Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Time of Rememberance and More Holiday Treats

Today marks the somber remembrance of JFK's death November 22, 1963.  There are many good reasons why Americans remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, so fondly. Throughout his life, as a young man in college, war hero, U.S. representative, senator, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and president, Kennedy fully embraced the American spirit and called on us to do the same.

It’s fitting that his first words to the nation, in his inaugural address as president, were “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

In  1940, the year young Kennedy graduated from college, the world was in the throes of World War II. He could have done anything, but he wanted nothing more than to fight for his country, ultimately earning the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for acts of heroism and, owing to related injuries, the Purple Heart.

As a U.S. senator he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Profiles in Courage in 1957. It is a volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators throughout the Senate's history.

Kennedy was in office a mere 1, 000 days and faced many challenges which included protecting America's sovereignty from outside influences, racism and his ongoing health issues. 

One particularly inspiring passage from the book reads, “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience — the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men — each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient — they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.”

Without a doubt, Kennedy supplied his own courage.

__________________________________

Pecan Pie Brie Bites
Cook's notes:It’s technically a dessert but totally passes as an “appetizer” too. It’s fall-flavored and ready in minutes. I’ve always added jam or preserves over bites of brie, but the upcoming fall season needed a little redo of this popular treat. Might I suggest doubling the recipe. They go fast! And so easy to put together.
You can’t see the brie very well but it’s hiding under there and it pairs so well with the sweet pecan pie topping. They’re baked just long enough for the sugary sweetness to melt down into the brie.
recipe from http://pizzazzerie.com
Ingredients:
  • 15 mini phyllo cups 
  • 1 brie wedge
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Arrange phllyo cups on cookie sheet.
  • Cut brie wedge into mini teaspoon-size bites. Place one brie bite in each phllyo cup.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and spoon topping onto phyllo cups.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cranberry Meatballs
Cook’s notes: These meatballs were previously posted November 19, 2013. But they were so good it's worth repeating for your  holiday table. 

Meatballs can be made with ground venison, ground chuck or hamburger. Using prepared meatballs from the frozen food section is a time saver. I found a 24 oz. bag of pure Angus beef meatballs and the sauce listed would be enough for 2- 24 oz. bags.
Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. meat
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/3-cup chili sauce
Meatball Directions:
  • Combine and shape into 54 1-inch balls.
  • Place meatballs on a lightly greased cookie sheet and cover with foil.
  • Bake 25 minutes, remove meatballs, drain on paper towels, cool. 
Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 can (16 oz.) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar chili sauce
  • ¼ cup marmalade
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TB. soy sauce
  • 2 TB. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Sauce Directions:
  • In a saucepan over medium low heat combine all ingredients.
  • Cook about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • In a large pot add meatballs, pour sauce over and simmer for an hour-it can be baked covered @325 degrees for an hour.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Side Dish  
recipe serves: 6
Cook's notes: This side dish is a perfect accompaniment to a holiday meal as an alternative to stuffing.  Adding roasted butternut squash to the salad is another option.
Ingredients:

  • mixed greens
  • 1-1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Citrus Dressing:
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 TB. minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 TB.honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
Directions:
  • In a blender combine all dressing ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, set aside
  • Cook wild rice in chicken broth for 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Sauté garlic and chopped onions in 2 TB. olive oil for 6 minutes until onions are translucent. Reduce heat and continue to cook onions until slightly caramelized
  • Add pecans or walnuts to sauté pan and cook over medium heat until toasted - watch closely so they don't burn! 
  • In a serving bowl combine the cooked rice, onions/garlic, chopped parsley and dried cranberries. Add 1/3 cup of the citrus dressing to wild rice mixture. Continue adding dressing until just moistened. Refrigerate.
  • Server wild rice pilaf over mixed greens. 
  • Another option is to omit toasted nuts and add cashews with sliced water chestnuts and mushrooms instead.







Friday, November 21, 2014

Small Bites

Every holiday soiree needs an easy and elegant appetizer to keep guests satisfied until the main event. This recipe from smokymountaincafe.blogspot.com is just the thing: simple, pretty and delicious, with caramelized onions, apples and grated Gruyère cheese atop store-bought puff pastry.
Cook's notes: Pears can be substituted for apples and chopped walnuts added. Serve this appetizer at room temperature.
Ingredients:

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 3 cups sweet yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 4 tart apples peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick or 4-6 pears, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 TB. minced fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 1 package (1 lb.) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 TB. water
  • optional 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Directions:
  • In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and the 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let the filling cool to room temperature.
  • Position 1 rack in the upper third and 1 rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the same pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and sugar, stir to coat the apples or pears. Cook, stirring, until the apples are just starting to caramelize and have softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onions, stir in the cheese, chives, thyme and the 1/8 tsp. pepper.
  • Cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing the squares about 1 inch apart. Brush the pastry squares with the egg mixture and place a heaping 1 TB. filling in the center of each square. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the pastry is crisp underneath and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tarts cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature. Makes 32 tarts.
Marinated Olive Bites
Cook's notes: Many grocery stores now have a section in the deli devoted to all types of marinated olives. Be creative trying different olives, bocconcini (marinated mozzarella balls) and sausages. 

You will not be able to stop with just one of these addictive Parmesan Tortellini Bites. 
recipe from damndelicious.net
Ingredients:
  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini not dry tortellini
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup Herb Panko crumbs 
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten 
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce 
Directions:
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook tortellini according to package instructions; drain well. 
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. 
  • In a large bowl, combine Panko crumbs and Parmesan; set aside. 
  • Working in batches, dredge tortellini in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat. 
  • Add tortellini to the skillet, 8 or 10 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with marinara sauce, garnished with additional Parmesan, if desired.
that this site http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/home-organizing-new-uses-for-old-things/favorite-new-uses 
has some clever uses for favorite old things? Here are two of 50 featured ideas in the Hall of Fame.  
Create a mirror tray using an old picture frame.  
Use a clean toothbrush to remove silky strands from corn.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Storm of Protest

I could NOT let this 'grape storm' protest pass me by without commenting.
Who here in MN or anywhere for the matter has heard of grape salad? The New York Times Food Section on Wednesday featured a state by state guide to Traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Their choice for Minnesota Grape Salad. Soon after an eruption of  tweets blew up on Twitter over their odd choices for some states.
Here is a link to a Star Tribune article cleverly titled The Grapes of  Our Wrath:Recipe sets off a tirade.
 http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/taste/283277341.html
The following words come from Linda Holmes (from NPR.org) in article 'Grape Salad' Is Not Minnesotan and Other Lessons in Cultural Mapmaking Novemebr 19, 2014. It was written in response to the grape salad protest. It was so well written that I included part of  the text. Follow the link below for the complete text.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/11/19/365194058/grape-salad-is-not-minnesotan-and-other-lessons-in-cultural-mapmaking
I have never in my life heard of a "grape salad." Not at Thanksgiving, not at Christmas, not during a Vikings game, not during the Winter Carnival, not during the State Fair, and not during the greatest state holiday: the annual hockey tournament of the Minnesota State High School League.

But today, when The New York Times decided to come up with Thanksgivng recipes that evoke each of the 50 states. Minnesota got "Grape Salad."

Other recipes: Garam Masala Pumpkin Tart (D.C.). Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic-Paprika Oil (Idaho). Slow-Cooked Red Chile Turkey (New Mexico). Don't those things sound delicious?
i
I cannot tell a lie: This is what happens if you image-search "sad grape."

Now: "Grape Salad." Doesn't that sound like the only thing you were allowed to make in your plastic kitchen when you were 2 years old, not allowed to use knives, and only allowed grapes when they were cut in half?

The recipes chosen by the NYT fall into four categories, essentially. The first is the delicious-sounding traditional dish: Double Apple Pie, which they gave to New York (obviously), or Roast Heritage Turkey and Gravy, assigned to Arkansas on the basis that the state is "one of the top turkey producers in the country." The second is the plausibly regional spin on a classic: Oregon's Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir, or Florida's Cuban-tinged Mojo Turkey. The third is the Local Ingredient/Dish-Based Thing That There's No Rule Saying You CAN'T Serve on Thanksgiving, like Maine's Lobster Mac and Cheese or Alaska's Russian Salmon Pie. Or my personal favorite: New Jersey's Thanksgiving classic ... Manicotti.


Just in case you're wondering what is a grape salad- here is the published recipe found in the New York Times. 
I've lived in Minnesota all my life and have never heard of this salad until today. A wild rice hot dish would much better represent Minnesota. 
 
  Ingredients:
  • 2 LBS. seedless grapes
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
Directions:
  • Heat broiler. In a 2 qt. souffle bowl mix grapes and sour cream. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the top. 
  • Place dish under broiler as far from heat source as possible and boil until sugar is caramelized and crispy about 5 minutes. 
  • Chill for at least one hour. Sprinkle pecans on just before serving.
Thanksgivng recipes will resume Friday November 21, 2014.
  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's All About The Stuffing


Cook's notes: All three of these recipes can be vegetarian dishes by substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth and omitting the meat.
Calico Stuffing
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. chopped button white mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-box ( 32 oz.) chicken or turkey broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. dried sage 
  • 2 TB. fresh Italian parsley or 1 TB. dried parsley 
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2-3 TB. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 package cornbread stuffing mix (cubes 12.4 oz.) 
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 1 cup dried apricots, cut into strips  or 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries. 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove stems from mushrooms. Saute mushrooms, garlic, carrots, celery and onions in olive oil until tender. 
  • In a large bowl add cornbread cubes, mushroom mixture, apricots, parsley, thyme and sage. 
  • Heat to boil chicken or turkey broth with 3 TB. butter. Slowly add enough broth to cornbread mixture stir until moistened.  The more broth added the moister the stuffing.  
  • Salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Grease a 3 quart baking dish.  
  • Bake covered for 20-25 minutes. Uncover and heat 8 minutes more or until top is crispy. 

Sausage Cranberry Apple Cornbread Stuffing 
Cooking tip: Dry cornbread and white bread cubes out on a cookie sheet for several hours
or crumble up pre-made cornbread onto a baking sheet, and toast in a 250 degrees oven for about an hour. If you've got stale bread rip it up and toast it too.
While the cornbread is in the oven prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Recipe serves 16
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 3 medium celery stalks, chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package of Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage or turkey sausage.
  • 6 cups crumbled dry corn bread or 6 cups corn bread stuffing mix (two 8-ounce packages)
  • 6 cups dry white (like artisan or sourdough) or wheat bread cubes
  • 2 cups chopped unpeeled Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins
  • 2 TB. snipped fresh sage leaves or 1-1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves
  • 1 TB.snipped fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth-low sodium (if using stuffing mix use 3 to 3-1/4 cups broth)
Directions:
  • Heat broth in a separate pan and keep warm.
  • In a large Dutch oven cook sausage, drain and set aside. 
  • Melt butter in same pan over medium heat. Saute celery,garlic and onion about 5 minutes or till tender. Remove from heat.
  • Stir corn bread, bread cubes, apples, cranberries, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper into onion mixture. Add in sausage. Drizzle enough hot broth to moisten stuffing, tossing lightly to combine.
  • Spoon stuffing into a 3-quart baking dish. Bake, covered, in a 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for 15 minutes more or till heated through and to desired moistness.


Wild Rice Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans
Cooking tip: Make the wild rice a day ahead
Ingredients

  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 3/4 pound Spanish-style chorizo, diced, 
  • 5 TB. butter
  • 1 cup Spanish or yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 TB. fresh thyme, chopped 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 (day-old) loaf country-style bread, torn bread cubes about 6-8 cups
  • 2 to 4 cups chicken stock-low sodium
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or 1 TB. dried parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Kosher salt
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  • Combine the rice, water and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the grains open all the way, about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Drain,rinse and set aside.
  • Heat chicken stock in a separate pan and keep warm.
  • Heat the butter in a large high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and thyme, cook for 1 minute. 
  • Grease a Dutch Oven pan. Add to pan the onion mixture, bread cubes, parsley, pecans, wild rice and cranberries. Add in 2 cups of the hot chicken stock to stuffing mixture and combine well. The mixture should be quite wet; add more stock, if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake, uncovered, until heated through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.


that sometimes it can be confusing in a recipe when it calls for a medium onion and stores vary in size. Here are three ways to think about onion size



small onion (like a billard ball) 3/4 cup chopped




medium onion (like a tennis ball) 1 cup chopped









large onion (like a softball) 1-1/2 cups chopped

so now you can rest easy with this extra information :) and enjoy your Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

This Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette is really easy to make, and would be a great side or lunch salad or the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu! With butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and spinach, it is full of protein, healthy omega fats, fiber, and antioxidants. 
Harvest Salad
Cook's notes: A time saver for this recipe is purchasing pre-chopped butternut squash. I seeded a pomegranate (mainly because the store was out of a package of pomegranate seeds) but was quite disappointed. The pomegranate seeds were not ripe enough so the color was more pink than red. I wanted my photo to look more like this.
I added a sweet touch to the salad with sliced pears. Making your own dressing is easy and has less preservatives. But two prepared dressings that work well with the salad are  
Wishbone Light Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette or Maple Grove Farms of Vermont  Fat free Cranberry Balsamic Dressing
Recipe adapted from greatfoodslifestyle.com  Serves 4
Ingredients:
  • 1 small bag of baby spinach leaves
  • 2-3 cups butternut squash cubes 
  • 3 TB. pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup glazed walnuts or glazed almonds
  • 1 cup diced pears 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread cubed butternut squash on pan. Drizzle with olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast until tender about 20 minutes.
  • Mix spinach leaves, butternut squash and diced pears. Sprinkle in pomegranate seeds and walnuts. 
Let festive Pomegranate Vinaigrette dress your favorite salad greens. Not only does the vinaigrette lend seasonal color, it's also made with flavorful, antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups pomegranate juice 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 5 tsp. honey 
  • 1 TB. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp.Dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  • Bring pomegranate juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Transfer to a small bowl. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). 
  • Whisk in olive oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, pepper, and salt. 




Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Icing

Why Didn't I Think of That?
Follow this link for some clever ideas to make life easier in the kitchen 
http://www.listotic.com/36-genius-kitchen-tips-and-tricks/
which include:



spray measuring cups before adding sticky ingredients like honey or molasses. Now this sure does make a lot of sense.



The arrival of Fall signals the beginning of pumpkin cooking season. There is no shortage of recipes in every food category imaginable. Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Icing goes to the top of my list. The cake is moist and flavorful but it was the frosting that sent me over the edge into pure bliss. I was licking the pan. It was decadent.
Penuche is a boiled icing made from brown sugar, milk, butter and vanilla. The flavor is reminiscent of caramels. Pecans are often sprinkled over the icing.

 
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Penuche Icing
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit October 2007
Cake Ingredients:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 TB. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-3/4 tsp. allspice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (15. oz.) pure pumpkin not pie filling
  • 1 TB.vanilla
  • 1 TB. orange zest
  • optional 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 
  • topping 1/3 cup each toasted coocnut and pecans 
Cake Directions:
  • Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a bowl beat both sugars and oil. Add eggs in one at a time. Add in pumpkin, orange zest and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Add nuts and pour into a prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes clean.
  • Frost cake with Penuche icing and sprinkle with topping mixture.
Penuche Icing
Cook's notes: For topping I mixed 1/3 cup each toasted coconut and pecans.
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 TB. milk or half and half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions:
  • Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Boil and stir over low heat 2  minutes. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla and cool in pan to lukewarm.
  • Add powdered sugar to saucepan with brown sugar mixture. Beat until smooth with a hand mixer. Add milk as needed for correct consistency.  If icing gets too thick can warm pan on stove.  
  
  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cranberry Pear Salsa with Dried Cherries

Since winter-like weather (even though technically still fall) looks here to stay I thought these ideas were noteworthy for the younger set. The idea could also be used as inside art acitivity.
http://onecreativemommy.com/olaf-frozen-invitations/
Depending on the marshmallows you choose, you can have two different looks.  The above invitation uses mini, regular, and 1/2 of a giant marshmallow. (Cutting that marshmallow is tricky, but using a kitchen scissors dipped in flour or water works) The link gives free printable downloads.

Smores Snowman
Here’s a new variation on the Campfire Smores that is sure to make every kid ask for more.
Supplies
  • Marshmallows 
  • 2 TB. canned icing 
  • Decorator food colors, orange and black (these make the truest colors instead of mixing the drops) 
  • 1 wooden skewer broken in half (use pointed end for painting nose, flat end for eyes and mouth) 
  • Striped cookies 
  • Cellophane bags (if desired)
Directions:
  • Mix 1 T. frosting with orange food coloring. Melt in the microwave. Repeat with the black coloring and frosting. (This will make enough for a bag of marshmallows.) Make an orange nose on the rounded sides of all the marshmallows with the pointed end of the skewer. After the noses are finished, add the eyes and mouth with black frosting (using the blunt end of the skewer). 
  • Place the marshmallow in the microwave on top of a striped cookie. 
  • Microwave for 10 seconds (no longer unless you want a tough marshmallow) 
  • Put another cookie on top.Enjoy your "melted" snowman! 
  • If you want to share them, make sure to let the frosting dry completely, then place 2 cookies and one snowman marshmallow into a cellophane bag. Include directions to microwave for 10 seconds! 
This project is reprinted courtesy of the Amazing Mess.

I really liked this site 
http://allfortheboys.com/with tons of ideas to keep kids occupied with emphasis on science related actities. A huge bonus for this site are all the free printables to download!
I am Thankful cards could be passed out to Thanksgiving guests.
Speaking of Thanksgiving I am on a roll. This week's postings include recipes for your holiday meals.

Cranberry Pear Salsa with Dried Cherries
Cook's notes: Forget the canned stuff and think 'fresh' with cranberries, dried cherries, chopped pears and orange segments. It's a sweet and savory finish to a pork, ham or turkey meal.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living.
Ingredients:

  • 1-12 oz. bag fresh cranberries 
  • 1 cup dried cherries 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1-2 TB. orange zest 
  • 1 cup diced orange segments 
  • 1 cup diced pears 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 3/4 cup water
Directions:
  • In a saucepan add cranberries, cherries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon sticks and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally 20-25 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture thickens. 
  • Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. 
  • Stir in orange segments and chopped pears. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Chill 2-12 hours. Remove cinnamon sticks before serving.