Quick Blueberry Sauce

Originally posted on Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide:

Duck is so fantastic

Duck is so fantastic

I came up with this dish to impress Katherine one night. It involved a fancy polenta filled with mushrooms and truffle oil. Although the duck and the sauce were excellent, the polenta was a let down and it would have been better just to make the regular recipe. Sometimes there is no need to make something fancy, lesson learned. The sauce requires this blueberry jam and fresh beef stock.

The recipe uses wild duck breasts which are very lean. If using commercial duck breasts drain the fat after searing the breasts and reserve only a tablespoon or so. Wild duck breasts are also smaller so adjust the amount to feed four people.

Wild Duck with Blueberry Sauce

  • 6 wild-caught duck breasts
  • 1/2 cup blueberry jam
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Salt/pepper

Season duck breasts with salt and pepper…

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A Word From OUR First Lady Michelle Obama: Meet Mr,. Troy Simon


By Jueseppi B.




Hello, all –


Today, I met a young man named Troy.


Troy comes from New Orleans, where his family lived through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He couldn’t read until he was twelve, and would regularly cut school because the other students would tease him. When he did attend, he’d shove desks, start fights — anything to get him out of class.


But then Troy saw his younger siblings start down a similar path. And he decided to make a change. He connected with his fifth-grade teacher, and enrolled in a program called the Urban League College Track. With the support of College Track and his teachers, he worked hard and made his way into high school — and today, he’s a sophomore at Bard College, studying American Literature.


There are a lot of kids like Troy out there — kids with all the potential in the world — but far too many of them are slipping through the cracks. They’re not making their way to college — maybe because their parents never went, or because they’ve never been encouraged to believe they could succeed there.





It’s on all of us to help change that.


That’s why today, Barack and I hosted college and university presidents, business leaders, philanthropists, and representatives from organizations around the country who are helping more of our kids see their potential and pursue their education. They’re helping them navigate the financial aid and college admissions process. They’re working with them to find schools that match their ability and interests. And they’ve made real, concrete commitments to help make college a reality for more kids.


New Orleans student Troy Simon with President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama during an event on expanding college opportunity, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building

New Orleans student Troy Simon with President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama during an event on expanding college opportunity, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building


And here’s the thing: You don’t have to be a university president or an executive to do that. There is something that each and every one of us can do in our communities to help make sure our kids realize their potential and make their way into higher education. That could mean having a conversation with a young neighbor or a relative, serving as a mentor, or volunteering at a local high school to help students fill out their college applications.


So I’m asking you today to make a commitment of your own — and learn more about the commitments that universities and organizations from around the country are making, too.


I’m passionate about helping our young people because I see my story in theirs.


Neither of my parents graduated from college, but they always encouraged me to pursue my education and told me that college was possible. And I know that there are so many kids out there just like me: kids who have a world of potential but need some encouragement and support to make it through college.


That’s why I was so inspired by some of the commitments I learned about today.





Universities are taking steps like helping underserved students with financial literacy, or finding innovative ways for academic advisors to better support students who could use a helping hand. And many colleges are working with organizations like the Posse Foundation to give kids the social and academic support they’ll need to graduate.


These kinds of programs aren’t just good for these young people. They’re good for all of us. Because after everything these kids will have overcome to get to college — and get through college — they’ll have all the skills they need to thrive in our businesses, and law firms, and labs. And that’s not just good for them and their families, it’s good for their communities and our country.





That’s why Barack is working every single day to expand opportunities to every single young person in America. And that’s why we’re working to rally the country around his “North Star” goal – that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.


Reaching that goal begins with each of us doing our part as parents, students, educators, and citizens.


We can all help a young person realize his or her potential, so I hope you’ll learn more about the commitments that organizations and schools around the country are making — and then make a commitment of your own.


Thanks in advance for everything you will do on behalf of America’s young people.


First Lady Michelle Obama.


The President And First Lady At The College Opportunity Summit








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Barack After Dark™: Michelle Host. Barack Invests. Climate Change Progress.


By Jueseppi B.




First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts a Discussion on Education


Kasie Coccaro
Kasie Coccaro

January 16, 2014
10:54 AM EST


First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks prior to a screening of the movie "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," and a discussion in the State Dining RoomFirst Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks prior to a screening of the movie “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” and a discussion in the State Dining Room of the White House Jan. 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)


Yesterday, to support the President’s “North Star” Goal — that by 2020, Americans will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world — First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a discussion with education stakeholders about the challenges and best practices regarding education access in underserved communities. As part of the event, guests participated in a screening of The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, a coming of age story about two inner-city youth that display grit, resilience, courage even in the most hopeless circumstances. The movie’s executive producer Alicia Keys opened up the event by talking about how she was personally inspired by the script. The First Lady then thanked the educators participating in the event for engaging on this issue:


I want to thank all of you for taking the time to participate in this screening and this discussion, and for the work that you’re doing to move our kids forward and basically keep our country thriving and on top. And again, there’s a reason why I invited you all here. We did this because for many of you, this movie isn’t just a powerful story of — or a great piece of art.  For so many of you, it’s the reality you see every day in your classrooms and in your communities.


The First Lady then spoke about her commitment to engaging with young people and encourage them to take a active role in their education so that they can create a better future for themselves and their country.


I’m going to tell them that they have everything they need to succeed already. It’s all in there, but they still have to be committed to getting their educations. I’m going to be making a special effort, obviously, to reach kids like Mister and Pete, who face such overwhelming obstacles in their lives. And as you all know, too often these kids view their difficult life experiences as weaknesses. They view what they go through as a source of embarrassment and shame sometimes.  But as we all know, it’s really just the opposite, and it’s important for them to understand that.




A Budget Deal That Invests in Our Youngest Children


Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

January 16, 2014
10:00 AM EST


President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroomPresident Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


In last year’s State of the Union address President Obama laid out his bold vision to expand access to high-quality pre-school to every child in America.


He called on Congress to help turn this vision into reality, not just because studies show that children who start learning at the earliest ages are more likely to succeed in school and in life, but because for every dollar that is invested in early education, we save multiple dollars in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime.


You can find more about those stats and the President’s proposal in this blog post, but in short, an investment in America’s children is a great investment.


The President also made it clear during last year’s State of the Union address that the Administration couldn’t do this on our own – we needed Congress to step up and do their part, and make America’s children a priority.


Thankfully, the bipartisan budget deal is a step in the right direction, including:


  • $8.6 billion in Head Start funding, which will help support an additional 90,000 children and their families with early education and services.
  • New funding to launch Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships across the country, to grow the supply of high-quality infant and toddler care for America’s youngest children.
  • $250 million in new funding through the Race to the Top Program for communities to develop and expand access to high-quality public preschool programs.


Clearly we have much more work to do, and this bipartisan budget agreement is not a perfect document – no one got everything they wanted, including the President – that is the nature of compromise.


However, this deal does represent a step in the right direction when it comes to one of the best investments we can make as a nation – an investment in our nation’s children.


Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council


Related Topics: EducationMaryland



Making Progress on Climate Change


Dan Utech
Dan Utech

January 16, 2014
04:45 PM EST


President Barack Obama delivers remarks on climate change, at Georgetown University President Barack Obama delivers remarks on climate change, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change. As we begin 2014, seven months after the President’s speech, we can report that the Administration is delivering on the ambitious goals the President put forward.


In the past few months, the Administration has taken important steps under the Climate Action Plan to move to cleaner sources of power, strengthen our communities against climate change impacts such as the threat of more severe weather, and engage our international partners. The Department of the Interior continued to approve renewable energy projects on our Federal; the Department of Energy has proposed new energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment that will help cut consumers’ electricity bills; and the Environmental Protection Agency has taken common sense steps to cut carbon pollution from power plants.


In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, and we have brought together a diverse group of elected officials through the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The Administration has also made significant progress in leading multilateral and bilateral efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions while working to advance international climate negotiations.


Taking on the challenge of climate change will require an all-hands effort.  Over the last seven months we have made progress under the President’s Climate Action plan towards meeting this challenge in a way that advances our economy, our environment, and public health at the same time. For more highlights on the Administration’s work since the President’s speech, check out our latest Progress Report on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.



Learn more:




January 16th, 2014: Photo of the Day


President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom in the Oval Office, Jan. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



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Easy Cassoulet With Honey

Originally posted on Romancing the Bee:


It’s snowing in Cincinnati and getting colder by the minute. When the weather’s like this, all I want is some hearty cassoulet!  If I can’t wait until tomorrow to have it, this is the recipe I use. It’s SO good!

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 tomato, chopped, or one 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 15-ounce cans of great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed

5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted


In a Dutch oven (a heavy pot, usually made of cast…

View original 148 more words

Beef and Broccoli Fried rice!

Originally posted on Confessions of an Apple Junkie:

imageI’m not great with photos but it tasted amazing!!!

Thanks BevCooks!


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