October 28, 2009

Mummy Loves You, Son!

Today is my oldest child's birthday...in fact it is his "Golden Birthday".
My son Sean is turning 28 on October 28th!

Here he is on Halloween a couple of years ago with his twin sisters.

And here they are just a "few" years ago! The girls are on the same sides...haha!

We brought him home from the hospital on Halloween day so Halloween is always a fun celebration for him. He throws himself a Halloween Birthday Costume Party nearly every year!

I made these Mummy Cupcakes to take to his party tonight!

After all...you're never too old for your "mummy" right?

They are all "wrapped up" and ready for the party!
Maybe we'll dance the "Monster Mash"!

Instructions for the cupcakes are HERE on the Wilton website.

October 26, 2009

More than Just Fried Green Tomatoes

So what do you do with a vine full of green tomatoes that have no plans of turning red anytime soon? Here's one idea I found...
Green Tomato Cake...yup cake...I decided to give it a try for our...

"Sunday Funday Family Diner" dessert!

Oh My Gosh...it is one of my new favorite cakes ever!

It is moist and dense and chewy and delicious! Similar to carrot cake...
No one was able to guess the "secret ingredient"!

I added a sweet icing with a touch of pineapple flavor! Yummy!
Green Tomato Cake Recipe

Our main course was a Fall Vegetable Beef Soup...

A very large pot of soup!
Our game for the night was "Mexican Train" (a game played with dominoes)
Another fun family night filled with food, fun, friends and family!
The count last night was ten...

By the way, thanks to everyone for their game suggestions for our get-togethers. We are going to add them to our "play list"!

October 21, 2009

I am Home Party Challenged!

For starters ladies...don't get me wrong...I have absolutely NOTHING against "home parties". You know the ones...Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Longaberger...I have been to many over the years, and I have had a great time, mingling with friends and shopping together. It's just this...I have a difficult time coughing up the money for products that I know I can totally replicate or find for a greatly reduced price!

So here was my challenge...Last night I was invited to a certain "Candle Home Party". The hostess was lovely, the food delicious and the company terrific. But when it came time to browse the catalog in search of the "self imposed obligatory purchase"...I just couldn't do it!
My wallet held my debit card captive...and though the guilty feeling swelled at first...eventually the sensation dissapated (maybe it was the wine) and I stuck to my guns.

You heard it hear first...I DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING!
There was one item I had my eye on. It was a set of three leaf shaped candle holders with some tealight candles...for $24.95 plus shipping! But I remained steadfast despite the "buying frenzy" going on all around me and came home not a single dollar poorer.

So today I decided... since I saved the $28 last night...what could I bring home from my local Goodwill Store for the same amount? My purchase would have to include at least one candle related item... Boy did I score!

Here's my fabulous "stash"!

Seriously...I got all this loot for $28.00!

This beautiful set of candle holders would have cost me at least $39.95 at the party. Try $3 for the pair. The tallest one stands about 16" high!

I collect these wonderful baskets! This one is in pristine vintage condition! The "cherry tin" is like-new and will be great for holiday goodies...and the little pumpkin is perfect to decorate for Fall.

Hopefully, my daughter will not visit my blog because she is an N'Sync nut and this lunch pail with thermos, pen and race car will crack her up! Perfect condition!

Three lovely "Chris Madden" plates and a brand new cheese knife from Pier 1.
These plates will make great gifts once they are filled with cookies or muffins!

And on one of my previous posts I added some of this special lettering to my house. They are not cheap at Michaels' or Joanne's...but this one was brand new for only $.99! My Goodwill gets the final sale merchandise donated from Target!
It says..."Happy is a home that shelters a friend"

These two magazines were only 50 cents...just in time for the upcoming holiday season.
There is a great article about Simone Beck, Julia Child's partner in Bon Appetit!

This is one of those "espensive" butter keepers! Love the color, perfect with my Fiestaware!

My husband loves bird feeders and gardening. Someone made this one out of beautiful crystal plates and a mason jar chicken feeder! $2.99...can you believe it!

This brass basket is about 10" in diameter and would make a nice candle holder too.

And this is a complete set of vintage Tupperware canisters. Love the color of these too!

A little red metal chair makes a cozy tealight holder.

And finally I got this Holly Hobbie figurine from the "70's and this absolutely wonderful wooden play sewing machine! It is so cool! I saw it in another lady's cart but then she changed her mind and put it back on the shelf. Lucky for me!

Ok...I know I know...maybe I wasn't the ideal home party customer...but they always say...
"No worries, you don't have to buy anything...just come for the party"...


October 19, 2009

Food and Frolic!

Every Sunday Night we host
"Family Dinner & Game Night"

Since four of our five children live on their own now, we thought it was a good way to get everyone together at least once a week. As the months have passed, it has become an Open House to include any other friends and relatives that want to join us! Some weeks there are 6 of us and other weeks there are 20 or more! It averages about 10-12 each time. The cooking is generally up to me, although many have participated in taking on the role of chef! I enjoy looking for new recipes that can serve our large group.

This week it was "Lasagna Roll-ups with Homemade Meatballs"
Dessert was "Cheesy Lemon Bars" and our game was "Apples to Apples"

We all had a wonderful time together.
Remember you're always welcome too!

Ingredients include: Low Fat Ricotta Cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, oregano, basil and lasagna noodles. (I think I'll add spinach next time)

Combine 1 container ricotta cheese, 2 tbl. oregano, 2 tbl. basil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and one egg. Salt & Pepper can be added if desired.

Spoon a thin layer of the cheese mixture onto each cooked noodle.

Roll each noodle and secure with a wooden toothpick.

Place the rolls side by side in a lightly oil sprayed pan.

Pour prepared pasta sauce on top of each roll and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 25 mins. at 375 degrees.

One box of noodles made 20 roll-ups. I served two per person with two large homemade meatballs and some broccoli and that was enough even for my big eaters. They are filling!
I also used the premade pizza dough from my Eesy-Peasy Pizza Post and made it into a crispy flatbread. I just rubbed the dough with olive oil and added some herbs and a little more Parmesan. The perfect addition to the meal.

Bon Appetit!

The View from My Front Porch

The trees are changing color, the sun is shining...Fall is in the air!

My Front Door is ready for Halloween!

It is a beautiful day!

P.S. Debi at Life in My Studio is having a wonderfully, fabulous giveaway to celebrate her 55th Birthday. She is offering up five different fantastic prizes! Don't miss out on this one...and let her know that I sent you on over!

October 16, 2009

Alligator Pears

George Bliss, age 81, has been eating avocados morning, noon, and night. A second-generation California avocado farmer, Bliss loves the fruits of his labor. "I eat three avocados a day," he says with the fervor of a true addict. "I have one on my eggs in the morning, one in my salad at noon, and one with my dinner."

Partaking of his land's bounty doesn't seem to have done Bliss any harm. After eight decades of daily avocado consumption, he's still going strong; at 6 feet tall, he weighs a trim 180 pounds. He believes that he has avocados to thank for his good health. "I'm still living and I'm over 80," he says. "I do some exercise on a bicycle, and I walk through the orchards keeping up with my business. I don't need a cane or anything." And sure, Bliss says, his green globes might be a bit fatty, but that's no reason to fear them.

It's true that avocados are high in fat -- but most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated -- the "good" kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. 45 volunteers who ate avocados every day for a week experienced an average 17% drop in total blood cholesterol. Their cholesterol ratio also changed in a healthy way: Their levels of LDL ("bad fat") and triglycerides, both associated with heart disease, went down. Their HDL ("good fat") levels, which tend to lower the risk of heart disease, climbed.

Avocados are so inexpensive right now! I bought mine yesterday for only 50 cents each! Soon they could be up to $3...so buy them now, mash them up with 1 tsp. of lemon juice per two avocados and freeze them in small plastic containers. You can't freeze them whole or in slices but you will have avocado "butter" ready to use all winter!

And, Ladies, forget those fattening and unhealthy chips with your guacamole...I go to my local Asian Market...H Mart, where they make these rice puffs fresh all day!

This is their Rice Puff Machine

You can pair them with almost anything. They're infinitely lighter than the diet-fad rice cakes. These crunch in your mouth, but then almost melt there.

Light as a feather, they are the size of tortillas and sell for only $2 a dozen!

October 13, 2009

Dumpling Delights!

I have always wanted to try my hand at making Asian dumplings but have just never gotten around to it. Well with won ton wrappers so readily available, I decided to finally give them a try...it would be easy...right?
And they really were...

Grab a packet of round won ton wrappers...(usually in the produce section of the market)
I used my own choice of ingredients....you can experiement with what your family likes.

For the filling I used ground pork, salad shrimp, zucchini and onion.

Chop it up and mix it all together, adding your favorite spices.

Lay out one won ton skin at a time and place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center.
Then take your fingertips and wet the edges of the wrapper with water.

Fold over the dumpling, securing it with your fingers while slightly pleating the edges.

Now steam the dumplings for about 5-7 mins ...
...then after steaming you can saute them lightly in spray olive oil for a crispy skin.

Homemade Dumplings or Pot Stickers!
Dip them in your favorite sauce and Enjoy!
Yum Yum
My husband and daughters gave them a big "thumbs up"! (I did too!)

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