Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Smorgasboard

I have been amassing a large collection of recipes from other blogs to try. Last weekend the weather turned colder, and I was able to fire up the oven and try a few.

One of my first recipes to try was from The Pioneer Woman for apple dumplings. Gosh durn, these were good. It was unbelievably easy, too. My mama has a recipe that requires making the dough, rolling it out, rolling it up. These used refrigerated crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. Tasted every bit as good as Mama's without all of the fuss. They are best when warm from the oven. The recipe said something about serving with ice cream. These dumplings never made it that far.

I also made coconut pineapple loaf cake from little momma and company. It made the kitchen smell tropical with all of that toasty coconut. My cake came out with burnt toasted coconut on top. I solved that by brushing off all of the burnt coconut with the potholder. Crisis solved and the cake was salvaged. Next time, I might not put the coconut on top or use untoasted coconut for the top.

Hula Bagel Melts from My Sisters' Cucina was a big hit with Farmer Brown. I used Onion Buns because I don't normally buy bagels. I also replaced the Swiss cheese with cheddar cheese because that is what I had. Farmer Brown is a big meat and potato man, so convincing him to eat a sandwich for dinner is always a hard sell. From this same site, I also made the whole wheat apple muffins which they got from the site Smitten Kitchen. Frick and Frack loved the "cupcakes".



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lesser Evil

Our Kroger store has recently been renovated. It is a dream come true! A complete organic section, a flower shop, fresh-rolled sushi, a drive-thru pharmacy.....it's like living in a big city. (Not really.)
I love looking around at the variety. Please note that I still have a cart full of Kraft macaroni and cheese, but just knowing the California Rolls are there...heaven.


Look what I found today:



I bought it. It wasn't on the list. It wasn't in the budget. I didn't even look at the price. So how do I justify overpriced healthy junk food when I am buying generic razors that eat my legs?

There was a coupon.

Coupons allow every money rule to be broken. I learned that from my mama.

The catch with this coupon was that to save a $1.00, you had to buy two. So, I bought these also:


Get this - no trans fat, no corn syrup, no preservatives, gluten free, low fat. The product uses evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, and sunflower oil. Now I don't know if these things are any better for you, but golly, this popcorn was fab-u-lous!


I have misplaced my WW slide-scale, but because I now have a built-in laser beam that allows me Terminator-like ability to look at a food and compute the WW points, I am guessing these are 2 points per 1-cup serving. I do recommend taking the time to portion out into premeasured snack bags because you can't stop eating it. I have also taken the time to hide the bags because I will not be sharing.

It is sad that this was so good. The next time I am at Kroger's, I do know that I will look at the price. I am keeping my fingers crossed for more coupons.

Railroad Days

Deep in the heart of West Virginia is a train ride that takes you back in time. You travel until you are in the middle of nowhere and then take a left and go twelve more miles. That will take you to Cass Scenic Railroad. There are actual steam-driven locomotives taking you up a railroad built and used by logging companies in the early 1900's.

The scenic ride takes you up the mountain in covered, open-air train cars with the steam puffing and the whistle tooting. The view is spectactular. Seriously, how do you live without moutains as part of your view, espescially in autumn?

What does that have to do with food? Nothing really, but my mama and various other relatives read my blog and like to check up on the family outings. But just in case, I snapped some pictures of the logging camp's kitchen car.


The larder was well stocked for all your deep-frying needs. Look at that tub of lard.

The pantry, the stove, and the table to feed the entire logging camp was housed in one train car that was pulled to the camp and parked.


While the train stopped at Whittiker Station for a bathroom break, for forty minutes, I was moaning the lack of swingsets for the kids, while Farmer Brown suggested that plastic playground equipment might take away from the historical significance of the replica logging camp. So while we waited, they opened the concession stand to sell foot-long pixie stixs and Doritos.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tales of Woe

Weight Watcher Update:


  • Counselor at school - 15 pounds lost - Weight Watchers

  • Librarian at school - 60 pounds lost - Weight Watchers

  • Chubby blogger - 2 pounds gained - Weight Watchers

Sigh...I guess you actually have to use the Weight Watchers site if you are going to sign up for it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Fudge

Another exciting way to use pumpkin.
My grandma always makes this fudge as well as popcorn balls every fall.
Pumpkin Fudge
2/3 c. evaporated milk
3 c. sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. pumpkin
1 (12 oz.) butterscotch chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. nuts (My mama uses black walnuts)
1 (8 oz.) marshmallow creme
Place milk, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and pumpkin in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Cool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do You Think My Tractor's Sexy?

If you click on the popout player below, it should set the mood for today's post. (I didn't want it to play automatically, unless you really love Kenny Chesney.) Frick's birthday fell on a busy weekend this year. Instead of planning an elaborate party, we had a small celebration at the babysitter's and a small dinner with family. I went all out making penguins for the children.



I planned on making a tractor for the dinner. Frick helped me.
We had a little trouble with the building and icing, but that's okay. It was still good to eat.

Sad, sad, sad looking cake.

It was a very relaxing birthday. He and Frack played with all the new birthday loot while the grownups were able to sit around the table and talk.

And in the words of Frick, "Put some fire on those candles."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kashi Love

Due to an unfortunate bout of morning sickness five years ago and Kashi cereal, I have been reluctant to eat any more of their cereal. While making Frick's tractor cake, I needed some hay bales. My Wal-Mart was out of plain shredded wheat cereal (I think it is a conspiracy to make you buy more of thier brand), so I had to buy this instead:


This was surprisingly tasty dipped in green frosting. You can justify the icing dip because it has 3 WW points per 1 cup serving. Listen to these ingredients - organic whole wheat, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cinnamon, and natural cinnamon flavor. That's it.



That's some healthy cereal. It tastes good, too.


If you head over to Kashi, you can sign up to recieve a free Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookie. If you haven't tried them, they are a great healthy snack with a WW point of 3. I am also fond of the chewy granola bars, any flavor.

I have also had the Sweet and Sour Chicken frozen meal. It was very filling. My podunk town doesn't always have these at Wal-Mart. I haven't had enough time at the newly expanded Kroger's to check out their selection.

Happy Healthy Eating!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The March of the Penguins

For my birthday, I got a gift certificate for Amazon.com. (Thanks, Mrs. Butler!) One of my selections was this:


It is the best! Every creation is made with materials you can find around your house or at the grocery store. You don't even need to know how to do fancy cake decorating. There are clear directions and techniques, with lots of pictures.


For Frick's birthday, I let him pick which ones he wanted to take to the babysitter's to share. He picked the penguins.


After baking basic white cupcakes from a mix, it took about an hour to assemble and decorate them. It helps to have everything out and ready to go. After I got the basic shape down, it was easy. The penguin's body is made from stacking a mini donut on top of the cupcake, then a donut hole on top of that. You fill in the gaps with canned white icing. Pop into the freezer for ten minutes. Melt a can of chocolate canned icing in the microwave. Then you dip the frozen body into the icing and decorate with marshmallows, starbursts, cookie wafers, and mini chocolate chips.


The next time, I don't think that it would take as long. I made double of what the recipe called for because I had a whole batch of cupcakes and a boatload of donut holes.


Frick was so excited that he didn't want to eat them. Have a look.


Click to play Penguins

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T.O.O.T.

My mama came this weekend for our annual trip to T.O.O.T., a fundraiser for our local arts theater. The city blocks off the downtown streets and vendors from local restaurants and non-profit organizations set up and offer samples of food.
It was a beautiful day with the fall leaves in full color. This is a large event, drawing in crowds from all around West Virginia and Virginia. It is a social event with street entertainers, live music, and activities for the kids. We took Frick and Frack with us. There were a lot of long lines to many of the food booths, so it was hard to wait in line with the kids with us. I missed the crab cakes from Wolf Creek Gallery and pumpkin ice cream from the Greenbrier. We did sample turkey meatballs, lobster potpie, and barbecue from the Greenbrier. We brought home hand-dipped chocolate apples.


It was a beautiful day to be out in our town.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Kids are Contagious, Let's Bake a Cake!

Frack was home yesterday and today with a high fever. The fever broke sometime this afternoon.



Because she was home sick with her Nana today and was feeling better, I let her help me in the kitchen to try a new recipe. Let's lick our fingers. Let's eat the batter.


What's that? Your mouth hurts? Let's look.


Oh my, blisters.


The call to the doctor confirmed - Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.


Highly contagious.




Lovely.




The sad thing is that I was probably the carrier. Durn 6th graders.




The cake was good. So sad that I can't share it.


You can make your own at
http://mysisterscucina.blogspot.com/2008/09/baking-at-beautiful-bear-lake.html
My Sisters' Cucina's Blog posted this recipe for Aunt Daisy's Orange Juice Cake. Very easy and good warm. Mmmm.




The good news about this is I get to try my new popsicle molds!I bought these at Amazon for $7. They have other nifty shapes. I also bought these:




Are those not adorable? Frick wants a tractor cake for his birthday, so I thought these would go with the theme.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Brrr...Snowflakes.

When I left work yesterday, honest to Pete, there were little snowflakes up on that hill. I thought I was seeing things, but the football players practicing last evening confirmed it.

Here's a little recipe to warm things up. My mom makes this around the holidays.

Bobbing Apple Punch Bowl
1 gallon apple cider
2 tsp. whole allspice
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
3 whole oranges
3 medium apples

Place spices in a coffee filter and tie up. Place in the cider. Heat the cider to boiling, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Float the whole oranges and apples in the punch bowl for decoration.
 

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