Sunday, April 23, 2017

Moab Brewing Still Packs Them In.

Moab Brewery

686 South Main Street (Highway 191)
Moab, Utah, 84532

Phone: (435) 259-6333


Moab Brewery's menu has a large variety to please any diner; from meat lovers to vegans.  The interior is roomy, can accommodate large groups, and televisions in the bar keep the sporting types happy by broadcasting games.  Don't let the name "Brewery" fool you into thinking this place is for those of drinking age only; the menu has choices for children; so yes, it's family oriented as well.

Even though the parking area out front was packed, we were seated immediately by our friendly hostess.  Our server, Luke, promptly took drink orders; we were waiting for another of our party, so he gave us space until we were ready to order.

Two of us ordered the Fish Tacos; I really like the way they are prepared here, but this time they changed one item...the way the jicama was cut.  Usually it is in strips and the clean, fresh taste of this vegetable can be tasted; instead it was in cubes and was tasteless.  While this aspect was disappointing, the balance of the fish tacos was still very good.  It came with a side salad of generous proportion and vegetarian chili (medium heat & spice); you definitely don't walk away hungry after a meal at Moab Brewery.  By the way, the fish tacos come with sliced black olives and diced tomatoes too, but I left those off to keep from overwhelming the main ingredient, the fish!

The other diners in our group ordered Pistachio Chicken (spicy), Honey Almond Chicken (sweet and crunchy), and New York Strip Steak (grilled to perfection).  Lets just say that the only things left on the plates were the utensils; it was all that good!

Honey Almond Chicken

Pistacho Chicken

New York Strip Steak

We didn't order dessert from the menu, but saved our sweet tooth appetites for the luscious selection of Gelato.  If you save your receipt and show it, you get a discount; but even if that's all you enjoy, go to the Moab Brewery for this Italian treat.  We tried out "Tiramisu" and "Cappuccino Crunch", both were to die for!

Moab Brewery is open for lunch and dinner; definitely a great place to experience while visiting the Moab area; or a place for locals to gather at and watch the game.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Fling Brings Fairies, Dancing and Cheer.

May Day, or Beltane, a festivity dating back to ancient times; rejoicing the season of Spring, impending Summer, and the abundance that is promised to come.  Of all cultures who acknowledged this holiday, the Celts and Druids of the British Isles are most known for it, and the dancing round the May Pole.  However, this is where history becomes “like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff” with Brits, Germanic tribes and newly Christian Romans intertwining.

In Britain, May Day customarily saw the setting of new fire; thought to lend life to the ever lengthening sun. Cattle were driven through the fire to purify them, while men and their sweethearts passed through the smoke for good luck.  With the invasion by Germanic tribes, the ritual of the may pole symbolized the “male appendage” placed into the “female opening” of the earth.  I’m being delicate in the description here, but I’m sure you get the gist of the rite.  Anyway, then came along the Roman armies, newly baptized into Christianity; and what better way to get nonbelievers on your side then to incorporate some of their beliefs into yours.  Throughout the Middle Ages, every village had a may pole; the Puritans condemned the practice, but it came back once they were thrown out of England and sent to newly discovered America.

Jumping into the 20th century, celebrating May Day became a huge part of New Age/Pagan paths as the “weefolk” or fairies were most active on Beltane Eve.  To appease them, and guarantee harvests were not messed with (fairies are mischievous, you know), feasts were served with much singing, dancing and “under the cover of night” activities.  Personally, my husband and I participated in the annual Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm which featured vendors, magicians, dancers and music by Clann An Drumma, Scots Gaelic for "Children of the Drum", a tribal band from Glasgow, Scotland, and Blackmore’s Night featuring Candice Night and Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow).  Dressing up in costume was not required, but added to the experience; and yes, we did dress up, including rather good British accents.

Now speaking of fairies and feasting, Fairy Cakes, as they’re referred to in the United Kingdom, are smaller versions of what Americans call cupcakes. While they are mostly served to children, they can be enjoyed at tea shops, or as part of the daily “tea time” faire. The name, Fairy Cake, refers to the look of the little cake; the top carefully scooped off, cut in half, and placed on top of the icing to simulate the wings of a fairy. The icing itself is typically butter cream which will stay fluffy, and not dry out and harden; food coloring can be added to different batches. Small edible decorations, or sprinkled colored sugar, may or may not adorn the little cakes.

Basic Cupcake Recipe


 ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
 ½ cup sugar
 2 large eggs
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 1/3 cup milk
 1 cup self-rising flour


Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 – 12 cup mini muffin pans with mini baking cups.

 In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time and beat until well incorporated; add vanilla extract and slowly add milk till smooth.

Gradually mix in flour into bowl; scrape sides to incorporate all ingredients well.

Fill each baking cup ¾ full; bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before frosting.

 Makes 24 mini cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting

This white frosting can be divided into batches and made into different colors using food coloring.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream


In a large bowl, medium speed, beat butter till smooth. Add in confectioner’s sugar; reduce speed to low and incorporate well into butter.  Increase speed back to medium, add in salt, vanilla extract and cream; beat for 3 minutes.

If frosting needs a stiffer consistency, gradually add more confectioners’ sugar; if it needs to be thinner, add a tablespoon of heavy cream till desired consistency is achieved.

 Makes 2 ½ cups.

To Make the Fairy Cakes

Using a tablespoon, carefully carve out top center of each cupcake; cut in half and set aside.

Fill scooped out center with frosting and finish off entire top of cupcake with frosting. Place cake halves on top, standing upward, and “brush” some frosting upwards from the bottom of the halves. This will give the appearance of “feathered” wings.

Colored sugar or edible decorations can be placed on the frosting.

What a fun and delicious way to celebrate May Day!

Spoutwood Farm Center
4255 Pierceville Rd.
Glen Rock, PA 17327

Phone: (717) 235-6610

Looking for perfect examples of authentically British Fairie Cakes, go to:

Mary Cokenour

Monday, April 17, 2017

SemiHomemade Spanish Chicken and Rice.

Dedicated readers of my food blog know already that I really enjoy using Knorr Rice and Pasta Sides.  They help make meals quicker and easier, especially when time is not cooperating with your life.  So came a day when I had defrosted a package of 8 chicken thighs and a package of 8 chicken legs; removing skin and fat of course.  Having bags of frozen green bell peppers strips and diced onion (yes, I did this myself to have available when necessary), plus an assortment of canned diced tomatoes helped create a delicious meal in very little time.

Spanish Chicken and Rice

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika
8 each of chicken thighs and legs; skin and fat removed.
2 cups diced onion
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and julienned
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 (15.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (5.5 oz.) packages Knorr Spanish Rice Sides
4 cups water


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, heat olive oil; season chicken with a mixture made with the salt, ground pepper and paprika.  Sear the chicken, only cooking partway; remove to plate.

In same skillet add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cooking for 10 minutes until softened.  Mix in tomatoes, cook another 5 minutes before adding contents of Rice Sides packages and water. 

Bring to a boil, add back chicken; cover, turn heat down to low and continue to cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, uncover and allow any remaining water to be absorbed.  Chicken will have finished cooking and absorbed flavors from the seasonings in the rice packages.

Makes 8 to 16 servings depending on whether 1 or 2 pieces of chicken are eaten in one serving.

Note: instructions on the Rice Sides say to include oil; no need to since that is what the chicken and vegetables were prepared in.

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Great Meals in Monument Valley.

Goulding’s Stagecoach Dining Room

1000 Main St
PO Box 360001
Monument Valley, UT 84536

Phone: (435) 727-3231
Fax: (435) 727-3344


Originally, the site where the Stagecoach Dining Room is located, first started out as a movie prop when John Ford began making movies down in Monument Valley.  It became the mess hall for movie crews and cast; the cook would prepare the food, ring the bell (still displayed out front), everyone would come in to eat family style.  When tourists began staying at the newly built Lodge, they would eat at the mess hall; but the Health Department visited one day, stated it was unsafe and condemned.  The Gouldings tore down the old building, replaced it with a modern structure which included large windows that allowed diners to view Monument Valley.  General Managers are Scott and Alexa Laws who have years of restaurant experience under their belts; including the "Lamplight Restaurant" in Monticello, loved by locals and tourists alike.  Receiving an offer to manage the Stagecoach in beautifully scenic and sacred Monument Valley, they really could not be faulted for snapping it up.

Cheerfulness is exhibited by the entire staff; a lovely ceramic pitcher of Native American design is upon every table, filled with water for thirsty travelers.  The restaurant is well lit; diners get an eye opening view whether seated next to the windows or further inside.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available; delicious foods which are often prepared, or overseen by, restaurant mangers Lorenz and Barbara Holiday.  I interviewed Lorenz via telephone and I could tell immediately he had that one special factor that makes a great chef…PASSION!   His pride was evident in explaining how all Navajo dishes were made in house, following traditional recipes.  For anyone traveling throughout this region of the Southwest, ordering Fry Bread at the Stagecoach is a must try if you want to have a true southwestern food experience.   Whether as a dessert drizzled with honey, a side with savory Beef Stew, or the ever popular Navajo Taco loaded with beefy taco filling and vegetables; Fry Bread is a treat!

While supplies are outsourced from a food distribution company in Phoenix, Arizona, Lorenz diligently makes sure that every menu item is prepared expertly.  The Stagecoach Dining Room has introduced an extensive dessert menu featuring such items as Chocolate Decadence Cake – rich dark chocolate cake sandwich between, and surrounded by, thick chocolate mousse. 
Or how about a slice of Pecan Turtle Cheesecake – luscious cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, topped with a layer of gooey caramel sauce, rimmed with chopped pecans.  Please note, no turtles were harmed during the making of this cheesecake.  Lorenz does take great pride in bragging about the sweetly enticing Apple, Peach and Cherry pies which he creates himself.  One note of warning, come with a huge appetite, or have a way to store the leftovers; the portions are meant to fill you up!

Country Fried Steak
The menu caters to all visitors; enormous cuts of steak for carnivores, vegetarian dishes, gluten free, and my favorite, for those on a “see food” diet; see food and eat it!  One feature I encourage trying is the soup and salad bar; including an offering of two soups with a large variety of salad fixings and dressings.  This can be included in a menu selection, an additional one trip to, or an all you can eat feast.  Of course, consider trying a Native American specialty and don’t forget the Fry Bread!

Afterwards, wander around the Gouldings complex; visit the General Store/Home of the Gouldings museum, or the John Wayne museum housed in the stone cabin actually used in the film, “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”.  Trading Post, Gift Shop, Arts and Crafts Shop; or even stay at the Lodge, or RV Campground, with a tour of Monument Valley Tribal Park booked.  No matter what your plans, make sure to enjoy a meal, or two, at the Stagecoach Dining Room; you will be thanking me for this little piece of traveler’s advice.
Mary Cokenour

Monday, April 3, 2017

Too Much Squash!

Even though the calendar states that we are in the season of spring; snow, ice and cold rain have been dousing our area.  March came in like a lamb; beautiful warm weather, clear skies and the fruit trees blossomed.  March went out like a roaring lion with high winds, snow mixing with rain to make an icy, slushy mess.  Happily I can say, the apricot trees by my fence are still in full bloom; ok, they may have dropped a few, but they're still bursting with flowers.

Again this year I plan on creating a vegetable garden; as much as I've worked on the soil of our property, it stills fights against any attempts at growing plants.  Except for the weeds, they are everywhere and laugh as they spread; they think the weed killer spray is a cute, little shower.  I might just have to buy vegetables elsewhere if I want fresh again; sometimes I buy too much and end up freezing what I can.  Yellow squash and zucchini are perfect examples of abundant vegetables that can be purchased cheaply, if need be, and frozen for later use.

So, a day came when I was preparing a roast beef, didn't want the typical potato side with a steamed vegetable.  Seeing the frozen squash in the freezer, the load of canned whole kernel corn and creamed corn, an idea for a casserole side dish came to mind.

...and here you have, Squash and Corn Casserole.

Squash and Corn Casserole


3 yellow squash, cut into ¼ inch slices
3 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 and ½ cups minced onions
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. salt
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
2 (15 oz.) cans creamed corn
1 Tbsp. garlic powder


Preheat oven to 400F; spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Create layers of yellow squash, zucchini and corn; sprinkling black pepper, salt and onions over each layer.

In a large bowl, mix together cream of mushroom soup, creamed corn and garlic powder; pour over vegetables in baking dish.

Cover with aluminum foil for 30 minutes; remove foil and bake additional 30 minutes.  Let casserole rest for 10 minutes before servings.


Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Alternative Fact – The Cake is a Lie!

Players of the first person, puzzle solving, video game “Portal” will recognize the phrase, “The cake is a lie.”  A supposedly sweet little girl motivates the player to continue on through a deadly maze, the promise of a cake and party when completed.  The recipe itself is seen on computer screens, often recited throughout the game.  The catch?  The recipe contains many inedible ingredients; if the cake is eaten, the player would die anyway.

"Alternative Fact", a term spoken by Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway (American political activist currently serving as Counselor to President Donald Trump) in January 2017.  She claims the US media developed a definition which was not necessarily the meaning that Conway intended. A politically declared "fact" that does not match reality; a fiction, a falsehood, a lie, not a fact.  In other words, a politically correct term that means "it's a lie" without being nasty sounding.

In other words, you have this seemingly intelligent, pleasant looking, woman telling you one fact, while the players (American public) are believing a lie and continue on with the game.  Or that is what the media is intending for us to believe; are they trying to get us to follow the cake?  Main problem is, people are too ready to be sheeple; to follow the shepherd without questions; without bothering to do research to figure out what is true, what is the lie. 

Anyway, I do not have the time nor patience to get into political fights, not debates, not arguments based on facts, but knock-down, drag-out fights, mostly based upon “alternative facts”!  Whether it is for or against our new President; whether it is for or against the Bears Ears National Monument; people are ready to fight, verbally and physically on social media.  I have seen family, friends, virtual strangers blast with cruel words; threaten to kill; unfriend, block and refuse to speak to each other ever again.  I, myself, have been unfriended and blocked for refusing to pick one side or the other 100%; I’m either with the “correct” crowd, or I’m an enemy.  I have even heard from several sources that I have declared whether I am pro or con on an issue.  Really?  Would be so nice if these “gossips” would have the politeness and courage to outright ask me before signing me up to their cause!  Why having me on their side is so important leaves me clueless.

Now that the venting is out of the way, let me get to the true purpose of this article, “the cake is a lie”.  Recently I found, again on social media, a recipe for a “poke cake” (poke holes in cake, pour liquid frosting over top) called “Do Nothing Cake”.  Personally I am not a fan of poke cakes; the flavor seems to be concentrated at the “hole” sites, doesn’t seem to infuse the entire cake.  Other folks love them as they are quick and convenient to make, especially when going to a social event; to each his own and I applaud that.  For a test, I made one cake according to the recipe, using all-purpose white flour and granulated white sugar.  The second cake I used coconut flour and unrefined coconut sugar; often used in gluten free cooking and baking.  If you remember one of my previous articles, I made coconut pancakes with these products and they were quite yummy!  How could I go wrong baking a cake then?

After both cakes were baked, frosted and ready to eat, Roy and I decided to taste test first, before asking others for opinions.  The “Do Nothing Cake” was moist, slight pineapple flavor in the cake; the chopped pecans were a bit overwhelming for both of us.  Now the cake made with the coconut products, oh dear; the batter had been more like a soft cookie dough. While moist the cake was very “gritty”, had a terrible mouth feel, and was simply downright awful!  Poor Roy and myself, we couldn’t get that one bite out of our mouths quick enough; and the entire 9” x 13” cake went immediately into the trash bin.  My usual guinea pigs couldn’t be put through this horrible ordeal; Roy took the first cake to his mom’s house, and she’s loving it.

Now the point of me telling you of my baking failure is to help you realize; you can’t tell the lie from the truth if you don’t investigate it yourself.  By the way, social media is for socializing, so start being nicer to each other; less stress that way.


Do Nothing Cake



2 cups all-purpose flour (had ¼ for high altitudes)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt (1/8 tsp.)
1 large can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple with juice


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
1 can (5.5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut


1 - Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 - In a large bowl, Whisk together all the batter ingredients until just combined.

3 - Pour into a greased 13×9 baking dish, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick, inserted in the middle comes out clean. Don’t over bake.

4 - While cake is still baking, prepare the frosting.

(Note on Photos:  Coconut Products on Left; Regular Products on Right)

5 - Heat the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a small saucepan until boiling.

6 - Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

7 - Remove from heat and add in the coconut and pecans.

8 - Remove the cake from oven, and using a kabob skewer or wooden spoon handle, or some similar-sized object, begin poking holes in the cake.

 9 - You need holes so that hot frosting has plenty of room to get down and soak the cake. 

10 - Pour frosting over the hot cake, spreading it out to make sure it’s all evenly dispersed.

11 - Allow cake to cool for a bit before cutting.



For the “alternative fact” cake; used equal amounts of coconut flour and sugar in place of all-purpose flour and granulated sugar.

Add one cup of coconut milk to the coconut product cake ingredients; otherwise “batter” is crumbly.

Looks good enough to eat, but the cake is a lie!

A large rubber spatula worked better, for both cakes, than a whisk.

Heat butter, sugar and evaporated milk on medium-high heat.

Minutes baked: took 45 minutes for original cake recipe; 40 minutes for coconut products.

Processed Cake Batter vs. Coconut Product Cake Batter Before Baking.
Mary Cokenour