Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Weekend Round-Up

Intruder 
October gave a party.
Autumn wore her finest gown
a kaleidoscope of colors
golden, crimson, yellow hues.

Leaves swirled, fluttered, whirled 
dancing to woodland tunes. 
Trees swayed, kept time to music 
under a moonlit sky. 

A blustery wind howled 
the uninvited guest blew through 
brought party to a screeching halt 
the revelers swept away.
by Sue Ready


Cook's notes: I was impressed with this fun fruit cup idea. Its a sweet treat so easy to prepare. Use some fresh pineapple, oranges and whipped cream topped with a couple pieces of candy corn.
Ingredients
– pineapple, cut into bite sized chunks
– orange segments or cuties (clementines) cut into bite sized chunks
– whipped cream
– candy corn
Directions:
In a clear glass, layer pineapple, then oranges and top with whipped cream and a couple pieces of candy corn. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Cook's notes: Easy brunch idea-Consider spreading on Dijon mustard to the puff pastry before topping with ham and cheese.  
http://mixandmatchmama.blogspot.com/2015/09/ham-bacon-gruyere-pinwheels.html
Best Creative Use of Leftover Halloween Candy by Brown-Eyed Baker
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 
  • 3 Butterfinger candy bars (or 8 fun-size bars), cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 3 Heath candy bars (or 6 fun-size bars), cut into ¾-inch pieces 
  • 8 Reese's peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges 
  • ¼ cup honey roasted peanuts 
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped 
  • ½ cup Peanut M&M's (Halloween colors!), Pretzel M&M's or Reese's Pieces 
Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted and smooth. (You could also melt in a double boiler on the stove top.) Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet and spread into a thin layer. Sprinkle the melted chocolate with the chopped Butterfingers, Heath bars, peanut butter cups and honey roasted peanuts. Press lightly to make sure the candy adheres to the melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Melt the white chocolate using the same method as the bittersweet chocolate until completely smooth. Drizzle the white chocolate over the chilled bark. Scatter the M&M's (or Reese's Pieces) over the white chocolate drizzle, and again press to make sure the candy adheres to the melted white chocolate. Chill again until the white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
4. Cut the bark into pieces and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks-of course it just may not last that long. 


There are many other foodies who also thought up this ingenious and fun idea to use up leftover Halloween candy:
Halloween Candy Bar Blondies from Bake or Break
Candy Bar Apple Salad from Taste of Home
Halloween Candy Bundt Cake from Baking Bites
Halloween Candy Corn Bark from My Baking Addiction
Halloween Popcorn Cake from Taste and Tell
Candy Corn Ice Cream from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Check out Bella's latest posting: No Way 
Love, Bella


Friday, October 30, 2015

Eat Your Veggies

In the countdown to a sugar overload holiday, Halloween consider the value of Eat Your Veggies. 
Roasting vegetables is a cooking technique that draws out the natural sweetness of vegetables. Although dry roasting is easy and keeps things oil free, you can add oodles of flavor and glamour to your veggies by lightly coating them with a good quality oil and spiking them with herbs. And its an easy way to prepare side dishes. 
Roasted Vegetable Medley
Cook's notes:If ever a plate of roasted vegetables will make you forget the meat, it is this one. Roasting sweetens and concentrates the flavors, and the Parmesan and pine nuts add body, while the lemon zest adds zing. Recipe serves 4-6.
Ingredients:
  • 2-pounds vegetable medley — broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots
  • 5 mini colored sweet bell peppers, stemmed and halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 8 wedges
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 3 big pinches kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried rosemary and thyme 
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Zest from 1 extra large lemon (1 1/2-2 tablespoons zest)
  • optional 1/2 cup pine nuts or substitute toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan shreds
Directions:
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, flat baking pan with parchment paper.Place vegetable medley into pan, along with peppers and onions. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, herbs and toss until coated.
  • Place garlic slices on top and roast for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, add remaining tablespoon olive oil, lemon zest, toasted nuts and Parmesan shreds and toss with spatulas to mix.

Roasted Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Yukon Gold Potatoes
Recipe from Taste of Home
Ingredients:
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small wedges
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 TB. olive oil or Herb Olive Oil
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar or Cranberry Pear Balsamic
  • 2 TB. minced fresh rosemary or 2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 TB. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp.salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, red peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and onion. In a small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar and seasonings. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.
  • Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until fork tender, stirring occasionally.

Roasted Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts with a Bacon Vinaigrette   
Cook's notes: Roasting Brussels sprouts with some cauliflower florets brings out their natural sweetness and nuttiness. Bacon elevates the dish to a new level with its savory flavor. Recipe adapted from Taste of Home and Betty Crocker. Serves 4-6.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half
  • 2 medium heads cauliflower (about 2 lb each), cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or Herb Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 slices bacon 
  • 2 TB. white wine vinegar 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 TB.chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
Directions: 
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • In large bowl toss Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, 1/4 cup oil and 1 teaspoon sugar. Spread vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle with minced garlic cloves.  
  • Roast uncovered 45 minutes but stirring after 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender and browned.
  • Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside. Transfer 2 tablespoons bacon drippings to small bowl; stir in vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over roasted vegetables. Add bacon, parsley, and thyme; toss to coat.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Balsamic Vinegar 
Cook's notes: For all the Brussels sprouts haters out there, I urge you to try this combination. Anything you found bitter or flavorless about the little cabbages will be blown out the water by this sweet, salty, savory combination of flavors. Roasting the Brussels takes the bitter edge off of them that many find unappealing. Balsamic and maple are a power combination of flavors that work well together in so many dishes, including this one.
Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com and reciperunner.com
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 TB. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 TB. maple syrup
  • 1/2 TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and diced
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the Brussels sprouts to the balsamic mixture and toss them until they are completely coated.
  • Pour the Brussels sprouts out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 30-35 minutes. Stir once during the baking time.
  • Place Brussels sprouts into a serving dish and toss them together with the cooked, diced bacon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lettuce Wraps

Bibb or Butter Lettuce Wraps are a healthy alternative to flour tortilla shells or corn taco shells. They are easy to roll with filling tucked inside making a great wrap.  
I have previously posted a recipe for copycat PF Changs  Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Here are 3 more recipes great for entertaining and family style meals. Each person can build their own.  

Taco Lettuce Wraps
Ingredients:
  • Bibb or Butter Lettuce Leaves
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced.
  • 1 package of taco seasoning mix
  • tomatoes, shredded cheese, salsa
Directions:
  • Brown meat with diced onions. Crumble and drain.
  • Add seasoning mix to water according to package directions.
  • Add to cooked ground beef in pan and cook uncovered 10 minutes. 
  • Fill lettuce leaves with meat filling, top with tomatoes, shredded cheese and salsa. 
 
Chicken Chipolte Lettuce Wraps 
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 2 – 3 chipotle peppers (depending on your love of heat)
  • 3 Tbs. adobo sauce (that comes from the jar)
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and leaves separated
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions:
  • Turn on the broiler. Arrange the corn on a rimmed baking sheet with a Tbs. of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Broil the corn for about 5 minutes, or until they start to slightly char and turn crispy. You can toss them a couple of times throughout. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear for 6 minutes on each side until cooked through and browned all over. Move to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Then dice the chicken.
  • In a food processor, combine the cilantro, lime juice, chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce. Process until smooth.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, along with the chipotle sauce, freshly diced red bell pepper and roasted corn. Toss until combined.
  • Serve a couple of tablespoons of the chicken mixture in each lettuce cup and garnish with scallions.


Vietnamese Pork Lettuce Wraps
Cook's note: These wraps are flavorful and low in carbs. Recipe from Taste of Home and serves 8.
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into thin slices
FILLING:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, optional
ASSEMBLY:
  • 8 Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup each coarsely chopped fresh basil, cilantro and mint
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Lime wedges
Directions:
  • In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and salt until blended. Stir in carrots and onion; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. 
  • In a large skillet, cook pork, ginger and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until pork is no longer pink, breaking up pork into crumbles; drain. Stir in soy sauce, mirin, salt, pepper and, if desired, fish sauce.
  • To serve, drain carrot mixture. Place pork mixture in lettuce leaves; top with cucumber, red pepper, green onions, carrot mixture and herbs. Sprinkle with jalapeno and peanuts; drizzle with hoisin sauce. Squeeze lime juice over tops. Fold lettuce over filling.
Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Catching Up with Room 13

Not only was there reading and sharing books today but many more activities were scheduled for the afternoon.  I was unsure the class could make it through what I thought was a long list but they surprised me coming in right on time by 3:25 dismissal.  
The letter for the day P . So it was only fitting they'd turn the letter P into a pig.
Looks simple enough? Not exactly. This photo is the teacher's copy. Note the curly tail made with a pipe cleaner wound around a pencil. 
First off just staying on line cutting was a challenging task. Second rounding corners on pig's ears produced some of the tiniest ears you have seen. Cutting white triangles to glue in the ears also was a challenge. I can tell you with certainty at the end of the project not one pig looked the same! But they didn't care, just happy to show off their work.
A song fest of Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on Fence 
followed by a brief playtime certainly rejuvenated the group.
This gave me some time to check out the fancy kid apparel. 





Hello Kitty shoes







Next on the agenda was a monster project which involved many, many steps. The art activity was spread out over several days. 
"Go Away Big Green Monster" is a wonderful interactive book by Caldecott Award-winning author-artist Ed Emberley. He has created an ingenious way for children to chase away their nighttime fears. Kids can turn the pages of this die-cut book and watch the Big Green Monster grow. Then, when they're ready to show him who's in charge, they'll turn the remaining pages and watch him disappear! Now in his eighties, Ed Emberley has been creating original books since the 1960s. He has written and illustrated more than 100 books and is perhaps best known for his beloved how-to-draw books for kids such as: Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book, Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces, and Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, and many others. I loved this book and I must say so did the kids. Great for ages 4-7.
All this monster work went on a door display with the hopes their classroom will win a prize this Friday for most creative door based on a book. They certainly get my vote.  
Nap time for kindergartners was eliminated decades ago but today I could have used one after an afternoon of being a classroom helper and a 4 hour morning drive from Up North to the cities to get there.  
Cook's notes: An easy autumn kid-friendly treat.

Owl Cookies
Cook's note: These cookies can also be made with your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. Recipe adapted from Taste of Home and makes 9 large cookies.
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- 10 minutes
  • Immediately position candy corn on each cookie for beak
  • Cool 2 minutes before removing
Note: Above are the original directions but I had more success with the following:
immediately after taking cookies out of oven then press candy disks into cookie for eyes and using a little frosting to attach chocolate chip to disk.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Terrance Hayes

I posted a blog with the question How Far Would You Drive for Poetry? on April 5, 2013.
And my answer was... Round trip 260 miles. I was in the cities at that time but wanted to hear Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet author and song writer present a poetry reading and writer's workshop at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN.
Two and a half years later I was back at Central Lakes College to hear the award winning poet, Terrence Hayes. But this time the poetry trek was only round trip 93 miles but so well worth the drive.
Terrance Hayes's poetry reading and workshop was made possible by the Verse Like Water visiting poet program of Central Lakes College. The literary event was sponsored with a generous grant from Five Wings Arts Council and Minnesota Public Radio.

Terrance Hayes's resume is quite impressive. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker. He is the author of Lighthead (Penguin, 2010), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; Wind in a Box(Penguin, 2006); Hip Logic (Penguin, 2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He earned a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2014, he was named a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is professor of creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Terrance Hayes graces the cover of his newest 5th book of poems with his self portrait.
Chalberg Theatere was packed for the poetry reading. His poetry resonated with the audience as he read from his newest book. He has a casual, easy going, self assured manner sitting on the stage sharing his works. His poems reflect race, gender and family. He has a reverence for history and gift for crafting verses of the everyday man. 
Racial trauma is everywhere in Hayes’s work, instantiated by his personal ghosts—an absent father, a mother who worked as a prison guard, an array of family troubles and damage. But his style is brilliant as he uses poetic language even to express tragedy. I have no idea how his mind works but his poems give the impression of spontaneity. The result is a wild ride without an off switch. The poem “How to Be Drawn to Trouble” starts out as a tribute to James Brown, “stoned on horns and money,” who was briefly an inmate in the prison where Hayes’s mother worked.
He graciously signed copies of his books afterwards.
Local poet, Char Donovan was lucky to get her picture taken with Hayes after the workshop.
Some things I gleaned from the workshop are Terrance's most favorite past time next to writing is playing basketball several evenings a week. The word practice came up frequently in his workshop. He drew parallels with basketball practice and writing. Practice never stops. One needs to experiment and continually push to get as far as you can go. There should be pleasure in practice but not always be focused on the end game. And so the writer needs to find their passion and work with it. Hayes also drew parallels between poems writing and well-oiled machines. He encourages the writer to first work on the mechanics or form then add the language.
I was impressed at how humble Hayes remains even after winning so many accolades. The MacArthur prize is a hefty cash prize of $625,00. While he is gratified by the distinguished honor, he feels a money gift doesn't help him write better poems, as poems come to him regardless. But the affirmation does give him momentum to write more and improve.
How fortunate we are to have opportunities for national recognized poets to visit the North Central Lakes area such as Terrance Hayes.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fall Foods and Halloween Decorating Ideas

Spiced Roasted Sweet Potato Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries
Cook's notes: Pomegranate arils can be substituted for cranberries. Do not roast but add in salad at the end. Salad serves 3. 
Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 large sweet potato, skinned, diced 2 inch cubes 
  • 1 TB. olive oil or Blood orange Olive Oil
  • 1 TB. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1 tsp. regular cinnamon or 1/2 tsp. Saigon Cinnamon
  • sea salt to taste 
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or pomegranate arils
  • 3/4 cup red onion rings
  • optional 1/3 cup toasted pecans
  • chopped romaine lettuce
Maple Balsamic Dressing Ingredients:
Cook's note: Double ingredients if serving 4 for salad.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 2 TB.pure maple syrup
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar, Cranberry Pear Balsamic or Red Apple
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 TB. chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried Rosemary 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • In a bowl mix cubed sweet potatoes, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice mix. 
  • Spread mixture evenly on parchment paper. Roast 20 minutes until fork tender. Add cranberries and pecans the last 5 minutes of cooking time. 
  • In a large bowl add roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecans, cooked wild rice, onion rings and chopped romaine lettuce. 
  • Add all dressing ingredients in a blender and mix well.
  • Drizzle salad with dressing. 
Alternative Dressing Red Wine Vinaigrette
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or Lemon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 TB. minced shallot
  • 2- 1/2 TB. honey
  • 1- TB. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a blender.
A gift from the diet gods-spaghetti squash. When cooked, it miraculously transforms into low carb, golden, spaghetti-like strands. Yummy recipe site has several ways to creatively use spaghetti squash. Check out their link below for ideas.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin
http://www.yummly.com/recipes?q=spaghetti%20squash&prm-
Need some last minute Halloween party food ideas? Check out the link below.
http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com/halloween-party-food/
Shabby Chic Cottage has rounded up 20 easy last minute pumpkin decorating ideas. Check out the link below.
http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com/2013/09/pretty-pumpkin-ideas.html/nggallery/image/glittered-pumpkinshttp://
Check out Bella's latest posting 
"I'm In" https://bellasworldblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/im-in/

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Weekend Round-Up

Some of the week's best fall treats


Pumpkin Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey Butter
Cook's notes: Last weekend Pumpkin Swirl Bread was a featured recipe. 
http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2015/10/weekend-round-up_17.html
I used  the remaining pumpkin from the can for this recipe. It's flavorful with a hint of spices and moist.  
recipe from cookingclassy.com
Ingredients:
Cornbread
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup  canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves for 20 seconds. Make a well in center of flour mixture then set aside.
    • For the cornbread:
    • In a separate mixing bowl, add brown sugar and break up sugar with fingertips until no clumps remain. Add in melted butter and pumpkin and whisk to combined. Mix in sour cream and eggs until well blended. Pour mixture into well in flour mixture then fold with a rubber spatula just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.
    • Spray an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter into pan. Spread batter into an even layer, bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out free of batter, about 25 - 30 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack then cut into squares. Serve with Cinnamon Honey Butter.
    • For the cinnamon honey butter:
      In a mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer) whip butter with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add in honey, powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix on low speed until combined, then increase to high speed and whip until light and fluffy, about 2 - 3 minutes.
                                                        Monster Eyeball Cookies
      Ingredients:
    1 package (8.25 oz.) Pillsbury Funfetti Aqua Blue Cupcake & Cake Mix, or your favorite bold-colored Pillsbury Cupcake & Cake Mix
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 large egg
    Sm
    all and/or large decorative candy eyeballs, or mini chocolate chips (eyeballs available at WalMart, JoAnn's, Party City) 
      Directions:
    Heat oven to 375 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray. 
    Blend cake mix, butter and egg in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until evenly moistened. Shape dough into 18 (1-inch) balls. 
    Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Dip bottom of glass it flour and flatten dough balls to 1- 1/2-inch diameter. Press candy eyeballs into dough, as desired. 
    Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
    Asian Roasted Carrots and Broccoli
    Cook's notes: A great side dish that takes under 10 minutes to prepare. 

    Friday, October 23, 2015

    It's Healthy Friday

    If you love roasting winter squash like Butternut, Delicata, etc but dread peeling and cutting it (or fear losing a finger), I just learned a great tip that I thought was worth sharing.
    Step One:
    Pierce the skin of the squash with a fork or knife all over.
    Step Two:
    Microwave the squash anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes, or longer if needed depending on the size.
    Step Three:
    Let it cool, them start peeling and cutting! The microwave softens and loosens the skin, making it fall off more easily.

    Hey, works like a charm!
    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew
    Cook's notes: A stew brimming with flavor, healthy ingredients with some surprise ingredients. One serving is only 231 calories.  The dish can be prepared in one pan under 30 minutes. 
    Optional add-ins: cooked crumbled spicy sausage or shredded cooked chicken, shredded low fat cheddar cheese for topping but take note that will change the calorie count. A healthy option is 1-2 cups cooked quinoa.
    Recipe adapted from publication BHG One Pan-Recipes 2014 and serves 6. 
    Ingredients:
    • 1 TB. olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
    • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes 
    • 1 cup sweet mini peppers, red and orange and yellow, diced
    • 3/4 cup onions, diced
    • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced or 1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, minced

    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 
    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth-low sodium
    • 1/4 cup coffee, room temperature
    • 2 Tb. honey
    • 1-2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed well
    • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced garlic tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
    • 1 TB. fresh lime juice
    Directions:

    • In a 4-5 qt. Dutch oven or large pan with high sides heat oil on a medium high heat. Add in sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, chipolte or jalapeno and garlic. Cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally until peppers and onions are tender. 
    • Stir in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon; reduce heat to medium, cook covered for 7-8 minutes until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
    • Add in broth, coffee, honey, beans, tomatoes, and corn. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. 
    • Add in lime juice, season to taste with salt and pepper. 
    • Top with cheese if desired.
    Peanut Butter Banana and Honey Granola
    Easy recipe that's perfect as  cereal topping, mid day snack or a splurge over ice cream. 
    http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/peanut-butter-banana-and-honey-granola/
    The book "Storytelling and Other Poems"is one of a series of Childcraft books– #2 in the series,
    One of my favorite poems in the book is “The Potatoes’ Dance (A Poem Game)” by Vachel Lindsay and it was illustrated by Samuel Armstrong. He was one of the artists for Disney’s Fantasia and worked there as an illustrator but he is best known for his cover work on Sunset magazine. This poem lends itself to dance movement.
    Due to the poem's length click on this link http://www.poetrycat.com/vachel-lindsay/the-potatoes-dance-a-poem-game to enjoy The Potato Dance.
    Side note:
    The fine painting Vachel created as a visual perspective of this poem hangs on the south wall of the Lindsay family living room at Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site, 603 S. Fifth Street in Springfield, Illinois.  


    Nicholas Vachel Lindsay (November 10, 1879 – December 5, 1931) was an American poet. He is considered a founder of modern singing poetry, as he referred to it, in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted. His extensive correspondence with the poet W.B. Yeats details his intentions of reviving the musical qualities of poetry as they were practiced by the ancient Greeks.