September

September

October 31, 2013

SCRUMPTIOUS SLOPPY JOES


It's here........Halloween night! Time for hot comfort food and watching "The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" Little trick or treater's will begin to make their way around the neighborhood to show off their costumes, enjoy the magical glowing jack- o -lanterns and receive yummy treats to fill their pumpkins! It's a rainy night here in Texas, so we are going to enjoy these ever so good Lentil Sloppy Joes. The Divine Miss M sent me this recipe and it sounded like the perfect Halloween night dinner! You could easily omit the ground beef and make these vegetarian, if you wish!
 
Mae Mobley wishes you all a very happy and safe Halloween!
 
 



Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes
1 cup uncooked green lentils
4 cups water
½ lb extra lean (90%) ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard


 

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, set a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the ground beef and onion for about 7 minutes, crumbling with a spatula as you cook, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.  Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and mustard and heat through. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend. Serve on bulky rolls.
 

 

 

October 30, 2013

CRANBERRY ORANGE JAM....THE BEST OF SEASONAL FLAVORS


Celebrate with Nature
Once the temperatures start dropping,
the focus is on heading inside with the warmth of a welcoming meal
 
 
Some of the prettiest decorating ideas aren’t manufactured or made by a machine,
but rather delivered straight from nature.  
 

Colorful pumpkins in orange, green and even white varieties are beautiful on their own, or painted with shimmering gold or silver accents. Gourds, berries, nuts and grapevine can look stunning outdoors in window boxes and flower pots.
 
 
Sunflowers, leaves, branches with colorful magnolia leaves or a bouquet of your florists seasonal varieties will compliment your autumn colored table linen and dinnerware.
 

 
There is no warmer feeling than sitting at the table with friends and family, while the crisp autumn air breezes outside, and you enjoy a memorable dinner. Autumn is that time of year before the hustle and bustle of the holidays, where you can enjoy the togetherness of entertaining, especially at your dining room table.

 


Autumn centerpieces are a perfect way to brighten your festive dining table, as well as warm the house with eye-catching fall color, even when the table isn’t occupied.
 

 
 
This jam is SO delicious! It's the perfect combination of fall flavors.
CRANBERRY ORANGE JAM
2 bags (12 ounces each), fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

 
Place all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes uncovered, stirring frequently to help remove water, until mixture is a little thinner than jam (mixture will thicken more as it cools).

Remove from heat and mash well with a potato masher, until all cranberries are in small bits.

Keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks.


 

October 29, 2013

MY SOUTHERN BISCUITS ......LOVE TO LOVE YA' BABY

 
How in the world do you make those melt-in-your-mouth southern biscuits?
It's all about the love honey.....it's all about the love! True statement!
 
 

Every good southern girl needs to know how to make good biscuits. However, I must confess. I was taught by a Y-A-N-K-E-E! You don't say...shut the front door! Yes, so much for it being a "southern thing" ..... being able to produce good biscuits from your kitchen. I learned from my Grandmother....actually from both grandmothers. They were both Ohio born and bred and both were fantastic cooks. Nothing was served that did not come from their loving hands and hearts! I still use Grandmother Grace's rolling pin, pastry blender and her old Gladiola biscuit cutter. I treasure their old kitchen utensils and will keep them forever.



I intend to hand them down to the children along with a little note saying. "don't you dare sell these or throw them away! These are old and vintage, just like me!"


So of course, these treasured utensils will never fail to produce a soft, flaky hot biscuit.....it's enough to "really melt your buttah!" However, another secret to remember is to treat your dough with tenderness....mix gently, pat gently and roll gently!

 
ESTELLE'S SOUTHERN BISCUITS
2 cups Self-Rising Flour (Estelle’s recommends White Lily)
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
2/3 to 3/4 cups whole milk
melted butter

 


 HEAT oven to 450 degrees F.

MEASURE flour into large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until crumbs are the size of peas. Blend in just enough milk with fork until dough leaves sides of bowl.

TURN dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently 2 to 3 times. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Do not press hard on the rolling pin….roll out very gently and this will create a soft biscuit. Cut using floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart for crisp sides or almost touching for soft sides.

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter when biscuits are hot!

 

Tune in tomorrow.....a MOST DELICIOUS JAM RECIPE TO SERVE WITH THESE BISCUITS!
 

October 28, 2013

ORANGE CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

 
 
 
It was a party indeed! Most everyone came in costume, the decorations were spooky and festive and the food was amazing! We saw old friends and made some new ones.  Our granddaughter Abbie won first prize for her Mad Hatter costume, which was too, too adorable! The picture above is of me and our one and only granddaughter! What a blessing she is!
 
Now you simply cannot let Halloween pass you by without making cupcakes. This recipe is so good and easy to decorate in autumn colors. Most people really love the combination of orange and chocolate, don't they? Oh dear, only a few more days of October remain.....time to get busy!!
 
 



 


Orange Cream Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 t.  each baking powder, baking soda and salt
3 large eggs
1 cup vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons orange extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, 1 cup of sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended.

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs, orange zest, vanilla, and orange extract until blended. Beat in 1 cup vanilla sugar. Beat in oil, then buttermilk, until blended.

On low speed, beat in flour mixture just until blended. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup.

Bake 22 25 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.



CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM CUPCAKE FROSTING
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled


 Allow the butter to come to room temperature. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 3- 5 minutes

Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate
2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate.
2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate.You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using1. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate.You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer



 

October 26, 2013

DIY HALLOWEEN BANNER

 
BOO!
Tonight, I have a date with Saul Goodman,
but I'll be dancing with the Mad Hatter!
Sounds like par-tee to me!
 
 
Need a little DIY project for the weekend? Perhaps this would be fun thing to make with your children or grandchildren? The possibilities are endless! I selected vintage Halloween images, printed them in black and white, then pasted them to scrapbooking paper, and laced a Halloween inspired ribbon through the tops of the paper...voila....ready to hang! I also took a few faux autumn leaves for a bit of color and glued them in the corners of each photo!
 

 
 
You could make this with cute little photos for the younger ones..anything that inspires you!  If you do make one of your own, please send me pictures!
 
 


“Witch and ghost make merry on this last of
dear October's days.” 
~Author Unknown




 

October 25, 2013

PUMPKIN BETTER THAN SEX CAKE...MAKING THE CANDY HURRICANE

Come on Mae......we have a project to work on!
Saturday night, we are off to a Halloween Party and
I have been asked to loan a few of our collectibles to the party.
Seeing as it's being hosted by Greg and Jenn, I could hardly refuse!
So Mae Mobley and I are gathering a few items
to help decorate and make the party festive!
 
 

It never fails! Whatever I am working on at the dining table, Mae insists on being smack dab in the middle to investigate! I was attempting to take a photo of the Halloween candy hurricane, featuring the pumpkin and ghosts Peeps.....Mae was caught in the corner!


She was fascinated by the new black cat. She sniffed and poked,
 but there was no reaction, so her interest was short-lived!
To fill the hurricane jar, I layered Halloween M & M's,
mini-marshmallows, Pumpkin Peeps, Candy Corn,
Ghost Peeps, and Halloween Hershey Kisses!


On second thought, this did make a pretty good scratching post!


Uh-Oh! Is that a squirrel I see outside?


Project completed! Thank you for helping precious one.....
I could never do it without you!



I have selected three items to bring to the party! A crock pot filled with cheddar brats, hot pretzels and the beer cheese dip I previously posted.....AND, this yummy Pumpkin Better Than Sex Cake!!! I have taken a version of Better Than Sex Cake to so many parties over the years and everyone loves them!

 
PUMPKIN BETTER THAN SEX CAKE
1 box yellow cake mix
1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 – 8 oz. carton whipped topping
½ bag Heath Bits
Caramel Sundae Sauce

 
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, spice and pumpkin puree until a smooth batter forms.

Pour batter into a greased 9” × 13”  baking dish, and bake at 350º, according to the directions on the cake mix box (approx 23-28 mins).

 Remove cake from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes after baking.

Using the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake. This should fill in the holes and soak into the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove cake from refrigerator and spread cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top. Refrigerate for a few hours and then you are ready to serve!

 

 

October 23, 2013

CHOCOLATE CHIP CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD....AROUND THE HOUSE

 
How about a quick bread that's moist, tender and swirled with
cinnamon and chocolate?
 Perfect for afternoon tea or gift giving!
 
First, I thought we would take a look at a few more Autumn treasures
around the house before we pack them away for next year!
 

The tiny Fox Salt and Pepper Shakers


Mercury glass pumpkins which contain flameless candles...
these are gorgeous and give off a soft glow in the evenings
 
 
Vintage Halloween Jester with Black Cat


Miss Helen's "Cute as a Pumpkin" figurine
 

Vintage Halloween Jester with Pumpkin

 
Vintage Pumpkin Head Boy riding his goat
 
I have so enjoyed everyone's posts showcasing their autumn décor. It's such a good time when people invite you to take a glimpse into their homes and see how they celebrate the season!
Now, onto this heavenly bread.....
 

CHOCOLATE CHIP CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Cinnamon-Swirl
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
 
The cinnamon-swirl : Combine the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
The bread: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until combined. Make sure there are no brown sugar lumps remaining. Whisk in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently blend until there are no more lumps.

Pour half of the batter into prepared loaf pan.  Top evenly with 3/4 of your cinnamon-sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter on top and finish with the rest of the cinnamon-sugar. Sprinkle with a couple more mini chocolate chips if desired.

Bake the bread for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Allow bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting.

FAVORITE SLOW COOKER POT ROAST...AUTUMN CONTINUES

Can October really be leaving us? Say it ain't so.....I never tire of seeing the beauty of this month. There is something so peaceful about October.....it is festive, connecting humans to the earth, to our harvest, to our history. We begin to prepare for the next few months of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which means celebrating our blessings and being thankful for family. I am going to savor the remaining days and soak in the sights of the harvest season. The gigantic orange harvest moon, the falling leaves, a misty morn, the vibrant chrysanthemums and of course, the lovely pumpkins. 









You are so going to love this pot roast. It is one of my favorite slow cooker meals to prepare during cooler months. Talk about comfort food darlings..this one is certain to please!



ESTELLE'S FAVORITE SLOW COOKER  POT ROAST 
1 4-lb. chuck roast
2 sweet onions, chopped
5 carrots chopped into chunks
5 medium russet red potatoes

Put meat and vegetables into your crockpot.



Mix together:
2 cups of beef broth
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
I T. soy sauce
1 t.  pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Zest of a small orange


Mix well to dissolve sugar then pour over meat. Set on low and cook for 7 hours. Turn your crockpot to "warm" setting and remove the meat and veggies. Pour the juice into a small saucepan, add 2 T. flour and mix, along with a little milk or water to make a gravy. Put all the ingredients back into the crockpot and allow to keep warm until ready to serve. Delicious with buttery mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.


October 22, 2013

MINI CROCKPOT PUMPKIN PIE DIP


Do you need a recipe idea to take to a Halloween party? We are attending a party this weekend and I wanted a festive appetizer to bring that I know both children and adults will enjoy! I have found just the perfect sweet treat to make and offer the party guests! Not only is this representative of the season, it will be easy to prepare and take along in the car. I like the idea of serving both fruit and cookies/biscotti also, which will make a lovely display! 


Mini CrockPot Pumpkin Pie Dip
1 c. canned pumpkin pie filling
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. sour cream
Dash of Nutmeg or Cinnamon
chopped walnuts, optional



Put the softened cream cheese in the bottom of the mini-crock.
Top with sour cream, then pour in the pumpkin pie filling.
Cover. Cook on Low for approximately an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or until warmed through. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.
Serve with: apples, pears, pretzel sticks, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps or biscotti.





October 21, 2013

MINESTRONE SOUP...IT'S SO MAGNIFICENT

You know it's coming....those rainy Fall days that we love.....


All you want to do, is hurry home, put on your warm pj's, curl up with your blanket and eat a bowl of hot and hearty soup.





Magnificent Minestrone Soup


 
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can or fresh green beans
2 onions, chopped
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
2 cups chopped celery
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup seashell pasta
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.  


Add chicken broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.

Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.