Happy Halloween!

My boys have just headed out a few minutes ago with their Dad, while I man the door. But before leaving they posed for a picture or two for me.

Oh you thought those pumpkins were my boys?


Actually the pumpkin on the right is my son's first ever pumpkin that he carved himself. I chopped off the top, but he emptied it and made the face and cut out all the pieces. I'm quite proud of how well he did, so wanted to show it off.

Here you go, here is my boys, getting ready to go out and see all their friends. They will likely get enough junk to make up for their mother not making them Halloween cookies or funky cupcakes this year. Oh well, there is always Christmas. Or New Years. Or maybe Groundhogs day.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Yes, I know there is supposed to be pizza here somewhere....

but not in my house right now.

No, Bob has not yet been packed up, nor has the yeast or the flour.

Instead it is just the cold from _________________ (fill in the blank with whatever nasty description you'd like.) I've lost my voice several times, I cough, I choke, I snorkle trying to breath, I am best friends with a box of kleenex, and cherry koolaid is about the most challenging thing I have managed to make all week. Even the caramels for the caramel apples have stayed, closed up, in the pantry, waiting for me to feel better and want to make them.

If anyone has a surefire way to get rid of this cold, before it turns into something nastier, please, leave a comment, drop me a line. But if it involves cooking or eating, chances are I'll read it and then go and try and take a nap.

I'll be back later, when I'm feeling better and up to eating, hopefully with some homemade pizza.

Goodbye Hershey, stockpiling, and the rain

Saturday's have been about family and little outings lately. Spending time together, exploring around us, doing something a bit different.

Today was no different. We took the day off of our normally scheduled activities, I took some cold medication, and off we went to Smith Falls and the Hershey Factory, which closes in December of this year.

The factory does not seem to be producing anything right now, so there was nothing to see on the tour except a vat of chocolate being mixed, but we've seen the tour before. We were there for the chocolate shop, some snacks and for me to stockpile for some baking.

This picture does not do my stash justice. And I certainly didn't arrange it so it would look "pretty". All total, I bought cocoa, milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. And the a set of nesting cookie cutters, Hershey's Kisses. I could have bought so much more but decided to stick with "the basics."

We took the scenic route back, while rain poured down around us. We explored a little town on our way home, which looked like it was trying to host an outdoor Halloween festival, with little red tents set up on the street corners of down town. At one tent I saw several men bundled, cold and wet, but manning their crock pots for a chili cookoff, as the handmade sign said. Nothing, however, was happening, due to the rain.

On one corner was a group of kids, in their hockey jersey's, part of the event, but also trying to raise some money by selling candy apples. As we drove by, we could see no one was out, no one was stopping, no one was buying. So despite the 4 bags of chocolate and treats in our trunk, we stopped.

Does a blue candy apple taste any different than a red candy apple?

Speaking of pumpkins

It was time to make a change from our usual pumpkin picking place. Not that they don't have good pumpkins or service, but I wanted some place were you went out to the field and picked your pumpkin there instead of from a pile that were pre-picked.

So we loaded up our pickers and head out to Miller's while the sun was shining and the weather was still reasonably warm.

We don't have a preset limit on our children for their yearly pumpkins. Instead the rule is: If you can't carry it yourself, you can't have it. And every year they try for bigger and bigger pumpkins!

They are always allowed to pick a gourd or two, but surprisingly this year, neither wanted one.

One did come home with one of these pretty squash, but don't count on it being eaten.

On Monday I spent the day with my co-workers on a preschool course. Our key speaker at the beginning of the day was Suzi Sauvé, a laughter and happiness coach, who was the highlight of the day. Part of her talk involved finding a happy thought, a time when you were relaxed and feeling good and training yourself to think of it when you need to de-stress. I think pumpkin picking with my boys, enjoying the warmth and colors and laughter, plus Miller's hand made butter tarts, are my happy thought.

Yes, there is some baking going on

Looking at my blog recently, it sure doesn't look like there is much going on in my kitchen. No, it is no longer immaculate - far from it! Nor have I packed everything up. I simply have not been inspired to make much lately and have stuck with alot of tried and true things.

I do have a few things in the files, though, and a new file building of other items to make.

Actually, in the next little while, you can expect to see alot of items that were made off recipes from other bloggers. I did pack most of my cookbooks when prepping for selling, but there has also been so many good things in the blog world recently that I have taken my inspiration from them rather than going looking for something in the dwindled cookbook pile.

Let's start with these cookies, from my friend Megan over at My Baking Adventures. I actually did comment when she made these that I was changing my plan for the day from my standard ginger cookie to these instead, and did. Or did as soon as I picked up some shortening, which I'd have needed to do for the ginger ones anyways.

I pretty well left these just as as, only using the seeds from half a vanilla bean instead of the extract.

These cookies were great! They did not last long at all and I am surprised there have not been requests for more.

The one thing I need to add in to Megan's recipe for these is in regards to the texture of the cookies. I admit, I jotted this one down on a post it note for that day, so did not add in all the instructions. Which means I could not remember if you were supposed to press down on the balls after putting them on the cookie sheet. So I did some of each and what a difference!

If you press down lightly on the ball, flattening the cookie a bit, you will get a flatter, thinner, crispy cookie with a smooth top. If you leave them as is, you will end up with a smaller cookie, but much thicker, chewier and with a crackly top. It doesn't show in the pictures but only because these cookies were made a few days later, after the dough had sat in the fridge for awhile. And by then I'd decided I liked the chewier version best so didn't press down on the dough balls. It's all about what you like!

Speaking of liking - I would really like to make this recipe I read a few days ago for a pumpkin cranberry muffin, but cannot remember where I saw it and don't seem to have sent it to myself. If it was your recipe, please let me know so I can start roasting my little pumpkin and make those muffins while the kids are still willing to try eating pumpkin!

How to spend your Saturday night

Read this blog.

But not with a drink nearby.

And if you do happen to accidentally "shower" your computer, don't blame me....I warned you!

(Thanks to BC for sending this to me, I haven't laughed this much in awhile.)

Last minute lunch dessert

Not the greatest picture that I've ever take, but I was snapping a quick shot before sending this tasty cake off in lunches.

I wanted an apple snack cake recipe that did not require me to have softened butter and that could be thrown together quickly. The plan was to use the two pears I had in my fruit basket, getting over ripe, but cutting into them revealed it was too late. So apple it was.

No flour used in this recipe, it all comes from the graham crackers instead. I admit, I was skeptical about that, but the final result was a moist, flavorful cake that was tasty and great for lunches.

Apple Snack Cake
from Recipezaar

I made only minor changes - skipped the nuts and ignored the icing sugar, but otherwise made it as written.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 butter, melted
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 28 squares finely crushed)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped- I used a granny smith

Blend sugar, butter and eggs in a bowl with spoon. Stir in graham crumbs, apple and cinnamon. Spread batter in a greased 8X8 pan. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool completely.

Happy Birthday to my little boy!

Thanksgiving this year has been replaced by a much more important holiday. At least for our family.

No more 5 year old helper here, I have a 6 year old now!

A 6 year old with lots of opinions about what he likes, dislikes and wants. And when it comes to food and dessert, he knows what he wants.

Last weekend he had a little party with some friends, where everyone got messy with fabric paint and then turned their faces and teeth blue enjoying these chocolate surprise cupcakes with blue vanilla marshmallow frosting. The surprise was a chocolate caramel cup inside, which unfortunately melted into the bottom of the cupcake but was still tasty.

I still have half the batch of blue marshmallow frosting in the fridge if you live in the area and need some icing.

Today is his actual birthday, however, so these sparkly blue treats were only practice for the real thing....

Not the greatest Lightening McQueen ever, but considering I could not get the enthusiasm to make him, he didn't turn out too badly.

And, yes, it's chocolate. I told you my little guy had opinions about what he wanted!

I'll get back to everyone later on the recipe for this cake. As for the cupcakes, go look at Baking From My Home to Yours. See the cover cake? It is that one, including the frosting, just shaped and colored a bit differently.

Apple Picking

Hail did alot of damage to the apples this year. Most of the Honey Crisp were marked with black spots. Won't make any difference for apple pies, sauce or butter, but not so good for eating off the tree.

Unfortunately most apples were like this, laying on the ground. Our selections were limited to the Honey Crisp and McIntosh apples, with all the other trees empty.

At least it was a nice afternoon out with my boys.


One week from first showing to sold sign!

Can't get any better than that, can you?