Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Treat 2010

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker ~ ah, yes, the things of fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Well around here things have taken a rather deliciously morbid twist and there is no candlestick maker involved in this tale. We have the baker, the barber who become the butchers ~ ah, yes, the things of dark, dank and creepy and a whole lot of sinister smiles. For your Halloween pleasure come along on our journey with Mr. Sweeney Todd & Mrs. Nellie Lovett.

Last night we embarked on an adventure that gave everyone definite ooh and aw moments along with cringes and "How can they do that!" excitement as we watched Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter .What made this so different for us is that we don't care for musicals, however, this isn't your typical musical - our taste for the macabre and morbid far out weighted that problem. From the first we were drawn into the story of poor Mr. Todd. This is definitely our number one favorite for this years TV countdown. To be honest we have watched it twice!

One thing has lead to another in conversations of this mysterious serial killer of old London and we wanted to know more and here is what we found out-

Sweeney Todd was one of those morbid tales you tell your wicked children to keep them in line that became a full blown Urban Legend. As a matter of fact for about 150 years of London's history people thought he was in fact a real living person, however it has been long since proved to not the case. Sweeney Todd was in fact a character from The String of Pearls: A Romance by Thomas Perskett Prest in 1846. It was originally published in a Penny dreadful for its morbid thrills.

Now if you are interested in a non-human variety of delicious English meat pie recipe I would suggest you pop in on to The Brass Sisters and pass by Mrs. Lovett's shop altogether. I' just saying - know what I mean? Don't forget to click on the String of Pearls : A Romance above for a free download able copy of the the original book by Thomas Perskett Prest.

Be sure to pop over to A Fanciful Twist more Halloween delights.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Sorry, I'm a bit late with this, however, things have been a whirlwind about our our cozy little cottage this week. Had to get all our pumpkins in a row about the place - menu, food, shopping, decorating, cleaning, moving of some furniture and such. Basically you name it and we probably did it - hubby even took some vacation time off from work to help. I totally get stressed this time of year in a major way! It was the weekend of our annual Halloween Party. (I will be blogging about that latter this week over at Magpie Halloween) we had our first party in 1996 and have been having one ever since. Anyway, back to the subject at hand this week's menu----

applesauce oatmeal muffins, hot cocoa (x2)
pumpkin waffles, banana
rice pudding, pear, hot tea
scrambled eggs, toast & jam
oatmeal with raisins & walnuts, pumpkin juice (x2)

grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato basil soup
mini chef's salads, crackers
poorman's meal (used smoked sausages)
peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, carrot sticks, apple slices (x2)
chicken noodle soup, banana, crackers
macaroni & cheese, celery sicks, orange slices

Baked BBQ blackeyed peas & rice, seasoned greens, pumpkin pie
pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, picked okra & cauliflower
vegetarian Irish stew, soda bread
BBQ chicken thighs, sour cream & chive mashed potatoes, mixed greens salad, corn
shepherd's pie, garden salad, rolls
Granny's easy chili (making taco salads with this)
Spaghetti with veggie sauce, garden salad, garlic toast

Have a brilliantly blessed week and if you don't pop back in latter in the week have a magically Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2005 Pumpkin Carving

These are our pumpkin carvings that I found in a scrapbook album from 2005. If you compare these pumpkins to ones they did when they got older. You probably wonder what happened to their artistic carving talents. Well, the reason for that is - when they were younger I wasn't so keen on them wheeling a sharp knife about - they had different thoughts! There was a lot more adult involvement in the carving department when they were younger. The older the boys got the more work they did on their own.  Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Theodosia's Magical Emporium

I heard the trailing garments of the night,
sweep through her marbled halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
from the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might.
swoop o'er me from above,
the calm majestic presence of the night...

Oh, hello. Isn't it lovely here along Witch Lake? Are you going to V's for tea? Me, too. I just thought I'd pop by Theodosia's Magical Emporium since it's along the way. Come along, dear heart, you might find that missing ingredient you are in desperate need of.

There is only one rule in this shop each item must be paid by services bartered or with a trade. I got this crazy broom here last year. Theodosia called it a Firebolt. I call it a wicked good ride. She acquired it from some young lad named Harry that lives across the pond. It seems he up graded his.

I come here to gaze and adore at all the wonderful objects from near and far shores. the enchanted jewelry and charms to protect one from harms - she found these in a buried chest at Pumpkin Hill Farm.

Freeze-dried spiders from Hell Hallow that really pack a punch. Dragon scales that if ground can protect from evil spirits that cause ill. Jars of graveyard dirt and even a book of spells from the faerie world.

Door knobs from a haunted house, a Chinese gryphon's spell egg, mermaid's hair and pure vampire's blood imported from Transylvania.

Theodosia's prised object- a Chinese Fireball Dragon's Egg. It's been decorated for outrageous magical powers.

Oh, you must give her book collection a look. Spells, herbs, brooms, beasts and ancient Egyptian scarabs to say the least. A pumpkin teapot that never runs dry is always handy to have near by.

Her best had items are the never ending money bags that are hand sewn by a sexy old hag. Dried white roses for the perfect love spell and green Banshee tears to mend a broken heart.

Let me tell you, the mushroom charts are might handy - never can have too many of those. Roses that came from a fresh grave down at Dead Woman's Crossing. Dangling dolls to tuck in slips of paper holding your wished and desires.

A bottle of Happiness Elixir for those with a sad disposition. the freeze-dried mice are nice for boiling up potions that chase away that unwanted guest. Isn't that hand sewn wish box just dandy? I often put in my wishes for candy.

 The shrunken skeleton of Captain Horace from a dark Caribbean island. It is rumored that he asked too many questions and stole the native tribes ritual jewels.

Bottles of Blue Dragon's Blood, a few drops can extend your life or make you well. Theodosia says there's ground bones of an Egyptian mummy's dust in those large white jars. I've never looked the idea gives me the creeps because the mummy walked off and was then found at Skull Creek.

Oh, my, it's getting late we must fly over to V's magically creepy place. And as I flew away
 from below I heard Theodosia say,  "Glad you came by for a spell and be sure to tell you friends to fly by as well."

Hymn to the Night

I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
From the celestial walls!
I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
As of the one I love.
I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night
Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,--
From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
The best-beloved Night!

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Almost Party Time!

I'm so excited that the day is all most upon us and all the lovely dearies will be here. My potions collected, the cauldron has been scrubbed, the waiting is near unnerving but that's the Halloween rub. Do fly by Saturday, no need to be fast the celebration is otherworldly and bound to last. It's tea & cakes at a Fanciful Twist with V and shopping at A Magpie Halloween with me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

My, but how this month is buzzing along. It has been so full and busy with party plans, Halloween decorations, homeschooling, my monthly meal planing & shopping, not to mention the daily cooking, cleaning and laundry. Sorry this is so short but I do hear the boys a stirring and if you know boys - well - gota' go.

chicken & dressing casserole, roasted carrots, french peas
beans, fried potatoes & onions, corn bread, seasoned greens
no peek beef tips, mashed potatoes, green beans
Feta and pea egg cups, garden salad, biscuits & jam
roasted red pepper & caramelized onion pizza, garden salad
Hungarian Style chili on polenta, glazed carrots
acorn squash filled with apple dressing, Brussels sprouts, sugared parsnips

vegetable soup, crackers, cheese stick, pear
peanut butter & jelly, apple slices, celery sticks (x2)
macaroni & cheese, banana
clam chowder, pear, rolls
mixed vegetable fried rice, pineapple chunks
broccoli, cheese & potato soup, orange, rolls

oatmeal breakfast cookies, milk (x2)
toad in the hole, orange slices
pumpkin muffins, hot cocoa (x2)
oatmeal with raisins & walnuts, apple cider
French toast with banana & cinnamon

Have a brilliantly blessed week!

Cookies for Breakfast? Yes!

Alright, I hear the moans and groans. "I can't give my kids cookies for breakfast. They need something healthy for them, not cookies." Oh, I see something like that bowl of boxed cereal you handed them or cereal bar you just tossed to them because you in a pinch for time. Come on ladies, I'm not talking oreoes and chocolate chips here but something filling and healthy for them. The way I see it depending on the recipe cookies can be muffins in a different shape and not a one of you frown at muffins for breakfast. These aren't the itty, bitty mini cookies but the large size where one will do and you don't have them every morning - well - let's be honest if you did they wouldn't be special. That's what makes them so magical when a child wakes to this delight one morning.

Grown Up Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
3/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl  beat together the shortening and sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and bet to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat to incorporate. Stir in the cranberries, raisins and sunflower seeds and walnuts.

for large cookies use 1/4 cup of batter and space the cookies 2 inches a part on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so that they are about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for about 12- 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges but still soft in the centers. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 15-16 large cookies.

Another variations for these is Uptown Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies; leave out the cranberries, dark raisins, walnuts and sunflower seeds and add the following; 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup currants, 1/4 cup dried blueberries.

Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
1/2 whole shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.

In a bowl with your hand mixer beat the two eggs and sugar until light and smooth. Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Stir in the raisins and pumpkin seeds. Using 1/4 cup of batter place small mounds of batter onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

1 cup all purpose flour1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree (we use canned)
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup milk

Coat the inside of a waffle maker with nonstick cooking spray, and preheat.
In a large bowl whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to blend. In a small bowl combine the pumpkin, egg, and milk and mix well, and to the dry ingredients and stir well.

When waffle maker is hot, pour 2/3 cup of batter into the waffle maker and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Makes 4-5 waffles

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chamomile Tea

Outside the sky is light with stars;
There's a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, atlas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.
How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage by the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of chamomile tea.
Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.
We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.
Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.

~ Katherine Mansfield ~

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Caribbean Nocturne

A dead man's bones on a lonely beach,
A seagull's mocking cry;
The swilling lunge of long grey waves,
And a red moon in the sky.
A cutlass instead of a crucifix,
Splotched with blood and rust;
And a dead man's bones on a lonely beach
Crumbling into dust.

~ Stanley E. Babb ~

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

My, my but it seem to be cooling off in our neck of the woods quicker than I expected. The days have been heavenly and the nights cool, however the last couple of nights have been down right chilly with a capital ILLY! Who would of thought just two weeks ago it was in the 90's and the air conditioner was on and today I put up the light summer quilts and got out the down comforters. Tomorrow hubby is planning on cleaning out the heating stoves and connecting them, so when the time comes they will be on the ready! Not complaining mind you because I love the autumn cool down but usually it takes longer to get here, the week of Halloween or after.  Menu making has turned definitely to the stewing pot on the stove this week and pumpkin of course. We have missed its presence in the supermarket since last year.

pumpkin muffins, hot cocoa
toad in the hole, applesauce
steel cut oats with raisins & walnuts, orange slices (x2)
pumpkin wafflespumpkin waffles, banana
rice pudding, pear, hot tea
biscuits & gravy, banana

peanut butter & jelly, carrot sticks (x2)
grilled cheese, tomato soup
egg salad with crackers, apples,
ramen noodles, cheese stick, orange slices
vegetarian vegetable soup, rolls
macaroni & cheese, celery & carrot sticks, apple

Granny's easy chili, mixed greens salad, cornbread (made the chili with no meat and doubled it to use on the taco salads later in the week)
baked pork chops, scalloped potatoes, peas & corn
hamburgers, french fries
taco salad
beef stroganoff, roasted parsnips & carrots, french green beans
vegetarian Irish stew, Irish soda bread, pumpkin pie
Ratatouille on polenta, seasoned greens

Hope everyone has a brilliantly blessed week.

Friday, October 1, 2010