Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 2011- Throwing it all out there to see what sticks

I have serious blogging deficiency lately. This used to be something I could keep up with, but I confess that the older my kids get, the more they want me to play with them. Geez.... what lame kids. I could blog a whole lot more frequently when they just laid on their play mats and blew bubbles at me.

So, I am just going to throw a whole lot of pictures on the blog and see what happens. There may not be a cohesive narrative, but at least I'm getting them out there. These are pictures from the month of October. I am not posting a lot from various Fall Festivals that we've been to, because really, do you all need to see any more pictures of Bennett riding a horse?

Here are some pictures from my parents visiting, Halloween prep, and other odds and ends.

Mommy and Daddy Suttle got here and my kids were so happy. They hadn't seen them since this summer. They stood on our fireplace and sang every song they knew to them. Every. single. song.
Mom and Dad went to Bennett's pre school class and read a story to all of the adoring 3 year olds. They were a hit!
Bennett was so happy to have her Grandmother at her school. So proud.

We did whole lot of outings while my parents were here.
And of course we had to get dressed up the watch the Alabama game. Roll Tide!!!
My parents need to come back soon!! It is way too long between visits.
After my parent left, Bennett really missed them. She came home from school the day after they left with this picture that she had drawn. Her grandparents are the biggest ones and she also drew her cousins. But I have no idea why she drew Mommy's friend, a bad guy, and corn. I don't know..... I just don't know.
Let's see...... what else? We've had a lot of fun enjoying the beautiful fall weather and all of the things that go along with the season. Hayrides, festivals, pumpkins..... I wish every month could be October.
As I mentioned earlier, we had a great time driving to Springfield, Missouri to see Riley Segars starring as Flat Stanley in a community theatre production of the show. Riley took my acting classes in Montgomery for years and was also a cast member of our kids TV show, Chain Reaction 222. Oh, and he's the son of our best friends. Needless to say when his Mom called to tell me about the production, we knew that we had to go.
Riley rocked!! Way to go, Flat Stanley!! Here are our kiddos with 3 of the 4 Segars boys outside by the marquis. The oldest Segars kid was too cool for school and decided to hang out with his friends that night. Did I really just use that phrase? No wonder he didn't want to hang out with us.
Bennett and Will with some of the awesome cast members!
We went out afterwards for some ice cream. Bennett thought she was big stuff walking through a city at night to get ice cream. Will was just upset that Mommy was too far ahead of him taking a picture.
Great job, Riley!! We are SO proud of you!!
Hmmm..... what else? Well, we had fun the other day jumping in piles of leaves.

We carved our pumpkins...

.....roasted the seeds....

.... and now we are ready for Halloween!
Happy October everyone! Forget December. This really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Fall Recipes

My parents were in town this past week which means I got to be creative in the kitchen. I love having people to cook for. If I didn't have kids and had unlimited funds for groceries, I think I could bake all day long. Having company gives me a great excuse to try new recipes.

I cooked some good 'ole standard fare such as Vegetable Beef Soup, Italian Herb Chicken, Sugar Cured Ham, Baked Ziti, Cheese Straws, Pumpkin Muffins, Apple Dumplings, and so on and so forth. Yum! But I tried two new recipes that I thought I would share because they tasted just like Fall. Is that weird? Yes, it is.

Okay- first up we have Cinnamon Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Basically this is just an autumn twist on the standard grilled cheese.

You start off by chopping up some tart apples. I would actually chop them smaller than I did. I did apple chunks and I think they need to be smaller for the sandwich.

And then you saute the apple chunks until they are tender.

While the apple slices are cooking, cook and stir 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon of honey over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted.

In a small bowl, beat 3 tablespoons of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon until  smooth. Side note- I doubled the recipe because I was making a lot of sandwiches, but I think I used too much cream cheese. My Mom loved it and thought it was perfect, but I would cut down on the cream cheese. To each his own.

Once the walnuts and honey are toasted, add them to the cream cheese mixture.

Spread mixture over one side of cinnamon raisin bread and then add apple mixture over another slice of cinnamon raisin bread.
Layer each slice of bread with Muenster cheese and throw the sandwich on your griddle or on a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.

Toast sandwich on each side until golden brown and voila! You have a great updated twist on the classic grilled cheese. And as my family can attest, they make great left overs. You can heat them up the next day and they are still delicious.

The second recipe is for Bacon Apple Cider Biscuits. I served these the night I cooked some sugar cured ham. I will confess that that I thought these would have more of a cinnamon/sweet taste. But they tasted more like regular biscuits. They were still good though and Rob is already asking when we can have them again.

Cook 6 bacon strips and then set them aside. Refrain from eating them. And also refrain your dog from jumping up on the counter to get them.

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. 

Cut in 7 tablespoons of butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add crumbled bacon. Then stir in 3/4 cup of either apple cider or apple juice.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 8-10 times. Roll into a 10x6 inch rectangle. Brush melted butter over dough and sprinkle with cinnamon. Side Note- I don't have the dough below quite shaped into the 10x6 inch rectangle. It was well on its way though.
Cut dough into 8 rectangles. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. I used my baking stone.
Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

And finally, my Mom and I made rainbow cookies with Bennett. My good friend Mary gave Bennett a huge book of cookie recipes. My Mom told her to pick any cookie in the book and we would make it when she came to visit. So of course Bennett picked an incredibly complicated recipe, but a promise is a promise.

I am not going to post the whole recipe because it really does take awhile and involves lots and lots of food coloring. :-) But if you would like the recipe, please e-mail me and I would love to send it to you. But after all of the mixing and stirring, we had 4 bowls of dough and we colored each one. You then had to form one part of the dough into a log roll and then place it inside a rectangle of more dough. Does that sound complicated? It was.

Once the dough was made and all wrapped up inside of the other sections of dough we had to stick it in the fridge for an hour. After it was cooled, we cut it in half and therefore created a rainbow. Bennett was thrilled.
And Voila! Bennett's coveted rainbow cookies. I'm just glad we pulled it off.
And of course we had the two cutest taste testers in the world. They got to add the finishing touches of sprinkles before consuming way too many. Cookies that is.

Bon Appetit. :-)