October 25, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Grown-up Halloween Party

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I decided to submit to Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, for October and asked my daughter-in-law Kristina if she would be interested in hosting a Grown-up Halloween party with me. The day I got the news I was accepted for this month's event was also a day I had nothing but bad news. So, to get this news at the end of the day was certainly a day brightener! THANK YOU FOODBUZZ!! Not only did we have the opportunity to host a great party, but my DIL and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time together shopping, talking, cooking and most unfun...cleaning. ;o)

Kristina and I went shopping and found some cool decorations and Kristina did some shopping on line on her own and found some cool items. ;o) Kristina likes to shop for Halloween things. Well, I think she likes to shop! A girl after my heart! Kristina's mom and sister came up with a game we all played and we all voted on the best costume. Mallyn won the favorite costume prize (a bottle of blood - red wine) donated by Kristina's mother. Congrats Mallyn! Justin came in 2nd place for his toadstool costume and won the 2nd bottle of wine. ;o)

We sent the invitations out and let everyone know that it was a Foodbuzz sponsored party and to come dressed up! I know this is going to be a long post but please, do go to the end. It is definitely a post worth reading. I'll tell you the stories along with the photos.


Party prep - Kristina (in back), my friend Amanda and myself.

My son Justin helping!

My DIL Kristina decorating cookies


The Beverage Station

The Pumpkin Greeters

Table of treats

Of wings and toes...


Justin & Kristina (Toadstool and Spider)

Grumpy & HoneyB - isn't he just the character? No, he wasn't drunk, but from the photos of him you might think he was since that bottle of beer is promptly put into view by him. Not to mention some of the other poses he was caught in throughout the evening....I wonder if he has a secret advertising gig with Budweiser??

My friends Amanda and Randy. Amanda spent the weekend with me and the entire day helping Kristina and I prep the party. Thank you SO MUCH Amanda for your help. You certainly are someone who is a pleasure to be around and think goodness your so easy going! My only question is - why on earth does Randy look so mean in this photo! lol. That just is so not him!!

The grandpuppies - not really dressed to party but they were there and were such good puppies!

The Star Trek Fan and his wife (Kristina's mom and dad!)


Justin's cousin Jessica with her friend Audrey

Justin's cousin Amanda with her hubby Ryan and friend Laura

Katie & Jake
Kaitlyn (Kristina's sister) & her fiance Jake

Justin's cousin Eric with his girlfriend Malyn and my other son Christopher


Now, click your heels 3 times and the party begins!!

Grumpy decides to put on a show ... um, I mean a witches hat. :o)

Kady gets Chris to eat some "special" jelly beans!

Scary Movie Pictionary! My team won!! Yay Eric & Mallyn!

Making sure everyone leaves with Treat bags so there are no Tricks!


Howling Wings. This was a recipe that Kristina had in an older issue of a Pillsbury Halloween magazine. The thought of smoky chipotle chili peppers, caramel sauce and a zesty Italian dressing were too much for me to resist. These were a great party wing!


Mummy Toes. I just thought these were the cutest thing! Well, cute, but still kinda gross! It is also one of Grumpy's favorite appetizers. I think he ate most of these himself...even though he has an aversion to feet. he he. I will say, there weren't many left. We served them with mucus (a honey mustard)


Bubbling Caldron. This is the basic velveeta cheese with salsa dip. really easy and really yummy! This is what Grumpy will ask me to mix up for him when he's craving some cheesy dip and chips.


Crunchie Mummies is another Pillsbury recipe from Kristina's Halloween issue. Not only was this the cutest idea, but it was a delicious one also. There were only a couple left which found their way home with us!

Devilish Eggs HB

Devilish Eggs
. When Grumpy heard we were making deviled eggs he thought we should make bloody eyeballs. Not a bad idea really, but we thought these were so cute! Definitely time consuming, but worth the time to put them together!

Sneaky Snakes HB

Sneaky Snakes we followed this concept, but the recipe I used for the filling is as follows:

1 cup sour cream
1 8 oz package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 4 oz can chopped chili
2 Tablespoons Jalapeno Spice Blend
1 cup shredded pizza cheese blend
1 small can sliced black olives
flour tortilla

Mix first 5 ingredients together until well blended. Spread filling over tortilla and roll up, securing with toothpick. Chill up to 2 hours. Slice and arrange on platter in form of a snake.

black spider

I can't believe it - I missed a photo so of course, I needed to put some sort of photo to divide food items. ;o) I do have a recipe for you for Guts & Goop: This is a recipe that Kristina got Justin's Aunt April. It is a taco dip recipe that we renamed to fit the party!

1 8 oz package softened cream cheese
16 oz container sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning blend

Blend well together and place on bottom of pan.

Top with 1/2 of 12 oz jar salsa
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
diced tomato

Serve with tortilla chips.

Witches Brew

Witches Brew punch bowl. My brother Steve sent me a link of Halloween beverages - which I cannot for the life of me find! However, I could remember the ingredients for the Witches Brew and so I will give you the recipe although I can't give the credit where I got it until I hear back from my brother (who is on his way home from his cruise today!).

1 can (46 oz) pineapple juice
1 bottle (64 oz) cranberry juice
1-1/2 cups coconut rum

Mix together and place in punch bowl with skulls and crossbones ice cubes!


For the Crispy Frankenstein Treats we followed the Rice Krispie Treat recipe, added the green food color when making and dipped the crown in chocolate, drew a face with writing icing and used pretzels and colored mini marshmallows for the bolts.

Halloween TrufflesHB

Halloween Truffles
12 oz semi sweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark rum

Heat the heavy cream and butter until very warm. Pour over chocolate and stir until melted. Mix in rum. Put in refrigerator and cool for at least 3 hours. Remove from fridge, shape into balls and roll in sprinkles. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

GhostPops HB

Ghost Truffles idea was found in the Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Halloween magazine. Kristina made the Oreo Truffle recipe and then decorated the ghosts!


Looking at You Cheeseball was also found in the Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Halloween magazine. We halved the recipe which made a good sized cheeseball! The recipe here is for 1/2.

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped peanut butter cups
1/4 cup peanut butter flavored morsels
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (we used fresh shelled salted peanuts)
Thin Ginger Snaps
Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Garnish: Candy-shaped eyes

Pumpkin Cupcakes! The recipe is from Kraft Foods. Kristina really, really wanted the pumpkin cupcake pan so she ordered it from crate and barrel and we were set to make pumpkin patch cupcakes! She got a few other cute things from crate and barrel (like the candy corn trays we sat the Frankenstein treats and cookies on!)


For the Haunted Cupcakes I made Nanny's Mayonnaise cake recipe, topped it with an almond flavored frosting and decorated with cupcake wraps and haunted toothpicks.

We also put a Hershey's miniature tombstone in a cupcake and decorated with some fall leaves.

That is our round up of yummy treats we had for our party. I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope you all have a happy and SAFE Halloween!

October 19, 2009

Somethings gotta change....

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This coconut shrimp is a change from what people normally think of when they think of coconut shrimp! Grumpy and I had a dish very similar to this at a Chinese buffet about 3-4 years ago and we loved it. Since the place has closed, we haven't been able to find it....when we actually go to chinese buffets. When I saw Bobby had this on his blog (Free Online Recipes)I about jumped for joy. ;0) I finally had found a recipe that I thought was going to be very close to what Grumpy loved and it turned out to be so! This was a great dish. Make sure to check Bobby's post out for the recipe.

I actually made this dish a couple of weeks ago but just haven't had the inclination to really blog lately. You see, I'm needing a change. Very desperately needing a change. My problem is, I can't see a change until at least next spring when Grumpy is done schooling. So, I guess that what else I need is patience. I have a lot of that stuff as it is, but I guess someone is seeing fit that I learn a whole lot more of it.


I love my job and I love the faculty and students at my job. I just don't love sitting at my desk all day long. It didn't help that today was my first day with my former co-worker gone. While I wish her the best, I will miss her in this office. She and I definitely blended well together. That doesn't happen too often with women (yes, I know there are many of you out there who will agree with me!).

I'm feeling the lack luster to go home and make a great meal after work....or if I do make a great meal, I'm lacking the desire to try to photograph it and then to put it in a post.

Patience and change. I guess change will come with time....I suppose I can have patience, I just don't want to. :0)

In the meantime, I'm going to try to get myself out of this rut I am in and get back to enjoying my daily rituals. At home and at work and contemplate on how I am going to make my change happen when I can.

October 14, 2009

Kristina's Loaded Potato Soup

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Last Saturday I spent the day with my DIL Kristina. We were doing some special shopping for a special event you will hear about in the near future. ;-) One of the subjects of course was food and her Loaded Potato Soup that she. My son has also raved about this soup!


Sunday was a "stay at home, do what I want" kind of day. I got to thinking again about the potato soup that Kristina makes. This soup is as yummy as my son and DIL tells me it is....not that I doubted them one bit!

Family Recipes Logo

I'm very happy that I have a daughter-in-law who likes to cook/bake and that I can share recipes with. I'm also very proud to be submitting Kristina's recipe to our Family Recipes Event being hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life this month.

oct 11HB

Kristina's Loaded Potato Soup
(Kristina can feel free to comment what she does as I am only typing this from memory of what I did)

4 slices bacon, cooked til crisp reserving 1 Tbsp fat
1 small onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves (adjust to your taste-I love garlic!), minced
6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon basil
salt & pepper to taste
green onion, sliced thinly (I didn't have green onion so for some green color I used some fresh parsley)
shredded cheese (I used Colby)
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 Tablespoons flour

In large saucepan saute onion and garlic in reserved bacon fat. Add potatoes, chicken broth and basil to pan and simmer until potatoes are tender. Using potato masher, slightly mash potatoes.

Mix flour with half and half and hot sauce, then stir into potato mixture. Cook until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve soup topped with crumbled bacon pieces, shredded cheese and green onion.

October 11, 2009

Cheese Fondue

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CheeseF HB

For the month of October the Cooking Light Virtual Supper club decided to cook with wine. For me this would be a bit of a challenge because I don't really drink wine much less know what to buy for cooking with it! I checked with my friend Cathy of the Noble Pig to see what she would suggest would be a good white wine for cheese fondue. Cathy came back with a few suggestions and I was able to find the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay without much effort and the fondue turned out delicious! It was great with apples but I also enjoyed it with some crusty french bread!


Before you leave, don't forget to go check out our other virtual supper club member's posts today to see what they brought to our table.
Red Wine Pear Crisp with Spiced Streusel Aggie from Aggie’s Kitchen

Cheese Fondue with Apples - Shelby from The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch

Cheese Fondue with Apples

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • garlic clove, halved
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • apples, each cored and cut into 9 wedges (I used Granny Smith)
  • Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cheese, and nutmeg, tossing well.
  • Rub cut sides of garlic on inside of a medium, heavy saucepan. Add broth and wine to pan; bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Add one-third cheese mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk until combined. Repeat procedure with remaining cheese mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently.
  • Remove cheese mixture from heat; stir in kirsch. Pour mixture into a fondue pot. Keep warm over low flame. Serve with apple wedges.

October 07, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasagna

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I have been looking at the recipe on Cooking Light for Butternut Squash Lasagna for the last few weeks now and finally, last evening, had the chance to put it together. Naturally, my vegetarian desires not matching Grumpy's carnivore desires made me a little nervous to make this dish.

You see, Lasagna is Grumpy's favorite dish. Meat and cheese laden lasagna. So, in my desire for this dish, I knew I was going to be taking a big, big chance. When Grumpy asked me what was for dinner I said "well, I made butternut squash lasagna, but you can have hotdogs if you don't want to eat that," while kinda of "rolling" my eyes around innocently. His response? "Hotdogs, with lasagna???!! Um, I don't think so." So, it was decided he would try the lasagna and if he didn't like it he could eat Banana Nut Cheerios (which has been our choice for dinner a couple of nights in a row lately).

This is also my submission for Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Joanna of Eats Well With Others. Make sure to check out her post for the round up!


Oh, I bet your wondering about whether Grumpy liked it? Well, he never poured that bowl of cereal. When I asked him what the thought, his words were "it's ok". No ranting and raving by him, but I loved it (if that matters ;-) lol) Grumpy does tell me that he's the star of the show here. I thought it was hearty and had awesome flavor. If you have been thinking about making Butternut Squash Lasagna then I would stop thinking and start cooking. ;-)

You can CLICK HERE for the recipe. A couple notes about what I did:

1. I used Barilla Fire Roasted Pasta Sauce instead of making my own (there is a recipe for the pasta sauce on the lasagna recipe page).

2. I did not microwave my butternut squash. Instead, I roasted it for about 30 minutes in the oven (until still slightly firm but tender) with a little PAM Spray and salt & pepper.

October 06, 2009

Crockpot Venison Stew

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I just want to mention Kathleen, a new blogger I met this week. Take a peek at Gonna want seconds! She already has some yummy recipes up there and I'm sure there will be more!


It is that time of year again. The time when some women say they are Hunter's Widows. The time when men like Grumpy who live and breathe to hunt - are gone every weekend and some weeknights. Lost to the woods.

Well, if you ask me, I don't consider it a bad thing! As a matter of fact, last weekend, I'm not sure who was more upset it was raining. Grumpy or myself. He was moody and miserable because the weather stunk and he finally decided "someone" had it out for him. I was rather thinking "someone" had it out for me. After all. I want him out of the house so I can do "my" thing. I love my hunter's widow time!


To give him a full welcome into the season, I used our last package of stew meat and made him a Crockpot Venison Stew recipe from Cooking Light. I thought this turned out awesome. I had never made a stew the way this recipe read (using beer). It really had great flavor and made the house smell awesome. I liked this one so much I will probably use it over if and when Grumpy gets out in those woods again and if and when he brings home a buck....he can't do it when he's in the house grumpin' so someone needs to make this weather turn around!

Other crockpot recipes you may enjoy:
Melt in your Mouth Pot Roast - The Tiptoe Fairy
Crockpot BBQ Beef - Renees Kitchen Adventures
Crockpot Mushroom Artichoke Chicken - Dizzy Busy and Hungry!

Crockpot Venison Stew
Cooking Light Recipe

2 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold or red potato
2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup cubed onion
1 cup slices celery
1 cup slices carrot
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound venison tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup brown ale
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth

Layer first 14 ingredients in an electric slow cooker.
Combine flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish; dredge venison in flour mixture. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add venison. Cook 4 minutes or until browned on all sides, turning frequently. Add venison to slow cooker. Pour beer and broth over venison. Cover and cook on low 7 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf.
Stew can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months; add a little more water or beer when reheating.
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