Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Archive for September, 2010
Posted: September 10th, 2010

These things are all the rage among members of Weight Watchers right now. My friend just bought me a package because she insisted that I try them. They’re called CocoPops,¬† and they’re made fresh every day at Wegmans. They’re about 8 inches across, like a very shallow bowl and taste to me like popcorn without the hulls. They’re made from corn, wheat and rice flours and sea salt.You can top them with butter spray, jelly, apple butter, cheesey sprinkles. Here’s the best part of all:


Yes, 16 calories. You can eat three for one WW point. They crunch. You can make them salty or sweet. You can munch on them while you make dinner, top them with eggs for breakfast, anything you can think of.

They’re called¬† CocoPops. (a multigrain snack, NOT Coco Pops cereal.) The pops come 15 to a package for $2.49. At first, they look like pitas. When you get closer, they look like big rice cakes. But these are really different. They’re made of three kinds of flour, corn, wheat and rice and sea salt. I can’t describe them any better. You just have to try them. I think you can only get them at Wegmans. You can even sometimes watch them make the CocoPops at Wegmans. I’m told that’s kind of neat.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 9th, 2010

I’ve been mulling over the idea of trying KFC’s newish grilled chicken sandwich. I’ve never been to KFC before, but the other day, I was driving hungry and there was a KFC on my right. I slipped into the drive thru out of curiosity.

Turns out the Doublicious with Grilled Fillet is pretty good.

It’s also kind of bad. It has 380 calories, 11 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 35 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 85 milligrams of cholesterol and 950 milligrams sodium.

That’s 8 Weight Watcher points. Not bad, I guess, for a fast food sandwich. but the sodium content makes me nervous.

Speaking of WW, my leader said a few weeks ago that WW is coming out with a new system in January. It will address things like sodium and sugar content, among others. That’s all she said, adding that she shouldn’t have mentioned it at all. But she seemed excited about it.

We’ll see about that.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 8th, 2010

I made apple butter for the first time last year, and it was awesome. I love it on on cottage cheese. The apple tree behind the house is starting to drop apples, and I wanted to get a jump on it. I gathered and canning comrade Sherry Rieder peeled, cored and sliced.

I made a batch of applesauce, and dumped the rest into the slow cooker. 24 hours later, I had apple butter. I revved up the kettle burner and things were progressing nicely. Until …

I nearly forgot the most important part of the canning process: Tasting the stuff before jarring it up for all eternity. I had two jars in the kettle before I licked a smidge of it off my finger. My mouth positively puckered. “Ahhhh!” I shouted. (Of course, I say that so often, nobody in my house even answers)

I dumped all the jars back into the Crock Pot and dug into the sugar. I’m hopeful that the flavor will mellow in storage. Maybe the apples were just too young.

Here’s how I made the applesauce: 4 quarts of peeled, cored, sliced apples
Handfuls of sugar until it tasted right.
Generous doses of cinnamon (I like McCormick’s Saigon Cinnamon twice the flavor of the conventional stuff)

A healthy pinch of ground cloves

A tablespoon or so of allspice

I just cooked it, breaking up the thin apple slices until it looked a caramel brown, and jarred it up. Great stuff.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 7th, 2010

So people go to baseball games. Some people have picnics. Some people do home improvement, others take a long bike ride.

Yesterday, I spent the holiday in the kitchen, with a dear friend, the windows open, rock music playing — and catching up with my garden produce. As the cauldrons bubbled, we shared scuttlebutt about work and mutual acquaintances.

Sherry happily skinned tomatoes, chopped carrots, snapped beans, blanched vegetables and packed them in the freezer. She peeled and cored gallons of apples and we packed that as applesauce and put some in the Crock Pot for making apple butter, which I can jar up tonight.

We got more done in 6 hours than I could have done by myself all day. I even had time to make an honest-to-God family dinner.

If you’re looking for a good one, here’s a recipe I used for a Chicken marinade.

When Sherry got into her car. I told her the apple tree is just starting to produce, that she is in trouble now. I can’t wait.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 3rd, 2010

You know those round Arnold’s Sandwich Thins? They have 1 Weight Watchers point, and they have a lot more body to them than light bread. I love them, and have stopped buying light bread altogether.

Last time I was shopping at Wegmans, I found rectangular ones. I threw them in the basket out of curiosity. Last night, I went scavenging for dinner. (My canning has nudged actual cooking off my plate.)

I found the rectangular things and decided to make grilled cheese. When I got them out of the package, I realized something uber-cool: They’re split, but not all the way through, like a hot dog bun. You can use them as a hot dog bun, or a small sub sandwich, or a plain sandwich. I put two pieces of cheese in the middle and popped them into the toaster oven.

I left them in a little long and the cheese kind of bubbled out of the bread and onto the tray. But I love burnt cheese, so that was OK.

Arnold’s sandwich thins are available at every store I shop in and I definitely think they’re worth a try.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 2nd, 2010

Last night I had to can tomatoes. I had no choice. I had ripe tomatoes code blue on the counter. I refuse to let them go bad.

It’s hard to do anything like that when my son is around, so I decided to put it off until he went to bed. That left me falling asleep on the couch while the jars were processing until about 1 a.m. when the stove timer went off. I am a sick, sick woman.

All that for five pints of tomatoes. I peeled and chopped way more than that, but I can only do five jars at a time in my kettle. I wasn’t about to put in another batch at 1 in the morning, so I reluctantly put the rest of the toms in the refrigerator. I hope they’ll still be good. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving them on the counter for 24 hours, even hermetically sealed in 800 layers of plastic wrap.

But I thought about it.

Dinner, by the way, was leftover pasta and spaghetti sauce. My column and the sauce recipe will run next week, Sept. 8. The sauce is thick and heavy with herbs. Maybe too much herbs. Personal preference, I guess.

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Posted: September 1st, 2010

I’m drowning in watermelon. ‘Tis the season.

Last night, my family of three consumed half of a green orb roughly the size of Jupiter. Then, this morning, a co-worker just came to my desk and gave me a forkful of her Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves a recipe she got from Paula Deen on the Food Network website. The salad exploded in my mouth. I can’t wait to go home and make it with the rest of my green planet.

Speaking of watermelon, the annual salted/unsalted debate rages on at our house. Lots of people, including my husband, sprinkle salt on watermelon slices. My brother says salt actually makes the watermelon taste sweeter.

I’m not getting it. To me it just tastes like watermelon with salt on it: yuck.

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