If freezing for along period of time, double-bag the dill to help prevent freezer burn from drying it out.
3. Store bag flat in the freezer, on top of the other foods so that it won’t be crushed. When you need fresh dill, simply remove a sprig and snip, while still frozen, directly into the mixing bowl or saucepan, using a pair of kitchen shears. Do not allow to thaw. (Freezing causes dill to become limp but it will still maintain its flavor.


I learned a new cooking term: Creme Fraiche. It means fresh cream and is a dairy product similar to sour cream, but not quite as sour. Crème fraiche is particularly useful in finishing sauces in French cooking because it does not curdle and is traditional to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.You can purchase it in the dairy section of your favorite grocery store or you can make your own if you come across it in a recipe anytime soon. Here's how:

Combine 1 c. heavy cream with 1 c. sour cream in a glass bowl. Place in a warm place and let stand 12-24 hours, until thickened. Stir and refrigerate for another 24-36 hours before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Sandwiches" and Simplifying

August is National Sandwich Month and August 2nd was Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Of course you know that ice cream sandwiches are frozen desserts composed of a layer of ice cream (any flavor) "sandwiched" between two cookies or slices of cake.
In the United States, a slice of ice cream, (commonly vanilla), sits between two rectangular wafers, usually chocolate. And alternatives to the chocolate wafer are usually chocolate chip cookies.
In Australia, they're called "Giant Sandwiches" or "Monaco Bar"
In Scotland they are known as "sliders"-usually served as vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two rectangle wafers.
In Singapore, common flavors often include: Ripple, Red Bean, Yam, Sweet Corn, Honeydew, Peppermint, Chocolate and Chocolate Chip and is known as "wafer" ice cream
In Ireland, England and Wales an ice cream wafer, consisting of a small block of ice cream between two rectangular wafer biscuits was a popular alternative to the ice cream cone up until the 1970's. Since then it has declined and is now rarely seen.

It is "SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE" week. What can you do to de-stress and make your life easier? Why not...
  • Set a designated time (or couple of times) during each day to check your email. Reading and replying to email wastes a lot of time!
  • Unsubscribe to email newsletters, ads, etc. Keep only those that you read and are really of interest to you.
  • Take a long relaxing bath: candles, scented oil, your favorite music and put your worries away for about 30 minutes. You'll feel refreshed, relaxed and will sleep much better. Pencil it into your calendar if you need to.
  • Get a sitter. Especially if you work from home. What could you do with an extra 3-6 hours/week?
  • Purge your regular mail on a daily basis. Toss/shred anything that is junk mail, place items that need to be filed in one bin or basket and bills needing to be paid in another. You'll be much more organized when it comes time to pay bills.
  • Make a list at the END of the day for tomorrow. You won't need to waste time in the morning figuring out what you need to do first.

Have you got any other ideas? Feel free to share......

I spoke with Dr. Fred Mandell, author of BECOMING A LIFE CHANGE ARTIST: SEVEN CREATIVE SKILLS THAT CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE". He co-wrote the book with Kathleen Jordan and it is for anyone looking for a new spark in life, a path toward reinvention or anyone in the midst of transition. The book takes a unique approach to becoming a life change artist by studying famous artists throughout history. Dr. Mandell also discusses our creativity. I always thought that you were born with the creative talent to draw, paint, etc. However, this isn't really the case.

Creativity is actually the act of bringin into existence something that did not exist before.

The book also talks about the 7 key skills that you need in order to make a life transition: Preparation, Seeing, Using Context, Embracing Uncertainty, Taking Risks, Collaborating and Applying Discipline and he relates these principles to the lives and characteristics of Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and others. A facinating look at making a change... check it out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cleaning Cars and Canteloupe

Does your car's interior look like it just came out of the show room? Or is it filled with candy wrappers, bits of paper, empty soda cans, soccer balls and an ice scraper? Or is your car's interior Like mine-somewhere in between those two scenarios?

If you have 15 minutes, you can clean your car so that it looks like new-or almost new! All you need is glass cleaner, cleaning wipes, air conditioning treatment, a hand vacuum, a small plastic bin, a garbage bag, flat-head screwdriver and paper towels. Ready-set-start the clock:

Minute 1: toss items that shouldn’t be in the car into a small bin. Throw away trash. Sprits the cup holders with glass cleaner and let sit
Minute 2 &3: Use “Armor All Cleaning Wipes to clean dashboard, center console, inside door pockets, steering wheel & gearshift. Spray an air conditioning treatment (try “Clean Air Duct/Treatment-$10 at into the air vents below the windshield and let sit.
Minutes 4 & 5: Clean leather seats with a few wipes. (Seats that are upholstered will get vacuumed later)
Minutes 6-7: Wrap a wipe around the end of a flathead screwdriver and run it along the buttons and switches on the dashboard. Wipe out the cup holders with paper towels.
Minutes 8-9: Spray glass cleaner on paper towels and wipe all windows, including the windshield, sunroof and rear windows.
Minute 11: Remove the floor mats and whack them against each other to dislodge any dirt.
Minutes 12-14: On the driveway, vacuum the floor mats with the bare hose of a hand vac for maximum power (do not attach a tool). Vacuum the seat upholstery and foot wells, shifting the front seats fully forward, then back to hit every spot.
Minute 15: Replace the mats and return the seats to their original positions. Open all the doors and let fresh air blow through.
(from the August 2010 Real Simple magazine)

My car isn't a terrible mess, but it could use a cleaning....I might have to put this to the test this weekend. Try it and let me know what you think...

Did you ever get to the grocery store or the farmer's market looking to purchase a canteloupe and then wonder which was is the best? And will it be sweet and ripe? Use these guidelines and you'll get the best one each and every time...

Cantaloupe tips:
How to buy: Don't be afraid to use your nose-if it has a sweet, slightly musky scent it is ripe. Also it should feel heavy for its size, have a rind that resembles raised netting and has a stem end that yields slightly when pressed with your thumb.
How to store: A not-quite-ready cantaloupe should be left to ripen at room temperature for up to 2 days (keeping it in a closed paper bag will speed up the process). Refrigerate a whole ripe melon for up to 5 days. For cut wedges, cover the surfaces and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (If possible, leave the seeds intact. Cubes without the seeds will last 1-2 days in a resealable container in fridge
How to slice and cube: Wash rind, and then slice off the bottom and top ends of the melon so that it sits squarely on the cutting board. With a knife, from top to bottom, cut away strips of rind, following the shape of the fruit. Halve the fruit, scoop out the seeds, and slice or cube as desired. ENJOY!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pickles and Puffs!

Cream Puffs, that is...

Christine Lindner, Alice in Dairyland for 2010, was my guest on the show today. She is the ambassador for Wisconsin agriculture and during the next year will log more than 40,000 miles traveling Wisconsin to promote our great state. Did you know that Wisconsin is the #1 cheese producer in the world? It would take over 2 years to taste all the varieties of cheese that are manufactured here. We also talked about the world reknown "Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puffs", AND she even brought some in for us to enjoy! Believe me, they were soooooo yummy!

Baking tip: When making your own cream puffs, always use a wooden spoon, not a metal one to ensure best results!

We also spent quite a bit of time sharing pickle recipes. It's getting to be the time of year for canning and preserving. The "Ice Cream Pail Pickle" recipe is always a hit because it's easy to make and results in quite a large amount.

We've also shared methods for freezing cucumbers, pickles in a crock and quick mustard pickles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Dogs and Headaches

Today is National Hot Dog Day.
Did you know that someone has come up with
Here are the "do's and dont's" when eating hot dogs:
  • Don't put toppings between the hot dog and the bun. You need to always "dress the dog".
  • Don't use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth-paper is always preferable
  • Don't take more than five bites to finish. For a foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable
  • Don't leave bits of bun on your plate. EAT IT ALL!
  • Don't use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are all acceptable-no matter what your age.
  • Do eat hot dogs with your hands. Untensils should not touch the dog or the bun!
  • Do use paper plates. Every day dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no
  • Do apply condiments in the following order: mustard and chili should be applied first, (wet ingredients) - followed by the "chunky" ingredients such as relish, onion and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, and topped off with spices like celery salt or pepper.

And of course, DON'T ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs!

The other day we talked about headaches. If you suffer from migraines, you probably know how to avoid "trigger" foods such as aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, coffee, citrus fruits and processed foods. Skipping meals can also cause a headache. There are foods that can help ease migraine pain. The next time you feel one coming on, load up on foods high in magnesium and calcium such as spinach, kale or broccoli. Some people also find relief from ginger. Try ginger ale made with real ginger, or drink cups of ginger tea. Other foods that might be beneficial include garlic, oatmeal, fish, grapes and cayenne pepper. Give it a try!

"LITTLE BITS" shared by listeners today: For relief from poison ivy: Wash infected areas with Felds Naphtha soap to cleanse and disinfect then wipe with Real Lemon Juice (bottled kind)

For relief from itchy bug bites: Dissolve 2 antacid tablets in a glass of water, then dab the solution on the itchy spot to soothe the skin.

For healthier rosebushes: Plant a banana peel at the base of your rosebush, an inch down in the soil. The potassium feeds the plant and helps fend off diseases.

Coring strawberries: Pluck the leaves and stem from berry. Using a plastic drinking straw, tunnel through the berry from top to bottom to remove the core. Works great!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Congratulations and Crock Pots

Congratulations !!!
Jill Weisensel
winner of our "Phrase of Fire" contest
She won two (2) tickets to the Fireside Theater
to see the fantastic Johnny Cash show "Ring of Fire".
Thanks to everyone who particpated!
We had a great response.
The correct phrase was:
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. Come see ring of Fire at the Fireside Dinner Theater"

Summer time is a great time to use the crock-pot. Your kitchen will stay cool and slow cooker cooking gives you extra free time to do other things.
Here are a few tips when using your slow cooker:

  • To cook food properly and safely, fill your slow cooker at least half full, but not more than two-thirds full.

  • It might be tempting to check on your dish, however, everytime you remove the lid you increase the cooking time by 20-30 minutes.

  • For food safety reasons, cook and drain all ground meats. but you don't need to brown large cuts of meat beforehand.

  • You can place all your ingredients in the crock the night before, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, place the crock in the slow cooker, turn it on and go! No need to preheat.

  • Cleaning is a breeze if you use a slow cooker liner. Place the liner in the crock, add your ingredients and cook as you normally would. After cooking simply throw away the liner.

Have you ever tried baking potatoes in your slow cooker? One of my listeners shared this recipe:

Baked Potatoes in the Slow Cooker
Wash and prick potatoes; wrap in foil.
Fill crock pot with as many potatoes as you want.
Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 2-4 hours.

I have also used my slow cooker to make these great tasting candy treats:

Crock Pot Candy
1 (16 oz.) jar unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 (16 oz.) jar salted dry roasted peanuts
3 pkg. (4 oz.) each German Chocolate baking bars
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
1 (24 oz.) white almond bark
Layer into crock pot as follows: unsalted peanuts, salted peanuts, chocolate baking bars, chocolate chips, white almond bark. Cook on LOW for 2 hours. DO NOT STIR. After cooking time, stir to completely combine. Dip out onto wax paper by spoonfuls and let cool.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Phrase of Fire"
Piece of the puzzle: #5
At The
Be sure to send in your completed phrase the "Phrase of Fire" contest and your chance to win (2) tickets to The Fireside Theater in Fort Atkinson.
Send your phrase, along with your name, address and phone number to

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lemonade ~ Low Fat ~ & Lincoln

"Phrase of Fire" Contest
Piece of the puzzle: #4
Ring of Fire
Today's Quote of the Day:
"The most important things in life aren't things"
In today's Book Nook segment I spoke with Gayle Brandeis, about her first "young adult" novel, "MY LIFE WITH THE LINCOLNS". The book is set during the turbulent 60's and the intricate storylines come together to create a great read for both adolescents and adults. The main character, 12 year old Mina Edelman believes that she and her family are the Lincolns, reincarnated. The book is sometimes "laugh out loud" funny and gives a lot of attention to historical detail.
We also had the chance to talk with Dr. Natasha Turner about her new book, "THE HORMONE DIET: A 3-STEP PROGRAM TO HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT, GAIN STRENGTH AND LIVER YOUNGER, LONGER". Dr. Turner has a 3 step program-that takes 6 weeks to complete. In her book, she walks you through the process and helps you figure out if the stress, fatigue and failure to lose weight are related to a hormonal imbalance. She also stressed that these imbalances can be found in both men and women. A very interesting concept-one maybe worth exploring. Her website is:
And I shared a Lemonade Dessert recipe that will taste great during the heat of summer:
Lemonade Dessert
1 ½ c. all purpose flour
¾ c. packed brown sugar
¾ c. cold butter, cubed
¾ c. chopped pecans
½ gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
1 (12 oz.) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
In small bowl, combine flour & brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Spread in single layer into greased 15x10x1” baking pan. Bake at 375 for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. In large bowl, beat ice cream and lemonade until blended. Sprinkle half of crumbles into greased 9x13” dish. Spread with ice cream mixture; sprinkle with remaining crumbles. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Yield: 12-15.

Tip: to soften ice cream in the refrigerator-transfer from freezer to fridge 20-30 minutes before using. Or let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Ice cream can also be softened in the microwave at 30% power for 30 seconds.

Here are some tips for "Low-Fat" grilling:
· Say "NO" to hamburgers and/or hot dogs unless you’re using very lean ground beef (veggie burgers are best) or low fat, low sodium nitrite free turkey dogs
· Light or fat free mayo, mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, hot sauce, pickles and relish are good for condiments.
· Use whole grain buns
· Marinated chicken breasts, halibut, scallops or shrimp are low fat. Salmon is also a good option. Leave skin on the chicken while cooking but remove before eating
· Opt for lean cuts of beef, flank steak, filet mignon, top loin or round steak are good choices. Trim all visible fat before cooking
· Kebabs are delicious and a great way to eat veggies and balance your meat consumption.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Books, Bees and Bugs

"Phrase of Fire" Contest
Piece of the puzzle: #3

Fireside Dinner Theater

Emilie Richards was featured in the "Book Nook" segment today. She is the best-selling author (over 60 books) and was with us today to talk about her newest novel, "FORTUNATE HARBOR"- a powerful book about friendships and how good friends are there to support, encourage and guide us. This book, is the second in her "Happiness Key" trilogy. A great summer read, but also one with depth and a suspensful twist. When you've got friends, anything is possible...For more information you can go to

Who are your best friends? If you haven't talked to them in a while, get on the phone, send an email, or better yet, send a handwritten note!

The bugs and bees are out in full force! Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets can build their nests in trees, bushes, under the eaves or even on the ground. Be careful when walking barefoot! Bees and yellow jackets like sweet things so don't leave open soda cans outside. Honeybees like colored flowers, although they don't like the color red. Red geraniums in your garden or on your porch should be ok.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dill Plants and Dieting

"Phrase of Fire" Contest
Piece of the Puzzle #2

Hello, I'm Johnny Cash

When is the best time to harvest dill? That was the question posed by a listener on the show the other day. I did a little research and found out that you can harvest dill leaves any time. Dill generally blooms about 8 weeks after sowing. Once the flowers develop, the plant stops producing foiliage. After picking, you can use fresh or store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Dill can also be frozen or dried, for later use and is probably best known for its use in pickles. The seeds are almost always included in pickling spice mixes. However, the leaves can be used to flavor all sorts of foods, like potatoes, breads, salmon and other fish, lamb and many vegetables like peas (pea soup), beets and asparagus.

You might think that cutting out carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight, however, trying to drop all carbs from your diet might actually make it harder to drop pounds. In fact, carbs may be your "secret weapon" if you want to lose weight. The trick is to add the right kind-especially those with "resistant starch"-which is a type of carb that acts like fiber so it helps you feel full. It can also help you lose more abdominal fat and even out your blood sugar levels. Here is a list of "GOOD FOR YOU" carbs:
  • Potatoes-are full of vitamin C, potassium, and resistant starch
  • Beans-are loaded with fibe, protein and resistant starch
  • Pasta-has resistant starch too! Try noodles made with chickpea flour for a fiber bonus
  • Strawberries-have lots of vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium
  • Beets-are scrumptious when roasted, peeled, and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar and have healthy doses of iron, folic acid and fiber
  • Artichoke hearts-have a rich taste and will give a fiber boost
  • Quinoa-has sub high-protein. Use it for rice or pasta in salads and soups

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunburn Solutions and S'mores

"Phrase of Fire" Contest
Piece of the Puzzle #1
Come see

Today kicks off our "Phrase of Fire" contest for the Fireside Theater. Be sure to check my blog each day this week, collect the pieces of the puzzle and at the end of the week, assemble all parts of the phrase into the one we are looking for. Email your phrase to with your name, address and phone number. You could be the lucky winner of 2 tickets to see the Johnny Cash show now playing at the Fireside. I've heard it's a terrific production with over 36 of his songs. So keep checking everyday...

Today we talked about solutions for sunburn pain. If you've been out in the sun lately or a family member has a bad sunburn here are a few solutions:

  • Place white vinegar (undiluted) in a bowl. Soak a towel in the vinegar, ring out and place on the affected area until the cloth turns warm. Repeat the procedure until the skin is no longer hot. The vinegar relieves the pain, eliminates the heat and will prevent your skin from blistering. (You can also use vinegar and a cottom ball).
  • Cover the sunburn with "Baby Magic" baby lotion
  • Pop a Vitamin E capsule (or use liquid Vitamin E). Spread over the sunburn for relief and to ward off the chance of infections.
  • Bactine also works. (Remember the distinctive smell of bactine. My mom soothed cuts and sunburns with this product!)

I also shared lots of great dessert recipes for the grill. The open flame is a great way to bring out the sweet flavors of fresh fruit, poundcake, and more for some very tasty treats.

Banana Split S’mores

6 bananas, in the skin ½ c. chocolate chips
½ c. mini marshmallows 6 large graham crackers
Set or light grill to medium heat, or build a small campfire. Make long slit in each banana from end to end, through the skin and down to, but not through, the skin on the other side. Gently push in on either end to open the banana. Divide chocolate chips and mini marshmallows among bananas, pressing with your fingers to fit as much as possible (It’s OK if the banana smushes a bit). Wrap each banana in aluminum foil and place on center of grill or around perimeter of fire. Cook 5 minutes, or until chips and marshmallows are melted and banana is warm. Serve immediately with graham crackers for dipping. Yield: 6 servings. 210 calories, 6g fat, 0mg chol; 3g protein, 42g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5mg sodium.

(You might want to try these tucked inside a banana on the grill; brie or goat cheese, honey, almonds, white chocolate, caramel sauce, dried cranberries, candied ginger, gingersnaps and/or coconut)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Food Safety

How clean is your kitchen?
We spend ALOT of time each day in the kitchen and the kitchen is the busiest germ factory in the house! But you can fight back-here's how:

If you're baking a cake, spill some of the batter with raw egg in it, and don't get it all wiped up, you'l have a "bacterial breeding ground". If you later make a sandwich in the same spot, you could have trouble.
The fix: use a disinfecting wipe or spray after any food prep to kill lingering bacteria. To truly banish the "yucky" stuff-use a product that says it kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

Faucet Filter:
If you brush the dirty dishrag against the faucet as you're rinsing it out, bacteria can grow. Lime-scale residue can also build up if you have hard water.
The fix: take out the filter and soak it in white vinegar overnight once a week.

The Cutting Board:
This kitchen staple is used for everything from chopping onions to slicing roast beef.
The fix: Wash the cutting board with hot soapy water and rinse well. Spray board with mixture of 1 teaspoon bleach to 16 oz. of water that you keep in clearly labeled spray bottle. Then rinse the board with hot water or toss it in the dishwasher on high.
The best boards are glass or plastic because they are non-porous and most resistant to germs. Remember to toss your board if it worn, or has lots of knife-cut indentations as they can trap bacteria.

The Dish Towel:
If you rinse pieces of chicken and wipe your hands on the towl before continuing to cook, you could be inviting "salmonella" into your kitchen!
The fix: during food prep with raw meat, use paper towels (not cloth) and then toss them. And wash your hands immediately with soap and water.