31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

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Today the temperature went way down, after having some wonderful fall temps this past week.  The poor trick-or-treaters will be wearing sweaters and leggings under their costumes!



We are ready for our little friends.  We made special baggies for those kids whom we have gotten to know their parents over this past year, who have done favors for us off and on, an who are such wonderful people it gives you hope for the future.  We sure hope they enjoy the treats!

Bob didn't think I purchased enough candy so I made round two this afternoon.  I was able to get chocolate treats for around 19 cents each.  Since we generally give two treats, I felt that 40 cents a trick-or-treater was a reasonable outlay.



As soon as we close the door and turn off the lights, I will be dismantling the Halloween and transitioning to Thanksgiving.  Does anyone else do that?  It's fun to have new decor up and I do save some of my fall stuff for Thanksgiving.


We really don't have a Halloween dinner tradition, in the past we've done pizza, or mummy dogs, or chili. We will have soup and bread tonight.  When Ashley was little we chose between soup and bread and pizza, depending on the amount of time between school and going out.  This year we are having ham and beans and corn muffins.  I was wanting something hearty and this sounded perfect!


I love that Halloween is on a Friday.  We had a fun surprise:  Bob's brother Gary came over to pick up our nephew David at the airport.  After our trick-or-treaters left, we went in to talk and listen to music.  We can take down the lights tomorrow, and throw away our jack o' lanterns.  And thus ends the 2014 Halloween season. 

Bring on Thanksgiving!

26 October 2014

Birthday Tailgate

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For many years we have had a birthday tailgate party for Ashley.  Her birthday, being at the end of October, has been the same weekend as Homecoming at Mizzou for a very long time.  When she started college, this made a lot of sense because we could invite her college friends over to help celebrate.  Now that she's been out of college for four years, the tailgate has become just her dad, Eric and me.  From time to time one of her friends will be in town and we invite them over.

The birthday girl!
The tailgate is always so much fun to plan.  We made a Facebook Event invitation and let everyone know where we are going to be.  This year we plan to tailgate by the hospital parking garage.  Hopefully we can park fairly low so that we won't have to cart too many things up and down the stairs.

We are having Buffalo Chicken Chili, corndogs, funfetti cake pops, a sausage and cheese tray, a vegetable tray, jello shots, apple cider tinis  and various drinks.  The food is always fun, and people always bring great things to add!

The Buffalo Chicken Chili was soooo good.  The recipe was simple.  I loved that there were so many veggies in it!

1 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 28 oz can chopped chili tomatoes
2 lbs of ground chicken (you can used chopped or shredded chicken, too)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 T cumin
1 T paprika
1/3 c chili powder
1 c Franks Hot Sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can chili beans
1 c water, if needed

Chop veggies.  Fry chicken in olive oil in a large dutch oven.  Add garlic, cook until translucent.  Add veggies, cook until softened.  Add beans, tomatoes, hot sauce, spices and water.  Cook until flavors blend.  Can cook in crock pot for 8 hours on low.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add more (or less) Franks sauce to taste.


You can see a mini corndog in the bowl.  These are so simple and so good on a tailgate.  The recipes calls for 4 boxes of jiffy cornbread mix, a package of cocktail wieners, eggs and milk.  Make up the cornbatter mix, scoop it into prepared muffin tins.  Insert a cocktail wiener into the center of the muffin batter.  Bake at the recommended temperature for the recommended time.  Yummy!

We also made pumpkin fluff!  Ashley loves all pumpkin things so this was a great little snack to have before all the food came out.  The recipe I used was the most simple:  1 container of cool whip, thawed, 1 can of pumpkin puree, 1 T pumpkin pie spice, and 1 box of butterscotch pudding.  Mix them all together and let set in the refridg for an hour.  Serve with vanilla wafers and gingersnaps. So good!

 
The apple cider tinis were a great hit as well!  I didn't take a photo, my error, but the recipe is very easy:  in a Pampered Chef mix and pour pitcher pour in 1/2 c butterscotch liquer, 1 cup of whipped cream vodka, and fill the rest of the pitcher up with apple cider.  Serve in Mizzou cups for the best flavor!

Thank you for coming to Ashley's birthday tailgate!  David was also at the party, just MIA at the moment!




18 October 2014

Beach District=Halloween Fun

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The Beach District at New Town is definitely ready for Halloween.  This year we have even more homes decorated for the holiday.  New Town is into the scary stuff at Halloween.  I still like the cutesy Halloween decorations versus the scary ones.  The Beach District seems to have a little of both.

Our house!

Our neighbors

Fun and spooky!

Fabulous mums!

Cute pumpkin and border

Cute visitor in the rocker!

Great fall color

Cute fall display

Team spirit!!


Several have lights, these orange ones are pretty!

12 October 2014

Pumpkin Pinterest Party

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A new New Town friend and I decided to have a Pumpkin Pinterest Party at my house and it has been so much fun planning the event.  I have been buying pumpkin goodies for the guests and have started making some yummy treats.

I make the Pumpkin Cheeseball by Tastefully Simple.  I also made their Pumpkin Beer Bread in muffins.  Both are very easy and very delicious.  I love easy and delicious!



I purchased Pita Chips with pumpkin seeds from Trader Joes to go with my cheeseball.  These chips are pretty and delicious.  Perfect pairing with my pumpkin cheeseball.

At World Market I found pumpkin salsa and black and orange tortilla chips!  The salsa is a bit sweeter than regular salsa but there is definitely a little kick to it.

I made tiny pumpkin tarts using the prebaked shells and instant pumpkin pudding. I made the pudding with less milk to make it thicker.  I topped it with candied bacon, just a smidge.



One of our neighbors has a vinyl business and made monograms for some of us to put on pumpkins.  I had purchased a pumpkin at Michaels on sale to put polka dots and a monogram on.  It was for inside the house. Too cute.


Had a wonderful time with neighbors.  Such a great group of people.


10 October 2014

Homemade Catsup

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We have had a great crop of tomatoes this year.  Bob planted an heirloom (Purple Cherokee), a beefsteak, a plum and a cherry tomato plants this year. We ate tomatoes all summer long, gave some away and yes, a few were wasted.  The plants decided to give one big boost of produce last week and I ended up with too many tomatoes to eat at once.

I had homemade catsup on a burger here in St. Louis and I loved it!  So tomatoey, not too sweet with enough spice and vinegar to make it interesting.  So I thought I would make some with the surplus tomato crop we had.

I picked 4 heirlooms, 4 beefsteak, 40 plum and 10 cherry tomatoes and proceed to skin them.  I like the hot water bath/ice soak to skin tomatoes.  That job was done in less than five minutes.  Truly easy with the hot water bath.


I pinch the green stem tops off and then pinch the bottom of the plum tomatoes and the skin comes off in one piece.  It's kinda fun!!

  

This is about half of the tomatoes I used.  You can see the different sizes, but I did decide not to use the cherry tomatoes.



I placed the tomatoes and 1/2 of a large onion chopped into a crock pot and cooked for an hour on high.  Then I used my hand blender to puree the tomatoes and onions in the crock pot. I made a bag of whole allspice, celery seed, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cloves and placed it in the crockpot.  I added 2/3 c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c sugar, 1/4 c maple syrup, and 2 t of salt.  I cooked the tomatoes all night on high, without the lid.

In the morning the tomatoes were reduced by half. I took out the spice bag and poured the tomatoes into a pot and cooked down to the right consistency.  I got a clean jar and filled it with my catsup.  Yep, that's right.  ONE JAR.  This stuff better be heavenly.

Even though I got only one jar, it was better than wasting half of the tomatoes.  I am sure we'll love the catsup and even though I don't plan to do it again, it was fun to make it!


Linked to Tips and Tricks Linky Party!

09 October 2014

Lacy Eggs

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Back when my sister and I were little, our mom would make us fried eggs for breakfast.  I can't speak for Tammi, but I loved her fried eggs!  They had crispy brown edges and I really loved them, especially when she would break the yolk, and make them into fried egg sandwiches.  We like ours with white bread and yellow mustard. Delish.

Over time, I was taught that an egg should NOT have those brown edges, and I have mastered the art of making the perfect poached egg, fluffy scrambled eggs, creamy egg quiches and a hard egg without the dark ring.  I love eggs and eat them regularly.

I happened upon the blog The Smitten Kitchen and saw a post for The Crispy Egg and a rush of memories came flooding back, the times when mom was standing at the stove, grease popping and the sound of the egg hitting the hot grease, mom telling us to stand back.  I remember she never had a problem getting the egg out of the skillet either, she had a paper thin metal spatula (that sometimes found our bottoms, too) that would take the egg out of the pan.  She served them on our pretty green melmac dishes.

I decided to try to make some for breakfast and now I am hooked. The lacey brown edges are delicious and the egg yolk is creamy.  Eat with a good piece of toast and you are in heaven.



Lacey Eggs

1-2 eggs, good farm eggs are best
a couple of twirls of oil around the pan
salt and pepper.

Get your skillet out, pour in oil.  Heat the oil.  Crack the eggs and put in skillet, turning heat to medium.  Step back, the egg is going to spatter and hiss all over the place.  The egg whites will bubble up around the yolk.  Don't touch it, let it cook until the whites are opaque.  The bottom will be brown and when you slide the spatula under it, it will come off easily.  Salt and pepper the yolk and eat!  Bliss.