This and that: October 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Almond Bark Halloween Candy

I am not a Halloween person, but I love the candy and I do like watching the young children dressed up in their costume excited to get candy.
One of my favorite Halloween candies is candy corn... and I eat them until I am just about sick.  I found this recipe on the last Foodie Friends Friday recipe... It has everything that I like in candy ~ chocolate, candy corn and m&m's.  The recipe is from one of my favorite blogger's Cindy from Hun.. What's for Dinner.

Almond Bark Halloween Candy
adapted from Halloween Candy Bark

6 square Vanilla flavored Almond Bark
6 square Chocolate flavored Almond Bark
approx 1 - 1 1/2 cup of m&m's and candy corn (  I used candy corn flavored m&m's, fall m&m's and harvest mix candy corn)

Melt chocolate in separate bowls.  I melted mine in the microwave, check about every 30 seconds.  The vanilla flavored almond bark took about 2 minutes to melt and the chocolate almond bark took about 3 minutes to melt.
Place parchment paper on cookie sheet, pour almond bark on cookie sheet and using a knife swirl the two almond bark together.  I put my almond bark beside each other but you can also slowly pour the chocolate flavored almond bark on the parchment paper and then slowly pour the vanilla flavored almond bark.  Again using knife swirl together.
Pour candies over the chocolate and press softly into chocolate. Put into refrigerator to harden.  Take out in about 45 minutes.  To break candy, grab both ends of the parchment paper and drop onto countertop, or you can break it with your hands.  


Monday, October 29, 2012

Attiéké with Smoked Salmon Stir fry

We bought Attiéké at an African Market this summer and I finally made it.   Attiéké is a low fat "couscous" make from fermented cassava root.  After some investigation I found that it was produced by Ivory Coast women by a traditional method requiring several hard steps. Although it looks like couscous, it has a distinct nutty flavour.  It can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta and served with stews, poultry, fish and vegetables.  I served it with a Smoked Salmon Stir-fry.

    Attiéké with Smoked Salmon Stirfry

Prepartion for  Attiéké
1 box Marguerite  Attiéké or 8.75 oz (250 g)
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp butter or oil

Place Attiéké in  sauce pan.  Add warm water and stir delicately.  Cover and let sit for 5 - 8 minutes.  Add 1 tbsp butter or oil and cook over very low heat for 4 -5 minutes fluffing with a fork to separate grains.  

Preparation for Smoked Salmon Stirfry
1 -2 tbsp oil
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 -1/2 cup Sun Dried Tomato Dressing - I used Kraft
1/3 pound smoked salmon cut in bite size pieces.

In frying pan or wok, heat oil and place carrots and celery, over medium heat cook until close to being soft, add red onions and mushrooms and continue to cook until vegetables are soft.  Pour in Sun Dried Tomato Dressing  (depending on how much liquid you will want, will depend on how much dressing to use - start with the small amount and add until it is how you would like it).  Continue to cook for a few minutes.  Add smoked salmon and cook for another couple of minutes, until salmon is warm.  At this point just before serving I will add a bit more onions to taste.  Serve over  Attiéké .

A picture of the  Attiéké box

What it looks like after it is cooked.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crockpot Italian Pulled Beef Sandwiches..

I love my crockpot and use it often during the year.  The only problem about using a crockpot is that you have to think about your meal ahead of time... and that is one thing I don't always do.. I am a spur of the moment type of person, I run down to the freezer and look in and after I see what I have, I figure out what I am going to make.  But on rare occasions I will do this in the morning and take out something to put in my crockpot.
This crockpot meal you have to think about it a day before, because ideally it should cook for at least 18 hours.  Well, this is the real world and in my world that seldom if ever happens.  On occasion I will remember the night before to put it in... but then that causes another problem ~~~ How do you sleep with those wonderful smells waffling into the bedroom, making your stomach growl?  Not an easy task and when I do it, I am hungry all night...
The other reason I like my crockpot is that I love the taste of the meat when it comes out and you can use a cheaper cut and it still usually turns out wonderfully.
Last weekend I wanted to make this as I knew that our Foodie Friends Friday was have a Croctober party and I need some crock pot recipes.  Also, I was having company and as my husband isn't that keen on sandwiches there wouldn't be so much left over.  So, Friday evening I asked my brother when they would be leaving on Saturday and he thought shortly afternoon.  Horrors this takes a good 16 -18 hours on low and it is already 10 pm... so if we ate at noon that would only be 15 hours... What to do?  Did you know that if you cooked an hour on high, that is an two hours on low?  So I put the meat and everything else in and turned it on high for about an hour and half and then turned it on low..   The next day at shortly after one we sat down for Italian Pulled Beef Sandwiches and they got a good review.
This recipe I originally received from a friend and she got it from a Chicago paper, but I never did write it down so this is how I made it this time..

Crockpot Italian Pulled Beef Sandwiches
5 lbs roast - you can use any kind and this time I only used a 2.5 lb and it worked good
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 can beef broth
1 jar Italian Mix Giardiniera
1 jar Golden Peperoncini - I used only 1/2 jar
buns - I used small Italian buns
cheese (optional) - I used tillamook garlic cheese white cheddar cheese.

Place all ingredients into a crock pot and place on low and cook for 18 hours.  If you are short on time, you can put it on high for an hour or two and then turn down to low for the rest of the time. For best results cook for at least 16 hours, the longer the better.
Once cooked, shred the beef and vegetables.  I took out the peperoncini and put them on the side as I wasn't sure if the children would eat them...  Place in open faced buns, I used Italian buns that I melted butter and spread on the top and placed in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes.  They were nice and crisp.
Add meat, and cheese if wanted.  I also added a small amount of gravy.. direction for what I did are below in the *.

* because I only used a small roast, there was a lot of liquid left over.  I place this in a pot on medium heat until it came to a nice rolling boil.  Remove approximately 1/4 cup and add 1 -2 tbsp of flour and stir until mixed in.  Add to the rest of the sauce slowly, stirring as you are adding the flour mixture in.  Continue to boil until you get gravy at the thickness you want.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more flour if needed.  You can either have a thin gravy as an au jus or thicker gravy.  I opted for a thicker gravy and place a small amount over the beef in the bun.

Another way of eating this would be over mashed potatoes or with rice.

all ingredients in crockpot
Sorry picture isn't very good as I took with my phone.

shred beef and Italian Mix Giardiniera 


Foodie Friends Friday - Crocktober Party...

This week on Foodie Friends Friday
We are having a CrockPot Party..
Bring your best Crock Pot Recipes.
But if you don't have a crockpot recipe that is ok, we will accept all recipes. 

Link up your favorite crockpot recipe
For a chance to win a Crockpot Carry Bag 

But first we need to look at last week's party

Voted Top 3
Feeding Big - Caramel Apple Cupcakes
The Better Baker - Peanut Butter Pumpkins
A Girls Gotta Nest - Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Most Clicks
My Recipe Roundup -Pumpkin Bundt Cake
The Better Baker - Peanut Butter Pumpkins
Adorned Well - Loaded Potato Soup
Sponsor Giveaway

Host Favorite
Foodie Friends Friday
You can grab your button from here
or go to Foodie Friends Friday
This week's host favorite goes to Calculus to Cupcakes for her Salted Caramel latte
I haven't made this yet but I will... It sounds so good.

Now for what we are all waiting for...
This week's Party!
Each link will go to everyone of these great blogs....

Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Cindy at Cindys Recipes and Writings
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar
Jutta at HungryLittleGirl
Ericka at Chef PickyKid and Me
Skye at A Virtual Essence

Sponsor Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rules to Link Up Your Recipes:

We would be extremely grateful if you would link back your recipe to 
Foodie Friends Friday and your host blog.
Also if you link up on my blog, please leave me a comment
So that I can personally thank you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Fudge

This past weekend, my brother and family came to visit and I was able to cook with my niece.  It was so much fun.  I was able to teach my niece how my mom taught me to make fudge and how she showed me  what a soft boil stage was and when the fudge was ready.  She did this by dropping a small amount of the candy into cold water and move it around with her finger, if it made a small ball then it was ready.  I still use this method, although I do have a candy thermometer.   As my mother passed away many years ago, and this was a way that my niece could learn something about her grandmother.  My niece also loves to cook, so hopefully in the near future I will be able to cook and bake with her more.

Pumpkin Spice Fudge 
adapted from Pumpkin Bliss Fudge  Dawn's Divine Delight
2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 oz white chocolate ( I used Ghiradelli Vanilla Dream, approx 1 and 1/4 bar)
1 bag Hershey Pumpkin Spice Kisses
1 7 oz marshmallow creme (1 used 1 cup homemade marshmallow creme RECIPE)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - (I forgot to put this in...but my white chocolate has vanilla)

Butter a 9x13 pan or place tin foil in it.  Unwrap kisses and chop up chocolate.
Place sugars, butter, milk, pumpkin puree in a saucepan cook over medium heat until sugars are dissolved. Then continue this until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly.  Boil until the mixture is in a soft- ball stage, approximately 234 degrees on the candy thermometer.
Take off heat and add chocolate,and marshmallow creme and mix until well mixed and smooth. Stir in vanilla (if you are using) and mix well
Pour into your prepared 9x13 pan.  The fudge is already setting at this stage and place in refrigerator to set.

*I took mine out in an hour and was able to cut it and serve it. (my company was leaving and I wanted my helpers to be able to taste it).  The fudge was still a bit warm on the bottom but cut easily and stayed in pieces while we ate it.   So smooth and delicious.  I w it.   It is so smooth and a wonderful pumpkin flavor.  My brother told me we could come for Christmas as long as we brought this with us.  So glad that I bought many bags of pumpkin spice kisses!

the process in fudge making.... with the help of my nieces!
They were so much help.

and one last picture because it is oh so yummy!

Linked up here:  Mix it up MondaysSunday Sweet Confessions Link Party,Manic MondaysWednesday Extravaganza

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Foodie Friend Friday - October 18,2012

Not sure where the time went this week, but it is already Thursday evening and I am just writing this post up.... But it is Thursday and that means...
Party Time
This week we are having our
Foodie Friends Freaky Fright Day!
Great Bloggers!
Great Recipes!
Great Giveaway!

This week 12 Randomly Selected
winners will win a sponsored gift..
Yes, I said 12 isn't that great

But First let's look at last week's party
Sponsor Gift Winners

Voted Top 3
Who Needs A  Cape - cheapo-pumpkin spice latte
Who Needs A Cape - Easy Bacon Wrapped Chicken
Who Needs A Cape - Pumpkin Pancake Palooza

Most Clicks
Cozycakes Cottages - Chocolate Snack Cake with Biscoff Buttercream
Cozycakes Cottages - Apple Filled Pull-Apart Bread
Busy Vegetarian Mom - Hashbrown Crusted Quiche

Host Favorite
Dawn's Divine Delight for her Pumpkin Bliss Fudge
I love her fudge and my plans are to make it tomorrow so will show a picture then.
Foodie Friends Friday
Please pick up your button here or
from Foodie Friends Friday

Before we go to the party
I want to put a plug in for our e-magazine
It has a little bit of everything.

Now this week's party... What we are waiting for
Remember each recipe link goes to each of the member's blog
Foodie Friends Friday
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Cindy at Cindys Recipes and Writings
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We would sure like it if you would remember to link back your recipe to
Foodie Friends Friday
the host that you linked up with... 
If you link up with my blog, please leave me a message as I would like to be able to thank you! 

Now onto the Party:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Exciting News!

As you know a few months ago I joined a group called Foodie Friends Friday and each week we have hosted a Linky Party.  These parties have been a great success and we have decided to expand.  Under the lead of Tracy from Busy Vegetarian Momma we have started a new chapter in our group called Foodie Friends Friday Daily Dish.  Not only will you find recipes here but you will find information on health and wellness, home and garden, product reviews, fun in the kitchen, kitchen crafts  and a whole lot more.

Myself, along with 10 other bloggers will be dishing up a post at least twice daily to bring to.  There will be guest post of some of your favorite bloggers, both those that have blogged for a long time and ones that have just started.   This will be a one stop place for any type of "foodie" news and you can even shop... we will bring things from Amazon that we think are neat or we can't go without.  What more can you ask for, come and visit us.  Stop in have some coffee or tea and browse through our pages.



Pumpkin Spiced Latte

There are many recipes out there for pumpkin spice latte.
 This one has something special in it.... A pumpkin spice kiss.
It also has the wonderful flavour of  Don Tomas Coffee.
 It just makes it a little more special.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

5 oz evaporated milk
1 tbsp condensed milk
2 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 pumpkin spice Hershey kiss
1 cup strong coffee ( I used Don Tomas Coffee)
cool whip or whipped cream (optional)
nutmeg to sprinkle on top (optional)

Place evaporated milk, condensed milk, pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice in small pot.  Whisk and heat over medium heat until milk becomes frothy.  I whisk the milk the whole time.  In coffee cup place a pumpkin spice hershey kiss, add milk mixture and hot coffee until cup is filled.  Whisk again to melt the pumpkin spice hershey kiss.  Add cool whip or whipped cream if desired and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Enjoy!

* If the pumpkin spice Hershey kiss doesn't melt completely.. that is ok, It tastes good at the end of your coffee.

I was given a sample of Don Tomas Coffee along with other members of Foodie Friends Friday to review.  As I don't drink that much coffee anymore I decided to make a speciality coffee and this is what I came up with.  I was pleasantly surprised of the robust taste that Don Tomas Coffee has and I made the coffee very strong to put into this drink.  I find that many coffees if you make them strong, they are bitter but not this one.  It has a great flavour and wonderful taste.  I will be doing a more thorough review of this coffee when Foodie Friends Friday has their Coffee Party on November 16th.  My plans are also to do some baking with this coffee and I am also going to have guest over, so that I can serve it and get more reviews. 

Links Clever Chicks Blog HopFoodie Friends FridayTasty ThursdaysSweet Confession Sunday Link Party

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eggplant Lasagna - YEAH or NAY

If you have been following me here on my blog or on facebook... you have heard that we planted eggplants this year and they GREW!  We only planted 2 plants but they were plentiful and eggplants is something that you can't giveaway to everyone.

  I like eggplants but my husband isn't that keen... although he will eat some of what I make.  I have been trying to come up with new recipes to use them up...
I might have to do some more working on this recipe... It had lots of flavour, but I am not sure about the eggplant... I am thinking I should have cooked it just a little bit before I put it into the lasagna as it still was a little bit tough.  If anyone has any suggestions, please, please leave me a comment.

Eggplant Lasagna
3 small eggplants - sliced in thin slices
1/3 cup onions diced
1 lb ground turkey - you could also use ground beef you like
1 garlic clove diced
1 jar pasta sauce or marinara sauce - 15 oz
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1 15 oz ricotta cheese
1 tbsp parsley
1 egg 
2 cups mozzarella cheese - shredded
parmesan cheese  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice eggplants and sprinkle salt on them and let sit while turkey mixture is cooking.  Prior to using, rinse off salt and dry eggplant slices.
In saucepan, cook ground turkey until no longer pink, add onions and garlic and cook until both are translucence.  Add pasta or marinara sauce and italian seasoning.  Continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes.  In separate bowl mix ricotta cheese, egg and parsley.  
Start layering lasagna, first with turkey mixture,  eggplant slices, ricotta cheese mixture and then mozzarella cheese.  Continue to layer for 2 -3 layers, depending on your sauce.  I like to end with meat mixture and mozzarella.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.  Bake for 1 hour in 350 degree oven.
* my layers are meat mixture, eggplant, ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, meat mixture, eggplant, ricotta cheese, meat mixture, mozzarella cheese and then parmesan cheese.

* the first time I ate it, my lasagna was more like a soup as there was a lot of liquid, after serving it I tried to get rid of some of the liquid and put it in the refrigerator.. The second time we ate it, the lasagna looked like lasagna and had no extra liquid in it.  I am not sure if cooking the eggplants in the oven for 20 minutes would help this or not.  I think the next time I make it I will try that.    

Ingredients.  I received the Mia's Kitchen Bistro Marinara from my
September Foodie PenPal

Getting ready for my layering 

ready to go in the oven

Doesn't look much like lasagna but tastes very good.

Looks more like a lasagna the second time we ate it.

For me the eggplant lasagna was a YEAH! I really enjoyed it even though the first time I ate it looked more like a soup or sauce and the eggplants had to be cut by a knife.  My husband thoughts were not quite a NAY but not sure if he will eat it again.. he did have it the second time but I ate it totally 3 times :).  So for you is it YEAH or NAY!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday ~ October 11/12

Another Week,
Another Recipe
Great Recipes we have here on Foodie Friends Friday
Last week had 152 recipes linked
everything that you need at one stop
So come and join us again this week for another terrific  party!
We also have another
Great Giveaway! and open International as prize is emailed !

But first week need to take a look at last weeks winners:

Sponsored Giveaway

Top 3 Voted
Hungry Little Girl ~ Peanut Butter & Jelly Pokecake
High Heels & Grills ~ Zombie Eyes
Crumbsinmymustachio ~ Lemonlicious

Most Clicks
Hun...What's For Dinner ~ Pepper Jelly Turkey Meatballs with Confetti Rice
Sweet Heat Chefs ~ Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake
Hungry Little Girl ~ Peanut Butter & Jelly Pokecake

Host Favorite
Foodie Friends Friday
You can grab you button from here or go to
Foodie Friends Friday
This week's host favorite goes to The Nerdy Farm Wife for her Honey-Butter Finger Bites

picture of my Honey-Butter Finger Bites
my recipe is HERE

Now onto this week's Party
Once again we are going to have Rafflecopter for the Sponsor Giveaway
Remember to fill it out for a chance to win.
You do not have to link up a recipe but it will increase your chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Every link up will go to each of these great blogs
Foodie Friends Friday
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Cindy at Cindys Recipes and Writings
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar

First and foremost we would love if you would link back your recipe to Foodie Friends Friday
and also the blog that you linked up with.

Host Favorite... Honey ButterFinger Bites

If you follow my blog, you know that I pick one recipe to be my host favorite and I try to make it before the next Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party.  Last week, I found Honey-Butter Finger Bites from The Nerdy Farm Wife.  I am not sure if I have ever eaten butterfingers as I can't remember and I am sure that isn't possible for me not to have tried them as I have eaten every type of  candy there is.... but I don't remember what they taste like.  But this recipe intrigued me and it only had 3 ingredients.  I also love Nerdy Farm Wife's picture of them with the fallen leaves... So great.
The only thing about this recipe that I needed to change was the peanut butter.  We have a peanut sensitivity in the house, so I try very hard to stay away from it, so I decided that biscoff would work great and I also had some nutella.  That is what I am going to try  and both worked.  The biscoff bites were soft and chewy... just how I liked them and the nutella were harder... they also were good and I didn't put chocolate on the nutella ones.

Honey Biscoff/Nutella Butterfinger Bites
Honey Biscoff/Nutella Butterfinger Bites
adapted from The Nerdy Farm Wife
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter - I used crunchy biscoff in one recipe and nutella in another
chocolate chips for coating - I used Ghirardelli 60% chocolate

Place honey in saucepan and bring to a soft boil stage, (around 275 degrees).  Remove from heat and add either biscoff or nutella and stir for a few minutes.  Pour in pan that is covered with parchment paper.  Place in refrigerator to harden.  I took mine out after about 15 minutes to score so that it will be easier to cut when they hardened.  Once hard, bring out of fridge and break or cut into pieces.  Dip in melted chocolate and place back on pan covered with parchment paper and return to fridge to harden again.

I didn't dip the bites that I made with the nutella as I thought the chocolate in the nutella was enough.  The ones that I made with biscoff were softer than the ones that I made with nutella.


Bites made with biscoff and dipped in chocolate

the bites made with nutella