Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Kick back and veg-out on the fourth of July

Food Surfing will feature fun food tidbits from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended films may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

The Help takes viewers back at life in the American South during the 1960s.  The civil rights movement was in full swing.  African – American women still sought employment as maids and cooks in well-to-do Caucasian homes.  Watch the tragedies and triumphs of typical American families in this award – winning film.

Remember Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July?  Tom Cruise gives one of his more riveting performances in this movie about the scourge and long-term effects of the Vietnam War on a generation of Americans.

Lastly, be thoroughly entertained by Independence Day with Will Smith.  Expect a quickly – paced plot that also includes an explosion or five.

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas

A Mexican staple made easy

You can find this product next to the traditional tortillas at any grocery store carrying LaTortilla Factory brand food items.  These “Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas” have more authentic texture and flavor compared to the regular pre-packed Mexican tortillas.  These tortillas have more body and more significant chew to them.  Also, they contain corn flour and regular wheat flour so expect flavor accents from both of those ingredients.  Each pack also says “Whole Grain” and that means they’ve got extra wholesome nutrition contained in every piece.       

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Chili Different Ways

An old favorite served differently

Don’t knock chili for being hearty and rustic.  We’ve come up with a few new ways to serve up this Tex-Mex staple.  First off – serve chili as the meat for a traditional breakfast.  Pancakes, a sunny – side up egg or three goes well with reheated chili. (Think Tex-Mex hash.)  Likewise, chili filled omelets can make for a hearty brunch course.  Remember that chili can make a great substitute or alternative to traditional taco meat.  Also, sloppy joe sandwiches stuffed with chili instead of regular sloppy joe can be a hit with the kids and family.          

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Cupful: Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit

Minutes instead of hours

This special chili mix is something we love.  The Mixed Stew crew has enjoyed for years.  Look for the red and light brown chili kit.  The kit contains all the seasoning ingredients needed to make a large batch of hearty beef chili.  The premeasured ingredients come separated in individual transparent packets.  Omit the packet of dried cayenne pepper for less spicy chili.  Also, add roughly half of the corn flour packet for thinner chili sauce or mix in the whole packet for thicker chili.  You can control the taste, flavors, and texture of the end product.  Pick up a package of this Carroll Shelby’s chili seasoning kit to make awesome chili in minutes instead of hours.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Best Instant Chili

A little box of wonders

Looking for a way to enjoy authentic beef chili taste without too much fuss?  The Mixed Stew crew recommends Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit.  We’ve added a few tweaks to make it have more home made flavor.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large stock pot W/ lid
1 wooden spoon
1 box Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit
2 to 3 lbs ground beef
3 tbspns cooking oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped small
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained-well

Cooking and Directions:

Heat stock pot on medium-high heat.  Add oil, onion, and garlic.  Sautee ingredients until onion turns translucent.  Stir occasionally.  Crumble ground beef into pot and cover with lid.  Let beef cook and brown.  This will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce, black beans, and water.  Bring to a rolling simmer.  Next, add contents of chili kit except for salt packet.  Mix well with wooden spoon.  Reduce stoves heat to medium-low.  Continue to let the pot’s ingredients slowly simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Serve with warm rice.      

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

Wade through this high tide

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to hardcover helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.


The Mixed Stew crew likes hunting through cookbooks for a good recipe or three. We recommend The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook by Erin Chase for food lovers and families on a budget.


Reed Hearon’s Bocaditos is a fun book about the small dishes of Mexico.  Look out for this book that can really cause a sizzle.


Would you like to sample the recipes and food served in a Kosher home? June Hersh shares her recipes in The Kosher Carnivore.

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Watermelon Smoothie

A freshening drink

The hot summer weeks have The Mixed Stew Crew making new and flavorful beverages.  There’s not much effort in this watermelon smoothie besides nourishing fruit lusciousness.  This drink is similar to aqua fresca but does not call for added water.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 seedless watermelon, cut into small wedges
1 blender
1 pitcher
1 cutting board

Preparation & Directions:

Cut green skin or watermelon rind away from red flesh of watermelon wedges.  Place 5 to 6 wedges into blender.  Pulse and blend contents until smooth.  Pour into pitcher.  Repeat process until all watermelon is blended.  Place the pitcher in fridge and chill overnight before serving.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: What To Parfait

 A chilling refreshment
The hot summer months have the Mixed Stew crew craving light cool treats.  Parfait comes from the same French word that translates into “perfect.”  The dessert usually contains layers of fresh fruit with alternate layers of cream custard, pudding, or ice cream.  Some adult versions may be spiked with liquor aka bourbon or brandy.  The list of possible fresh fruit ingredients is endless.  We used strawberries but one can also make tropical renditions with fresh mango, kiwi, passion fruit, and bananas.  Meanwhile, our strawberry version can also include raspberries, peach slices, or blood orange wedges.  Feeling frisky?  Try making parfaits using pomegranates or guava.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Instant Egg Custard J-ELLO

Call it mellow yellow

We’ll be the first to admit that we have a tendency to overlook this flavor of J-ELLO.  Making a custard from scratch can be daunting – especially for inexperienced home cooks.  What’s there to worry about?  The end product needs to be creamy and smooth in order to be considered a genuine success.  That’s why we recommend J-ELLO’s easy-to-make custard.  A (2.9 oz.) box costs between $ .99 and $2.29.  Expect a slight vanilla flavor-accent in every bite of yellow custard.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Easy Strawberry Parfaits

A smooth summer dessert

We called on the convenience of JELL-O to make these creamy parfaits that will cool your taste buds and satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 medium-sized sauce pan
1 wire whisk
1 medium-sized Pirex (heat safe) bowl
2 to 3 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 whole-egg, beaten  
1 (2.9 oz) package JELL-O Cook & Serve Custard
3 to 4 glass cups or champagne glasses
2 cups fresh strawberries

Cooking and Directions:

Pour water into saucepan then heat up on medium-high heat.  Place Pirex bowl over boiling water so that it’s cradled by the saucepan.  This creates a make-shift double boiler.  Pour two cups whole milk into bowl.  Let milk slowly steep for 10 to 12 minutes while occasionally stirring with wire whisk.  Next, gradually pour JELL-O mix into milk while stirring.  Let powder dissolve then pour in beaten egg while quickly whisking. 

Fill the bottom of glass cups with strawberries.  Pour slightly cooled custard into and over fruit.  Place newly made parfaits in fridge for at least 3 hours.  Serve with whipped topping.    

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Sparkling Ice Water

A refreshing zero calorie beverage

Tired of the usual sugar-laden sodas or generic ice tea?  The Sparkling ICE Mountain Spring Water brand of beverages may be what you’re looking for in thirst quenching relief.  Talking Rain makes and bottles this unique line.  Each bottle contains no calories and is slightly sweetened with Splenda.  Flavors include Orange Mango, Black Raspberry, and Coconut Pineapple.   The water contains antioxidants and comes from natural springs and wells located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the Northwestern state of Washington.  Look for this item at select grocery stores.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday’s Side Dish: Black Sesame Biscuits

A studded treat from Japan

For the Japanese – Ginbis Asparagus Biscuits are very popular among kids and adults alike. These crackers or biscuits are made to resemble or remind one of asparagus spears.  Look for the long curves and waves to each stick. This food item actually contains no asparagus.  Meanwhile, the pieces are also dotted with sesame seeds.  This makes them more appetizing and lends a slight peppery essence to every bite of these biscuits.  They’re also great for dipping in your favorite dips or fondue.  Again, you can find these Japanese crackers at Mitsuwa or your favorite Asian food grocery store.     

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday’s Helping: Calbee Potato Chips

Crunchy seaweed flavors
The Mixed Stew crew likes these unique and crunchy potato chips by Calbee.  They’re a savory switch from the usual cheddar or salt n vinegar that’s more popular among Americans.  These Asian- spiked potato chips, however, are seasoned with salt and dried seaweed flakes.  The tasty result is a bit of an acquired taste but one that regular sushi lovers are bound to enjoy.  Look for a bag of these Japanese potato chips at your favorite Asian foods supermarket.  We bought this food item at Mitsuwa Supermarket in New Jersey.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday’s Cupful: Peanut Butter Cheerios

Kicking regular Cheerios to the curb

The folks at General Mills have really outdone themselves with new flavor twists of their Cheerios breakfast cereals.  Look for Chocolate, Banana Nut, and Dulce De Leche.  We recently sampled their newer Peanut Butter flavored Cheerios that’s also a tasty delight.  What did we find?  Expect nutty sweetness in every crunchy bite or spoonful.  This Cheerios taste rendition is also multigrain, which makes for an added plus in The Mixed Stew Crew’s nutrition column.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Red Velvet Tasty Kakes

Red decadence in a box

We spotted this rather unique “special edition” red velvet cupcake by Tasty Kake and had to try ‘em.  Each individual package contains two cakes that have been slathered with a generous layer of butter cream icing.  Look for the hot red icing streak that runs and marks the mostly white icing top of these cakes.  How good were they?  Let’s just say that we finished them with ease.  The cake quality is very good for a Tasty Kake food item.  A box comes packed with six individual packages.  Also remember that these red velvet cakes are available for a limited time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants: Hanover, Md.

We recently dropped by one location and it was the first visit for one among The Mixed Stew Crew.  Red Lobster conjures up cravings for seafood and shellfish like no other popular restaurant chain.  Yes, this fine seafood eating on a wallet-friendly budget.  Guests can choose from an array of seafood studded starters, such as shrimp nachos ($ 9.50), twin crab cakes ($ 9.75) or lobster – crab stuffed mushrooms ($ 8.75).  We suggest ordering two or more appetizers instead of full dinner platters if you wanna make it fun and filling without burning extra bucks.  The dinners come with at least one side dish and a side salad.  You can choose between a Caeser or traditional house salad.  Complimentary biscuits come seasoned with chives and butter.  We recommend the Pecan - Crusted Shrimp ($ 14.99), which comes on a bed of yummy rice pilaf.  Each bite of the grilled shrimp is spiked with a sweet bourbon kick and coated in crunchy pecan bits.  Of course, the Live Maine – Lobster (Market Price) must be sampled if it’s your first time.   The Wood Grilled, Lobster, Shrimp & Scallops ($ 25.50) also received high marks.  Red Lobster Restaurants remains a great bet for anyone with a hankering for well – cooked seafood and steak.

Red Lobster

7063 Arundel Mills Circle
Hanover, MD 21076
(410) 796-2390