Friday, October 29, 2010

Pizza Party

My jack-o-lantern pizza is cute and fun, and it makes a big impact; but not many kids will actually want to eat the olives used for the decoration. Jeremy loves them and always has; his friends wanted every microscopic molecule of the black stuff wiped off before they'd eat a slice ... sigh.

This is another in my week's worth of Hallowe'en "recipes" which really isn't much beyond a list of instructions. You can make your own crust and sauce, or you can take the easy way out and buy a frozen pizza on sale (as I did for this photo op, while I was picking up 'scripts at the pharmacy).

So, here's the scoop:

Take your uncooked pizza and place it on the countertop.

Spread 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the mozzarella.

Bake according to recipe/package instructions.

Take a small can of chopped olives and whiz them for a bit in a blender or food processor; you can puree them or leave them with a bit of texture, whichever you prefer.

Use a small spoon to place mounds of olives in the pattern of a jack-o-lantern face. Serve to kids who will be thrilled (until they find out that there are olives on their pizza) ....

Weekend blog hop button

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'Cause Marshmallows Don't Contain Enough Sugar Already ....

I know marshmallows don't need any adornment; perfect for cocoa, they're also fun to eat just out of the bag. But they make cute little tidbits for holidays, too, if you dip them into decorative sprinkles ... 'cause, as the post title says, they don't have enough sugar in 'em already, so let's contribute to the cause!

Place some festive sprinkles onto a plate.

Melt some white chocolate in a small bowl. Stick a toothpick into a large marshmallow, then dip the bottom of the marshmallow into the white chocolate. Dip the marshmallow into the sprinkles, then set it aside on a Silpat or some waxed paper until set.

And that's it!

Blogaholic Designs”=

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger!

I'm neither a "Saturday Night Live" nor a John Belushi fan; but, how could I not think of the famous line when writing about cheeseburgers???

There is nothing spectacular about these burgers -- no secret seasoning mix or sauce, no list of 147 ingredients to buy for just the right tantalizing of your tastebuds. Make 'em any way you want to with your own special recipe. The beauty of these is in the aesthetics -- they're just cute!

So buy ground beef (turkey burgers don't have the same visual effect, though dark-colored vegetarian ones would), get some slices of American cheese, and have some fun! You can place lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions under the patties to oomph-up the nutritional content, and even serve 'em on whole wheat buns. But your kids won't care -- they just want to see jack-o-lantern cheeseburgers with funny faces.

One word of caution -- only put the cheese on the burgers just before serving. Cheese has this amazing tendency to melt. Really! I'm not kidding! So if you put the cheese on the hot burger patty too soon, you will serve plain ol' boring burgers instead of entertaining ones. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way ....

Jack-o-Lantern Cheeseburgers

Cook as many burger patties as you need, and place them onto buns.

For each one, prepare a slice of American cheese by taking a sharp knife and carefully cutting out a jack-o-lantern face. Stay as close to the center of the cheese slice as you can, and remember that simpler designs are more effective for clarity.

Place the cheese on top of the burger patty as close to serving as possible.

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Monday, October 25, 2010

Every Day is Hallowe'en

Well, despite the fact that Christmas decorations are starting to appear in stores -- though I haven't seen any Chanukkah tchotchkes yet, despite its starting on the evening of December 1 -- we all know that Hallowe'en is coming on Sunday.

I've got my black t-shirt with the little orange sequined pumpkin all ready, and will pair it with dangly spiderweb earrings as I dispense candy to adorable little ones (my favorites are the ones who have no clue what's going on!) and kids who are too old to be begging but who will not be turned away. As I type this, I still haven't roasted any pumpkin seeds. Progress, my friends, not perfection! Remember that ....

This week, every day will be Hallowe'en at Food Floozie. Even though Jeremy is 19 and gave up trick-or-treating years ago, there are still some traditions that can't evaporate. I make pizza and cheeseburgers with jack-o-lantern faces on them. I make an idiot-proof snack mix that involves only opening bags and dumping junk food (caramel corn, M&Ms -- stuff that's utterly lacking in nutritional redemption!) into a bowl before stirring it all together. And I use festive sprinkles for decorating cookies or candies or whatever I have the time and the inclination to make.

So check in each day for a new festive idea! And don't bother playing the Monster Mash on Hallowe'en -- it's overdone. Try this oldie but goodie instead ....

Friday, October 22, 2010

8 x 8 x 8

The ever-charming baking whiz Kristin, at Kuppy Kakes by Kristin, tagged me in a round of 8 x 8 x 8 which has very simple rules:
You answer the 8 questions that the tagger has come up with. Then you get to create 8 questions of your own, tag 8 people, and continue the torture! ;)

So here I go, answering 8 really tough questions and then racking my brain to find 8 victims of my own and think of 8 unique, creative and scintillating questions to pass along ... hmmmm. Well, I guess there's no better place to start than at the beginning!

1.) If you could choose to be any kind of food, which would it be, and why?

A dessert, of course! I'd be sweet, I'd be rich, I'd be popular ... :)

2.) What is the best memory you have from elementary school?

I loved school, loved it! Not only was I really good at it, but it was an escape from home -- perfect in all ways. So what was my favorite memory??? The one that comes to mind took place in 1st Grade, as my class sat with Sr. Hosa -- whom I loved dearly -- talking about something, I don't even remember what. I mentioned that I'd had a brother, who had died before I was born. She looked at me and very gently said "You still have a brother, he's just waiting for you in Heaven." It was such a sweet, kind, reassuring thing to say! It's been 41 years, and I still vividly remember her expression, the tenderness in her eyes, and her sincerity ....

3.) What is your most favorite holiday tradition?

Latkes at Chanukkah!!! I love Rosh Hashanah services on the first night of the holiday ... I bake hundreds of Christmas cookies to give to loved ones ... I always make corned beast and cabbage and soda bread for St. Paddy's Day. But really, how can you beat fried potatoes???

4.) What would be your dream location to live (money not a problem)?

Ooooh, let's see ... Paris? Provence? Florence? Marrakesh? It'd have to have fabulous food, gorgeous art, lots of color and flavor and intrigue!

5.) Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish? If so, where were you?

Not a fan of being in the water and don't live near the ocean, so the jellyfish have thankfully not tasted my toes.

6.) What is your favorite color?


7.) If you could choose to marry any celebrity, who would it be?

Not into celebrities, particularly ... I wouldn't even have a clue, sorry!

8.) What is your absolute favorite song? EVER.

"More Than This" by Roxy Music. (Gotta click on the link, 'cause I couldn't embed it.)

So, now let's pick some names from a hat, in random order ....

1. Judy - Cranberry Morning

2. Jenn - Jenn's Food Journey

3. Nicole - Destination Unknown

4. Rachel - Diary of a Chocoholic

5. Leanne - From Chaos Comes Happiness

6. Tanya - Miller Racing Family

7. Keri - Always Curtsy When You Sneeze

8. Karen - Eat Drink Wash Up

And now for the hardest part -- coming up with my own questions, ones that won't make me seem either improper or insipid! I'll try to make them easy, for the end of a long week ....

1. Do you speak any other languages besides English?

2. Do you still have your favorite blanket, teddy bear, toy, whatever from childhood?

3. Marshmallows on the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, or not?

4. Do you have a compost pile/container?

5. Baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, dodgeball, lawn mower racing ... what's your favorite sport to watch?

6. How many cookbooks do you own?

7. Do you like scary movies?

8. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

That's all, folks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, and ....

I am enormously flattered to have been given 3 awards by Stacie of Staying Me ... Just Creating a Better Version. She enthuses, she effuses, she encourages ... and she cooks! What's not to love??? Many, many thanks, Stacie, for so much support ... :)

Now, on to to my instructions:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

Done, happily!

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

- I want to go to Morocco, and am insanely jealous of an acquaintance who is traveling there next week.

- I am in the process of sorting out stuff and more stuff from my house, where I've lived for 15 years, so that I can purge things I don't need and donate them to charity. Part of it is exhilarating! Part of it -- like the prospect of sorting through all my kitchen stuff -- is overwhelming and panic-inducing.

- I miss my New York Times crossword puzzle, since I cancelled the Sunday paper due to an astounding lack of time to read it. The paper used to be my entire day's entertainment, and I'd still be in my jammies at 3 p.m. with my puzzle and my pencil, happy as could be. I'm someone (if I may pat my own back for a moment) who could do the puzzle in one afternoon.

- I don't need any new cookbooks, and yet I've bought 2 recently to benefit a thrift shop that supports charity work. They see me coming, I think, and put out the best stuff to lure me into temptation!

- Tom and I ate brown rice spaghetti for dinner tonight, and made a sauce of oil, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, sardines in mustard sauce, and spinach to pour over it. If my camera battery hadn't been charging, I'd have taken its photo to write it up ... it was exceptionally good!

- I just want a phone that makes calls, not one that will drive me around on the Autobahn and knit me a sweater at the same time ... sheesh!

- I like to get up early and have time to putter around, rather than sleeping in and rushing in the morning.

3. Pass this on to 5 other great bloggers you recently discovered.

- Bouffe e Bambini

- Fresh Local and Best

- The Haggis and the Herring

- Pumpkin Tart

- Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters

4. Contact the selected bloggers and tell them about their awards.

Will do!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perfect Pumpkin Bread

Now that Fall has clearly arrived and Hallowe'en is imminent, I was in the mood for pumpkin bread. I had some leftover caramel sauce from Tom's birthday cake, so I thought: "When I make the pumpkin bread, I should make a caramel glaze for it." I found some time this past weekend to do some baking. And there you have it -- Sunday morning serendipity.

Except that I was out of my favorite white whole wheat flour, which doesn't particularly affect the taste of baked goods but does improve the nutrition quotient. But that was not going to deter me -- I was already going to be using butter, sugar and caramel sauce; there was little redeeming health value already, so why worry???

You'll notice, too, that I used Coffee-mate in the glaze. I could buy a gallon of milk every single day of my life, and I still wouldn't have any milk available when I want it. 19-year-old males go through it at a pretty good pace. It is incredibly frustrating, especially when you want a bowl of cereal, to find no milk in the house; but I have learned to adapt when I'm baking, 'cause that's the kinda girl I am.

So here is a lovely, moist, quick bread for a weekend, for a party, to go with coffee, whatever you can think of. Easy to make -- have I ever given such simple instructions before??? -- and delicious to eat. Enjoy!!!

Pumpkin Bread with Caramel Glaze

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons caramel sauce for ice cream
1 tablespoon vanilla caramel Coffee-mate

Make the bread: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8"x4" glass loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the wet ingredients; add the dry ingredients, and mix well. Pour batter into the loaf pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool until lukewarm on a cooling rack.

Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Spoon over the bread, spreading the glaze over the top of the loaf and letting some of the glaze drip down the sides. Let cool completely, then slice and serve.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Begging for Votes, Votes, and More Votes!!!

Fresh Wild Mushroom Recipe Challenge
I've been a bit of a slacker with my cooking contests in recent years, due to a significant lack of time (and, admittedly, sometimes a lack of inspiration). But I'm trying to get ye olde groove back again.

So when my friend Angela of Foodie Road Show told me about the Blogger Mushroom Recipe Challenge -- in which the very generous Marx Foods would send me samples of dried mushrooms to then use in creating a masterpiece, with a very fine prize awaiting the winner at the end of the event -- I thought it sounded like a fabulous opportunity.

First I took care of the recipe part of the contest: Fried Eggs with Bacon and Mushrooms in Cheese Sauce.

Now it's time for the voting part!

Point-blank, I'm begging for votes. On my knees, hands pressed together as I plead and grovel, begging for votes.

The poll will be on the Marx Foods blog starting at 6 a.m. Pacific time today, and will close on Friday at midnight. You can vote only once, it seems; and you can only vote once per IP address. As the company explains it: "That means that if you vote from work, for example, (depending on your network setup), your co-worker will not also be able to vote if they share the same IP address. They will, however, be able to vote from home. Just an FYI." So make sure not to lose your chance!

So, what can I win??? In addition to glory -- always a nice perk! -- I could win 3 shipments of fresh mushrooms (which I love!) and eligibility to compete in the "Ridiculously Delicious Contest" in December. "Now, what is the 'Ridiculously Delicious Contest'? We don’t know yet. We’re still trying to decide on something ridiculously big enough and awesomely delicious enough to be worthy of the name." But it sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it??? Please help me to get there, whatever it might be!

Marx Foods is also hosting a random drawing for anyone who's interested in entering. The prize for that contest will be pretty amazing too: an order of Fresh Truffles.

So go to the Marx Foods blog and please VOTE FOR ME!!! Enter the random drawing for your own sample of their fabulous mushrooms. Then after that, you can ...

Email this to all your loved ones.

Post it on Facebook.

Tweet this.

Stumble upon it.

Send it along on any social media you can think of that I'm too much of a Neoluddite to be aware of.

Many thanks, ahead of time, for any love and support you can show me! I'll let you know the results as soon as I know them myself ....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sunday Scones

Well, it was Sunday morning and -- before a stomach bug took me down on what may have been one of Michigan's last warm, sunny days 'til April or so -- I was in the mood to bake. This desire to bake on a lazy Sunday morning occurs so often that I should almost make it a weekly posting ... but then I'd feel constrained and obligated, which kinda takes the fun out of it.

I had been thinking of making scones (I was raised to pronounce it [SKAHns], by the way, rather than [SCOEns]) for a couple of weeks now. I bought currants specifically for that purpose. I just needed both time and inclination to converge.

And that's what Sunday mornings are for. So while I waited for my coffee to brew, I mixed together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and candied ginger, the yogurt (Brown Cow Cream-Top Maple, if you've got it ... man, is that stuff amazing!!!), and everything else. It might take a whopping 5 minutes to stir everything together into a batter. Pat the mixture onto a pan, bake it, and that's it -- a lovely accompaniment to cider, to tea, to the morning caffeine fix, to a glass of milk, to cocoa ... truly, these scones could go with anything at any time of day.

Ginger-Walnut Scones

1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup currants
1/4 cup candied ginger pieces, minced
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup maple-flavored yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts, currants and candied ginger. Stir in the butter and yogurt until mixture is crumbly.

Combine egg and 1/4 cup cider; pour over dry mixture and combine.

Place dough onto the baking sheet. With damp hands, form an 8" circle. Use a wet knife to score the dough into 8 wedges.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden, then let cool completely.

Combine confectioners' sugar with 1 tablespoon cider; drizzle over the circle, then cut into 8 individual scones.


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