Monday, October 31, 2011

Cranberry Clusters For The Halloween Tricksters......

Cranberry Clusters
3 cups Yogurt Burst Cheerios (or similar cereal)
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
24 mini paper liners
Place mini liners in mini muffin pans. Mix the cereal and dried cranberries in a bowl. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave on high for about a minute, stirring frequently. Check on them as each microwave is different. Combine cereal and cranberries with the melted white chocolate and drop by spoonfuls into paper liners. Refrigerate till the clusters are set, approximately 5 minutes. This makes 24 clusters. These are nice for Halloween, Christmas or Valentine parties.
Variations: Apple Jacks cereal with the white chocolate chips OR with Fruit Loops and white chocolate chips. Grated coconut can also be added to these delectable delights.They are all very sweet and pack a sugar kick! Just the thing kids will love. Ha-ha.
Till next time.....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Superstitions....

As if Halloween is not scary enough for everyone, there are also superstitions that go along with Hallow's Eve. Here are just a few of them.

A person born on Hallow's Eve can see spirits.
If a candle's flame suddenly turns blue, a ghost is nearby.
Knocking on wood is good luck.
If a bat flies around the house three times, it is a death omen.
Carry a lump of bread in your pocket as an offering to ghosts.
It is dangerous to go to sleep thirsty, for the soul may leave the body to find water. If the body is awakened too quickly the soul may not have time to get back and the body will die.

All I can say is: Glad I am NOT superstitious. Enjoy your Halloween and be safe.
Till next time......

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nests and Red Berries.....

Now that the trees are almost bare, little treasures are becoming visible in the trees. Here is a robin's nest safely built in the cross limbs of the tree. When these red berries are sufficiently ripe, the robins will come in swarms to devour this delicacy. It will take them about two days to clean the berries from this area and then they will be gone for the winter.



Getting a good photo of a robin this time of year is not hard to do. They seem to be more intent on finding food than worrying about me. This one kept a watchful eye on me but did not fly away. There is so much to enjoy in Mother Nature this time of year. I don't know why anyone would stay inside.
Till next time.......

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall......

The fall season is in full swing now and the trees have turned a colorful yellow around me.  There are other colors as well, just not near me.
















So I took my camera yesterday to see what I could find. Many grasses and weeds are now dry and create different designs.













Here is one of the grasses that caught my eye. I love the gracefulness of it. If you haven't gone out and looked around this fall, take the opportunity to just enjoy nature. It only takes a few minutes and there is beauty in every season.
Till next time.......

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apple Turnovers

You know how one thing leads to another.... Well, that's what happened yesterday. I had an apple to use up, so got the bright idea to cook it up with some raisins and cranberries. Then that looked so good, I thought, why not make a turnover. So I also got out some puff pastry that was leftover from another time.
 My turnovers are not perfection by any means. But the filling is in there and if some oozes out, no matter. It's all good. I have a Silpat pad, so cleanup was very easy.
Here's my finished turnover and I must say, it looks pretty nice. From one apple, a few raisins, a handful of cranberries and some apple juice, I was able to get 4 nice turnovers from the one apple. I had to eat one, of course, as soon as it was cool enough not to burn my mouth. The others went into the freezer for another time. Amazing what one little apple can be turned into. Enjoy our wonderful apple season.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Olive Nut Dip/Spread

If you like green olives, you will find this an enjoyable dip/spread. It is so easy to make and takes very few ingredients. You can also buy the green olives with pimentos already sliced. So half the work is done for you.
Olive Nut Dip/Spread
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup green olives with pimento, sliced
2 Tbsp juice from olive jar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Dash of black pepper
Mix all ingredients and chill for 1 hour or longer.

English walnuts or pine nuts may be substituted for the pecans. It you want it to have a bit of a bite to it or more flair, you can add Jalapeno or hot sauce to it. This recipe is a "keeper" for sure.
Till next time......

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bird Nests......

When I was walking through the woods on my retreat a few weeks ago; I came across this bird's nest. My daughter said it was there the last time she was there as well. So who knows just how long it has been there. It is well constructed of mud, small twigs and dried grasses. A lot of work went into making it.
This is another view of that same nest. Besides being an interesting nest, I loved the texture of it. It is a rather large nest as well. Don't forget to take a walk in the woods and see what Mother Nature has left behind for you to find. It is like a treasure hunt.
Till next time......

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Baklava.....

Baklava is one of the most wonderful desserts from Turkey and Greece. It is dripping with honey, nuts and encased in Phyllo dough. It was in the third century that this delicious dessert changed from a thick dough to the Phyllo dough, which means many leaves. The Armenians added cinnamon and cloves to the Baklava. The Arabs added rosewater and cardamon. Besides being considered the dessert of the rich; it is also considered aphrodisiacs, cinnamon for women and cardamon for men.
There are many recipes for it on the Internet; each one just a little different from the next one. But for me, I'll buy mine, thanks. They are so sticky to eat with all that honey syrup on them but really, so-ooo good. Once in a while, you just have to indulge in a decadent dessert. 
Till next time........

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sunrise

I was watching the news this morning and I looked up and saw this beautiful red sunrise. If you are still sleeping, this is what you missed by staying in bed.
"Red in the east, fishing is least;
 Red in the west, fishing is best."
Guess this is not a good day for the fishermen.
Till next time......

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Time.....

The Fall season and apples just seem to go together. So this week I made an apple pudding. It is sliced apples on the bottom and then a coarse, moist 'cake like' topping. The recipe is over 50 years old and very simple. I would imagine there are many recipes for it on the Internet.
Years ago, I lived by a neighborhood drugstore with a small fountain. I went there one day and the cinnamon apple aroma was so delightful and I commented on the wonderful smell of cinnamon. The owner's wife had made this simple dessert and offered me a dish of it. I, of course said no, as I was not hinting for some. But she insisted and it was so good. I asked if she would share the recipe and to my delight, she did! I hope you have some apple recipes that you enjoy this time of year.
Till next time.......

Monday, October 17, 2011

Textures.....

The little green tree was growing up out of the rocks. I just found it interesting. The second photo is of a tree trunk. I found the different textures fascinating.
Till next time......


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Orange Marmalade

With the pumpkin season upon us, it brings to mind a pumpkin marmalade, using canned pumpkin. Yes, that's right, "canned" pumpkin. I have tried it with fresh and it doesn't turn out as well. Go figure! This recipe only makes 2 1/2 half pint jars, so it is perfect for a novelty marmalade. I like it during the fall and winter, but I don't eat it in the summer. It is a fall and winter jam for me. It's a psychological thing, what can I say!




Pumpkin Orange Marmalade
1 - 15 oz can of Libby's Pumpkin
9 oz jar of orange Marmalade
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Heat to slow simmer to dissolve sugar and orange marmalade, then bring to high simmer. Take off heat and pour into hot sterilized jars, tighten the lids and give it a hot water bath for about  10-15 minutes. Let them cool on the counter out of a draft and make sure the lids "ping". Then you know they are sealed. Makes 2 1/2 half pint jars. Serve with toast, scones or biscuits.
Till next time.......

Saturday, October 15, 2011

East Nishnabotna River

 This is the East Nishnabotna River, looking to the right from the bridge.
 A view right by the bridge as we were leaving town. I was standing just off to the side when this was taken.
This is looking to the left of the bridge. It was so peaceful looking.
Till next time........

Friday, October 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup  (6oz) dark chocolate chips, melted
Combine everything but the chocolate chips and press into a greased 8x8 pan. Spread melted chocolate chips over the top with a spatula, covering the entire surface. Chill 2 hours. Cut into 2 inch pieces. 231 calories in each 2 inch piece. If you like Reese's Peanut Butter cups, you will enjoy these as well.
Till next time......

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bird and Bat Homes.....

These first two types of birdhouses I have seen many times before on top of a pole. So although I found them interesting, they were not something new to me.
This one however, peaked my interest for sure. I had never seen one like this. So I had to look it up on the Internet when I returned home. It is a Bat house. Once the idea was mentioned, it made perfect sense.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet Spice Blend and Honey Spice Butter

Sweet Spice Blend
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and store in airtight container.
Honey Spice Butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp Sweet Spice Blend
Stir together all ingredients until well mixed. Pour into container and refrigerate.

You cannot go down South for a visit and not come back with a Sweet Potato Biscuit recipe. It is impossible to do. Once you taste them, you will know they are special. So Yummy Good!
Till next time.......

Monday, October 10, 2011

Log Bird Feeder

My daughter had one of these cute little chickadee/woodpecker feeders in her garden and I fell in love with it. So natural looking and very effective. So this weekend she made three more, two more for her gardens and one for me. Aren't I the lucky one! So it is filled and hanging by my patio. Hopefully, the chickadees and woodpeckers will find it before too long. I also read where they like a little cornmeal or seeds mixed with the peanut butter. So next time I fill it, will add a little of each to the peanut butter and give them a real treat. I'm hoping it is not too close to my patio for them. I have a finch feeder also and they don't seem to mind it being close to my patio. Here's hoping!
Till next time.....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Harvest Time

It's harvest time again. You will see the farmers in the field from early morning till after dark working to get their crops in. Soy beans and corn are being harvested in my area. Many are trying to get them done before the rains come.
This is the beginning of the corn harvest. Some fields are not dry enough to harvest. But as soon as they are, you can bet the farmers will go into action. I've read that the bulk of corn should be harvested between 15% and 18% moisture content. I am not a farmer, so I depend on what I can read.
I am surprised at how quickly the harvest is done. Although, I am quite certain it doesn't seem that quickly to the farmers. It's always a good feeling to see the crops being harvested; knowing another year has produced yet another crop.
However, this year, because of the river flooding, many will not be harvesting a crop this year. Their farms have been underwater for months. We can only pray for a better year next year for them. 
Till next time......

Friday, October 7, 2011

Red Onion Marmalade

If you haven't discovered red onion marmalade, you are missing something really good. It adds that little extra something to a burger with melted bleu cheese or pepper jack cheese.
Red Onion Marmalade
3 Tbsp butter
3 red onions
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until onions are tender, about 12 minutes.Sprinkle onions with sugar and add wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Simmer until liquid evaporates and mixture becomes slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes. Season marmalade to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm till serving. And here is a quick aioli to go with it.
          Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
Mix above ingredients and spread on the toasted bun. Then add the burger with the melted cheese and the red onion marmalade on top. Now there is a sandwich!
Till next time.........

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blackened Seasoning

Every so often, you need something to spice up that ordinary piece of fish, poultry or steak. This might be what you are looking for. It is a blackened seasoning. It turns a piece of fish or steak into that quality meal that you might find in a better restaurant. It has only six ingredients but has a world of flavor.

The recipe is so simple. You really must try it!
Blackened Seasoning
1 Tbsp of garlic salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground thyme
Mix all ingredients and store in a small airtight jar. Press mixture into both sides of the fish, poultry or steak and broil, grill or fry as desired.
Till next time......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Signs of Autumn

 Signs of fall are sometimes subtle. But as the season moves on, other signs become noticeable. Walking through the woods; I saw this woolly bear and according to the "experts" they tell the story of what our winter will be like. Bands far apart and not heavy means a milder winter. The Farmer's Almanac is saying average temps and very wet. So I am wondering if our woolly friend might be right. So with average temps (cold for here), are we looking at a lot of snow, sleet or just more rain?

The leaves are starting to turn color and some are even starting to fall to the ground. The grass as you can see is still green, but this oak leaf is done for this season. Enjoy the Autumn season as it is a very short season and one of the most beautiful of the seasons. Besides, winter can't be far behind.
Till next time.......

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salt Substitute....

Many people today are watching their salt intake. It is just a healthy thing to do. So I keep a watchful eye for any spice or herb salt substitutes. There are so many ways to add taste to food without the aid of salt. This particular recipe was given to me by a friend. She in turn got it from a newspaper.
Salt Substitute
5 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp white pepper (or black pepper)
1/2 tsp celery seed
Mix all of the above ingredients. Save in an airtight container and label it. Keep in cool, dry place with your other spices. It will add taste to your roasted potatoes, poultry or other veggies. As you can see, I used the black pepper, personal choice.
Till next time......

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cole Slaw

This morning was trash day for me and I decided to clean out my refrigerator. Sometimes, as we all know, things get pushed to the back behind that big jar. Well, I had a partial head of cabbage that needed something done with it. So decided on making some Cole Slaw. I use several things for the dressing and then add a bit of sugar, salt and pepper and celery seeds to the whole thing. Well, I ran a little short on dressing this time; as it is so hard to get "just the right amount". I thought for a minute and then I remembered I had some Ken's Honey Mustard dressing in the refrigerator. Hmmmm........an idea is forming!
Well, I got that out and added a bit to my homemade dressing and it turned out great. So a new dressing was born in my house. I will add a bit of Ken's Honey Mustard each time I make Cole Slaw. As for a recipe for my dressing; it is a bit of this and that. I have shown the ingredients in the first photo.; with the exception of the sugar, salt, black pepper and a few celery seeds. Sorry, but that is the best I can tell you. I measure nothing when it comes to dressings. The Cole Slaw turned out perfect. Can't wait for supper.
Till next time.......

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Things That Interested Me.........


If it seems a bit odd or out of the ordinary, it calls to me to take a photo of it. Not sure why an electrical cord was sticking out of this pipe. I'm sure it has some safety significance unbeknown to me. But I knew I had to take a photo of it. So here is the result.

 This is the top of a pump, as you can plainly see. But I found it interesting, hence it is here for you to enjoy. The last photo is just a faucet handle outside of our building. Don't ask me why........but I also found this interesting as well. Perhaps I just have a weird sense of whatever.
Till next time.......

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Fungi.........

I am intrigued by the different colors and shapes of Fungi. On our trek through the woods, we came upon many different kinds. Here are just a few of the varieties we saw. This one grew on a fallen tree trunk.
 This fungus just grew up from the ground and was very abundant. It was not hard to find it at all.
Check out the design on the top of this one. There is so much beauty in nature. Sometimes, it takes a weekend in the woods to really appreciate what Mother Nature has given to us. I really loved this one. I loved my weekend in the woods even more!
Till next time........