Simpatico: October 2010


Just the life and times of a silly girl, her dachshunds and all things Southern!

Party Time... Halloween Style

I am a wee bit disappointed as my fall picnic menu doesn't get to be used today. My friend has an interview for a new job. As jobs are scarce, I do not mind waiting for a picnic with him if he can find a good job!! Best of luck to you!!

So instead I will spend today preparing for my Halloween party tomorrow night. Ok, so it isn't a true Fall Festival/Halloween party with bobbing for apples, cake walks, and trick or treating, but it is going to be fun nonetheless!!

I am not a planner of activities. I have been told that board games and cards shall be the entertainment prior to a good old scary movie fest. **And I promise myself there will be a showing of "Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" at some point during the evening!!

Halloween Party Menu
Onion-Bacon Dip
Salty Bones with Marinara Sauce
Cheesy Jack-o'-Lantern
Mummy-Face Pizzas
Spooky Eyeballs Tacos

Pumpkin Fudge
Lollipop Cookies
Candy Corn Cookies
Crunchy Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Green Ghoulade

Take Home Gift
Caramel Apples with Coconut & Chocolate Drizzle

Savory recipes**********************
Onion-Bacon Dip
1 large leek
6 bacon slices
1 large sweet onion, minced
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (2-lb.) acorn squash
Assorted multigrain and vegetable chips
Garnish: chopped fresh chives

Remove and discard root ends and dark green top of leek. Cut in half lengthwise, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove grit and sand; thinly slice leek.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
Sauté onion and leek in hot drippings 15 minutes or until tender and golden.
Stir together onion mixture, bacon, cream cheese, sour cream, and salt. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Cut about 1/2 to 1 inch from top of squash; remove and discard seeds.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Place squash, cut side down, in skillet, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until cut side is golden brown and caramelized. Serve dip in squash with assorted chips. Garnish, if desired.

Salty Bones with Marinara Sauce
1 tube of refrigerated breadstick dough (we used an 11-ounce tube to make 12 bones)
Coarse salt

Unroll a tube of refrigerated breadstick dough and separate the rectangular pieces.
Working with one piece at a time, stretch the dough to lengthen it a bit and then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut a 11/2-inch slit in the center of each end.
Roll or shape the resulting four flaps of dough into knobs that look like the ends of a bone.
Place the dough bones on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them a few inches apart, and sprinkle on a little coarse salt. Bake the bones until they are light golden brown, about 12 minutes.
Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Cheesy Jack-o'-Lantern
3 green onions, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped red peppers
2 slices pepperoni

Cut 4-inch length from green end of 1 onion; slice remaining onions. Beat cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups Cheddar with mixer until well blended. Stir in sliced onions and peppers. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Shape into ball; roll in remaining Cheddar. Cut pepperoni into shapes for the jack-o'-lantern's eyes, nose and mouth; press into cheese ball to make face. Insert green onion piece into top for stem.
Serve with RITZ Crackers.

Mummy-Face Pizzas
1 plain bagel (3-1/2 inch), cut horizontally in half
2 Tbsp. pizza sauce
2 sticks KRAFT STRING-UMS String Cheese
4 slices black olives

Heat oven to 400ºF.
Spread bagel halves with sauce. Pull cheese into thin strips; place in random criss-cross fashion on tops of bagels to resemble mummy bandages. Trim ends with kitchen shears. Add olives for the eyes.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake 10 min. or until bagels are crisp and cheese is melted.

Spooky Eyeball Tacos
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
3/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 can (2-1/4 oz.) sliced black olives, drained

Heat oven to 350°F.
Mix meat and seasoning mix; shape into 36 (1-inch) balls. Place in 15x10x1-inch pan.
Bake 15 to 20 min. or until done (160ºF).
Fill each taco shell with 1 meatball; drizzle with salsa. Top with 2 meatballs dipped in sour cream. Garnish with olives to resemble eyeballs.

Sweet recipes**********************
Pumpkin Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool; cut fudge into squares.
Notes: Line pan with aluminum foil before you begin to cook the fudge. Once the candy thermometer reaches 234° and the remaining ingredients are added, quickly spoon the fudge into the pan.

Lollipop Cookies
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Colored sanding sugar or sprinkles (preferably black and orange)
24 wooden ice-pop sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overmix).
If using two colors of sanding sugar, place each in a separate shallow dish (or combine them in one). Roll dough into balls, using 1 1/2 tablespoons for each. Roll in sanding sugar, pressing lightly to coat completely. Insert a wooden stick in center of each ball; place on baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, with wooden sticks lying horizontally. Lightly press down on each ball with the bottom of a glass to flatten slightly.
Bake until edges are golden and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.

Candy Corn Cookies
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
About 36 candy corns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl; beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Add flour, and mix until a dough forms.
Scoop out level teaspoons of dough, and roll into balls (chill dough briefly if it becomes too soft to handle). Place balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and cookies are dry to the touch (do not let cookies color), 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oven; gently press a candy corn into center of each cookie (surface of cookies may crack slightly). Cool on sheets 1 minute; transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Variation: Reduce the amount of flour given in the recipe to 1/2 cup. Add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder along with the flour in step 1, and proceed.

Crunchy Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Brittle
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts
3/4 cup (4 oz.) pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. butter, softened
1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Cover surface of cutting board with parchment or waxed paper; lightly spray paper with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook water and sugar in large heavy saucepan on high heat 8 to 10 min. or until sugar turns a dark amber color, stirring frequently. Swirl pan and brush down sugar crystals on sides of pan with wet pastry brush just until sugar comes to boil.
Remove saucepan from heat; quickly stir in peanuts, pumpkin seeds and butter. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared parchment; spread evenly with wooden spoon. While hot, cut into 24 pieces. Cool completely.
Drizzle or spread thin layer of chocolate over brittle.

Drink recipe**********************
Green Ghoulade
2 (6-ounce) cans limeade, frozen concentrate, thawed
3 cups lemon-lime soda
3 1/2 cups green sports drink
Green food coloring
Whipped cream, for topping
Candy sticks or sipping straw, optional

In a pitcher, combine limeade, soda, and sports drink. Add 5 drops of food coloring, or until desired color green, and stir. Add ice and pour ghoulade to each glass. Place whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe it on top of each glass. Garnish with a fun straw or candy stick.

Take Home Gift Recipe**********************
Caramel Apples with Coconut & Chocolate Drizzle
5 apples (1-1/2 lb.), washed, well dried
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels
2 Tbsp. water
1-1/2 cups BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Insert wooden pop sticks into stem ends of apples. Microwave caramels and water in deep microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 to 3 min. or until caramels are melted, stirring every minute.
Dip apples in caramel, turning to evenly coat; scrape excess from bottoms of apples. Roll apples in coconut; place on greased tray. Refrigerate 15 min.
Microwave chocolate in separate deep microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. to 1 min. 15 sec. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min.; stir until completely melted. Drizzle chocolate over apples; return to tray. Let stand until chocolate is firm. Keep refrigerated.

Its Been A While...

..a very long while.

It has been such a long time I decided to delete all previous posts. Was it the smartest of choices? No. In hindsight I wish I had kept them to see my personal growth, however there is nothing to do now but move forward.

I set up this blog to chronicle the special things that come my way... the events, people, and small choices which shape me. I hope to continue my journal of how my path changes and how I grow from day to day.

I know that the slightly warmer days of Fall are soon going away to bring about the grey, dark days of winter. My heart dreads this transition. Instead of allowing myself to ponder the gloomy days coming, I am planning a Fall Picnic with a new friend. Although I had no idea when I asked him to go along with me, we shall be celebrating his birthday.

Instead of throwing a couple hastily put together sandwiches, I have decided a bit more sophistication in my menu. I wanted to do something special; a memory builder for his birthday. I shall post some pictures tomorrow.

Shelle's Fall Picnic Menu
Mini Caprese Bites
Sister's Mexicorn Dip with pita chips
Turkey and Black Forest Ham Panini with Citrus Aioli
Mom's Apple Cake

Recipes are listed below... Enjoy!!

Mini Caprese Bites
1pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 (8-oz.) package fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
32 (4-inch) wooden skewers (toothpicks may be used as well)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Thread 1 tomato half, 1 piece of cheese, and another tomato half onto each skewer. Place skewers in a shallow serving dish.
Whisk together oil and next 3 ingredients. Drizzle oil mixture over skewers; sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Sister’s Mexicorn Dip
1 can Mexicorn
2 green onions finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayo
8 oz sour cream
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp lime juice
Drain mexicorn thoroughly. Add green onions, cilantro and grated cheese. Mix mayo, sour cream, cumin, cayenne and lime juice in separate bowl. Add to other ingredients and chill for a few hours. Serve with Pita Chips

Turkey and Ham Panini with Citrus Aioli
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp grated lime rind
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
8 (1-ounce) slices bread
1/2 pound deli-sliced turkey
1/2 pound deli-sliced ham (Black Forest is my favorite)
2 cups spring lettuce mix
4 (1/2-ounce) slices provolone cheese
Cooking spray
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine first 6 ingredients; spread evenly over 4 bread slices. Top evenly with turkey, ham, lettuce, cheese, and remaining 4 bread slices. Coat grill pan with cooking spray. Arrange 2 sandwiches in pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 2 minutes on each side (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook). Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches.

Mom’s Apple Cake
6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

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Grab a seat on the porch, drink some sweet ice tea, and stay a while!

Simpatico Is Defined as:

agreeable, likable, being on the same wavelength, congenial, sympathetic, of like mind or temperament, compatible.



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