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Want to Help With Recipe Testing?

We are seeking recipe testers who can try out recipes and provide us feedback to ensure the recipes are clear, the ingredients available in local grocery stores, and that the recipe results--the foods you cook--meet your expectations.  We need to know whether you'd make the recipe again.  Why did you like the recipe or dislike it? 

If you're willing and able, we'd also appreciate receiving photos of the foods you make from our recipes.  We'll try to use some of the photos on our website and/or in our Advent cookbook. 

How does this recipe testing work? 

  • We'll post recipes here--one or more each week.


  • If you're interested, make the recipe as written and respond in an e-mail to us answering the questions you see in the recipe survey section below.  If you can, attach photos of your tasty creations. 



  • If you can't make the recipe during the week it's posted but want to make the recipe later and let us know how you liked it, that's fine!  We'd love to hear from you.  Just make sure you tell us which recipe you tested. 

  • Unfortunately, we can't pay you, but you'll have a chance to try new recipes, see your photos on our website and/or in our cookbook, and, most important, help us and others who will try the recipes.  If you'll provide your name, we'll also list you as a recipe tester. 

Recipe Survey Questions

1.  How easy was the recipe to make?

2.  Were the directions clear and easy to follow?

3.  How economical did you find the recipe?

4.  Did the recipe turn out as you expected?  Why or why not?

5.  How hard were the ingredients to find?


6.  Would you make the recipe again?  Why or why not?   

Recipes of the Week -- 7 September 2017

Easy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies – Makes 60


These cookies get a boost of flavor and moisture from unsweetened applesauce rather than butter.  Using a chocolate cake mix saves you time, and adding oatmeal increases the nutrition as well as the chew factor.  Chocolate chips, walnuts, and sweet maraschino cherries make the cookies extra special. 


¾ cup of unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup of canola oil

1 egg

½ cup of dark brown sugar

1 package of chocolate cake mix

1 ½ cups of oatmeal (old fashioned or quick oats)

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

½ cup of chocolate chips

½ cup of chopped walnuts

½ cup of maraschino cherries, drained and chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or coat them with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, oil, egg, and dark brown sugar until well combined.  Add the cake mix, oatmeal, cinnamon, chocolate chips, walnuts, and cherries and mix the ingredients well.  Drop the dough by teaspoons, about 1 ½ - 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets.  Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the cookies sheets a few minutes before removing them to cool completely. 

Tilapia With Avocado Salsa – Serves 4


This is a recipe worth adding to your collection.  The fish bakes quickly, and the lime and cumin give it an earthy, but fresh, taste.  When paired with the simple salsa, the fish becomes something special—in taste and appearance.  The bright red strawberries add a sweet, tangy note, the deep green avocado a creamy taste, and the lime juice and cilantro add another layer of freshness to the dish. 


4 6-ounce tilapia fillets

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of grated lime zest

½ teaspoon of ground cumin

¼ teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray, and place the fillets on the baking sheet.  Brush or rub the tilapia fillets with the olive oil or mist them with oil.  Sprinkle the fillets with the remaining ingredients and bake the fish for about 10 minutes, just until the fillets are opaque and flake with a fork.  While the fish is cooking, gently combine the following ingredients for the salsa:


1 cup of strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced thin*

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1 tablespoon of lime juice

2 green onions, chopped

2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro

¼ teaspoon of cumin


Serve the salsa on top of the baked fish. 


*If strawberries are unavailable, too expensive, or don’t look good, substitute a chopped pitted nectarine or half a mango, peeled and diced.

Spinach-Avocado Salad – Serves 4-6+


This salad is really special with it’s sweet-tart oranges, creamy avocados, and vitamin-rich spinach.  The dressing is easy and complements, rather than hides, the flavors of the rest of the salad.  The pomegranate arils add another sweet-tart note to the salad, but, if you can't find them easily at this time of year, scatter some dried cranberries over the salads instead. 


4 cups of spinach leaves, washed well and dried

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced

2 large oranges, peeled and sectioned

2 tablespoons of orange juice

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Few grinds of lemon pepper seasoning

2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

½ cup of pomegranate arils (seeds), optional


Divide the spinach among the plates.  Top the spinach with slices of orange and avocado.  Combine the orange juice, olive oil, sugar, and lemon pepper and whisk them until the sugar dissolves.  Drizzle the dressing over the salads.  Top each salad with some of the chopped walnuts and pomegranate arils, if you’re using them. 

Recipes of the Week -- 16 September 2017

Hurry Chicken Curry – Serves 4+


In a hurry?  Try a curry.  Okay, although not cooked the traditional (and far more time consuming) way, the dish is very easy to prepare using a slow cooker.  It includes a variety of nutritious vegetables and is quite good, even if you’ve skipped a lot of steps.  You can vary the heat of the dish with your choice of curry powder.  Some curry powders are spicy hot, and others are sweeter and mild.  Use whichever curry powder you prefer.  For a great dinner, just cook some basmati rice (preferably brown) to soak up all the broth from the curry and slice some tomatoes to serve alongside the rice and curry.  Some sweet sliced mangoes—alone or atop some low fat frozen yogurt—would be a fantastic dessert following the curry.  Or you could make the coconut pie described below. 


1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cups of cauliflower, cut into florets of 1-2 inches (frozen is fine)

1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons of curry powder

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of light coconut milk*

1/2 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1/2 cup of milk plus 2 tablespoon of flour (optional)

1 cup of frozen peas

¼ cup of chopped cilantro

¼ cup of chopped peanuts


Coat the inside of a slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Put in the chicken, onion, red bell pepper, cauliflower, chickpeas, curry powder, salt, pepper, coconut milk, chicken broth, and peanut butter and stir to mix all the ingredients.  Cover the slow cooker and cook the mixture on low for 5-6 hours or high for about 4 hours.  If you'd like a thicker sauce, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 cup of milk together until no flour lumps remain.  Stir the flour slurry into the sauce and let it cook for a few minutes or until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the peas.  If you're okay with the sauce as it is, just stir in the peas and don't bother with the slurry.  Let everything sit for a minute to warm the peas.  Sprinkle the curry with the cilantro and peanuts and serve it over rice. 


*If you can’t find the coconut milk you can substitute 1 cup of low-fat condensed milk (not the sweetened stuff) plus ½ teaspoon of coconut extract.  It won’t be quite as good, but it will work. 


No-Crust Coconut Pie – Serves 8


Pie crusts, in my view, exist primarily to hold tasty fillings, which are the main purpose of pies, aren’t they?  Plus, crusts require time to make, and, in order to taste reasonably good, need substantial amounts of  “bad for you” fat.  This pie skips the fatty crust and moves on to the main event—lots of creamy, orange-infused coconut filling.  You won’t miss the crust or the time it takes to make it.  The pie bakes up firm enough without a crust to serve “as is.”  Serve slices of the rich, sweet pie warm from the oven with coffee or tea, or make the pie ahead and serve it cold with little clouds of low-fat whipped topping perched atop. 


2 cups of low-fat milk

2/3 cup of sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon of butter, melted

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of butter flavoring

1/3 cup of flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of grated orange zest

1 ½ cups of shredded coconut

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9-inch, deep dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.  Whisk the milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, and butter flavoring until smooth.  Whisk in the flour, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest.  Stir in the coconut until well combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate, sprinkle the top with cinnamon, and bake the pie for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve the pie warm or cool. 

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