Add a Tex-Mex Favorite to Your Menu

(Family Features) A tortilla plus a tasty filling makes a household favorite – a taco. This simple, casual, versatile, fun food knows no boundaries. Tacos can be right for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks and dessert, depending on the filling.

For tacos with a unique, delicious twist on tradition, try these Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa that are ready in 30 minutes. The antioxidant-rich Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets lend color, as well as a refreshing sweet-tangy flavor that’s complementary to the lime juice, cilantro and red onion in the salsa. This sassy salsa is a perfect partner for rotisserie, roasted or grilled chicken, arugula and a dollop of jalapeno mustard-sour cream sauce nestled inside a soft flour tortilla.

For your taco fiesta, just set out the tortillas, salsa and other toppings and let everyone help themselves to a fun and delicious dinner.

For other versatile recipes, visit

Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets
  • 2          tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2          tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 1/3       cup sour cream
  • 1          tablespoon jalapeno mustard
  • 4          soft flour tortillas (6-inch diameter)
  • 2          cups fresh arugula
  • 2          cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (hot or cold)
  • 1/4       cup crumbled queso fresco
  1. To make salsa: drain beets and chop. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  2. To make tacos: In small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard; set aside.
  3. On one half of each tortilla, place equal amounts of salsa, arugula, chicken and cheese. Top with dollops of mustard-sour cream. Fold over.

Substitution: Sliced pickled beets or three single-serve cups of Aunt Nellie’s Diced Pickled Beets may be substituted for baby whole pickled beets.

Nutritional information per serving: 380 calories; 20 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates;
20 g total fat; 650 mg sodium; 80 mg cholesterol; 1 g dietary fiber; 2 mg iron; 0.15 mg thiamin;
460 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C.

Aunt Nellie’s

Baseball season begins

Todd Vogts, publisher

My favorite time of the year is finally upon us. The Major League Baseball season has begun, and I couldn’t be happier. As the boys of summer take the field, my wife and I will be glued to the television to take it all in.

Of course, we won’t be watching every team all the time. No. We will be focusing on our favorite team — the St. Louis Cardinals.

My wife became a diehard fan when we started dating and I subjected her to game after game. I was born into fandom.

I am named after 1986 relief pitcher and National League Rookie of the Year Todd Worrell. I grew up cheering on the great Ozzie Smith, that back-flipping short stop of Cardinal fame. Now, I root loudly for catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Carlos Martinez, just to name two of my favorite players on the current roster.

Last summer, my wife and I took a trip to St. Louis to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We took in a game at Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals. Our team took on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and though we didn’t win that game, it was a fantastic experience to share with my better half. It marked her first trip to the ballpark, and it was the first time I had been back since I was a child.

Currently, we are hoping to repeat the trip this summer. However, instead of only watching one game, we hope to catch a few and skip the tourist activities we took part in last year.

Of course, since we can’t be at every game, we will be relying on our subscription to the MLB.TV to watch our favorite squad.

This season will be special for us as we are expecting our first child this fall. With any luck, we will be able to watch some baseball with our little one and create a family tradition of Cardinal baseball.

‘Secret Life of Pets’ takes viewers on fun jaunt

SecretLifeofPets02Have you ever wondered what your pets do all day while you are at work or otherwise away from the house?

The folks at Illumination Entertainment, which created “Despicable Me,” took a run at answering that question with “The Secret Life of Pets,” and what they came up with is fun for the whole family.

The story follows a terrier named Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) who’s comfortable life with his adoring owner Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper) is upended when she brings home a stray named Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet). Max doesn’t like Katie’s attention being diverted from him, especially by a huge, hairy beast like Duke.

The two instantly become enemies and Max attempts to get Duke kicked out of the house, but all of this is short lived because when Duke retaliates while at the dog park with their walker, they end up being chased by bumbling animal control officers.

Hilarity ensues as they escape, but the differences they had with each other are fading and quickly go away all together as they encounter more peril, this time in the form of a cute little bunny with homicidal tendencies, in their attempt to get home.

That bunny is named Snowball (voiced by Kevin Hart), and he is building an army of abandoned pets, a cult called “The Flushed Pets” to take revenge on humans. At first he takes Max and Duke into his folds, but when he finds out they aren’t  abandoned like they said they were. Snowball vows revenge on them as well, so the two new friends begin working together to escape Snowball and his motley crew, which includes a tattooed pig and other discarded animals.

Another encounter with animal control leads to Dukes capture, so Max sets out to rescue him.

Of course, unbeknownst to him, Max’s friends are also looking for him, led by Gidget, a white Pomeranian who has a crush on Max (voice by Jenny Slate). This rescue party includes overweight tabby cat Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell), hyperactive pug Mel (voiced by Bobby Moynihan), laid-back dachshund Buddy (voiced by Hannibal Buress), and lone bird Sweet Pea (voiced by Tara Strong). Gidget even convinces red-tailed hawk Tiberius (voiced by Albert Brooks) to help.

There are touching moments between Max and Duke, including a raid on a sausage factory to get some food and Duke telling Max about his past, but the laughs rarely stop as the movie quickly reaches its end, which finds all the animals back with their owners, Max and Gidget being in love, Max and Duke being friends, and even Snowball finding the love of a small girl who finds him and decides she’s taking him home.

The storyline was rather predictable. Adults will go into it pretty much knowing how it will all turn out. However, this movie isn’t one you should go see for the inventive plot.

No. You should go for the comedy and the animation.

The jokes and slapstick comedy didn’t stop. They might have slowed down a bit when Duke talked about his previous owner, but it was a momentary lapse in the laughs.

The animation was superb. The animals were talking and demonstrating human-like facial expressions, but the animators managed to do this without it becoming weird and the animals losing their animal traits.

“The Secret Life of Pets” is rated PG.  It has a run time of 90 minutes, and it is a fast-paced 90 minutes. The action and comedy speed the shallow storyline along. Children of all ages will love it, and so will the adults taking them.

Festive, flavorful gifts

(Family Features) Food is a gift from the heart. It’s one-size-fits-all, and you don’t need to fight the crowds at the mall or worry about blowing your budget. Whether for holiday presents or hostess gifts, receiving something homemade is truly what the season is about: sharing comfort and good cheer.

For a festive twist to your delectable goodies, look no further than your freezer. Aside from their bright, joyful color, frozen red raspberries’ sweet and tart flavors make them versatile from a culinary standpoint, complementing and enhancing a wide range of ingredients. These jubilant rubies are also nutritional powerhouses, boasting the most fiber and the lowest natural sugar content compared to other berries.

Fun, Festive, Frozen Raspberries
Not only do raspberries lend the perfect seasonal hue to homemade gifts from the kitchen, these bright red berries offer numerous nutritional and other benefits, according to Lisa Samuel, RDN, MBA of Frozen raspberries, which are available year-round, offer:

  • 80 calories per cup, with no added sugar or preservatives
  • More fiber than any other berry at 9 grams per cup
  • One of the lowest in natural sugar content compared to other berries
  • High in vitamin C, providing 60 percent of the Recommended Daily Value per cup
  • Convenience and consistent quality right out of the freezer, with no waste or spoilage
  • Frozen at peak ripeness

These recipes are sure to warm your friends’ and family members’ hearts with the taste of the holidays. Find more recipes worth sharing this holiday season at

Raspberry Greek Yogurt Bark

Recipe courtesy of


  • 2 cups plain, reduced-fat (2%) Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


  1. Line small baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In medium bowl, combine first 3 ingredients. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Add berries, pistachios and almonds to mixture. Fold in until well incorporated. Spread mixture in baking pan and place in freezer for about 2-3 hours, or until hardened.
  4. Once hardened, remove bark from pan and either cut or break up into pieces. Allow to thaw about 5 minutes before eating.

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Store remaining bark in freezer. You can experiment with any ingredients you have on hand, such as frozen cherries with dark chocolate chunks, frozen blueberries with unsweetened flaked coconut or dried cranberries with pecans.

Red Raspberry Fruit Leather


  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen red raspberries, thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 170°F.
  2. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  3. Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Pour raspberry mixture on both pans and smooth into thin layer, less than 1/8-inch thick.
  4. Bake 3 hours or until mixture is no longer wet, but still slightly tacky, rotating every hour and alternating levels.
  5. Cool pans on wire rack to room temperature. Remove parchment paper (if using), place on cutting board and cut (or tear) into chip-size pieces. Store with fresh pieces of parchment paper between fruit leather layers in airtight container.

Anytime Pumpkin-Raspberry Muffins


  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened red raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chopped pecans, toasted
Muffin Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Coat 12 nonstick muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Place frozen raspberries on counter to thaw slightly while preparing muffins.
  4. In medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  5. In another medium bowl, stir together remaining muffin ingredients, except raspberries.
  6. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until blended. Do not over mix. Spoon equal amounts of batter in each muffin tin. Place equal amounts of raspberries on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.
  8. Meanwhile in small bowl, combine topping ingredients and set aside.
  9. Remove muffins from oven, place on wire rack and immediately sprinkle with topping. Let stand 15 minutes to continue to cook and absorb flavors. Remove muffins from pan and cool completely on wire rack before storing.
  10. Store cooled leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator up to 48 hours or freeze up to 1 month.

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
May make as mini muffins: bake 15 minutes in 12 muffin tins.

Raspberry Salsa


  • 1 Pink Lady or other tart-sweet apple, cored and diced
  • 2 cups peeled jicama, diced
  • 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen raspberries


  1. In large bowl, toss apple and jicama with vinegar. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to blend. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

National Processed Raspberry Council

Trick-or-Treat, Learn Halloween Safety Tips

halloween-1563652Join Wesley Children’s Hospital and other community sponsors at this year’s sixth annual Halloween in the Park. Come rain or shine, children of all ages are invited to join us Friday, Oct. 23, from 6-9 p.m. at Edgemoor Park, 5815 E. Ninth St., for a free night of trick-or-treating and Halloween fun.

“Halloween in the Park is such a great family event for Wichita,” said Mollie Triplett, Wesley pediatric trauma coordinator. “The event provides a fun trick-or-treating experience while educating kids on how to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

Children will have the opportunity to get a free bear at Wesley’s Teddy Bear Clinic, trick-or-treat at various booths, participate in a Halloween craft project and tour an ambulance, police car and fire truck. There will also be a photo booth for families to take fun Halloween photos.

Halloween in the Park is supported by several community sponsors, including the City of Wichita, Wichita Park & Recreation, Wichita Police Department, Sedgwick County 911, Wendy’s, EagleMed, 100.5 The Wolf, Pepsi, Farmers Insurance, BOB FM 97.1, the Wichita Fire Department, Superior Rubber Stamp & Seal, Cox Farms, Davis Moore, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and many more.

“It’s great to see so many community organizations and businesses come together to support this safety event,” Triplett said. “It just keeps getting bigger and better every year.”

For more information about Wesley Children’s Hospital or Halloween in the Park, please contact Mollie Triplett at 316.962.8291.

Recipe for a good time

How to Host a Mad Scientist Halloween Party

Frankenstein Cake
Mac and Cheese Cups with Chili
Candy Corn Cupcakes
Apple Pie Potion

(Family Features) Transform your house into Frankenstein’s lab with a few party tricks and Halloween treats. Set the scene with a mad scientist-themed sweets table and carry it home with a crazy good menu featuring frightfully yummy appetizers, mocktails and, of course, treats.

Tricks for Your Treats

  • Chili Mac Cup Concoction: Use a regular muffin pan to bake mac and cheese cups – a fun twist on the kids’ favorite. The macaroni cups are the perfect chili topper for a hearty fall favorite.
  • Little Monsters Mocktail: Play mixologist with a perfect potion recipe featuring a few easy ingredients: apple juice, club soda and delicious drops of Treatology flavor concentrates in taste-tempting Cinnamon Graham and Creamy Vanilla Custard flavors. Serve up these mad scientist mixtures in food-safe Wilton plastic beakers.
  • Candy Corn Craze: Halloween wouldn’t be the same without candy, especially candy corn. Wow guests with your inventive use of the iconic Halloween flavor. Infuse limited edition Candy Corn flavored Candy Melts Candy into cupcake icing.
  • The Guest of Horror: You can’t have a mad scientist Halloween party without Frankenstein. This easy buttercream cake makes a big statement, a fantastic centerpiece for your sweets table and will make others green with envy over your decorating skills. The Color Right Performance Color System makes it easy to mix the precise shade of Frankenstein green.

For more Halloween party ideas and inspiration, visit

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Frankenstein Cake


  • 6 cups favorite cake recipe or mix
  • 4 cups Wilton White Ready-To-Use Decorator Icing (4.5-pound tub)
  • Wilton Color Right Performance Color System
  • Wilton Black Icing Pouch with Tips
  • Wilton Large Candy Eyeballs
  • Wilton 6-by-3-inch Round Pan
  • Wilton 10-by-16-inch Cooling Grid
  • Cake plate
  • Wilton Cake Leveler
  • Wilton 13-inch Angled Spatula
  • Wilton 12-inch Disposable Decorating Bags


  1. Prepare cake according to box instructions and make two layers using 6-inch round pans. Bake and cool on cooling grid.
  2. Prepare Spring Green icing using this color tint formula from the Color Right Performance Color System: 4 cups icing + 30 Y + 6 B. Stack layers on cake plate for a two-layer cake, using leveler as needed. Ice cake sides smooth with green icing.
  3. Use black pouch icing without tip to cover top of cake. Use tip of spatula to create spiral effect. Use black pouch icing with star tip to pipe pull-out bangs around top edge and two hair strands on cake top.
  4. Prepare a disposable decorating bag with green icing; cut a hole in point of bag the size of tip 3. Attach candy eyeballs with dots of green icing. Pipe green eyelids.
  5. Use black pouch icing with round tip to pipe dot nose and neck bolts, outline mouth and stitches.
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Mac and Cheese Cups with Chili


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 ounces white American cheese, shredded
  • 1 package (8 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow pasta, cooked and kept warm
  • 2 cans (25 ounces each) chili


  1. Heat oven to 350$deg;F. Prepare two muffin pans with vegetable pan spray.
  2. In large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir flour into butter and cook 2 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk milk into flour mixture and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheeses, onion powder, dry mustard and pepper. Stir in cooked pasta.
  3. Divide evenly into prepared pans. Bake 15 minutes or until bubbly. Cool in pans 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in saucepan, heat chili according to package directions. Serve each macaroni cup on top of 1/4 cup chili.
  5. Tip: To make ahead, refrigerate macaroni and cheese cups in muffin pans after baking. When ready to serve, remove from pans and microwave 30-45 seconds each until heated through.
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Candy Corn Cupcakes


  • 1 package (16.25 ounces) white cake mix
  • Egg whites, water, vegetable oil to prepare mix
  • 17 drops Wilton Orange Color Right Performance Color
  • 3 drops Wilton Yellow Color Right Performance Color
  • 1 package (10 ounces) Wilton Limited Edition Candy Corn Candy Melts Candy
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Imitation Clear Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (about 1/2 pound)
  • Candy corn for garnish (optional)
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  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin pans with baking cups.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, egg whites, water and colors with electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among baking cups, filling about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on cooling grid 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on grid.
  4. In medium microwave-safe container, combine Candy Corn Candy Melts Candy and heavy cream. Microwave at half (50 percent) power 1 minute. Stir. Microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melts are almost melted. Stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
  5. In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add Candy Melts mixture and beat until smooth. Beat in honey and vanilla. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Top with candy corn, if using.
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2 dozen

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Apple Pie Potion


  • 1 bottle (1 liter) club soda, chilled
  • 5 cups apple juice, chilled
  • 7 drops Wilton Treatology Warm Cinnamon Graham Flavor Concentrate
  • 3 drops Wilton Treatology Creamy Vanilla Custard Flavor Concentrate
  • 4 drops Wilton Yellow Color Right Performance Color
  • 1 drop Wilton Blue Color Right Performance Color
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  1. In large pitcher, combine club soda, apple juice, Warm Cinnamon Graham and Vanilla Custard flavors and colors. Whisk until well combined. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
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