It's in the Bag, Gluten Free & The WoW Diet

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cherry Rickey

Quote from The Bag Lady, "If there's one thing I love more than a good Coke, it's a Cherry Rickey..." This recipe is a blog exclusive, and cannot be found in the upcoming book. Think of it as a spring gift for all you faithful readers.

Cherry Rickey
2-3 Tbl Cherry Syrup*
1 Cup Sprite
1/4 Lime
Maraschino Cherries

Fill glass with ice and 1/2 cup of Sprite. Add syrup (2 Tbl is normal, 3 if you've had a REALLY rough day.) Add remaining Sprite, squeeze in 1/4 of lime and give it a swirl with a swizzle stick, knife, straw, bamboo skewer, long teaspoon, bent coat hanger, anything with stirring capabilities will do. Drop in your squeezed lime rind and a maraschino cherry for garnish.

*Mere mortals get their cherry syrup at the local grocery for around $3/cup. However YOU can buy assorted gourmet syrups and flavorings at DaVinci Gourmet. That's where we get our syrups, the average price is $7 for 3 cups.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Last post we told you the saga of cooking for the cover, but there's more to the story. If you look at the far right picture, you'll see The Bag Lady's vegetarian chili. Notice the tureen it's in. The tureen is practically an antique! It's at least as old as The Bag Lady herself! As a little girl, she remembers her mother taking it to "Dime a Dip" dinners at the church. Back in the good old days, the church would get together for fund raising dinners. Everyone would bring a dish and you would go around paying a dime for each scoop of your dinner. Now the tureen has been passed down to The Bag Lady. It's only fitting that it appears in her book. It's a symbol of her heritage. Her food, preparedness, and "other cool stuff your mama never told you" heritage.

Look to the left of the chili, see the hot cereal? Isn't it in a nifty bowl? That bowl, came from China. I know, I know, I'm sure you have lots of dishes that were made in China. That's not what I mean. This bowl literally CAME from China. I spent a brief stint teaching English in China with my best friend. Both of our mothers like dishes, so being dutiful daughters, we set out to bring them home some authentic china. The problem came when we left the school and traveled through the country on our own. We had the option of shipping our bags ahead, but if you think the baggage handlers in America are rough, try a freight train. By the time my shipped suitcase and I reunited, it was missing a handle and several wheels, think what would have happened to dishes. Knowing this, the only logical solution was to pack our dishes across the country, ON OUR BACKS. We had a good 50 lbs of china, easy. By bus, by train, by three wheeled death car we journeyed! Across cities and down country sides we sojourned! Many days and several nights our dishes traveled! Braving jostling crowds of sardine packed people, rocking train cars, squatty potties, and pick pockets we made it to the airport. Where we finally checked our a carry on. Eventually we made it home, unpacked tenderly, and presented our gifts. Every piece was perfectly intact.

Now direct your gaze to the beautiful pink pancake and blue tortilla plates. One can only imagine all that those dishes mean, the places they've been, the people they've seen. You see, we found those beauties at Deseret Industries--our local thrift store. They were the $1 special.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Cover!

Annd now, for your viewing pleasure! (Please click on thumbnail for the full effect)

What do you think? We in The Bag Lady's kitchen are quite pleased. The cover has come a long way from the first designs. I even have an insider secret for you, and I can tell you this because I was there. See those 4 delicious pictures at the bottom? Those are actual recipes from the book, cooked by The Bag Lady herself, in her very own test kitchen. Lots of times when you look at a cook book you wonder if the luscious pics are really made by the cook, if it was the work of a food stylist, or if it's even real food (we've all heard that's it's actually glue, not milk being poured in cereal commercials.) Let me tell ya, on this baby, that's the 100% genuine article. Here's the story.

First off, these mouth watering results could never have happened without the work of our photographer. Although primarily specializing in photographing people, we were able to get one of the finest photographers in Utah county, Stacey Pointer, to join us for a foodie photo shoot. She does amazing work. Notice the incredible depth of field in the Sweet Roast Tortillas, how the light plays on the toasted Coconut Pancakes, the artistic and tantalizing cropping of the Cracked Wheat Breakfast Cereal, and the casually natural and inviting pose of the Vegetarian Chili. Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. We really can't sing her praises enough. To check out her work with subjects of the human variety, click here. Stacey works primarily in UT, but is open to travel.

It was a wild day. In addition to the works on the cover, we made Shrimp Soup, Caribbean Chicken and Rice (our photographer's favorite, nicknamed "Heaven in a Pan") Pad Thai, and Chocolate Chip Muffins. When you get your copy of It's in the Bag, look for these other photos. One of my favorite pics is the muffin, look at it carefully and see if you can tell why. It was completely unintentional. :)

Work started nice and early so that we could use natural light. Spoons whirled through the air! Sauces bubbled! Flour dangerously spewed across the kitchen (protective eye wear probably would have been a good idea!) Pots and pans clanged together and tension ran high as we engaged in a carefully choreographed dance across the kitchen! Breathlessly I dodged a collision with a pot of soup in transit. The Bag Lady plated and garnished with a flourish worthy of Iron Chef. The photographer tragically burned her tongue while conducting field research! Several fingers were nearly severed! Then TRAGEDY struck!!! We had no sour cream for the vegetarian chili garnish. Oh, woe unimaginable! Madly I rummaged through the fridge looking for something, anything! Then, I saw it. The last pint of homemade yogurt. Thick, creamy, delicious, and looking just enough like sour cream to fool the camera! Ha! HA! Deftly dolloping some "imitation" Daisy, we triumphed! A pinch of parsley and it was complete. Tragedy had been averted and 8 different dishes emerged from their bags into full meal glory! Action, adventure, dueling, magic, deceit, true love (well, at least FOOD love), this tale has it all!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Buttermilk Syrup

It would not be an exaggeration to say that this recipe changed my life. Throughout my youth, I have been adamantly opposed to breakfast, especially if it came in pancake or waffle form. We don't even talk about french toast. For a long time I thought that I didn't like the pancake/waffle/toast, but then I had an eye opening experience. It was maple syrup that I couldn't handle. I began to eat plain pancakes, but that got old very quickly. Jam was justifiable and peanut butter was palatable, but nothing made me request pancakes or waffles. I ate them, but it was nothing more than toleration...and the lack of cold pizza. Cold, cruel, heartless years passed, and then it happened. One fine day the heavens opened, the breakfast gods smiled upon us, and lo and behold, SALVATION!

This is a recipe from The Bag Lady's book, but I want you to experience it sooner. Think of it as a personal spring gift from me to you. I love buttermilk syrup. I now look forward to pancakes and waffles. I no longer shudder at the thought and cringe to eat a dry pancake. This syrup is thick, rich, and warm. It's liquid love. Sweet and buttery folds envelope pancakes and gently fill the craters of waiting waffles. It is a perfect pairing with wheat,rye, buttermilk, or just a spoon. Even more amazing--it makes french toast bearable. Try it, try it today! Have breakfast for dinner and you too can taste the wonder!

Buttermilk Syrup Recipe

1 cup granulated white sugar

½ cup canned butter

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil except vanilla extract.

Boil for 2-7 minutes, until desired color/consistency is reached (the syrup darkens to a caramel color and thickens, the longer it boils.) Remove from burner and stir in vanilla extract. Stir until foam dissipates.

Refrigerate extra syrup in a closed container. Syrup will solidify as it chills, simply warm in the microwave or stove top to return to liquid state.