Mona’s, February 2020 Food for Thought!

Aaaaw… February, the month of love and chocolate! Well, I guess I will be buying chocolate.

Vegas with Marcia Boubon in The Bellagio Conservatory. Chinese New Year Exhibiton. AWESOME, all fresh flowers!

Before I get into February, I want to tell you my January adventure of being a “vagablonde”. I flew into Las Vegas (I haven’t been there for over forty years) and went to see my old friend Marcia Boubon and her two grown kids that went to school with my kids. Scott, I heard some new stories to share with you! I visited the Bellagio and Caesars Palace, I was very impressed. I lost $2.00 in the machine…

Left for Lake Havasu, and met with friends Donelle & Gregg. We ran into the Strukel’s from Side Lake at the first bar we hit! I didn’t know that Johns nickname was Apple, (apple strudel) only on the Iron Range! The next morning Marcia drove home and Donelle and Gregg drove me to the Sundance RV Park by Parker Arizona where friends Brian and Rachel are living in a motor-coach. I had four nights at the Bluewater Casino, which is about 15 minutes away from Brian and Rachel’s place.

Everyday was an adventure going to the Desert Bar (an outpost in “nowheresville”, on an awful dirt road), where you are looked at in awe if you have been there before, ha!

Trying to impress the Grandchildren, this Grandma went “razoring” in the desert! That didn’t work so well, just sayin…

Picture of Me after my Terrifying ride in Brians’ Razor!

A razor is a very expensive four wheeler that seats 4 and has Bose speakers, a/c, etc… Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I’m wearing a white jacket (dress for success) and off we went! We crossed the highway and headed to the dunes! They looked like mountains to me, so I kept my eyes closed. I had forgotten that I don’t like heights and I don’t even like ferris wheels. I thought I was going to race across the flat desert like Lawrence of Arabia. NO! Brian goes straight up in the air and tells me the machine is so heavy it can’t flip! We stop at the top of the mountain (Rockies?) and Brian tells me to come over and sit in the drivers seat for a picture, I said, “Brian, if I step out of this machine, my foot would go down a 1000 ft. embankment”. Well, my expensive adventure lasted six minutes with my eyes closed and I loved every minute of my adventure and thank everyone for being so nice to me!

Now for February and Chocolate!

Kooking with a Kook! (yes, that’s me…)

The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize the potency of chocolate, celebrating the harvest of the cacao bean with festivals of wild orgies. (Okay, let’s not go that far.) The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, reportedly drank 50 cups of chocolate each day to better serve his harem of 600 women. Obviously a tried-and-true staple for lovers, chocolate now has backing from the scientific community. Besides the jolt of caffeine served up in a piece of cholcolate, this candy also contains PEA, or phenylethylamine, the very same molecule that courses through the veins of one who is in love. So, let’s hear it for chocolate and love!

Here’s 2 Loved Chocolate Recipes for y’all

Recipe #1 Chocolate-Stuffed Crescent Rolls

2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 (4-count) package crescent rolls
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp sugar

Cut chocolate into 4 pieces (about 3″ long. Unfold the crescent rolls
Place 1 piece of chocolate at the wide end of each piece of crescent roll dough and roll up. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Mix the egg yolk, milk and sugar in a small bowl. Brush on the rolls, then bake according to the package directions. Cool for 15 minutes before eating.

Recipe #2 – Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 – 1/2 oz almond paste
1 Tbsp strong hot coffee
1 Tbsp hazelnut liqueur
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Chop the chocolate in a food processor until finely ground. Add the almond paste and process until smooth. With the motor running add the coffee and liqueur. Process until the mixture forms a soft ball. Roll mixture into 3/4″ balls. Sprinkle with the cocoa powder. Place the ball in small paper cups and chill.

Enjoy these recipes and have a great valentines day! Even if you are alone, be grateful for everything you have including life.

Chocolate Fountain in Vegas

When you are downtown Hibbing, MN, you must check out Johnson’s Floral. They have great gift ideas and wow, the Turtles are awesome!

That is a lot of information so until next month, keep smiling.

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer

Mona’s, January 2020 Food for Thought!

December was a blur for all of us, but we made it. Happy New Year to you all!

As I ponder my Christmas Holiday, I am grateful for the family that embraces me and friends that I cherish. It is about people not gifts or money, saying “I love you” and mean it. It makes you feel good. Don’t forget to laugh as much as possible, it is healthy and you live longer. I have noticed lately that I speak to more strangers than ever and it gives me much joy as I see their eyes light up. No, I don’t scare them and they say “here comes that lunatic again”. I truly love people, maybe some more than others.

My sister Patti (Mona Jr.) went to a neighborhood party in White Bear Lake and she asked me if my ears were ringing. They talked and laughed about my cookbook most of the night plus Patti added stories of our adventures that aren’t in the book. Oh boy!

This month I have a couple of recipes not in the book and some reflexology tips.

Reflexology has been around for thousands of years and it works. My sister Patti sent me this chart. Try it and feel better for the New Year.

Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes 
A cheesey garlicy rich potato dish that is mouthwatering delicious!


3 pounds potatoes thinly sliced

1 head garlic peeled and crushed

4 tablespoons butter thinly slice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 cups Gruyere Cheese shredded

1 1/2 cup half and half or whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish or a large round cast iron pan.
  2. Layer butter at bottom of pan.
  3. Spread about 1/3 of the potato slices on top of the butter. See notes below for cooking in round pan.
  4. Top with 1/3 of the crushed garlic and 1/3 of the cheese.
  5. Repeat two times with remaining potatoes, garlic, and cheese.
  6. Season the entire dish with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour half and half or cream over top layer.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and top is golden.

Here’s a quick recipe for Potato Soup made with left over scalloped potatoes

4 cups leftover scalloped potatoes
3 cups chicken broth, or as needed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cubed cooked ham (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place the scalloped potatoes into a large pot, and pour in enough chicken broth to cover the potatoes completely. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add ham if using. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cousin Brian Collyard and fiance Anna from Alaska and Me.  He is a fish biologist and she is a whale biologist.  Perfect match! I took them for a tour of the Hibbing High School. (see below)

Our Tour of the Hibbing High School was guided by Bob Kearney, he is the best!

FACT: White House is 58,000 sq ft. and the Hibbing High School is a little less than 400,00 sq. ft.

Thank you Bob for all your shared knowledge of the our High School!

That is a lot of information so until next month, keep smiling.

Mona Meittunen Abel
Recipe Diva / Former Go-Go Dancer