Strawberries for Dinner

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If there was ever a Holzmann family signature dessert, this would be it: buttery whole wheat biscuit, mounds of sweetened whipped cream, and far more luscious, red strawberries than strictly necessary. It’s filling enough to make an entire meal, and at times (usually on Father’s Day) we’ve considered it one.

The story behind this amazing feast is from the 1970s. Teenaged Pete decided to ride his bike the 30+ miles to his aunt and uncle’s home in upstate New York. When he finally arrived, hot and hungry, a plate-sized strawberry shortcake was waiting to reward his efforts. I could tell from the way his eyes lit up every time this landmark event was mentioned, that creating a repeat performance would be enthusiastically welcomed. So I did. And it was.

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The Very Best Christmas Cookie

“Here, you will need to learn these recipes!” My future mother-in-law pressed the cookbook into my hands. She was smiling, but I knew that she was serious. Pete’s mom was 100% Finnish, and now she expected me to help carry on her family traditions.

Finnish cookbookThe Finnish Cookbook, by Beatrice A Ojakangas, was published in 1964, and to a great extent, the contents reflected that era. There were numerous casseroles and few vegetable dishes. Almost half the book was devoted to the “coffee table”—a spread of cookies, cakes, breads, tarts, and tortes all containing huge quantities of butter, cream, and sugar. It all looked delicious—and really, really bad for you. I quickly realized that while I might learn to make these things, I was going to have to ration them carefully!

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As Easy as Apple Pie

20131221_162652My husband, Pete, loves apples. His formative years spent in the apple country of upstate New York left a lasting mark on him. He eats at least an apple a day, preferably a crisp, tart McIntosh. Even better, he loves apples baked into a pie. I’m not talking about a mere platonic relationship here. This is true love. He really enjoys a towering slice of deep-dish apple pie.

On the other hand, I am allergic to apples. Eating even one bite causes me severe digestive distress, to put it politely. So of course we up and married each other.

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Some Sweet Advice

I know. This isn’t really a food blog. But I’m so frustrated with some of the misinformation out in web-land, I’m going to rant about food today. Specifically, I’m targeting sugar.

Friends recently posted a couple of recipes on Facebook, claiming they were very healthy:

Banana Bread with honey and applesauce instead of sugar & oil….Delicious & Healthy….

When you have a sweet tooth and want to stay on track, here’s a nice treat. Sugar is NOT an added ingredient. (The recipe for oatmeal cookies includes three ripe mashed bananas and ½ cup raisins.)

Wondering if either recipe fits my low-glycemic (that means food that won’t spike my blood sugar levels) diet, I did some calculations. Are they really healthy? Is either recipe actually low in sugar?

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Gingerbread Persons

Making and decorating cookies is one of our family’s Christmas traditions. I don’t make as many kinds as I used to, since the last thing I need is more tempting desserts hanging around the house, but when I tried skipping the cookies altogether, we all felt that part of Christmas was missing.

With our kids grown, we’ve evolved a new tradition. I make the cookies—either rolled butter cookies or gingerbread men—and then we all get together to decorate them. (See the bottom of the page for my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe.)  At the end of the day, the cookies go home with the artists.

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Apple Cake with Rum Sauce

I haven’t shared a recipe in quite a while. With the “food season” upon us and the markets full of fall apples, I thought this might be a good time to post my favorite apple cake recipe. It’s very easy to make, especially since you don’t have to peel the apples. Maybe you can make it to show your appreciation to your favorite veteran!

Disclaimer: I happen to be allergic to apples (weird, I know), so I can’t vouch for the flavor, but it sure smells heavenly while it’s in the oven. Plus, my husband and guests assure me that it’s, as my daughter would say, fabulous! Are they telling the truth?

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