Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...Costumes and Scary Things

I need to photoshop this picture....but I was happy just to find it! this is about 1949...I am the little mom made my costume, mostly out of crepe paper (this was before Target)... this was taken in one of the "common areas" at Spartan City ...married housing (barracks) for San Jose State...

Here I am as a 7th grader...1958...I made this "dress" is a pillow case...and not a king size one! I was only about 4'7"

Jumping back a little...about 1950...I'm about 5...this isn't Halloween although this dress became a Halloween costume at some point. My great gma Dean (Clara Browning Dean) cut two of her dresses from the 20's down to make "tea dresses" for me and my cousin Lynn...we had matching parasols and delighted in dressing is Aunt Val in this dress later...she looks much cuter!

Jumping to the present (because I'm not really good at moving pictures around on my blog after uploading them) are Jess, Dave and Penny in Salem, MA last week doing the Ghost Walk.

Here are Brady and Carson a couple of years ago in Cleveland....I made them these cowboy the time I don't think Kendra and I remembered that Cowboys spent most of their time shooting guns...not so politically correct these days! But they liked riding their stick ponys.

Here's Parker...10 months...a cute Halloween kitty.

Here is mean you can't tell? This was a few years ago....

Beautiful witch Sadie...

And what a good brother Christian was to be the "cow" for cowgirl Lindi...don't you love her red boots?

Kendra, Dustin and Brady getting into the Halloween mood....

Kendra as "Annie"....she was Annie for two or three years...we had to get mileage out of the dress I made....and you can see a tiny bit of our Pumpkin Man....and some very scary pumpkins!

Here's Kendra....probably in Denver....Carson the cow and Brady the elephant....but even better is the next year when we tried to get Carson to be the elephant....he really HATED it....can you telll?

That year Brady was a Penguin (he loved March of the many 3 year olds will watch a documentary?) I knit this little penguin hat for him...

Back to the olden days....this was Kendra's dance costume....I don't think she ever wore it for Halloween...too cold!

One of my favorites...1981....Grampa Roger and Karl as CONEHEADS!
Matthew is in the back as Count Dracula with Kendra (Annie)...Michael is looking rather stunned on Gmpa's lap!

Here's Mike at the cub scout pack meeting....

Here's the year Kendra was in kindergarten and I was the witch...she actually didn't recognize me...I was a little TOO scary...and wouldn't go home with me at first.

Earlier....Karl,a pirate (anything to swing a sword, right) and Kendra the baby Indian....I think we inherited the costume from Vicki Ross.

Here are Mark (another pirate year) and the cute Kaity bunny!

Back to Cub Scouts and John helping with the carving... Dave is supervising!

And I saved the scariest picture for last....this has nothing to do with Halloween....but Dave often had very scary HAIR...(Dave, if you really hate this, I can take it off the blog!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apple Dumplings (from Pioneer Woman)

Need another dessert recipe with absolutely no redeeming nutritional value? This would be the one....need I say it's DELICIOUS....and EASY....Kathy Barber put me on to it....from the Pioneer Woman the link and read her's hilarious and exactly what I would have said if she hadn't already...her picture is better too....we wolfed ours down straight out of the pan with nothing but big glugs of milk!

Decadent Apple Dumplings

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in 8ths
2 pkg crescent rolls
2 cubes butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1 can Mountain Dew (about 10 oz)

Wrap the apple pieces in the crescent rolls and place in a buttered 9 x 13 pan
Melt butter and stir in the sugar; add the vanilla. Glop this over the apples...the sugar won't really totally dissolve in the butter...that's OK.
Pour the Mountain Dew around the edges and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake at 350 about 30-40 minutes...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amy's Cinnamon Rolls

Amy's Cinnamon Rolls

Cook (in the microwave) until thick:

1 (4oz) box vanilla pudding mix (the kind that requires cooking)

1 1/2 C milk

Add to hot pudding:

1/2 C butter (1 cube)

Dump the pudding mixture into mixing bowl (I use my Bosch, but you can mix by hand)and add:

2 t salt

3 eggs

1/2 C sugar

2 C flour (of 6 C total)

Mix until blended, then add:

3 T (or pkg.) dry yeast softened in 1/2 C warm (115 degree) water

Then add 4 more cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes...dough will still be sticky and not totally "leave" the bowl...don't add more than 1/2 C more flour.

Put 2 T oil into another large mixing bowl and dump the dough in, rolling to coat with oil. Cover with a warm damp tea towel and let rise (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).

To roll, I put oil on my counter and roll out into a long recgangle.

Melt and drizzle butter over dough (about 1/3 C)

Sprinkle with about 2 C brown sugar and 2-3 T cinnamon

Roll tightly and slice into rolls (I use dental floss). Place onto buttered pans and let rise again.

Bake at 350 about 15 - 20 minutes. If they seem to be browning too much before done, cover with a piece of foil.

While baking, prepare glaze:

1/2 C butter

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese

enough powdered sugar to make a thick glaze (maybe 6 cups)

1 t Mapleine (or other flavoring...vanilla, rum, almond)

Spread on warm rolls.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Apple Cream Pie

I thought I had already posted this, but I guess not... this is a recipe from a book called The Little Heathens

It's about growing up as a child in on an Iowa farm during the Depression...Val and I thought it sounded like Gma Eck.

This is seriously almost better than Mom's Apple Pie...kind of like pie with the ice cream already on it...this is for two pies

I get two Marie Callendar's unbaked pie freezer at Safeway or Lucky's.

1 1/2 C sugar

1/2 t salt

1/3 C flour

2 t cinnamon

Pat about 3 T of this mixture into the bottom of each of the uncooked pie shells. Then fill with peeled and sliced apples. I used Granny Smith...about 8 of them (medium sized). Pile the apples high; they sink down when cooked.

Sprinkle the rest of the sugar/flour mix over the apples; sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if you want. Then pour:

1 C heavy cream (whipping cream) over each pie. (1 pint of cream for whipping)

Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes; then lower temp to 350 and bake about another hour. I lay a piece of foil over the top of the pies to keep them from browning too much.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Minnestrone Soup

So Jess's post about soup (see Der Blog to the right) made me hungry for some...since I didn't know what to do for dinner tonight...I figured I'd throw this together...other than chopping some onion, carrots and celery, it's pretty much just open the cans...I had to hunt today to find the Italian green could use regular green beans...but the Italian are more authentic (not that this is very authentic...but it's pretty good, low in fat, high in fiber and and cinch to make)

Minnestrone Soup

Chop: 1 medium onion, 1 stalk celery, 2 carrots and add to:

1 (28oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can canneloni beans (white beans of some sort)
1 C Italian green beans (1/2 pkg.)
1/2 pkg frozen chopped spinach (just saw the package in half and save the rest in the freezer)
12 oz bottle (or half of 24 oz bottle...duh) spaghetti sauce
1/2 C small shell macaroni
1/2 t dry basil
1/2 t dry oregano
1/4 t cayenne pepper (if you want)
1/3 C prepared pesto sauce
water to cover (maybe 2 C)

Simmer a couple of hours and serve with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese...Good left over...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pomegranate Salad

I love this salad recipe I got from Aunt's sort of like a Waldorf Salad...but tangy because of the's great for fall, for Thanksgiving...

1 large pomegranate, seeded (the "seeds" are called arils)
2-3 apples, diced (red or green, I usually don't peel them)
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C raisins or Craisins
1 C whipping cream, whipped (or Cool Whip...but of course, cream is best)

Just chop and mix...the refrigerated salad will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Alec's Eagle and Skinny Mark

Here's Alec's finished Eagle project...planting trees and placing this very cool stone in honor of the high school mascot...the's' right outside the football field.

Another Nieman Eagle Scout...good job Alec!

And Mark has been working on a big project too...and very successfully...he's lost about 40 lbs. in the last 4 months... looking good, Mark!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mulling Spices...for Wassail

I didn't explain the mulling spices too well ....When my mom used to make this we just threw in some whole cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and orange peel to add flavor to the simmering juices. Now you can buy mulling spices at Safeway or a kit with the "mulling ball"(kind of like a large tea ball...if you drank tea) at Williams & Sonoma or other nice cooking store. I got mine there a few years ago for about $10.
Here's a recipe for making your own mulling spices....which I have never done (and probably never will!)...but if you are so might make a cute gift...often these spices were wrapped in small squares of cheesecloth or muslin and tied with thread.

***Note: these spices are also great to put in a "simmering pot" (small crock pot) to make the house smell yummy during the holidays.

Homemade Mulling Spice Packets

25 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long (about 3 oz.)
6 whole nutmegs (1 oz.)
1/3 C each: chopped dried orange and lemon peel
1/4 C each: whole allspice and whole cloves
2 T finely chopped, crystalized ginger (optional)

You have to whack this stuff to bits (mortar and pestle, rolling pin and plastic bag, heavy duty blender?) then put in a glass jar where it will keep for a year or two....see why I'll probably never get into making my own? Really....some cinnamon sticks and a few whole cloves work just fine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Winter Wassail

We had our first big storm's Mt. Diablo hidden by clouds...just the weather for wassail! I actually measured the juices for this recipe...normally I just dump together what I have around, always starting with the apple juice of course...but everything else is pretty flexible.

2 Qt. apple juice/cider
1 Qt. pineapple juice
2 C orange juice
1/2 C lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
mulling spices in a mulling ball
a few slices of orange if desired

Simmer and enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Montana the Babysitting Dog

The other day I watched the younger boys while Kendra went to the pumpkin farm with Brady. Carson and I made Mother Goose Popcorn and sugar sandwiches (bread buttered and sprinkled with white sugar)...Parker played with the trains in the attic and Montana entertained Kody...she was pretty patient as Kody tried to chew her tail(I didn't let him really get to it!)...after a few minutes though she got up and walked off... Link continues to hide under the table whenever small people are around!

Eventually we moved to the kids favorite activity: How many popsicles can we talk Gma into? (Basically as many as she has in the freezer, because she can't say no to these sweeties!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mother Goose Popcorn

Here's Carson making a "scary face" with the Halloween (Mother Goose) Popcorn

Mother Goose Popcorn (from Donna Tobler)
This seems easier than caramel corn and you can change the color depending on the season...

Pop 4 bags of microwave popcorn and dump into a clean brown paper bag (I get a few at Safeway and put one inside the other for strength)

Stir together in a pan on the stove:

2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 C white sugar
1 T butter
2/3 C milk

Bring to a soft boil and boil for 2 minutes. Then add:

1 t vanilla
food coloring (paste type gives the deepest color)

Pour this over the popcorn in the bag; stir to mix; dump out on 2 cookie sheets (I line with foil)
This makes a lot and is virtually fat free (but not totally non caloric)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recently Read (or skimmed or listened to)

Another "brain" book...things to do to keep your brain yound (if it's old like mine!

Killer Summer
This is where my childhood love of Nancy Drew has taken me for light "escape" reading....actually this helps pass the time while I do boring things like dental insurance.

Ditto above...but Patricia Cornwall's early books about forensic pathologist, Kay Scarpetta were really good (although grisley)...kind of like CSI but without the visuals. Her more recent books and the direction her characters have gone are not so great.

I thought this series by Rick Riordan who did The Young Olympians series might be good for Lindi or's OK but his writing is nowhere as good as Branden Mull's Fablehaven books.

Fascinating to browse through...the science of cooking!

Palmer is another author that passes the time while I do boring stuff.(do you get an idea of how mundane my life is)..he's a Dr...and all of his books have medical settings...this one was pretty interesting because the main character was a woman doctor who had Aperger's syndrome...a condition that the author's 18 year old son has...

Pride and Prejudice
So, this month is the 20th anniversary of our Book Club and this was the first book we read...we met at Marilyn Hulme's...I don't think I read this for that meeting as I had read it in high school, and I'm embarrassed to admit, English major that I am, I'm really not a big Austin you can see from my escape reading I'm usually into more plot driven books that I skim through rapidly, just hitting the high points...

But I determined this time to really read the book..(I love the movies...the costumes, the scenery, they're beautiful)...and I did, sort of...I listened to it on Audible...and actually enjoyed it quite a bit...she is very caustic and witty...but it's 13 hours to listen to (and the reader was excellent)...and the last 5 or 6 hours I set my IPhone on double speed and listened to it REALLY FAST! I did buy the Annotated Pride and's fascinating reading the background of a lot of the things from that era. And I bought the BBC miniseries and the recent movie and checked out of the library the movie Becoming while I'll never read Austin for pleasure...I have come to admire her and see why she's considered so great.

Final Theory:A Novel

Alpert's exciting debut takes the premise that Albert Einstein succeeded in discovering a unified field theory, but hid the result, fearing it could lead to weapons far more powerful than the atom bomb. In the present day, several contenders—the U.S. government, a savage mercenary bent on revenge, various scientists—all scramble to uncover the theory.
Good....another better book involving Einstein...Three Days to Never by Tim Smith.

An EPIC historical novel that takes place in the America of 1792 and involves James Fenemore Cooper's characters (Hawkeye and son) from Last of the Mohicans.
The book is almost 900 pages (I listened to it...30 hours worth) was very good (although the 29 year old Englishwoman heroine seems very "modern" to me) BUT at the end Donati leaves you with a cliffhanger! Elizabeth is pregnant with twins and they aren't born by the end of the have to go on to the next book in the series! I may, but not right away.

Dragonfly in Amber
While I was into historical epics, I checked out the CDs for book two of Gabaldon's Outlander series (she's just published book 7 of the series)...I read Outlander a number of years ago...sort of a time travel/historical novel book...the modern day(well, 1945) heroine steps through a cleft in some rocks in the Scottish highlands and is transported to 1743 Scotland and is involved (both romantically and historically) with a Scots warrior Jamie Fraser...she returns to the present 3 years later pregnant with her daughter...she's got some "splaining" to do! Be advised...tastefully PG13.