Almanack Contributor MB Mitcham

MB, an ADK 46-R, is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Online MPH Program at George Mason University. In her free time, she can usually be found scampering up and over mountains whilst munching on eggplant bacon, writing odd things, or doing zoomies with Sig and Bella, the shollie and entledoodle dynamic duo who own me. She can also be found at: dr.mb.mitcham@gmail.com


Monday, April 1, 2024

MAKE IT: Simple Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parm on a plate

This simple chicken parmesan recipe is very quick and easy to make. For a less garlicky flavor, you can omit the garlic powder or granules. Similarly, if you do not want additional seasoning in your breading, you can substitute unseasoned bread crumbs for the Italian seasoning bread crumbs. From start to finish, making this recipe should take you less than 45 minutes – just enough time to get your noodles, garlic bread, and salad ready for a complete meal. Enjoy!

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Friday, February 16, 2024

My Mom and Mountains

Two women by Marcy Dam

Yesterday, I told my mom that I found an old photo from the time, during my teen years, she dragged me up Mt. Washington. I described the photo to her, reminding her that her choice of permed mullet for a hairstyle at the time was most unfortunate, and also pointing out that she was the only person in that photo who looked happy. My middle sister, standing next to my mom while posing by the Mt. Washington summit sign, and my friend, standing between me and the summit sign, had expressions of exasperation on their faces. I looked absolutely miserable (mainly because I was absolutely miserable).

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Monday, January 8, 2024

MAKE IT: Teriyaki Venison Jerky

 

venison jerky

This marinade recipe has been a staple in my house, for various cuts of meat and even vegetables. However, it also makes a phenomenal marinade for jerky. Recently, my daughter and I marinated a large roast cut of venison to make jerky as a present for some of her friends. Although I typically use my dehydrator to make jerky, we instead used the oven, as we did when my daughter was very young and we could not afford a dehydrator. Although jerky can be shelf stable, I tend to err on the side of caution, and recommend refrigeration. I hope that you enjoy this jerky as much as my family does!

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

MAKE IT: Stained Glass Cookies

A woman posing with a dog with stained glass in the window

Both of my grandmothers loved stained glass, and gazing at the sunlight that shone through the colors, bringing rainbows into their homes. It probably is no surprise, then, that I also love stained glass, and have several pieces from my grandmothers hanging in my windows. In the still-short daylight hours of the winter months in January and February, when the extra lights of the holiday season are put away until the end of the year, I find myself craving more beauty through light. When my children were little, we would make stained glass cookies, to eat and to hang in the window. These simple treats were always lovely to look at, but even more lovely when sunlight shone through the candy glass panes. I hope that you enjoy these cookies, and the beauty they bring!

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Thursday, December 21, 2023

MAKE IT: Will’s Fish Chowder

fish chowder in a bowl

My son, Will, has been on a fish kick recently, cooking up whatever fish he happens to have available. And, here in the Adirondacks, there are many options for locally caught, fresh fish! For this chowder, any panfish fillets would work. Rather than cutting the fish up before adding it to the other ingredients, we simply put the fillets in the liquid and let them cook that way, breaking them up with a spoon after they had cooked for awhile. Will also opted to add nutritional yeast, for the extra B12 vitamins and for the slightly cheesy flavor it would add to his chowder. We hope that you enjoy this simple and easy soup.

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Friday, November 10, 2023

MAKE IT: Potash Mtn. Pumpkin Bread

Summit of Potash Mountain

There are some foods that, for me, are synonymous with the fall season. This factor is likely due to my Grandma Betty. When I was a young child, my family lived with my grandparents for
several years. During that time, I enjoyed my grandmother’s cooking (and boy, could she cook!). Grandma Betty cooked everything from scratch, and was insistent on making some recipes every
year, as part of her family tradition. Each fall, I could count on her baking loaves of pumpkin bread. For Grandma Betty, pumpkin bread started not with canned pumpkin, but with pumpkin
that she would bake (roasting the seeds, of course), and then turn into multiple, delightful dishes.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

MAKE IT: Cinnamon Apple Bread

Cinnamon apple bread

I love apples. Not so-called “delicious” apples, that I find anything but what their name describes them to be, but the myriad of actually delicious apples that are available in New York during the Fall months. Although Cortlands, Empires, and Macouns are among my locally-available favorites for snacking and cooking, I most love the mystery varieties that grow on my old farm property, from trees planted long ago by people, or donated more recently from deer, bears, and other animals who enjoy the apples as much as I do.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Bella’s Tips for Humans who Hike with Dogs

black and white dog on hiking trail

Bella’s alternative title: Pooping in the Woods with my Human

You may be wondering about the title(s) of this article. My human, who has written for the Adirondack Almanack about public health stuff and dog treats (my favorite!) and recipes (my second favorite!) and the outdoors (my third favorite, especially if there are squirrels and birds to sniff), has been distracted by work. So distracted, that she has become positively boring, and hasn’t written all the stories and things she keeps talking about with me. So, I decided that I should help my human out and write this article for her, so that you other humans could have a dog’s perspective on what makes hiking with our humans one of our best and most favorite things, ever. Especially since I like hiking with my human and hope that my help means more hikes very soon. If all goes as planned, I will see you on the trails soon. I hope that you bring treats to share with me (like the ones my human has shared through the Adirondack Almanack, or that I will be sharing for her if she doesn’t get her act together and start being fun again).

~Signed, Belladonna (Entledoodle Extraordinaire). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 23, 2023

MAKE IT: Wild Blueberry Muffins

I love wild blueberries. Although the Adirondack Park offers many incredible things during the summer months – fireflies, endless starry skies, wildflowers, wildlife, crisp mountain air, campfires, laughter, and fun – picking and eating wild blueberries are near the top of my list of favorite summer highlights. Not just because they are delicious, but because the action of picking them is a family tradition.

My maternal grandmother was First Nations, and she loved picking wild blueberries during the summers. She taught her children and grandchildren how to pick wild blueberries in the style she had learned from her family, squatting low to the ground to gently shake the ripe berries into her hand, and then dropping the berries over her shoulder to the berry basket strapped to her back.

Midgie (my grandmother) and my mom were the fastest berry pickers I have ever seen, something I took for granted when I was a child, impatiently waiting for the wild blueberry pancakes, muffins, cobbler, and other treats to come from their gathered bounty. This recipe for wild blueberry muffins is quick and easy, taking less than five minutes to prepare, and only around 20 minutes to bake (time not including picking wild blueberries, of course!). To make a vegan-friendly version, you can use plant milk (or plant juice, as my son likes to call it). For an oil-free version, substitute equal amounts of applesauce for the oil called for in the recipe (I used cinnamon applesauce – it was delicious!). I hope that you enjoy these muffins and the memories of picking (and eating) the wild blueberries that make these muffins amazing.

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Monday, July 3, 2023

MAKE IT: Bella’s Frozen Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats

Bella's frozen peanut butter and banana treats

A healthier option than ice cream, these frozen peanut butter and banana dog treats are simple, use whole ingredients, and will help your furry friends to cool down during those hot summer days. Bonus – they can also double as people treats! Silicone molds make it easier to pop the treats out, but you can use any container you have on hand (I sometimes just spread the mixture in a larger container and then cut it into smaller chunks once it’s frozen). For dogs like Bella, who always are trying to sneak a little extra something, you can share these treats with them without any guilt that you are giving them something unhealthy. Bella hopes that your dogs enjoy these as much as she does!

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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Make It: Will’s Protein Calzones

Calzone

My son, Will, loves to experiment with comfort food recipes, making them healthier than their original counterparts, using ingredients that we might normally have on hand. This calzone recipe is one of his favorites, using his staple “protein dough” and whatever meat/sauce/cheese/spice combination he might crave that day. The day that the photo for this recipe was taken, he used turkey pepperoni, marinara sauce, and low-fat mozzarella cheese.

Other favorites include ground venison and spices with provolone cheese, venison sausage and diced mushrooms, a mixture of minced venison, potatoes, garlic, and spices, or sofrito and rice mixed with diced, cooked wild turkey. The beauty of this recipe is that you can be creative with your filling, and know that the dough will also be good for you!

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Singing Ice and Soup

ice

Up until last week, I had not realized just how much I missed the sound of singing ice.

When I was a child, my mom firmly believed in the value of sending kids outdoors to play, regardless of the conditions. Much like the United States Postal Service, no sleet, snow, rain, heat, gloom of night, or other varying atmospheric conditions would prompt our mom to waver from her mandate. If we were home and not completing indoor chores or homework, we were expected to be outdoors.

At the time, I did not exactly appreciate the benefits that fresh air and exercise – even when imposed on an unwilling recipient – could offer. However, I did appreciate the opportunity to hone such skills as tree/snow fort/shelter creation, fish acquisition (using a rod – somewhat successful; trying to catch them with my hands like I saw in the old Disney movies – not so much), campfire building/outdoor cooking (foreshadowing!), sledding (bonus points for missing trees and fences; extra bonus points for getting air or steering close to a sister and causing them to wipe out when going downhill), knot tying (successful in tying knots; unsuccessful in correctly tying specific knots that could also be untied), tree climbing, swimming (bonus points for not getting any leeches; extra bonus points if your sister did), ice skating, and more.

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

MAKE IT: Baked onion rings

baked onion rings

Onions, the most commonly used member of the allium family, are not only fantastic sources of flavor for food but also provide a nutritional punch. They are rich in Vitamins C and B, fiber, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. They are not only nutrient-dense but have also been widely used in traditional medicine for millennia. The organosulfur compounds that give onions their characteristic tear-inducing qualities also provide noted health benefits that include promoting cardiovascular health through antiplatelet and antithrombotic functions, reducing unhealthy bacterial loads, providing cancer-preventing antioxidants, and promoting improved respiratory health.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Master mix: An Adirondack pantry staple

canning jarswith dehydrated food

I have lived in the Adirondack Park long enough to now take some of what I consider to be normal practices for granted. When walking my dogs in my yard at nighttime, I always love looking up at the stars, which are beautifully clear and stunning on cloudless nights. I can count on my neighbors to offer help when I need it, to say hi when we encounter each other at the post office or hiking trails, and to wave when they recognize my rather distinctive-looking vehicle. Hanging around an outdoor fire pit is a tried-and-true tradition, and one of the very best ways to spend an early fall evening. And there are few better experiences in life than eating what you have grown or harvested from the land (whether flora or fauna) with family and friends.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Fueling our bodies: MB’s Energy Bites

hiking

“I hate hiking and I’m never gonna do it again.” -me (age 15, yelled to my mom and anyone else within hearing distance on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Mt. Washington, NH)

When I was a child growing up in a regularly food-insecure home, my food preferences were whatever my mom had available for us to eat, whether I liked that food or not (spoiler alert – I usually didn’t like it). Although she did a wonderful job with the frighteningly little she had available, the poor quality of that food  – outdated boxed and canned goods, sad and squidgy produce, greenish rinds of cheese, and the bits of meat that no-one else wanted –  could not be masked by the spices and creative preparation techniques she employed.

Food, then, became a tool for survival, not something consumed for enjoyment or even with deliberative selection for health.

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