Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun Halloween Recipes

Dead Grasshoppers

In a medium saucepan, melt 1-6 ounce package butterscotch chips over low heat, stirring constantly. [To microwave, place pieces in a micro-wave safe dish and cook on medium-low heat for about 1 minute. Stir well. If necessary, continue to heat chips, 20 seconds at a time, until they are melted. Be sure to stir chips each time you heat them.] Remove chips from the heat and stir in 1 cup salted peanuts and 3 cups chow mein noodles. Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper and cool.
Makes: 30-40 grasshoppers

Hidden Treasures
2/3 cup Golden Crisco Shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
48 Maraschino cherries, well drained

White Dipping Chocolate:
1 cup white melting chocolate, cut in small pieces
2 tbsp Golden Crisco Shortening

Dark Dipping Chocolate:
1 cup semi-sweet Hershey's Chipets
2 tbsp Golden Crisco Shortening
Finely chopped pecans
Shaved white chocolate
2/3 cup Golden Crisco Shortening
Pre Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. Cream Golden Crisco Shortening, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Beat into creamed mixture at low speed.
4. Press dough in very thin layer around well-drained cherries. Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake at 350° F (180°C) for 10 minutes. Cool one minute on baking sheet. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.
6. For dipping chocolate, melt chocolate of choice and Golden Crisco Shortening on very low heat or 50% (Medium) power in microwave. Stir until smooth.
7. Transfer chocolate to glass measuring cup. Drop one cookie at a time into chocolate. Use fork to turn. Cover completely with chocolate.* Lift cookie out of chocolate on fork. Allow all excess to drip off. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheet.
8. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of white chocolate cookies. Sprinkle white chocolate on dark chocolate cookies while chocolate is wet.
9. Chill in refrigerator to set chocolate.

Hint: Dip pretzels or potato chips in any leftover melted chocolate for a special treat

Magic Center Cupcakes

Preheat oven to temperature called for on 1-18 1/4 ounce package chocolate cake mix. In a small bowl, combine 8 ounces cream cheese (softened), 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg and a dash of salt. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1-6 ounce package chocolate chips. Set aside. Mix cake according to directions on the package. Place paper liners in muffin pan. Fill each liner half full of cake batter. Drop a heaping teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture into each batter-filled cup. Bake according to package directions. Let cupcakes cool to room temperature before frosting. Decorate with candy spiders or worms.

Caterpillar Sandwich

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons parsley, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. Stir well and set aside. Cut 1 loaf Italian bread into 10 slices without cutting all the way through the loaf. Spread mayonnaise mixture between every other slice. Fold luncheon meat in half and tuck a slice of cheese in between. Insert folded meat and cheese into every other slot that has the mayonnaise mixture in it. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake for 25 minutes. Use thin sliced celery stalks for antenna. Use olive slices with pimento in center on toothpicks for caterpillar eyes. To serve, cut the loaf in slices at the cuts you didn't fill.
Cheese Fingers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crusts from 3 slices of white bread and discard crusts. With your hands, break bread into small pieces and drop into a medium bowl. Add 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons milk. Mis well with hands, kneading the bread into the cheese, until dough will hold the shape of a ball. Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of mixture into 15 fingers and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fingers begin to turn brown.

Goblin Goodies
3/4 cup Golden Crisco Shortening
1-1/4 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp finely-chopped orange rind
1/2 tsp orange extract
3 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely-chopped walnuts
1 cup orange and brown chocolate-covered candies

1. Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease baking sheets with shortening. Place sheets of foil on countertop for cooling cookies.
2. Combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Stir in orange rind and extract.
3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in raisins, nuts and chocolate candies.
4. Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake one baking sheet at a time at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to foil to cool completely.
Makes: About 2-1/2 dozen cookies

Candied Apples Halloween 

2 C granulated sugar
2 C corn syrup
1/3C cinnamon candy
1C water
3/4 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp vanilla
1/4 Tsp cloves
3/4 Tsp red food coloring
6-7 Med apples

Remove stems from apples, wash, and pat dry. Insert a wooden skewer
In each apple, running through the apple from stem end to base without
Protruding all the way through the bottom end. Combine sugar, corn
Syrup, cinnamon candies, and water in medium-sized saucepan. Cook
Until candies dissolve, stirring constantly. Be careful not to boil.
Add cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and food coloring. Mix thoroughly.
Boil mixture to 300 degrees using a candy thermometer without
Stirring. While mixture is boiling, generously prepare a baking sheet
With cooking spray so it's ready ahead of time. As soon as mixture
Reaches 300 degrees, remove it from heat and quickly dip each
Apple-one by one-into the mixture until it is thoroughly coated. Set
Coated apples, standing on their bottoms with skewer pointing up, on
Baking sheet until mixture hardens.
Let apples reach room temperature before eating.
Serving Size: 6

Blackberry Blackheads

1/2 pound Butter -- at room temperature
1 tablespoon Butter -- at room temperature
2/3 cup Sugar
2 Egg whites
4 cups Flour
Blackberry jam -- with seeds
Pastry brush
Cookie sheet
Wire cooling rack
Small Spoon
With an adult's help, preheat oven to 325F.

Beat 1/2 pound butter until creamy., Add sugar, a little at a time, until all the sugar has been used.

Add the egg whites and flour to the butter and sugar.
Beat until the dough is well blended.

Dip a pastry brush into the tablespoon of butter and lightly brush a very thin layer onto the cookie sheet.

With clean hands, roll the dough into golf ball sized balls. Flatten the balls slightly, and using your thumb,
Press a dime size dent into the middle of each
One. Place cookies, dent size up, about 1" apart on cookie sheet. Bake aobut 12 minutes or until
Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack with a spatula. When the cookies are completely cooled, use a small spoon to fill the dent in each one with jam.
Makes: About 3 1/2 dozen blackheads.

Black Cat Cupcakes

1 1/4c Reduced Fat Oreo® cookie crumbs
18 1/4 ozs reduced fat chocolate cake mix
24 pcs Halloween Oreo® cookies
16 ozs reduced fat milk chocolate frosting
Black string licorice
Jelly beans
Semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 24-2 1/2" muffin cups with cooking spray and flour; set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions;
Stir in cookie crumbs.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.
Make cat faces on each of the
Remaining 24 cookies:
Using some frosting, attach 4-1 1/2" licorice strings
For whiskers, 2 jelly bean halves for eyes and 2 chocolate chips for ears.
Let set at least 30 minutes. Frost cupcakes with remaining frosting.
Stand cat faces on edge on each cupcake.
Place 3" piece licorice string on back
Half of each cupcake for tail.
Serving Size: 24
Beef In Costume For Halloween


1 (4 lb.) pumpkin
1 Pound lean ground beef
1 Cup chopped onion
Cooking oil
1/3 Cup chopped red pepper
1/3 Cup chopped green pepper
1 Clove minced garlic
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon thyme
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
1 (7 1/2 Oz.) pitted ripe olives
1 (8 Oz.) Can tomato sauce
2 beaten eggs

Cut top from pumpkin; scrape out seeds and fibers.
Simmer in salted water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until almost tender. Drain. Brown beef and onion.
Add peppers and garlic.
Cook one minute.
Remove from heat,
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Spoon into pumpkin. Place "lid" on top.
Brush pumpkin with oil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Cut into edges to serve.
Serving Size : 1

Black Widow Snack Cakes

1 package Devil's food cake mix
Vegetable cooking spray

4 cups Powdered sugar -- sifted
5 tablespoonsMilk -- to 7 tbls
1cup Powdered sugar -- sifted
1/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons Milk
Plastic spiders
Prepare cake as directed on package. Pour into 2, 8" square aluminum foil pans coated with cooking spray;
Bake at 350~ for 30-35 minutes or until tested done.  Cool in pans on wire racks.  Combine 4 cups powdered sugar and 5-7 tbls milk in a Large bowl; spread a thin layer evenly over each cake. Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa and 2 tbls milk; spoon into a small zip-lock bag. Close bag securely and snip a tiny hole in bottom corner of bag. Carefully pipe concentric circles onto each cake. Pipe straight lines at intervals from the inner circle through the outside circle, forming a web design. Garnish with plastic spiders.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lightening and her reflection


My dear sweet Lightening passed away on Saturday. I only spent a small portion of her life with her, just a quarter. But she had become my cat over any other human in the house and she showed her loyalty and I swear to you she knew how much I loved her so for she was willing to do anything to please.

I am at peace with her passing but I miss her so. She lived a full life and was lucky enough to have more than nine lives. She had grown older gracefully, to a certain point she had calmed down from her rambunctious ways.

People were amazed at how spoiled I had become and how spoiled she was as well. She was the hunter of the family. You heard right she would hunt all the small toys or anything she felt like carrying upstairs to my bedroom door and called to me for acknowledgement. This interesting behavior started when I got pregnant with William. She had taken a liking to beef jerky and Rick's ice cream bowl later in her years. She would know when Rick had ice cream and beg for a taste which she almost always got. Even the Veterinarians okay'd giving her beef jerky if that's what she craved. She would often sit in a chair beside me at our dining room table and wait patiently to be served. She knew she couldn't touch the table if she wanted human food. She gotten spoiled by drinking out of faucets and has a water fountain for a water bowl that both cats like.

But I wanted to share one of the more recent stories about Lightening. When we moved into the new house here. We bought a floor length mirror and it was leaned for a short time up against a wall in the foyer till it could be placed where it belonged. Lightening was quite intrigued by this new thing in her world. YES its HER world. We just live in it! She saw the cat in the mirror silly thing didn't know it was her own reflection. She peeked around the side of the mirror because that mysterious cat in the mirror MUST be behind the mirror. Nope that cat wasn't there. She was confused so she tried looking behind the mirror on the other side. That cat was avoiding being caught! That MUST be it! The hunt for this mysterious reflection continued. Rick and I just chuckled at Lightening's discovery or lack of knowing what her reflection was as if she'd never seen her own reflection before.

On Monday we had Lightening cremated and put into her final resting place in a nice oak box with an engraving and her picture on it. I had rick place her collar on it and when its unpacked Lightening's very own boonie cap that she loved to lay on, on top of the shrunk until she got too sore to jump up that high and even more apprehensive to jump down. Now she can return to enjoy her perch above the living room on her comfy boonie cap. I found myself today reciting Skylar's spelling words today while touching the box in which Lightening's ashes lay. It felt so natural, as if I was touching her.

I believe the best way to memorialize someone is by sharing fond memories and I have been meaning to blog about Lightening's experience with her reflection but a busy kid life has taken its toll on my blogging.

I love Lightening and I am glad she is home again after being away for a few days. She will always be with me.

Pets are Angels walking around without wings...




Country Garden Chicken and Cheesy Grits

I think most publix grocery stores have a little place where they actually show you how to cook and prepare a meal. Its super yummy. I pick up all kinds of recipes from there and I particularly love this one. Even if your not a fan of grits they don't resemble grits and the chicken is too yummy to pass up.

3 tablespoons of canola oil
½ cup of chicken breading mix
1 lb of boneless chicken cutlets
1 tablespoon + 1 cup of water, divided
¼ cup pre diced fresh tomatoes
¼ cup of pre diced red onion
2 teaspoons vegetable seasoning blend
1 (1.32 oz) packet of country gravy mix

1. Place oil in large saute' pan and heat on medium high 2-3 minutes. Place breading mix in shallow bowl. Moisten chicken with 1 tablespoon of water. Coat chicken, one piece at a time, by pressing into breading mix with fingertips; turn and coat other side. (For thicker breading coat twice.) About half of the sodium in the chicken recipe comes from the breading mix. You can reduce the sodium if you choose to only lightly coat the chicken before cooking.

2. Place chicken in a hot oil (wash hands); cook 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, or until crisp and golden. Remove chicken from pan; cover to keep warm.

3. Stir tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and vegetable seasoning, into pan with drippings. Cook on medium high 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.

4. Stir in gravy mix and gradually add remaining 1 cup water, stirring continually, or until sace is smooth. Reduuce heat to low; cook 2-3 minutes, stiring often, or until thoroughly heated. Serve sauce over chicken.

Cheesy Grits

2½ cups of water
2 cups of instant grits
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine all ingredients in microwave safe bowl.
2. Cover and microwave on HIGH 6 minutes stirring once, or until water is absorbed. Serve