Smarter than the average bear may have been the catchphrase for the cartoon character Yogi Bear, who always managed to outwit the park ranger, but it could also describe the Bears of South Florida.
The group was founded to “provide a safe and welcoming space for the bear community of South Florida to socialize and engage in fundraising activities to benefit the local LGBTQ community.” While it no doubt offers the former, most of us know the group because of its extensive fundraising for community organizations.
Its latest endeavor is a 128-page full-color cookbook full of delicious recipes submitted by local bears. The book is $25 and that price includes shipping via USPS within the continental United States. All proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks will fund the Bears of South Florida’s community activities and fundraising and are available at bosfl.org/cookbook.
The book is filled with yummy recipes sure to satisfy Yogi or any bear. Here are a few select recipes, and I’m even including a recipe from the vegan and vegetarian section to prove that not all bears are carnivores.
Easy Crockpot BBQ
David Kimble’s recipe proves that tasty barbecue doesn’t require fancy equipment or a lot of work.
2 to 3 pounds pork butt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 minced onion
1 8-ounce can of root beer
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle barbecue sauce
Create the rub with minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.
Massage rub onto the pork butt and place it in the crockpot.
Add the minced onion and can of root beer.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Leave the meat in but drain the juices from the crockpot.
Using two forks shred the meat.
Add your favorite barbecue sauce and allow to simmer on low until the sauce is warm.
Butternut Squash Soup with Quick Cashew “Cream”
5 ½ cups butternut squash, cubed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup raw cashews
2 ½ cups filtered or spring water plus more as needed
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage or non-dairy milk of your choice
4-6 basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the cubed squash, olive oil, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl and toss gently until thoroughly coated.
Arrange the squash in a single layer on the prepared pan, bake for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is soft and slightly golden.
Put the pan on a wire rack and sprinkle squash with sea salt.
Let the squash cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
While the squash is cooling, put the cashews and a half cup water in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
Transfer the cashew cream to a small bowl, leaving about two heaping tablespoons in the blender.
Add the cooled squash, coconut milk, and two cups of water to the cashew cream in the blender.
Process until smooth adding more water about 1/4 cup at a time as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Pour the soup into a medium-size saucepan cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until heated through.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls using a small spoon swirl about one tablespoon of the cashew cream onto the top of each serving in a pretty pattern garnish with a basil leaf and serve piping hot.
Cat Box Cake
Kevin Daft says, “I held on to this recipe for over 30 years after a friend from Louisiana made it for me. The cake recently provided a priceless impact at a friend's 65th birthday party. Ideal for the cat-loving friend.”
1-2 boxes cake mix, your choice or flavor
canned icing of choice
1-2 packages of Pecan Sandies or similar cookie for the “litter”
Reese’s peanut butter cups for use in decorations
1 new litter box, wash, leave label intact on the outside
1 new litter scoop, washed
Bake the cake according to the package instructions in a rectangular pan that is approximately the size of the litter box (you may need two cakes if the litter box is large).
Let the cake cool, then put it in the litter box.
Spread the frosting on the cake.
Coarsely crushed the cookies and spread them evenly on top of the cake (make sure the litter covers the cake and goes to the edge of the litter box).
The turds are made from Reese’s peanut butter cups (crumbled one into your hand and mash it into a cylindrical shape roll it in your hands and drop it in the litter.
Serve with the litter scoop.