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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Don't let her cute face fool you. She'll trick you out of a Diet Coke before you can say "fairy dust!"
Hope your day is frightfully fun!

I pray this isn't a sign of goth revival. She's Bellatrix LeStrange, and let's just say, she's got the evil look down!

Cruella De Ville, Cruella De Ville if her hair doesn't scare you, the fact she's only 11 and 5 feet tall will....
 He's really here to save you. I am sending him to New York to help clean up the mess as soon as school is out. He knows how to "do stuff just like his Dad."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Comfort Food for Dinner

Taco Soup--not quite chili, not quite Tamale Pie, but definately delicious

1 lb. hamburger
1/ 2 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic salt, or chopped garlic
2 cans diced tomatoes with chilies (like Rotel)
1 can tomato sauce
3 cans beans--we like 2 black and 1 kidney, but use what you've got
2 pkgs. taco seasoning
2-3 cups water

Brown the hamburger with onion and garlic, in large pot (I like to do this in my Dutch Oven), add all other ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.
Optional: top with extra green chilies, cheese, chopped onion and cilantro.

I served this with homemade cornbread....not from a package....homemade.....ok the corn was ground for me, but it was authentically mine!

2 c. cornmeal
2 c. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 c. milk--use canned milk if you have it
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 lg. eggs
1/2 can, canned corn

Mix all together and pour into UNgreased 9 x 13 pan. Cook 20-25 minutes at 400 deg. While hot, pour melted butter and honey on top. You could also fill paper lined muffin tins with this and make corn muffins.

Really perfect for a cold day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Caramel Apples

These are not as easy as they seem, but they are delicious. And because you'll have so much fun making them, you'll burn all the calories you'll take on when you eat one..or two...or three. 

The Ultimate Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples
(from Fab Food)
  • 3 packages (14 ounces each) caramel candies
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6-8 large Granny Smith apples
  • 6-8 heavy wooden skewers or sticks (I use chopsticks)
  • melted chocolate and/or white chocolate
  • see directions below for amounts
  • Optional: chopped peanuts or other nuts, toasted coconut, candy sprinkles, Oreo® cookie crumbs or chopped candy bars
  • waxed paper


Line a large cookie sheet with heavily buttered waxed paper, set aside.

Wash and completely dry apples. Insert a stick through stems. Sometimes it helps to use two sticks or even a fork, as these Apples become quite heavy during the dipping process and a single stick may break. If you plan on using nuts coconut or any of the other optional coating ingredients get them ready by placing in a small bowl.

Combine caramels and water in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramels melt. Cool slightly. You can also use your slow cooker to melt the caramel, like we did in the photo (we were making a lot of apples). Dip each apple in caramel mixture, coating evenly, use a spoon to help you cover the top part of the apple.

While the caramel is still liquid, roll the apple in the nuts or coconut or other coating ingredients (not shown). Coating the apple with one of these ingredients helps to keep the apple from sticking to the waxed paper, as well as give texture and flavor, but the apples are still great without this step.

Next melt the chocolate either in a double boiler, a microwave, or in a glass bowl set inside a slow cooker which is filled part way with hot water.  You\'ll notice I didn't say how much chocolate to melt. It depends on how decadent you want the apple to be. We used about 3 oz. of chocolate per apple, mixed white and dark.  If using the bowl in the slow cooker method be very careful not to get even a single drop of water in the chocolate or it will seize and become grainy.

Dip the bottom of the caramel apple in chocolate. Use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the top  completely encasing the apple in chocolate. Using two different types of chocolate gives the apple a more decorative effect. Allow chocolate to set  before wrapping in cellophane.

This is just one idea. We also tried caramel, chocolate then rolling it in toppings. Messy...but divine!
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Fun

How do you change a soggy, boring, cold afternoon into red hot fun?
(Insert here: "Mom, I am so bored. I never get treated like a fairy princess. Never!)

A nap, and a little of this...
I had to write "do not eat" on the box, but someone in our house can't read my "scrawly" handwriting, so I had to make an emergency stop to restock.

My sis and I had a little party for the kiddos to celebrate our favorite holiday. We played games, had pizza and treats and made edible crafts--truly isn't a better kind of crafts. The kids made spiders out of our treats, but you could make mummies or any other spooky thing out of Swiss Rolls, licorice and gumdrops, and LOTS of frosting.

 Directions for spiders: cut or tear your Pull n Peel licorice into 6-8 pieces for legs. Using frosting, "glue" them to the Swiss Roll (or you can use ding dongs, twinkies, whatever). Decorate the body using gumdrops or other small candies. And enjoy!

Directions for Mummies. Wrap 2-3 long pieces of Peel N Pull licorice around the Swiss Roll, securing with frosting. Add Red Hots or Gumdrops for eyes. Add "bandages" using white frosting draped across top of licorie wrapped Swiss Roll.

Easy Peasy! Thanks cousins for hangin with us! We had a scary good time!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Fall

My life must be really out of control. When I started blogging I had time to vent my frustrations and celebrate my successes. Now I have time other baking 8 batches of zucchini bread, bottling 10 jars of salsa, 27 jars of raspberry jam, 12 jars of stewed tomatoes, roasting 100 Anaheim peppers, bottling 12 jars of bean, another 12 jars of jalapenos, running the PTO, working on paper after political paper, hand writing 200 postcards for the Ben McAdams campaign, teaching a new organization craft at our church, and oh yeah, putting dinner on the table every night. Seriously, this was just the past week.

I found a great recipe I had to share, then I'm off to run some Christmas--yes, Christmas, errands.

Chicken and Veggies
6 chicken breasts
3 large potatoes or yams, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
 Favorite Italian Dressing

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam and place chicken and veggies in dish. Cover with 1/2  bottle of your favorite Italian dressing. Bake 1 hr. at 350 deg.

This seems strange, but it was another hit that everyone ate. Around here we call that a success! You could also add other root veggies like carrots or turnips or other types of squash. The veggies come out roasted and flavorful, and the dressing makes a great gravy-ish topping.

Happy Harvesting!