Feb 012006

Kitchen Fun with Carol

Hello cooks!

carol2007First I want to say a big thank you to all of you who sent me winter exercise ideas! You sent so many interesting options. I want share some of these ideas with you in case someone else out there is looking for some suggestions. Here are some of the ideas that I received:

An idea for winter months that may sound just plain wrong: do you have an indoor pool at your park and recreation center or YMCA? Water fitness is awesome – a good program is well rounded and hits all four elements of good physical fitness: strength training (just from resistance to the water alone as well as water weights, noodles, etc.), flexibility (stretching in the water – you’d be surprised at how much more you can do with the buoyancy help), core strength (similar to pilates mat when you exercise with toes up), and cardio (water aerobics, especially deep water, is a tough workout). A lot of city/county programs offer discounts in the winter months because people don’t think of pools during colder weather.

Also, many hospital-affiliated rehab centers offer water aerobics and some gyms offer pool-only memberships. Also, check local churches. Ours offers (all for free): men’s open basketball, floor aerobics, pilates, powerflex, volleyball and more. Volunteering in an Upward Bound program (I think mostly Baptist churches) would offer you benefits as well.  Tracy

Have you considered a treadmill? I don’t just mean for you but also for your dog. I’ve seen it before and it works (after a bit of coaxing).   Luanne

I decided to try a combination of walking and a stability ball. We have had a very mild winter so far with temperatures averaging 12 degrees above normal. That makes walking bearable. As for the stability ball, I have had one for about a year  but it did not come with a video. I found an inexpensive video at Walmart and I am giving it a try. (What would we do without Walmart!) It has three levels of exercise – beginner, intermediate and advanced. The American Heart Association recommends that you engage in some physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes three or four days a week. This will be my beginning goal. Eventually, I would like to be exercising five days a week. The American Heart Association sponsors a web site called Just Move. This site has lots of information on the correlation between exercise and heart disease. They also provide a place for you to keep an exercise diary. You can set goals for yourself and track your progress. Again, thanks for all of the suggestions!

February usually makes you think of Valentine’s Day. But it is also time for Super Bowl Sunday! I know lots of people who are planning a party with friends and family. Even if you are only watching the game for the great commercials, I thought it would be great to talk about recipes that are fun and easy to prepare for a crowd! There are so many 30 Day Gourmet recipes that work well for gatherings. My favorites are the finger foods that are easy to serve, disappear as the night goes on and clean up easily. Here are some of my favorites:


Chili and Sandwiches






Finger Foods:


Snack Mixes:


Good luck to all of you out there who are are planning a party! I hope it is a fun time for everyone.

Bonus Recipes

BrownieBites_0004Brownie Bites

These are so fun to take to a party or gathering! These are so easy to make if you have a mini muffin pan. You can serve them plain or frosted. One of our favorite frostings is peanut butter. Peanut butter and chocolate are so wonderful together. You could also make white frosting and color it red for Valentine’s Day or your favorite team color.



Recipe of the Month Contest Winner

February Recipe of the Month… Cheddar and Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes  

CheddarBroccoliStuffedPotatoes_0003Our winner this month is Nancy with her recipe for Cheddar and Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes. I have been looking for more potato recipes and this one is great! To get a more fancy looking potato, you can pipe the filling though a star tip on pastry decorating bag. It makes them look ruffled. This is a great recipe to have on hand for lunch. They are very filling.

Click here to view/print the February recipe of the Month.

Congratulations Nancy! Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe.

Freezer Cook of the Month Contest Winner

Our winner this month is Amyjoy from Boise, ID. Read how a 30 Day Gourmet freezer meal baby shower has changed her life.

Amyjoy says:

I have been raving about my new cooking “lifestyle” to everyone I can. My life has totally changed and it has been a very easy change to make. It started last January, one year ago when my sweet friends through me a “freezer meal” shower right before I had my third child. It was going to be a scheduled C-section and my second boy so I didn’t need lots of clothes or toys, I needed help! So, we enjoyed freezer meals for an entire month which was plenty of time to get me back on my feet. Then my friend was also going to have a baby a few months later, she wanted the same yummy food stash as me. So we formed our “freezer meal group”. We totally love the different yummy meals, ease of our days, and the fun it allows. Thank you for the book, the website, the great format and easy recipes that have always turned out! This is Awesome!!!

We think so too! We are glad that you are enjoying the freedom that comes with your new cooking lifestyle. Enjoy!

Closing Comments from Carol

I hope you enjoy the finger food recipes! Enjoy the game and we will talk again next month!

Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? I’d love to try and share them with everyone. You can post your recipes on the 30 Day Gourmet Facebook® fan page or click here to send me an email. Or do you have any other topics that you would like me to cover? Click here to send me an email. I enjoy hearing from you!

Have fun in your kitchen!




Carol Santee

Carol is the co-author of the Big Book of Freezer Cooking and the author of 30 Day Gourmet’s Slow Cooker Freezer Favorites, Freezer Lunches To Go and Healthy Freezer Cooking eBooks. She is a computer information specialist and works for a computer software company.

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