Category Archives: Food

Girl Scout Cookies

Well, I did my civic duty the other day and bought a couple of Girl Scout Cookie boxes. This year I got Thin Mints and Ra Ra Raisins.

Got me Googling to learn more about those cookies…

From Reader’s Digest

11 Surprising Secrets About Girl Scout Cookies

We dish up who-knew, fun facts about Girl Scout Cookies, America’s most beloved treat.

From January through March of each year, Girl Scout cookies are the number one cookie brand in the United States.


The rest of the year, Oreos top the bestselling cookie list.

About 200 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies are sold each year.


Americans loves themselves some Thin Mints.

Thin Mints account for a quarter of all sales. Samoas/Caramel deLites make up 19% of sales, and Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs come in at 13%.

How many Thin Mints?


During peak bake times, Girl Scout cookie producers bake over 4.5 million Thin Mints per day. That’s right, per day.

The Girl Scouts recipes are keeping with the times.


No preservatives, “zero trans fats per serving”—plus, Thin Mints, Thanks-A-Lot, Lemonades and Peanut Butter Patties Girl Scout Cookies are vegan.

The most fat and calories?


That would be the “healthy,” nutrient-enriched new Mango Crèmes.

The box might be a little lighter than you remember.


In 2009, the cost of baking Girl Scout cookies rose, but rather than opt for a price spike, the organization downsized the size of the Lemon Chalet Cremes and stuffed fewer cookies in boxes of Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

The first cookies were home-baked.


Before the business exploded, in the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts around America baked their own sugar cookies and sold them to raise money for their activities.

During World War II, cookie sales were put on hold.


Due to sugar, flour, and butter shortages caused by the war, in 1942, Girl Scouts sold calendars in lieu of cookies.

In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council sold cookies in the city’s gas and electric company windows.


Then, a box of 44 cookies rang in at 23 cents, or you could splurge for six boxes at $1.24.

Cookie sales aside, Girl Scouts are leaders.


Fifty-nine percent of women in the U.S. Senate and 60 percent of women in the House of Representatives are Girl Scouts alumnae.

Sources: ABC Smart Cookies, officially licensed Girl Scout Cookie baker for more than 75 years,,


Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with a great herbed turkey dinner which was followed by some of Melissa’s fabulous cupcakes.

Today we celebrated Christmas with a fantastic sweet bread breakfast at Melissa’a house.

Later we opened presents.

Tonight we had sausages and vegetables on ciabatta rolls.

Followed by a chocolate cherry dump cake.

And now we are “Blutoed”–which is our way of saying that we are STUFFED!

Bluto comes from John Belushi’s character in Animal House…

One of the great things about Thanks for Christmas is that we only get Blutoed once, not twice. 🙂

Singing Praise to Patti’s Pies

Singer Patti Labelle has teamed with Walmart to sell her Sweet Potato Pies.


The pies are literally flying off the shelf, so CNN’s Jeanne Moos investigated…

Check out James Wright’s original tribute to the pie.

It’s gone viral and will bring a smile to your face…

PS I haven’t tried the pie and probably won’t. I just love James’ video. 🙂

World’s Largest Yogurt Factory

About two hours east of Boise is the world’s largest yogurt factory.

The Chobani Greek Yogurt factory is the city of Twin Falls, and it was the focus of tonight’s Idaho Life segment on KTVB news.

Chobani has been great for the community and is helping establish beneficial programs within the Twin Falls area.

Yogurt has been made the same way for more than a thousand years: milk is fermented, whey is filtered from the curds, and so on and so forth. At the Chobani Greek Yogurt facility in Twin Falls they don’t do it much differently; they just do it on a much larger scale.

In 2012, Chobani expanded its foothold on America’s yogurt industry when the company built the world’s largest yogurt plant on 200 acres in Twin Falls. It took 2,000 workers less than a year to build the massive facility, which, at one million square feet, is big enough to fill 20 football fields.

It also stands as an extension of its founder, Hamdi Ulukaya.

“Hamdi always says if we cannot do it great we don’t do it at all,” said Kai Sacher, vice president of research and development for Chobani. He says things have changed a lot since the company started in 2007. Like back then they had only 12 flavors. Now they have 60.

In the process, Chobani has cornered the market on Greek yogurt in the United States, securing nearly a billion dollars in sales annually.

Built in 2012, the Twin Falls Chobani plant is the When Chobani started in 2007, they had just 12 flavors. Built in 2012, the Twin Falls Chobani plant is the Built in 2012, the Twin Falls Chobani plant is the Each day, dozens of trucks roll in to the Chobani factory Each day, dozens of trucks roll in to the Chobani factory.

And to make Greek yogurt you need a lot of milk. In fact, the Greek variety requires three times more milk than regular yogurt. So each day, dozens of trucks roll in to the Chobani factory carrying 8,000 gallons of local, hormone-free milk.

That is a big reason for the sheer size of the Twin Falls factory. They use several giant storage tanks that have the approximate combined capacity of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

In three years, Chobani’s Idaho operation has swollen to about 1,000 employees, making it the second largest employer in Twin Falls.

At some point during their shift, most of those workers will wind up in the 900-foot hallway that is the arterial axis of the superstructure. “It’s the main connection point from the offices, the [quality assurance] lab, the chemistry lab,” said Paul Casey, Chobani’s quality manager.

It takes three minutes to walk from one end to the other. Behind a door somewhere in the middle, you can find Ermin Masic, a supervisor in the sleeving department, and one of the plant’s original employees.

“We can sleeve 500 cups per minute on a single line,” said Masic.

So you see, it’s all super-sized here at Chobani. However, like yogurt itself, the company’s grand plan to change the eating habits of Americans seems philosophically simple.

“We are not a yogurt company,” said Sacher. “We are a food company making better food, all natural food. That is our company. And that’s where I think we are very different from the big guys.”

Believe it or not, the facility has the capability to double the amount of yogurt it produces.

As a way to say “thank you” to the entire Twin Falls community, Chobani is having a Greek Yogurt give-away. Anyone who stops by the College of Southern Idaho Fine Arts building on Saturday, December 5, from 9 – 11 a.m., will get a free case of yogurt.

Halloween in the City

This will be our first Halloween inside city limits.


Most Halloweens, we could count the total number of Trick or Treaters we got on two hands.

But the thing is… We never knew how many we would get, so I always used that as an excuse to buy LOTS and LOTS of candy.

Of course, I wanted to be prepared, so I bought the candy early.


And, of course, the candy was too tempting, so we at most if not all of it before Halloween.

So, of course, I had to buy MORE candy before Halloween. By that time, I was candied out, so I’d make sure I didn’t have any of my favorite candies. No Almond Joys. No candy corn. It was okay if it had lots of my least favorite candies. Snickers, M&Ms, Smarties…


Because we’re in a new location, I am not sure how much candy get.

Our subdivision has almost 150 houses which sounds like it might yield a bunch of trick or treaters. But most of the residents are retired, so I knew there wouldn’t be many from our subdivision.

However, there is a subdivision right next door that has oodles of kids. So I assumed that we’d need lots of candy.

Chocolate has gotten so expensive that I specifically looked for mixed bags that didn’t have chocolate but had some of my favorites: Tootsie Rolls!


I’m trying to ration my pre-Halloween feasting so that I have enough candy to actually hand out to however many kids show up.

If I’ve eaten too many, the kids will get healthier granola bars.

For some strange reason, there are lots of those in my house… 🙂

How Many M&Ms Flavors Are There?

As I was perusing candies at my local store yesterday, I decided to buy some M&Ms.


Why? Rich likes them and I don’t like them as much so hopefully I won’t eat as many…

Apparently I haven’t shopped for them in a while because I had no idea of the plethora of flavors now available!

I counted at least nine flavors and that doesn’t include seasonal flavors!

One of the first things I studied in Business 101 over 30 years ago was the Product Life Cycle.

PLCEach product that gets to a point where it is sold goes through a common time line from introduction, to growth, to maturity, and then decline.

That’s why my favorite toothpaste keeps disappearing every few years. The manufacturers decide that sales have declined so they re-introduce a slightly modified toothpaste that then goes through it’s own product life cycle.


So, back to M&Ms.

I’m not sure what’s happening. Either the original M&Ms has a very long maturity time span or the introduction of other flavors of M&Ms help original M&Ms cycle back to the growth phase.

Here are the current M&M flavors NOT counting season flavors like Candy Corn and Gingerbread and Cherry Cordial and Red Velvet and…

Original Milk Chocolate


Dark Chocolate Peanut




Dark Chocolate


Peanut M&M-4

Peanut Butter




Mint Dark Chocolate


Mega 3X Milk Chocolate



Organic Schmorganic

I was looking for our favorite croutons yesterday while shopping at Costco.

We love these and have eaten bazillions of them over the last decade…

Garlic croutonsThey are so good and so garlicky that we often eat them like potato chips.

Even the crumbs were delicious. We had the last little bit of crumbs over home grown zucchini for dinner the other night. Yummy!!!

Alas, they aren’t at Costco anymore.

In the move to make us all healthier so that we live even longer and buy more Costco wine, the only crouton choice is now organic.


Seems like EVERYTHING’s going organic lately.

I’m sure organic is better for people in general, but at my age it just seems silly to spend more money on organic.

At first I thought I was just being cranky and that crankiness was making me spot more organic foods.

But lo and behold, organic is the new gluten-free!


Organic food sales are expected to grow (pun intended 🙂 ) by 14% annually over the next five years. Yes, annually!

And domestic organic food production grew almost 250% from 2002 to 2011. And during that same time period, non-organic food production grew only 3%.

What’s all this mean?

It means I better get used to seeing more organically grown foods when I shop, and I’d better get used to paying more for them…


Bread from Heaven

Carol posted this a little over a year ago on Facebook…

CarolBreadAnd I’m such a fan of fresh baked bread that I’ve wanted to try it ever since.

But I couldn’t do it while living in Homer because we didn’t have a regular over. And we’ve been crazy busy with ‘life’ and moving in over the last few months.

Finally, I ordered the special Dutch Oven that Carol recommended for the bread earlier this week.

PanIt came yesterday, so I searched for Carol’s recipe and tried the bread.

Here’s the link to the recipe: Simply So Good | Crusty Bread.

Words fail me…

I can’t even begin to describe how good this bread is. And how easy it is to make. I didn’t even stop to take pictures after I pulled it out of the oven. We just cut in and ate some…

Felt like I’d died and gone to bread-eating heaven. Amazing!

The great thing about this recipe and method is that bakers can add lots of different ingredients and the bread still turns out. I can’t wait to add some whole grains and dried cranberries or rosemary and roasted garlic. Yummy!


My house smelled so good that I keep going outside every so often so that I can come back in and smell the bread anew. 🙂

Here’s wonderful video from the Simply So Good site showing how to make the bread. Enjoy…

PS THANKS, CAROL! And Rich thanks you, too!

Gad Zukes!

Meridian, Idaho

Our new home came to us with a small garden.

And that garden obviously has very good dirt!

We’re overrun with zucchini. It feels like we’re having zucchini at every meal…

We try to pick them before they become zumpkins — zucchini as big as pumpkins. 🙂

But  we missed a few that grew big enough to feed a small army.  


We’ve given them to friends. I’ve taken them to pickleball practice. And we’re very close to leaving them on neighbors’ doorsteps, but we’re afraid that they will do the same to us if they figure out that we’re the culprits…

I found a great zucchini muffin recipe on-line that I’ve changed a bit to make it healthier with less oil and sugar.

Here it is in case you’re being overrun with zukes and need a way to use them up. These freeze well so you can have fresh (frozen) zucchini all year round.

Zuked Muffins (Makes 12 LARGE or 24 standard)

3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup applesauce (or 4 ounce individual serving package)
1/3 cup of yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Bran Buds cereal (or chopped nuts)
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

NOTE: I use large muffin tins because then I can honestly say, “I only had one!” You will need to adjust the baking time to maybe 20 minutes if you use standard sized tins. 🙂


  1. 0730151801Beat eggs until light and foamy.
  2. Add sugars, oil and zucchini.
  3. Blend well with spoon or mixer.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Blend well.
  6. Add flour.
  7. Blend well.
  8. Add Bran Buds and Cranberries.
  9. Stir well.
  10. Pour into greased or lined muffin tins.
  11. Bake at 325oF for at least 25 minutes or until done.

National Junk Food Day

Meridian, Idaho

cd9829a9988b3fa782ea50ec0ad2fe75.image.120x90Shoot, I didn’t know it was National Junk Food Day yesterday until after I went to bed.

If I had known, I could have eaten way more crap throughout the day and not felt guilty because I would have been celebrating an important day. 🙂

Anyway…  Here are parts of the  funny,  and yet informative, article by Amy Roberts and Julie In I read on about new junk foods…

9 bizarre snacks to try for National Junk Food Day

At CNN, we love sampling new snacks. Chips, cookies, candy, pretzels … you name it, we’re not picky.

So when snack-food makers come out with bizarre new hybrids — toasted coconut & sea salt Triscuits, anyone? — we’re not afraid to try them.

When we learned that Tuesday is National Junk Food Day, we at the CNN Library jumped at the chance to put our taste buds on the line. In honor of the holiday, we librarians bravely conducted taste tests of some of the most bizarre flavor pairings to hit the snack market this year.

After all, librarians love gathering information. And this wasn’t just snacking, this was Research.

Here’s our personal take on nine new strange snacks. Maybe they can help you find a fun treat to mark this momentous occasion.

Heinz Sriracha Ketchup

Amy Roberts: Why would you want Sriracha-flavored ketchup when you most likely already have ketchup and Sriracha sauce at home and can mix them yourself? Because you are lazy. That’s OK. We are, too.

This ketchup blend has less Sriracha than you might think but just the right amount of kick. I wasn’t sure until I tried some on a breakfast sandwich from the CNN Center food court, and then I was hooked. I’m totally going to start buying this.

Julie In: Sriracha — good. Ketchup — good. Sriracha ketchup — undecided.

I like the kick of Sriracha at the end and the balancing sweetness of the ketchup, but the hint of garlic seems out of place. I like garlic on its own, but here, it seemed like a third wheel interfering in the marriage of Sriracha and ketchup. (Disclaimer: I did not try it on a breakfast sandwich.)

Amp Energy Zero Blueberry White Grape Drink


Julie: My primary thought after one sip was: This is awesome! I love this feeling. I love the rush. I feel powerful. I can feel the alleged antioxidants from the blueberry and white grape flavoring coursing through my veins. I’ve tried a lot of energy drinks in my time, and this flavor combination is my favorite.

Amy: “It’s sugar-free!” was my primary thought as I felt my heart beating out of my chest after one sip. As a bonus, the blueberry and white grape combination was unexpectedly good. We also tried the original as a control, which tasted like “hot Mountain Dew,” aka my new band name.

General Mills ‘Star Wars’ Cereal


Amy: As a fan of “Star Wars” and sugary cereals, I think this is the best thing to happen to me in my whole life. It’s like Froot Loops and Lucky Charms got married and had babies — fruity babies in the shape of spaceships and light sabers. If you share my passions, this is for you. Darth Vader and Yoda are on the limited-edition boxes now, and two more characters will appear on new box designs in October.

Julie: “Star Wars” and cereal seems like an unlikely pairing, but after the first spoonful, I made the connection. The fruity cereal and marshmallows transported me to “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” — before I discovered the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup and it was still acceptable to act out fight sequences from “Star Wars.” (I still act out the scenes, but it’s not as cute when you’re an adult.) The double dose of nostalgia was so delicious, I had to have seconds.

Trader Joe’s Baconesque Popcorn


Amy: OK, this is the best thing that’s happened to me in my whole life. (This list was done in chronological order.) “Baconesque” refers to bacon flavor, not real bacon, which is good for vegetarians. (The package isn’t specifically marked as vegetarian, however, but it is kosher.)

The smoky flavoring combined with the white cheddar is enough to make me say, “Yes, I’m having this popcorn as my dinner. You got a problem with that?” There will not be enough to share.

Julie: I only got a small taste because Amy slapped my hand away when I went back for more. We both liked the white cheddar and the smokiness of the bacon. I’m a card-carrying carnivore and didn’t even miss the real bacon.

Read about all nine bizarre snacks…