Archive for October, 2015

Fall/Autumn Decor & Tablescape

Good morning, my dear readers…..I thought since I have been talking “Fall” for several posts…. that I would share with you a little tour of my Fall decor.

My confession is, I always decorate for the Holidays…it used to be for my kids and then I realized that it was for the biggest “kid” of all…..ME!!!  

I start Fall Decorating in September or as soon as I feel the weather beginning to turn cooler and leave everything up until Thanksgiving.  During that time…items get moved around from time to time as you will see in the pics….so the decor doesn’t stay exactly the same.  And yes, I do leave the formal dining tablescape put together til Thanksgiving. πŸ˜‰

When I think of Autumn and all the beautiful colors of the leaves….it makes me think of woods and forests!  And when one thinks of the woods, …one can not help but think of foxes, squirrels and all sorts of wood-sy animals and that is what I used for a theme this year.

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Fall Dippidy-Doo-Dahs!

Autumn is still in the air and I have a few Fall Dippidy-Doo-Dah recipes for you (two recipes include pumpkin)….  just in case you are looking for something quick to use as an appetizer for your Halloween Party, Thanksgiving Feast or say just about anything …like maybe watching a baseball game happenin’ in the World Series.  You knew I had to mention that didn’t you? πŸ˜‰

OK…that is out of my system, at least temporarily!

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My dear readers…..

eyes are blurry

not enough sleep

no will to stop

as Royals peak

 

2 games are won

in this series of seven

train is rollin’

til after eleven

 

lets win 2 more

in New York State

keep those runs

safe at the plate

 

Boys of October

Boys in Blue

All your fans

Are rooting for you!

 

#LetsGoRoyals

#TaketheCrown

#ForeverRoyal

Forgive me for shouting from the roof tops but this has been a long time coming and I am so very proud of the Kansas City Royals as they have won the first two games of the seven games that make up the World Series.

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This is a big deal for Kansas City. There are blue lights in office buildings and blue water in fountains all over Kansas City. The Royals have been playing well for three years and have gone to the World Series for the last two years.  It isn’t over, but so far the Royals have played really well…..and the sports analysts are taking notice….finally.  See the below from ESPN. 

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Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com:

 

“On Tuesday, Harvey threw 30 fastballs. The Royals swung at and missed two of them. On Wednesday, deGrom threw 54 fastballs. The Royals swung at and missed none of them.

But wait. There’s more. On Tuesday, Harvey threw 18 pitches with two strikes. The Royals swung at and missed one of them. On Wednesday, deGrom threw 28 pitches with two strikes. The Royals didn’t swing at and miss a single one of them.

And let’s make sure the population of Queens understands something right now, before panic sweeps the streets and subway platforms: This isn’t about what the Mets are doing wrong. It’s about what the Royals are doing right, what they’ve been doing right for two years now.

And don’t go thinking the other 29 teams should all start emulating what you see here, because it’s not for everybody.

“Don’t get used to it and look to build your club around that,” said Gomes, who has played for enough other clubs (seven) to know. “This is an extremely unique situation. … Unique players. Unique philosophy.”

Thirteen games into their postseason, they’re hitting .222 with nobody on base. But guess what they’re hitting with runners on base? How about .330. With runners in scoring position? How about .340. With runners in scoring position and two outs? How about .311.

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You can call that luck. You can call that random. You can call that happenstance if you want. But you know what the Royals call it? Winning. And they wonder how long they’ll have to keep winning this way for the world to catch on. This is what they do.

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“I don’t know how many years we’ve got to do it,” Cain said. “But we’ve done this for back-to-back years, and we’ve made the World Series in back-to-back years. So I don’t know what else people want from us.”

Have a great Day sports fans!

Lets go Royals!!

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Do You Know What Day This Is?????

If you are talking about the World Series of Baseball (as I am)…today is the first day of this match-up between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets. Yeah!!!!

AND I have a very easy peasy recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Marmalade that is so good…you really should make it…I mean, if you want something to be cooking away…filling your kitchen with great smells of all kinds of goodness…. plus, a moist kind of sweet and savory chicken that bursts with flavor-town in your mouth.

Sorry, to get so excited about chicken….but this is a special day! AND I needed a recipe for this exciting day!

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I think you can tell that I am excited!  Did I say that I was excited?

Well, I am and I am so excited to watch this series of games that I knew I didn’t want to be in the kitchen cooking ….and that is where my crock pot comes in.  I love crock pots!  They are such a convenience and a great time saver.  Did I say that this crock pot chicken is…well…pretty too?  The marmalade gives this chicken a shiny glaze and remember that we eat with our eyes first.  

fajitas33I prefer chicken thighs over breasts as I think they are tastier.  I have always chosen thighs!  It is what I do!  The Captain chooses breasts,  he prefers the white meat, so it is a perfect union.  Except for the times I make a meal of all chicken thighs …which is what I did for this crock pot meal. I think the marmalade made up for the fact that there was no chicken breasts.  You could substitute chicken breasts for the chicken thighs….or cook both. Don’t ya just love choices?

2015-10-27_16.10.02[1]I do use the low sodium soy sauce because it can be quite salty…but I do think it really adds to the pretty glazing of orange marmalade and the barbecue sauce. As you can see, I also use low sugar orange marmalade and KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce….Gosh, I have to have KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce, right? I mean if I can’t be in Kansas City for the game….I better be using a KC sauce.  

However, I do have a small confession to make.  I added a bit of  Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce just to “bling” it up a bit!  GEE!, how did that bottle of  Guinness get in that photo? Hmmmmmm……:)

 #LetsGoRoyals!  #TaketheCrown!  #ForeverRoyal! #BoysinBlue! #BoysofOctober! 

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Are you ready for some baseball? This house certainly is. I made up a little salsa for some chips and dip…have the popcorn and crackerjacks and peanuts all ready. I am ready for the familiar phrase…..Play Ball!!!

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Below is the handy dandy printable recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Marmalade…

Right now I am humming and singing

“take me out to the ball game

take me out with the crowd

just buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don’t care if I never get back….Let me root, root, root for the home-KCRoyals team,

If they don’t win, it’s a shame.

For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,

At the old ball game.”

Hugs to all of you! πŸ˜‰

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Crock Pot Chicken Marmalade
This is a quick and easy chicken dish and the orange marmalade really adds tons of flavor. The Crock Pot saves you time for other fun things...like watching the World Series! πŸ˜‰
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Boneless Chicken Thighs or Breasts (I prefer thighs because I think they are more flavorful)
  2. 3/4 cup Orange Marmalade
  3. 3/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce (I use low sodium)
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a crock pot or slow cooker (on high) and cook for about 3 hours
  2. Remove the lid and the chicken from the pot and set aside
  3. Remove the chicken drippings from the crock pot
  4. Keeping the pot on high, add the Bar B Q sauce, Orange Marmalade and Soy Sauce, mixing thoroughly
  5. Nestle the chicken pieces in the marmalade mixture turning to coat each piece
  6. Place the lid back on the crock pot and cook for approximately 25-30 more minutes.
Notes
  1. This chicken is so moist and tender and simply delicious. Any side dish works great or you can serve over rice.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Georgia On My Mind….

Georgia on my mind when it comes to peaches.

My dear readers…. Yes, it is still Fall and yes, it is “fruit time” in many states, but the particular fruit I am going to talk about today is Peaches!  Florida is the citrus state but they also grow peaches….the peach season in Florida is earlier in the year, particularly, mid April to late May. So the season is very short.  

However, there are peaches almost year round in our supermarkets, Farmer’s Markets and even roadside stands and they come from all over the United States and South America.  My favorite peach is the Georgia peach and their season is early May to early August!  They are the most flavorful and juicy and chin-dripping good!

A few of the top peach producing states in addition to Georgia are:

South Carolina…..early May to early August

Michigan….mid July to late September

New Jersey….early July to late September

Idaho…..early August to early October

California…..early May to early September

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A few weeks ago, in September, I purchased a flat of California peaches and made peach everything.  (Sorry, I am just now getting around to showing you these recipes)

I made peach coffee cake (recipe included here) and peach preserves (so yummy on sour dough toast with a cuppa hot tea) and peach cobbler (spectacularly yummy with vanilla ice cream) and…well, just suffice it to say I had peaches and peach goodies everywhere in my kitchen. πŸ˜‰

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So even though we are in October and the month of pumpkins, squash, apples and cider….the peach sort of “fits” in, doesn’t it?  I mean the colors on a fuzzy peach are Fall-ish….yellow, orange and red, so in my book that qualifies it to be in my Fall/Autumn category!

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Regardless, on this Monday morning….and this is an in-service non school day here in Florida, so there are children hither and yon, squealing with delight as they enjoy the cooler temperatures and a day free of school….(just thought I would throw that bit of info in as I work on this post with all doors and windows open) …but I digress, on this Monday morning, the below printable recipe would certainly make your kitchen smell peachy-yummy.  It certainly made my kitchen smell wonderful when I made it a couple weeks ago.

Comfort food….yep! that is what I call it!

Enjoy!

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Peach Coffee Cake
This coffee cake is soooo good and looks very pretty in your cast iron skillet. No need for fancy serving platter....this looks homey good as is.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 3 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  5. 1/4 teaspoons cardamom
  6. 1/2 teaspoons salt (I use kosher because it is a coarse salt)
  7. 3/4 cup butter, softened but not melted
  8. 1 teaspoon unsalted butter to coat the cast iron skillet
  9. 1 cup sugar
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 1/2 cup milk
  12. 1/4 cup sour cream
  13. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  14. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  15. 3 cups peeled and diced fresh peaches, cut into 1/2" cubes
Topping
  1. 3/4 cup flour
  2. 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  5. pinch of salt, optional
  6. 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
  7. Glaze: optional, but sooooo good
  8. 1 cup powdered sugar
  9. 4 teaspoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375Β°. Grease a large cast iron skillet (at least 10 inch) with the 1 teaspoon of butter. Set pan aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Using your electric mixer bowl, cream together the remaining 3/4 cup of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs and milk and beat until smooth, and then mix in the vanilla extract and almond extract.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the diced peaches and spread batter into the greased cast iron skillet.
Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter with two forks or pastry cutter until you have pea-sized crumbles. Sprinkle over the top of the uncooked coffee cake batter.
  2. Place skillet in oven and bake for about 55 minutes, or until coffee cake is puffed up and set in the center, and nicely golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Allow the coffee cake to cool for about 2 hours to have a pretty slice....otherwise the cake is so moist that it will sorta crumble...not so pretty but still good.
  3. The glaze is optional but I think it "adds" to the looks of the coffee cake as a drizzle.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
  5. Use a fork to drizzle after cutting into serving pieces.
Notes
  1. Drizzling each piece is so pretty.... but if you don't want to do it that way...just drizzle while still in the cast iron skillet.:)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

Wait for It….Wait For it!

My dear readers…you knew this was coming. Well, at least those of you who are sports fans and know what an avid sports nut I am, had to know this was coming.  What you ask? This post shouting the name of the Kansas City Royals as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays and advancing to the World Series.  Actually, the second World Series…in a row.

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You can just imagine the excitement of my whole family as our little fingers texted back and forth over each and every pitched ball, hit, run, home run etc etc etc.  Yes, way past midnight due to the one hour rain delay in the 8th inning.  But the Royals came through and made all the Kansas City fans all over the country very proud.

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I was screaming and jumping up and down…the Captain was a bit more subdued, but none the less excited… as were our kids and grandkids. We all kept texting long after the game was over as no one could think of sleep after such an exciting game. One of our beautiful granddaughters had to go to work today…don’t know if she got any sleep or not….but she was a trooper and hung in there with all of the rest of us.

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The Kansas City Royals…being from the Midwest…has flown under the radar all season long. East Coast Sports announcers and analysts barely mentioning them, but rather touting the more famous East and West Coast teams.

2015-10-24_10-08-07Many said the trip to the World Series last year was a fluke for a bunch of players with “No Prominent Names”….and they are right about stand-out players.  No one individual stands out on this young team….they all work collectively to get the job done and I am so very proud of all of them.  

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The line up last night is one that most would not recognize as these players all have nicknames…but we fans know who they are!

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So congratulations to the Kansas City Royals….lets keep going with the first World Series game on Tuesday night, when they play the New York Mets!

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#TaketheCrown! #LetsGoRoyals! #ForeverRoyal! 

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Thank you….thank you very much… for letting me get this out of my system, my dear readers!

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Enjoy your week-end! I am still dancing! πŸ˜‰  You know where I will be Tuesday Evening.

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Pumpkin, One More Time?

I know my dear readers….you might be tiring of all things pumpkin….even though you know I am having a thing with Fall/Autumn/pumpkin/squash this year.   I am having a great time with comfort recipes, so please bear with me for yet another pumpkin recipe…altho, I cannot tell a lie and so I can’t promise that this is the last. πŸ˜‰

Today, I want to talk Donuts!

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Some of you readers, I know, worked with me in Kansas City and Seattle and so you are going to be familiar with what I am about to discuss.  However, I am sure other readers can relate because I am almost positive you’all did the same thing if you worked in offices or anywhere for that matter.

What I am talking about is “Fridays”!  Fridays were special for several reasons.  One, it was almost the week-end and two, we were allowed to wear jeans and shirts to support our respective sports teams and three...and most importantly….someone always brought in donuts!

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Yep! The Kansas City folk catered to and loved LaMar’s Donuts and it didn’t take long for word to spread early on a Friday morning that LaMar’s Donuts were on the third floor, and many times in the Boeing office where I worked.

OK….I admit that I would bring in LaMar’s Donuts…sometimes…OK, a lot! πŸ˜‰

When I transferred to Seattle, the tradition continued, only it was Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

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OK….I was the culprit in that gig too…although I can not take credit for Donut Fridays….that was in place long before I ever came on the scene.  I confess….I just perpetuated it.  (As you can see by the above ads, these two donut/doughnut shops are thinking like me with pumpkin…or perhaps I am thinking like them!)

And you know I NEVER ate any of these confections….

OK, I did eat one…or two… or three.  But a girl has to have one indulgence doesn’t she? I will say, and truthfully so, that in the later years, I refrained from the sweet donuts….reluctantly!

I believe I stated in a previous post that I had not eaten donuts in all the 6 years we have lived in Florida and that is the truth.

Until now….I found this recipe for pumpkin donuts and well, they really are not like a donut because they are baked.  They are more like a cupcake with a hole in the center. That doesn’t count as a real donut does it?  I didn’t think so.

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Because it is Friday, and if you like pumpkin….and I certainly do, you must try these donuts.  You can leave them plain or you can frost them with chocolate or maple or vanilla or even cream cheese frosting, because they are baked in the oven.

Yeah! that’s right…that makes them guilt free! Not!! But that is OK.  I say indulge once in a while and enjoy the Fall/Autumn comfort foods.  And pumpkin goes with everything!

Have a great Friday, my dear readers and below is the handy dandy printable Pumpkin Donut Recipe!  I call them Friday Pumpkin donuts but you can certainly make and eat them any day of the week!

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Friday Pumpkin Donuts
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. Β½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 2 eggs
  6. ΒΎ cup brown sugar
  7. ΒΌ cup canola oil
  8. ΒΎ cup pumpkin puree
  9. Β½ cup milk
  10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, canola oil, pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the batter is smooth.
  3. Spray a 6-cup doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease with butter
  4. Scoop the pumpkin batter into the doughnut pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the tops are a golden color ...you can use a toothpick to see if they are done.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife or thin spatula to allow for ease in removing
  6. Gently place the doughnuts on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes
  7. At this point you can frost if desired.
Notes
  1. A quick frosting or glaze can be made with 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, mixed well over low heat. Add about 6 tablespoons of milk and enough powdered sugar to desired spreading consistency. You should make the frosting pretty thin if you want a dipping glaze, but then thick is good too. πŸ™‚
  2. Top with chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts or whatever your little heart desires.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

 

The Most Amazing Soup!!!!

Still at it my friends….Fall/Autumn is soup time at our house and the temperature on my temperature gauge this crisp morning was a cool 69 degrees and if that doesn’t say “Soup”, then I don’t know what does.  

Now, I do have to confess that the temps are supposed to inch higher today…but for right now…. at 5:30 am….it is  “Fall-ish” and that means comfort food to me!

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Soups and stews are so great and I love that I can make them ahead, have dinner or lunch and store the left overs in the freezer for future quick lunches.

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Today, I want to talk about a new friend….no, not a human friend, but a vegetable that I am liking more and more as I use it in all kinds of foods.  We are talking green and good for you veggies…and the two in particular are Kale and Tomatillos!

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I am sure you know that Kale has recently come onto the scene as more than a green, curly garnish on a salad bar…no one thought to eat it but I am here to tell you that I really like this dark, green veggie….especially in soups and salads!

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The next green veggie is the tomatillo! I became familiar with this little tomato-y looking veggie with a papery husk while living in New Mexico and I like to use it in salsas and soups and well, anything Mexican!  If you are not familiar with the tomatillo, it has been called the Mexican husk tomato or tamate verde….or green tomato. The tart flavor is subtle yet distinct and can be eaten fresh in salsas or cooked. The inside of the tomatillo is meatier than a tomato and very firm and keeps for weeks in the fridge. When ready to use, remove the husks and rinse to remove the sticky coating and chop and add to whatever you are cooking.

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Today, I am using both kale and tomatillos in my Hamburger Soup.  Ground beef is so versatile and this is yet another way to stretch your food budget.

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Below is the handy dandy printable recipe…but the good news is you can vary this soup with whatever your little heart desires.

It is YOUR soup and you know what you and your family  like but if you have not tried kale or tomatillos, this is a good way to try them.

I hope you are having a great Fall/Autumn day my dear readers.

Soups on!

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Hamburger Soup with Tomatillos and Kale
All the veggies make this simple hamburger soup just a little bit more special...and certainly tasty.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 # ground beef
  2. 1 onion choppped
  3. 1 carrot, chopped
  4. 1 small green green bell pepper, chopped
  5. 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  6. 1 celery stalk, chopped
  7. 1 tomatillo, chopped
  8. 1 Poblano chile, chopped
  9. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  10. several stalks of kale, chopped in pieces (optional as to how much kale you like)
  11. 1 small can of V8 juice
  12. 2 cups of chicken broth
  13. 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  14. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  15. 1/2 teaspoon red chile pepper
  16. 4 small red potatoes, quartered
  17. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in heavy sauce pan
  2. Saute the onions, bell peppers, chili pepper, carrots, garlic, celery and tomatillo until soft
  3. Add ground beef and stir, cooking until no longer pink.
  4. Add the V8 juice, chicken broth and diced tomatoes
  5. Keep stirring to blend and cook for about 10 minutes
  6. Add the kale, cover the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

All things Pumpkin!!

My dear readers….I am sure you are thinking “is she going to talk about Fall/Autumn again?” AND…you would be right…she is.

I have told you that I am so “into” Fall this year and all I want to do is cook and bake comfort foods.

Perhaps it is the cooler weather as our temperatures have dropped a bit and the humidity has dwindled and the evenings are wonderfully crisp and…..well, you get the picture!

One of the fun things to do here in our neck of the woods… is to go on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train!

Now, I am sure you are saying to yourself…Murder?  On a train? Really?  Is that really fun?...and I am here to tell you that it is fun… because it is a comedy act performed by a cast of theater performers! And the best part is we are served wonderful food as we ride the rails swaying to the clickity-clack of the wheels on the railroad tracks. 

2015-10-20_12-57-31Shades of Agatha Christie and the Orient Express!!!!   Click on this link regarding my fascination of the railroad and you will see how “in-to-it” I am. πŸ˜‰ 

Romance on the Orient Express

But I digress a bit….the Captain and I took the Murder Mystery Dinner Train….just the two of us!  You see, we are usually taking guests as it is great entertainment and we haven’t had any complaints yet. (the comedy skits change so one isn’t seeing the same mystery twice)….and the menus change. Autumn soups on the train include squash and pumpkin soup.

2015-10-20_12-56-13Which brings me to two pumpkin recipes I have for you today. 

Today, it is all about pumpkin! And spices! And everything nice! 

Sorry, I got a bit carried away.

This pumpkin soup is really delish…almost tastes like pumpkin pie with a bit of New Mexico spice.  Now, you know I had to get a little bit of New Mexico flair in there somewhere, didn’t you?

And the second pumpkin recipe is from a dear friend of mine who is on Weight Watchers, ….which by the way…she has lost over 25 pounds…so I say good for her! The cupcake recipe is from her Weight Watchers recipes. 

I hope you try these recipes and perhaps use them for your Thanksgiving or Autumn/Fall meal.  I am sure your guests will enjoy it.  Really!!! πŸ˜‰ Trust me!!!! πŸ˜‰

Have a great Fall/Autumn day!

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
This recipe came straight from Weight Watchers and makes 16 cupcakes with 1 tablespoon of Cool Whip Free which = 2 points if you are counting!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ( 15 oz) can pumpkin
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/2 cup egg beaters
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 3/4 cup ( 2%) evaporated milk
  7. 2/3 cup flour
  8. 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  11. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  12. 16 tablespoon Cool Whip Free
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line with
  2. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, egg beaters, evaporated milk and vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda
  4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until blended and smooth.
  5. For your muffin tin, use silicone liners or foil liners sprayed with nonstick spray. If you are not using liners, spray your pan with nonstick spray.
  6. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and top with Cool Whip Free and a dash of fresh nutmeg.
Notes
  1. This recipe came from my Yodeling friend who has lost a considerable amount of weight.....:)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

 

Florida Does Have Seasons!

Good morning my wonderful readers….and don’t let anyone tell you that Florida does not have seasons, because I am here to tell you…Florida Does Have Seasons!

This past week, the weather here has definitely changed and gotten cooler and more Fall looking.

It is true that the Fall up North has more drastic changes in temperatures, but when I awoke this morning and stepped into my Secret Garden….Fall/Autumn was definitely in the air.  The temp was 70-ish….and those Autumn breezes were blowing the Oleander leaves from their branches. I just love watching those yellow and burnt umber leaves drift down on the pavers and onto the green grass.  The Oleander is not considered a deciduous tree, but they do lose some of their leaves and so do the beautiful plumaria. Yep, these same Plumaria, with their waxy yellow and white fragrant blossoms that nestle in and among long oval leaves lose all their leaves. (Hawaiian Leis are made from them)

2015-10-19_14.04.56[1]So now that we have established that Florida does have a Crisp Fall Season….lets talk about Fall Food. Yep, the comfort foods like Chili, Soup, Stew, pumpkin bread, and Apple Cider. ….and particularly Caramel Apple Cookies!

With maple icing and pecans!

Ohhhhh Yeah!

 

2015-10-19_13.50.51[1]I told you in a previous post that I am having a “thing” for all things Fall this year….and the train just keeps on rollin’.

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Above is the icing that you can make with maple flavoring or just the butter, brown sugar and apple juice as I did. Add powdered sugar and you have one great apple cookie.  The shredded granny apples in the cookie dough is so delish!

Aside from the cooler weather, I have a confession to make,  My beautiful grand daughter inspired me to make these cookies today.

You see, over the week-end, my sweet grand daughter told me she made “fluffy caramel apple cookies”. She explained that she didn’t have much time to make these, so when she came home from work she grabbed a box of caramel apple cookie mix and not being one to use just the box as written…she improvised and added milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and honey and made them in cupcake wrappers.  Now how clever is that? She is definitely from my genes….;)  

Below are pics she sent me….of her version of caramel apple cookies.

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Sooooooo you don’t have to make from scratch as I did my cookies, but be inventive and come up with your own version of these cookies.  The Fall tastes are so good!  Yum-meeee!

And don’t forget hot chocolate on those cool Fall nights! Drop in a couple marshmallows with chocolate chips and let them melt into the deep rich hot chocolate. (click on this link for the recipe) It’s Halloween! Happy Halloween!  Light a fire in the fireplace or fire pit or just snuggle up with a loved one and eat Caramel Apple Cookies and drink hot chocolate!

It doesn’t get any better than this.

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Have a great start to your week! 

Hugs from me to you…..

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Caramel Apple Cookies
These wonderful cookies just scream Fall/Autumn and they are so easy to make. A must have dessert for those wonderful comfort stews and chili. Serve them with a steaming cup of hot chocolate! Yum!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups flour (all purpose)
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1 cup shredded Granny Smith apple (peel one large or 2 small)
  8. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  9. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  10. 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  11. 1 egg
  12. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla (I also like to get decadent and use the vanilla from a vanilla bean)
  13. 1/2 cup apple cider
  14. 1/2 cup of raisins or you can use golden raisins if desired....completely optional though.
Frosting
  1. 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  2. 1/4 cup butter
  3. 2 1/2 tablespoons apple juice
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  6. 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lay parchment paper or silpat on cookie sheets.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the lemon juice to the shredded apples to keep them from turning brown
  4. Using your mixer, blend together butter and brown sugar until creamy and add in egg and vanilla Add half of the flour mixture, alternately with the apple juice blending well after each addition until all the flour and juice have been added
  5. Add the shredded apples and raisins (if using)
  6. Use a medium size ice cream scoop (1 1/2-inch) and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet (I like to space the balls of dough 2-inches apart) If you are wanting thinner crisper cookies, slightly tamp with the back of a spoon...if you like your cookies thicker and a bit fluffier, just leave the balls as is.
  7. Bake for about 10 - 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. This keeps them from falling apart.
Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, apple juice and salt. Heat mixture over medium heat stirring constantly, until the sugar and the liquid has completely dissolved and come together
  2. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies and top with pecans
Notes
  1. You can store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, but I guarantee they will not last that long.:)
  2. The frosting sets up pretty fast, but you can always add apple juice to thin it a bit if needed.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
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