Monday, October 30, 2006

Tuesday, October 31. 2006

I was looking through some old pictures last night, and found some of Grace and Emily decorating pumpkins. They were so little!! And
cute. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Last night Nana, Papa and Uncle Jonathan came over to help us decorate pumpkins. First, we cut out the tops.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Then, we scooped out the insides. Be sure to save the seeds!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Time to transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Mmmm...roasted pumpkin seeds!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoons salt (you can add more or less)

Preheat oven to 300F. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown, stir occasionally.

Here are the finished pumpkins!!!

A sweet little kitty. Meow.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

We carved a horse for Grace, of course!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Here is my pumpkin owl, inspired by Martha Stewart. Don't worry, he's friendly!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

And because I love knock knock jokes, I will leave you with one of my favorite ones....

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Who Who?
What are Owl?

Thanks for looking!

A Good Book and Apple Pie

Last week Mrs. Wilt shared some of her favorite Autumn books. My library had most of them and our favorite one so far is "The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree" by Gail Gibbons. It is the story of Arnold's apple tree and how it changes with the passage of the seasons.

Apple tree
Originally uploaded by pwinn.

At the end of the story is a recipe for Apple Pie so guess what we made today?!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Here it is all ready for the oven. I cut out pastry oak leaves for the top crust, brushed on some milk and sprinkled it with sugar.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

My kitchen needed a little cleaning up after!

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An hour in the oven and they are all hot and bubbly. Grace made a mini pie, complete with a pastry acorn on top! So cute!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Mine has a few dark (ok burnt!) spots, but that is what whipped cream is for. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”
~Jane Austen

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Apples, apples and more apples!

Somebody is getting apple butter for Christmas. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

I got these apples at the Farmer's Market for $15.00. I hope that's a good price!

Time Change!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Don't forget to change your clocks back an hour tonight!

Picture is

Friday, October 27, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 06

Good morning! We had a wonderful day yesterday because I got to meet an internet friend. Patty, from Morning Ramble lives about 1 1/2 hours away from me and she invited Phillip and I to her son’s wedding. The bride and groom were beautiful and the ceremony was lovely and very romantic. Patty has a wonderful way with words and I hope she will share her thoughts on the day! We didn’t have a chance to visit too much, but we have a visit planned at her place, in November :0)

I also got to visit with my friend Revee and her two girls again. I always enjoy that! Her girls are so sweet, I wanted to sit and chat with them all night!

When we arrived home, there was a surprise package waiting for me. Dawn over at 4:53 am sent me thank you gifts from the fall giveaway!

She made me the most amazing “home themed” magnet. It has my initials, a maple leaf and the name of my blog on it! You are so creative and thoughtful, Dawn! It also has the prettiest tassles. It is on my fridge as we speak. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

The girls have their eyes on this pretty tissue cover so I will have to quickly hide it in my purse! Thank you very much, Dawn. I love my new gifts!!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

As requested, here is my recipe for Baked Ziti. It is very easy to make ahead and put in the fridge or freezer until bake time.

Baked Ziti

1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta (sometimes I use penne pasta)
1 lb. cooked ground beef
15 ounces ricotta cheese
16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.

In a medium bowl, mix ziti, cooked ground beef, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese (save about a cup for the top), egg and 2 cups spaghetti sauce. You can also add any spices you like, garlic powder, Italian seasonings, etc.

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by parmesan and mozarella cheese.

Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Last but not least, I want to share these pictures that my sister, Melissa sent me last week. It is nice to know that someone out there has fall colors to enjoy!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

My nephew Jacob, enjoying the fall day.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

We have plans to visit another pumpkin patch this weekend. There will be a farmer’s market, hayrides, pumpkin carving and I may sneak in a little antiquing ;0)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I would love to hear your plans!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hot Soup and Homemade Biscuits

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Sandra at Diary of a SAHM hosts Slow Cooking Thursday and I thought I would join in the fun this week! Be sure to check out all the great recipes at her place!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

The soup ingredients are very simple but when left in the crockpot all day, something magical happens!

~Vegetable Cassoulet~

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 pound dry navy beans, soaked overnight. (You can also use 2 cans of navy beans)
4 cups mushroom broth
1 cube vegetable bouillion
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 large potato, diced


1. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and carrots in oil until tender.

2. In a crockpot, combine beans, carrots and onion, mushroom broth, bouillon and bay leaf. Pour in water if necessary to cover the ingredients. Tie together parsley, rosemary and thyme and add to the pot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

3. Add the potato after 7 hours of cooking. Remove herbs before serving.

If you need something to serve with your soup, here is my recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Buttermilk Biscuits

These biscuits are sweet, crisp and tender.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 to 5 tablespoons butter (depends on how healthy you feel that day!)
1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450F.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and either incorporate into the flour using a pastry blender or rub the butter between your fingers, until thoroughly blended.

3. Use a large spoon to stir in the buttermilk, just until mixture forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead it 10 times, no more. If it is very sticky, add a little flour, but don't worry if it sticks a bit to your hands.

4. Press into a 3/4 inch-thick rectangle and cut rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Gently reshape leftover dough and cut again. This recipe will produce about 10 biscuits.

5. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until the biscuits are a beautiful golden brown. Serve within 15 minutes for them to be at their best.

To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”~Laurie Colwin

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Day at Storybook Ranch

This past Saturday, our family headed out to Storybook Ranch. Phillip's mom (Nana) joined us. We were greeted with apple cider, tractors, pony rides, pumpkins and this gorgeous Victorian House. It wasn't open for a tour, but it sure would have been fun to peek around. Maybe stay a few nights. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

There was plenty of cold apple cider to go around.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Emily is testing out a saddle. The rides *with* a horse attached were rather expenisve!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

It was a mighty fine day for a tractor ride.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

As if the pumpkin patch wasn't enough fun, there was more entertainment up ahead, just past the beautiful creek.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Welcome to the western town that consists of 15 buildings, hand-constructed with period architecture and antiques. What a perfect place to visit after our Prairie Day experiement!!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Tucked around tall trees was the sweetest church. Can you see the little smoke stack? Dot, I thought of you when I saw it.:0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Inside the general store was a wonderful cookstove, along with all the supplies you would need to stock your prairie kitchen.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

The town came alive with a gunfight show on Main Street. It was a little too real for Benjamin, he wasn't sure about getting his picture taken with the "bad" cowboy! Nana was brave though!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

We had a nice lunch under the pine trees and ice cream cones finished off the meal.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Our fun day ended with a ride on a horse and wagon, just like Laura and Mary!!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Thanks for looking!! See y'all next time! ;0)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Dinner

I was doing a little Martha Stewart "table setting" this week. Her latest October issue has a pretty setting involving a Cinderella/Fairytale pumpkin. Since Cinderella is my favorite Disney movie, I thought I should get one! Benjamin asked me when I was going to turn it into a magical carriage. I don't think even Martha can do that! ;0)

In her picture, the napkins looked really neat underneath the plate, slightly off the table. When I tried it, they looked like they were barely hanging on!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

I tried the good old "napkin on the plate" stand-by and was happier with the look.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Even though I enjoy decorating and making my home look pretty, it doesn't always happen, and that's ok. What I enjoy even more is opening up our home for old and new friends. Long before the days of our pretty china, crystal glasses, silverware and linen napkins, Phillip and I were having friends over for dinner on a regular basis. In fact, we started the week we got back from our honeymoon! We used to entertain with whatever dishes we had in the cupboard, matching or not. I don't even remember what they looked like and I'm sure our friends don't either.

What I *do* remember are bbq's on our deck, my Nana coming over for tea and making my first pie for her special visit and Christmas parties that lasted far into the night. Lots of talking and laughing. I may have told some knock-knock jokes. ;0) Dessert was often ice cream, served with a bottle of Hershey's syrup. Come to think of it, I still serve it. Who doesn't like ice cream?!!

For the past few months, I have been making an effort to have a nice Sunday dinner. I plan my menu on Friday, get the ingredients and make most of it on Saturday. This week was Baked Ziti, Salad, and French bread (store-bought).

Here are some real life (non Martha!) pictures of our dinner, earlier today.

No time to get out the good china today. Food tastes the same on everyday dishes anyways!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

I put the baked ziti in the oven when we got home from church. It went fast with 7 adults and 5 children!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

It was a little chilly outside so the kids had a "indoor picnic" in the schoolroom.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

While the ziti was baking, I made a pan of rice krispie treats. I couldn't tell who liked them more...the grownups or kids!
There was also butternut bread from earlier in the week.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

It is often difficult to get a hold of people during the week, to invite them over. We have had great success with waiting until Sunday morning, seeing who is hanging around after the service, and asking if they have any lunch plans. Most of the time, the answer is no, and that they would love to come over.

Let brotherly love continue. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. ~Hebrews 13:1

Do you have some friends you could invite over this coming week, or maybe a couple you'd like to get to know better?

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Wonders of Butternut Squash

I was first introduced to butternut squash by none other than Martha Stewart. Her 2003 October issue had a recipe for Butternut Tea Bread and I just had to try it! As promised, this squash is creamy and butterscotch sweet.

Here is an easy way to cook it and a few ways to enjoy this wonderful squash!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

With a sharp knife, cut in half lengthwise.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Remove all the seeds with a spoon. Place in pan (I used a glass 9x13) and put 1/2 inch of water in pan.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. Test with a sharp knife. You can see little knife marks all over mine. :0)

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Using a spoon, gently remove squash from the skin. Mash with fork until smooth. Isn't it pretty?!!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

So, now what to do with it?!

I found this Butternut Quesadilla recipe in the recent Martha Stewart magazine.

Butternut Quesadilla

Spread squash on one side of a tortilla. Sprinkle grated cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack) on another tortilla. Sandwich them together. Melt a little butter in a skillet, over medium heat. Place tortilla in pan, flipping once, until both sides are golden and cheese is melted.

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

It was so good, I don't think I'll be able to eat a plain cheese quesadilla ever again!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Enjoy Butternut Tea Bread for breakfast - or a snack anytime!

Originally uploaded by pwinn.

Butternut Tea Bread

Makes 1 nine-by-five-inch loaf

1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup butternut puree
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease loaf pan and set aside. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, squash, melted butter, and 1/4 cup water. Fold squash mixutre into flour mixture. Stir in pecans.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn bread out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

When dried in a cool, dry spot, butternut squash can last two months or longer, so the next time you're at the grocery store, pick one up!