Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy's on Her Way!

So today, Sandy is coming over.

I didn't invite her and I'm a little worried about what's she's bringing with her.

SANDY is the name of the hurricane that is headed my way.  In fact, the she's turning her eye right towards a landfall where I live.  Albeit, I'm not out on the shore, where there will doubtless be tidal surges and monster waves, but she is bringing 60mph wind gusts and about 8-10inches of rain.

The area has been preparing for days.  We will most likely lose power due to soaked ground loosening tree routes and heavy leaf-laden trees blowing over in the gusts and knocking down power lines.  We've got some candles pulled out, some flashlights gathered, batteries on hand and outdoor items battened down.

Today, I will fill all of our sports jugs with water - really soon in fact.  I've gotten a nice warm shower and made sure there is food that doesn't need to heat or be kept cold.  Our cars are filled with gas and lined up in our driveway.  We have a nifty charger that allows a car charger to convert to an electric charger so if we lose all else, we should still be able to use cell phone service.  Everything that requires power is charged or charging.

Soon it will just be a waiting game for the unexpected. 

All of our schools are closed for two days - they even announced it yesterday.  AND...every mode of transportation was shut down as of midnight last night - crazy.  No trains, busses, subways, etc... needless to say, my hubby is working from home since he usually takes bus, then el, then subway to get downtown to work.

While my teenage son was having a hurricane party with his friends last night to celebrate no school today, hubby and I drove down to center city and picked up a mobile hotspot.  His IT job requires him to stay connected to the office at all times.  Hopefully the hotspot will keep us connected and using the car, we can keep it charged.  It seemed a bit normal and a bit eerie in the city last night.  As we sat beside the window facing Walnut Street sipping a glass of wine in a cozy pizzaria restaurant, folks were walking dogs, riding bikes while holding umbrellas and trotting along the sidewalk in their wellies.

Even two of my three college age kids are off of school today (the 3rd child being 5 hours west of here will more likely experience some snow rather than crazy winds, but Sandy seems to want to visit our entire state!)  Their campuses (90 mins away in the next state) have closed for today and will probably closed tomorrow.  Each of them has decided to stay with friends in their areas.

So far, there's just rain and the dog is whining at the door as stuff starts to blow around.  Colored leaves litter the black of the asphault and it just looks like a blustery fall day.  You might even expect to see Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin roughing the weather outside.  The neighborhood is eerily quiet but so far, all is well.

Photos to come I'm sure!

If you're in Sandy's path...stay safe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Dip with Ginger Snaps

My newest downline consultant, Vicky, brought this PRIZE WINNING dip to Croptoberfest.  I say prize winning because I had a food contest at both the Friday and Saturday events of my Croptoberfest weekend.  The prize was determined by all the samplers at the event voting for their favorite dish on the table and Vicky's pumpkin dip with ginger snaps won that spot on Friday night.

Photo of dip was cropped from entire table scene so photo is underwhelming!
Vicky was kind enough to email me her recipe so that I could share it.

1-15oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, just pumpkin)
1-16oz container of softenend cream cheese
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1t ground cinnamon
1t ground ginger (dry spice)

Beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth (she used a mixer).  Fold in dry ingredients.  Cover, refrigerate. 

WOW! How easy is that.  It appears that it would keep well in the fridge.

Other suggestions for how to serve it are: with fruit, on bagels or english muffins, or with graham crackers (cinnamon or plain)

NOTE:  Sally, who doesn't like Ginger snaps tried the dip with all manner of other items on the table and deemed it delicious on the pumpkin bread - how appropriate!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tortilini Dip

I went to a party a few weeks ago where Tortilini dip was served.  It was really delicious and it went VERY fast.  I had never heard of it but I loved it!  So, I came home and with a few tips from the hostess about the ingredients, an I put together my own.  YUM.

Frozen regular sized cheese tortilini (plain or tri-color) - I cooked 3-12oz bags
16oz jar of creamy salad dressing - I used a bacon ranch, but any ranch is fine
1 cup of finely grated parmasan cheese - other hard grated cheeses could be used
2-4 finely minced garlic cloves - I used 4
1/2 cup chopped fresh italian parsely - cilantro could probably be substituted
1-2t chili oil (mine from Trader Joes optional, I love a little spicy kick but this isn't necessary)

Make dip a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend and the garlic to soften

Add grated cheese to dressing and stir until completely blended
Add the minced garlic and optional chili oil
Fold in the parsely
Put in fridge for a few hours before serving
Cook torts according to package directions and drain
Add a bit of butter or oil  to torts to keep them from sticking
Cool them in the fridge until they are room temperature

Serve torts with the dip in a separate container
Provide toothpicks for dipping

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Croptober Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Here are some words to describe this cake:  Bananas! Super-Moist! NOT too sweet! Flavorful!

I served this cake at my Creative Memories Croptoberfest weekend and it was WONDERFUL!

5 REALLY ripe bananas (black slug-like is best)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
2t real vanilla extract
4T sour cream
2 eggs
1-3/4c flour
2t baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Peel and mash the bananas by hand.  Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add vanilla and sour cream.  Mix.
Beat in 2 large eggs
Add mashed bananas
Mix baking soda into flour and fold in until well blended
Stir in chocolate chips.

Line a 13X9" pan or two 8X8" pans with aluminum foil.
Pour batter into pan(s)
Bake ~40 mins in 350F oven.

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