Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

 Thank God I started celebrating on July 5th because this day came around way too fast for me.


 My ghost cake.

 I don't know when I have ever enjoyed Fall as much as I have this year.

 I made myself do something Fall-like every single day. And I really enjoyed the changes in my gardens.

 I went to as many farm markets as I could find. 

 I've driven down countless country roads and soaked in the beautiful colors.

 I've opened all my windows and doors to let in the wonderful Fall smells.

 Dead and decaying is such a wonderful aroma.

 The leaves are almost all down now.

 There is much beauty to be found in winter's bleakness and I am going to enjoy it too.

 You were wonderful Fall while you lasted.

I am going to sit in my chair and enjoy the rest of it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Witches and Sweet Potato Ramekins

These little casseroles are perfect for Thanksgiving.  I made individual ones but you could make a single big one if you like.  For these four small ones, I baked 4 sweet potatoes.  Scoop out the potato and mix in 3 T. of butter.  Add some salt and pepper.  Saute 1-1/2 C. of diced kale in a little butter just until it turns bright green then add it to the potato. Add 1 C. of corn.  I used fresh corn cut off the cob.  Mix it all together. Put the potato mixture in your ramekins or casserole and sprinkle the tops with blue cheese and some diced bacon.  Bake them at 350 degrees until the cheese melts and the potatoes are heated through. I can not begin to tell you how good these are.

I did it again....I added to the collection.  This is an old piece put out by Midwest.  It is a cast iron door stop.  In all my years of collecting this is the only one I have ever seen.

This is a really nice Made in Japan candle holder.  This is a first for me too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Make Some Mud Puddles for Halloween

I have some little buddies that eat a gluten free diet.  I wanted to make them some Halloween treats so I made these mud puddles.  You would be very happy to fall face down in one of these.
Toast 2 C. of walnuts and set them aside to cool.

Mix 2 C. of confectioners sugar with 1/3 C. cocoa powder and 1 C. of semi sweet chocolate chips. Chop the cooled walnuts and add them to the mix.

Add 2 egg whites and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Mix until combined.

Using a small ice cream scoop, plop scoops of the dough on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes. They will be shiny and begin to form cracks on the top.  Let them cool on the baking sheets.  I didn't try these because I don't like chocolate but my family loved them and said they are now fans of gluten free cookies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Stuffing Bread

I finally figured something out after 50 + years of making thanksgiving dinners.  Why not flavor the bread you use to make your stuffing?
 This is a no knead bread recipe.  Mix 6 C. of flour, 1/2 tsp. of rapid rise yeast, 3 tsp. salt and 3 T. of diced fresh herbs.  I used parsley, sage rosemary and thyme.  Now you will have that song stuck in your head all day.  Stir in 3 cups of water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.  It will look like this the next day.

 I bake this in a long pottery bread baker.  Line it with parchment paper. You can buy these pans from King Arthur Flour.  I use mine constantly.

 Dump the dough into the pan and distribute it evenly.

 Cover with the lid and place it in a cold oven.  Turn the oven on and set the temperature at 450 degrees.  Set the timer for 45 minutes.

 After 45 minutes, remove the lid and lift the bread out of the pan.  Remove the parchment paper and sit the loaf on the oven rack.  Bake it for an additional 30-40 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees.

 Let it cool on a rack.  Eat some while it is fresh and then keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cube it and use it for stuffing.  This is delicious bread.

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Apple Farm

 We visited an apple farm yesterday. 

 We are trying honey crisp apples from all over our region to see who grows the best ones.

 We are also trying to find the best cider.  Finding unpasteurized cider is very tricky.

 Apparently, only farms that grow their own, press it and bottle it can sell it unpasteurized.

 So, if you drink it and die, you can't blame the middle man.

 Melrose...Ohio's big ugly apple.

 We saw this along the side of the road on the way home.

 An outdoor toy railroad.

It ran back behind the building.  That is not a home so I have no idea what the story is behind this.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette and Kale

 Oh the shame of it all. I have a little problem with self control.  I hit a bunch of country markets yesterday and got carried away with purchases.  I couldn't help it.  There were so many fresh Fall vegetables and apples and cider everywhere.  This is a big black garbage bag full of kale and collards.

 Fresh broccoli.

 Ida Red apples, turnips, acorn squash and more kale.  We eat kale almost every day, especially in salads but other ways as well.  I will be showing what I turn all of this into over the next few days.
Though I am not cooking for the shelter these days, I've found a new pursuit. I have adopted a small town.  It is the poorest town in our region and along with it's mayor, we are trying to help the people that live there and turn the town around. Recently, I made several hundred rolls and cooked 8 pork butts and made gallons of cole slaw.  The Blog Tech and his dad spent a Saturday afternoon passing out pulled pork sandwiches to everyone that lives there. So, none of this food will go to waste.  I have lots of people to give it to.

 My favorite salad dressing for our kale salads is a cranberry orange vinaigrette.  I've already made my cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and used it in this.  You can use any cranberry sauce you like, even out of a can!  Put 1/3 C. of cranberry sauce in a bowl.  Add 1 T. dijon mustard, 2 T. white balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 C. apple cider, S & P, the zest of 1 orange (add this after the dressing is prepared) and the juice from that orange. Use an immersion blender to puree and drizzle in about 2/3 C. of olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

I will post the salad soon.  I made some yesterday but forgot to take the photos.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wonderful Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

This is so simple to make and the best apple crisp you will ever eat.                                                           
It takes no time at all to throw together.  Plus, your house will smell wonderful while it is baking.

 Peel and slice about 6 large apples.  I used honey crisp.  I am addicted to honey crisp apples.  Use whichever apples are your favorite.

 Mix 2/3 C. of flour,  1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 C. light brown sugar and 2 cups of rolled oats.  Add 2/3 C. melted butter and mix thoroughly.  Mound the mixture over the apples.

 Place it on a cookie sheet just in case it boils over.  Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour.  The apples should be bubbling and the topping should be crisp.

Let it cool a bit and serve it plain or with vanilla ice cream.  I hate ice cream so we rarely have any in this house.  My family was disappointed to get naked apple crisp but they gobbled it up anyway.