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A new favorite

Years ago we were invited to someone's home after church on a Sunday evening and she served hot ham and cheese sandwiches individually wrapped in foil. She had put them together ahead of time and then heated them in the oven after church.

A few weeks ago I decided to try making the sandwiches and wrapping them in foil and putting them in the crockpot just before leaving for church. I made the sandwiches using buns, ham, dijonaisse (a mustard/mayo combination), olive salad, and cheese. I put them in the crockpot on low temperature and they were just perfect by the time we returned home.


I have also been making these sandwiches for Rob to take to work and reheat in his little mini crockpot. Have you heard of these? I saw them mentioned on a blog last year and we ordered one on Amazon. Since then I have seen them locally at Target. They are just perfect for reheating a single serving of leftovers for lunch. This might be a great Christmas gift idea for your favorite office worker or college student. ๐Ÿ™‚


What are your favorite things to serve after church on Sunday nights?

Buddy Update:
Rob took pity on Buddy and scrubbed his face and neck with baby shampoo. Buddy has been diligently working on other soiled areas and is looking much better. Rob also installed a large piece of plexiglass in front of the opening of the fireplace to prevent further exploration. As I write this Buddy is sitting on top of the desk staring at the ceiling. Apparently he's a social climber.


Never a dull moment


One of our very favorite children's books is Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. We have read that book many, many times to our own children and now we are reading it to our grandchildren. The story is about a white dog with black spots who hates baths. One day at bath time he runs away and gets very dirty. He becomes a black dog with white spots. There is more to the story, but I don't want to spoil the ending for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, today we had our own Harry the dirty dog moment. My husband comes home for lunch on Thursdays and Avery and Ryan were here for the day. A little before noon Avery was napping and Ryan was eating some applesauce while I was finishing up lunch preparation when I heard an odd noise. It sounded like Buddy, the cat, was playing with the metal venetian blinds, which we normally try to discourage. I went into the living room and checked the window there--no Buddy. I went into the dining room to check that window--no Buddy. I heard the noise again and realized it was coming from the living room. My first thought was that maybe a bird was in the chimney. I was astonished to see that it was Buddy--he had climbed up in the chimney!!! He extricated himself and I tried to wash him off a bit but he is now a white cat with gray smudges. We are thinking of hiring him out as a chimney sweep. ๐Ÿ™‚


I'm sure some of my readers have had adventurous pets. Would any of you care to share your story?


Fall Favorites


People say that fall is their favorite time of year for a variety of reasons. Some like the colorful leaves and cooler temperatures. Some, like me, look forward to preparing seasonal favorites. I thought I would highlight some of our favorite fall dishes.

We love apples and have already enjoyed some of our favorite apple recipes such as Apple Dumplings, homemade applesauce, and Cranberry Apple Pie.

Sweet Potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins are plentiful and we have enjoyed Corn and Squash Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake.

I tried a new recipe for a Sweet Potato Cake this fall for a church event. The recipe was intriguing because the cake was topped with toasted pecans and crumbled bacon! (It's pictured at the top of this post.) It is a nice moist cake and the brown sugar in the cream cheese icing is a good complement. I don't think I will add the bacon in the future though. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you'd like to check out the recipe, it's called Betty Crocker Sweet Potato Sheet Cake with Bacon Cream Cheese Frosting.

I have made the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake in the past and I wanted to share a tip from my friend Linda. This recipe calls for mini-chocolate chips. They do seem to work better in cakes by staying suspended in the batter. The regular size chocolate chips can sink to the bottom. Linda told me that she used a nut chopper to chop up the larger chips and she even gave me this little nut chopper so I could try it out. I can attest that it works very well!

Just looking back through these recipes I found several others that I haven't made yet this year. So many good fall recipes; so little time!

Another favorite fall activity here in the area is going to Gerald's to stock up on Christmas baking supplies. I heard recently that they have moved to a new location. I called and found out that they are now located in the Center West shopping plaza in Berea at 1601 Cedar Lane Road. I'm looking forward to checking out their new store soon to stock up on pecans and to get a few chocolate covered raisins. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have a favorite fall recipe or two that you look forward to each year?


An old favorite


The recipe I'm posting today is an old favorite from my first Betty Crocker cookbook. I've been making it for at least forty years. The ingredients are ones that most people have in their kitchens at all times. I have found that people from other cultures often like this dessert because it is not as sweet as most American desserts. The only drawback to this recipe is that it is best eaten the day it is prepared. That is generally not a problem when I take it to an event because the plate usually comes back empty. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will post a series of pictures showing the stages of preparation and then the entire recipe at the end of the post.

The first step is to prepare a crust with butter or margarine, flour, and water. I usually mix the butter and flour in the mixer and only add the water if necessary to make a dough. This dough is then divided in half and patted out into two rectangles on a baking sheet. Set this aside.


The second layer is a cream puff mixture. You bring margarine or butter and water to a boil, remove from heat and then quickly stir in the almond extract and flour. You stir this together until it looks like mashed potatoes.


You then quickly add the eggs and continue stirring. It will look awful at first but as you continue stirring it all comes together and thickens up and starts to look like yellow mashed potatoes.


Spread this mixture on top of the dough rectangles and then bake until crisp and brown.


After it has baked let it cool a bit (can still be warm) and then top with the glaze and with nuts if desired.

Danish Puff

1 stick margarine or butter, softened
1 cup flour
2 Tbsps. Water

Second Layer:
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup water
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup flour
3 eggs (crack into a bowl)

1 ยฝ cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsps. Margarine or butter, softened
1 ยฝ tsps. Vanilla
2 Tbsps. Warm water
Optional: chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
For crust cut margarine into flour until the particles are the size of small peas (as though you were making pie crust or biscuits). Add the 2 Tbsps. Water and stir until the mixture gathers up into a ball. Divide in half and pat each half into a rectangle 12โ€ x3โ€ on an ungreased cookie sheet. Set aside.

For second layer place the margarine and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the almond extract and the flour. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball, about 1 min. Add the eggs all at once and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and glossy and looks like mashed potatoes. Spread half the topping over each rectangle. Bake until crisp and brown, about 1 hour. Cool and then spread with glaze. Top with nuts if desired.

Sift powdered sugar into a large bowl. Mix together with soft margarine, vanilla, and warm water. Spread on top of the baked Danish Puff. Top with nuts if desired. Cut into pieces to serve.

Do you have an old favorite recipe that you make frequently?


A good recipe for spaghetti squash


On our recent foray into the mountains we purchased some spaghetti squash and some butternut squash. A while back I had found this recipe for spaghetti squash and decided to try it out. Rob and I both really liked it and would highly recommend it.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 Tbsps. butter or olive oil
1 small onion sliced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
about 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side up in a 9" x 13" pyrex baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Partially cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 8-10 mins. or until squash is tender.

While squash is cooking saute onion in butter or oil until lightly browned. Combine with thyme, sour cream, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

After squash is cooked scrape it from the shell with a fork and add to the onion mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 mins. to warm through and melt cheese.

Here is a link to another post about how to prepare the spaghetti squash which might be helpful if you have never cooked one before.

More recipes coming soon.