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Rice Pilaf with Ginger Cookies

Rice Pilaf with Tender Vegetables
Pointe Viven - Jesse Bluma. All rights reserved.

This dish is addictive and I made it in about 30 minutes.  Terrifically served with ginger cookies for dessert!

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/ 2 cup orzo
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup green beans
1/3 cup corn
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Coarse salt
*Shrimp (Optional:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Clean your shrimp.  Place shrimp on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well.  Bake shrimp in oven for approximately 3 minutes on each side, turning half way through.)  


Fill a medium saucepan with water.
Bring water to a boil
Add salt, rice, and orzo. 
Cook 15 to 20 minutes. 

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. 
Add onion, cook until soft. 3-4 minutes.
Add diced carrot; green beans, and corn, cook until tender.  5-6 minutes.
Stir in peas, add turmeric, cumin, and paprika. 
Stir in to rice and combine. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Online Constitution Town Hall: Deserves a Cookie

Online Constitution Town Hall

The Kirby Center cordially invites you to participate in an online town hall.

There are two ways to participate in this event--in person or by viewing a live video stream ("webcast"). Advance registration is required for both forms of participation.  PLEASE NOTE: In-person attendance is at capacity for this event.  We hope you will plan to watch the live webcast online.

Please spread the word to friends and family about this day-long town hall, which will feature presentations and interactive Q&A sessions led by Kirby Center faculty and Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry P. Arnn. The event will run from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST, and will be broadcast from the offices of in Chantilly, VA.

Participation via live webcast is free of charge; persons who wish to participate online will receive a link to the webcast upon registering.

In-person participation costs $10, and payment will be collected at the door (checks, cash, and major credit cards will be accepted). Lunch will be provided to those who registered to be part of the studio audience. is located at 4206 F Technology Ct. in Chantilly, VA, 20151.

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Bundt Baked Eggs Three Ways by Jesse Bluma

Bundt Baked Eggs

Looking for a new egg recipe?  This one is sure to please.  I made these in individual size bundt pans, which now serve double duty for making perfectly shaped eggs.  I like walnuts, so I used a plentiful amount.

*Update:  El Burrito, the makers of Soyrizo, enjoyed this recipe.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 191 degrees Celsius).

Coat individual size bundt pans (4” in diameter) with cooking spray (Smart Balance).

2 large organic eggs, cracked per 4” bundt pan.

Choice of Roasted Turkey Style veggie protein slices (diced and pan cooked--Lightlife), Meatless Chorizo (pan cooked--Soyrizo), Ground Sausage veggie 
protein (pan cooked--Lightlife).

Organic green apple, washed, dried, and sliced into mini sticks.

Walnuts, chopped, and toasted in dry pan on low for approximately 5 minutes.

Paprika to taste

Salt to taste

Organic lemon, squeezed


Double check oven is preheating. 

Double check pans are coated.

Prepare your choice of protein(s).

After slicing the apple into mini sticks you may wish to squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent discoloration caused by oxidation.  

Crack eggs into 4” bundt pans that have been coated, without breaking the yolks.  

Bake approximately 10 minutes; keep a close watch.

While the eggs are baking you may wish to toast the walnuts in a pan on the stove (this could be done prior to baking the eggs).  

Remove bundt pans from oven with oven mitts.  

Place bundt pans on wire wracks to cool for 2-5 minutes.

Place a serving dish on top of one bundt pan at a time, then flip to release the baked eggs.

Top the baked eggs with your choice of protein, green apple sticks, toasted walnuts, paprika, and salt.  

Bundt Baked Eggs with Turkey

Bundt Baked Eggs with Sausage

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Icing by Jesse Bluma

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Icing

These cupcakes are a perfect nibble on a fall night.  Or any night for that matter.  Made with fresh nutmeg and butter, there is no way to go wrong.  Eat them warm and enjoy the fall leaves and crisp air out your window.  

Order online or contact me for catering.

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Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund: Deserves a Cookie

Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund

"Employing the Lutheran Village concept of building communities and economic stability through home ownership and small business development, each location is set to feature a chapel, orphanage, clinic, school, and business office and will employ a project manager, business manager, and site manager.  Local Haitian Lutherans, LCMS volunteers, hired Haitian craftsmen, and the future home owner will provide the labor."

 Those of us who have traveled to Haiti know firsthand the great need in the country.  Especially after the recent quake and aftershocks.  The Haitians will continue to be in need of a hand up for some time.  World Relief and Human Care is a great organization on the ground in Haiti.  World Relief and Human Care is working to provide relief to Haitians who have lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods.

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Seasonal Foods for January by Jesse Bluma

Seasonal Foods for January

Inspiration for your everyday table or holiday gathering.
Print, shop, cook what's in season!

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New Year's Bread Recipe by Jesse Bluma

New Year's Bread Recipe

My journey through Vefa's Kitchen continues.  On New Year's Day I baked another of her recipes, New Year's Bread, and dropped some off to a friend.  My version of this recipe is a slight "reconstruction" of Vefa's.

1 1/2 cups butter, chilled, diced, plus extra for greasing
6 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting (I used organic wheat.)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons brandy (I used Rum.)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 tablespoons of non-fat milk
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar (I used 1 cup superfine sugar + 1/2 cup honey.)
1 egg yolk (I saved the white for another recipe that day.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit (176.667° Celsius).
Line baking pan with parchment and grease with butter.
Sift flour, add butter, mix with fingers into coarse crumbs.
Combine baking soda, tartar, brandy.
Beat together with milk, vanilla, eggs, and sugar, and honey in another bowl.
Pour into flour, with brandy or rum mixture, knead into soft dough.
Press dough into baking pan.
Beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water in a bowl.
Brush dough with egg mixture.
Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer to baking rack and let cool.
(Vefa's Kitchen, p. 523)

I included homemade organic honey butter for my friend to dip the bread into to eat.
Happy New Year!

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Succulents or Space Creatures? by Jesse Bluma

Succulents or Space Creatures?

I received a succulent display as a gift.  Succulents are a great weekend project, are interesting to learn about, and make a thoughtful present.  Their interesting shapes make them look like space aliens on Earth.  These plants come in unusual shapes and shades of green, with some flowering.  Succulents are a good choice for those with limited time for gardening, bachelors, and those in planting zones 3-9.

You can begin your succulent pot from cuttings, using one species or a variety of species.  If you take clippings from a plant, ensure that the tools are sharp and sterile, plant disease can easily spread.  A good professional gardener or arboretum, such as the Fullerton Arboretumcan help you make the most of your propagating.

It is essential to utilize the proper soil for you plants, such as Kellogg Garden Products.  Succulents, palms, cacti, and citrus require a certain moisture level, good drainage, and nutrients.  Organic material, nothing synthetic, is also beneficial to providing the proper medium for plant growth.

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Credit:  Image courtesy of [Vitolef] at, Image courtesy of Eloisa Conti at


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