October 19, 2010

The Frost is on the Pumpkin at The Maine House!

It is always amazing when hearing from old friends, how quickly time passes. One day we host a baby shower and the next day, those babies are in school and parents are running to all their sports games on the weekends.

 I received pictures of a recent baby shower being hosted by friends of the first time expectant mom........

 I can remember when all of these darling girls were beginning to play soccer with their ponytails and matching ribbons bouncing as they charged down the soccer fields. Amazing.....so my darlings....time passes....all too quickly...

Get out, look around, and take it all in. Stop for a moment. Put down the pen, the laptop, the TV remote. Throw on a jacket, grab a hat, and get outside now before this canvas is washed of all its colors and we have to wait another year.

Marisol enjoying her day!

Even if it’s for 15 minutes, do it! Even the busiest among us can spare that much. Rain will come and go in the next few weeks, but we still have some vibrant days ahead that will be marked by nothing by sunshine, blue sky, the occasional cloud, and more orange, red, yellow, and brown than we deserve to see all at once.

Find a trail, a sidewalk, a hillside, a neighborhood, and then walk. Breathe in the mustiness of dying leaves, and listen to the rustle as the breeze swirls them around. It’s the cadence of October that shouldn’t be reserved solely for postcards, or the amazement of flatlanders. The Frost is on the Pumpkin.....already!!

Estelle's Three Cheese Mac N' Cheese
2 cups shell macaroni
1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup grated provolone cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can (15-ounce) diced stewed tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoon fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook macaroni according to package instructions, drain, and transfer to a 4-cup casserole dish. Stir in remaining ingredients and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Estelle's Best Spice Cake
1 package spice cake mix
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 cup raisins

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 T. warm milk
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly mist either a 17 3/4- by 13-inch half sheet pan or a 13- by 9-inch pan with vegetable oil spray and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour.
 Place the cake mix, cocoa, nutmeg, and allspice in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the oil, applesauce, eggs, and raisins. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are moistened, 45 seconds. Stop the machine, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Continue blending for 2 minutes longer, or until the mixture is smooth and thickened. With the spatula, turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven.
 Bake the cake until the center springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 20 to 25 minutes for the half sheet pan, and 32 to 36 minutes for the 13- by 9-inch pan. Remove the cake to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes.
 For the frosting, place the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low speed to combine. Add the sugar and the milk so that the frosting comes together and is smooth and spreadable. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and blend until the frosting fluffs up a bit, 20 seconds. Spread the frosting thinly but evenly over the top of the cake. Serve, or to make slicing easier, chill 30 minutes, then slice and serve.

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air
 and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter;
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
  these are some of the rewards of the simple life. " John Burroughs

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