Review & Preview: 7/17/16

Review & Preview is a weekly post that features a review of last week’s blogs, a preview of upcoming posts and a random assortment of food-related thoughts, discoveries, and experiences that happen between posts. My hope is that this will serve an “in case you missed it” purpose, as well as give you a glimpse of what will be in store for the week ahead.


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Last week on Picnic Life Foodie, … I feel like a T.V. announcer … an old one who remembers having to wait a whole week to see what happens next instead of binge-watching an entire series in one sitting … but I digress.

In last week’s Review & Preview, I mentioned a few ideas I had for upcoming posts. I managed to check off two of them and added a third that worked itself into the mix. The first was a summary of our quick visit to Minneapolis. The second was an experiment-gone-great and new installment to our “Make Meatballs Great Again” campaign. And third was a kid-friendly way to upcycle leftovers into fried rice.

Foodventurous: Minneapolis
The Meatball Files: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Home-From-School Lunch: Fried Rice


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Peaches ‘n’ Cream Sweet Corn Ice Cream

I spent some time preparing for today’s celebration of National Ice Cream Day! I wanted to try to make something unique. I remembered someone selling Sweet Corn Ice Cream last year at the downtown farmers’ market. I had also just bought a half-lug of Georgia peaches from a group called “Youth for Christ”. They were selling them as a fundraiser for their organization, and they were/are gorgeous and delicious. So “Peaches-and-Cream Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Maple Bacon” was born! In case you are not from around here, “peaches and cream” is a variety of sweet corn with yellow and white kernels and a favorite for most Iowans. It is especially good when served in a wine glass!

This was also my first week to buy produce from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)/heirloom farm. I joined their “market” group which means that each week they let me know what they have left after filling their CSA member shares and I tell them what and how much I am interested in buying. This week I picked up some garlic, summer squash, cabbage and tomatoes. As I introduced myself to Cody and Jenn, we discovered that Cody’s daughter is friends with my youngest son. A small world indeed. I think I’m going to have a good time learning from them this summer. You can check out gorgeous photography of the farm, great recipes and information on their programs at Clarion Sage Farm.

In my free time (usually about 15 minutes before I go to bed), I love to read. I just finished a book called “Making Piece” by Beth M. Howard. It is a memoir about the loss of her husband and how pie helped her through her grief. She now lives in the American Gothic house near Eldon, Iowa making and selling pie for tourists and neighbors alike. Click here to see her website or grab a copy of her book (information given on the website). I’m pretty sure I need to meet Beth … after all, her motto is “The world needs more pie!” and I couldn’t agree more. Add it to my foodie bucket list.

A new item to this weekly post is called “Two Thumbs Up” which will feature foods, utensils or products that I would highly recommend. It might be something I’ve used for a long time or it might be something I just discovered.


This week it’s ribs from Costco. I have looked at the ribs time after time and I finally bought some. They are seasoned pork back ribs. The packages hold about 6-8 pounds of ribs (two big racks). I grilled them last night for supper, just following the directions on the package, didn’t add or change anything which is unusual for me, and they were amazing! Tender, juicy, smoky and meaty … they will make another appearance on our table very soon.


In last week’s preview, I mentioned a recipe for Italian Roast Beef. I made it, but didn’t get the blog written. It is ready to go and will be posted this week.

We also made a beautiful watermelon, mango and lime sangria.

My garden is taking off with tomatoes turning red one by one and basil plants turning into bushes. I will be making Spinach-Basil Pesto and sharing how to preserve it for year-round use.

So, tomatoes, pesto, and what else? We need some cheese. I will be attending a “Cheese 101” class tomorrow night at The Cheese Shop in Des Moines for a lesson on the 7 styles of cheese … and a couple glasses of wine!

As mentioned earlier, I love to read. You also know by now that I love wine. I have a group of friends who share these feelings and we formed a book club in 2008. We try to meet about once a month and this month it is my turn to host. Hosting requires me to a) choose a book, b) stock up on wine, and c) provide food, a place to gather and some questions on the book to discuss. I chose a book called “The Secret To Hummingbird Cake” by Celeste Fletcher McHale. I’ve never had hummingbird cake but I think it’s about time I do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace.”  – 1 Peter 4:10

I found this verse referenced in my daily devotion feed named “Potluck” (yep … that one jumped off my phone screen right to me). It described a typical potluck church dinner where everyone brings their specialty, their very best. We all have different talents, and they compliment each other. Remember to serve others with the gifts and passions you have been given.

Have a great week!

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