Friday, September 30, 2011

Crab Apples

On our weekend retreat, we took many walks. During one of the walks we passed this crab apple tree that was loaded with crab apples. They were ripe and ready to be picked. You have no idea how badly I wanted to scoop up a basket full and take them home.
Spiced crab apples sounded so good and I haven't had any for years. But there was no one around to ask if it would be okay, so I didn't take any. It some how seemed wrong to just pick them, when they weren't mine. Even though it didn't seem like anyone was interested in picking them. Perhaps they were there just for the animals, as many deer were in the area. Animals-1 Me-0 (or as they say, their gain.....my loss.)
Aunt Mimi's Spiced Apples
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp whole cloves
1 1/2 sticks of cinnamon
4 lbs crab apples
Mix vinegar, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Put the spices in a spice bag and add to the vinegar and sugar. Boil the brown sugar, vinegar, cloves and cinnamon sticks together. Leave the stems on the apples. It just looks nice. Add the crab apples and boil till apples are tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and pack in hot sterilized jars. Pour in syrup. Seal and process in a canner for 20 minutes. This recipe can be doubled if you have lots of crab apples.
Till next time.......

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fungi

 I enjoy photographing unusual things. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in the woods. It was so quiet, peaceful and totally relaxing. I went with my daughter and talk about a fabulous time. This was it. This fungus is cup shaped and one I had not seen before. So of course, it had to be photographed.
 This curious fungus was attached to the tree. Again, one I did not remember seeing before. This type was seen many times during our walks in the woods. And always on a tree.
This fungus was a flat top that grew on the ground. Lots of them had sprouted up due to the dampness. I am not an aficionado of fungi, so I can't tell you what it is. But they made great photos.
This is a gray and white fungus that was all over the trunks of trees. You could find it most anywhere. Perhaps someday I will look up the different fungi, so I will know what they are.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Creighton University Retreat Center


 This is the entrance to the Creighton University Retreat Center. It is a place in the woods for private meditation, whatever you chose to meditate about. Or you can just enjoy the time spent in the woods and surrounding area.
 This is a weathered crucifix in one of the clearings in the woods. Many paths lead to places of meditation. Each one is surrounded by the woods for quiet thoughts and prayer. I found this one especially moving as you could transport yourself in time to when Jesus was tortured and crucified. It was truly awe inspiring.
The Retreat Center is located along the East Nishnabotna River, near Griswold, Iowa. What could be more beautiful? I went on a weekend retreat to this amazing place with my daughter. We were there to enjoy some very special one on one time with each other, to photograph the many wonders of nature and just enjoy the serenity of the Center. We took many long walks in the woods. It was so quiet  you only heard the different sounds of the birds, the acorns dropping to the ground and the  deer, moving about; including a very large buck. Sure didn't want to get in his way. It was a beautiful weekend. Maybe someday I will return, but if not, it was a weekend I will never forget.
Till next time......

Friday, September 23, 2011

Meatballs..........

I've talked a lot about tailgating this fall. Well, it is football season after all ,and we do like to eat during the game. Everyone is always looking for a new snack. I found these frozen meatballs from Armour several years ago. Follow the package instructions on how to cook/heat them and then serve with toothpicks and your favorite BBQ sauce. The Original Style meatballs are for the "faint of heart". You can spice them up with the sauce you serve with them. The "Italian Style" meatballs are a bit spicy and have some heat. So pick the one you want and enjoy the game. Any good BBQ sauce will work. Two or three in a slider bun makes a great little sandwich.
Till next time........

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ivy

I have always admired houseplants. My problem is in being able to grow healthy ones. But never fear, I have not stopped trying. I have two in "sick bay" now, but they are coming along slowly. A bit of outside air and sunshine seems to have perked them up. Anyway, I was gifted with these beautiful ivy cuttings and I will once again, try to keep them alive. Growing houseplants is so easy for some. For me, it is a major operation! These ivy cuttings are in water now to root; then I will buy some very nice potting soil and hope for the best. Keep your fingers crossed I succeed. I know my fingers will be crossed.
Till next time........

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mushroom Bites

With all the tailgating parties going on in different homes; I thought I would give you another idea for bites to enjoy.
Mushroom Bites
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces canned mushroom pieces and stems, drained
1/2 of a 2.8 oz can of french fried onions
1 loaf (8 oz) of party rye or pumpernickel bread
In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese,  mushrooms and the french fried onions. Spread on lightly toasted party rye or pumpernickel. Place the canapes on a baking sheets and broil until the topping is bubbly. Go Team!
Till next time....... 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Halloween Poll........Interesting

Halloween is not that far away and you will soon be buying Halloween candy for the goblins. I wanted to share this news with you. A popular food magazine took a poll of it's readers and this is the result of that poll. 47% of the readers put the following candy at the lowest on their list of preferences.
1. Candy Corn
2. Licorice
3. Mary Jane
4. Circus Peanuts
So when you are buy the candy this year; keep that in mind. Maybe you should go for tootsie rolls or tootsie pops.       
The top candy for Halloween is still the tootsie roll. Next are the individually wrapped mini candy bars.
Till next time......

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Apple Pudding......

Here is a recipe that is over 50 years old and just as good today as it was back then. It is a simple, throw together dessert and is made in an 8 X 8 square pan. Sometimes it is the simplest recipes that are best. I shy away from recipes that have a bunch of ingredients. I just don't think they are necessary to make delicious food. Besides, I don't have time for complicated, many ingredient recipes.
 




Apple Pudding
4 large apples - pare and slice 1/4 inch thickness, in 8 X 8 pan
Mix:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Beat 1 egg till fluffy and add to dry ingredients. Mix till crumbly with a fork. Sprinkle over the apples.
Mix 2 Tbsp sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the crumb mixture and dot generously with butter. Pour 1/4 cup water on top of the cinnamon and sugar topping. Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes.
Till next time...... 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Advancing to the Fall Season

Fall, if you live in my world, brings thoughts of folklore to mind. Some of these things I have heard since I was just a wee lass. Perhaps you have heard of them as well.
1.Thunder in the morning, all day storming - thunder at night is the traveler's delight.
2. Red sun in the west, fishing is best - red sun in the east, fishing is least.
3. The wider the middle brown band on a woolly bear caterpillar - the milder the winter.
4. The fuzzier the woolly bear caterpillar - the harder the winter.
5. If the first snowfall lands on unfrozen ground - the winter will be mild.
6. If there is thunder in winter - it will snow seven days later.
7. The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day - the harder the winter.
Are these true.....? Well, of course, sometimes they are, just by the rule of nature. But would I swear to them.....not so much. Just a few thoughts to think of, as we progress to another season.
Till next time.......

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Old Time Wringer Washer

Every Monday morning, years ago, I used to help my Gram with the laundry. On Sunday evening she would grate a bar of lye soap and put hot water on it. By morning it was a mushy gel. She had a white  Maytag wringer washer, a rinse tub and a second rinse tub with bluing in it to keep the white clothes white. So while filling the washer with hot water, she also put in this lye soap gel to finish dissolving. Once in a while, she would let me feed the sheets through the wringer  and they would start to wrap around the rollers. Then the rollers had to be released and the sheet unwound. An if you happen to get a finger caught in the wringer, there was an emergency release on the side of the rollers. You hit it and immediately the rollers released. And yes, that did happen on occasion! This photo is an antique wringer washer on display, Gram's was not quite that old!
So next time you think you have it rough on laundry day, think about your Great-Grandmother and the hardship she had on laundry day. Did I mention Gram made the Lye soap? Oh, yes......but that's a story for another day.
Till next time.......

Friday, September 2, 2011

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip.....

A lot of us are thinking about tailgating parties with the football season beginning. But instead of those chips and salsas, let's think fruit. Here is a fruit dip that is perfect with bananas, strawberries, kiwi, apples, star fruit, mandarin oranges, pineapple and all the berries. It is the perfect touch to dress up any fruit tray.
Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip
1 8oz pkg of cream cheese
1 7oz jar of marshmallow creme
Using an electric mixer blend these two ingredients thoroughly. Cream cheese must be at room temperature. Serve in a stemmed cocktail glass with a sprig of mint, for a lovely presentation. Now how easy is that!
Till next time.....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Apples.....

Fall and Football are just around the corner. The end of summer is here and lots of apples  are being picked. So let's look at a few interesting facts.
1. A Scottish and Irish custom prescribed throwing an apple peel over one's shoulder, which would form the initial of your lover's name.
2. The bobbing of apples began as a Celtic New Year's tradition trying to determine one's future spouse.
3. The modern tradition of tossing rice at the wedding couple evolved from an ancient practice of tossing apples at the happy couple. I'm sure the wedding couples of today are relieved that it is rice and not apples. Although I prefer the tossing of bird seed. It is  much more "eco" friendly and there is no clean up. The birds will take care of that gladly.
What's that....I forgot to give you an apple recipe? Okay, here it is.......an apple aioli that is great on a hamburger with a few strips of bacon and a thin slice of apple. An aioli is simply a flavored mayonnaise. This is a simple one; as it does not require you to make the mayonnaise first.
Apple Aioli
1/3 cup mayonnaise
5 tsp of frozen apple juice concentrate
Stir together until blended.
Makes about 1/3 cup of Aioli.
Till next time......