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Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014, 12:00 am
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Mr. Tidbit: Berry blue
Mr. Tidbit is fond of blueberries, so he was pleased to see that the latest addition to the Pillsbury collection of refrigerated dough products is Grands! Homestyle blueberry biscuits. Under the word "blueberry" on the label is the tiny advice "with artificial blueberry flavor," but Mr. Tidbit, in an uncommon burst of generosity of spirit, took the word "with" to mean "in the company of" or "including" — he envisioned blueberry content enhanced with artificial blueberry flavor.
A look at the ingredients list brought him back to reality. There is "natural flavor" in addition to the artificial, but Mr. Tidbit understands "natural flavor" to refer to a flavor derived from plant or animal sources (as opposed to one created in the lab). The natural source here isn't necessarily blueberries, and with his common sense restored, Mr. Tidbit adds that if it were natural blueberry flavor it probably would say so.
For the record, here's the "blueberry" portion of the ingredients list of Grands! Homestyle blueberry biscuits: "Artificially Flavored Blueberry Bits (sugar, corn syrup, corn cereal, modified cornstarch, cottonseed fiber, palm oil, natural and artificial flavor, partly hydrogenated soybean oil, cellulose gum, sodium alginate, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, blue 1 lake, sulfiting agents)." Yum.
-- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Mr. Tidbit: Taco boats
Are there other ways to shape a taco than the traditional folded V? Sure; some years ago Old El Paso gave us the squared-off-U-shaped Stand 'n Stuff tacos that stand up so they're easier to fill. And now Ortega presents Fiesta Flats, crisp corn-taco material in the shape of wide, shallow boats, so you can make sort-of open-faced tacos a bit less precarious than tostadas.
Because they're wide open, they're theoretically easier to fill than even Stand 'n Stuff tacos. Ironically, however (especially given their name), the bottoms of Fiesta Flats aren't flat. They're quite rounded, and you have to hold onto them while you fill them.
-- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Food for Thought: Savor summer flavors Follow these tips to make your summer healthier and more flavorful:
Visit a farmers market. Savor summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables by visiting your local farmers market. While tomatoes, corn and peaches are in season and delicious, also try out some produce you typically don't buy. Watercress, fennel and rhubarb are all delicious alternatives to liven your meals.
Find flavor in herbs. Fresh herbs are a simple and healthy way to add vibrant flavor to bland dishes. Grow your own herbs for instant access to them at any time. The best thing about herbs? The more you use them, the more they'll grow.
Lighten up your meals. Warmer weather means you should be spending less time in the kitchen and more time outside. Look for simple, high-protein dinner salads and other easy dishes.
-- More Content Now

Easy Recipe: Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies
3/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon sea salt and extra for sprinkling
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee bits or chocolate toffee

In a stand mixer, beat the olive oil, sugar and extract until well mixed. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and set aside.
Add cocoa powder, flour and salt into the mixer. Mix until rich dough comes together. Add in the dissolved baking soda. Then mix in the chocolate chips and toffee.
Scoop the dough using a small ice cream scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of each cookie dough ball.
Bake at 350 F for 8 minutes, until the edges are set.
Let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack or plate.
-- More Content Now


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.

(More History)