Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
"Do you know someone in your life who would love a Sparkle gemstone? Don't miss out on our Saturday special. Only from 11:00 to 12:00 today can you purchase a Sparkle gemstone for just 50% off regular price. This is a chance of lifetime and found only at Fairyland Shop right here at the Mall and not at any of our other locations. Don't miss out on this great special!"
Well it was at the moment the Mall crowd went wild and flew toward the Fairyland Shop. It did not take long for a line to form with only minutes to spare before 11:00. Will hurried knowing the value of these gemstones were top quality. He knew fairies loved the glitter and shine of these gems and were often seen wearing them. Indeed, this was a bargain and Will could think of many who were on his shopping list that would love such a gift.
He was lucky to squeeze in line right between two groups of fairies who were excitedly pointing to the window display of Sparkle gems. The glitter and shine of the pieces did make them look priceless! "Gosh, 50% off is such a deal." Will exclaimed out loud.
He fingered the gold coins left in his pocket. He was quite sure he had enough to purchase a few gemstones.
Just as the crowd was inching their way toward the doorway Will noticed a very dejected looking fairy slip out of line and move close to the wall opposite the store entrance. Will caught snatches of the fairies conversations in front of him...something about their friend not having enough coins to purchase any Sparkle gemstones even with a 50% off discount. Will looked at the window display of all gemstone jewelry thinking what a rare opportunity this was to buy with such a discount. Will glanced over at the fairy and made a quick decision.
To Be Continued
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven
This poem brought recollection of the time when anarchy prevailed in our home one Thanksgiving when I was a child. My mother wanting to be super organized and on top of things as she prepared the big Thanksgiving dinner for eight children had what she thought was a great idea. After the turkey was cooked in mid-afternoon without our knowing, she instructed my father to debone the whole bird. As we all sat down for our big feast waiting expectantly for the Main Attraction, my mother proudly placed a huge platter of meat on the table. You should have seen the looks of disappointment! And then the cries of dissent arose. One could hear, "Where's the turkey? I want turkey! Where did the turkey go? No explanation from my mother would erase the disappointment of eight children who expected a whole cooked turkey on the platter on the table. The dinner was just not the same. Well, you can be sure my mother never repeated what she thought was a great idea on Thanksgiving again. And by the way, a learning lesson for me.
Lastly, upcoming blogs: Creative ways to use turkey leftovers and some vegetarian main dishes. I received my first new issue of Cooking Light magazine.
Hope you all have a safe holiday and enjoy time spent with family and friends.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Almond Macaroon Meringue
Makes 4 servings
- 8 crushed macaroon cookies (use food processor)
- 1-cup milk
- 3 large eggs (separated)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ package (envelope) of Knox unflavored gelatin (about ½ TB.)
- 2 TB. milk
- 1 cup of heavy cream whipped
- 2 TB. Kahlua
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- Scald 1 cup of milk in saucepan-cool slightly (off burner)
- In a bowl beat egg yolks and sugar
- Pour 1 TB. scalding milk into egg yolks then whisk egg mixture and milk together in saucepan
- Cook on stove till mixture coats back of wooden spoon
- Soften gelatin in 2 TB. of milk and add to custard mixture in saucepan
- Cook on low heat 1-2 minutes (do not let mixture boil)
- Pour custard mixture in bowl, add 2 TB. Kahlua, and ½ tsp. almond extract
- Cover with wax paper for about 30 minutes to cool
- Beat egg whites in a separate bowl
- Beat whip cream in separate bowl
- Gently fold egg whites and whip cream mixture together
- Add custard to whip cream/egg white mixture
- Layer in the following manner:
- In each parfait glass (I used martini glasses) sprinkle 1 TB-2Tb cookie mixture in bottom of glass, add some custard mixture, more crushed cookies and rest of custard mixture, on top sprinkle crushed almonds
- Refrigerate till serving
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sand Art Brownies
Adapted from allrecipes.com
- ½ cup plus 2 TB. flour
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup vanilla baking chips
- ½ cup walnuts
- Note in recipe ingredients there is a total of 1-cup flour plus 2 TB.
Attach a large tag to the outside of the jar with the following directions below for baking on one side and on other side of tag print the ingredients up above that are used in the recipe
Preheat oven 350
- Grease bottom of a 9 inch square pan
- Pour contents from the jar into a large bowl and mix well
- Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 TB. Kahlua, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs
- Beat just till combined
- Bake 22-25 minutes-do not over bake
- Dust with powdered sugar after brownies have cooled
Directions for layering ingredients for sand art brownies-press each layer down to keep packed- screw top on tightly-add ribbon and a tag
- Mix ½ cup plus 2 TB. flour
- In a wide mouth 1 quart jar layer the ingredients in the order given
- Start with flour/salt mixture
- Cocoa powder
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
Pierre Corneille French Poet 1606-1654
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Books I think
Are extra nice.
Through books you live
Not once but twice.
You are yourself
And you are the things
With fur or fins
Or shells or wings.
As big as giants
Small as gnats
As far as stars
As close as cats.
You live today
And long ago
The future, too
Is yours to know.
You're you and also
What you read.
PW Children's Bookshelf website is a great resource on noteworthy books, authors, book events and other information related to children's literature. Scholastic Books has three new featured books for November that warrant a closer look.
The first is Danger Box by Blue Balliet.
It a mystery novel aimed for children 9-12. A kid named Zoomy who is living an ordinary life in the Midwest suddenly finds himself pulled into a mystery when he discovers a small handwritten notebook from a famous scientist delivered to his grandparent's home.
The story centers on a really rotten ogre who terrorizes the country side until a chance encounter with a friendly young lady brings about a change of heart.
The third book Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh for ages 9-12.
An angel is buried behind the Abbey of Crowfield. An orphan boy is drawn into a dangerous world of old magic and into the history of the Abbey.
Thoughts raced through my head...Was this a new genre I had not heard of? Was this something to do with Native Americans? Was this a new recently coined word like refudiate? A new language? Well you can be sure after the meeting I made a beeline to my computer for enlightenment. And there it was... an acronym meaning National Novel Writing Month. Now why didn't I guess that!!!! This is a annual creative writing project you actually register online to participate and promise to write a 175 page or 50,000 word novel by midnight November 30. In 2009 there were 165,000 participants. Lucky for me it is halfway through the month so pressure is off to get involved.
Cranberry and Dried Cherry Sauce
- 12 oz. container frozen cranberry- raspberry juice cocktail thawed
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1- 6oz. package dried tart cherries
- 1- 12oz. bag fresh cranberries (produce dept.)
- ¼ cup Merlot
- Bring first 5 ingredients to boiling in a saucepan stirring to dissolve sugar
- Add cherries and cook 2 minutes
- Add cranberries cook until berries pop about 8 minutes
- Stir in Merlot
- Cover and chill overnight
- To serve discard cinnamon
- Refrigerate till serving-heat on low to warm it
- Serve over turkey, chicken, pork
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
St. Paul Public Works, Public Art St. Paul and Marcus Young and friends in 2008 implemented a city project called Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk. Marcus Young writes in his introduction to the project "Sidewalks are the blank pages of our city as a book." He goes on to say "On our modest sidewalks we hope to create delightful moments of open air reading and make public and common the beauty in our hearts as expressed by out poets."
Each year, citywide, a contest is held to invite participants to submit their poems to be added to the collection. Go to their website through GOOGLE: Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk for more information on the project, 2010 contest winners and poetry locations.
Monday, November 15, 2010
are conceived by walking.
If you are seeking creative ideas,
go out walking.
Angels whisper to man
when he goes for a walk.
Reading this article was a segue into wondering if they are other poetic walking tours available. For those who have an adventurous spirit, love to travel, enjoy poetry and getting exercise then I have just the tours for you. Note: these are real tours!
The first one is located in Central London. It is a poetry walk along the banks of the Thames. Relevant poems are recited at several famous landmarks by local guides. If traveling to the UK is a bit much then how about New York City? There is an organization of artists called Electric City that lead walks around New York. They encourage participants to listen and look for things they don't usually pay attention to around them. It is their hope these walks will inspire creativity and poetry writing. Washington, DC hosts a poetry tour through the eyes of its great poets, scholars and musicians in the nation's capital. Poetry lovers can download audio tours and maps to help in their exploration of the National Mall and other famous D.C. spots.
I suppose all this exercise talk has you thinking about a break??? Perhaps you will get a second wind and try this recipe.
- 6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
- Use 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup margarine= 1/2 cup
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 2 TB. Kahlua
- 4 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 TB. flour
- 1/3 can almond paste (it is in baking aisle)
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds
- Microwave chocolate and butter- stir until smooth
- Stir in 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla
- Stir flour in to blend and add 1/3 cup almonds
- Line a 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil extending over edges
- Grease foil and spread brownie batter on it
- In a food processor add 1/3 can almond paste mixed with 1 TB. flour
- Mix softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, egg and 1TB. flour, almond paste and 1/3 cup almonds
- Spread over brownie layer
- Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
- Do not overbake
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake
Note: Mexican chocolate has a cinnamon flavor to it. I found in the Hispanic aisle of the grocery store a product called: Chocolate Ibarra. It is 12. 6 oz. box with individual wrapped circular chocolate each 2.1 oz inside. I substituted 4 of them for the cake recipe instead of using 1- 8 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate baking squares listed below in the recipe. Then I also eliminated the 1 tsp. cinnamon.
- 1 (8 oz.) package semi sweet chocolate baking square, chopped
- 1 stick butter and 1 stick margarine softened = 1 cup
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup chocolate syrup
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven 325
- Grease well a tube pan
- Microwave chopped chocolate about a minute- stir a few times till smooth
- Beat butter and margarine until creamy-2 minutes
- Add sugar gradually and beat about 4-5 minutes
- Add eggs one at a time-beat into butter mixture
- Stir in melted chocolate, chocolate syrup, vanilla and mix till smooth
- In another bowl mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture on low mixer speed alternately with buttermilk but beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Beat a low speed until all blended
- Bake 325 about 55 minutes-check to make sure toothpick comes out clean from center
- Cool in pan 10 minutes remove to serving plate
- After cake is cooled frost with you favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle with crushed almonds on top
- Another option is slicing the pound cake and serve warm Mexican Chocolate Sauce over each piece sprinkled with crushed almonds
Mexican Chocolate Sauce
- On low heat in a saucepan mix
- 1- 6 oz. package of semisweet chocolate baking squares
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- Cook all ingredients on low heat, whisking occasionally till mixture smooth
- Remove from heat add 1 tsp. butter and ¼ cup Kahlua
- Serve warm over the pound cake
Thursday, November 11, 2010
- 2 TB. olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 TB. Rosemary
- 1 TB. parsley flakes
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 cup panko ( Japanese bread crumbs- found in baking aisle)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- crumbled cooked bacon or use real bacon bits that come in a jar
- Preheat oven 425
- Heat nonstick fry pan with oil and cook onion for about 2 minutes
- Place cooked mashed potatoes (use ricer to get lumps out) in a bowl
- Stir in onion, cheese and crumbled bacon
- Divide potato mixture into about 8 equal portions and chill for 20 minutes
- Place panko in a shallow dish, add rosemary, parsley flakes, salt and pepper
- Dredge potato patties in panko mixture
- Place patties on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with PAM
- Bake 425 for 12-15 minutes
- Turn patties over and bake another 12 minutes or until golden
Idea: Serve with your favorite meatloaf
Sunday, November 7, 2010
- 4 small zucchini cut lengthwise
- 2 tomatoes chopped in chunks and seeded
- 1 green pepper chopped and seeded
- 1 small package of mushrooms
- 1 container of pesto found in refrigerated section
- 1 large package of cheese filled tortellini (use colored mixed kind)
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 1-2 tsp. ground Italian herb seasoning
- Preheat grill
- Season tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, pepper with herb seasoning
- Grill chicken and roast veggies in a steamer on the grill
- Let stand 10 minutes
- Cook tortellini according to package directions
- Chop chicken and toss all with pesto
- Grate Parmesan over top of pasta mixture
- Serve immediately
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- 3 lbs. pork tenderloin or 4-6 chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- olive oil
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup dried peaches
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- 1 cup dried prunes
- 1 cup port wine or could use Merlot
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Remove skin from tenderloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Cook meat in 6 tsp.olive oil about 3 minutes on each side-set aside
- Add to 1 tsp.olive oil to apricots, plums, peaches, cherries and 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Saute 3 minutes till pine nuts are toasted
- To the wine add 3 TB. cornstarch- whisk well and add to dried fruit/pine nuts mixture with pomegranate juice
- Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened
- Add meat and chicken broth and cinnamon sticks-cook on medium low heat uncovered about 20 minutes
- The meat thermometer should be inserted to thickest part of meat and register 150 degrees
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving and remove cinnamon sticks