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Quick ‘cream’ of asparagus

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This soup is easy to make and so delicious you’ll forget it’s good for you. Using potatoes means there’s no need for heavy cream, making it perfect for people watching what they eat.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• 2 bunches of asparagus (about 4 cups), trimmed and chopped
• 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
• 4 cups chicken broth
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat, until they start to become golden. Add the asparagus and potatoes and sauté for another two minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
3. Purée until smooth with an immersion blender, or in several batches in a regular blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
4. Serve and enjoy.

The best way to trim asparagus is by holding the stems in one hand and the bottoms in the other and bending. The stalks will snap at the perfect place, just where they begin to get hard and woody.

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The difference between male and female lobsters

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Served hot out of the shell or in your favorite recipe, lobster is a mild and slightly sweet delicacy to be savored and enjoyed. But did you know that some shellfish aficionados claim that female lobsters are superior to males?

One reason for this is that female lobsters produce roe. Also called coral, lobster eggs are dark green but turn a brilliant red when cooked and are considered a gourmet food item.

Additionally, female lobsters have wider, fleshier tails than males. While the tail meat doesn’t have a distinct taste, many prefer its texture and its appeal in terms of plate presentation.

Identifying the sex of your lobster

While male and female lobsters look almost the same, there are some visual differences. Male lobsters tend to have bigger claws than females of a comparable size. And as already mentioned, females have wider tails than their male counterparts.

Under their tails, all lobsters have small appendages, called pleopods, or swimmeretes, which help them to swim. On a female, these limbs are soft and feathery, while on a male, they’re hard and bony.

Male versus female lobsters
Which lobster you choose is a matter of personal taste. If you prefer claw meat, go for a male. If you favor tail meat or love the roe, a female is the best option. No matter your preference, you’re certainly in store for a decadent and luxurious meal.

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Cookie cheesecake dessert tops off grilled dinner

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Spring is an amazing time to grill outside in the fresh air enjoying time with friends and family.

After the ribs or steaks, here’s a light dessert to finish the meal and delight the kids.

This skinny cheesecake recipe can be served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. But, you can also use it as a fruit dip for spring berries.

This recipe uses nonfat Greek yogurt as a base, providing a boost of protein that doesn’t include a lot of extra fat and sugar. As a bonus, the kids can help in the kitchen by crushing up the cookies.

Just throw the cookies in a sandwich bag before letting the children take a whack at them!

Ingredients
1 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
2 tablespoons instant cheesecake pudding mix (regular or sugar-free)
1 cup fat-free or sugar-free Cool Whip
4 thin chocolate sandwich cookies (or 2 regular-sized cookies)

Instructions
1. Stir the yogurt and pudding mix (just the dry mix, not prepared pudding) until they are smooth. Fold in the Cool Whip, then stir in the crushed cookies.
2. Chill until ready to serve or eat, garnishing with crushed cookies if desired.

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Crunchy peanut butter and chocolate truffles

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With a surprisingly crunchy texture and a rich chocolate coating, this dessert is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Start to finish: 2.5 hours (30 minutes active)
Servings: 24

Ingredients

• 1 cup creamy peanut butter
• 2 cups puffed rice cereal
• ½ cup unsalted grilled peanuts
• ½ cup pretzel sticks
• 1-½ cups semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Directions
1. In a bowl, mix the peanut butter and cereal until fully combined.
2. Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture, form into balls with your hands. Put them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the peanuts and pretzel sticks in a plastic freezer bag. Crush with a rolling pin until reduced to a coarse powder. Put mixture in a shallow bowl and set aside.
4. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, and dip them in the melted chocolate so they’re completely covered. Put them back on the cookie sheet.
5. Wait until the chocolate has partially hardened, about 30 minutes, then roll each ball in the peanut and pretzel mixture. Put them back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate about one hour or until they’ve hardened.
6. Enjoy!

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Refreshing quinoa and vegetable salad

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As a side dish or main, this delicious salad is sure to satisfy your health conscious guests.

Start to finish: 1.5 hours (30 minutes active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Salad
• 1 cup white quinoa
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 cup water
• 1 yellow pepper, diced
• ½ cucumber, diced
• ½ red onion, diced
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
• 10 chives, finely chopped
• A few basil leaves for garnishes
• Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing
• ½ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon honey
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Rinse quinoa until water runs clear.
2. In a saucepan, bring broth and water to a boil and add quinoa. Reduce heat, then cover the saucepan and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Spread quinoa onto a plate or cookie sheet and cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
3. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dressing.
4. In a large bowl, combine cold quinoa and other salad ingredients (except the basil leaves for garnishes).
5. Add dressing and mix well. Garnish with basil leaves.

This recipe calls for white quinoa, but don’t hesitate to use red, black or tri-colored varieties. Vive la difference!

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Decadent quiche Lorraine

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This delicious quiche is perfect to serve to a crowd at brunch or potluck.

Start to finish: 4 hours (30 minutes active)
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Crust
• 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ tablespoon salt
• ½ tablespoon baking powder
• ½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 1 egg, beaten
• 5 teaspoons ice water

Filling
• 2 French shallots, finely chopped
• ½ pound thick cut bacon or ham, cubed
• 3 eggs
• ¾ cup 35% cream
• ¼ cup 2% milk
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1-½ cups gruyere cheese, grated

Directions for crust
1. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add cubes of butter and mix until pea-sized chunks are formed.
2. Add the egg and water. Mix again until dough begins to form. Add more water if necessary.
3. Remove dough, shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 ºF.
5. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick and carefully place into a 9-inch pie pan. Lightly press on the bottom and sides so the dough takes the form of the pan. Remove excess dough and create waves around the edge with your fingers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Remove from refrigerator and prick holes on the bottom with a fork. Cover with parchment paper and place pie weights on top (a heavy plate works too). Bake on the lowest rack for 25 minutes, or until crust is slightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ºF.

Directions for quiche
8. In a pan, sauté the French shallots and bacon or ham until golden. Set aside.
9. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Add French shallots, bacon and grated cheese. Carefully pour mixture into crust.
10. Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes or until firm. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

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All-dressed potato skins

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This sports bar inspired recipe for potato skins is just right for cheering on your favorite team on game night.

Start to finish: 50 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

• 6 russet potatoes, cooked and chilled (see info box)
• 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
• 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
• 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 3 green onions, chopped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 475 ºF. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Remove the pulp with a fork, leaving about half an inch on the skin.
2. In a bowl, mix the oil, Parmesan and spices together. Brush the mixture on both sides of the potato skin. Place them skin side up on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
3. Put the bacon and cheese inside the skin and put them in the oven for 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
4. Garnish each potato skin with 1 tablespoon of sour cream and some of the green onion and serve.

Cooking the potatoes
Preheat the oven to 425 ºF. Wash the potatoes and let them dry. Pierce a few holes in the skin with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes. Let them cool completely, ideally overnight in the fridge.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
19
Sun
all-day Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
May 19 all-day
Local 5K for Lyme Awareness Month @ Anytime Fitness
It’s Lyme Awareness month and one of your local Lyme patients has organized a 5K to support Lyme awareness and research! Lauren Nicole is no stranger to Lyme disease. She has personally dealt with Lyme[...]
May
20
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
May 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
May
21
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
May 21 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Out of the Studio @ Art in the Valley
This four week course will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance. During the first class[...]
May
22
Wed
6:30 pm Rose Wine Class @ Element
Rose Wine Class @ Element
May 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Rose Wine Class @ Element
Join us for Rose’ Wine Class & Tasting at Element on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30pm led by our own Caitlin Love! APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY ROSE! Come join us as we celebrate the[...]
May
23
Thu
9:30 am Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Painting: Composition and Color @ Art in the Valley
Explore your painting potential by creating unique compositions. We’ll find out what motivates you to paint and how to express your point-of-view on canvas. Learn methods of developing a composition and how to best use[...]
1:30 pm Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Portraits for Beginners: People and Pets @ Art in the Valley
Learn to create realistic portraits of people and pets. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques used in portraiture. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are required to bring their own reference[...]
3:00 pm The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
Have you been thinking about a career change? Are you nearing graduation and not quite sure what you want to do, or what your next step should be? Are you a parent of a student[...]
6:00 pm Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Painting the Landscape with Oils: Late Spring @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.