Wednesday, November 19, 2008

RECIPE - Party Nibbles

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. With the season comes parties. If you are hosting a holiday party or asked to bring a snack to a party, here are two great ideas. Both are easy to put together and they will be a big hit.

Sweet and Spicy Pecans
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 egg white
2 c. pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F. Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Beat the egg white lightly with a fork in a larger bowl; toss in the pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and coat pecans evenly. Using your fingers, one by one transfer the pecans from the bowl to a baking sheet coated with a nonstick cooking spray or covered with parchment paper. Seperate them as best you can. Discard any left over sugar-egg mixture. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer to another baking sheet, breaking pecans apart as necessary; let cool completely. Kept covered in a dry place, pecans will stay fresh for 5 days.

Rosemary Almonds
3 TBS. butter
2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 c. raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Using a baking sheet with a lip, melt butter. Mix seasonings into the butter, and toss almonds into the seasoning until coated. Bake in oven about 10 - 12 minutes, stirring once, until toasted and fragrant. Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.
These are so much better the next day so make them ahead.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Radio Station

Following our move from the midwest, we had to find new places to eat and shop. There was the search for a new mechanic, a primary care physician as well as all the specialists, a new dentist, and the list goes on... You anticipate the search for all of these services. But you don't think of having to find a new radio station.

Back in the midwest, our car radio was set to an oldies station, a couple of classic rock stations, and an easy listening station. After our move, doing a scan of the radio dial only yielded hip hop, country and pop stations. But way down on the lower end of the dial, I discovered a gem. WCPE, The Classical Station. They play a wonderful selection of modern classic and all the well known classical of composers like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart.

One of my favorite things about WCPE is that it is not a commercial radio station. It is funded buy its listeners. Most of the DJs are volunteers and are there for their love of classical music. They are well versed in the music and the composers and often share interesting stories about the composers.

I encourage you to give a listen to this wonderful radio station. Not in the Triangle area? No problem. Go to their website using the link to the right and listen to them online as I am doing as I type this. You can also click on the "Affliliates" link in the banner on their website as there may be a radio station in your area playing their music as they relay their programming to other stations across the US. One of those stations is KBTL at 88.1 in my hometown, but check the website for the hours because the station is ran by the college so they have funny hours.

Make sure you check back for more mundaneness...
Coming soon:
Cookies, Cookies, Cookies
Grandma's Buttons

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eventful Week

It's been a beautiful fall week in North Carolina. Temperatures have been in the low 70's throughout the day. The fall foliage is just past peak, but the trees are still beautiful. I'm sure Larry comments about how beautiful the leaves are as he rakes and blows huge piles to the street.

Wednesday, Larry had a luncheon with IBM to celebrate the completion of a project. I traveled with him and stayed at Billy and Kathryn's to play with Boogie. We had a couple of stops to make in Raleigh so it was after 8:00 when we got home. After getting home we fed the dogs then took them for a walk around the house. That is when Larry noticed some of the balusters on the front porch missing. There is a total of fifteen balusters missing. Someone or several someones pulled them out between the rails. It had to take them a while to do. Then it took them some effort to get them off our property as each baluster is 3"x3" and 18" long. All of this without being seen by any of the neighbors.

On Tuesday evening/night, a break in occured at a house in the block behind us. The neighbors across the street told us that they had a window in the back of the house that looked like someone had tried to open it. Some other neighbors across the street found their outside basement door open. Then this evening another neighbor's house alarm went off while he was away. Someone had tried to enter his house through the front door. Now Larry and I are wondering if the plan was to break into our house until they meet the dogs. Rather than go away empty handed, they took the balusters. We may never know.

What's Cookin'?
I've been busy in other areas of the house this week, so not a lot of baking has been happening. We had Chicken and Dumplings for dinner Thursday night. Tonight we had homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. For dessert we are enjoying some warm apple crisp with Bird's custard, a British thing. Thank you, Phil!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

RECIPE - Zucchini Cheddar Bread

This is yummy bread. It almost tastes like stuffing. Bake this bread the day before you want to serve it as it is so much better after it sits for a day.

1 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter
2 1/2 c. Bisquick baking mix
1 TBS. snipped parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. shredded fresh zucchini
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c. toasted chopped almonds

Heat oven to 400F. Grease and flour round pan, 9 x 1/2 inches. Cook and stir onion in margarine until tender; cool slightly. Mix onion mixture, baking mix, parsley, basil, thyme, milk and eggs; beat vigorously 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in pan. Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from pan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

It didn't seem like the campaigning would ever end but it is over. What will we do without all the political ads? I hope you took the opportunity to vote.

I've been thinking a lot about my dad's mom, Grandma Miller, the last few weeks. She was quite a character. Her vocabulary would make a sailor blush. She was a staunch Democrat, always voted a straight ticket. But she was also racist. I wonder how she would have voted this election?

It has rained here all day. Almost two inches of rain fell.

On Sunday, Larry and I painted the walls and ceilings of the upstairs and downstairs hallways. Both hallways measure twenty five feet long and ten feet wide with ten foot ceilings. That's a lot of painting. The walls are now a soft sage green and the ceilings are a shade lighter. We are so pleased with the change. The woodwork still needs painting, but that will happen over the next week or two. There is a lot of that with the crown molding, baseboards, eleven doors, one window and all the wainscotting in the downstairs.

The neighbor boy, Ta, asked me last week how much I would charge for a dozen oatmeal cookies and a dozen chocolate chip. I told him I would charge $2.50 a dozen. He said he wanted to buy a dozen of each. I told him I had the oatmeal cookie dough in the freezer and could bake them the next day but that I wouldn't get to the chocolate chip cookies until later this week. So he decided he would take two dozen oatmeal cookies for $5. Then he asked me how much it would be for the chocolate chip cookies when they were finished. Again, I told him it would be $2.50 a dozen. He told me he thought I should have a special - Buy one, get one free. He is quite the haggler.

What's Cookin'?
I made a big pot of chili yesterday. We had some for dinner last night with some Zucchini Cheddar Bread. There was enough chili for a large container to go into the freezer, another container for some lunches and I took some to the neighbors, Ann and George.

I put together a batch of Cheddar Pecan Wafers yesterday and baked them today. Yummy! There are still two logs of the dough that I will put in the freezer.

Larry asked me to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies as he wanted to give some to a coworker for all his help. No problem. I have never had chocolate chip cookies fail but these cookies were not my usual soft, chewy cookies. When the cookies baked, they spread too much and were crisp and crunchy. Adjusting cooking time did not help. So, I made another batch. They too failed. I wonder if the rainy weather had anything to do with it? Wonder if Ta would like ten dozen free cookies?