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TWA….Legacy Airline

TWA…Legacy Airline. Those who know me…..know I love many things…sports and aviation are among my passions. Of course, it goes without saying that the Captain is one of my aviation related passions! I worked in Aviation for many years, and […]

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World Series…Best of Seven!

World Series…Best of Seven! I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the scoop on what is happening with my beloved Royals Baseball team in this World Series! I am sure many of you are already aware of the […]

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One Of Those Days….

One of those days…we have all had them. When “my dancing friend across the pond” visited me a few weeks ago….she mentioned that things just seem to be going great with my postings on my Blog…. But she hinted that […]

outdoors4

Pumpkin Granola and Roasting Marshmallows

Pumpkin Granola! I have to admit that granola is growing on me….well, not actually growing on me personally in the literal sense, but I am liking granola more and more these days.  I made the Pumpkin Sheet Cake earlier in the week […]

Eyeball Stew in Rye Bread Bowls

Halloween Dinner For Two

Halloween Dinner For Two…. I love to decorate the house for the Halloween/Autumn/Fall season…pumpkins everywhere…strings of maple leaves…, black crows and bats! And I especially love to make food that looks…well, lets just say unappetizing…but still retains that good flavor and […]

 

TWA….Legacy Airline

TWA1

TWA…Legacy Airline.

Those who know me…..know I love many things…sports and aviation are among my passions.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Captain is one of my aviation related passions! :)

This is Me...beside one of the airlines that unfortunately did not survive the affects of 9-11. (Vanguard)

This is Me…beside Vanguard Airlines that unfortunately did not survive the affects of 9-11. (I got to choose the color of this airplane….I love green!)

I worked in Aviation for many years, and during that time…. the Boeing office supported many airlines.

TWA Airlines….and then American Airlines were the primary.

TWA flew the Skies for over 75 years….I was fortunate to have been there for their 75th year celebration.

Our Boeing office, particularly my desk, became the daily destination of many of the TWA engineers.  

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Jim R., one of the young engineers.

I would take pictures and post them on my bulletin board as you can see behind Jim R. one of the engineers. 

We not only supported the Airline with the many issues of repairs, etc….I was also the sounding block for girl friend, baby, and life in general issues.

The engineers brought new wives and babies to meet me and I was invited to weddings and special occasions.

I will always cherish each and every one of them. 

Eventually, Boeing closed down our office and transferred me to Seattle….I still have many friends from that time period and certainly many memories.

So I explain all of that, to tell you about this wonderful museum of TWA history.

It is located in Kansas City near the Downtown Airport.

Below are a few of the pictures from the museum.

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TWA information

If you live in and around the Kansas City area, I hope you have taken the time to visit the TWA Museum.

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I have browsed for hours…..:)

I have been there many times and it has evolved into a wonderful piece of history….and you will want to go back again and again….as new exhibits are added.

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This was way before my time…..but interesting none-the-less!

TWA’s history is amazing!

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More Pics at the museum

OR, if you are traveling through Kansas City, please stop by the Downtown Airport and visit the museum for yourself.

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Lots of Memorabilia at the museum

….and if you live close, volunteer to help with tours, etc.

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Runways between the rivers at the Downtown Airport.

Of course, donations are always appreciated and welcomed, or if you have memorabilia from the TWA era, please contact the Director, Pamela R. Blaschum, at the address or telephone number listed.

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This was before the move to KCI…the International airport…our offices were located in the TWA overhaul Base Hangers…later to become the American Airlines Overhaul Base.

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Awesome!

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First flight of a Super Constellation L-1049C was 9.January 1943 Vereinigte Staaten Lockheed Corporation. Mr.Ulrich has Long time build on this Lockheed Super Connie Trans World Atlantic Model.!! 25. Oldtimermeeting MG Frauenfeld/Switzerland 2014

Thank you for allowing me to go down memory lane today…and I want to say a special “hello” to all my TWA/AA friends!

You all “ROCK” !!!!!!!!!!!!

Please check out my “Featured Video” (upper right corner of my Blog) for a video tour of the museum. It is well worth your time. :)

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Me

The Kansas City Royals won the 6th game of the World Series last night (10-0) !  One more game tonight and we will know who the World Series Champions are.

GO Royals!

World Series…Best of Seven!

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World Series…Best of Seven!

I would be remiss if I didn’t give you the scoop on what is happening with my beloved Royals Baseball team in this World Series!

I am sure many of you are already aware of the World Series as game 6 starts tonight.

There are 7 games played and the team winning the most games of the 7 win the World Series.

The first two games were played in Kansas City and the Royals won 1 game and the Giants won one game.

So it was tied 1-1.

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Then there was a day of flying as the teams went to San Francisco to play 3 more games. The Royals won one game and the Giants won 2 games.

Now, the standings are Royals, 2 games and Giants 3 games.

Again there was a flying day on Monday and tonite…Tuesday, game 6 will be played and IF the Royals win, they will also play game 7 on Wednesday.

However, if the Giants win tonight…the World Series is all over for 2014 as they will have won 4 games…no need to play the other game.

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But I have faith in this young baseball team and I am hoping history will repeat itself.

In 1985…the Royals were in the same situation with two games left to play and they were down by 1 game (3-2) with the same stats as this night. 

But the Royals did the unthinkable and won the last two games….winning the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Of course the question is…can the Kansas City Royals do it again?  
 
I hope they can!
 
I think they can!
 
I believe they can!
 
But win or lose…they are still my team.  
 
The same team I watched for years, while sitting in Kaufman stadium…munching on peanuts…. with perhaps a couple hundred fans in attendance…as the Royals lost yet another game.
(usually the 100th game of the 162 games played in a season)
 
But wait!  
 
Almost the same team ….these new, young players have determination and true grit.
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
 
 
They don’t take themselves seriously…no one is a star in their eyes…. as they joke and kid around with each other, both on and off the field.
 
They know how to play the game and they play it full on. 
 
They never give up!
 
And as true fans of this team of blue…..we must not give up on them either!
 
Yes, they HAVE to win tonight….and then they HAVE to win tomorrow night.
 
But you know what? They have already won in my eyes.
Royals White Sox Base_Schu(8)
 
They entered the play offs and then the World Series ….where no one…that is right NO ONE thought they could or would!
 
All the analysts focused on many other teams in their predictions.
 
So I say to the Manager, Ned Yost and to every one of the players on the Kansas City Royals Team.
 
Well done and well played.
 
It has been a party….and will continue to be for the 2014 Kansas City Royals! 
Jake Peavy, Giants...Yordano Ventura, Royals

Starting Pitchers tonight:  Jake Peavy, Giants…Yordano Ventura, Royals

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Salvadore Perez, Royals catcher

Royals 2011 Spring Training. Workout

Salvy Perez, 24 year old catcher

 

 
The Players/Team, include the best catcher in MLB…Salvy Perez:
 
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On the Bench: Nix, Willingham
 
Relief Catcher: Kratz
 
Speed Runners: Dyson and Gore….
 
The Pitchers:  
 
The starters are Ventura, Vargas, Shields, Guthrie, & Duffy  
 
The Relievers: Frasor, Collins  
 
The Closers: Finnegan, Herrera, Davis, & Holland (in my opinion, the best closers in the MLB
 
pitchers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Good Luck tonight…go out there and enjoy yourselves!
You deserve it!

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 Me  

GO ROYALS!!!!!!

Fajitas in a Crock Pot

Fajitas in a Crock Pot….actually, fajitas are fairly easy and quick to make on top of the stove and I usually make my chicken or beef fajitas just that way.

But if you have a busy day or are at work….it is easy to throw everything in the crock pot to be ready for your return to the kitchen.

You will have to shred lettuce, cheese (or buy it already shredded) and slice the bell peppers and onions….but that doesn’t take long.

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You then put the peppers and onions in a crock pot, place the chicken on top of the peppers and onions and set it and forget it.

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Bell Peppers and Onions

It is that simple!

pica de gallo

pico de gallo

Make up a little Pico de Gallo and Guacamole! Ole! if desired, and you will have a feast! (If you missed these recipes, click on the links)

Guacamole

Guacamole

And if you really want to add flavor to your fajitas, add a little Home Made Crema (recipe found in the post New Mexico Chicken Enchiladas Verde…..sooooo good!

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Home Made Mexican Crema

You can also substitute beef (flank steak would be a good cut) for the chicken.  

The rest of the directions are the same.

The printable recipe is below!

Enjoy all that extra time you will have….:)

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Me

 

 

Fajitas in a Crock Pot
Fajitas are good anytime and when you can save time by using a crock pot....it makes serving all the easier.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken breasts (or you can use beef...a flank steak is a good choice)
  2. 3 medium sized bell peppers, sliced (I used red, orange and yellow)
  3. 1 large onion, sliced
  4. 1 package of Taco Seasoning (I used taco bell brand)
  5. Flour tortillas, heated
  6. 1 cup shredded Mexican blend of cheeses (or you can use cheddar)
  7. Finely chopped lettuce
  8. Guacamole
  9. Sour cream
  10. Salsa or pica de gallo
Instructions
  1. Place the sliced peppers and onions in the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Add the chicken breasts (or dark meat, your choice) on the top
  3. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the chicken
  4. Place the lid on the crock pot and cook for about 6 hours on low
  5. If you need it cooked sooner, put the crock pot on high for about 3 hours
  6. At the end of your chosen cooking time....pull apart (or shred) the chicken.
  7. Add the chicken and onions and peppers to a medium sized bowl and serve with the
  8. desired toppings
Notes
  1. I like to serve on hot metal steak or fajita plates, placed on small boards...but you can use whatever you have on hand for serving
  2. Keep the tortillas warm in tortilla bowl or wrap in paper towels.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Guacamole! Ole!

Guacamole! Ole!

I have been making this recipe for guacamole for many many years. 

I have modified it a bit from time to time…but the basics remain the same.

Many times, I cut the recipe down as I make only enough for the Captain and Me! 

molcajete

Mexican Molcajete

I use a molcajete…(Pronounced mole-ca-het-ti) that is made from lava rock, with a pestle of the same stone.  

I bought it in Mexico when I lived in New Mexico (almost 20 years ago) and where I learned a lot of Mexican recipes handed down from generation to generation.

However, you can use something as simple as a fork and a bowl….or a pestle and mortar…anything to mash the avocados and blend the spices.

Guacamole

Guacamole

I also top my guacamole with thin slices of scallions and seeded tomato….and serve with plenty of home made tortilla chips.

So simple to do….dip cut-up corn or flour (I prefer flour) tortillas in hot oil til crisp, then drain on paper towels.

Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe?

Please feel free to print the recipe below…just hit print.

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Me

Guacamole! Ole!
Who doesn't love guacamole? well, perhaps a few people, but not very many!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  2. 1 lime, juiced
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  6. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  7. 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  8. 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  10. 1 clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. To a large bowl, add the avocado along with the lime juice.
  2. Use a fork or pestle to mash the avocado.
  3. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.
  4. Gently stir in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.
  5. Add a little more of the juice to keep the avocado from turning brown..
  6. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour and serve
Notes
  1. I use a molcajete....similar to a mortar and pestle...only it is a big piece of lava rock. You can use a bowl with a simple fork.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo….such a simple combination of flavors of items you most likely have in your pantry.

If I am having any kind of Mexican food….you can be sure there will be pico de gallo sitting on the side to add to any dish.

I love it sprinkled on the top of enchiladas, tamales, chimachangas, burritos, tacos, nachos…I could go on and on but you get the idea.

This little condiment consisting of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, garlic and fresh cilantro…..is amazing!

I am sure you have heard of the trinity in Cajun cooking, which consists of chopped onion, chopped celery and chopped bell peppers.

Well, Pico de Gallo is the equivalent in Mexican cooking.

pica de gallo

The Captain likes to use it as a salsa…and uses it as a chip dip.

And it is like a salsa except there are no tomato sauces or juices in Pico de Gallo.

In fact, I don’t want any extra juices so I seed my tomatoes, which is really very simple to do.

Just take a spoon or knife and “scoop” out the insides of a tomato, leaving nothing but the wonderful flavor of the tomato. 

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I like to use Roma tomatoes, because they are a firmer tomato which makes for easier dicing.

I do scoop out the insides of a fresh jalapeno, leaving a few to add the hotness that the Captain and I really crave.

Always wash your hands really well after handling jalapenos…and most importantly, do not touch your face, eyes or other important parts of your body, or you will have the most unpleasant burning sensations, that take forever to go away. :) There is a reason I tell you this…and do I have a story to tell from many years ago…but that is another post! :)

The next time you make Mexican food….be sure to mix up a little pico de gallo.

The printable recipe is below.

You will be glad you did!

Have a great day!

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Me

Pico de Gallo
A simple mixture of tomato, onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro....the amount of each ingredient varies with personal taste. A must have for any Mexican dish. I also like to sprinkle on top of nacho chips. Yummy!
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced very small (seeded, preferred)
  2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped (red or Spanish)
  3. 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (add the whole jalapeno if they are small)
  4. 2 stems of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  5. 1 green onion, finely chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  7. 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional, as it draws out the juices of the tomatoes and makes it runny)
  8. 1/8 teaspoon pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic and green onion.
  2. Salt and Pepper is optional, depending on your preference.
  3. Stir until evenly distributed.
  4. Place covered ... in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. If you don't have fresh garlic and would like to use garlic powder,use about 1/2 teaspoon
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

 

One Of Those Days….

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One of those days…we have all had them.

When “my dancing friend across the pond” visited me a few weeks ago….she mentioned that things just seem to be going great with my postings on my Blog….

But she hinted that she hadn’t seen any of my vulnerability.

I have tried to look at the glass as half full, but yes, there are times when everyone has a little of the glass half empty.

I always have camera in hand and I take way, way too many pictures of each and everything happening in and around me…..many times I don’t use that topic or subject, so the pics remain hidden in the recesses of my DropBox!

Plus, considering that I only use perhaps 5 or 6 photos out of 40 or more pics on any given subject, cataloging is very important to be able to have photos ready for my posts.

I remembered the day…back in the Spring that I was refreshing the hanging baskets on the Pergola in the Secret Garden…as well as adding four new hanging baskets. 

I would like to share these photos with you as I prepared and planted the baskets.

Call it “One of those days”….;)

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I started with four empty baskets and I covered them with a matting of straw and moss. (You can buy the baskets at any of the big box stores and the matting is usually in the same area)

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I then added a small amount of potting mix to the bottom in preparation for the new plants that I had purchased. 

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I found pink geraniums, pathos, a little ivy and some beautiful blue daze (similar to a plumbago) and positioned them in my work area.

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I took the little plants in their peat pots and placed them on top of the potting mix. (don’t you love my hot pink work gloves?)

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The plants were in no particular order…I just plopped them in and added additional potting mix around each plant in the basket…and watered them well…adding a little more soil as needed.

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I then positioned this very heavy basket on an existing pulley rope affixed to the pergola and it promptly fell to the ground spilling the plants and soil all over the pavers. 

Lots of potting soil…..and a few broken plants.

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I looked at it for a few seconds and decided to take a rest from my planting, so I took off my gloves and sat in one of the garden chairs.

I then decided this was a perfect time to grab a cup of hot tea and rethink the hanging of the other 3 baskets.

With renewed energy….that hot tea does wonders doesn’t it?….I revised my baskets by placing the heavier ones I had just planted… to existing large plant hooks already on the pergola and I relegated the other baskets that I was refurbishing to the 4 pulley ropes.

It worked just fine and after I scooped up all the plants and soil on the pavers…I replanted the spilled basket that had once been so prettily planted, and hung it on a large plant hook too.

Not a major catastrophe…but a little glitch in the plans.

 And you know what?  I like the revised hanging arrangement much better!

I think there is a moral here…..:)

Have a great week!

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Me

Pumpkin Granola and Roasting Marshmallows

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Pumpkin Granola!

I have to admit that granola is growing on me….well, not actually growing on me personally in the literal sense, but I am liking granola more and more these days. 

I made the Pumpkin Sheet Cake earlier in the week and I had a small amount of pumpkin left over and decided to make granola.

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I have been eating granola for breakfast along with Almond Milk…I hardly ever drink milk, but I really like the original Almond Milk.

So, I started grabbing ingredients out of my pantry….dried cranberries, slivered almonds, oats and mixed them with the left over canned pumpkin and for grins and giggles, I added my home made Autumn Spice (Pumpkin) !!!!

(If you missed the Pumpkin Sheet Cake recipe and the Autumn Spice recipe…just click on the links above) ;)

Can I tell you that my house had the most wonderful smells of Autumn/Fall!!!  

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Wow!  The Autumn Spice really brought the granola together….and the aroma made me want to go outside and build a bon-fire and roast marshmallows.

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Of course, that would be frowned upon in this city….although the Captain and I do enjoy our outdoor fireplace and last evening we roasted marshmallows in the Secret Garden.

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It was a cool evening as we sat around the fire….(of course, the Royals Baseball Game hadn’t started yet…8 p.m. our time)…!  (We may of lost last night, but we will make it up tonight…I hope! ;)

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We have the most magical laser lights in our Secret Garden…they look like little twinkling stars as they “sway” with the movement of palm fronds etc.

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Not a good picture, but you get the idea…;0

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The Captain advised using the camera for better photos…but I used my IPhone…because I was too lazy to go back in the house ….you know how it is! :).

 

Don’t ya just love the crispness in the air these days?  

I am so in the mood for baking and making home made stews…. that this Pumpkin Granola recipe is going to stay in my recipe box!

I have been working on ways to incorporate this granola into other recipes…..hmmmm…Cookies?  Brownies? Muffins? Maybe a breakfast dish?

More to come….:)

Below is the handy dandy printable recipe which makes about 15 servings…depending on your serving size!

Have a great Sunday!

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Me

Pumpkin Granola
This can be a snack or a cereal. It is really yummy!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  2. 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
  3. 1/3 cup canned Pumpkin
  4. 1 & 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  5. 1 cup dried Cranberries
  6. 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
  9. 1 cup sliced Almonds
  10. 2 & 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  11. Salt to taste (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and heat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Mix the Canola Oil, Maple Syrup, Pumpkin Puree, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Brown Sugar, Vanilla and Almond Extracts in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the sliced Almonds,Oats and Cranberries until evenly combined.
  4. Spread the granola mixture onto the parchment paper and bake for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow for even heat distribution (you want the oats to dry out on all sides).
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This granola will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container....but I guarantee it won't last that long once you taste the blended flavors.
  2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.....and is easily modified to your liking.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Halloween Dinner For Two

Eyeball Stew in Rye Bread Bowls

Halloween Dinner For Two….

I love to decorate the house for the Halloween/Autumn/Fall season…pumpkins everywhere…strings of maple leaves…, black crows and bats!

And I especially love to make food that looks…well, lets just say unappetizing…but still retains that good flavor and taste.

Below is one of my Halloween Menu’s with printable recipes below!

menu

Halloween Dinner For Two

Halloween Dinner For Two

The table is set and ready to go…..

Eyeball Stew

The Eyeball Stew in Rye Bread Bowls is actually very tasty! The pearl onions stand in for eye balls.

Wormy Ale

Witch’ Brew with Wormy Ice Cubes

The Witch’s Brew with worms floating around  ….very refreshing! The worms are the ice cubes to keep the drink cool.

Swampy Spider Web Dip

Swampy Spider Web Dip with tiny spiders on top

Oh, and the Swampy Spider Web Dip is a wonderful 7 layer dip topped with sour cream and guacamole! Yummy.

Note:  After serving, As the dip gets to room temperature….the spider web begins to “melt” into each ingredient…i.e.; the sour cream and the guacamole, and lines start to disappear…but that just makes it look  more…ahh…well, you know. :)

Caldron full of Wormy

The dry ice in the cauldron gives just the right ambiance as the Witch’s Brew rises above it. You can use a larger cauldron and place a bowl inside to hold the brew which will give a great affect. I only had a small cauldron and since it was for the Captain and myself….I used a pitcher to hold the brew.

Spider

Spider Protected sugar cookies and apple cider

And for dessert, black and orange ….decorated sugar cookies and apple cider!

I will have more Halloween menu’s/recipes later!

Have a great week-end!

Printable recipes are below…..

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Me

Eyeball Stew in Rye Bread Bowls
Serves 4
A quick and hearty stew...just before going out to trick or treat.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound of ground beef
  2. 1/2 medium red onion chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  4. 32 oz. chicken broth (add more if needed)
  5. 2 cups of pinto beans (cooked or you can use canned)
  6. 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese
  7. 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
  8. small package of frozen or fresh pearl onions
  9. Rounds of Rye Bread
Instructions
  1. Cut the tops from the rye bread and remove soft bread from inside leaving about 1 inch around the inside of the bread and set aside.
  2. Brown the ground beef, onion and garlic until no longer pink (drain and set aside)
  3. Gently mash a few of the pinto beans, leaving some of the beans whole
  4. To a large pot, add the chicken broth and beans
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn it down to a slow simmer
  6. Add the ground beef mixture to the pot and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes
  7. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese just before serving to thicken and add the pearl onions (do not over cook the onions)
  8. Add the chopped cilantro, saving some for the top of the stew.
  9. Ladle the thickened stew into the prepared Rye Bread Bowls
  10. Sprinkle more cheese in each bowl and gently move the onions to rest on top of the melting cheese for effect and sprinkle the remainder of the cilantro.
Notes
  1. The stew should be thick, but if you prefer a thinner stew, add more water or broth.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Witch's Brew with Wormy Ice Cubes
This is a great tasting "brew" and the gummy worms add just the right amount of sweetness.
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For the Wormy Ice Cubes
  1. 1 cup gummy worms or other creepy crawler candy
  2. 2 ice cube trays
  3. 1 quart fruit punch
Witch's Brew
  1. 1 (6-ounce) package lime gelatin
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 3 cups chilled pineapple juice
  4. 1 (2 liter) bottle chilled lemon-lime soft drink or ginger ale
Instructions
  1. For the Wormy Ice Cubes....
  2. Arrange gummy worms in ice cube trays, 1 worm per cube.
  3. Fill tray with fruit punch as you normally would water.
  4. Freeze until solid, 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Place into Witches Brew minutes before serving
  6. .
For the Witch's Brew
  1. Pour the gelatin mix into a large bowl. Slowly stir in the boiling water.
  2. Stir at least 2 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the pineapple juice. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Wearing heavy duty gloves or using tongs, place the block of dry ice in the bottom of the cauldron. (Dry ice will burn skin, so handle it with gloves and tongs and keep it away from kids and pets!)
  4. Use an ice pick to break the block into smaller chunks, if necessary.
  5. Fill the cauldron with just enough water to cover the dry ice. It will begin to "steam."
  6. Place the punch bowl inside the cauldron, on top of the dry ice. (The cauldron will appear to be magically smoking).
  7. Carefully pour the drink mixture into the punch bowl. Slowly add the chilled lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Stir gently to mix.
Special equipment
  1. 1 large black plastic cauldron (available at party or craft stores)
  2. 1 punch bowl that fits inside the cauldron (I used a smaller cauldron ...couldn't find a large one at my party store...and set the pitcher of witches brew inside....(The affect would be better with a punch bowl)
  3. You can also add things like plastic hands, worms etc... coming out of the cauldron.(you might have to hot glue them on the side of the cauldron)
  4. 1 block of dry ice (available at supermarkets, ice cream shops or ice companies)
  5. If this is an adult dinner....you can add 1 cup (or more) chilled vodka to the brew
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Mexican 7 Layer Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (16 oz) can refried black or pinto beans
  2. 1 (1 1/4 ounce) envelope taco seasoning
  3. 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
  4. 1 C. salsa
  5. 1 C. sour cream
  6. 1 C. guacamole
  7. 1 1/2 C. shredded cheese
  8. 2 green onions, sliced
  9. 2 C. shredded lettuce
  10. 1 C. chopped fresh tomato
  11. Tortilla chips for dipping
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the refried beans and taco seasoning.
  2. On a large platter, spread the beans around the platter.
  3. Sprinkle green chilies over the top
  4. Add salsa to the top of the green chilies.
  5. Add the guacamole over the top.
  6. Spread sour cream on top of guacamole in a spider web fashion.
  7. Using a knife or the handle of a fork, run lines lightly through the sour cream to make the web shape. ( put the guacamole on top of the sour cream for a creepier look, but you can modify to your liking)
  8. Garnish with black plastic spiders
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Me

Chocolate Chip Cookies….4 Ways

Chocolate Chip Cookies….

I have loved chocolate chip cookies since I was knee high to a grasshopper! 

Love, Love Love ‘em.

As I have stated in a previous post…the Captain and I made a whirlwind visit back to Kansas and Missouri last week.

While visiting Oldest Son….he just happened to have baked chocolate chip cookies the day before and when he passed them around the room…well, none of us could resist!

(I believe I have told you before that all my children cook and bake.)

Oldest Son follows the package on the chocolate chip bag, which has always proven to be a winner.

(Confession time: I think I devoured at least 5 or 6 of those great tasting cookies)

Today, I want to talk to you about the different ways of making the simple, toll house cookie… or as we have come to call it…the chocolate chip cookie.

Perhaps you know all there is to know about making chocolate chip cookies….because we have all been making them for years.

Or, if you are like me…once in a while you find ….that although your batch of cookies are good….they were just a little different than the last time you made them.

I mean…I haven’t tasted a chocolate chip cookie that I have NOT liked…so I am easy to please when it comes to these delicately, brown clumps of magic bursting with chocolate chips.

But to be a bit more technical….there are reasons chocolate chip cookies are not all created equal.

The ingredients are the same…but the proportions of the butter and sugars are different.

There are basically four different types of chocolate chip cookies….probably more if we really investigate.

There is the original toll house cookie, the thin and crispy cookie, the thick and cake-like cookie, and the soft and chewy cookie

original3

Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oldest Son makes the original recipe which can be found right on the package of chocolate chips.  He uses butter at room temperature.

thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie

Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Twin number 2 started making chocolate chip cookies as soon as he was able to stand up to the kitchen counter…and I have to admit, he makes great thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies….but he always melts his butter before creaming, that is just the way he does his.

Cake Like Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick & Cake Like Chocolate Chip Cookie

I like to make a more thick & cake-y like cookie…..less of the sugars.

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookiies

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

And twin number 1 likes to make… a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie.

The amounts for the original toll house cookies are:

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for thin & crispy cookies are:

2 1/2 sticks of butter (1  1/4 cups)

1 1/4 cups of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for thick & cake-like cookies are:

1 3/4 sticks butter (3/4 cup)

3/4 cup of white sugar

1/4 cup of brown sugar

The amounts for soft & chewy cookies are:

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)

1/2 cup of white sugar

1 cup of brown sugar

From here on, the recipes are the same,

2 1/4 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 2 cups of chocolate chips

How about a little baking trivia?

  • Perhaps you didn’t know that the difference in using baking soda versus baking powder, is that baking soda “spreads while baking” while baking powder “puffs” while baking.
  • Unsalted butter at room temperature allows for easier creaming.
  • Brown sugar adds molasses which makes the cookie chewy…so more brown sugar…chewier cookie. 
  • Creaming incorporates air into the batter which assists with the leavening of the cookie
  • Reducing the over all sugars, white and brown…allows the cookie to be more cake-like
  • A high ratio of white sugar to brown sugar results in a thin and crispy cookie
  • An electric mixer provides a better blending of ingredients

All four printable recipes are below, so go forth and bake chocolate chip cookies…

I baked all four cookie recipes this morning!

All four of these batches of cookies are going into freezer bags and into the freezer!

No, don’t admire me for my will power…I sampled so many of them, that I think I have a chocolate chip overdose. :(

Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

It is always a great day when cookies are in the oven. :)

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Me

Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
A very thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie.....very flat, but oo-ey goo-ey good!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Notes
  1. If you want your cookie to not be as crisp, remove from the oven at about 8 minutes.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Thick & Cake-y Chocolate Chip Cookies
This cookie is a little thicker and has a more cake-like texture.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
A wonderful soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie just begging for a glass of cold milk for dunking! ;)
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Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  2. 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/4 cups flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt (I use coarse salt)
  9. 2 cups good quality chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and creamy
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt until well incorporated
  4. Add to the creamed mixture
  5. Add the chocolate chips being careful to not over beat.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 8-15 minutes
  8. Cool on a cookie rack and store in a container for up to 3 days
  9. These can also be put in freezer bags and placed in freezer for up to 3 months.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
What can you say about the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie? They are gr-r-r-reat! :)
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Chocolate Chips
  10. 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets or place cookies on parchment paper (makes for easier clean-up)
  6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Notes
  1. For higher altitudes (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

“Playing By Heart”…Book Review!

Playing By Heart

Playing By Heart“…Book Review!

My dear readers. I am going to stray just a bit from my usual “Confessions – Over the Hedge”, to post a book review.

I am an avid reader….and dabble a bit in my own fictional writing, as I have stated in previous posts.

Playing By Heart

The book I am reviewing is “Playing By Heart” by Anne Mateer.

I received this book over the summer from Bethany House Book Review Program, and I am always glad for the chance to check out new books every month!

First I would like to give you the description of the book from the publisher:

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics.  But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach.  Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year.  Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball.  Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy.  She’s returning to college and her scholarship as son as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the firls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree.  God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.

 At first, I was prepared to “scold” Lula for giving up her mathematical college career…, but as I was drawn deeper into the sweet story, I recognized that she was from a completely different time in the evolution of women and their careers.  The history and facts were correct for that time period…which was during World War I.

The excellent story telling provided an interesting description of basketball, …particularly women’s basketball and the confines that were a part of this fun game that we watch today. 

I did enjoy this book and I liked the way the author chose to write the book from both Lula and Chet’s first-person perspective…and I especially liked the way both Lula’s and Chet’s faith intertwined through-out their every day lives and the decisions they were both forced to make. 

I particularly liked that Lula is portrayed by the author as “very smart” …but still has that inner struggle with many aspects of her life, making it real.

All the characters are well developed which leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of each character and their actions.

Mateer also made the honorable romance between Lula and Chet feel very real and true to the time period. 

It was also interesting to note that some of the story was based on the author’s family history.

There were a few twists and turns that brought a smile to my face, but I certainly don’t want to give away any of them to those who haven’t read this book.

I do recommend this book for those who love historical fiction and unique plots.

The book was intriguing, well written, and well researched.  

Do you like to read?

What are you reading lately?

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Me

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this book!

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