Monday, May 23, 2016

6/2/2016 Book Launch: If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems

One day when she was 18 and bored, Marla Spivak picked up a book at her library about bees. Years later, Dr. Marla Spivak is the head of the University of Minnesota Bee Lab. The team there is studying the decline of bee populations, why it’s happening and what can be done about it. On June 2 at 6:30, the University of Minnesota Press is launching a book to support the Bee Lab’s research.

If Bees Are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems edited by James P. Lenfestey is an anthology of poems, ancient to modern, and includes a foreword by Bill McKibben and an afterword by Dr. Marla Spivak.

The book launch is free and includes a honey tasting. Poems will be read by an amazing lineup of local authors and artists including Heid Erdrich, Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen, Jim Lenfestey, Marla Spivak, Larry Long, Jim Heynen, Bart Sutter, Su Smallen, Thomas R. Smith, Connie Wanek, and Morgan Grayce Willow. Google any of these names and you’ll see the thriving literary community in Minnesota.

Attend the book launch on June 2 to support local bees, local research, local authors and listen to great poetry. A portion of proceeds of this book will go to the Bee Lab for research. For more information, check the event listing here.

Want a quick overview of the importance of bees and the bee crisis? Check out Dr. Spivak’s 15-min TED Talk about why bees are disappearing and what can we start to do about it.

On a different topic, Memorial Day is just around the corner. On this day we remember those who died serving in the armed forces. We grill, we spend time outside with family, we kick off summer and we remember. Have a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend.

By Amber D. Stoner

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Grilling Season Begins

The sun is staying up later, the breeze feels warm on your bare arms, fresh-mown grass scents the air and the picnic table is set for an al fresco dinner. Time to fire up the grill!

Ah, the wonderful and ancient tradition of cooking outside over a fire. This beloved family activity usually starts in May as the weather improves, though a few brave, devoted souls love grilling so much they bundle up to flip burgers in the middle of winter. Whether you grill with coals or gas or set up a grate over a wood campfire, you know the aroma of smoke and sizzling chicken alongside roasting vegetable kabobs. Imagine a glass of lemonade, iced tea or a cold bottle of beer pair in one hand and grill tongs in the other. Soon all over Minnesota, we will gather in backyards and parks to carry on the rituals of grilling.

Here are two marinade recipes to get you started this grilling season. Despite carnivore’s long domination of grilling, vegetarians can enjoy the delights of grilling too. Each marinade can be used on a variety of your grilling favorites, including chicken, salmon, tofu and vegetables. Enjoy!

By Amber D. Stoner

Honey Teriyaki Marinade


½ cup soy sauce
12 oz. pineapple juice
1 tablespoon molasses
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced


Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.

For chicken: Add chicken breasts to bowl and refrigerate for 6-24 hours, the longer the better. Grill until fully cooked.

For vegetable kabobs: Skewer your preferred veggies (suggestions: onion, thin-sliced potatoes, peppers). Lay kabobs on a pan and brush marinade over all sides of kabobs. Grill to desired tenderness.

Honey-Soy Marinade (adapted from


1 scallion, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger


Stir scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a bowl until the honey is dissolved.

For extra-firm tofu: Drain the package. Cut into ¼ inch slices and press between towels for 15 minutes. Add slices to marinade bowl. Spoon marinade over slices. Refrigerate for 6-24 hours. Lay pieces on aluminum foil on grill. Cook until bottom is firm and browned.

For salmon: Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce (reserve the remaining sauce) and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Grill to doneness. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.

For another vegetarian option: Prepare Portobello mushrooms in the same way as salmon.