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Food for the Big Game Day

Fruit Dip

Bananas, Blueberries, & Pistachio Dip

Tomorrow’s the big food day! Yes, I know. It’s the Big Game, but who is going to be in the kitchen making sure you have plenty of appetizers and snacks?

Are you preparing food at home or going out to watch the game? Maybe you’re going to church or don’t have interest in the game. Whatever the case, you’re planning to eat sometime Sunday, right? I’ve discovered some super easy snacks, appetizers, and dips for the game or any occasion. A few of the recipes are mine, and some recipes I’ve found are from other food bloggers.

One snack I made recently (my toddler granddaughter really liked these) was the Pretzel Pecan Turtles I saw at I just discovered a Caprese and Olive appetizer at If you’re looking for dips to make for veggies, crackers, and chips, visit for some quick and easy recipes.

Here’s an easy fruit dip for you to try. It’s quick, easy, low-fat and sugar-free.

  • 1/2 Ctn Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Sm Box Low-Fat, Sugar-Free Pistachio Pudding Mix
  • 1 Cup 2% Milk

Mix the pudding mix and milk. Blend in the yogurt, and mix well. You can use a whole carton of yogurt but will need another cup of milk.

Now tell me what special treats you’re making for your family tomorrow. Got a super easy recipe you want to share?


More Superbowl Menu Ideas

Hosting a Superbowl party is a great way to bring people together, but the responsibility of putting together a menu for game day can be challenging.    First, the food must be easy to eat while camped out in front of the TV.  A few weeks ago, High Desert Blogging posted a list of recipes to help with your menu selection, but we have found a few more that are worth sharing.

Simple ingredients produce a delicious corn and black bean salsaFirst, we have corn and black bean salsa from   We like this recipe because it’s similar to a salad.  Light and refreshing, it tastes good when eaten with a fork, but it’s a substantial and chunky salsa that’s sure to please all the men in your life.

If you’re looking for something different, give the recipe for Creamy Tacos from a try.  The final product is similar to queso dip, but with the addition of meat,beans, and corn, it makes for a hearty filling for a tortilla.  We rolled ours up burrito style.  The best part is that it can all be made in a crockpot.  Creamy TacosOur next selections are some stuffed jalapenos that we found over at  The first one is stuffed with cream cheese and bacon and topped with crushed tortilla chips. tortilla crumb topped stuffed jalapenos with cream cheese and bacon fillingThe second is stuffed with Tuna Salad and topped with cheese before being baked in the oven.  tuna stuffed jalapenosDid you know that chili is one of the most frequently served menu items at Superbowl parties?  No list of menu ideas would be complete without including a few chili recipes, too.

A good thing about chili is that it can be made a couple days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  Then, pull it out and reheat it in your slow cooker on game day.  The flavors tend to intensify and blend together when chili is made ahead.  This means that the leftovers have more flavor than the fresh chili.

For a traditional chili recipe that can be made in the slow cooker, check out this recipe at chow hound.

imageWant a vegan chili option for your guests? This recipe from Simply Healthy Eats fits the bill nicely.

The opposite of vegan is this recipe for a paleo friendly chili from meatified.  The recipe uses 5 pounds of meat, so it will keep your carnivores happy.

yak meat in black bean chiliIf you want to impress your friends with your trend setting tastes in sustainable food, check out this recipe for Yak Chili. (The recipe can also be made with chunks of beef or with venison.)

All that’s left to discuss is dessert.  No Superbowl party menu is complete without dessert.  Here are a few of our favorites.Chunky Banana Pudding

Chunky Banana Pudding always works well for feeding a crowd.

Another option is the Texas Sheath cake.  I can’t believe I went my entire life without ever hearing about this delicious chocolate cake.

If you’re looking for more figure friendly and healthy dessert options, there is always the option of a fruit platter served with creamy coconut fruit dip, or Baked Maple Cinnamon Tortilla Chips served with Sweet White Bean Dip.    I know that last one sounds really weird, but it was delicious.  It goes well with sliced apples, too.

There you have our updated list of menu ideas for your Superbowl party.  What are your favorites from our list?

Food for the Big Game

It’s almost that time of year again.  You know, the time of year when friends get together to to watch two amazing football teams face off against each other to determine if the AFC or the NFC has the best team this year.

My house will be exempt from a large gathering for a Superbowl party because our TV is smaller than the ones owned by most of our friends.    Unfortunately, many of my friends know that I’m a good cook, so I get lots of calls during the weeks preceding this asking if I can bring something or if I can tell them how to make something that will impress their guests but that won’t be too difficult to put together.

I’ve been scouring the internet searching for easy ideas for Superbowl menus and I’ve come across quite a few ideas.

This pizza pull apart bread is from pattycakespantry.comA popular idea last year was the pull apart pizza bread.  It’s easy to make, and easy to eat.  We liked this recipe from  A  review of this recipe can be found at  I know this is last years big idea, but it was well received, so why change it?  We served ours with a side of easy marinara sauce for dipping.  It was very good.

Another simple solution is to have hot dogs heated in some water in a crock pot.  Did you know that the method of cooking hot dogs by submerging them in water is called “the dirty water method”?    Of course, Mario Batali from The Chew adds a few extra ingredients to his water.  This adds extra flavor to his dogs, but I’m content to just submerge my dogs in plain water.

The idea behind a crock pot full of hot dogs is that you can then set up a hot dog bar with traditional toppings like onions, relish, mustard, and ketchup.  You could also have another crock pot with some chili, a bowl  of shredded cheese and some jalapeno coins.  That would let your guests make chili dogs as well.  shredded cheese and jalapeno coins top the chili dog. Photo credit PattyCakesPantry.comThis same hot dog bar could also be expanded to be a nacho bar by adding a large bowl of tortilla chips that people can top with chili, cheese, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and black olives.  I know that it’s strange, but I also like to put some shredded lettuce on top of my nachos.  It makes me feel less guilty because it’s like I’m eating a nacho salad.  A bowl of salsa and another containing guacamole would be great here, too.  Chili cheese nachos topped with lettuce, tomato, green onion, sour cream and black olives. Photo credit pattycakespantry.comThere’s a post at Patty Cake’s Pantry that discusses Make Ahead Recipes for the Big Game that includes recipes for two ingredient chicken wings, three ingredient crock pot meatballs, and stuffed mushrooms.   superbowl plate 3If you or your guests are on a low carb diet, you can find tons of tips and links to recipes for Low-Carb Super Bowl Party Foods over at   I really like the recipe for spicy pecans.

For those who are trying to watch their weight and eat healthy, Lisa Lillien, the Hungry Girl, has some tips and tricks for eating healthy at a  Superbowl Party.    We always try to put out a tray of fruit and one of vegetables in addition to the other foods.

These are a few of our favorite ideas for putting together a Superbowl party.   We always consider that the guests will be eating and drinking in the living room, so foods need to be easy to eat with a plate balanced on their laps.

Please click on the links above and  give these recipes a try.   Leave a comment to let us know what you think and share some of your favorite Superbowl menus and recipes?

Louisiana Style Dining in Southern California’s High Desert

Hesperia, CA Seafood Restaurant

Louisiana Cajun Seafood Restaurant

Visiting Southern California’s high desert anytime soon? Dining will, most likely, be included in your agenda. If you’re traveling to or from Las Vegas, Nevada on I-15, Hesperia and Victorville have several great restaurants to choose from. One restaurant that is gaining more popularity (they’re even opening a second restaurant in Victorville) is the Louisiana Cajun Seafood House on Main Street in Hesperia. It’s in a shopping center behind McDonald’s on Main Street and Maple.

There are other great places to eat in Hesperia that are close to I-15 at the Main Street exit like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Golden Corral, and In-N-Out Burger. Wood Grill Buffet, not too far from I-15, is another good place to dine if you enjoy buffet style.

Victorville also has plenty of restaurants to choose from at the Bear Valley exit near I-15. These include:

  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
  • Marie Callender’s
  • Applebee’s
  • Chili’s
  • Steak ‘n Shake

Now, back to that Cajun style hotspot in Hesperia, you’re in for a fun experience. Louisiana and Texas visitors, this is not your typical seafood restaurant from the Gulf Coast. Similar, but not the same. It is common to find paper towels on the tables of seafood restaurants on the eastern side of Texas and all of Louisiana. Hesperia’s Louisiana Cajun place offers more than paper towels. You get a bib. Wear it, and you’ll be fine.

Menu items available at Louisiana Cajun Seafood House are seafood such as crawfish, king crab legs and lobster, awesome fried catfish, incredible lemon pepper fries and gumbo. If you like shrimp, pay extra to get the peeled kind with lemon pepper and garlic. Oh, my!!!

You may want to venture out further from I-15 to dine. If you do, there are fabulous restaurants from Italian to Mexican cuisine and great diners in Hesperia, Victorville, and Apple Valley. Some are:

  • Mama Carpino’s Italian
  • Oggi’s Apple Valley (Pizza)
  • Los Domingos Mexican Restaurant
  • Juliano’s Italian Restaurant
  • Apollo Restaurant (hamburgers)
  • Cross Eyed Cow Pizza
  • Molly Brown’s Country Cafe

The list could easily continue because the Victor Valley area is filled with many excellent dining choices. Food connoisseurs, plan on making extra visits or stay a few days to try out High Desert’s best dining.

Happy Eating!

Dining Out — Diner Guider

 One who Dines Out has a Family Event

Dining Out is Often a Family Event

We introduced “DineR – GuideR” just before Thanksgiving to help families find holiday meals. Since then we’ve decided to share other good dining experiences that you can find in the High Desert.

We’ll add to and update this list as a general guide for restaurants that have a standard American cuisine. As the list grows we’ll define other categories in foreign-themed cuisine.

The Coffee Bean Cafe features “The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf ” inside the roomy Green Tree Inn. Their recent remodeling has given the landmark Inn a facelift. The menu as well as the restaurant have changed. Find it at the corner of Palmdale Road and Greentree. 14173 Green Tree Blvd, Victorville,  760-245-3461 x 414

Marie Callender’s traditionally is known for its Americana flavors. Their specialty has always been a variety of homemade pies. Their Victorville location is: 12180 Mariposa Rd., Victorville, CA 92392, phone 760-241-6973. Don’t be surprised to wait in line to get a table. The dinner is very popular. While you’re waiting you can always buy a delectable  Marie Callender’s pie-to-go.

 The cozy cottage restaurant of Mimi’s in Victorville is open daily. Their signature  cranberry muffins can even make your own muffin tops — the one over your belt-line — look tiny in comparison. You can call in to Mimi’s at (760) 244-6888 and their address is 12032 Amargosa Road, on restaurant row in Victorville.


The Diner Guider is brought to you by

Any questions contact: Rusty LaGrange.

A New Feature This Season: DINER GUIDE-r

Your  favorite restaurant could be just down the street or clear across town. The list is growing as the “foodies” in the High Desert weigh in with their choices across the Internet and inside their favorite food blogs.

Same here. You can stop by and see some of the High Desert’s restaurants, cafes, diners, and out-of-the-way comfort food places — whoever knew grilled macaroni would become so iconic — just by checking out our Diner Guide-r.

But we can’t do it alone.

Let us know what your favorite place is to dine. We”ll be listing places to eat from drive-thrus to takeout to gourmet restaurants. We won’t be selecting any based our taste-buds — only by what we hear and read.

It will be a list of places you just gotta  try for yourself. If I were a gourmand, I’d be 600 pounds and not a nickel to my name. So we’re relying on you to share and be fair. Help us develop our Diner Guide-r. We might even have a few dining gift cards to  toss into a drawing.

To start the list:

Johnnie D’s has been around for over 30 years. There menu is mainstream American with a good variety of large portions on their dinner plates. Breakfast is a big draw as well. The place is just west of Apple Valley and Bear Valley roads. They offer selected menus for Seniors Over 55 so the restaurant is a favorite among the silver-haired crowd.

Johnnie D's near Home Depot

Johnnie D’s near Home Depot

Burger Depot

Burger Depot — for 36 years

While we’re thinking about great places, my granddaughter, stopped by to add her favorite spots to eat. One was Burger Depot, a little place with only a few tables, an efficient drive-thru, and their theme inside is the history of trains.

David and Karen Mount, the sole owners, have served Lucerne Valley customers for a little over 35 years. “The food is amazing,” my granddaughter says.

She’s quick to note that the other best place to eat in Lucerne Valley is Cafe 247, right at the intersection where Hwy 247 makes a turn northward. The menu has not only pizza and breakfast burritos with gravy, but it also has for a new addition jalapenos poppers.

In the Middle of Nowhere -- Cafe 247

In the Middle of Nowhere — Cafe 247

She says her dad loves them, but she won’t try them yet. “They’re hot!” The business is under new management since April, and the hours have changed for the winter. If you come out for the quiet ride into the desert, be sure to call ahead 760.248.6088.

Well, that’s enough to start the restaurant list. Let us know, in Comments below, what and where your favorite place to eat can be located.


Rusty LaGrange

Last Minute Halloween Treats

All of us get overwhelmed with the events of life and find ourselves scurrying at the last minute to put together something to take to a Halloween Party or to feed guests that we invited over.  Sometimes, when the responsibilities of work take more time than they should,  I find myself at the last minute trying to hurry and put together something just for my family.

What follows are five simple ideas that I’ve found on the internet that I think can help solve the question of what can I make?  Warning:  I really like candy corn, so it may be unfairly featured here to the exclusion of other types of candy or food.

Harvest DecorThe first item in our roundup is a simple mixture of candy corn and nuts that I found  at Kitchen Hospitality. The combination is nearly addictive.  It can be placed on a table for guests to serve for themselves.

candy corn, a hug, and a pretzel make halloween candy.The next recipe is for a simple candy that ‘s great to make with your children because the ingredients are so simple to put together.  We found this combination of Candy Corn, Hugs, and Pretzels from Patty Cake’s Pantry, and it was a hit with everyone.

Monster mash snack mixHow about some Halloween themed snack mix?  Check out the recipe for Monster Mash Snack Mix at Our Three Peas.   This combination of treats is both delicious and scary. version of Monster Mash Snack Mix can be found  at In Katrina’s Kitchen.  This Monster Mash Snack Mix is composed of clusters.  They are delicious even if they look like melted chickens.

Ghosts in the Graveyard Image 1Lastly, I present my family’s favorite Halloween Dessert, Ghosts in the Graveyard.   The recipe can be found at  It goes by many different names.  Some people just refer to the recipe as mud, and as you may guess, mine is always topped with some candy corn, mallow creme pumpkins, and of course, cookie tomb stones.

We hope you enjoy this list of Last Minute Halloween Treats.  If you are looking for something a little healthier or with a little less sugar, try making the mud with sugar free Oreo type cookies and use sugar free pudding.  If you eschew artificial sweeteners and want more natural foods, check out our previous post A Healthy Twist on Halloween Treats.

Please leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite Halloween Treats.

**Patti, the author of this post, in addition to guest blogging at, is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful. 

A Healthy Twist on Halloween Treats

Halloween is one of the biggest party times for adults.  It’s also a huge party time for kids. Unfortunately, Halloween is not considered a time for good nutrition, but it should be. I have collected a few healthy ideas from around the internet to help you celebrate without sacrificing good nutrition.    These treats were well received by both adults and children in our test group.  In fact, these treats prove that it’s possible to have fun food that’s healthy, too.  First up is a really disgusting looking ear wax covered q-tip that I found over at  It’s made from jicama and the “ear wax” is nut butter.  While it looks disgusting, it’s surprisingly tasty.  The “gross” factor is just what was needed to get our kids to try them.

Frankenstein Kiwis Recipe – (Another!) Healthy Halloween Treat {}2.  Next up is an idea that’s too cute to resist, and it’s extremely healthy, too.  Frankenstein Kiwi from    Did you know that you can eat the skin on a kiwi after you rub off the fuzz?

Apple Mummies Recipe … A Healthy Halloween Treat {}3.   This idea for Mummy Apples also comes from  The expression about an apple a day being good for you certainly continues to apply on Halloween, right?

leaves and a stem on an orange jack-o-lantern4.  This orange jack-o-lantern requires some work on the part of the diner.  They will have to peel it, but it looked like a fun idea.

orange pumpking and orange jack-o-lantern5.  If you don’t want your guest to have to work to eat their food, there’s always the option for a peeled orange with a celery stalk stuck int the top.  I, personally, think this works best with mandarin oranges or tangerines.   I saw the original idea over at 100 dollars a month.

Pumpkin Veggie Tray Recipe6.  How about a vegetable tray shaped like a jack-o-lantern with cute little dishes of dip for the eyes and nose.   This idea came from taste of home.

7.  This skeleton crudite is one of my favorites, but it’s always reduced to something unidentifyable within minutes of being served, so we make several when we have a large group over.   This idea came from  Feeding Frenzy.

Curried Devil's Eggs8.  A little protein goes a long way to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, so deviled eggs make an excellent addition to your buffet table.  These came from  You may think I linked to the wrong page, but scroll down.  The devil eggs are on the bottom of the Easter Egg Post.

9.  There’s a secret to these deviled eggs from I Lived I Loved that makes them look scary.   I love the use of red to make the eyes appear bloodshot.

10.  Trying to cut down on cholesterol, try filling the center of the egg whites with guacamole like this idea from  (Sorry.  No permission to use the photo was received prior to publication.)  Follow the link and you’ll see what I mean.  A slice of ripe olive on top of the guacamole gives the appearance of an eye.

There you have it.  Ten healthy Halloween recipe ideas.  I hope you consider adding some fruits and vegetables to your Halloween Party Buffet.  It’s good for you and for your guest.  Happy Halloween.

Leave a comment to let us know what you like to have on your Halloween Buffet.

**Patti is a frequent contributor at, a website dedicated to helping people make healthy food choices.  It features recipes,  many of which are gluten and dairy free.  She can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful. 

Fall Strawberry Recipes

Strawberry Bundt Cake

Strawberry Mini Bundt


High Desert foodies who like the Taste of Home Magazine were treated to a special occasion this week. Tuesday evening the Taste of Home Cooking School came to the San Bernardino Fairgrounds in Victorville. Various vendors set up booths, and 500 food and cooking enthusiasts attended the occasion including my blogging friend at (who won a Taste of Home cookbook at the event).

Taste of Home Cooking School

Taste of Home Slow Cooker Cookbook

One of the goodies we were given at the cooking school was the Cozy Food magazine. Autumn fruit favorites are usually pumpkin and apple recipes. Last weekend, however, my friend picked up a flat of fresh strawberries at a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. We split the flat, and I’ve been enjoying big, plump strawberries.

Searching for recipes, I’ve been trying to decide what I will make with all the berries. Fresh strawberries are not a highlight of the Cozy Food magazine recipes, although there is one for Almond Chicken & Strawberry Balsamic Sauce (that looked and smelled scrumptious!). In fact, it was one of the chosen recipes prepared and cooked at the Tuesday evening cooking school. Surprisingly, the magazine doesn’t list one recipe for apples though I did notice two that included pumpkin.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Mini Bundts (I made these incredibly delicious treats back in the summer from another flat of fresh strawberries)
  • Parfaits (My own version of a Taste of Home custard berry parfait – see recipe at
  • Strawberry Souffle (This recipe is in the French Cooking In Old Detroit Since *1701* recipe book by Lucy & Sidney Corbett.)
  • Strawberry Pie
  • Strawberry and Green Salad

Since the days have been quite warm lately and schedules were busy, any chilled berry recipe has sounded good. So, one batch of berries went into the freezer (makes handy smoothies), and with the last batch I’m going to make the Strawberry Souffle (and maybe some of my mini bundt favs).



My Favorite Salads In a Jar

Last week, I shared how making salads in a jar has helped to simplify my mornings and ensure that I take a healthy and nutritious lunch with me when I leave for work in the morning.  I really am in love with salads in a jar because the possibilities are endless.  I grab the jar, a plate (or use a paper plate), and something to drink, and my lunch is packed in under 5 minutes.

I’ve been told that it’s possible to shake the jars to mix your salad, but I tend to overfill mine, so I have to pour them out into a bowl or on a plate in order to be able to experience the entire salad instead of one layer at a time.

This week, I thought I would share five of my favorite salad in a jar recipes.  Each of these recipes has it’s own unique flavor, so I don’t become bored by eating the same thing every day.  Click on the links and check out the salads.  Let us know which ones are your favorite.

The first salad in a jar that I made was this Chinese chicken salad recipe.  As I headed out the door,  I grabbed a small container that I had packed with crispy chow mein noodles to sprinkle on top of this salad for some extra crunch.    I really enjoy this salad and make it frequently.chinese chicken salad in quart and pint jarsThe next was this delicious taco salad in a jar.  I love that this salad packs all the flavor of a taco salad without the need for meat.  Again, I grabbed a baggie full of tortilla chips to sprinkle on top of the salad after I poured it out onto a plate.  This salad is delicious.  Vegetarian Taco Salad in a JarI love Italian food, so this antipasto salad in a jar was also very good.  The down side to this salad is that unless you use low fat pepperoni and salami, the salad packs more fat than the others, but if you use a low fat or fat free Italian dressing, it helps to off set the extra fat in the meats.  Antipasto salad in a jar copyright 2014 patty cakes pantryI don’t know about anyone else, but I really love salad bars, so this trip to a pizza parlor’s salad bar in a jar was great.  I really loved the addition of  the three bean salad.finished salad bar trip in a jarLast, but not least, is the spinach salad in a jar recipe.  I was worried about the spinach wilting in the jar.  Spinach leaves bruise easily, and then they begin to wilt.  I didn’t want to take any chances, so I don’t leave this in the fridge for more than two days each time I make it. you have it five of my favorite salad in a jar recipes.  If you want to try making some salad creations of your own, here are the basic instructions for making a salad in a jar.    Grab some wide mouthed mason jars and give them a try.

**Patti can also be found at where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

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