Braille Monitor                                             May 2016

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This month’s recipes are from the National Federation of the Blind of Alaska.

Tortellini Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach
by Juanita Webb

Juanita is a member of the Alaska affiliate, who believes strongly in the power of an individual to make a difference.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 32-ounce box of vegetable broth (chicken works as well)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package tortellini
1 cup packed fresh spinach
Fresh grated parmesan cheese to taste

Method: Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Heat vegetable oil and add diced onion. Sauté until onions are soft. Crumble Italian sausage and garlic with the onion. Cook until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in crushed tomatoes, broth, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Let soup simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. Add tortellini and spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, until pasta is tender. Serve with shredded parmesan.

Ranch Chicken Salad
by Shanley Kerls-Brown

Patrick and Shanley Brown, both members of the NFB of Alaska, have recently made some major healthy lifestyle changes. Shanley went in for a simple eye exam to renew her driver’s license in December of 2015. The eye doctor informed her that she had signs of diabetic damage to her eyes. She had bloodwork done which confirmed that she had type 2 diabetes, and her numbers were off the scale. She and her husband Patrick, who is the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Alaska, began making healthy lifestyle changes. Along with exercising they began eating a healthy low-carb diabetic diet. In three months they had both lost thirty pounds and both had excellent bloodwork results, with Shanley’s within .50 from being under the diabetic window. These are a few healthy recipes they enjoy.

3 to 3 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup celery, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper (any color), chopped
1/4 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning

Method: Mix the chicken, mayonnaise, and seasoning together in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in the celery, peppers, and onion until mixed evenly. Chill one hour to let flavors meld.

Cabbage Creole
by Shanley Kerls-Brown

1 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium head of cabbage, chopped
1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 pound Velveeta, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Method: In a large skillet, brown beef with chopped onion. Drain if necessary. Return meat mixture to pan. Add chopped cabbage (this may have to be done in batches depending on how big of a pan you use). Cook until cabbage is somewhat wilted. Add Ro-Tel and continue to cook until cabbage is tender. Add cubed Velveeta and seasonings to taste. Cook until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Hearty Hungarian Goulash
by Bonnie Lucas

Bonnie is the president of the Anchorage chapter and loves to cook. She does her best to share the NFB philosophy of the Federation with the blind of Alaska as an employee of the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

2 pounds chuck roast, cubed
4 whole carrots, cut into large chunks
18-ounce canned plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups bone broth or organic beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut oil to brown meat

Method: Coat large pan with enough coconut oil to line the bottom. Brown cubes of chuck steak over high heat in batches, about two minutes per side. Chop carrots and onion. Hand crush tomatoes. Add carrots, onion, and tomato to slow cooker. Add meat, seasonings, garlic, mustard, and bone broth to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on high for four to six hours or low for eight to ten hours. Can serve over brown rice or quinoa. Makes four servings.

Grandma Jo's Pizza Burgers
by Bill Packee

Bill says of himself: I am a former Alaska state president of the NFB, assistant manager at Walmart, and a student at the University of Maryland working towards a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology. In my "off time" I enjoy my children, grandchildren, our dogs, and maybe some sleep. This recipe was one of our kids’ favorite meals while growing up.

1 1/2 pounds of hamburger
1 10-ounce can of pizza sauce 
1 small onion, chopped 
1 can mushrooms
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 hamburger buns

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown hamburger and onion together. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. After adding ingredients cool mixture, then add cheese and bake at 350 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes, then spoon unto buns. Yields eight servings.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
by Bonnie Lucas

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a nine-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pan aside.

Place two-thirds (eight ounces) of the chocolate and one cup (two sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large bowl. (Alternatively, you may use your microwave to melt the butter with the chocolate, if desired). Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for thirty-five to forty minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Cool for ten minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining four ounces chocolate and three tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey, and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.

When cake has cooled, pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for thirty to sixty minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.

Mini Cheesecakes
by Tracey Packee

Tracey says about herself: I am a mother of six kids, four boys and two girls. I also have two grandsons and two more grandsons due in August. My husband Bill and I consider ourselves to be newlyweds even though we have been married for seventeen years, four months and three days. I live in Alaska, where I have been residing for the last nineteen years. 

In 2009 I spent nine months at the Helen Keller National Center learning the skills necessary to adjust to this condition. In 2010-2012 I attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in paralegal studies. I am currently the Alaska state president for the National Federation of the Blind. 
12 vanilla wafer cookies
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1 can cherry pie filling (or any fruit pie filling of your choice) 
Cupcake liners
Regular-size cupcake pan 

Method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners. Add 1 vanilla wafer to each liner. In a large bowl mix cheese, vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar on medium speed until blended. Add eggs; mix well. Pour mixture into each cupcake liner until about 3/4 full. Bake twenty-five minutes at 325 degrees. Cool cakes, then add cherry pie filling or any fruit pie filling of your choice. Chill before serving. Yields two dozen. 

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