Sunday, June 20, 2010

HNJJ CHEF: Shelby's Quick Stroganoff

1 lb. ground turkey
3 slices diced bacon
1/2 c. chopped onion
scant 3/4 t. salt
1/4 - 1/2 t. paprika
dash pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. plain yogurt

1. - Brown the ground turkey with the bacon in a large frying pan.

2. - Add the onion; cook until tender, but not brown.

3. - Drain the excess fat, if there is any.

4. - Add the three seasonings to the meat mixture.

5. - Stir in the soup.

6. - Cook slowly (on low) uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

7. - Stir in the plain yogurt and heat through - do not boil.

8. - Serve over hot cooked noodles.

In the early 1970s, when I had my first apartment and no money, my sister-in-law passed along her recipe for Shelby's Hamburger Stroganoff. Over the years the recipe has evolved. The hamburger is now turkey, the bacon is low sodium, the sour cream is yogurt, the salt has been cut down, and the whole-grain noodles are not buttered.

Additionally, you can add a small can of mushrooms.

If you are making it for company or want it a little thicker and have an extra dollar, buy Greek yogurt at Taste of Crete (on Route 206 next to the Cost Cutters mall). It is worth it!

Serve the stroganoff over the noodles with a bright-color vegetable. Should serve 4.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Return of Bigfoot

Amwell Auto & Tire Center hosted Bigfoot again at today's Customer Appreciation Day.

They had some antique cars, the fire company, and free hot-dogs, soda, cake and various goodies, but when it came to pictures, Bigfoot beat out everything. Everyone wanted a photograph next to the giant tires.

To view a few more photographs by Susan Gulliford of today's activities go here.
Also, a few Tire Center friends hadn't seen last year's pictures. For the 2009 pix, go here. At the bottom of the post is a link to Last year's photographs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hillsborough Elementary School: In Play

Hillsborough School is officially in play.

Any residents who contributed to the Township's town center design charettes has to have noticed that the elementary school at the corner of State Route 206 and Amwell Road (Somerset County Route 514) didn't appear on the maps.

At the Planning Board meeting of June 10,2010, township planner Bob Ringelheim reviewed three draft ordinances for the consideration of the Board, one of them being "Revisions to Town Center Regulations". One of those amendments involved Hillsborough Elementary School.

Mr. Ringelheim pointed out that the school is located on a prime site, one of the highest valued sites in the Town Center zone. Obviously, a township can't just raze a school without providing for a replacement. So, the town is proposing a bonus of three additional dwelling units per acre (with a cap on the number of units) to encourage a potential developer to provide a new school site and build a new school at no cost to the taxpayers.

The Investopedia definition of "in play" seems perfect for this post's purpose: "...A slang phrase used to describe a firm who has become a potential takeover target or has put itself up for sale. Once a bid is made, a company is put "in play" and will often attract additional bidders..."

As the HNJJ doesn't have a zoning specialist or politician on its staff, for more information, watch the tape of this meeting on the local government channel or through the Township website or stop in at the municipal building.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

This American Flag was photographed at the Middlebrook Campground, a 20-acre historic site in Bridgewater, NJ.

In April, 1777, General Washington and 8,298 Continental Army soldiers camped there.

According to Wikipedia:
"...Tradition holds that it was at the Middlebrook encampment that the first official flag of the United States was unfurled, after a law to adopt a national flag had been passed by Congress on June 14, 1777. This event is commemorated annually since 1889 on July 4 with a changing of the flag, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and the delivery of an historical address at the Washington Camp Ground. Also, by special order of Congress, a Thirteen Star Flag is flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Camp Ground..."

During the winter of 1778-1779 Washington and 8,000-10,000 troops again stayed there.
"...Washington himself rented the Wallace House (now converted to a museum) in Somerville for four months and paid Wallace $1,000. General von Steuben lived at the Staats House in South Bound Brook. General Henry Knox lived at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Pluckemin with the Continental Army Artillery known as the Pluckemin Artillery Park..."

Living in Central Jersey It's easy to forget how much history surrounds us. Please take the time to visit such historic sites as the Middlebrook Campground, Staats House, Jacobus Vanderveer House, and Wallace House.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Band Concert

This afternoon at 3 p.m. the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band will present its Annual Pops Concert "The Greatest Generation, Part 2" at Bridgewater Raritan High School, 600 Garettson Road in Bridgewater.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Somerville in the Funnies

Flo & Friends

Every morning I read the funnies in the Courier News, including Flo and Friends. If you are a fan of this particular comic strip you know that "Flo" often wears shirts with names of local events and places written on them.

I don't know how Flo's creator Jenny Campbell chooses the items, but it was a pleasant surprise this morning to see that her shirt read "Connie Tarantino Summer Concerts * Somerville".

These free concerts are a long-time part of Somerville Friday night cruises, named after the late Connie Tarantino of Connie's Music Center.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Today the Hillsborough NJ Journal is introducing its CHEF series:
Cheaper, Healthier, Easier, Food.

American’s are supposed to be trying to eat more frugally and healthfully with less shopping and preparation time, while returning to basic comfort food.

Rumor has it that the media is aware of this, but I don’t see it.

A recent news show featured a segment on “…easy, healthy quick, affordable...” food, although the chef did admit it was the “high end” of affordable. It included salmon, out-of-season asparagus, fresh chives, and fresh lemon zest. [High end? You think?] And I’m not sure where the healthy part comes in; they used butter and 5 egg yolks in just one recipe.

The food channel’s idea of easy includes sevich. Their quick includes Nicoise salad, and chicken-fried veal in jalapeno sauce. Paula working on blue-crab, gazpacho, and fettuccine chicken salad. Their Italian “working lunch” includes one item that I recognize and have in my house: beans. [Actually, without knowing what kind of beans…maybe I don’t have them here.]. Their 30-minute meal menu and the Contessa’s fast elegant supper didn’t include one thing from my well-stocked pantry or freezer, so I guess the first 30-minutes involves getting ready to go to the food store and driving there.

Their comfort food does include meatloaf and mac-and cheese. Oh, wait, that’s Truffle mac-and-cheese. And the meatloaf ingredients include..uhm…forget it. Well, they also offer that comfort staple garlic shrimp casserole.

So…thoroughly disheartened with the possibilities, I began looking through the day-to-day recipes that we have been using, sometimes for decades. With one of us being lactose intolerant and the other a recent heart attack survivor, many of our old-time recipes have been adjusted to more modern healthier ingredients.

And what does the CHEF mean?
Cheaper than dining out or using expensive unusual ingredients.
Healthier than the previous formulas or the sodium-laden canned stuff.
Easier than most of the recipes we have found.
Food. Just plain everyday food. Ingredients that we are likely to have in the cupboard. Stuff we don’t have to go buy in a specialty store.

What started this?
Checking last year’s HNJJ statistics, one of the posts that continued to get hits was about my mother’s turkey carcass soup, a post that was meant to be more about my mother that her recipe, but it didn’t work out that way. [I have refined that recipe and will try to get that one redone in time for Thanksgiving.]

Every week or two I’ll post a recipe. There aren’t a lot of them, but there are enough to add a few to your recipe collection.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Somerville Cruise Night

Grab your camera and drive up to Somerville this evening for Cruise Night, a tradition since 1989.

Cruise night is usually promoted as running from 5-9 p.m., but cruisers looking for the best parking places usually start showing up by 3 p.m. Also, don't forget to look for more classic cars parked in the rear municipal lots along Main Street - like the one behind the church.

The evening's featured cars are parked in front of the Somerset County Courthouse,

Continuing this year is the free Connie Tarantino Summer Concert Series with an appearance by the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band in front of the courthouse from 7-8 p.m.

This is also an opportunity to have a picnic on the Courthouse lawn or buy a snack (maybe an ice cream cone) or eat at the many restaurants that provide outdoor dining. I find that I have a problem eating outside along main street during cruise; I keep wanting to hop up to take photos of the cars going by.

And remember, no matter what your age, keep an eye out for the first car you ever owned. Or the one that you wished you owned. Or the one you got rid of and wished you still had.

The Find Somerville website listed today's specialty cars as Cadillac-LaSalles, but the Raritan River Region Cadillac and LaSalle Club has it listed as June 11th.

So, I decided to pick out some Caddy photos from past cruise nights. Notice how they barely fit into 21st century parking spaces!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cold War Deja Vu

When I was in elementary school, mostly in the 1950s, we were "fighting" the Cold War against Communist Russia, mostly involving political and cultural tensions between us and them.

Every month we held drills where an alarm would go off in the school, we would all file into the hallways, and we would kneel down against the walls and lockers with one hand-and-arm in front of our foreheads and one over the nape of our necks. This position would protect us in case Russia dropped "the bomb" on us. Many schools used the "duck-and-cover" method.

Children were also told stories about how the poor Russian people lived and two of them stuck with me.

First, all Russian people had to carry government identification cards. If a policeman or a soldier asked for your card you had to produce it or you would be taken away. [Can you say Arizona?]

Second, young children - even babies - were sent to schools or nurseries while their mothers and fathers had to go to work.

Have you looked around Hillsborough at the mushrooming nursery school industry? We may have reached the point where we have more pre-schools than pizzerias. And for Central Jersey that's a real feat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life Is Good

In the last two years at our house we have endured a catastrophic illness, a drop in income, a decline in the worth of our investments, a weakening in the real estate values in our area, a decrease in the interest rates being paid on our savings, a van than occasionally starts and stops several times before proceeding, and the deaths of our old dog and one of our cats.

But…life is good.

We survived the illness, our income is still sufficient to meet our needs, our investments have recovered, the companies in which we own stocks are still high-quality and producing stuff that people need - like food and soap and medicine, our house is still worth twice what we paid for it, we still have our savings and have managed to add to them, the van keeps running if you know how to do a thing with the clicker involving a series of button pushes, we know that we did the best we could for our deceased pets, and we have rescued – and become attached to - yet another dog and cat.

Oh, yeah…and the old cat is putting up with the new cat and dog. Any of you who ever owned a cat know that’s a positive accomplishment in itself.

Notice the welcoming expression on her face...