Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN




It was certainly a depressing place with a huge gambol roof
which came down over the upper window
and nearly obscured them.
There was a half moon, and by it's light
they could see the garden
was a tangle of scrappy, winter vegetation,
which had in some places,
almost overgrown the path.
It was all very still, very gloomy
and very ominous.
.by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

So if you are out tonight on your trick and treat rounds and see such a place walk and speak softly and be sure to hold tightly onto your bag.

The photo on the left is one of the world's largest pumpkins being weighed

Spooky Trivia
  • Halloween is the second most celebrated holiday
  • Halloween generates millions of dollars with candy sales in the US alone. Over $2, 000,000 worth of candy are bought each year.
  • It is believed when you see a spider on Halloween that is supposed to be the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
  • Samhainophobia is a medical term for a person who is in constant fear of Halloween celebrations. it came from the ancient Celts Lord of dead. note:it is a real word
  • Halloween was brought to the US and rest of North America by Europeans. They would celebrate their good harvest around a large bonfire telling stories of ghosts and spirits and enjoying the night.
Enjoy your evening! And hope you get your favorite candy treats

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heavenly Bites


The center picture shows some remnants of Fall color.

Looking for a do-ahead appetizer that tastes heavenly and looks like you spent a long time making it? Consider gougeres. It is a cheesy two bite savory French cream puff that melts in your mouth. And believe me it is hard to stop at one. Gougeres date back to the 18th century and are said to come from Burgundy, a region in France. The miniature puff pastries are best served warm and are terrific with wine or champagne. Gougeres can be baked, then frozen in plastic bags for up to the month. When you are ready reheat Gougeres and place them frozen on the baking sheet at 325 for 5 minutes. They are rather addictive so make a large batch. It is easy to be creative with this appetizer by considering some of the following variations to replace Gruyere and mustard with:
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese and 2 TB. fresh chopped chives
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 TB. chopped Rosemary
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, zest of 1 lemon and chopped parsley
A tip to keep in mind for successful puff pastry is make sure to add eggs one at a time. Then thoroughly blend each egg into the dough before adding another egg.
Gougeres
Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 4 eggs beaten (add eggs one at a time)
  • 1 -1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard or 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine butter, water and salt in medium saucepan over low heat
  • Stir until butter has melted bringing mixture to a boil
  • Remove pan and add flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough comes together in a mass
  • Return pan to stove and over medium heat continue to beat the dough for another minute until a thin film appears on the bottom of the pan
  • Remove pan and put dough in a bowl and beat with a mixer for a minute to cool dough
  • Add each beaten eggs one at a time letting each addition be absorbed completely into the dough before adding the next one
  • Add 1 cup of the cheese, mustard, pepper and beat till blended
  • Drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper
  • Lightly brush each puff with egg white
  • Bake 20 minutes at 400 then reduce heat to 350 and bake 10 -15 minutes longer until they are golden brown
  • Immediately top each puff with remaining cheese

Friday, October 28, 2011

Miss Liberty By The Numbers



The Statue of Liberty was sculpted by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. Today marks the anniversary of first dedication of Lady Liberty on Oct. 28, 1886. Some trivia I found interesting
  • It took 210 crates to ship the statue to America
  • In 1982-86 the statue's structure, exterior, heating elevators were renovated in a 31 million project
  • 2011 celebration Oct. 28th kicks off a yearlong 27.3 million renovation
  • Weight in copper 62,000 LB. steel 250,0 00 LB. foundation 54 million LB.
  • 192 steps to the pedestal
  • 354 steps to crown
  • Island Home officially named Liberty Island in 1956
  • Seven spikes in the crown represent Earth's continents and seas
  • 25 windows in the crown
  • Distance between the eyes 2.5 feet-nose 4.5 feet-mouth 3 feet
  • Height of the statue from her heel to the top of her head is 111 feet and 6 inches
source: Library of Congress,U.S. National Park Service

Follow this link to Halloween party recipes.
I posted a picture of one of recipes a pumpkin cheese ball that was quite easy to assemble. I thought it quite clever using a broccoli stalk for the pumpkin stem.
Pumpkin Cheese Ball/Bowl
Ingredients:
2- (8-ounce) blocks extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

· 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

· 1 (8-ounce) container chive-and-onion cream cheese

· 2 teaspoons paprika

· 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

· 1 broccoli stalk

· Red and green apple wedges

Directions:

· Combine Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients in a bowl until blended. Cover and chill 4 hours or until mixture is firm enough to be shaped.

· Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth entire outer surface with a frosting spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips.

· Cut florets from broccoli stalk, and reserve for another use. Cut stalk to resemble a pumpkin stem, and press into top of cheese ball. Serve cheese ball with apple wedges.

· Note: To make ahead, wrap cheese ball in plastic wrap without stalk, and store in refrigerator up to 2 days. Attach stalk before serving.

·



Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Seller Halloween Candy




The best selling Halloween candy may not be what you think. I am sure you want to guess something chocolate but candy corn comes in as the top seller. Nearly 8.3 billion candy corn kernels are sold every year. 80% of which are sold during the months of September and October. Candy corn history dates back to the 1880's when the Philadelphia based Wunderlee Candy Company invented and manufactured this popular treat. In 1900 the Goelitz Candy Company, which later became the Jelly Belly Candy Company started making these candies and continues today. There are a variety of recipes found on line that use candy corn as an ingredient. The following link shows step by step directions to making candy corn cookies.
http://www.thecookingphotographer.com/2009/10/candy-corn-cookies.html
The turkey and owl cookie photos posted are easy and fun seasonal recipes.
Candy Corn Turkeys
published in Quick Cooking November/December 2004 p. 17
Ingredients:
  • 40 fudge stripped cookies
  • 1/4 cup chocolate frosting
  • 2 packages of chocolate covered cherries can substitute Rollo caramel candy or chocolate donut holes
  • 20 pieces of candy corn
Directions:
  • Place 20 cookies on a flat surface, solid chocolate side down
  • With frosting attach a chocolate(covered cherry/Rollo. donut hole) to the top of each base cookie
  • Position another cookie perpendicular to each base cookie, attach with frosting
  • With frosting attach one piece of candy corn to the front of the chocolate
  • Let stand till set (I found putting in refrigerator for awhile helps)
Owl Cookies
These cookies can also be made with your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 1 tube refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 18 yellow candy coating disks
  • 18 semisweet chocolate chips
  • 9 pieces candy corn
  • canned frosting
Directions:
  • In a large bowl beat cookie dough and flour till combined
  • Set aside 4 -1/2 tsp. of dough for ears
  • Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls into nine mounds
  • 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet
  • Coat the bottom of a glass with cooking spray
  • Flatten dough with glass to about 1/8 inch thickness
  • Position two candy coating disks on each cookie for eyes
  • Place a chocolate chip on each disk
  • Use 1/4 tsp. of reserved dough to shape each ear-position on top of head
  • Bake @ 350 8- 10minutes
  • Immediately position candy corn on each cookie for beak
  • Cool 2 minutes before removing
Makes 9 cookies
Note: These were the original directions but I had more success with the following
immediately after taking cookies out of oven press candy disks into cookie for eyes and using a little frosting to attach chocolate chip to disk

Click on owl cookie photo for full screen



Sunday, October 23, 2011

The World According To Bella




The following information came from Wikipedia
Did you know that it is a commonly held belief that no word in the English language rhymes with the word orange? One study of 5,411 one syllable English words found there are 80 words with no rhyme one being orange. The lack of rhyme for orange has inspired many numerous silly verses such as the following one penned by Gemma Stott in 2007.

What word rhymes with Orange?
It's starting to puzzle me
With all the words we use each day
To find one should be easy

It's like trying to rhyme 'purple'
Nothing's ever really right
It's like 'silver' or even 'month'
Finding a match is such a fight!

There has to be a word out there
Start to run through the alphabet
'Lorenge?' 'Torenge?' Those aren't even words
Why's this rhyme so hard to get

I can't find a single match
I've now wasted so much time
This is getting so impossible
I can't find anything that rhymes!

So what word rhymes with Orange?
This quest is getting really tough
I can't find a single word...
Syringe! That's close enough!

It's All About The Orange penned by Bella

My owners preferred choice of color these days is orange-orange and more orange. Seems the hunting season puts everyone in overdrive around here to accessorize with this blazing color. Which means I get dressed up in these ridiculous outfits and isn't even Halloween. They seem awfully worried some hunter might mistake me for a deer on the loose. Next thing you know they will probably make me wear some silly mask or carry a Trick or Treat bag in mouth and go door to door. Really I don't care for this color but my owners thinks it compliments my autumn fur tones. Can you believe my owners went so far as to get matching coats? What were they thinking?
Today I am not outside much since I need my beauty rest. My weekend play date with Sadie, an English setter, exhausted me. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping up with her high energy. But what fun we had chasing, pouncing, leaping and jumping with each other. Once in awhile I did find it hard to share my toys and water bowl. But what a bonus when her owner brought out the rawhide bones, my favorite treat.
Some pictures from my eventful weekend have been posted. Be sure to click on picture for full screen viewing!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Bewitching Hour Is Soon Upon Us



When witches go riding
and black cats are seen
the moon laughs and whispers
'tis near Halloween
author unknown

In a previous blog posting I suggested using the carrot cake recipe to make Halloween cupcakes. I have posted a picture of this idea. The cupcakes were frosted with a cream cream cheese frosting but I added green food coloring. The sprinkles with black spiders were an added effect. After frosting I recommend putting cupcakes back in muffin tins and refrigerate to firm up the frosting.

I came across a very clever Halloween idea to make cake brains in a jar. The directions seem easy and it certainly would be a conversation piece to serve to your guests. Here is the link

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Literary Food for the Soul



"Marge and Lola took one look at the poster on the barn door and almost lost their cluck. Elvis Poultry was top bird. They had to win those tickets."
This opening line just drew me right into this picture book as well the captivating illustrations. Dan Santat who illustrated Chicken Dance was the keynote speaker at a recent children's literature I attended. His illustrations are just the perfect compliment to this goofy, witty tale about two chickens on a mission to win the barnyard talent contest, The prize two concert tickets to see the famed singer Elvis Poultry. The story has tongue and cheek humor that children as well as adults will enjoy.
Another picture book that caught my attention was Book Speak! by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon. Laura is a local writer in the Twin Cities area who also teaches writing classes. Each poem gives voice to those who seldom get a voice...the books themselves. The illustrations are a superb a mixture of collage, drawings and digital montage that highlight the poetic voice of books.

A Character Pleads for His Life
Open the cover and liberate me!
Turn the first page.
I'll be boundless and free!

Both of us want to be daring and bold.
Make the decision.
Let magic unfold.

I'll help you be something you've never been.
Surfer dude, scientist, sea turtle, twin...

If you don't help me, I will not survive.
Only your actions can keep me alive.

I'll swim in the ocean
I'll breathe the salt air.
I'll feel the waves breaking, get sand in my hair.

Don't close the cover and don't walk away.
Don't leave me squished in here day after day.

Please open the cover and liberate me!
Turn the first page.
We'll be boundless and free.

Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB. Cinnamon
  • 1-1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple –drained
  • 1-3/4-2 cups grated carrots
  • 1-1/2 crushed nuts
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1-cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut-optional

Directions:

  • Beat eggs till fluffy and add rest of ingredients
  • Mix well about 2 minutes
  • Bake @ 350 in a greased 13 x 9 pan for 25-30 minutes
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 TB. vanilla
  • 1 3-oz. package softened cream cheese
  • Add milk as needed to get right consistency
  • Sprinkle crushed nuts on top
  • Frost and refrigerate
  • Take out of refrigerator about ½ hour before serving
Halloween idea: Make the cake batter but put it in Halloween cupcake liners. After it is baked and frosted use Halloween sprinkles on top. It is very festive looking!




Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's All About The Mystery Ingredient



Popular in the depression era were mystery cakes that featured a surprising ingredient: condensed tomato soup. This cake tastes like a cross between a spice and carrot cake flavored with nuts and raisins. Perhaps this cake was popular during the depression era because eggs and dairy products were in limited supply. Most of the recipes I looked at use a small amount of butter and no eggs. The condensed soup makes the cake moist. Recently I had this cake and would have never guessed the mystery ingredient. The recipe posted is one from a friend's mother dating back to the 30's. If you Google and type in mystery cake or tomato soup cake several similar recipes come up. I think making and serving this cake would be a really good conversational piece for your guests!
Andy Warhol's paintings of Campbell's soup cans transformed him into an overnight sensation when they were first exhibited in 1962. The exhibition featured 32 portraits of soup cans each identical except for the flavor inscribed on their labels. These portraits are now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Of all the varieties of soup Warhol produced the tomato one was his most valued. Once when asked why he chose to paint Campbell's soup cans he said that it had a personal significance to him as a consumer. He used to have the same soup lunch every day for 20 years. The tomato soup can portrait by Warhol is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century ushering in the birth of the Pop Art Movement. It is posted at the top of the blog.

Tomato Soup Cake
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can tomato soup concentrate(Campbells)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
Directions:
  • Cream shortening and sugar
  • Empty soup can into a small bowl and add baking soda-Not to worry it will foam!!!
  • Slowly add soup mixture to shortening/sugar mixture. Not to worry it will appear curdled!
  • Sift dry ingredients together and add to tomato mix
  • Mix well and add nuts and raisins
  • Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch square pan
  • Bake @ 350 for about 30-35 minutes
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Small Bear of Great Importance


It is more fun to talk with someone
who doesn't use long, difficult words
but rather short easy words like,
"What about lunch?"

Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing,
of just going along, listening to all the things
you can't hear and not bothering.

Winnie The Pooh Quotes

Did you know that many of A.A. Milne's first children's poems and stories were printed for adults rather than children? A. A. Milne wrote for a publication called Punch. In 1925 on Christmas Eve he wrote his first Pooh story. Today marks the anniversary of the book Winnie-The- Pooh first published in 1926. I posted a picture of a vintage book.
There are many fun Winnie-The-Pooh quotes that can be found at http://thinkexist.com/quotes/winnie_the_pooh/

A picture of the following recipe was posted on the previous blog

Pasta Bolognese

Serve sauce over bow tie pasta

Note that breaking meat into small chunks helps give the sauce a smooth texture

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef or Italian sausage
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 TB. minced garlic
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes-basil oregano
  • ¾ cup red wine or 1 cup white wine
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. each dried oregano and basil
  • 2 TB. parsley flakes or 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat 5 TB. olive oil and brown meat with celery, onion.s, garlic and carrots about 12 minutes
  • Drain ingredients and use the food processor to pulse meat and vegetables so they are minced and no large chunks
  • Ad this mixture back to fry pan and add tomato paste cook one minute
  • Add tomatoes, wine, milk. vinegar, spices, salt and pepper,
  • Gently simmer on low heat uncovered till almost all the liquid has evaporated about 45 minutes
Serve over pasta and add shaved Parmesan cheese


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going Wild Under The Hunter's Moon



The World According to Bella
"October's full moon is known as the Hunter's Moon. There is no denying that the power and allure of the moon is huge for many. So if you should happen to be outside in the dark listen carefully for the the wild hunt could be fast approaching. The huntsman and his pack are out there roaming the night battling great evil . And if you happen to catch a glimpse of them you must run, run, run as fast as you can to escape the merciless beasts or you could be torn into pieces."
My doggie hair was practically standing on end listening to this scary tale. I was just happy to be safe inside and not near any beasts who could shred me into pieces. I snuggled into my quilt and quickly fell fast asleep.
Several hours well past midnight my tummy began to hurt and I began to pace frantically back and forth trying to get my owner's attention. I needed to go out and NOW!! before I had an accident. While I was tethered outside eerie sounds filled the air like wailing and mournful cries. The moonlight was so bright I could see shadows of something way out in the yard. I gave my best woof-woof at whatever was out there. I wanted it to be GONE. Well my owner now was quite annoyed with all the commotion, dragged me in, flipped off the yard light and told me sternly its way past bedtime.
But I just couldn't sleep with my tummy aching. I knew I was close to having another accident. I paced again and again hoping to get my owner's attention. Well the bad part was I needed OUT every hour on the hour. This went on and on till early morning when the last time I wanted OUT my owner just opened the door and slammed it shut. Yikes!!! I was free and not even tethered. I could not believe it. I ran for the woods. I needed to know what was out there making the noises. I was sure my woof-ruff-woof-ruff would scare anything away. When no one came to find me I knew it was time to go home. Peaks of sun were now coming up over the lake and I was exhausted from roaming the woods for hours. It was not one bit fun anymore! I wanted inside. I settled down on the porch hoping they would remember to bring me in soon out of the cold. But as time passed I began to wonder what happened. Did they fall asleep waiting for me to return?
___________________________________________________________

Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB. Olive oil
  • ½ medium onion chopped finely
  • ½ medium butternut squash peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 –1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • ½ cup Romano grated cheese
  • optional pea pods

Directions:

  • Spray cookie sheet with PAM-preheat oven @ 375
  • In a single layer place squash cubes-drizzle lightly with butter
  • Mix ½ tsp cinnamon with 2 TB. brown sugar and sprinkle over squash
  • Bake uncovered 10 minutes
  • While squash is in oven in a large fry pan brown onion with garlic in olive oil keep pan covered,stir occasionally for about 6 minutes on medium heat
  • Add prebaked squash, salt and pepper to taste and cook covered about 6 minutes
  • Stir in rice and cook uncovered for one minute
  • Add wine and simmer until absorbed about 8-10 minutes
  • Add half of the chicken broth (1 ¾ cups) simmer stirring once till liquid absorbed *see note
  • Add rest of broth stirring once until rice is tender and creamy
  • Add cheese and thyme and parsley-stir briefly and serve-may need to add more grated cheese

Note: *I added pea pods for a little more substance to the dish and color-add when putting in the first 1-3/4 cups of chicken broth

the photo posted is for next posting: Lasagna Bolognese


Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Autumn Walk


The following poem was used as part of a talk during a recent church sermon. I thought it was rather timely. If you look real hard at the photo posted you can see Bella enjoying an Autumn walk.
Speaking of Bella, her Up North adventures continue. Last night's adventure outside well into the night and early morning hours is one story you have to hear. She is begging to blog so we are saving the tale for another day's posting. Check back!
Autumn
by Fr. Edward Hays
priest, author and spiritual guidance director
O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher,
for I wish to learn the value of contentment.
As I gaze upon your full-colored beauty,
I sense all about you
an at-homeness with your amber riches.
You are the season of retirement,
of full barns and harvested fields.
The cycle of growth has ceased,
and the busy work of giving life
is now completed.
I sense in you no regrets:
you've lived a full life.
I live in a society that is ever-restless,
always eager for more mountains to climb, seeking happiness through more.
As a child of my culture,
I am seldom at peace with what I have.
Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received;
may I know that it's enough,
that my striving can cease
in the abundance of God's grace.
May I know the contentment
that allows the totality of my energies
to come to full flower.
May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.
As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty,
let me also take delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true source of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this Autumn day.

May your Autumn days be filled with color, vitality and gratitude.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Autumn's Sweep and holiday recipes







October Party
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples
And leaves of every name,
The sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
by George Cooper

Ree Drummond is an author, blogger, Food Network Star, housewife and mother. She is featured in the recent issue of Country Woman magazine. Perhaps you have heard about the blog that profiles her life on a Oklahoma ranch with The Marlboro Man and their four homeschoooled children. Beautiful photography, keen observations on ranch life, homestyle recipes all are written in a sharp witty style. Ree was one of the first food bloggers to feature step by step pictures on how to prepare a recipe on her website. Check it out you may find it an interesting read

Lucky I got most of my picture taking done this past week as it appears a blustery Professor Wind roared through the yard leaving the trees almost bare.

Taste of Home October 2011 had some interesting holiday recipe ideas you might want to think about trying. I posted a picture of Witches' Brooms and Wide-Open Espresso Cookies featured in their current issue.
Eyes-Wide-Open Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 6 TB. baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp. finely ground espresso beans (you can purchase at grocery store jar of instant espresso coffee to substitute-I tested with a product called Medaglia D'Oro)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 45 chocolate covered coffee beans (can be purchased at coffee shops or a store where specialty candies are sold-like Macys)
Directions:
  • In a large bowl cream butter and sugars until light an fluffy
  • Beat in egg
  • Combine flour, cocoa, espresso powder or crushed beans, baking soda, salt
  • Gradually add to butter mixture, mix well
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Drop by spoonful on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake @ 350 for 8-10 minutes
  • Immediately press a coffee bean into the center of each cookie
  • Cool slightly and transfer to a wire rack
Witches' Brooms
Ingredients:
  • green shoestring licorice
  • pretzel rods
  • black shoestring licorice
Directions:
  • Cut 1 green shoestring licorice into 1-1/2 inch lengths
  • Arrange around a pretzel rod to form bristles
  • Tightly wrap bristles with one piece of of black shoestring licorice tucking in ends to secure
  • makes one broomstick
It was a hit when I served it with Blood Orange Margaritas
  • 1/2 cup blood orange juice
  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1 oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau
  • slash of agave nectar (syrup)
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker add ice and shake about 25 seconds
Pour into glasses that have had the rim of glass rubbed with blood orange slice swirl rim in sea salt





Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nature's Gift




Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still
and watch the leaves turn
by Elizabeth Lawrence

The calendar says its Fall and it certainly looks like Autumn but this week's balmy weather with above normal temperatures has given us a gift here in the Midwest. We have an extension of summer!!! The temperatures have soared and one just wants to savor every minute.
Since Halloween is on the horizon I will be featuring recipes for appetizers, desserts, main dishes and drinks for your get togethers in the upcoming blog postings.
Halloween Sunset Cocktail
makes one serving and the two tone color makes it the perfect party drink (MarthaStewart.com)
Ingredients:
  • 3 oz. tangerine juice
  • 1-1/2 oz. white rum
  • 3/4 oz. grenadine
Directions:
  • Combine juice and rum in a tall glass with ice cubes
  • Top with grenadine
Easy Caramel Chex Mix
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup creamy caramel sauce (I tested with a product called Jimmys found in the produce section)
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 6 cups Cinnamon Crunch cereal
  • 1/3 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup small twist pretzels
  • 1/3 raisins
  • 1/3 cup toffee bits
Directions:
  • In a microwave safe bowl combine caramel and butter
  • Heat for 30 seconds
  • Place cereal, peanuts, pretzels, raisins in a bowl toss with caramel sauce
  • Heat in microwave 4 minutes but stop after each minute to stir so the mixture is evenly coated
  • Spread out on wax paper sprinkle with toffee bits and cool
  • Store in an airtight container
Halloween Dip
adapted from Tastefully Simple products recipe collection
Ingredients:
  • 1 large yellow pepper
  • 1 small package of dry Buttermilk dressing mix
  • 1- 8 oz package of softened cream cheese
  • 1 TB. hot sauce
  • 2-3 pitted large black olives
  • blue Aztec chips
Directions:
  • Combine cream cheese, hot sauce, dressing mix (may need a little milk to make it the right consistency)
  • Chill for several hours
  • Lay orange pepper on its side
  • Slice off top and scoop out seeds to make an opening
  • Stuff with cream cheese mixture
  • Carve a face around stem as a nose
  • Slice black olives in half and press behind eyes and moth


Monday, October 3, 2011

Endings Are Beginnings




But ends are also beginnings.
You know every single story
has a beginning at its end.
a line from the book Twig
by Elizabeth Orton Jones

Reading David LaRochelle's picture book The End made me think of this line I had written in my journal. I loved the book's format which starts at the end of the story and then spins the tale of a princess, lemonade, a dragon, bunnies, a flying teacup, a hungry giant and a mysterious bag of gold all ending when pigs fly. Children will love reading a story that unfolds backwards and moves toward a beginning.
The Taliban regime seizing control of Kabul seemed like the end for Afghan women who subsequently were banned from school and confined to their homes. But Kamila, a young women who had five siblings to care for, wrote another story for herself. She was resourceful and displayed resilience by creating a thriving dressmaker business. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a gripping true tale of women who survived brutality and the Taliban regime that had strictly prohibited women from working. I found the true stories of these courageous women quite impressive as they overcame incredible odds. I highly recommend this book.
With the ending of summer and the beauty of Fall unfolding we may all have new stories to tell.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups cooked white chicken chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion chopped
  • (8 oz.) package of white mushrooms
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen baby peas thawed
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 TB. parsley
  • 1 TB. chives
  • ¼ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1-1/2 cups light cream
  • 2 TB. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (17.2 oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets thawed
Directions:
  • In a large skillet melt butter and sauté mushrooms, onions, pepper, and carrots till tender
  • Stir flour into chicken broth, whisk to blend, then add to mushroom mixture with cream, peas, spices, Parmesan cheese and cook on low heat till thick and bubbly
  • Stir in wine, chicken and peas-keep mixture warm while preparing pastry

Pastry

  • Unfold and roll each puff pastry sheet into 12 x 10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface
  • Fit one sheet into a 9 inch pie pan or a casserole pan with low sides
  • Spoon chicken mixture in it and top with remaining pastry sheet-fold edges under and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust
  • Whisk I egg with 1 TB. water brush over top of pie
  • Another alternative would be to skip bottom crust and lightly grease pan adding chicken mixture and top with one rectangle of puff pastry
  • Bake uncovered @400 on lower rack of oven till crust is puffed check at 30 minutes