Coming of Age

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Written by Amy Brase

Junk mail rarely catches my eye, but this ditty did the trick. With vibrant colors, sassy doodles and an attached sample, this tri-fold ad was clearly targeted to mothers of Tweens, courtesy of Kotex. (Is it just me or do certain words transport you back to junior high and make you want to cry a little?)

While I was envisioning a year of cupcakes, Shrinky Dinks and sparkly nail polish with our almost 11-year-old, marketers were homing in.

Here's what the ad said: "Girls are getting their periods younger than ever. Some girls get their periods as young as 8."

The poor babes! From Play-Doh to pads. "Don't procrastinate! Pick your day now for 'the talk,' and put it on your calendar so you stick to it!"

I had beautiful intentions of being candid and sharing age-appropriate wisdom. It would be naturally woven over time. No awkwardness. Just warm fuzzies of closeness.

That’s how it was supposed to go.


turkey-burgers-special-sauceRecipe courtesy of the Peterson family, owners of Ferndale Market, Cannon Falls.

1 lb. ground turkey
¼ c. green onions
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. Special Sauce (recipe follows)
4 hamburger buns

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into four patties. Grill patties for six minutes or until 165° F. Serve with the Special Sauce on hamburger bun. Serves four. Suggested wine/beer pairing: Hahn Pinot Noir or Goose Lake Honker Ale.



Recipe: Tequila Lime Chicken

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tequila-lime-chickenRecipe provided by Christy and Brent Buchan of Energy Products and Design, Inc. Visit for store and product information.

Prep Time: 6–12 hours, including marinade

3/4 cup tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5-6 limes)*
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
2 diced and seeded jalapeno peppers
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. course ground pepper
6-8 skinles chicken breasts
Lime wedges for garnish


grilled-pork-chops-basil-garlic-rubRecipe reprinted with permission from This rub is delicious on both pork loin and oven-baked turkey tenderloin.

4 pork bone-rib chops, 3/4-inch thick

Basil-Garlic Rub:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup fresh basil, packed
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh*
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


changing-grapesReports started in late July of veraison being observed earlier than usual at area vineyards.

Veraison [vay-ray-ZON], which means the “change of color of the grape berries,” is the visual representation of the transition from berry growth to berry ripening. A lot happens during this phase: berries increase in size, the skins get thinner and seeds begin to ripen, sugar development begins within the berry and as that occurs, the acid content of the grape also shifts and decreases. It is approximately six to eight weeks between veraison and harvest.

Vineyard management is critical during this time to ensure perfect ripening. The vine canopy (the amount of leaves and shoots) is checked to ensure there is an optimal amount of light and air getting to the clusters. A “green drop”—or removal of some unripe clusters—may be done to ensure a balanced crop load per vine.



"Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."  —Thomas Jefferson

One cannot think of October without thinking of beer! Years ago, I started a Fourth of July tradition of making burgers with Merlot-Caramelized Onions. In the recipe that follows, I use a dark ale instead of the merlot. As everyone’s palate varies, choose a beer or ale which appeals to you—likely something you would enjoy drinking as well.



How to: Can Salsa

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Written by Margo Stich

how-to-can-salsaA family favorite recipe from reader Brenda Davis

Equipment Required

Food Processor (optional)
8 Quart bowl
Medium bowl
2 large stockpots
Strainer or colander
Large slotted spoon
1 dozen pint jars with lids and screw-on bands
Canning funnel
Magnet lid wand or tongs
Pressure canner
Jar tongs



Thrill of the Grill

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Written by Margo Stich


Whether it's football tailgating or an autumn cookout, fall holds ample opportunities to continue exploring the sizzle and glow of the grill. This season instead of the usual steaks, brats and burgers, try chicken, turkey or pork. They are leaner and rev-up the taste buds when cooked over an open flame.

But one can’t talk about meat without talking about the farmer. On a recent visit to Ann Arbor, Mich., I was impressed to learn how many local markets and chefs insist on chemical and hormone free, fresh meats from local producers.

Tessa Leung, owner of Sontes restaurant in Rochester, believes someday Rochester will be “on trend.” She has been buying meat from local farmers since she opened her doors because it keeps money circulating in our community, increases the likelihood that others will venture into farming and is healthier, fresher and tastes better.

With a year-round farmers market now in Rochester, meats from a variety of local, small farms are easier to access. The People’s Co-op, Rochester Produce and Ferndale Market in Cannon Falls also carry locally raised and processed meats. So fire up that grill and perhaps one of these unique recipes will become a family favorite.



Cheap Thrills on Broadway

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Written by C.G. Worrell

0055With a smile on my face, I drive down the road to pick up my good friend, K.T. I crank open the sunroof and sing along with the radio. It’s our shared day off—that special time when we eat lunch, gossip and shop. Our goal today: an afternoon of fun on Broadway without spending a fortune. It’s easy to do, if you know where to go!

With a smile on my face, I drive down the road to pick up my good friend, K.T. I crank open the sunroof and sing along with the radio. It’s our shared day off—that special time when we eat lunch, gossip and shop. Our goal today: an afternoon of fun on Broadway without spending a fortune. It’s easy to do, if you know where to go!



The Zucchini Diaries

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Written by C.J. Fosdick

0051I dreamed about zucchini last night. They were marching in lockstep on spindly, green legs—rows upon rows of them passing in review, like Red Square troops. I saluted them with dubious pride, feeling responsible for their robust size and shape. When I woke, I flipped through my diary, recalling the summer I spent harvesting, cooking, baking, chopping, freezing and relinquishing more zucchini than I ever imagined.


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