Who We Are

The past few years, the area where I live, Crawford County, Ohio, has seen a wonderful explosion of younger families who are embracing the joys and challenges of living off the land. Because of them, amazing things are happening which have been embraced by our community. Farmer’s markets have been created and on-farm stores have opened. Families dedicated to growing organic produce and naturally raised meats are meeting the public’s needs for locally raised foods. And at the heart of this movement are the women.

Ohio Country Journal is my attempt to share the essence of farm life, focusing on, but not limited to, women. My goal is to bring you into our circle of friendship by inviting you to share your stories and experiences with us. You don’t have to be a full time country woman to benefit from joining us; you just have to be you.

The full-time country women featured in Ohio Country Journal are an inspiration to anyone who dares to follow her dreams, whether it is to live in the country or to bring the country life-style to their urban neighborhoods.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Too Hot (and Humid!) to Cook

18 days of rain + 100% humidity (well, not quite, but if feels like it!) has most of us too drained to think about cooking. Today I was looking forward to fixing yellow squash, red beets, and other goodies from our garden, but I don't want to get stuck in the mud trying to pick them, so I turned to cold cuts for lunch.

In looking for something equally easy for supper before I head out to the store, I went to Noel's website, Apron Free Cooking. As I expected, Noel has posted an idea that is perfect; a cracker/veggie plate. What makes it special is her recipe for Pepperoni Cracker Spread. Plus, I love to munch on crunchy foods, and this meal seems like munchies-mania to me!

I am going to use Noel's idea and make the pepperoni spread. I have an apple crisp already made and can easily get fresh peaches from the orchard. With fresh brewed iced tea, I think that tonight's meal is all set! Thanks, Noel!!

Marcheta *munch-kin

 Noel writes:

There are some summer days when it’s just too hot to cook. There are some days when I’m just too tired to think about fixing a meal. Those are the days when I serve a veggie, cheese and cracker tray for supper.

Before you start to get concerned about nutritional values and balanced diets, consider that a variety of vegetables provides nearly the full spectrum of vitamins. Cheese is full of calcium and protein. That’s pretty close to balanced. At least for one night. I don’t recommend eating cheese and veggies for every single meal.

If you have a cheese spread to layer under the veggies on your crackers, your meal will be sitting pretty. Some added flavor never hurts, either. I like cream cheese based spreads, because they are easy to put on the cracker and don’t slide off. The cream cheese also helps keep the veggie toppings in place.

Pepperoni Cracker Spread
8 oz cream cheese
20 slices of pepperoni
10 green olives
½ tsp Italian spice mixture

Allow the cream cheese to soften to room temperature. With kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, chop the pepperoni slices into small bits. Slice the olives. Mix all ingredients together. Warm all ingredients for 30 seconds in microwave if they aren’t blending into the cream cheese well. Stir until combined.
Make it a meal:  Serve spread on top of crackers or toast. Top with sliced cucumbers or mushrooms.
Approximate Nutritional Value per serving: Servings per Recipe: 8, Calories: 110, Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 208mg, Total Carbs: 1g, Protein: 3g.
Variations: chop up a green onion and add to the mixture. Replace the Italian Spice mix with Mrs. Dash for slightly different flavor. Use black olives instead of green for a more Mediterranean flavor.
This spread makes a great addition to your next appetizer table also. Of course, if you’re planning to serve this as the main appetizer, you’ll want to double the recipe. This is a popular spread and goes quickly.
If you’re planning a party, scoop individual servings of spread into paper “nut cups” and place on a saucer with crackers at each guest’s place. This specialized treatment makes guests feel extra appreciated. It also helps with portion control, in case you have one of those guests who likes to park in front of an appetizer and eat the entire amount.

Another way to use this spread is as the basis for a cold sandwich. Instead of using mayonnaise or mustard on your bun, place a layer of this spread under your ham and cheese. My husband has been known to eat a Dagwood sized sandwich when we fix cold cuts with the pepperoni spread!

Store the spread in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freezes well for up to one month. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Noel Lizotte is breaking free of corporate stress with convenience cooking! This recipe is similar to ones printed in her cookbook Apron Free Cooking which is available on the website www.apronfreecooking.com.

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