Category Archives: Challenges

World’s Largest Potluck Attempt a Success with 861 Dishes!

Whoot whoot! We attended the Guinness Book of World Record Attempt: Casper, Wyoming, U.S., World’s Largest Potluck yesterday with a couple of plates of Ethel’s Sugar Cookies (and some unopened food for the donation to the food bank). Boy, was it fun and so much good food! The goal was set at 808 dishes. Did the community participation surpass it? Yes, we did! The turnout was spectacular – at almost 2:30 a voice boomed over the speaker system that the official tally was at 861 dishes and 980 persons!

To break the current record the event had to exceed the previous number of dishes registered, Dee Lundberg, the event’s spokesperson said, was 805 dishes. Guinness reps did detail the number as 805 dishes to “beat” in an email as late as Friday to one of the event organizers. The Guinness World Records Corporate website said, “the largest pot luck party was achieved by 479 participants, in an event organised{sic} by Slideluck Potshow (USA) in the Old Tobacco Warehouse, New York, USA, on 15 May 2010.” However after another 45 minutes of internet searching I found River Pointe Church (Richmond, TX) held the distinction of breaking THAT record in August 2011. Curiously the old record hasn’t been updated, which is a shame because they deserve to be recognized too.

I read the article about how River Pointe Church achieved their record and it was very heartwarming to know that no matter your religion (or lack thereof), COMMUNITY is what brings us together to take care of one another. The event was planned by Interfaith of Natrona County, also gained donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals (including those who attended without a dish). The organizers had a goal to bring awareness of poverty, especially FOOD POVERTY, in a single county within the State of Wyoming. In total, about $40,000.00 was collected before and during the event!

It’s not over yet, the attempt must still be verified by Guinness. In the next few weeks (or maybe months?) Guinness will review the documentation provided. Once the verification process is complete and decision made, an official letter and certificate will be sent to Interfaith of Natrona County.

A big round of applause and a “thank you” to the Volunteers who were the foundation and those who helped make this event a tremendous success to each of us who participated.

Read more…. (photos too!)

Kiss FM, Casper, Wyoming

K2 Radio


Apple & Cheddar Muffets from “Julia’s Child” by Sarah Pinneo

I just read a book as part of my 2012 Reading Challenge (read more about my review of the book) about a mompreneur trying to have it all in Julia’s Child. I decided to make this delicious sounding muffin coined a “Muffet” by the authors character Julia Bailey. In the book Julia Bailey runs an organic toddler meals and backed goods business from Brooklyn, N.Y. called Julia’s Child. I’m kinda jealous that The Book Fetish got to review her book and interview her! The author Sarah Pinneo is on tour in New England currently.

Here is the recipe I”m making for breakfast and I’ll update with the pictures as soon as possible. HERE ARE THE PHOTOS!!! YUM

Apple & Cheddar Muffets


1 very large apple or 2 small ones

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg lightly beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, divided


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease and flour 12 muffin cups.

Peel and core the apples and dice finely.  If your toddler is helping, peel and slice an extra one to share. If you play your cards right, he or she will be busy eating the apple slices while you’re measuring out the dry ingredients.

In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apple until tender and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

All the dry ingredients

The wet ingredients & cheese

Wet meets dry ingredients

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; then add the apples and butter.  Stir just to combine.


Spoon into the prepared tin, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until very brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffets comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen muffets by ringing their edges with a plastic knife. Turn them gently out onto a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.

Check out some tasty recipes this weekend at “bethfishreads”!

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMomfingerprints on the fridge

Reading Challenge #2 – Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo

This isn’t the genre I normally read but chose to expand my reading due to the process I’m going through: becoming a stay at home mom and trying to find a business that is flexible around my children. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and although I enjoyed it, the ending left me with mixed feelings. I feel this is a cautionary tale…how bad do you want your dream, at what cost? It made me reevaluate my goals as a entrepreneur.

This book was read as a part of the following my 2012 reading challenges:


I'm #16!

About the Author – Visit her blog: Sarah Pinneo to keep up with her! I read several of her posts and found her to be similar to her character, in humor, and strangely more in common than I expected beyond the premise of her book. I’m definitely going to keep reading her blog and check out her other writings.

I found out from her website that her first book was published by Clarkson Potter / Random House in 2007.  She holds a degree in economics from Yale University.  Sarah has lived in Grand Rapids, MI, New York City, Ludlow, VT and now Hanover, NH where the occasional moose or black bear is spotted in her back yard.

Sarah Pinneo (from the inside cover) worked in finance for more than a decade before making the transition from breadwinner to bread baker. Her first book, The Ski House Cookbook, was published in 2007. Sarah writes about food and sustainability for lifestyle publications including the Boston Globe Magazine and Edible Communities.

julia's childAbout the BookJulia’s Child (from the blurb) Julia Bailey is a mompreneur with too many principles and too little time. Her fledgling company, Julia’s Child, makes organic toddler meals with names like Gentle Lentil and Give Peas a Chance. But before she realizes her dream of seeing them on the shelves of Whole Foods, she will have to make peace between her professional aspirations and her toughest food critics: the two little boys waiting at home. Is it possible to save the world while turning a profit?

Julia’s Child is a warmhearted, laugh-out-loud story about motherhood’s choices: organic vs. local, paper vs. plastic, staying at home vs. risking it all.

My Review – the story starts off in a borough of NYC, a bit slow, as it introduces you right into the character Julia Bailey’s first business pitch of “Julia’s Child” to a mom group. While making several product lines of baby/toddler meals and baked goods is a great idea Julia is running against time – without any other start up financing, she and her husband, Luke, delve into their savings to support her dream of giving moms the option to give their kids healthy, organic, real food as early as possible in different forms, such as her “muffets”. Like most couples, Luke in IT is the major breadwinner since Julia quit the banking industry. With the shadow of Luke being pink slipped in expected layoffs Julia goes to bed every night worrying about their dwindling savings going to her business that might not survive its first year resulting in her spending less and less time at home.

Along for the ride is their Scottish au pair, Bonnie, and Julia’s partner in the kitchen, Marta, a former welfare to work program mom taught culinary skills & business skills, supported by a cast of characters including “locals” you’d find in your neighborhood to a mobster offering protection to the slimy guys in suits at a major conglomerate who want to “acquire” Julia’s Child.

Faced with the challenges of lowering her “cost per unit” Julia tries balancing her dream  customer to get her full line of products on the shelves at Whole Foods to the reality of sacrifices in her personal life. In trying to obtain her ultimate goal she does gain a toe-in at Whole Foods but has to drop all her other product lines to focus on her most popular and innovative product “muffets” (a savory baked good made from unexpectedly healthy things). I thought muffets were like muffin tops, but as Julia explains that is just a cutesy name for muffins she picked up from Little Miss Muffet refusing to eat her “curds and whey” because she was scared by a spider. Julia’s sons love that story and it inspires one of her product names. I was really excited to see a several recipes in the book, including these Apple and Cheddar Muffets (see my post later Friday for it)– which is loved by a host on a morning TV show “The Scene” (uh-huh, it is like a mirror of The View set up using a person similar to Elisabeth Hasselbeck).

When Julia gets set up at a trade show everything is going downhill, she is trying to go “natural” but is subverted by fire codes, her muffets go over great – at first, you know – “breakfast time” and “lunch time” but she finds those customers most interested in her product are too far away and would have too small of orders for her to send her product lines to them in say, Texas or California. Continuing to keep her eyes on the ultimate prize of Whole Foods she is faced with the dilemma by her husband: how long will you keep saying “everything will be find once I get this”? He puts it to her this way – you can’t keep going half-in and you have to get more people and financing involved to make the business a success. And the greatest thing he says to her is that he knows her business will be a success, but with such intense involvement in the day to day operations her small business would eat up her time for the next 10 years at the same pace. Julia is afraid of being a “sell-out” but just as she is discovering that keeping such a pace could cost her friendship and partner Marta, a brand acquisition conglomerate steps in and offers Julia the chance of a lifetime. It sounds like an answer to her prayers, but there are few things that could throw a wrench, and time is running out.

I’ve never been very good at writing a “book report” on what I’ve read. I’m kind of a Lucy Ricardo telling a joke, I misplace the punch line I the midst of the story. I hope I haven’t let any spoilers out because I’d like all the mompreneurs and dadpreneurs to read this before they go ahead with their dream.

Check out yesterdays interview of the author at The Book Fetish!

I’m there, check out what others are cooking this weekend at

Egg-cellence Challenge & Essay Contest – Day 5 & 6 with Farm Fresh Eggs: End of the Road

English: Three chicken eggs of contrasting col...

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Um…I’d post new pics but I did them the same way I did previously. I wanted to make an omelet but I’m not a fan of the items I have in my fridge that would be its ingredients. I’m just not a fan of bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms!!

Let me change course and ramble a bit of the thoughts I’ve been having…and anxieties.

First, I thank this contest for bringing to focus an issue I didn’t know was possible to resolve for me personally. As we drew to a close on Week 1 – Farm Fresh Eggs I realized  I didn’t want to use store bought eggs because of the known gas and digestive problems it would give me in just one serving of an egg! And I mean, real sweaty palms anxiety. For as long as I can remember eggs on their own have made me sick to my stomach unless they were cooked in a dish. I have found now that the farm eggs I got from Doris are so unlike ANY egg I’ve eaten in, well, DECADES…that I don’t care to continue on with the contest because I don’t want to egg store bought eggs on their own for breakfast. Yes, I will provide a link for the ladies at Realfoodfreaks to see what has happened to me and why I must withdraw.

I’ve got some obstacles to overcome, 1) my husband, 2) the distance vs. quantity of eggs and 3) price of eggs.

I want to continue buying eggs from Doris. My husband disagrees with me on continuing to buy my Doris $1.50/doz eggs. His reasons are that at that price they are still expensive (it seems he’s out of touch with egg prices), but the distance of 25 minutes to obtain them makes them more expensive than store eggs. And as Glenrock, Wyoming, is concerned, it is such a small town that the only reasons I go are to pass on to Douglas, WY (or beyond), the doctor, the park, or dinosaur museum. If I coordinate my trips for eggs with another activity in the area and arrange for at least 6 dozen eggs that should outstrip the mileage costs, don’t you think? Doris only has 30 chickens…haha.

I agree that it makes them about as expensive, but with the in town local egg farmer (the one I mentioned in a previous post selling for $3.49/doz) becoming a larger and larger outfit intent on egg farming which may already be in a place where the eggs will cause me digestive issues. At $3.49/doz I don’t think I’m going to try out their eggs anytime soon unfortunately. My options are limited right now and having my own layers isn’t one.

I am also looking at food differently because I’m staying at home as a homemaker; I need to make food from scratch as store bought/prepared foods are getting expensive to mix with real fruits and veggies. By making from scratch I save “per unit” by buying basic ingredients at bulk rates. That allows me to purchase those expensive fresh fruits and veggies.

Another good reason is that when I had gestational diabetes with my second child (Baby) I learned a lot about how food is broken down by the body. I metabolize food differently than I did before I had my first pregnancy…and I’m at risk by family history too for Type 2 diabetes. I don’t want to be diabetic because for me that means that I’ve continued to live an unhealthy lifestyle (overweight and sedentary). I want to eat with an approach that is more “diabetic” which includes eating eggs for breakfast for the protein and nutrients, fresh fish (my husband fishing and fishing is allowed year-round) when possible, and dishes like Minestrone. Including farm fresh eggs alone and in dishes will make my food healthier at the very least and at the most, be a preventive factor in avoiding Type 2 diabetes.

What choices have you made when presented with costs vs. quality?

A Preschool Day: Valentine’s Day Party

I volunteered to help out at Big Boys preschool class party. I’m excited to do this for the first time with my own child. I’m also bringing cupcakes, cookies, gelatin in sheet cakes and punch to drink. I’m going to need to take my Joovy Caboose to drag both Baby and supplies inside that day. I’m less enthused to be doing the activities. Even worse I have to keep the supplies his teacher gave me in the car except when I’m working on them to keep Big Boy from being …well, a …sticker, coloring happy, destructive baby.

Saturday: Cookies…

I made Ethel’s Sugar Cookies from Betty Crocker. It’s a favorite recipe I’ve growing up. With the high altitude issue I have a lot of problems with spreading but I think I’ve got it figured out with about 1/2 cup more flour plus what I use during roll out. I couldn’t find the Valentine theme cutter bag nor any heart cutters so I used 2 different style of “flowers”. I’ll ice the big flowers and make “sandwiches” out of the smaller flowers, leaving them plain.

Sunday: Cupcakes…

No need to wait until the last minute to make these! I find when I wait until “just the right moment” or etc, there is disaster and no time left to make a 2nd attempt! A promise is a promise and a real pet peeve of mine when someone breaks a promise for lack of planning. I plan on red cherry flavored velvet cake with pink frosting, white frosting, and colored sugar sprinkles. Darn it: disaster. This is the before: Photo1013

Turns out the baking powder was flat – it made the cupcakes flat. I also used the last of my red food coloring so Monday I have to go to the store for that, to get more coloring, eggs (I’m almost out and I need to do the store bought eggs part of my egg challenge). I used The Pioneer Woman Cooks (Ree Drummond)’s recipe for Red Velvet Cake as cupcakes. (Like I mentioned in later post I had to switch to another recipe from White Whimsy for Red Velvet Cupcakes which saved the day from a total massacre by preschoolers)

Monday: Punch & Gelatin…

I’m going simple with a flavored Kool-Aid punch, chilled, reserving some punch as ice cubes so as not to water down the punch, and Jello Jigglers in sheet cakes. The delay shouldn’t affect the punch & gelatin making since the actual “cooking” will be to leave it alone. The kids will use cookie cutters/shape cutters to make their Jigglers. It will be very…interesting…to see if I can pull this all off!

Are you getting creative this Valentine’s Day?

What are you doing to make it fun?

2/14: I’m #31

Egg-cellence Challenge & Essay Contest – Day 4 with Farm Fresh Eggs: Hard Boiled

Hmmm…well, you saw how bad dirty my kitchen was this morning. I did figure out that the bottom part of the double boiler pan from yesterday was not dirty, and used that to boil eggs. Hard boiled eggs are a problem for me: Photo1015I never know if I’d gotten them DONE until they crack!

Anyway, here’s the egg:

I found that there was more of the white sticking to the shell than I’m used to. I tried to peel it away, but there wasn’t a thin membrane? between the shell and the white like I’m used to in store bought eggs.

Seriously, the TMI part here is that these farm fresh eggs haven’t given me gas of the magnitude of an erupting volcano. It’s not a problem when I cook them into foods, but I have the same problem with dairy/ice cream too. With store bought eggs, by a 4th day I’d have a gas mask on and my husband would have started divorce proceedings! It’s that awful. Okay, end of TMI….I would love to find out if raw milk has the same results as basically, eliminating sensitivity or lactose intolerance.

Has anyone had that experience? If so, please tell me about it.

An Oldie But Goodie Cookie: Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

IMAG0360One of my all-time favorite, reliable sugar cookie recipes is from Betty Crocker. (See photo on your right to try the recipe!) It’s the go-to sugar cookie my Mother used when I was a child to make rolled out sugar cookies. It’s the recipe I made for Big Boy’s preschool class Valentine’s Day party. I decorated them like flowers since I couldn’t find a heart cookie cutter.

This recipe is older than I am, hence the modifications to the recipe in my Mom’s handwriting! I like to work with room temp butter and lard (formerly I used shortening for a balance of crispy and soft cookie. I use Watkins’s vanilla flavoring and put the salt and baking powder in before the flour. At sea level I didn’t have to adjust the amount of flour I used by about 1/2 cup more plus the flour used when rolling it out, but I have had a lot of mixed results at high altitude with spreading (the butter/lard mixture) even when I’ve chilled the dough. It doesn’t end up tasting too floury for me. They are good plain or decorated!





Making cookies was a special activity my Mom shared with me, and we baked cookies at least once a week. I have tons of wonderful memories of us baking and using this recipe. She grouped similar or holiday cutters she put in colorful bags we’d get at Hallmark when we bought stationary items. Orange for Halloween and Thanksgiving, Red for Christmas, Pink for Valentine’s Day, Green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. After Thanksgiving passed, we’d begin baking, almost spending 2 weeks straight making batch after batch of cookies for Christmas plates we’d give to neighbors, friends and family. Some of our cookie cutters were handmade and were from the 1920s, there is even one she made in shop class in high school! Baking was a special thing for us and I miss that with her. Baking and cooking is an activity I love sharing with my Big Boy and Baby. I hope my children remember our baking times as fondly as I do with my own Mom.


Do you have special memories with a loved one baking or cooking?

Do you have a favorite recipe used in that special time together?

Here are some more of the decorated ones …

Flower power!

using homemade frosting for "sandwiches"

I’m linking to some great Valentine’s treats & ideas this week! Seriously, wow – how may Red Velvet recipes are there? All yummy!

I’m #30
I’m #359!
In Hop 49 I’m #118
fingerprints on the fridgeI’m #438!

Egg-cellence Challenge & Essay Contest – Day 3 with Farm Fresh Eggs: Poached

I knew yesterday how I wanted to cook my eggs today! POACHED. This series reminds me of the scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts character Maggie tries to find out how she likes her eggs. Trying out each until she found the one she liked best.

It’s my favorite way to have eggs ad I haven’t had poached eggs (made in a double boiler type) in years because most cooks poach them directly in water and I don’t like watery poached eggs. My Big Boy decided my method to my madness was so interesting he wanted an egg too.

I was kinda hungry but looking more forward to poaching, I guess. I filled one of my double boiler pans with water, placed the poaching mini pans plate on, and put in one of the mini pans. Well, I put in one because I could only find one. My kids love these mini pans and I’m always trying to locate them.


Being high altitude it takes longer to boil water. At approximate height comparable to Denver it seems to take FOREVER. But it eventually does…so I slid in my egg.


and waited…


and waited…




So I put a lid on it. I should have before but I wanted to watch (the kid in me). That did the trick to get the rest of it cooked. Then I began to worry about whether the yolk was cooked too. So I let it bubble some more.


Finally I poked it with a fork and it kept the fork. haha. Like good chili. So I flipped it out, or tried to, shoulda coated it with something beforehand. It turned out alright looking.


It was pretty good tasting but I needed to cook it longer to make the yolk cooked perfectly to my taste. I think the lid would have come in to play more here…another day, another egg.


Egg-cellence Challenge & Essay Contest – Day 2 with Farm Fresh Eggs: Scrambled

I wasn’t very hungry this morning. Last night for dinner I made elk, baked potatoes and corn so it’s still processing. We also had  a homemade ice cream and a dessert recipe out of the first cookbook by The Pioneer Woman’s (Ree Drummond) for Oatmeal Crispies (check out my Reading Challenge post to find out what I’m reading!).

I pulled the carton of eggs out wondering what kind to make, finally deciding on scrambled when Big Boy said he wasn’t interested in any. My husband had already made his oatmeal and I was trying to stay out of his way in our small galley kitchen.

Once I was alone, I made this…

Scrambling eggs

and ended with a final product, garnishing with Tabasco and an orange sliver.


It took longer to cook than usual which I attributed to the juicier content of the whites. I like my eggs scrambled really dry but I was too impatient to wake any longer… Once again, tasty and delicious! My husband liked the looks of my eggs so much he took a bite forgetting I like my scrambled eggs a bit spicy.

I was surprised at how “juicy” the whites are in the fresh eggs from the farm. I wonder how long it takes before they become less juicy?

Also, a reader commented that I should make boiled eggs to appreciate the differences of store bought and fresh farm eggs – I did right after this for a potato salad! I didn’t take a photo but yes, the hard yolk is very yellow. Much more yellow than my pale yellow store bought egg I boiled alongside for comparison. I thought that was interesting…I plan on making a poached egg for Saturday morning breakfast.

I have some digestive issues normally associated with even one serving of dairy or eggs…gas. *TMI ALERT* Nose hair curling gas. Yup. Oddly, I’ve found NO DIGESTIVE ISSUES with these fresh farm eggs. I’m very excited in this discovery. If farm fresh is all that resolves my flipping issues with gas after eating eggs then Doris is going to have one heck of a customer in me!

Is it true, fresh eggs/raw milk resolve digestive issues with eggs/dairy?

Egg-cellence Challenge & Essay Contest – Day 1 with Farm Fresh Eggs: Fried Eggs

Our first morning eating farm fresh eggs started a little late, 8:00 a.m., and we were hungry! My husband (the Daddy!) normally eats oatmeal with some granola (or whatever crunchy cereal we have on hand) on top so he passed on a plate.

From what  my husband says, former farm boy that he is, “fresh eggs like this….

 Farm Fresh Eggs!

….are richer and more nutritious.”

Well, he should have experience growing up on a dairy farm in a little town in Minnesota! His parents bought a 75 year old or so piece of property to dairy farm in the late 70s. Since then they run dairy cows, chickens, geese, ducks, and 4H animals like goats. To his baby sister’s dismay that never included horses.

I was nervous and a little anxious, I’m not sure why I was, but it was about cracking this first egg open! Dozens (pun intended) of questions ran through my mind…What would it be like? Would the yolk be bright yellow or pale yellow? Would there be more white than yolk? Would I get food poisoning?Photo969

Finally, I grabbed one of the loaves of homemade bread. I tried a new recipe out and wanted to slice a piece to use it for “Egg in the Basket.” My bread hasn’t gotten a “big rise” yet so it wouldn’t properly accommodate the way I wanted to use it. I set it aside to toast.

I pull the first egg out, looking at it, of course my husband says,

Photo979“I bet you can’t crack an egg open with one hand.”

A little snarky in the morning, isn’t he?

I got my pan nice and hot so it would cook quickly. Curious I sniffed to see if the egg smelled any different than my store bought eggs. A slightly different smell, not one I could readily identify but not unpleasant. I was glad to see the color of yolk wasn’t pale, but not a funny looking orange. I was pleased that the egg looked identical to the store bought egg.




Big Boy was right beside me holding the spatula waiting to turn it! I handed the the pepper for him to season although sometimes he has a heavy hand. For a 3.5 year old he does a really good job but I don’t take a chance with the salt! It wasn’t cooking differently, but I’m not sure what I expected, say, mutant eggs?



Not much left to do but put it on a plate, right? Before Big Boy gobbled it all up, I tried a bite..the yolk was “fuller, more enhanced tasting” and yes, richer, and the white was juicier than my store bought eggs are normally. Very tasty. I felt the early rumblings of hunger just as I was taking Big Boy to preschool at noon. I will also add that eggs I eat in restaurants are different tasting than both these farm fresh eggs and my store bought eggs.


Although I’m excited for an excuse to buy farm eggs, I can’t wait to use them in other dishes. Although I appreciate a good contest it isn’t so much as to win eggs or a nod to how well I write an essay but I think the gals at RealFoodFreaks intent is for me to really “win” for my family – adding an ingredient fresh from a producer will provide us with a diet in fresh, real, identifiable ingredients. I thank them for adding to the spark that several others have contributed to over the last few months before I started this journey.

Yes, healthy eating is so much more important to me. Isn’t a healthy family that knows where their food comes from really “winning”?

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