Monday, October 31, 2011

Confetti Bars and Sugar Cookies for a Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!
I have two  great little treats for you today.

I just finished reading 'Rosemary's Baby' which is still, after all these years, REALLY CREEPY.    I don't know why I subject myself to that, except to say that I like a little "fright" once in a while.  (nothing like slasher movies tho...not blood and gore, but real  ghost stories)

When we were kids and got to go Trick-or-Treating  (on our own, no parents--it was a different world back then)  we  always loved those so-called Haunted Houses.  You know the ones--every neighborhood used to have one..where the creepy people lived.  The ones where you held your breath as you walked by on your way home from school?  The one your friends DARED you to go up to on Halloween night?
And when you did,  there were these nice old people living there, and they gave homemade treats like caramel apples or popcorn balls, sugar cookies and yes, maybe even these Confetti bars!
That's why we loved to Trick or Treat at those houses--first, a bone-chilling fright and then we got the best treats!!

Today, I can only give out my homemade treats to kids I know. It's sad in a way, but on the other hand?  We've had over 600 little Trick-or-Treaters come to our door before.  I don't have the time or energy to make that many sugar cookies.  
We are all set up and ready to go tho....we have a little cemetery in our garage, complete with ghosts and witches and spooky sounds.

OH....maybe I'm the  neighborhood's  "Haunted House".  ???

The Sugar cookies are from an old friend of mine, Sandy.  Our husbands were both in retail and  we transferred around a lot when we were younger, but found ourselves in the same town about  18 years ago.  We became great friends, she's a great cook.  It's always been fun to share recipes with her... even now that we are again, in different towns.
The Confetti Bars I found in old 2007 Nestle` baking magazine.

The Sugar cookies are great. Soft and moist and tasty.  Pretty much like the frosted cookies you can buy at your local market--but  a lot cheaper!  And if you make them, you will be very popular with friends and family.
The Confetti Bars are really good too and so easy.  They literally take no time or effort at all.   We loved the marshmallow chewiness on top of these chocolate chip cookie bars, and the pretzels added a little saltiness with the sweet....mmmm, mmmm good!

Have yourself a Happy Night!  Don't let the goblins get to you!!

Confetti Bars

1 package  (16.5 oz) Nestle`  Toll House refrigerated Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bar dough
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate-covered pretzels, broken into pieces
3 Tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
Nestle` Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate mini morsels  (optional)

PREHEAT:  oven to  350 F.  Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan
PLACE: whole bar of dough in prepared pan.   Allow to soften for  5-10 minutes.  Using fingertips, pat dough gently to cover bottom.
BAKE: for  11-13 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Sprinkle marshmallows over cookie, bake for an additional  1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed.  Distribute pretzels, sprinkles and mini chips over marshmallows;  press down lightly. 
Cool completely in pan on wire rack. cut into bars with a wet knife.

Sugar Cookies
Courtesy of my friend Sandy

 3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
pinch of salt

sift together and set aside
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 Tbls milk

Cream together
Blend the butter and sugar mixture with the dry ingredients. Chill overnight.

Heat oven to  350F.    Roll dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for  10-12 minutes. Cool on waxed paper. Frost with a creamy vanilla frosting. Decorate, if desired, with candies, etc.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

It's know what that means? Time for Saturday Snapshot!  Hosted by Alyce from At Home with Books
To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

A while back I went for a walk around my neighborhood and when I turned on my street, all these little Swallows were lined up on the street sign. I didn't have my camera with me, but I walked down the street to my house, got my camera, came back and they were still there. Silly little birds.

These pictures remind me of the song,  Zip-a-dee-do-dah from Disney's 'Song of the South'.
Especially because I said, "stay there birds, I've got to run home and get my camera"  and they did.    ~grins~

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actch'll
Ev'rything is satisfactch'll
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

apricot oatmeal bars

I've been reading about writing lately.  Yep...reading about writing.   It seems weird, I know, but I love to  read and I love to write to people (see here), and I love to eat cookies, which you will see at the end of this post.

Right now I'm reading  "Put Your Heart on Paper-Staying Connected in a Loose-ends World" by Henriette Anne Klauser.  (It has such great  suggestions for staying in touch and staying connected ).

In her book she mentioned  how we  used to pass notes to each other in class.
Do you remember that?  Passing notes?  I loved passing notes.  We never wrote really bad stuff in the 60's and 70's.  More like:  do you think Alan likes me?   or:  this class stinks.  Or:  There's going to be a fight after school by the old gym!
(there usually wasn't because the teachers intercepted the notes and the principal would should up and all of us spectators would scatter like leaves in the wind).

I am just wondering.....are passing handwritten notes a thing of the past?  Now days everyone can just text, right?

And did you ever write a lipstick note on the bathroom mirror to your spouse or lover?  (okay...I'm laughing my ass off now, because the word lover does not flow from my mouth EVER.   It does from Stephen King's mouth tho... I saw him and his wife Tabitha on a interview show once and they made it clear they were "lovers" first and then parents, and then authors.  It kinda creeped me out hearing SK say  lover.    But later, after reading some of his memoir,  it didn't creep me out at all...I find it endearing that  SK and TK  love each other so much and aren't afraid to voice it.   Still.....  that word makes me laugh--I raised 3 boys and can't get over the sophomoric sense of humor they left me!)

Moving on....lipstick notes?  Did you ever write one?   Lipstick's really hard to clean off of a mirror!  But what the are toothpaste splatters!  Or shaving cream blots for that matter.  (I don't know what the  heck we do in the bathroom, but it's messy.)  
It's kind of sad that Lipstick notes used to be romantic and now they are just a pain to clean. 

Maybe I'll go write one tonight before I go to bed, so the Handyman will get up in the morning and see it.  
After all,  he did ask for a second helping of my Apricot Oatmeal bars last night.   He never does that.  In fact, if I didn't just hand  him dessert on a plate, he would probably never eat it.   He does not have a sweet tooth like I do.

I used to make these bars every fall, but it's one of those things that fall by the wayside somehow.  It has been a good 10 years since I've made them.  Once I tasted them again, I thought man, these are good, why did I wait so long to make them? 
Apricot preserves are spread on top of a buttery almond flavored shortbread then sprinkled with coconut.  They just melt in your mouth.  I've eaten more than my share in the past couple of days.  They can be very dangerous---You have to like apricots,  almond flavor and coconut tho.  Some people don't, but that just means there is more for me!
They are just a good bar cookie --or dessert if you want to call it that.  They would not be bad with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top...ESPECIALLY when they are warm.  Mmmmm.....  and you could leave a sticky note-love note on the ice-cream, so your lover can see it when he opens the stay connected.  It said so in the book I'm reading.

All joking aside... I love these apricot bars and I think you will too.

Apricot Oatmeal Bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup melted butter
2 tsp almond extract

Combine all in a large mixer bowl.  Beat at a low speed until crumbly. Reserve 3/4 crumbs.  Press remaining mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

3/4 cup apricot or peach preserves
1/3 cup flaked coconut

Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture and coconut.

Heat oven to 350. Bake for  2-25 minutes, or until browned. Cool completely.
Cut into squares.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Secret Reciep Club--Deluxe Mashed Potatoes


It's the Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!.   My secret blog was,  Cafe Mayhem & Pictures of all my Pretty Princesses.   I  had fun looking thru this blog, but I chose this recipe....  because I saw the picture of the cookbook and I thought  "OH MAN, I HAVE THAT SAME COOKBOOK!"   see picture here at Jules blog and here at my blog.  (well, it's not THIS blog, it's a running list of all my cookbooks )
Of course, then I realized that it was a cookbook cover from a fundraiser. 
Still the excitement lingered and I felt Jules and I had a bond. We both like to cook for example.   We both LOVE this cookbook cover and the recipes each contains. 
And we both like to particiapte in the Secret  Recipe Club. 

When the Handyman noticed I was putting carrots into his beloved mashed potatoes he was kind  of horrified to tell you the truth, but I am happy to say that his words when eating this were " This really  IS good!"
And the Handyman spoke the truth!!

Yes, these Deluxe mashed potatoes have carrots in them....that is not cheese....and they are a bit lumpy....but that made them really, really good.
I did have to add a bit of heavy cream (because I had it) or mine would have been  really dry, but other than that I stuck to the orginal recipe and we loved it.
I served these with some grilled salmon and fresh brocoli--what a perfect mea.  In fact....there are leftover potatoes.  I think I'll go fix myself some.

In the Secret Recipe club, we are assigned a blog and we choose any recipe from that blog to make and post about. We keep our assigned blogger a secret until posting day. It's a lot of fun getting to know another blogger by actually 'stalker' (or visiting) their blog.

It's such a fun blog hop to take part in. I can't wait to go visit all the other Secret Recipe bloggers!

Mashed Potatoes Deluxe

2 1/2 qt. chicken broth
8 russet potatoes
6 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 large onion, cut into quarters
1 tsp dill (dried or fresh)
6 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp parsley
2 Tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

In a large pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add potatoes; cover. Lower heat. Boil 15 minutes. Add carrots and onions; boil 20 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender. Drain potatoes and carrots in a colander; cool 5 minutes and peel.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onions, dill and butter. Mash with potatoes masher. Add parsley, salt, and pepper; mash again. Heat and serve warm.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Snaptshot

To some of you who have come to my blog via  " Saturday Snapshot"  you might be wondering--what the heck?
I agree, most of the pictures associated with Saturday  Snapshot  are beautiful landscapes of vacations we've taken,  beautiful pictures of people we love, beautiful pictures of crafts we've made, places we've been, things we've done.

I love all those pictures!!  But this week.....

......well, let me backtrack just a bit please.
I used to be a prolific letter writer.  I love writing letters to friends.  I love receiving a letter in the mail.   It puts a smile on my face.  Going out to the mail box and finding a real live letter---well, let me tell you--I run back into the house and make myself wait just a bit  (okay, sometimes I rip them open on the way back into the house, I won't lie...)  kind of as if the letter is a reward for something I have to finish.   
In a letter I just got from my friend Georgann, she wrote to me,  "I saved the first letter, waiting for a quiet time to visit with you. No time for tea or wine--I did try to put that all together--your letter, tea and solitude, but the tea never happened."

See?  A reward!  She saved my letter for a time to visit with me.
I LOVE THAT!    It makes me happy too.

I sent 38 letters out to friends  during the first of September.  I was beginning an old hobby that I loved and had neglected for so long.
Once email came around people  slowly stopped writing at all.   It slowed way down with telephones--but cell phones, making calling anyone, any time, any where as easy as pie, virtually stopped letter writing all together.
Of those 38 letters sent out I received a few notes back, so in late September I did it again.... I sent out to those same 38 friends and I added a few and guess what began to happen?  More letters started trickling in.

This past week, I got a letter in the mail every day!
1 on Monday
1 on Tuesday
1 on Wednesday
4 on Thursday
1 on Friday
1 on Saturday

Me and my friends!  We're gonna save the United States Postal Service!  (yes, I'm laughing)

It's just fun for me..... something I love to do.
So.... this week, I am going to leave you with a picture of those 9 letters that are waiting to be answered as my   Snapshot for today.
They  are beautiful to me.    A dying art they are!

oh....and this quote from a book I have and was re-reading:

“I write letters for myself, because it makes me feel good. I could spend that time doing all the things I should be doing, like defrosting the refrigerator, but I’d rather sit down, calmly and try to connect with someone I care about, someone I don’t want to lose in the busy bustle of things.”

From The Pleasures of Staying in Touch by Jennifer Williams
Saturday  Snapshot is hosted by Alyce from  At Home With Books.
Stop over and check out the blog hop!
Beautiful, beautiful letters from this week.....   (I have check marks on the ones I've answered.   And yes, I do know what a dork I am.  Do you know, I also can't throw them away?   They are bundled, chronologically, in ribbons, in boxes in my attic.    Okay, upstairs closet of the spare bedroom.... attic just sounds so much more romantic)
I think  YOU should surprise an old friend with a handwritten (or at least typed out on the computer) letter this week.  It will put a smile on their face, believe me!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Out of This World Corn Dip

I'm just going to jump right in and pretend I haven't been a lazy blogger lately. 

I found this great appetizer on the blog  "A Well-Seasoned Life" and made it to take to my friend April's "movie night" this past August.   I have no idea why its taken me so long to post about it.  It was really good....pretty addictive....the kind of thing you just keep eating and eating, trying to figure out what makes it so good.

I ran into another friend who had been at the movie night and she said that she had tried to recreate this corn dip by memory.  I said,  'well, it's on my blog,  just go there."  Then I realized that I had never posted it.   Silly me!  And silly her for not just calling me to get the recipe.   I am always happy to share. 
Or to point out where I got the original recipe. 

This next week is going to be a busy week... we have a big Wine Tasting event Fundraiser at work to get ready for.  It's always fun, but I'm always glad when it is over and done with.   We do appetizers and  and desserts.
Hmmmm.... I wonder........ how hard it would be to make this corn dip for 300 people?

Out-of-this-World Corn Dip

3 (11-oz.) cans sweet corn & diced peppers, drained
7-oz. can chopped green chilies
6-oz. can chopped jalapeno peppers, drained and liquid added to taste
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
16-oz. pkg. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
scoop-like corn or tortilla chips

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chips. Chill two hours to overnight. Serve with your favorite chips for scooping. Makes 6 cups.

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