Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simple Lives Thursday #24

Hey everybody!
It's Thursday and that means it's time for the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.
These ladies and I host:
Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

Grab that badge, link up your posts, and tell us, what are you doing to keep it simple in the new year?  Any resolutions?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bakery Madness, Bowls, Blizzard Scenes, and Foodie Gifts

Wowza.  It has been a crazy few days.
I don't know how your holidays go, but mine are usually pretty laid back, other than the drama caused by winter travel.
This year, however, was not an average year for me.  Though my shop was ready, I wasn't fully mentally prepared for the effect national exposure would have on my sales.  Things came together beautifully, and the extra push came while I was on vacation, so I got to pretend that I was a full time home baker.  Frankly, it was really fun.  Crazy busy, but fun. Of course, I was also handmaking many of my Christmas gifts at the same time, so things got a little nuts around here.
I'm going to start this post by sharing some images from my work days at Rosie's Best, and then I'll show you what I've been up to on the personal side of things, including the best food-related gifts I was given this year.
After my episode of  On Point aired, Rosie's Best received an outpouring of support and interest.  Somehow, people were able to connect with my story and product from my short time on air.  They bought tons of granola, and wrote to encourage me in my endeavor.  Some shared their own stories of starting a business and others expressed their enthusiasm for real food.   I can't say enough positive things about my customers.  I feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to do what I love.
I broke my holiday orders down into one full day of baking and another for packaging and shipping.  My whole kitchen table was covered with bags and boxes.
I tried to make them extra pretty for their future homes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Simple Lives Thursday #23

I'm taking a quick break between marathon sewing sessions to put up this post for Simple Lives Thursday, the weekly blog hop where these ladies and I host a gathering of stories, recipes, and tips from bloggers all over the country who are making an effort to consume less and produce more.

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

This year I'm making as many homemade gifts as I can.  This combined with bakery work is keeping me busy!

Link up your posts, have a look around, and I'll have some pictures and words for you very soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rosie's Best on NPR and Simple Lives Thursday #22

Hey y'all!
It's Thursday, which means it's time for the Simple Lives Thursday blog hop!

I'm honored to host with these ladies 

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

I'm especially excited this week because I get to share with you the radio show I participated in yesterday.

A good friend recommended me to be a guest on the show On Point, a live nationally broadcast show which is recorded in Boston.  I was a little nervous to be on national radio, but Tom and the staff at On Point were fantastic and made me feel totally comfortable.

The theme of the show was young entrepreneurs who are starting or have started a business recently.  I got to talk about why I bake and what it means in light of my full time job.  If you'd like to listen, here's the interview on their website, or you can find it as a free podcast on iTunes for the next week.  (Just look for "On Point with Tom Ashbrook") (You can *like* On Point on facebook here) You can also listen to it here:

01 Young Entrepeneurs Inventing Jobs

As a result of the interview, Rosie's Best has been BUSY!  In addition to getting lots of orders, I have been totally overwhelmed at the support and encouragement that I've received from people all over the country.  I was only on the program for a short time, but people still somehow connected with me and my story.  This is a small sample of some of the things people have been writing to me:

"I just wanted to tell you I heard you on the On Point Show yesterday. You were wonderful. Good luck to you and your journey."

"Heard you on NPR and happy to support the cause!"

"What a great story I just heard on the radio program On Point with Tom Ashbrook.
I stopped folding laundry to look you up on-line.  I want to support you by ordering your granola."
To all these people, and to all my readers, THANK YOU for supporting me and joining me while I figure this all out.  You guys make it all worth it.
And if you'd like to give some homemade goodies made with real food this holiday, order from Etsy or by email ( by Saturday for Monday a.m. shipping!  You can order after that, but I cannot guarantee it will arrive before the 25th. 

Since it's Thursday, link up your real food posts!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rosie's Best Holiday Order Form and on Kath Eats!

Hey everybody!
I'm writing between end-of-semester meetings to share a little blog appearance Rosie's Best granola from the illustrious Kath this morning!
If you don't read her blog, Kath Eats Real Food, you might not know that she is a granola *expert*, eating it most mornings for breakfast.  She gets sent samples of granola from all kinds of companies, so I was very honored that she liked my granola enough to write about it in her post this morning!
Head on over here to check out her post, and stay tuned for a special KERF discount code for the Etsy shop!
Doesn't it look great in her breakfast bowl?! (from this url)

'Tis the season for gifting, so I typed up a simple Rosie's Best order form that you can use to place holiday orders.  Here's the list of things you can order and pricing.
NOTE: All granola is also available in reusable glass jars, as seen in this listing, for one dollar more.  This is a great option for people who hate wasting packaging materials!

And here are photos of everything you can order! Check the list above for ingredients and pricing.

If you have vegan friends, please note that everything I make also comes in vegan versions! Please just note so in your email to me.
Email me here with your orders.
Holiday orders must be received by Saturday, December 18th and will ship on Monday the 20th.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Hey everybody!
How are you?
I'd planned to get this update up sooner, but today has been packed full of awesome work and food related things.  After our final ceremony where we celebrated the accomplishments of my students this semester, Tim and I headed to a little eat-in for Terra Madre.

I tweeted this picture just before we started eating food prepared by friends and neighbors.  Then we listened to a presentation about Terra Madre, which was held this year in Italy.  I, of course, felt a little jealous of the delegates who got to fly to Italy and network about sustainability and local food, but I mostly felt excited to meet some new people that are interested in coming together to cook and eat, my two favorite things!  I look forward to sharing more with these people in the very near future, and you can bet I'll be blogging about it.

On to the best part of the post:
the giveaway winner!
Ready to find out who won this big box full of Rosie's Best goodies?

I asked Tim to help me pick a random number from the comments section below, and he dutifully turned on his iPod touch and used his dice bag application.
The lucky winner as selected by a 20 sided die is....

#4!  Bethany!

Bethany, please email me your mailing info at culinarybliss AT  (And tell me your twitter name so I can follow you! :P)

Didn't win but still want some goodies for yourself?  Visit the Etsy shop here, or stick around this weekend.  I'll be posting a special order form just for the holidays!  I'll also be showing some of the simple handmade gifts I've been putting together for the special ones on my list this year.

Until then, have a great day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Simple Lives Thursday #21

Hey, blogosphere!
How are you today?  It's Thursday, and that means it's time to link up all the stuff you're doing right now to consume less and produce more.  Next week I'll be sharing some of my homemade gifts for the holidays, but in the mean time you can get plenty of ideas from the other contributers!
How are you reducing your impact this year?  Write a post and share!
Remember these three bloggers host with me

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats
Grab this badge for your post, and link up!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vegetarian Pasta Fra Diavolo, Green Tomato Chutney, Inspiration and your Last Chance at the Giveaway!

Guess what?  I had my final classes of Fall 2010 today.  It feels pretty good to be done, this semester in particular since I've had some great students.
I'm working on a new logo and packaging for Rosie's Best, and things have been chugging along.  You now have until 1 PM CST on Thursday, December 9th. to enter my big giveaway below.
Speaking of a giveaway, one of the entrants and commenters on that post is my friend Caitlin, who runs a blog at So Sous Me.  She earned her extra entry by posting about the giveaway on her blog.  Cait pegged a problem with this blog lately when she said:
"there are some older posts on there with really good recipes."
My head hung after I read this sentence, because it's TRUE!
So I'm going to make an effort to post more recipes, and to work to make this blog more user friendly.  Would you use print versions of the recipes if I made them?  I will also try to recategorize posts so it's easier to find what you want or explore.
This post has two whole recipes in it, so read on!
First I'd like to share this quick pasta recipe I threw together.  It is a riff on a fra diavolo sauce, which is normally made with shrimp. I threw this together with ingredients we almost always have on hand: beans, home canned tomatoes, whole wheat pasta, and local eggs.  We also used red wine instead of white.
Vegetarian Pasta Fra Diavolo
Serves two
Boil enough pasta for two the way you like it in well-salted water.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium high heat, warm up
2 tbsp. oil of your choice
when it's hot, add
1 diced onion
any vegetables you have on hand.  We used
5 chopped carrots
cook until the onion softens and becomes translucent.  then add
2-5 cloves thinly sliced garlic
cook until you smell the garlic, maybe one minute. don't let it brown!  deglaze with
1/3 c. red wine
then, add
1 quart (4 cups) of tomatoes, whatever you have.  Ours are whole and we break them up in the sauce.
2 cups beans, preferably dried.  I used garbanzo.
the diavolo in this recipe comes from chili flakes.  We used
2 tbsp. dried chili flakes
Cook this down until everything tastes right and the pasta is done, around 10 minutes.
While it's cooking away, fry up an egg.   (Here's how I do it.)
Drain the pasta.  While it's cooling, I like to throw a crushed garlic clove into the hot noodles.  We eat a ton of garlic.
Pile some of that sauce on the pasta
Top with the fried egg, another sprinkling of dried chili flakes, and a little parm if you've got it.
High protein, full of veggies, and easy to make vegan by removing the egg.  It also reheats well, so it's easy to take for lunch.
Believe it or not, we still had some green tomatoes hanging around a few weeks ago, so I made some green tomato chutney to use them up.  I tried to make this recipe lower in sugar by reducing it by half from most recipes I saw, but it still tasted pretty sweet.  If you like it on the sour side, you can use less sugar.  (Note: this is for a chutney that must be refrigerated.  If you want to can your chutney, you'll have to use more sugar.)  You can easily halve this recipe.
Green Tomato Chutney
Start with
5 lbs.  green tomatoes, chopped
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 c. golden raisins
3/4 c. raw sugar
2 c. apple cider vinegar (We use Bragg's.)
a 2 in. piece of fresh ginger, grated or diced
1 tsp. all spice
1 tsp. fresh nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and pepper
Put it all in a dutch oven.
Simmer it all for around 30 minutes, covered.  This is about halfway through.  Let it cool, and then use it on everything from meats to bread with cheese.  It gives a sweet and sour punch, and the tomato flavor makes it totally different than any other chutney I've ever had.DSC09247.JPG
Now I get to tell you about the things that have been inspiring me lately.
The winter sky:
These women:  (If you wonder where my entrepreneurial sprit comes from, you've found your answer.)
This place, where I always feel warm and welcome:
These two, who are pretty darn cute.
And especially this woman.  Diana is still in the running for Project Food Blog, and you can vote for her here.  She has impressed me throughout this competition, and we had a fantastic time at the cafe talking about real food.
If you have the time and the inclination, enter my giveaway for some granola, crackers, AND cookies!
Otherwise, tell me, what's inspiring you these days?  What are you cooking?
Until next time, stay warm!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One HUGE Rosie's Best Giveaway, and Simple Lives Thursday #20!

Greetings, sweet readers!
How are you today?  Things have been busy busy busy but I'm very excited to post on this, the 20th edition of our Simple Lives Thursday blog hop!  It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I've been sharing this hop with these three inspirational women for the last 20 weeks, and all of you!
A huge thank you to all who have participated.   You're a source of inspiration for me each week and I always look forward to sharing with you.
If you like to participate in the hop with me and these ladies
Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats
grab this badge

and use the linky at the bottom of the page!
Now for the giveaway!
I've been a busy little bee in the bakery.  When I bake, the kitchen looks like this:

I've been plowing through lots of test batches and I'd like to share some abundance with one lucky reader!
Rosie's Best Gift Box Giveaway!
From today until 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 11th, please leave a comment to enter to win a big box FULL of some really great stuff from the bakery!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pies, a Gift, and More Granola to Give Away!

Hey everybody!

How was your Thanksgiving?  I had a restful break full of family time and a welcome repose from bakery and school work.  Monday I returned to the final full week of class, which has been busy but fun because I have some great students this semester.  I wanted to update you on everything I've been cooking around here but I'm also giving you a heads up about a big giveaway coming tomorrow for Simple Lives Thursday!  Come on back tomorrow!  My post will likely go up in the afternoon, so keep an eye out, and read all the other interesting contributions about sustainability and thrift to our Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.

For Thanksgiving, I made herbed dinner rolls and Dorie's twofer pie, which is a pumpkin pie with a pecan topping.  The crust is white whole wheat, my new favorite thing.


I brought my sister a small hostess gift.  I made her a little jar of cane sugar infused with crystalized ginger.


Thanksgiving was a blast.

On the homestead, we've been cooking Danelle's spare ribs. (Seriously good.)  After about 6 hours in the slow cooker they magically became perfectly tender and fell off the bone, which I did not manage to photograph.


I've also been making a lot of THIS!



So come back tomorrow and try to win some.

See you then!



Friday, November 26, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

Hey everybody!
How was your turkey day?
I left my camera at home so I could fully enjoy the day, and as a result I'm at the mercy of my mother for photos.  Everything was delicious and the company was great, so hopefully I can share with you soon.

Thank you to all who entered my giveaway!

The winners, as chosen by Tim from a hat, are comments number

2- Willa!
3- JOHN!
4- Lindsey! (She has a great food blog, check her out!)

Thank you all for entering, and for those of you who didn't win, I assure you there'll be a big holiday RB giveaway very soon.

Winners, email your addresses to culinarybliss AT

Have a great day!  I'm off to fry up some homemade doughnuts and have coffee before starting our lazy day.  I can't think of a better thing to be doing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preserving Broccoli, Snapshots, and A Rosie's Best Giveaway! Win some Granola!

Greetings everybody!
I have missed you, believe it or not.  I've been gone so long because I've been getting business stuff going while also managing to have some excellent personal time.  I started the business because I truly believe that it could become a full-time venture in the future, but for now I'm working hard to balance business development with my normal life, which includes downtime!
So I've done lots of cooking and socializing lately, and Tim and I even managed to squeeze in some preservation!  I'm going to show you how we preserved broccoli and some snapshots from the last few days, including the little dinner potluck we had recently. Then, I have a pretty awesome Rosie's Best giveaway to share with you!  If you don't care for broccoli or cute dinner guests, skip on down to the bottom of this post for details.
There are a few cold-hardy vegetables that are still around, and broccoli is one of them.  If you're lucky enough to have access to some, I suggest you scoop up as much as you can and preserve it.  While broccoli might not seem that exciting right now, I assure you that the little burst of bright green of frozen broccoli will be welcome in January.
Cut your broccoli into the pieces you'll use when you cook it.  They should all be around the same size.  (I apologize for the bad lighting in these photos.  We have to resort to a little lamp when cooking happens on dark nights.)
We also prepared some romanesco.  In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful vegetables.
We blanched the veggies in hot water for a minute, and then plunged them into ice water.
Then we spread the cold florets onto a towel and got them as dry as we could.  After this, we set them on a sheet pan and stuck it into the freezer so the florets each froze individually and didn't stick together.
From here you could throw them into a freezer bag, but we used our Foodsaver.
I have some potatoes downstairs that I plan to use in a soup with this broccoli later.
Now I'd like to share a bunch of snapshots that I've taken in the last few days.
The nephew visited.  He turned six this fall.  Apparently age six is the big year that nephews become perfect assistants in the kitchen.  This guy made breakfast and lunch, and even did the dishes.  Here he's mixing up the dry ingredients for the chocolate chip pancakes we made.
There was music on this visit, too.  Razi supervised.
We've still got a few green tomatoes around in the kitchen.
And these guys are everywhere, of course.  I took a picture of this one because her wings are half spotted and half solid.
Iowa weather has been very strange this fall, and we had a sleepy day of fog.  The dark early morning light lit up the mist in the backyard.  (We've raked since then, I promise.)
Finally, Tim and I were lucky enough to have a collection of generous friends over to welcome back an old friend who was in town for the weekend.  Everyone contributed something to the potluck dinner party, and we hosted.  I was far too busy to pull off everything by myself, but thankfully these girls came prepared.  They brought appetizers and side dishes, and we all constructed the main dish together.  It was so much fun to kick around the kitchen, wine in hand, and end up with a very impressive spread.  I contributed some Rosie's Best cookies for dessert, but you'll have to wait for those.
We set the table to celebrate the lovely Sarah.  I documented her taking a picture of the festivities for her daily photo blog, which you can read here.
I love this photo, even though it's blurry.  I think it shows the anticipation of a big meal, and I enjoy all the small worlds combined into one shot.
Eats.  We ate stuffed peppers and dates (you rule, Nikki!) before we even got to the table.  At dinner we passed around Indian-style lasagna, Korean sesame noodles, two quiches, and my contribution of baked brie with cherry jalapeno jam and Rosie's Best crackers (again, soon!).
Eventually the party moved into the living room and Razi became the center of attention.

I feel lucky to live my normal life and work on bakery stuff at the same time.
Speaking of which, how would you like to win a little piece of Rosie's Best?
Today I'm offering a giveaway of some Rosie's Best Granola for three lucky people.
I'm giving away one 10 oz. package of my best basic granola to three people who comment on this post.  First, the granola.
This granola is made with organic oatmeal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, slivered almonds, chia seeds, golden raisins, honey* cinnamon, chia seeds, and a pinch of salt.  The honey comes from Noble Bee.
I love my granola because it's the right combination of crunchy and chewy.  This version is lightly sweetened with honey (or sorghum if you're vegan) and baked low and slow.
If you'd like to win some of this granola for yourself
here are the rules:
enter by leaving a comment and a way to contact you on this post.
I'll close comments at 9 a.m. and randomly select three winners this Friday after Thanksgiving, since you'll be bored and off work.  Each winner will receive 10 ounces of my basic granola in reusable glass jars.
gift jar.jpg
if you want extra entries, you can
tweet about this giveaway (here's a of this post)
become a fan of my facebook page (here's a link)
blog about this giveaway
and be sure to leave a comment below indicating that you did so.
In the mean time, you can buy some Rosie's Best granola in kraft paper bags here-
or in jars here.
Thanks for your patience and understanding, and I can't wait to let you taste some granola.  So, enter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Web Roundup, Food and Otherwise

Greetings everybody!

I'm back from a pretty darn exciting lunch meeting that I will tell you all about very

*I want to give you a big heads up that my etsy shop will see some changes this weekend and if you stick around to see them you just might get a chance to participate in a little Rosie's Best giveaway...*

Until then, I thought I'd share some of the interesting bits I've come across on the internet in the last few days in the hopes that you'll read them and share some links in the comments section.

blogs you should be reading:

Sustainable Food Jobs
This blog lists jobs and volunteer opportunities all over the country in the food industry.  If you're looking for either, this is your place.  It's also pretty fun to see what organizations are out there.

Pacing the Panic Room
This photographer from Florida shines because he's skilled, and he happens to have some pretty gorgeous subjects: his family.  His maternity series is amazing and his Do What You Love campaign with Gap has me actually sort of looking forward to Monday mornings.

Mother's of Invention
Jennifer lives in my neighborhood and I have been completely sucked in to her blog since I discovered it a few months ago.  She is a skilled writer and tackles life and love with grace and insight. 

Fair Food Fight
A great food politics blog.

Canille and Vanille
Gorgeous food, gorgeous photography.

Sweet Fine Day
The wife designer half of a Brooklyn confectionery runs this beautiful blog.  I fantasize about having gorgeous children and living in NYC, so I get my fix here.  (And from Maggie of course!)

Interesting articles you should read:

local dollars WORK

this article is being passed around and you should read it if you're in higher education.  The Shadow Scholar is an open letter from a professional paper writer.


Local Harvest Supply
LHS supplies bulk local goods like fruits and vegetables in the Iowa area.  You can see the inventory they have on had and order from their website.

Maple Valley off the Grid Farm
Go take a vacation here, or at least get some inspiration for your home.

Community Cooking Club
I am taking some serious notes from this site. Gorgeous food and great company, what else is there?

So, dig in to these sites.  Before you know it I'll be back with some great stuff. 

Simple Lives Thursday #19

Here we are again at another installment of Simple Lives Thursday! 
These inspiring women host the blog hop with me-
Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats

We want to know, what are you doing to keep it simple these days?  Please take the badge above and use it on your posts that you link up below, and take the time to check out the amazing contributors.  I am inspired by them weekly!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Simple Lives Thursday #18

Hey y'all!
It's Simple Lives Thursday again! That means it's time to link up your posts telling us about what you're doing to keep it simple.
These blogs host with me:

Diana at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
and Annette at Sustainable Eats
So, link up your posts and be sure to note that you shared your post at Simple Lives Thursday so that others can find the hop.  There are some great posts already up, so please share and have a look around!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Sammich for Busy Nights

Hey everybody!

How are you?

I'm feeling a little more relaxed these days, and it's good.  Things with the business are chugging right along, but since completing my Master Gardener training I have reclaimed some personal time, which has significantly improved my attitude.

In the spirit of personal time, I'm going to make this post short and sweet.  I've been busy every night recently but have still managed to throw together whole foods most nights.  Some evenings that has meant a bowl of beans, salsa, and cheese with some kind of bread or chips.  (The carbohydrate I've been eating the most of these days has got to be my awesome Rosie's Best crackers, which I'll be listing in the Etsy store very soon.)

This sandwich is one that I've eaten myself and served to my mother and father while they were here helping fix up the wall in the kitchen.  It was met with universal approval and has reappeared in various forms on weeknights when we don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen but still want something satisfying that we can feel good about eating.

Begin with really good bread.  I got a potato loaf from the New Pioneer Coop.  I would not have picked up this loaf on my own, but I asked a baker for his recommendation and it turned out to be perfect.  (Thanks, Josh!)  Pick something that's soft enough to chew on but has a good crunch.  A loaf with a little sugar, be it in the form of honey or the potatoes in the bread I used, will get a really nice crunch when browned in the pan.

Coat the surface of the bread with some mayo (I use Vegenaise) and stone ground mustard.



Layer on the meat and cheese of your choice.  We had local sliced ham and pepperoni from Applegate farms.  (Though I'm rethinking these now reading the comments by the reviewers about the presence of corn.  Still on the hunt for good pepperoni!)  We used jack cheese.


Add some sliced apples.  We went to an orchard a few weeks ago and have had apples sitting in the crisper drawer ever since.  If you keep it humid in there, they'll do well for a while. Pick a firm apple and slice it thinly.


Butter both sides and fry it up.DSC08899.JPG


You might have noticed that I put potato chips in my sandwich in these photos.  I can't help it.  I love the taste of salty, crunch chips on a sandwich.  Especially if they're salt and vinegar flavor.  We also cracked into the first jar of pickles to accompany these.  We made another variation by slicing the pickles and putting them on the sandwich, omitting the pepperoni, and adding more mustard to play on the idea of a Cuban.

This sandwich is great sliced and served with a cold beer,


or with a special bottle of red from your golden birthday.


I'll be back soon with more updates.  (To give you an indication as to where my mind is, I typed 'bake' instead of 'back' the first time.)

What are you eating for dinner these days?  Things have slowed down on the produce front, but we still have lots in the basement to inspire cooking.

Until next time, I'd love to hear about what you're cooking and eating these days.

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