Pumpkin Crumb Cake

‘Tis the season for pumpkin! I’m not CRAZY about pumpkin like some people, but I certainly do enjoy some pumpkin baked goods, especially those with cinnamon in them. I mean, that is almost a must, right?

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This soft, spongy cake is topped with a sweet crumble so you get some nice texture in each bite.

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Ingredients, slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups

    Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup half n half (or milk)

    Crumb

  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl beat sugar and butter together until combined. Add in eggs, vanilla and pumpkin mixing until smooth.
  5. Add dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with milk, starting and ending with dry mixture. Beat for 1 more minute until smooth, scraping sides as necessary.
  6. Spread batter into pan evenly.
  7. To make crumb mixture, cut together all ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork. I like to get in with my hands and combine the ingredients once they are all mixed, and form larger clumps of crumb. (Don’t skip this step – your hands work best to mix this!)
  8. Crumble and spread this mixture on top of cake batter.
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes until center is set and toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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This is the cake batter – it should be nice and light. Sometimes when baking with pumpkin, the cake will look a bit curdled or separated. Don’t let that worry you if it happens. Just keep going and it comes together.

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Here’s the cake on the left and then topped with the crumble. There is plenty of crumble to cover the cake and like I said, just use your fingers/hand to incorporate it. Your hand is your best tool in this case.

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And here it is before going in the oven and after. Oh, with a few pieces removed. Whoops! I had to taste it warm to make sure it was OK to post the recipe. It most certainly is!

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Enjoy this sweet treat!

Posted in Baking, Dessert | Leave a comment

Women’s Health Conference, Bismarck

On Monday, Sept. 29 I attended the Women’s Health Conference (WHC) held at the Ramkota hotel in Bismarck. I was really excited because where I work allowed us to go the whole day and also paid our entry fee of $40. At my previous job, I had the opportunity to travel on occasion and attend conferences. Currently, I don’t have those options and I do kind of miss it. I was thankful to attend this conference to network, learn more about my health and to be honest, have a day away from work – PAID! The conference looks to give women one day in activity and conversation focused on wellness, nutrition and fitness so we can continue in confidence with tools for a stronger, healthier, happier life. The focus is on education, self-focus and networking. There were nearly 600 women in attendance!!

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I started off my day super early at the YMCA in Bismarck with a sweaty spin class. I love visiting other gyms and classes and they Y was a great facility. I thought with the theme of the day, starting out healthy was a wise move. The conference began at 7:30 a.m. where you could go into the large room and eat a healthy breakfast of yogurt with honey, fruit and a Kashi bar. You could also visit the exhibitors who were set up in an adjacent room. At about 8, the emcee, Marcie Narum (formerly with KX News) welcomed us and gave us a bit of background on the conference. If I remember and understand correctly, this was started by former First Lady Mikey Hoeven 13 (I think?) years ago and is held twice a year in Bismarck (fall) and Fargo (spring). Both Mrs. Hoeven and Mary Ann Foss (Chair of the Advisory Board) spoke and welcomed us to the event. We were encouraged to Tweet or Instagram our thoughts throughout the day using a hashtag and they would share those on the big screen. I loved this since I am a social media geek. Also, kudos to the group for blocking off a lot of the men’s restrooms and letting the women use them. 600 women on a break? Yeah, that is a lot of bathroom use!

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Marci Narum (all photos from the WHC website)

The first keynote of the day was by Melanie Carvell, a Physical Therapist at Sanford in Bismarck and also a recent author of “Running with Antelope: Life, Fitness, and Grit on the Northern Plains”. Melanie shared with us very scary statistics of the modern day workforce. The biggest thing to me that she talked about was how as a workforce we are largely sedentary since we sit all day behind a desk. In fact, she said sitting is the new smoking and sitting all day is just as detrimental to your health as smoking 2 packs of cigarettes. The statistics she shared on obesity and diabetes this nation faces is shocking and frankly, scary. She took us through a series of exercises we could easily do behind our desk throughout the day.

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Next, we were welcome to attend a 45-minute session of our choice from 5 topics. My first session I went to was by Beth Schatz Kaylor (you might remember her as the chef from Dinner at Riverbound Farm). Her topic was “Getting Real on Our Approach to Eating Well”. Her time flew by and it was great to hear her tips. The main focus of her presentation was to Drop The CRAP: carbonated drinks, refined sugar, artificial sweetener and processed foods. Beth provided us with plenty of resources (via a handout and PowerPoint) about why you should eat real food. She also offered a selection of cookbooks and food sources in the Bismarck area where you can find real food. I thought her time absolutely flew by so that is a good sign. I could have listened longer and I bet more people would have had questions if there was time.

Beth

After a break, we sat down to a healthy lunch and were welcomed back by First Lady Betsy Dalyrmple. Lunch was BBQ chicken with roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, a dinner roll, house salad and some Lindt chocolate truffles for dessert. I truly appreciate the effort to serve us something healthy. This is not an easy task when working with hotel catering. Generally, options are filled with cheese, cream, fattier cuts of meat, lots of carbs and more. I only wish the chef could have prepared the veggies in a more palatable manner. When feeding 600 women, it might not have worked but I would have seen something sautéed (in LIGHT oil) or roasted as it really brings out the flavor and helps the veggies shine.

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I snapped these 2 photos. This was probably the first time I have ever been served avocado on a starter salad at a hotel in North Dakota. Yum.

The second keynote speaker was Kat Perkins, native North Dakota who went on to the Top 5 on NBC’s The Voice. Kat talked a bit about becoming fearless and making an impact, especially in children’s lives. She also sang two songs. I have to say I was not a Kat Perkins fan prior to this. Her passion and attitude turned that around. Oh, and her voice is insane. I imagine the acoustics in a hotel room aren’t that great but she sounded phenomenal.

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The next 45-minute session I choose to attend was “GMO, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free or Natural? Clarity In Your Food Choices”. I have to say I went to this seminar as it was moderated by Katie Pinke who I follow on Social Media and got to meet that day. It was a joy to meet her and she is just as she seems online. I went into the seminar with no pre-conceptions – I eat gluten and GMO and don’t have issues with either. I was interested to hear more though. I wasn’t raised by a farmer (coal miner’s daughter here) and I don’t know a lot of farming terminology even though I live in a mostly agriculture state. There was a panel of speakers representing their farming or ranching practices and food choices. All were women and I’s say each had their own point of view from growing GMO’s to choosing not to eat GMO products. It was so refreshing to hear women talk about their different points of view in a calm matter. I think anytime you bring up GMO or organic or gluten-free you will get a heated debate. People are passionate on these subjects. I was there for information and felt I received a lot of great points. Again, I felt it could have gone longer. I personally think there is so much unknown and so many preconceived notions on this topics it makes it difficult to debate one or another. The point that really struck me is that they were there not to food shame. There shouldn’t be food shaming going on. We each have a right to pick what we want to eat and feed our family and that should be respected.

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Finally, at 3pm we reconvened for snacks (veggies and hummus, yum!) and the final keynote of the day presented by Anne Malum. Anne was a fantastic speaker. She went long and I didn’t even care. She has a fascinating story; she was raised in Bismarck and eventually founded Back on My Feet (a running program to help homeless people get back on their feet) and is now working on opening fitness boutiques on the east coast where she resides full time. Her story of growing up, finding out part of her home life was a lie, attending school and competing in sports was just captivating to listen to. She is strikingly beautiful and spoke like a true professional. The takeaway was you can manage and create change in your life.

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I always try to include a critique or something to improve on and I have a few ideas for this event, other than the food. The exhibit showcase was lovely. There was an area where vendors set up to showcase their items. It was plenty spread out, but when all of us women tried to make our way through, it was just too crowded. Next, since the group was very technologically focused, it would be nice to share presentations or PowerPoints after the event of the breakout groups.

I hope I can attend this event next year. I felt I learned a lot and was happy to meet/listen to such inspiring and healthy women. I would recommend this conference for any woman!

Posted in Exercise, Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Informational, Misc | 1 Comment

Buffalo Turkey Chili

Chili is definitely a warm fall dinner I look forward to. This wasn’t always the case though. I am NOT a fan of kidney beans and most of the chili recipes I see, have kidney beans in them. Not this one. This one is also healthy – of course, I served mine with chips and cheese, but it can be healthy if you keep those to a minimum.

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Only slightly adapted from Skinny Taste.

  • 2 20 oz. packaged lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • pepper to taste
  • 12 pickled jalapeno rings (or to taste), chopped
  • 2 (15 oz.) can white chili beans
  • 1 (13.6 oz.) container fat-free refried pinto beans 
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup buffalo sauce (to taste)

Optional toppings:

  • shredded cheddar
  • chopped scallions
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Directions:
Heat a large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ground turkey in the skillet and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks, about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through, set aside, drain if needed.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, a pinch pepper, and cook stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add pickled jalapenos, white beans, refried beans, water and chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer covered on medium-low about 10 minutes.

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Stir in the hot sauce and add the chicken, cover and simmer until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the flavors blend. Makes a boat load.

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You could easily halve this recipe. When I am making soups or stews I prefer to make a big batch and freeze half for use another week or when I am busy. I found this got a bit spicier when I warmed it up the next day which was fine with me! Enjoy!

Posted in Main Dish, Soup | Leave a comment

Thirty Five

Today is my 35th birthday! I was born on a sunny Saturday, October 13, 1979 via C-section to my Mom and Dad; joining my year and a half older brother. The Pittsburgh Pirates were playing for (and eventually won) the World Series. Well, my Mom told me these things, I don’t really remember. But I know it was certainly the best day for me!

I feel like 35 is kind of a big number. Sure, it isn’t exciting like 21 or “over the hill” like 40 or 50, but it seems significant. I am a real adult now. I mean I certainly have been for a while – I am married, I have a vehicle, a mortgage, I go to work every day, I have 2 pets depending on me to stay alive, I cook, I clean, etc. But 35 really makes it seem official. I certainly still feel like a kid most days though.

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But, 35 isn’t too old for sequins. I know that!

In the past year or two, I have been more aware of my mortality. I hope I am not yet half way through life and that I will live a long, happy, prosperous and fulfilling life. Sadly, I am more aware of my mortality because as I have gotten older, I have seen friends or acquaintances that have passed from accidents, diseases and just plain unfair circumstances. I see changes in myself as I get older and changes in my friends and family. I see more gray hairs, more laugh lines (OK, fine, they are wrinkles), more saggy skin and a few sunspots I shouldn’t have gotten had I used that sunscreen like my Mom told me to. But at the same time, each year I feel more “me” and more confident, happy and secure in my life. I guess that is the trade off, huh? I am sure anyone reading this over the age of 35 must have more answers that I do right now. I am more aware of life and what it holds and offers than I used to be a decade ago. I try to live a better and more fulfilling life than I used to and I hope to improve on that as my days go by. By incorporating fitness into my life, I hope it prolongs my longevity. I really love my life and the people in it! But I guess you never know when your number will be called.

I enjoy reading articles and trying to gain insight on how to lead a good/better/happy life, whatever you might say. I came across an article on Thought Catalogue by someone sharing life lessons. I hope if I look back and read this list when I am 40 and again, 45 I have different thoughts and opinions. But I wanted to take some of her tips she shared and expand with my own thoughts and lessons I’ve learned in my life thus far. I must preface this by saying these are all a work in progress and things I am striving to be better at. And I have plenty of work to do!

1. You don’t need a life plan. It isn’t going to happen how you think it will any way. You don’t need a college degree to succeed and no piece of paper is going to automatically ensure you a good paying job and a nice house. Find something you are passionate about and go from there.

2. Respect your body and mind. Appreciate what they can do for you. It is truly mind boggling to know what your body is capable of – from walking and running, to pushing yourself to do things you didn’t think were possible, to learning things you didn’t even know existed.

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3. Be grateful and mindful every day. Do we really know how lucky we are in our life? That it is as simple for us to go turn on the tap water and have as much water as we want? We can open the fridge and have nearly any food we want? Most of us in North Dakota are truly blessed to have all of our general, basic needs met. We are free every day to choose what we want to do, eat, see, read, etc. and what god (if any) we want to worship. As women we can vote, own businesses, live independently, etc. I’m so grateful for my family, my friends, my choices on how I spend my time – whether it be volunteering, working out, or even just watching TV!

4. Say “yes” to more things in life; especially if it makes you step out of your comfort zone. I’ve read countless articles where we need to learn to say no so we can do what is important to us as individuals. I certainly believe in that. But we should also say yes to things that scare us? Go parasailing for the first time? Go to the local park with your kid even when you are super busy?Go snorkeling off the shore of Mexico while on vacation?Say yes!

5. Money does not equal success or happiness. Having a fancy job title that pays a lot doesn’t mean you are successful. Does that job suck the life out of you? Are you constantly on call, checking your emails and not living in the present with your family? It is not worth it. Lead a simple life and have time to enjoy your hobbies and family.

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6. Live in the present. Living in the past can lead to depression (a lot of what ifs) and living in the future creates anxiety.

7. The only person who will save yourself is you. Quit blaming others, making excuses or waiting for something to happen. You have the power to save yourself.

8. Love yourself. Flaws and all. You only have this one body and mind – accept and love it.

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9. Save money.

10. Travel – both for fun and to learn. (Also, see#9.)

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11. Be positive, smile. There is more than enough negativity in this world. Sure, I get down and depressed and negative but I try to keep it to myself and look on the bright side.

12. Comparison is the thief of all joy.

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13. Relentless forward progress. Try to keep building yourself and being a better person every day – in life, relationships, work, etc.

14. Things that make you unhappy are in your control. Keep them around and be miserable or change, get out, do what needs to be done and be happy. It is that simple.

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15. Forgive yourself. Good Lord have I done some stupid shit and hurt people I love very much. In general, people are forgiving, especially if you are truly sorry. Don’t dwell on the past. Forgive, try to be better and move on.

16. Have fun!

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Cheers! Here’s to many more birthdays and life lessons along the way. Thanks for reading.

Posted in Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 4 Comments

Capital in Farm Country walking tour

On Saturday, Sept. 27, my Mom and I travelled to downtown Bismarck to attend a one-hour walking tour called the Capital Farm Tour put on by the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, out of Washburn. We met at the Camp Hancock State Historic Site at 101 West Main Ave in Bismarck along with about 20ish other people. We arrived a bit early and were welcome to walk around the grounds to discover more about items on site which include a 1909 Northern Pacific Locomotive, the oldest church in Bismarck – the Bread of Life Church, a picnic area and Camp Hancock itself.

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Camp Hancock (the building above) was part of a military installation established in 1872 to provide protection for the building of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The log headquarters building is what stands on site to this day, though it has been remodeled extensively and the logs are concealed by siding. The building is now an interpretive museum. It is free to visit anyplace on the grounds; there is a donation box inside the Camp Hancock building.

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You could easily take a walking tour of the grounds and learn a lot of history just by reading.

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This is the 1909 NP locomotive moved here on site after its last voyage from Jamestown to Pingree.

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Above and below are just a few photos of the Church of the Bread of Life. You can still rent this church if you are looking to get married! It seats about 80 and has minimal amenities.

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Our guide was a young man named Robert Hanna, pictured below. He was an excellent guide and was very easy to hear and understand with a strong, clear voice. We had a variety of ages and with nearby traffic zooming by, so this was appreciated. He had us start right at the site of the railroad tracks since this was the reason Camp Hancock was built. I can’t nearly begin to remember everything he shared with us. I was surprised at how much I learned and didn’t know about. My highlights are below. As the title of the walk suggests, this tour was primarily about farms and how farming played a role in the development of Bismarck and North Dakota.

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Robert mentioned that the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center recognizes the importance of family farms by having an exhibit called Centennial Farms. This celebrates ND’s ag heritage by recognizing families that have lived on or owned their farms or ranches for over a century. Hundreds of families have registered their ag operations as Centennial Farms. These farms are in over 40 ND counties, some owned by children of original settlers, others in the fifth generations of the same family. These farms are part of ND’s proud history.

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Do you recognize this building from Main in Bismarck? Now, do you notice anything odd about it, more specifically the façade of the building? I never did, but if you look you can see the 2 buildings are different – check out the windows on the top floor, for example. This building was originally constructed with a 3rd column on the far right, matching the one on the far left. However, it burned down and was never reconstructed. The two remain like you see above today.

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Most of us probably recognize this building as Fiesta Villa, a popular Mexican Restaurant. This used to be a modern train depot. You might have seen in the building that you can find small baby dolls in the walls of the building. Rumor has it that one of the construction workers had bought the small dolls at the 5 and dime store because he missed his children who were back home! You can find some dolls in the walls in Fiesta Villa.

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I have to say, we lucked out with wonderful weather. Nice and warm with a breeze on this late September day. Not a cloud in the sky!

 

A few more fun things I learned:

  • At the time Camp Hancock was built (1872), Bismarck was actually named Edwinton, but it was later (1873) named Bismarck to attract German settlers.
  • There was not much support for the railroad being built west as settlers were barely trickling into what is now North Dakota
  • The Northern Pacific railway was considered transcontinental, going from the Great Lakes (where goods could be transported to the Atlantic) to the Pacific Ocean
  • Camp Hancock had to be built to protect the people building the railroad and railroad goods because Native American tribes were attacking workers. This is understandable as the railroad was being built on their land, without their permission. The U.S. Army was needed to protect the survey and construction crews.
  • The railroad was a valuable tool used to transport crops grown during this time, namely wheat and other grains.
  • The staggering cost and magnitude of building the transcontinental railroad caused Northern Pacific into bankruptcy. This was a major factor in the Panic of 1873, bringing an economic depression to the U.S., other railroads and Europe. Reorganization, bond sales and an improved economy would allow NP to keep building.
  • Conditions in ND are very favorable for growing wheat, even with the long, usually harsh winters. Most immigrants to the area farmed to make a living.
  • The railway allowed the Marquis de Mores (founder of Medora, ND) to become a rancher and transport meat via railway. There was even a cold storage house made mostly of sawdust, that was in Bismarck for decades, surviving a few fires. It was eventually torn down to make way for a parking ramp.
  • Bismarck became the capital of Dakota Territory, taking over the title from Yankton (SD). There are a few theories as to why Bismarck was made the capital and why Dakota eventually became two separate states. At the middle of most of these theories is a man named Alexander McKenzie and shady tactics he used.
  • Alexander McKenzie was a prominent person in Bismarck – he was very influential in politics, though never serving office himself. His power allowed him to basically hand pick winners of elections. However, often his political power was gained by stealing votes, intimidation and even physically fighting opponents. While Alexander McKenzie was popular (his name still exists on a building in downtown Bismarck, a county and town in ND also bear his name) he was eventually brought down from power. McKenzie had travelled to Alaska and illegally took gold mines from owners. The owners fought back and won. McKenzie was arrested. Word got back to Bismarck and his reign on politics was soon over.
  • Downtown Bismarck was ripe with activity when it began – mostly with gambling and prostitutes. It was well-known that the best whore house was in what now is the Bismarck Tribune building.

We stopped for quite some time while Robert talked about Oscar Will. I had never heard of him but he sounds like a very smart man. In Robert’s mind, Oscar is really the person who helped Bismarck and North Dakota thrive (not the politicians) as he allowed farming to become more diverse, grow and capitalize on growing techniques Native Americans had used prior to the white men taking their land.

Snippets from his Hall of Fame induction to the Ag Hall of Fame from the ND Winter Show website:

Oscar H. Will was called North Dakota´s Pioneer Seedman. He came to North Dakota in 1881 and was employed at Fuller Green House in Bismarck. He purchased the Fuller Green House in 1882 and established the first nursery in North Dakota. He soon started his experiments with native corn varieties that had been grown for hundreds of years by the Mandan and Arikara Indians. He developed and offered two varieties which proved to be his most successful: Pride of Dakota Flint and Gehu Yellow Flint. They were offered continuously in the Oscar H. Will Seed Company catalogs until 1959. Around 1886 a Hidatsa man, Son of a Star, gave him a bag of beans. From those beans he developed and introduced in 1896 the Great Northern Bean which is still cultivated and available in many grocery stores today. Mr. Will sold 2 million trees to the Northern Pacific Railroad which his work crews planted between Mandan and Jamestown to replace snow fences. He sold corn to the Northrup King Seed Company. His seed catalog offered many varieties of corn, oats, wheat, rye, flax, millet, clover, alfalfa, barley and buckwheat as well as vegetable garden seed, flower seed and nursery stock. He also offered insecticides, fertilizer, sprayers poultry supplies, drills, cultivators and plows. Mr. Will always credited Native American seed sources in his catalog which included many varieties of squash, dark and light colored beans, sweet corn, soft yellow and flint corn. He was a real seedman.

The growth of other crops, besides just wheat and grains, would allow ND to become diversified and thrive even in poor wheat growing conditions. This made the economy more stable for farmers.

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  • Oscar Will’s seed catalogs featured hand drawn covers. They came out once a year and some of them are now prized collectibles. An example of one is above.
  • Oscar grew his own seed, bought seed, contracted with others and had his own gardens by what is now the Kirkwood Mall/Barnes and Noble bookstore.
  • Oscar liked to grow a variety of produce including various types of watermelon. Watermelon seeds are hard to keep separate though. So Oscar would invite all the neighborhood children to come and eat ONE TYPE of watermelon at a time. The only condition is they had to spit the seeds in a bucket so he could keep them separated. What an ingenious way for free labor, right?!

We ended our tour at Peacock Alley (a supporter of the tour) where the Patterson Hotel once stood and the name still exists on the building. This was once a posh, luxurious hotel popular with politicians. It is also rumored that an underground tunnel once connected the hotel with the nearby train depot. The Patterson Hotel was notorious for selling booze during prohibition, had illegal gambling and likely had prostitutes on the property. The Patterson hotels top floors are now senior housing and the Peacock Alley restaurant is on the main floor.

I’d recommend this tour to anyone. They have only done a few so far but they have filled up quickly. You walk about a mile, but as long as you are mobile, it is an easy stroll. Great job Robert and Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation!

Posted in Feisty Eats, FeistyLife, Misc | 2 Comments

Big Batch Cookies

These cookies are a riff on a previous recipe I baked. My husband was lucky enough to draw an antelope tag and it’s tradition I make him cookies to take hunting. Good luck cookies, I suppose?

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The original recipe is from Griggs Dakota website, called Momma Jane’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, via The Pinke Post, only slightly adapted. This recipe makes a boat load and I just slightly altered it again. Depending on how big you make them expect at least 7-9+ dozen. The major difference I used here was browned butter and more brown sugar than white sugar.

  • 1 cup browned butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 6(ish) cups baking chips (I used peanut butter chips, Skor bits and mini Reese’s Pieces)

Mix butter, oil and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Beat until fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, salt and soda. Mix well.

Add the flour and beat until mixed all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix the dough. Add the chips and mix just until incorporated into the dough. Chill dough for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. You could freeze these in cookie dough balls at this point and bake later. Just straight out of the freezer and into the oven.

Drop by scoop onto a Silpat baking sheet. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes. Do not overbake!!

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You can see I melted my butter on the stovetop. You will want to do that to get the deep, dark melted butter flavor.

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I covered my dough with plastic wrap and left it in the fridge overnight. The dough will be pretty hard when you take it out of the fridge, but just use a cookie scoop to get your dough on your baking sheet.

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Before and after. Do not overbake unless you like crispy cookies. I prefer might crisp on the edges but chewy in the middle.

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Piles of cookies! Enjoy!

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Dessert | Leave a comment

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I was luckily gifted with 2 zucchinis from an acquaintance. I decided to make dark chocolate zucchini brownies instead of something healthy. It happens!

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I love baking zucchini brownies or zucchini chocolate cake. The zucchini melts into the baked good while keeping it super moist.

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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, adapted from AllRecipes

Brownies

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Chocolate Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ (heaping) cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Combine oil, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Add egg and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir until well combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in zucchini. Batter will be on the dry side. Spread out evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until done.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. Melt together butter, milk and cocoa in a medium pot on medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is warm (could be done in microwave as well). Stir together. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies.

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Blurry photo but this is what the cake mix will look like. It’s somewhat dry and not like your typical brownie batter. Don’t worry, the moisture in the zucchini will make these brownies nice and moist.

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Before and after.

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This is all you need for the sweet frosting.

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I poured my frosting on and dug in before it fully set. I just can’t wait and had guests over to serve!

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Enjoy this easy way to use up zucchini!

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