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Weekly Update - December 9, 2018

Greetings, fellow federationists,

Randi and I traveled to Rochester yesterday for their annual holiday party, where we were hosted in fine style over a prime rib dinner. We were able to see a few friends we hadn’t seen in … two weeks, and we got to catch up with others we hadn’t seen in a year. I offer my sincere thanks to the Rochester chapter for their warm hospitality, and I appreciate the time I was able to spend with our members there. In addition, Jan once again provided me with a stack of delicious recipes which you will find at the bottom of this update.

Teamwork is essential to what we do in the Federation, but so are the memorable moments that exist between the work we do. In that spirit, it would be irresponsible of me not to share the following:

Jan Bailey, the president of our Rochester chapter, is no stranger to entertaining. She hosts the state board meeting once a year, and she also hosts the chapter holiday party at her house. She puts out card tables and TV trays, and she expands her dining room table to its largest size in order to accommodate everyone who comes. Since most places are used for seating, Jan finds space where she can, so guests placed a few plates and pans of dessert on the washing machine until the appetizer table could be cleared.

While finishing our appetizers, including a delicious cream cheese and feta spread, we heard a tremendous crash from the other room., after we made sure that everyone was safe and whole, we explored the house and discovered that a pan of deep dish apple brownies had managed to clatter, still fully covered and upright, down between the front of the washer and the folding door which covered it.

Geometry is a fascinating thing. The triangle of the folding door and the washing machine had a rectangular pan right in the middle of it, and there’s only so much one can squash a triangle when there’s a pan in the way. We couldn’t open or close the door because of the pan, and there was no way to lift the several pounds of deep dish brownies up, both because it was heavy and because the door stopped half an inch above the floor. We couldn’t wedge anything under the pan and lift it up because the washer was three feet tall, and the door itself wouldn’t come off its track so we could liberate dessert the old-fashioned way.

What was a group of federationists to do?

After several minutes of fiddling with different solutions, Randi finally decided to squeeze behind the door, climb onto the washer, and lower herself—up-side down—toward the brownies. Meanwhile, Wanda and I wedged our fingers under the door and under the brownie pan, lifting it about an inch so Randi could get a grip on it. Her arms were just a bit too short, though, so Dave, another member, held her feet so she could slide down the rest of the way—still up-side down, mind you. She hauled on the brownie pan, Dave hauled on her feet, and dessert was saved.

Those brownies were delicious. I only wish we had pictures of their rescue.

I appreciate all the work we do in the NFB of Minnesota, whether it’s advocating in congress or hitting the streets to educate the public. It’s vitally important, and it’s why we exist in the first place. There’s something remarkable, though, about having an experience like The great Bar Rescue of 2018 with people you care about. It brings us closer together, and it reminds us that we’re not just colleagues. We’re friends.

New Website Difficulties

Over the past month or so, we switched our website to a new hosting provider, and we changed the code in which it is written. While this is a great thing and will make writing web content easier, I have heard some people are having difficulty getting to www.nfbmn.org. If this is happening to you, you can press control+F5 on your computer or tap the reload button on your mobile browser. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you can also clear your browsing history and cache, then revisit the website.

If you have saved our old website in your bookmarks or favorites, you will want to update it to www.nfbmn.org. We are no longer with TCQ, so old bookmarks and favorites will no longer work.

Our new website is going to open up a lot of possibilities for us, and it’s not going to crash at critical times like it did twice this year already. We just have to get past the growing pains of switching over.

Member Spotlight

If you would like to be featured in an upcoming member spotlight, please send me a brief bio or a few notes about you, and I’ll be sure to include you in a future update.

This week we get to know Randi Strunk, rescuer of the brownies and one of the most athletic people I know.

Randi was born and raised in Nebraska and attended college at the University of Nebraska Lincoln—go Big Red—where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She served as president of the Nebraska student division, and she helped build chapters on the NFB Corps. She currently works at Target, where she has been employed for seven years as a lead accessibility consultant.

Randi enjoys fantasy sports and cooking, and she works all the calories off from one of them by racing triathlons. In April, she completed her first Ironman where she swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran a marathon back to back. She’s planning to race another soon.

Dates to Remember

  • Jan. 8, 2019, 10:00 AM: State Board Meeting, Minneapolis
  • Jan. 28-31, 2019: Washington Seminar, Washington DC
  • May 18, 2019: Semiannual Convention, Minneapolis
  • July 7-12, 2019: NFB National Convention, Las Vegas, NV
  • Oct. 25-27, 2019: NFBMN Annual State Convention, St. Cloud

Recipes

How about a little bonus content? Here are recipes for just a few of the amazing dishes we enjoyed yesterday at the Rochester holiday party.

Dill, Feta and Garlic Cream Cheese Spread

Submitted by: Bronte Getter

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Ready In: 4 Hours 15 Minutes

Yields: 24 servings

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend cream cheese, feta cheese, garlic, and dill with an electric mixer. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours. You can easily cut this recipe in half.

Brown Rice Almond Dressing

Makes 8 servings.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: less than 40 minutes, plus rice.

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 medium tart red or green apple, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1-1/2- to 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Heat butter or margarine in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; add almonds and cook 2 minutes or until golden. Add apple, onion, celery, poultry seasoning, thyme and pepper; continue to cook 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in rice; cook until thoroughly heated. Spoon into baking dish; cover tightly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. 

White pepper is hot (we’re Minnesotan), so you can lower the amount or leave it out altogether.

Prime Rib Recipe

  • One standing rib roast, 3 to 7 ribs (estimate serving 2 people per rib), bones cut away from the roast and tied back to the roast with kitchen string (ask your butcher to prepare the roast this way)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove roast from the refrigerator, loosely wrapped, 3 hours before cooking. Roasts should always be brought close to room temperature first, before they go in the oven. 
  2. Cookbooks often call for the excess fat to be removed. By "excess" fat they mean any fat more than an inch thick. The fat is what provides the flavor and what you are paying for with prime rib, so you want to leave it on. Your butcher should have removed any excess fat.
  3. If your butcher hasn't already done so, cut the bones away from the roast and tie them back on to the roast with kitchen string. This will make it much easier to carve the roast, while still allowing you to stand the roast on the rib bones while cooking.
  4. Preheat your oven to 500°F, or the highest it will go (our oven only goes up to 450°F). Generously sprinkle salt and pepper all over the roast.
  5. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, making sure it doesn't touch a bone. (Some meat thermometers require that you poke a hole first with a skewer, and then insert the thermometer.) Place the roast, fat side up, rib side down in a roasting pan in the oven.
  6. After 15 minutes on 500°F, reduce the heat to 325°F. To figure out the total cooking time, allow about 13-15 minutes per pound for rare and 15-17 minutes per pound for medium rare. The actual cooking time will depend on the shape of the roast and your particular oven. A flatter roast will cook more quickly than a thicker one. So make sure to use a meat thermometer. This is not a roast to "wing it". Error on the rare side.                          Roast in oven until thermometer registers 115°-120°F for rare or 125°-130°F for medium. 
  7. Check the temperature of the roast using a meat thermometer a half hour before you expect the roast to be done. For example, with a 10 pound roast, you would expect 2 1/2 hours of total cooking time (15 minutes at 500° and 2 1/4 hours at 325°). In this case, check after 2 hours of total cooking time, or 1 hour 45 minutes after you lowered the oven temp to 325°.
  8. Once the roast has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from oven and let rest 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil, before carving. The roast will continue to cook while it is resting. 
  9. 5 With a knife or scissors, cut the strings which attach the meat to the bones. Remove the bones (save for making stock for soup. Then, using a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain for serving, making the slices about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Warm Cinnamon Punch

Makes 30 (6-ounce) servings.

  • 1 (64-ounce) can pineapple juice
  • 1 (64-ounce) can cranberry juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup packaged light brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves

Combine the pineapple juice, cranberry juice and water in a large electric percolator. Place the brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves in the percolator basket. Perk for 10 minutes or longer. Pour into mugs.

To prepare on the stovetop, combine the pineapple juice, cranberry juice, water, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a large saucepan and mix well. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Discard cinnamon sticks and cloves, and ladle into mugs.

Have a great week,

Ryan

Ryan Strunk, President

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