Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Dried Cherries and Pomegranates

Wild rice salad is rich and nutty, sweetness of roasted squash, the dried cherries or cranberries add pockets of sweetness, the pomegranate seeds add pops of sweet tart crunch, the walnuts add bursts of nutty crunch and the feta crumbles add a creamy, salty tang. It's a perfectly balance of complimentary flavors and textures .

This wild rice recipe calls for 1- 1/2 cups wild rice blend. Prepackaged wild rice blends are a blend of rices, which give you firm, fluffy cooked textures and robust, nutty, earthy vibrant flavors. I used Lundberg Wild Blend Rice which is made of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain wehani rice, whole grain black japonica rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion chopped about 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1- 1/2 cups wild rice blend rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1- 1/2 cups apple juice may sub for chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (may sub for 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp each dried oregano, dried rosemary, ground cumin, pepper
To add in after rice is cooked 
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 3 tablespoons feta crumbles
Roasted Butternut Squash
  • 2 cups butternut squash peeled and chopped into 3/4” cubes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 TB. maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of Saigon Cinnamon
Directions:
  • Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat (that has a tight fitting lid). Add onions and cook until softened. Add in garlic and rice and cook one additional minute.
  • Add all remaining wild rice ingredients to the skillet (broth, spices). Cover and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer 45-60 minutes, or until rice is tender, stirring and replacing lid occasionally towards the end of cooking. Add additional water if rice has absorbed all the liquid and is still not done cooking. Check for doneness at 45 minutes. Once rice is tender, remove from heat (with lid on) and let steam 10 additional minutes (this will make for fluffier rice).
  • While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, In a bowl toss butternut squash with olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender.
  • Once rice is cooked, drain rice but don’t rinse and add to serving bowl. Stir in roasted butternut squash, sliced almonds, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries and feta. Toss to evenly combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over greens if desired.
Just in case you have any extra leftover Reeses Peanut Butter Cups from Halloween here's a great cupcake idea.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The World According to Bella

GOOD NEWS
I am in the cities just in time for the annual Halloween parade at the dog park. I look forward to it every year and with all the doggie treats handed out what's not to like. Plus its a chance to see my friends who I've not seen since last summer. I know for sure Mulligan will be there because I get a sleepover tonight at his house. Mrs. S and I went back and forth over costumes like every year. Here is what I didn't want 
the really silly looking fairy costume
nor the cowgirl look
nor the Christmas look
I had a hard time making Mrs. S understand I just wanted something real simple and classy. Finally after a lot of whining on my part Mrs. S gave up and said yes to my glow in the dark collar even though its still light out and no one will really notice I am glowing.  
But it will be perfect later for all the trick and treaters who come to Mulligan's house. 

Wondering are you dressing up and passing out treats? 
from me Bella and some of my friends. 

All Hallows Eve


A Frightfully Good Treat to Share with You
An Ever Ready  Favorite- Chocolate Brownie Special 

Cook's notes:. This recipe comes from Taste of Home Magazine. It's so easy to put together using only one bowl for preparation. Some optional add ins include: nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles and Kahlua or Amaretto. I added green food color to the coconut for grass and purple sprinkles to give the brownies a more festive look. Besides sprinkles make everything so much better. Top brownies with a candy pumpkin.
Brownie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup mini or regular semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1 TB. Kahlua or Amaretto

Brownie Directions:
  • Line a 8 x 8 glass pan with foil that has been greased. Make sure edges of foil extend over the sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl beat sugar, eggs and vanilla for 3-5 minutes to increase the volume. Beat in melted butter with Kahlua or Amaretto if using, mix well.
  • Combine the flour, salt, cocoa espresso powder and baking powder. Add to butter/egg mixture and mix well
  • Fold in nuts and chips and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of center clean.
  • Cool brownies in pan for 10 minutes, then use foil edges to lift out brownies out and place foiled brownies on a wire rack to cool. 
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 TB. Kahlua or Amaretto
Frosting Directions:
  • In a saucepan add milk, sugar, butter and chips.
  • Over medium heat bring to a boil stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes
  • Remove pan from stove, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Use a mixer and beat until smooth, add more milk if necessary for correct consistency. 
  • Add in Kahlua or Amaretto.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Hungarian Goulash

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
and revelers were swept away.

by Sue Ready

Hungarian Goulash
A great dish for 
Cook's Notes:
A classic dish with tender beef slowly cooked in a rich broth. It's old fashioned comfort food, a soul satisfying meal perfect for the whole family all made in one pot. Choose your meat carefully for this dish, I've found meat labeled stew meat often are cheaper cuts and chewy even when simmered on low.  I recommend a chuck cut. And be sure to sear meat dredged in flour first before proceeding with rest of recipe. Sweet paprika is highly suggested for Hungarian Goulash as it gives the goulash its signature taste. But regular paprika can be substituted if sweet not available. Serve dish over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  Pair the goulash with a savory lemon thyme muffin. Recipe recently posted on Friday favorites. 
 http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2018/10/friday-favorites_26.html
Recipe serves 4-6.
Cooking tip: Assembly of this dish goes smoother if all veggies are cut ahead ready to saute. 
Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut in small chunks
  • 2 TB. of flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 TB. olive oil divided
  • 1 small box of button white mushrooms 
  • 1 cup diced red and yellow mini peppers
  • 1-1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large russet potato , peeled and diced (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika or regular paprika 
  • 1/2 -1 tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. each thyme and oregano
  • 1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 4-5 cups beef broth, low sodium
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, basil garlic, oregano 
Directions:
  • In a plastic ziploc bag place meat cubes with 2 TB. flour, toss to coat.
  • Heat  2 TB. of olive oil and sear beef cubes all sides, salt and pepper, remove from pan.
  • Heat remaining olive oil and saute mushrooms, peppers, carrots, onions and garlic 3 min.  Add in diced potatoes cover and sweat all veggies for 6 minutes. 
  • Add in beef broth, spices, wine mixed with flour and can of diced tomatoes. Whisk to mix well. Add meat cubes  back in to soup pot and cook stove top on low about 2 hours covered until meat tender and veggies are fork tender. Stir occasionally. A  slow cooker could be used at this step of the recipe. Cook on low 2-4 hours.  

Sunday, October 28, 2018

On a Cranberry Roll

Weekend Round-Up-Cranberries 
Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake\
Recipe adapted from Midwest Living and the only challenge to recipe are the cranberries that refuse to remain stationary during cutting process.
Coffee Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 TB sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold cut in small pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. lemon or orange zest 
Streusel Topping Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats 
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 TB. packed brown sugar
  • 2 TB butter, cold cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts 
Directions:
Streusel Topping: 
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and use a pastry blender to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. A food processor can be used for this step and pulse mixture 3 times. 
  • Place in a  small bowl and set a side.  
Coffeecake Directions:
  • Rinse cranberries in cold water; drain. Coarsely chop cranberries. Combine cranberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and set aside. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the remaining sugar,  flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. A food processor can be used for this step and pulse a few times. Transfer to a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  • In a small bowl, combine egg, milk and lemon or orange zest. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy and thick). Fold in cranberry mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth out evenly with floured hands. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter in pan.
  • Bake at 375 degrees about 23 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool slightly; serve warm. Makes 9 servings.
With more cranberry recipes from Ever Ready

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday Favorites

Publisher Weekly Picks Best Books Week of October 29, 2018
Check out their list. 
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/78437-pw-picks-
books-of-the-week-october-29-2018.html

Creative Kid Friendly Halloween Ideas
This fun and healthy treat won me over and the link comes with a free printable for the very cute minions outfit. 
https://blog.partydelights.co.uk/banana-minions-free-printable-minion-outfit/

Creative idea piercing hot dog slices with dry spaghetti noodles and boiling mixture. Add your favorite pasta sauce to serve. Get the recipe at 
https://www.spendwithpennies.com/wormy-dogs-hot-dogs-n-spaghetti/

New Logo 

Look for upcoming book reviews in November


Lemon Thyme Muffins with Gruyere Cheese
Cook's Notes: A moist muffin bursting with lemon and a hint of thymeThese muffins have a different texture than your standard muffins with the addition of cornmeal and almond flour.  Savory perfect muffins paired with your favorite stew, chili or soups. Gruyere cheese is optional but works well in this recipe. 

Recipe from foodbabbles.com
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme, leaves removed or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TB. lemon zest
  • 4 TB. lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • Optional: 3/4-1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder, cornmeal, salt and fresh or dried thyme.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk and almond extract.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened. Do not over mix.
  • Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and sprinkle with sugar, if using. Bake 18 minutes, until top springs back when gently touched.
and savory lemon muffins. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The World According to Bella

A Chilly End
I guess I did not hear Mrs. S's plan as I had my own agenda. When I heard  boat and ride I was off like a shot down the hill up on the boat before Mr. C left without me and Mrs. S saw I was gone. I didn't realize this was the last boat ride of the season across the lake to take the boat out. I was just happy I got one more ride in. Since I now have a new fur coat 37 degrees with bits of snow flying around didn't bother me. Mr. C seemed weather prepared with all his winter gear on. He even had his cell phone and neighbor's numbers just in case we ran into problems. But it was smooth sailing and Mrs. S met us on the other side. 
But when the dock went out it was then I knew my boat rides were really over. 

Chris helped Mr. C take out the dock. Sadie stayed on until the last section went out.  

No boat, no dock we moved inside for some fun. I really didn't mind Luna drinking from my water bowl 

because Chris bought us all snacks. We just waited for his command GO.
Luna likes to be the center of attention and does have way more energy than me. 
Sadie seemed happy with my rug.
And I remained on high alert. I DO NOT like to share my orange ball.  
A nap felt good after they all left.

Mrs. S woke me up. She just had to show me a photo on her phone. Sadie and Luna certainly got the spa treatment when they got home. They had been playing out in the rain. We thought it was pretty funny them all wrapped up in towels.   
It was a busy day for us all. I went back to bed but caught a few words of Mr. C and  Mrs.S's talk. I heard something about it being too cold here and going back to Arizona. A shiver went through me thinking of javelinas and snakes.  Just when I got a my new fur coat now I'll have to start shedding it. It will take some time. I hope they aren't in too much of a hurry to leave.  
Love, Bella 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Suppers

Yellow Tamaracks
Joesph Bruchac is of Abenaki Indian and Slovak descent. He is one of America's most respected and widely published Native American authors and poets. His birth date is October 16. Bruchac's poem is reflected in this autumn scene.

In the Moon of Falling Leaves
by Joseph Bruchac

I was born in the Moon of Falling Leaves,
that time when summer's harvest
falls from every maple tree,
painting the forest trails
golden as sunlight
and crimson as Great Bear's blood.

Each October brings back the scent
of fires burning on the hills,
the first etchings of frost
on my bedroom windows,
the departing wings
of a thousand geese
cutting the clear cold sky.

There is no time closer to my heart,
than this season of changes
when the balance tips between
darkness and light,
when the last flowers
nod in our garden,
when so many things
are about to end,
so many about to begin.


Autumn recipes that bear repeating 
Chicken and Broccoli with Sweet Potatoes 
http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2016/10/weeknight-fall-supper.html
Wild Rice Harvest Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2016/10/wild-rice-harvest-salad-with-fig.html
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Balsamic Vinegar
http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2015/10/eat-your-veggies.html
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew 
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust 
http://sockfairies.blogspot.com/2015/10/weekend-round-up_10.html

Hungarian Goulash
Lemon Thyme Muffins

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Gingerbread Cookie Bars


Add a few sprinkles to your day with Gingerbread Cookie Bars. 
 Cook's Notes Love the taste of gingerbread cookies but looking for a recipe that's easier than rolling out dough and using a cookie cutter? Look no more as this recipe gives you same great gingerbread flavors but less work. Recipe makes one 13 x 9 pan, about 24 bars. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice mix make your own. Recipe included at end of blog
And don't forget to add the sprinkles. 
Recipe adapted from thegirlwhoateeverything.com
Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup butter , melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix (available in most larger grocery stores) 
  • 2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting: (or just dust with powdered sugar)
  • 4 TB. butter , softened
  • 4 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. maple flavoring or 1 TB. real maple syrup
  • Milk as needed for spreading consistency 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and molasses on medium speed until creamy.
  • Add the egg and stir until completely incorporated. Add baking soda, flour, spices, and salt and mix until well combined. Spread dough into prepared pan, using clean floured hands or a rubber spatula to press the dough to the edges of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes; do not overbake! Cool in a pan with a wire rack.
  • When bars have cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting or dust lightly with powdered sugar. They are delicious with nothing on them! Cut into squares and serve.
  • For the frosting: Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, maple flavoring and vanilla. Slowly mix on low adding milk as needed on high until fluffy. 
  • Refrigerate bars. 
NEED ANYMORE HALLOWEEN IDEAS?
Check out this link of 50 Fun Food Ideas
Monster Toast
Butterfinger Eyes

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
Ingredients:
  • 4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp.ground nutmeg

Directions:
  • Mix all ingredients. 
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 6 months.

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...