Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Soup Weather!!

At last, it's cold enough for some hearty soups! Howling winds, clouds so low and thick it looked like a rain storm... my kind of weather... at least until I start whining about how much I miss summer! Here's another incredible recipe from Cuisine At Home - Soups, Stews & Chiles. Again, hubby loves it even though there's not a speck of chile powder anywhere near it! I was also surprised at how quickly this went from "I think I'll make"... to "Dinner's ready!! The only mistake I made was in not doubling the recipe...


2 T olive oil
1 lb bulk Italian sausage (I used the hot one, of course!)
1-1/2 cups diced onion
2 T minced garlic
1 butternut squash peeled, seeded, diced into 1" chunks (1-1/2 lbs)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp sugar
2 cups baby spinach, packed
3 T brandy
salt & pepper to taste

Brown sausage in 1 T olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate; Set aside.

Sweat onion and garlic in 1 T olive oil in large pot over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add squash and pepper flakes, and saute 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and water, bring to a boil, and simmer until squash is very soft, about 10 minutes. Puree soup with a hand blender (or in batches in a standard blender), then add bell pepper, cream, sage, and sugar; simmer until bell pepper is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, brandy, and sausage, and simmer until spinach wilts and sausage is heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Movies

The Tingler is one of my all time favorite creepy/goofy movies!

"This delightful gimmick film from producer-director William Castle stars Vincent Price as Dr. Chapin, a scientist who discovers a caterpillarlike parasite that grows in the human spine when someone is afraid and that, unless they scream, can grow large enough to kill them. He solemnly dubs this creature the tingler. Philip Coolidge plays the owner of a nearby cinema who befriends the doctor and whose deaf-mute wife suddenly receives all sorts of shocks, like the sight of a bathtub full of blood with a hand reaching out from it. Since she can't scream, she dies, and Chapin gets his hands on her oversize tingler. When it eventually escapes inside the movie theater, the film within the film, and then the film itself, stops for an announcement from Price, out of character, urging the audience to scream their heads off. Castle originally had random seats in theaters equipped to deliver small electric shocks at this key moment, and he hired women to faint and ushers to carry them out, all in his determination to get the audience to scream."

Hocus Pocus is my other favorite - I watch it at least once every Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well, I managed to get some more Halloween stuff in place - that's the little sideboard in our entry, and these critters below are my beloved ceramic lanterns which are safe on the woodstove for now - if we get some really cold weather in the next couple of weeks I'll have to move them. All of this came from the now-defunct Illuminations.

Here are my recipes from last night!


1 lb lean ground beef
2 lbs Velveeta, cut in 1/2” cubes
7 ozs diced green chiles
1 can refried beans
1 med bottle salsa

Fry ground beef until well done. Crumble very fine into large crockpot. Add remaining ingredients and salsa to taste. Heat and stir until cheese is melted. Serve with a zillion chips.


1 1/2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 oz green Crème de Menthe
1/4 oz Jagermeister® liqueur
rimming sugar

Rim shotglass with grenadine and sugar. Add Jagermeister to Baileys, then add Crème de Menthe drop by drop. These were WONDERFUL!!


1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream

Add Bailey’s to Schnapps, drizzle grenadine over the glob so that it runs down the “brain” crevices. This one did not work as well as the video indicated:

Brain Hemorrhage Shooter Video


1 part Licor 43® liqueur
1 part Orange Curacao liqueur
1 part cream

Carefully layer on top of each other to resemble the halloween candy. First the Licor 43, then the orange curacao, then finally the cream. This one I never got to try because not a single liquor store or market up here had either of the main ingredients. But it does sound really good!

The following recipes I did not make, but have in the past and they are QUITE successful... if your goal is taste AND creeping people out!!


Very simple – simply make any version of Thai Black Rice Pudding, which is delicious, and rename it... EEEEEWWWWW!!!!!


Another easy one – make a coconut cream pie – just add enough black frosting color to make the pudding part medium to dark grey before you pour it in the pie shell. Top with whipped cream or meringue and lots of black plastic spiders! (frosting color is made by Wilton and available at Michaels)

Okay, somebody stop me – I got a million of these!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is It Fall Yet???

Ahhh, fall!! In a couple weeks time we went from 100º days to 27º ice-scraping mornings and then here we are back in the 80’s again. I can hardly keep up!

I spent the last full week of September in Kernville with 40 of my sisters but I took very few pictures – too busy relaxing and having fun! I did some lake kayaking, had a massage by the river (new rule – NEVER have a sister event without a masseuse!), helped a little tiny bit with casting for a beginning fly-fishing class, rode my trout decorated bicycle all over camp, went antiquing, and spent a couple of 100 degree afternoons sitting in the nice cool river laughing so hard it’s a miracle none of us drowned. Kinda scary, my campsite looks like I've been there for a month with no intention of leaving!

A couple weeks ago Lisa, Margo, Debbie and I visited a wonderful holiday store in Canoga Park christmastraditions, and I went nuts in the Halloween section! Found some wonderful additions to my original pile of spooky stuff, most of which came from Illuminations which sadly, has gone out of business. Most of the new items I bought are destined for my Kenskill trailer which I hope will debut at Halloween next year. I did get my office all decorated last week, and the Warners got me a whole bag of Halloween goodies for my birthday. One of them was a “door knocker” that looks like a big electrical switch – when you activate it you hear screaming and 80 gazillion watts frying somebody! I laughed so hard, and hubby just looked at me and said “there is something wrong with you.” Yeah, well. Maybe. I'll get some pictures in here next week.

Last weekend I tortured my poor washing machine with winter horse blankets and dog beds. I need to get the blankets to the repair guy – one truly needs repairing, and all three need to have Kar’s name embroidered on patches and sewn to them – it’s tough to pick out “his” hunter green blankets in the dark amongst a pile of 20 other seemingly identical ones. I ordered some bright gold cordura and am having the patches embroidered locally. My other project that weekend was to carefully scoop out all the mosquito fish from the leaky stock tank. The tiniest of the babies are barely ¼” long – the mama fish are nearly 2”. The babies zip and dart all over the place and accidentally wind up in my net. The mamas sit in one spot and don’t move – that way you can’t see them. Good plan, they were the hardest to locate and catch. The other things I carefully scooped out from the muck in the bottom (over an inch of it – YUCK!!!) were tons of critters that trout would consider, as Cathlene says, “yum-yum-yum, munchie-munchie-munchie!” The largest of these nymphs is a big fat juicy 1”. These will most likely grow up to be those stunningly gorgeous red dragonflies that I see all the time around the pond.

Margo and Debbie are planning yet another one of our wine events, but this one will have a Halloween theme! I have some DELECTIBLE things to bring… Hot Chunky Bat Phlegm which is just that old standby nacho cheese with hamburger in the crockpot, and some very visual shooters such as the Brain Hemorrhage and the Blended Frog. For the faint of heart I am also making Candy Corn shooters! Yes, I’ll provide pictures and recipes in my next post!

Last Sunday we had to drive down to Lancaster to pick up a fender for our ’49 Buick. When we arrived at the big sandy lot, what was the first thing I saw? A vintage Kenskill trailer, but not a cute little 9’ one like ours, but a great big 30 foot PARK MODEL – complete with – brace yourself, slidin’ doors! Oooooo… would I love to get my hands on that one! Hubby's in Buick Heaven and therefore oblivious to this stunning trailer... sigh...

And then...
...on the way home we took Sierra Highway because you can NOT go through Rosamond/Mojave without taking a quick look at living legend Gene Winfield’s shop – any of you with hot rod hubbies – just toss that name out and watch their eyes glaze over! He’s 82, still cranking out masterpieces, winning awards, and is the GOD of the lead sleds – Mercs to die for! Not to mention, he is the nicest world famous person I have ever met. We dropped in one day totally unannounced, and he literally put down his sandwich and offered us a tour! Dang. Well, Sunday happened to be the day of his annual event, and although we did not stop, we sure did slow down to look! Awesome. Here is a link to some incredible photos of the event WinfieldWatsonPhotos

Another cool thing on the way home were these solar towers. On the ground are thousands of mirrors that all direct the sun to these towers for collection of the energy. Pictures cannot do them justice, they are absolutely gorgeous but so bright you can barely focus on them!

Oh, I nearly forgot! One trip to the emergency room in the middle of all this! I got home from work, and ten feet from the front door I noticed this DREADFUL odor – and there’s hubby standing in the garage saying “I don’t feel good…” (This is probably why I don't have kids...) Long story short, he opened two cans of tuna to make sandwiches and ONE DIDN’T SMELL VERY GOOD!! So, what were we thinking? That the good can would balance out the stench from the BAD CAN??? Gotta love these ol’ Marines – they’re tough, they’ll eat it anyway!! He’s fine, but I made him read lots of articles online about food poisening. The botulism one really got his attention – he’s temporarily cured of his “I eat expired food” syndrome. Probably not cravin’ tuna for awhile either!
Check back next week, I’ll have more pictures added... I am so unorganzied…