Dum Dum Suckers!? Awwww, mannnn!

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This is an entry from my old non foodie journal. Just thought I’d share. Yes, still me, still insanely silly πŸ˜€

My son Zach went trick or treating last year. He was a werewolf…again. He has a fascination with them. I haven’t decided if I simply need to hide the cats during a full moon, wonder if he is Lon Chaney reincarnated or just get him therapy. Zach constantly bemoans the fact that he hasn’t yet grown enough body hair to make a Spyhnx Cat happy much less a werewolf.

I still remember when I found him and his older brother Jordan in the bathroom cutting each others hair and trying to super glue it to their faces. After I stopped laughing and wiped my eyes, I had to figure out a way to get the hair and the glue off their faces. I was tempted to just leave it there and let them go to school looking like the bastard love children of Tiny Tim and The Bearded Lady but the mental image of myself trying to explain to the Child Protection Services why my sons were covered in glued on hair made me think better of it.

Moving on. My father, who died in April of ’06, loved Halloween. Ok, so he was a diabetic who loved any excuse to eat candy but he did adore Halloween. Every year we went through the same routine. I would take him shopping and he would buy six or seven of the HUGE bags of candy. You know the kind; the ones with enough in them to feed either a small third world country or Nicole Ritchie on a binge. Most would be the mini chocolate bars with one or two bags of Smarties and Sweet-tarts. I would nag him about not needing so much because we lived in a rural area where we are lucky (or blessed depending on your viewpoint) to get ten kids coming to the door. He would say that what didn’t get eaten he could give to my kids *snorts… uh huh*.

Come Halloween, an hour after trick or treating would start, I would invariably find him sitting in his lawn chair, candy wrappers around him as he dozed in the blissful dreams of a mini diabetic coma and dreamt of Kim Novak hand feeding him Nestles Crunch bars. He would be surrounded by neighborhood cats and dogs sniffing through the wrappers trying to find some crumbs of forbidden chocolate heaven. I am fairly sure he alone was responsible for quite a few animals dying a sugar induced death. The children loved him though. Where else could they go and grab handfuls of candy without the watchful eyes of an (awake) adult telling them to not take more than one or two?

Every year, the day after Halloween, he & I would go through the kids bags. Ostensibly it was to sift through it and get rid of anything iffy. In reality though it was to take all the good stuff and then when the kids asked where it went to, to point the sticky finger at each other. Last year, the popular item seemed to be Dum Dum Suckers. Lots and lots of Dum Dum suckers. I tried for months to figure out what to do with all. There are only so many times one can serve Dum Dum Roast for dinner with a side of Mashed Dum Dums before the family refuses to eat. Now I just sneak them in like most mothers do Spinach. “Here you go honey… eat your Dum Dums first then I’ll get you some nice chicken… c’mon it looks sooo good doesn’t it? You used to love the Cream Soda flavor”.

I had to laugh when Zach got home with his goodies. He dumped the bag out, got the most disappointed look on his face, turned to me and said “dum dum suckers?! Awww man”!!! My father was surely laughing himself silly as Kim fed him Snickers bars and Three Musketeers.

Dum Dum Au Gratin anyone???? I’ll share.
Ahhh dad, Halloween just isn’t the same without you this year.

In honor of Halloween, I have made a Pumpkin Souffle. I couldn’t resist making a delicious Maple/Brown Sugar Whipped Cream to go with it because…well, because I’m me πŸ˜›

This is sooooo good! And contrary to popular belief, not hard at all. Yes, your souffle will fall. It’s supposed to. You have to be quick to serve them but even if they collapse before you get them to your family or guests, they will NOT care. I promise. They will be too busy moaning in ecstasy. So try this. because I said. And because it’s something a little different in the pumpkin arena. And because it’s insanely good.

Pumpkin Pie Souffle With Maple Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

  1. Maple Whipped Cream-
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (not Mrs. Butterworths… as good as she may be)
  4. 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. Pumpkin Pie Souffle-
  7. 6 egg whites, room temp
  8. 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (do NOT omit. It helps stabilize the egg whites)
  9. 6 egg yolks, room temp
  10. 1/2 cup sugar plus extra for coating souffle dishes
  11. 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  12. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (leave Maryann, Gilligan and The Professor alone)
  14. 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  15. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Make your Maple Whipped Cream-
  • Add the maple syrup and brown sugar to the cup of heavy cream in a large bowl. Beat until the cream is stiff. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Coat 4 8 ounce lightly greased souffle dishes with sugar . I only had mini and extra large dishes so I used 2 ten ounce ones and 2 six ounce ones. Works out the same.
  • Set them into a 13×9 baking dish.
  • While preparing the souffles, heat up 2 cups of water in the microwave. Leave until ready to use.
  • Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large GLASS bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are glossy and stand up in soft peaks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the 1/2 cup pumpkin and the spices (tip- Have all your stuff measured before you begin making this. It makes the process much easier and you don’t have to worry about your whites deflating while you are scurrying around for spices and sugar and such.).
  • GENTLY fold the egg yolk/pumpkin mixture into the egg whites until no streaks of white remain.
  • Pour mixture into prepared dishes.
  • Put in oven and carefully add the 2 cups of hot water to the baking dish (NOT into the souffle dishes :-P).
  • Bake at 375 until tops are nicely browned and the souffles have risen, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serve with the maple whipped cream.

When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie…

Sigh. Have I mentioned recently that I REALLY need a good camera?

 

That’s so NOT amore as Dean Martin crooned years ago. It’s more like, sayyyyy, the apocalypse.Β  That moon thing might hurt. Well, ok, no it won’t because the whole Earth would go BOOM long before the moon actually hit your eye… or your nose… or even an outstretched “OMG, the moon is about to hit me!!!” sort of arm. Now the boom thing? That may hurt for a split second or so.

I am pretty sure that Mr. Martin was dead drunk when he sang those words. But then again, I don’t recall any sightings of him on TV where he WASN’T dead drunk.Β  Am I the only one who remembers the show he had on TV many many years back? Erhmmm, not that I’m old enough to recall it. I watched it on you tube. Yeah, that’s it. And in those shows…erhmmm, reruns, I remember him always being surrounded by gorgeous women, always lounging against a piano and always dead drunk. Ahhh, the days when men were men. Or something like that.

Now I’m feeling all nostalgic for old TV shows. I used to love all the old variety shows that came on during the Christmas season. My favorite was always the Bing Crosby Special. Oh Gawd, I loved those shows! I have on an old VHS tape one that came out a few years after Mr. Crosby died that was a compilation of all the shows. I kept it once I found it because for YEARS, and I mean MANY YEARS, I remembered the version of “The Little Drummer Boy” he sang with David Bowie ( go look it up on you tube. It’s beyond amazing!) and that was the only way I could hear the song. Then a few years ago, “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” came out with a CD that had that song on it. I was one happy Bing lover.

Back to that moon and pizza pie thing. I love pizza. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who DIDN’T like pizza. But if they did, I bet I could change they mind with this one. This doesn’t have sausage or pepperoni or extra cheese or mushrooms (damn. Now I’m hungry.) Nope. This one is covered in a nice cheesecake filling, apples, cinnamon and sugar as well as caramel and a delicious streusel topping. Drooling yet?

I saw a recipe for caramel apple pizza and while it sounded good, that genetically warped part of me took over (go figure huh?) and I had to mess with it. I mean c’mon, would you really expect anything different form me? I didn’t think so. So I added a nice sugar cinnamon sprinkle to the crust to give it some flavor and then topped it all off with an oatmeal crumb topping. The cinnamon sugar could be left off if you preferred but…why? πŸ˜€ This makes a great family dessert, especially this time of the year when apples are excellent. It would also be great at a kids Halloween party. This makes 2 pies so if you want to do the math, you could cut the recipe in half πŸ˜›

Streusel Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pizza

  • STREUSEL-
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Cinnamon sugar topping-
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
  • PIZZA-
  • 2 store bought pizza crusts (yes you could make your own but this is meant to be a fairly easy quick to put together treat)
  • 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup caramel dip or topping
  • 3 large apples, cored, thinly sliced (Gala work well)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped peanuts (I didn’t do this because I don’t like them but figured I’d add it to make it more caramel apple seeming)
  • more caramel topping for drizzling.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all the topping ingredients. Mix well then cut in the butter using a pastry blender. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and the caramel topping.
  4. Spray the pizza crusts with butter flavored baking spray (regular is fine too) and put them on large cookie sheets.
  5. Combine the cinnamon sugar and sprinkle it over the two pizza crusts. Get annoyed at me cause I’ve made you dirty 3 bowls and 2 baking sheets.
  6. Spread half the cream cheese mixture over each pizza crust.
  7. Arrange the apple slices on each crust in a purty spoke design even though they are going to be covered in streusel and you won’t see them. YOU’LL know it’s pretty under there. It’s like wearing nice underwear in case you get into an accident.
  8. Drizzle the apples with more caramel topping. I didn’t give an amount for that because I am heavy handed with it. You may want less…. or more even, in which case call your dentist.
  9. Sprinkle half the streusel topping over each pizza crust.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees until the topping is browned and crispy and the apples are tender.
  11. Serve this with vanilla ice cream. Curse my name as your hips get bigger as you eat and your jeans button pops open. Know that I’m giggling over here.

When Life Gives You Lemons….

Heck with just making lemonade. Find someone who has vodka and have a party. πŸ˜› I believe it was Ron White who said that. Don’t care much for the man but I like the sentiment. Though being the weirdo that I am, I’d probably forgo the party and add the lemons to the vodka with some sugar, let it steep for months and make Limoncello. Then sit back with a good book and have a drink. THAT’S a party!

Wow… I’m old. And boring.

Oh well… youth and excitement wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. πŸ™‚ My teen years, my twenties, even my early thirties, I was so unsure of myself or my importance in the scheme of things and so sure that “omg, I’m nothing! I haven’t discovered a cure for cancer… I can’t even get my son potty trained! I’m a failure!” was the way life would always be. I was fat, not very pretty, insecure and convinced that the world hated me. Now I’m middle aged, fat, not very pretty, still insecure at times (though it’s amazing what age does to that too) and not too worried about whether or not the world hates me hehehe. So long as I have my family, friends and all the people who actually seem to like to read my ramblings (hmmm, same thing as the friends really isn’t it? πŸ™‚Β  )Β  I think I’m doing pretty good, even on the bad days. They happen… we muddle through them and move on, hopefully a little wiser. So remember that all you young pups. The best years really ARE yet to come.

Damn. This post proves it. I really AM old and boring. *grins*. Love me anyway? πŸ˜›

Yesterday, I told you that today’s pie would be a lemon one. Bet you’re expecting lemon meringue or something like that. Nahhhhhhh. Much as I love it, that one is everywhere. So how about a Lemon Souffle Pie? Yep… Lemon Souffle Pie. I have been making this for years (again.. you have GOT to get yourself a copy of The Fanny Farmer Baking Book) and this is one I have not changed a bit. It is fantastic just the way Miss Farmer created it. This tastes just like what the name suggests. Basically because it IS just what the name suggests; just in a pie shell. It is light and fluffy and lemony and so darn easy it’s embarrassing. It has enough sweetness to be very satisfying but is light enough to be good served after a heavy meal (like Thanksgiving or Christmas…or even Easter) for those who want something but don’t want too much or maybe prefer something not chocolate (I know… weird people everywhere huh?). So give this a try. C’monnnnn …. don’t let the word souffle scare you off.

Lemon Souffle Pie

  • 1 unbaked nine inch pie crust
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (takes about 2 lemons for that much)
  • zest from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Prick pie shell over with a fork. Line it with foil and bake at 425 for 6 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake again until it is just lightly browned; about ten minutes.
  3. Reduce your heat to 325.
  4. Put your egg yolks in the top part of a double boiler (I have also done this part in the microwave on 60% power, stirring after every minute. But be careful to keep an eye on it and stir often if you do it that way.). Add the lemon juice, zest, salt, hot water and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Beat the mixture over boiling water until thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat your egg whites & the remaining sugar until stiff moist peaks form.
  6. Pour the cooled lemon mixture into the egg whites until no streaks of white remain. Remember; FOLD… don’t stir. You don’t want to deflate your whites.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Write mildly obscene words in the filling with a knife.Β  Make pretty swirls on top of the filling.
  8. Bake at 325 until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool on a rack. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Or just hold the pie pan really close to you with a spoon and growl at anyone who gets too near.

β€œCut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”

I love that quotation. Yogi Berra said that. The man spoke my heart! I love pie. Sweet pies, savory pies, custard, fruit, cream, fly guts (just checking to make sure you’re paying attention), citrus, chocolate. I love them all. Well, except for the fly gut one. You can have my share. Though, me being me, I am now wondering how teenie tiny fly guts would be if they even have guts similar to ours and if spiders make fly guts pie.

Yeah. Uh huh. Maybe it’s time for me to start looking into therapy again.

I have a few hundred favorites however. Apple crumb (I even love the Sara Lee Dutch Apple Crumb one), Key Lime (my favorite Summer pie) Lemon Meringue (reminds me of my dad), well, anything lemon (check back tomorrow for one of those), cherry , mincemeat….ok, I think you get the point. I like pie. And I’m pretty much an equal opportunity pie lover (hmmm, my mind can make even THAT sound obscene. Did I mention that therapy thing?).

So going on my last post’s idea of giving you recipes to get ready for Thanksgiving before you go and pick all the better bloggers recipes because they make foods that make me look like a three year old in the kitchen *sobs piteously*, so that you don’t have to wait until the last minute to figure out what you want to make, I bring you my favorite pie. All time favorite. I’m talking “eat this until it seeps out of my pores and I smell like dessert (Thinking about this, is this really a BAD thing?) and I fall into a coma yet again from too much sugar” favorite pie. I’m saying “I love this pie and if I put it on my Thanksgiving table and the kids eat it all before I get to it, I cry” type of favorite pie. I’m saying…. I’m rambling aren’t I?

Moving on… my favorite pie is Pecan Pie. Go figure… a woman who doesn’t really care that much for nuts and my favorite pie is Pecan. But it is. And this one in particular. I have been making this for many many years now. It originally came from The Fanny Farmer Baking Book (omg, if you ever want just ONE excellent baking cookbook, get this one. Amazon still carries it even though it’s over a 25 year old book. I love this cookbook and want mine buried with me.) and I really haven’t changed it TOO much other than to increase the filling by half to make it deeper and adding a little cream and more vanilla to the filling before baking it. Why? Because more than I love the caramelized sugary glazed pecans (remember that not THAT fond of nuts thing), I absolutely adore the goopy filling in Pecan pie. This one is rich and dark and wickedly delicious. If you have been looking for a great pecan pie recipe, look no further. Try this one. I suggest making it a day ahead of time and letting it cool, then refrigerating it. Then when you want to cut it, cut it cold, then heat each piece in the microwave if you want it warm. I suggest that for most pies actually. They are much easier to cut and you’ll rarely have that first piece that falls apart that is so common with baking pies. So give this a try. Then do what I do when I make this and say to heck with the calories and drown it in a puddle of warm unsweetened heavy cream. Hey, it’s like a twice a year thing!

Wickedly Rich Pecan Pie

  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie shell (use homemade or use store bought but make sure it is a DEEP shell. Crimp the edges up even higher if it is a store bought deep dish with low edges)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups pecan halves or pieces (I use pieces; make the pie easier to cut and the nuts gets more glazed and caramelized)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk (don’t use an electric beater with this recipe. It adds too much air to the filling) in a large bowl until well blended.
  3. Add the corn syrups (btw, bottled corn syrup is NOT the same thing as HFCS. You may not want to stick a straw in the bottle and drink it but it’s fine to use if you’re someone who worries about HFCS.),Β  the brown sugar, the melted butter, cream and vanilla. Blend well.
  4. Stir in the pecans. I then let it sit for about ten minutes or so before I put it in the pie shell. It gives the pecans time to soak up the filling.
  5. Pour filling into pie shell.
  6. Bake the pie for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook until the pie is done. When you can stick a thin knife in the center and not come out with liquid on it, it’s done. You want it to come out with little tiny bits of goopy filling on it. Pecan pie is pretty precise in how it should be cooked. Too little and it’s runny; too much and it gets granular. Depending on your oven, this will take from 30 to 40 minutes. If it is getting too brown, lightly cover the pie with foil to shield it.
  7. Let cool on rack, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. If you want it warmed, slice the pie and heat each piece individually in the microwave.
  8. Cover your slice in a puddle of heavy cream that makes your pie scream at you that it’s drowning.

Sweet(s Potatoes) For The Sweet??

Ok, time to start putting up recipes suitable for the upcoming Thanksgiving (in the states) and Christmas season. Seems to me that if we bloggers wait till like a week or 2 before the holidays hit to start posting the fun stuff, you readers (and other bloggers) won’t have time to use any of them because if you’re anything like me, you start perusing cookbooks, web sites and blogs for good holiday recipes in like… ohhhhhhh… July. πŸ˜›

I absolutely adore holiday cooking! I mean, I love it! My hips? Not so much. But oh well. I’ll do what I do with other things. I’ll make it, enjoy watching others eat the things I cook and only have a little bit myself. But seriously, I have mentioned before that I love this time of year. Not just because I enjoy cooler weather, which I do, or love the coziness of shorter days and longer nights, which I also do, but because I love the foods. Especially the ones traditionally served from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Cookies (omg, I make a TON every year. It’s a tradition I started when my 3 oldest were young because I didn’t have the money to buy them gifts but I had food and it has never stopped… mainly because my kids would kill me if I tried to stop.), candies (FUDGE!!), desserts of other kinds (I could happily live on my recipe for Pecan Pie – that is, until I went into a coma from too much sugar and died), Turkey, ham, stuffing (do you call it stuffing or dressing?) and various biscuits, scones, muffins and quick breads.

Lord, I think I just gained five pounds from just writing that paragraph above. Plus, my keyboard is covered in drool, darn it.

Moving on… (hehehe…. I wonder now how many times I’ve used that phrase since I started the blog?), where was I? Oh yeah, quick breads. I have always thought that they were called quick breads not because of the ease of prep, though they ARE easy, but because of how quickly they get eaten πŸ˜› . I swear, if I want any when I make them, especially this one, I have to hide a slice… or twelve.

I love sweet potato casserole. Yes, I even love the kind covered in 14,000 mini marshmallows; the one responsible for the 33 million cavities gotten by children during the holidays. I could eat it until it is coming out of my ears.Β  So when I saw a recipe years ago on food.com for Sweet Potato bread, I had to try it. And it was good. Really really good. But it needed something. If only because I am genetically incapable of leaving a recipe alone. So I played with it. A lot. Until it really no longer resembles the original recipe. I”M SORRY! I’M A HORRIBLE PERSON WHO CHANGES RECIPES!! I NEED REHAB!!!

Ahem. Moving on. This has become a sweet potato casserole pineapple bread. I always put pineapples in my sweet potato casserole and decided to try it in the bread. it worked quite well. It adds a nice subtle tartness that goes oh so well with the dense sweetness of the bread. So give this a try. It is fairly quickly made (though a bit more involved than your normal quick bread) and it’s delicious. Sweet, moist, a fairly dense bread yet still light, with a nice crispy crust.

Sweet Potato Casserole Bread With Pineapple

  • 29 ounce can sweet potatoes, well drained
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup well drained crushed pineapple
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional. Sorry bout that Ann. Don’t know how I forgot it in the ingredients at first.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
  2. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, heavy cream and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted. Use a potato masher to mash the sweet potatoes well, then continue cooking over low heat until the mixture is thickened and the cream has evaporated, about ten minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. As that cools, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, pineapple and extracts. Beat well. When cooled, add in the sweet potato mixture and beat well.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices.
  5. Combine this with the wet ingredients. Mix JUST until combined. never over mix quick bread or muffin batters. You’ll end up with tough tunnely (yes that too is now a word cause I said so) bread.
  6. Bake at 325 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; about 70 to 80 minutes.
  7. Let cool in pan on wire rack for five minutes then turn out onto the rack to finish cooling.
  8. Enjoy!!

Mary Had A Little Lamb (And It Was Good On Bread)

Before I even get to today’s post, I want to say thank you to everybody who commented on yesterdays post or sent me emails. You have no idea how much your support means to me… to US. We still don’t know what will happen but after talking to Jordans therapist yesterday, I am still scared but not AS scared. He was charged with assault when he was 12 in a very similar situation (over reacting school administration in that case) & was eventually found to be incompetent to stand trial and she (his therapist) feels that this one will end the same way. When he gets violent, he is so not aware of his surroundings or his own mind. So all we can do now is wait and see. And pray. I will keep you all updated. Again; thank you so so much. I adore you all!

Moving on…Β  When I was a kid, up until I was about 13, I thought meat consisted of hot dogs, my mothers garbage soup (don’t ask… it is something I prefer to forget), chicken and dumplings (that was one she cooked wonderfully!) and hamburgers. Then, a magical day occurred. One weekend, I went to visit my dad as usual. He had lamb chops for dinner and he convinced me to take a bite (not sure what I had been having for dinner). Well, it was love at first bite. My dad spoiled me rotten so even though I can’t remember it as fact, I am willing to bet that he didn’t get anymore of his lamb chops hehe. Medium rare… juicy… seasoned perfectly. My dad wasn’t a major cook but oh man could he do meat right! He is the one who taught me that meat shouldn’t be leather…aka well done.

We don’t have lamb often because it costs more than a mortgage payment but every once in a while, I can find ground lamb in the reduced bin. It’s not very popular in this part of Kentucky I guess (lamb in general isn’t except around the holidays) but the stores keep buying it. That’s fine with me cause then I get it when it’s cheap. πŸ˜€

Now we all know my love for curry… and spice…and cheese. Add in my love for lamb and some cranberry sauce (yes, I know that last part sounds weird; just trust me on this one. I promise… delicious!) and I had one fantastic burger for dinner tonight! And it was easy as could be. Mix everything together, toss it on the grill or fry pan (ok, so maybe don’t toss… if you miss, it could be messy. Make that set it gently on the grill πŸ˜› ), cook to medium well (I like my whole lamb, like chops, leg of lamb, etc, medium rare but ground lamb does better if cooked more well done.), shove it into a pita (see instructions for tossing onto the grill πŸ˜› ) garnish and eat. Easy huh? So if you like lamb or have just been wanting to broaden your horizons, give this a try. You’ll love it! The mix of the Greek Seasoning with it’s flavors with the subtle flavor of the curry is interesting.

Curried Lamb, Feta & Parmesan Burger In A Pita

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta (I used the garlic and herb kind)
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons McCormicks Greek Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (will be far too wet to grill if you don’t use this)
  • 3 pita halves
  • Romaine or butter lettuce (I used red leaf butter lettuce)
  • half of a medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Get your charcoal grill going to medium high heat. If you have a gas grill, you would know better than I what temp to cook burgers at because I’ve never used a gas grill before.
  2. Mix the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Don’t over mix because 1) you’ll have tougher burgers and 2) it breaks up the feta too much & the nice pieces of cheese in this is one of the yummy things about it)
  3. Shape into 3 large patties. Don’t over handle.
  4. Grill over medium hot coals until the meat is medium well;Β  150 – 155 degrees F. When grilling, please please please refrain from flipping burgers every two minutes. You really only want to flip ONCE. Get the first side done and when the meat releases easily, it’s ready to flip. If it sticks, leave it for a few more minutes.
  5. Take some of your lettuce and push it down into the pitas. Add a burger to each pita then add a few slices of onion. Red onion tastes best but I also know that’s subjective. Either way, I had to use yellow because my red one had gone bad. Grrr… grrr I say.
  6. Mix your cranberry sauce with the 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes then spoon about 1/4 cup of it onto each burger. Again; trust me on this. The fruity sauce with the burgers is outstanding. But you could also sub mango chutney if you want.
  7. Eat. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

 

Is It Tomorrow Yet? Also, Savory Gooey Onion, Cheese & Sausage Bread Pudding

Have you ever had one of those days you just wish hadn’t happened? Not a wish to start it over, but a wish that it just disappeared and never repeated itself.

Yeah. me too. Today was such a day.

I’m sure some of you have read me talking about (writing about?) my kids. I have six children, five boys and one girl, ranging in age from 25 on down to 3. I also have 5 grandchildren. As I’ve said before, I started having kids at age six… honest. πŸ˜€

One of my kids more frequently mentioned, if not here, on my FB page, is my son Jordan. Jordan is sixteen but is always going to be my baby. He is the sweetest boy you could ever know. But he is also Autistic, mildly intellectually challenged, has a severe case of ADHD, some OCD, and other things falling into the emotional/mental disabilities spectrum. He has the emotional and intellectual abilities of about an 8 year old. He is sweet, funny, loving & enjoys helping people. He loves to work with tools though that can end up with broken gadgets and bikes and what have you lol. He loves to “invent” things cooking but rarely does anything of it turn out to be edible. Heck, we all know what THAT’S like though huh? πŸ˜€ He loves our cats and adores his siblings. He worries about me and wants to take care of me forever.

He also can get overwhelmed when stressed out, discouraged, angry or pushed too hard. He doesn’t like rules and will rebel if he thinks that one is unfair. He wishes he could do everything but frequently tells me that he feels like he can’t do anything right, is stupid and doesn’t fit in anywhere. Those are the days that I feel my heart crack into little pieces. When he is upset and something (usually chaos or being pushed too hard) triggers him, he can also become violent and aggressive. Not in the bullying sort of way. When he is aware of himself and his surrounding, he wouldn’t hurt a flea and has been known to carry flies outside so that they wouldn’t die. But when he gets upset, he is no longer cognizant of how he is acting. he is pure adrenaline. Today was one of those bad days. He has been doing poorly in school, in part, in my opinion, because they are expecting too much academically from him. He is a sophomore who should have extreme modifications in his work but doesn’t. So when he feels like a failure, he doesn’t try and acts up to get out of working.

Today, something happened that made him lose control. From what I have been told, he sat in the wrong chair in class and rather than say the obvious “oh well, what does it matter? and let him sit there (it was a chair for petes sake!), it was turned into a control issue by the teacher and others were brought in to “help”. It ended with him being restrained (way bad move with an autistic child who doesn’t like being touched other than to be hugged), his biting and spitting on a teacher (again; think young child and temper tantrum) and him being suspended. Now, I agree with the suspension. He can’t be allowed to do that and there have to be consequences. But it didn’t end there. The school is pressing charges of assault against my 16 year old Autistic, mildly retarded, IQ of around 75 boy.

I want someone to explain to me what they think will happen to an extremely vulnerable mentally challenged boy in jail or juvenile detention. He isn’t the type to be able to fend off someone who wanted to hurt him or do other things to him. He would cry, he would beg for me to help him though I wouldn’t be there, he would fight as well as he could but ultimately he would lose. The problems he has also have led to poorer than usual muscle tone and strength. But they want him in jail. They want to take him and put him with men or boys who have REALLY committed assault, have raped, have committed armed robbery, have done drugs, abused parents or siblings and God knows what else.

I want this day to disappear. I want to hug my children and hide them in a cave so no one can ever harm them. I want him to be whole.

There is no subtle way to lead into a recipe today so I won’t try. I’ll just post it.

As Scarlett O Hara said, “After all, tomorrow IS another day”. Dear God, I hope so.

Savory, Onion, Swiss & Sausage Bread Pudding

  1. 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 9 cups thinly sliced onions (about 4 to 5 onions depending on size)
  4. 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  5. 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  6. 1/3 cup dry red or white wine (I prefer to use a CabernetΒ  in this)
  7. 1 loaf (about 12 ounces) French or Italian bread, cubed (I use the garlic/Parmesan loaf that many stores carry in their bakery section.)
  8. 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  9. 1 cup grated fresh (not the dry nasty kind) Parmesan cheese
  10. 1 10 ounce package Tyson Italian Sausage Crumbles (or just use regular Italian sausage that you have cooked and crumbled)
  11. 4 eggs
  12. 2 cups heavy cream or a mix of cream and half & half
  13. 1 cup whole milk (you could try this with low fat milk and even use that instead of the cream too, but this isn’t supposed to be a diet dish lol)
  14. 1 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 5 tablespoons butter with the oil in a large pan. Add in the sliced onions and the shallots. Cover and cook over low heat until the onions are tender and limp.
  • Uncover, turn heat to medium and cook the onions until golden brown and nicely caramelized. About five minutes before they look done, add in the garlic. Stir well and continue cooking.
  • When browned and cooked, pour in the wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is gone.
  • Butter a 13×9 inch baking dish, preferably a glass one.
  • In a large bowl, combine the bread, sausage and the onions.
  • Melt the last 5 tablespoons of butter and pour it over the bread mixture.
  • Add the cheeses.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cream, milk, salt and eggs.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread and mix well. Stir this well for about 2 to 3 minutes to make sure all the bread has a chance to start soaking up the cream mixture
  • Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350 until it is golden brown and cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes. To check doneness, poke a butter knife into the middle. If it comes out wet or dripping, it’s not done. It should be the consistency of a cooked cheesecake. Firm and yet still creamy.
  • Let cool for about ten minute before you cut this.
  • This is an awesome side dish for a company dinner or a great light meal with a salad for the family. It’s also great for a weekend breakfast. It’s gooey, crispy at the edges because of all the butter used in it and cheesy and oniony and oh my, it’s SO good. One of my favorite side dishes in fact.

The Coyotes Sang For Me And Fall Harvest Cookies


As many of you may know, my family and I recently moved. We had been living for three years in aΒ  house we were renting on a dead end street. This house had a postage stamp sized yard. I mean, really really small. On top of that, it was sloped too deeply to use for anything. Where we are now is a normal sized house… we love it but we also know it’s nothing Earth shaking in most peoples eyes; just a typical 3 bedroom 2 bath house. What really made both of us want it was the land. This house came with ten acres of land. About 3 of it is cleared but 7 of it is forested as it much of the surrounding area. Plainly put, we are out in the boondocks… and we love it. πŸ˜€

Some of you may also remember that I have mentioned that I grew up in Chicago. I’m a South Side girl from birth. πŸ˜›Β  Plainly put there, I grew up with polluted Lake Michigan (though I love(d) it anyway), cement as my playground and wildlife that consisted of neighborhood dogs that had a thing for humping everyone’s legs and squirrels that I loved to watch back then and still enjoy watching though they are surprisingly rare around here. THAT was my wildlife hehe.

I’ve lived in Kentucky now longer than many of my readers have been alive (since ’88) but I still haven’t gotten to the point of taking it for granted. Part of this I think stems from the fact that my mother was from Alabama so if it’s possibly for one to be genetically hardwired to love the country, I am a walking example of this. I am so at peace here now, out of the city (such as our town of 17k is), away from traffic and ornery teenage kids skateboarding at midnight as they cuss up a blue streak.

One of the things I love here is knowing that we are surrounded by wildlife. I haven’t seen any yet but oh my, I know it’s there. The other night, at about 3:30am, I was suddenly startled awake from a dead sleep. I had no idea what woke me; still don’t really. Maybe I heard something in my sleep. But nonetheless, I was up for a while as is the norm for me when that happens. So, as I tend to do now, I headed outside. Within a few minutes, I heard it. The coyotes were also awake (it was the night of the full moon funnily enough) and they were giving me a serenade. I stood there for maybe ten minutes listening to their song. Up and down the musical scale it went, giving me chills. I went and got my husband to verify what I was hearing (in theory anyway; in reality I just wanted to share this with someone but had to have a valid excuse for waking him at almost 4 in the morning hehe). He stood with me for a bit but since he was snoring standing up, I had mercy and sent him back to bed.Β  When I went back outside, I realized that maybe it was time to take my listening back inside. Why? Because the one or two coyotes had increased by at least a few and they had moved quite a bit closer from the sound of it, MAYBE half a mile from the house if that.

I realize that coyotes can be a hazard to other animals and I wouldn’t want to walk in our woods at night. I like to think I have a LITTLE sense lol.. But I will never ever take for granted that I have been blessed to live somewhere now where, in the middle of the night, I am privy to the songs of the night. It was the most eerily awesome sound I have ever heard.

Moving on….. no coyote shaped cookies, no casserole made with coyote meat (ummm; eww?), no twilight themed treats. What I DO have for you is a cookie I created the other day. I wanted something Autumnish (yes, that is still a word because I said so darn it) and I was in the mood for maple… and apples… and white chocolate… and crunch. Lol. They turned out spectacularly if I do say so myself. My husband and my daughter (she was visiting which I love) said they didn’t like the Pepitas but neither of them like nuts and such in cookies either. Not to mention, for someone who didn’t like the seeds, my daughter sure ate enough of them :-P. So here you go… give my Fall Harvest Cookies, chock full of Autumny (yeah that’s a word now too) goodness., a try. I think you’ll enjoy them. Plus there is actually some semblance of nutrition in these :-p

Fall Harvest Cookies

  1. 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  5. 1 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring
  10. 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (sold same area as vanilla extract)
  11. 2 cups peeled and chopped apples
  12. 1/2 cup Pepita’s (do NOT use the salted in the shell pumpkin seeds in these please)
  13. 1 1/2 cups Planters Brand Maple Pecans, coarsely chopped (found mine at Wal-Mart & had been dying to figure out a way to use them)
  14. 2 cups dried cherries
  15. 1 bag good quality white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s)
  • Heat oven to 350. Mix the flour, baking powder& baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  • Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until well mixed and creamy.
  • Add the eggs and the 3 extracts. Continue beating until it’s all well mixed.
  • Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed (unless of course you WANT to be flour covered πŸ˜› ). Beat well until mixture is thoroughly combined. If it’s too much for your poor mixers motor, use those arm muscles and mix it by hand.
  • When well mixed, mix in (by hand) the white chocolate chips, pepitas, pecans, apples and dried cherries.
  • Shape into balls (I am no good at saying “make them such and such diameter so just make them the size you generally make, say, a chocolate chip cookie. Lol. I’m sorry.) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Because of the apples, this is a fairly sticky dough so yes, you will get goop on your hands πŸ˜€
  • Β Bake at 350 until top is firm and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. I cooked some a little longer and while I generally prefer chewier verging on underdone cookies, these were actually good crispy too.
  • Let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  • Eat many of these. Feel righteous because it has nuts and seeds and fruit πŸ˜› Go outside and say hello to the night. Smile and feel blessed no matter where you are. πŸ™‚


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Did I mention How Much I Love Pumpkin??

If the rising amount of Pumpkin recipes on my blog and my drooling comments on all of your pumpkin posts hasn’t made it clear, I LOVE PUMPKIN!! Whadda ya mean, you couldn’t hear me!? Ok, I’ll say it again.Β  I LOVE PUMPKIN!!!Β  Yes, yes, I know. I’m very subtle when it comes to displaying my likes and dislikes. I bet that not a one of you knew I loved chocolate, Twinkies or Cheetos did you? Or that I absolutely hate beef liver? Shocking huh? I really need to learn to express myself better don’t I? Oh… by the way.. I LOVE PUMPKIN!!!

Autumn in the blogging world is obviously the time when we see a plethora (dontcha just love when I use big words… like “I want aΒ  plethora of Twinkies and Cheetos”. Now THERE’S an awesome sentence!) of pumpkin recipes (as well as apple and pear recipes and Thanksgiving style recipes and…and…and.. *drools yet again*). I absolutely love this time of year.Β  Not sure I made that clear before either hehe. Seriously though, I do. I love the weather, the way people seem more chilled out (and not just cause they are cold) and I definitely love the foods. Especially…erhmmm… pumpkin.

One thing I notice though is that there are many more sweet Pumpkin recipes than there are anything else. Mind you, you’ll never see me knocking that (I love love love my Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Recipe Β  as well as the 5000000 pumpkin recipes I’ve printed out in the last few days) but Pumpkin is wonderful in so much more than sweets mmmmmmmmaaaaaan!

The other day I received an email that had a recipe for Pumpkin Hummus. I was all over that one! I love hummus. It’s one of my favorite snacks or light meals. So combine that with my love for Pumpkin and I knew I had to try this. So I did. And it was bland and downright boring which is why I’m not sharing where I got it. I don’t want to show where I got a ick recipe.Β  So we all know me right? No way could I just say “oh well, that’s that. I’m done.” Nope. I had to fix it… cause that’s the kind of a gal I am. Or something.

And fix it I did. I make a curried Pumpkin risotto that I love. I mean, it’s absolutely amazingly good! Yes btw, I will be sharing that recipe here during the Pumpkinish season. So the risotto popped into my mind and I figured “why not?” So I added some curry powder to the pumpkin hummus mix, a bit more salt, a touch of red pepper and oh my gosh, is it good! It has a tang from the lemon mixed with a meld of exotic flavor from the curry and garlic. All topped off of course by the wonderfully fresh UNSWEETENED flavor of pumpkin. If you like Pumpkin and want a light meal, side dish or snack, try this. I served it with onion flatbreads. My husband, peasant that he is, didn’t like it. But that’s ok… more for me πŸ˜€

Curried Pumpkin Hummus

  1. 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  2. 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini
  3. 2 teaspoonsΒ  garlic powder
  4. 2 teaspoons onion powder
  5. 2 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste. I’m not a big salt person but many of you may need more)
  8. 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  9. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  10. 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  11. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • In a food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • Spoon into serving bowl and drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with a touch more curry powder.
  • Eat.
  • Feel good about it because this is actually quite good for you.
  • Cheer because I’m so good at figuring out ways to add extra superfluous (another big word… didya see that?) recipe directions because I hate short recipes.