Feb 26

Olive Oil Can Be Local Too!

Olive Oil Can Be Local Too! www.cobornsblog.com


www.cobornsblog.com Naturally Close to Home with Rhonda


What is the “champion of local” doing writing about olive oil?  Do olives grow in Minnesota?  Of course not.  But sometimes you need to think about local in a whole new way.  My inspiration was this shirt, received as a gift while on a recent tour of California Olive Ranch in Artois, California.Olive Oil Should Be Local Too! www.cobornsblog.com

Currently, more than 95% of olive oil is imported from foreign countries including Italy, Chile, Spain and Tunisia.  Several studies suggest that nearly two-thirds of imported olive oil sold as “extra virgin” is mislabeled and actually uses high heat or chemical solvents to extract the oil, which does not meet the major legal definitions of extra virgin olive oil.

Enter California Olive Ranch (COR).  Their olives are produced by a small group of olive growers in California.  While touring their main ranch, also referred to as a grove or orchard, I was able to walk the fields and eat an olive right off the tree.  I would not recommend this as a regular practice although I was thrilled to experience it.  Fresh picked olives are extremely bitter!

Olive Oil Can Be Local Too! www.cobornsblog.comWe also rode along on the harvester.  It drives between the rows and shakes the trees, releasing the olives onto a conveyor belt that sends them into a trailer that drives alongside the harvester.

California is extremely dry right now and COR works hard to care for the land.  They extend water use through recycling and drip irrigation.  Tree trimmings are mulched back into the field to protect the land.  And, of course, California olive oil requires less energy for transportation than European imports.

The olives are all processed into olive oil right at the facility in Artois.  Following strict quality standards, the olives are pressed into oil within hours of picking.  The fresh, clean taste is truly amazing.  The harvest date is on every bottle, which is very unique.  Once you open a bottle of olive oil, be sure to use it within six months.  Don’t keep that bottle next to the stove either!  Heat, light and oxygen are the enemies of olive oil.  COR does a superior job of maintaining the best conditions for the olive until they ship it out.  You just need to keep it in a dark, cool place.  But not the refrigerator, as that will change the quality.

Another highlight of the tour was an olive oil tasting with COR Head Miller Bob Singletary.  When writing about my love of all things local, I often mention connections and relationships.  What a surprise to learn that Bob’s wife of many years is from Pipestone, Minnesota.  I was so proud to be able to tell him that his olive oil, which he tastes and approves every day, is available on our shelves at Coborn’s in Pipestone.

Not all our food can come from nearby, unfortunately.  But there is always an opportunity to close the distance your food travels.  Choosing a fresh product that is produced with great care and pride is always a great choice.  Having the opportunity to follow the olives right from picking to the bottle was truly amazing.

Coborn’s, Inc. Natural Foods Category Manager

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Naturally Close to Home with Rhonda - www.cobornsblog.com

Feb 24

Grain-Free Bread

Grain-Free Bread • www.cobornsblog.com

A Natural Approach with Cheryl - www.cobornsblog.com


Whether you are avoiding gluten because of Celiac Disease, intolerance to wheat or because you choose to omit it from your diet, this bread will be one you will want to try. The same goes for one following a Paleo style diet, or anyone avoiding grains all together.

I originally got this recipe from a friend years ago. Since then I have adapted it to meet the flavor sensations of any meal. It can be sliced and toasted to go along with your breakfast or just by adding a few herbs or spices, change the flavor to go along with your choice of ethnic meal. Kalamata olives and feta cheese or cinnamon and raisins are just two of  many combinations of add ins I’ve used, almost always with great results.

Mini-Mini Loaf Italian Herb Grain-Free Bread - www.cobornsblog.comIt works great in a mini loaf pan, mini-mini loaf pan, cupcake tin or doughnut pan. This is a versatile bread that can bring out the creative baker in anyone!

Below I have the recipe for the plain bread, look in the notes for how to make the Italian Herb bread. Both are pictured in this blog. I encourage you to go shopping, get baking and enjoy this grain free, high protein taste treat!

Grain-Free Bread
  • ¼ Cup Butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Flour
  • ¼ Cup Unflavored Whey, Hemp or Vegetable Protein Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. While butter is melting, measure coconut flour, whey powder, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl, stir to mix well.
  3. Blend eggs and butter into dry ingredients.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Batter will be a little lumpy.
  6. Pour into a greased mini loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 25-28 minutes, cover with foil after 20 minutes.
  8. Bread is done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.
For a tasty Italian twist just add 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and ½ teaspoon garlic.


Natural Foods Manager – Coborn’s, Clearwater, MN

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A Natural Approach with Cheryl - www.cobornsblog.com

Feb 22

Weekly Ad Recipe – Slow Cook Hot Beef Sandwiches

Weekly Ad Recipe - Slow Cook Beef Sandwich www.cobornsblog.com

This is one of the best recipes to come home to after a long, exhausting day of work. Simply throw the items together right before you leave in the morning, and when you walk into your home in the evening, you will be ready to eat immediately. Add a dab of horseradish sauce or some ground mustard to add even more flavor! Enjoy…I did!

Coborn’s Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Slow Cook Hot Beef Sandwiches
Serves: 16
  • 1-4 lb. Beef Rump Roast
  • 1 oz. pkg. Dry Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano Leaves
  • 2-10.5 oz. Cans Condensed Beef Broth
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 16 Buns, split
  1. Place beef roast in 4-quart slow cooker.
  2. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except buns; mix well.
  3. Pour over roast.
  4. Cover; cook on low setting for 8 hours.
  5. Remove beef from slow cooker; place on cutting board or large plate.
  6. Slice beef with knife or shred with 2 forks; place in buns.
  7. If desired, skim fat from juices in slow cooker.
  8. Serve sandwiches with individual portions of juices for dipping.


Feb 19

Entertaining over Breakfast

Egg Bake Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Plan the perfect party!


There are many occasions in which guests may be at your house for breakfast or brunch including: Easter, Baptism, First Communion, Baby or Bridal Shower, or even a Wedding Gift Opening. Whatever the celebration, there are many breakfast options.

My favorite breakfast menu includes an egg bake (see recipe below). This one has meat, but you can also do a vegetarian style if you desire.  I would also be sure to include a side of fresh fruit like pineapple, grapes, melons and strawberries if in season.  That is when they taste the best! Along with that I would include a mini muffin or Danish with juice; it doesn’t have to be orange juice, and coffee.

It is very important to keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold, not just for food safety, but also to keep the integrity and quality of the food at its best.  If you like to prepare your egg bake the night before, keep it in the fridge and put it in the oven to cook right before it is served.  With the fruit, be sure to keep it cool and crisp in the refrigerator until it is time to eat. While the dishes are out on your table you can keep the egg bake covered and a bowl of ice under the fruit.  Keep coffee hot in a carafe.

I would be happy to assist you with any of your questions regarding hosting a meal.  You know how to reach me. Or if you prefer, Coborn’s is always more than happy to cater for your special events.

Egg Bake
Serves: 18
  • 18 Eggs, whipped
  • 6 Cups Milk
  • 1 tsp. Mustard (prepared)
  • 1½ Lbs. Meat, cooked – Sausage, Bacon or Virginia Baked Ham, diced
  • 4 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 9 Slices White Bread
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl mix whipped eggs, milk, mustard, cooked meat, 2 cups cheese and vegetables of your choice.
  3. Spray the bottom of a 13″x9″ pan with cooking spray.
  4. Layer bread on bottom of pan, covering bottom.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the bread.
  6. Top with Salt and Pepper and add remaining cheese.
  7. Bake uncovered for approximately 35 minutes (can cover if it gets too brown)
Add to your liking: Mushrooms, Green Onions and/or Green Peppers (do NOT use any frozen vegetables)

Egg portion can be prepared the day before and refrigerated.

Bon Appetite!
Coborn’s Catering Manager, Sauk Rapids, MN

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Great Gatherings with Mary - www.cobornsblog.com

Feb 17

Celebrating National Clam Chowder Day

Carolyn's Clam Chowder Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca


A couple weeks ago, I was in North Dakota for work and on the trip home, I mentioned to a colleague that I needed to learn about clam chowder so I could write a blog post for National Clam Chowder Day on February 25th. Considering I had never even tasted it before, I knew I had some research and sampling ahead of me. Just then, my chuckling colleague pointed at a billboard inviting visitors to New England, ND. He wondered aloud if the locals there celebrate Clam Chowder Day just for the namesake.

Since that silly observation in the middle of North Dakota, I have learned that New England Clam Chowder is one of many different kinds of clam chowder, although it appears to be the most common. The different types of clam chowders vary by region and some are quite different from one another.

New England Clam Chowder, as the most popular, is what I would call comfort food. It’s thick, creamy potato base and stew veggies make it perfect for this ever-lasting cold winter. Many recipes include crumbled bacon in this variety.

Manhattan Clam Chowder is again made with stew vegetables, but instead of a creamy potato base, it’s made with tomatoes. A little zingier and lighter, this variety is wonderful for dunking a grilled cheese sandwich.

Hatteras Clam Chowder isn’t on the radar of most of us Midwesterners. It comes from North Carolina’s Outer Banks and features a clear broth, with no cream and no tomatoes. Truly, the clams are the center of the show.

Minorcan Clam Chowder is a tomato-based chowder, similar to the Manhattan version, with the addition of corn and the spicy Florida-grown pepper, Datil. This is the next variety I’m going to try.

After reading lots of history and dozens of recipes, I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook to find a sure-fire recipe. My friend, Carolyn Bertsch, shared this one and most of my family loved it!

Carolyn was quick to shell out one of my favorite kitchen truths: “Bacon makes everything better.”

Carolyn’s Clam Chowder
  • 2 Cans Minced Clams with Liquid
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • 4 Slices Bacon
  • 3 Carrots
  • 3 Potatoes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Pint Half & Half
  1. Fry bacon and then add celery and onion.
  2. Fry until tender and then add clams and clam juice.
  3. Simmer until half the liquid is gone.
  4. Boil carrots and potatoes in a separate pot for about 10 minutes.
  5. Drain and mash (remember, just like post-baby bodies, lumps add character).
  6. Mix mashed mixture into clam mixture and add half & half.
  7. Heat to boiling and serve hot.
  8. The night I made this, the chowder was tasty.
  9. I added some dill to the leftovers (because you should add dill to everything, in my opinion) and sent the pot back into the refrigerator.
  10. The next day, all the flavors came to life and the dish was fantastic!


Coborn’s, Inc. Communications Manager

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www.cobornsblog.com - Fun with Family with Rebecca

Feb 15

Weekly Ad Recipe – Parmesan Chicken In Cream Sauce

Weekly Ad Recipe - Parmesan Chicken In Cream Sauce www.cobornsblog.com

If you want a quick, easy recipe that is done in 30 minutes or less this is the recipe for you. This is definitely my husbands all-time favorite meal and also one of my favorites. Just a quick tip that I tried, instead of plain white rice I made Chicken Flavor Rice-a-Roni. We both loved it. It gave the recipe even more flavor and now that’s the only way we make this dish. The sauce really puts this meal over the top. I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Enjoy….I will!

Coborn’s Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Parmesan Chicken In Cream Sauce
Serves: 4
  • 2 Cups Instant Rice, uncooked
  • 14.5 Oz. Chicken Broth, divided
  • 6 Snack Crackers, finely crushed
  • 2 T. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 14-15 Oz. Boneless Skinless Pkg. Chicken Tenders
  • 2 tsp. Oil
  • ½ Cup Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
  1. Cook rice as directed on package, using 1.25 cups of the broth and ½ cup water.
  2. Mix cracker crumbs and parmesan on plate.
  3. Rinse chicken with cold water and then dip chicken in crumb mixture, turning to coat both sides.
  4. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  5. Add chicken; cook 5-6 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  6. Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm.
  7. Add remaining broth and cream cheese to skillet; bring to boil, stirring constantly.
  8. Cook 3 minutes or until thickened and then spoon over chicken.
  9. Serve with rice.
Suggested Wine Pairing Bread & Butter Chardonnay


Feb 12

5 Simple Ways To Ice A Cupcake

5 Simple Ways To Ice  A Cupcake - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com The art of Cakes with Amanda


Are you in search of a new look for your cupcakes? Bored with the same old star tip swirl? You are in luck; I have 5 easy cupcake makeovers!

Ice Cream Sundae

For these cupcakes you’ll need an ice cream scoop. I prefer to use whipped icing with this one, it comes out of the scoop nicely and has a good ice cream look to it. As far as simplicity goes, it really is just a scoop and plop. For an extra bonus finish it off with some ice cream toppings such as hot fudge, sprinkles, a cherry, cookies, candies… go nuts! These would be great cupcakes for a birthday party.

5 Simple Ways To Ice  A Cupcake - www.cobornsblog.com

Bulls Eye

Once again, not a lot of fancy equipment needed. With large round tips, size 10 or larger, or even just the coupler, you can create a colorful cupcake. If you can draw a circle, you can handle this one. Just pipe your big circle on the bottom, don’t worry about filling in the center all the way. Pipe a smaller circle on top with your next color. Finish with your third color, filling in the hole and making a nice little swirl on top.  Imagine a pile of these colorful cupcakes on your party table.

Sprinkle Supreme

Again, this one is so simple. All you need is frosting and a bowl of sprinkles. You won’t need a fancy tip for this one. Just ice the top with any round tip or even just a coupler from your decorating supplies. Put as much frosting on as you want. Next, dunk it and roll it! It helps if you chill your cupcakes first, then frost and dunk. Sometimes fresh cupcakes are so soft and the tops will fall off in the dunking phase. These are great for those sprinkle lovers.

Pretty Petals

You’ll need a standard sized rose tip for this cupcake. It’s easy, but takes a little more time than other methods. Starting from the outside, pipe ruffles around the edge. Make sure the thin side of the tip is on the outside of your cupcake and you are holding the tip horizontal. Make small “U” shapes or waves to create the petals. Once you get all the way around, repeat, but in a smaller circle so you don’t cover the petals you just made. Keep piping until you’ve covered your cupcake top. How cute would these be at a bridal shower?

Rippling Ruffles

This one is similar to the petal cupcake, but instead of holding the rose tip in a horizontal position, you’ll hold it vertical with the thin edge up. Next, move the tip left and right with a small waving motion. The trick is to do small clumps of ruffles going in different directions. Keep turning your cupcake and adding random bits of ruffles. They are a bit unusual looking, but a nice change from the expected. Good for someone looking for a trendy look.

Good luck in all of your icing endeavors. I would love to see your creations, so comment on my blog with a photo!

Cake Decorator
Coborn’s, Sauk Rapids, MN

Click Here for more articles written by Amanda

www.cobornsblog.com - The Art of Cakes with Amanda

Feb 10

Don’t mind if I Fondue!

Don't mind if I Fondue! Chocolate, Cheese and Steak Fondue - www.cobornsblog.com

www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends & Food with Jayne


We are going into the month of February and that means less than 2 months left of winter, at least I hope. You hear all the time February 14th, Valentine’s Day is for lovers and I say “NOT”, it’s for everyone.  So if you don’t currently have someone special in your life, get together with family or friends and throw a party to celebrate.  For me any chance I get together with friends means food and fun, right?

Well this Valentine’s Day I am inviting over some close friends and we are going to have Fondue Fun Night. It’s a way for everyone to get involved in the cooking process and who doesn’t love to do that? Fondue really is one of the easiest things to put together. Once the prep work is done, as the host of the party you can sit back and everyone else does the cooking. Here is one party you can relax and enjoy. I did Fondue Fun Night on Christmas Eve one year with my family and set up 3 fondue pots: one for steak, cheese and chocolate and now it is requested we do this every year.

Fondue Station #1

Coborn's Black Pepper Top Sirloin Steak Fondue - www.cobornsblog.com

Coborn's Black Pepper Top Sirloin Steak Fondue - www.cobornsblog.comIn the Coborn’s Full Service Meat case, we now carry Black Pepper Top Sirloin Steak. All you have to do is cut the marinated meat in 1-inch pieces and you are ready for your guests to cook their steak to perfection. The Black Pepper flavor marinated on this steak is outstanding. When purchasing, I usually buy 6 oz. of meat for each person. Now all you have to do is get the cooking oil and fill the fondue pot about half full.  Turn the heating switch to about 250 to 300 degrees and wait until it gets hot enough for the steak to cook. I usually put one piece of steak in the oil first and once it sizzles the steak is ready to cook. You will need to fry each piece of meat about 2-3 minutes, and remember to cook until you reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F.

Fondue Station #2Delicious Cheese Fondue Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

Cheese is something I can’t live without. There is no way I could have a meal without incorporating some kind of cheese into it and this recipe is over the top. Remember, I’m from “MINNESOTA” and we take our cheese pretty seriously especially when we devour it like I do.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Havarti Cheese Fondue
Serves: 20
  • 1.5 Cups Havarti Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2 T. Flour
  • ½ Cup Chicken Broth
  • ⅓ Cup Milk
  • ½ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil, sliced and drained
  • 2 Medium Green Onions, sliced
  • Bread Sticks
  • Fresh Vegetables, cut and/or sliced
  1. In a re-sealable plastic bag, mix cheeses and flour.
  2. Shake until cheese is coated with the flour.
  3. In fondue pot, heat broth and milk just to a simmer over warm/simmer setting.
  4. Add cheese mixture, about 1 cup at a time, stirring with wire whisk until melted.
  5. Cook over warm/simmer setting, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.
  6. Stir in tomatoes and onions.
  7. Keep on warm/simmer setting.
  8. Serve with bread sticks and vegetables.

Fondue Station #3

The BEST Chocolate Fondue Recipe - www.cobornsblog.com

What is Valentine’s Day without chocolate and especially some strawberries? For most of us, you don’t say Valentine’s Day without thinking about thick, luscious, tastefully delicious chocolate. I cut up a variety of fruit and things and served it with this chocolate fondue recipe – that was scrumptious.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Chocolate Fondue
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 T. Butter or Margarine
  • 14 oz. Can Sweet and Condensed Milk
  • 2 T. Water
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  1. In heavy sauce pan, over medium heat melt chocolate chips and butter with sweet and condensed milk and water.
  2. Cook and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add vanilla or almond flavoring.
  4. Then I usually pour it in my fondue pot to keep warm.
  5. Serve warm as a fruit and cookie/cracker dipping sauce or drizzle over ice cream or cake.
Here are some ideas of things you can have to dip into your chocolate fondue! Pound cake cubes, cherries with stems, orange sections, melon balls, pineapple chunks, strawberries, banana slices, apple wedges, grapes, dried apricots, peach chunks, angel food cake cubes, kiwifruit slices and marshmallows.

Quick Tips

  • If you do purchase a Fondue Pot they come with the skewers and at the end of each skewer they are color coded. Assign each guest a color and they never are left to wonder which skewer is theirs.
  • When serving fresh vegetables with your fondue, I usually serve fresh green beans and asparagus.  Heat a cooking pot full water until it reaches a rapid boil. Add your asparagus or beans and cook for 1 minute. Immediately place in a bath of cold ice water. It stops the cooking process and your vegetables turn out crisp with a beautiful green color.

Hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day and Enjoy… I will!

Coborn’s, Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

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www.cobornsblog.com - Family, Friends and Food with Jayne

Feb 8

Weekly Ad Recipe – Baked Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Fillets With Peppers & Capers

Weekly Ad Recipe - Baked Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Fillets With Peppers and Capers www.cobornsblog.com

Norwegian Salmon has a bright pink color when cooked and stays moist, even when cooked well done. This recipe is great on the grill, smoked or baked. The best part is you can prepare this fish in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy….I did!

Coborn’s Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Baked Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Fillets With Peppers & Capers
  • 1 Lb. Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Fillets
  • Bell Pepper Variety
  • Capers
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 Whole Peeled Garlic Clove
  • Salt And Pepper To Taste
  1. Cut peppers into strips.
  2. Turn on the oven to 375°F.
  3. Wash the fish in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Coat a baking dish with olive oil.
  5. Lay the salmon down in the pan, skin side facing down if you have long fillets.
  6. Distribute the peppers, capers, and the whole peeled garlic cloves all around the salmon.
  7. Sprinkle with a liberal quantity of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Pour the remaining olive oil over the fish.
  9. Put the dish in the preheated oven and cook for 16 minutes and until internal temperature of fish reaches 145°F.
  10. Let it settle for a few minutes before serving.
Suggested Wine Pairing Greg Norman Estates Shiraz-Cabernet


Feb 8

Weekly Ad Recipe – Avocado & Tomato Salad

Weekly Ad Recipe - Avocado And Tomato Salad www.cobornsblog.com

This recipe was amazing. The oil and vinegar mixture with a couple of drops of red pepper sauce gave this recipe a real zing to it. It was a hit at last nights dinner. Just a quick tip: if you are in a hurry, use fully cooked bacon and it will save you some time. Enjoy….I did!

Coborn’s Inc. Meat and Seafood Merchandiser

Avocado & Tomato Salad
Serves: 4
  • 6 Slices Bacon
  • 3 T. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 T. White Vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ⅛ tsp. Pepper
  • 3 Drops Red Pepper Sauce
  • 2 Med. Avocados, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Small Tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ Cup Small Onion, chopped
  • 4-6 Cups Salad Greens
  1. Cook bacon in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp; drain and crumble.
  2. Mix oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper sauce.
  3. Pour over avocados in medium bowl; toss.
  4. Stir in bacon, tomatoes and onion.
  5. Cover and refrigerate approximately 2 hours before serving.