Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Some rain fell and the winds blew!  In my town we all agree that we were very lucky!  After Sandy left our area without leaving a mark, we could place our Halloween decorations outside, again.  We were relieved that Sandy was:
We all do have family and friends that live in NYC (and its surrounding areas), the southern coast of CT and also the shores of NJ.  This is the time to think of and to help them.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad

Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad
The end of October?  Yes!  Halloween is a couple days away?  Yes!  The meteorologists on the East Coast have been emphasizing that we East Coast residents should be aware of a weather system coming up from the south?  Yes!  Have we been checking on the flashlights, batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water and making sure that our cars have a full tank of gas? Yes, again!  

Last year we had a Halloween Nor'easter!  Here, in my town we lost power for 6 days.  This year so many more states & people will be affected by this hybrid weather system - Hurricane Sandy. We are heeding the precautions and the warnings!

Yesterday, in addition to our storm preparations, I remembered a wonderful Spinach Salad that I enjoyed at the Red Pheasant Inn while at the Cape this summer.  The salad we had at dinner last night was adapted from the tantalizing tasty spinach treat that made a great impression on me.  It was delicious!  That salad contained fresh oranges.  I had a can of Mandarin Oranges on hand, so a few of the smaller slices worked just fine.  If you like a salad made with fresh Spinach, try it! So good! 

Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad       


Per serving
Fresh Baby Spinach
6 - 7 Mandarin Orange slices
Feta Cheese - crumbled
Balsamic Vinaigrette - 1 - 2 Tablespoons per serving

  1. Place desired amount of Baby Spinach Leaves in a salad dish.
  2. Add 6-7 Mandarin Orange slices.
  3. Sprinkle desired amount of Feta Cheese on top.
  4. Drizzle on Balsamic Vinaigrette.
This is a very tasty, colorful and nutritious salad for any time of year.  An especially good time is during the colder months when the tomatoes in my grocery stores are either costly or not lookin' good.


And...Stay safe!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saving the Seeds

Dried rust, golden, and red colored leaves were bouncing on the pavement as they blew down the street two days ago.  The sun was shining on a beautiful fall day!  As I enjoyed listening to the leaves I remembered the Zinnia seeds that were drying on our Family Room window sill.  All summer we and our neighbors have enjoyed our ever blooming Zinnias.  Shades of orangeyellow and red blossoms were constantly opening!  This year I purchased packaged seeds that would grow in three different heights.  The blossoms were also different.
Zinnias with pink Impatiens
Some looked like cone flowers.  In the autumn I save some of the dry flowers in order to further dry out and store the seeds.  My plan worked well two weeks ago.  I harvested my bounty one afternoon and we had a "hard frost" that night!  
Currently, there are 3 lunch sized paper bags on my window sill that contain the seeds that are drying. 
Tear shaped Zinnia seeds attached to petals
The seeds are tear shaped and still attached to the dried colored petals of the previously colorful flowers.
In a couple of weeks the dried seeds will be packaged in envelopes - and labelled according to height.  They'll be ready to plant next spring.
Not only do I have plans for next year's gardens, today I learned how to add arrows using Photoshop!  WooHoo!
Do you harvest seeds to plant the next year?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yummy Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Bread
A few slices had already passed the "Taste Test"
The Olive Oil for sauteing and baking was taken down from the shelf in my cabinet.  Yes!  There were enough Eggs in my fridge to use only Egg Whites.  The 2 cups of the prepped Butternut Squash needed had been stored in the fridge to bake the delicious Butternut Squash Breads, so I was good to go!  

Last week, the day after freezing the Butternut Squash, baking was on my agenda!  You guessed it, I replaced pumpkin with squash in one of my fave recipes.  Using Olive Oil and Egg Whites when baking this bread makes for a very light tasty treat.  By baking 2 breads, one can be placed in the freezer.  However, last week a neighbor was the recipient of the second foil wrapped bread.

  • The recipe below is for 2 breads.  If one bread will be baked, cut the recipe in half.
  • When baking these breads, I use a scant less than the required measured amounts of Salt & Sugar. 

Butternut Squash Bread

Oven:  350°F      Time:  55 Minutes       2 Loaves


3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional, but delicious)
2 Cups Sugar

8 Egg Whites (= total of 4 Whole Eggs)
1 & 1/2 Cups Olive Oil for sauteing & baking
2 Cups Butternut Squash (cooked, mashed & cooled - defrosted if frozen)


  1. Spray 2 large bread pans with PAM.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  4. In smaller bowl, beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5. Mix in Olive Oil.
  6. Add mashed Butternut Squash to Egg Whites/Olive Oil & stir.
  7. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  8. Pour batter into bread pans.
  9. Stagger bread pans on oven shelf.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in middle of loaf.
  11. Remove from oven and cool in pans on wire rack for 10 Minutes.
  12. Remove from pans and continue cooling on wire racks.
  • After cooled, enjoy.
  • After cooling, the second Butternut Squash Bread can be wrapped in Heavy Duty aluminum foil and placed in your freezer. 

In the next two days, the remaining squash that is stored in our garage will be prepped for the freezer. That also translates that there will be a start on baking for the Thanksgiving Day Weekend.  Two  Butternut Squash Breads will be baked/cooled/wrapped in foil & placed in our freezer. This is a yummy bread that is also very easy to prepare!  No need for a boxed mix! 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Freezing Butternut Squash

It's been a day filled with raindrops, but who would guess?    Glancing out my kitchen window the bright Mums are lookin' good!  Last fall we cut them back and mulched them...hoping they would make a comeback. 

It's October and some of my family's fave autumn veggies had been purchased and I was prepping them for our large freezer.  Butternut Squash!  Yum!  A tradition that started with my family during my childhood was preparing the delicious orange colored squash to place in our freezer to defrost/reheat to enjoy all year- whenever we wanted.  Well, until the year's supply evaporated.  That happens quickly!  We grew our Squash in one of our large gardens.   

Yes, Butternut Squash chunks can be purchased in a grocery store's frozen food department, but the purchased box/package may contain a combo of various winter squash - not really tasty unless Brown Sugar is added.  We enjoy the local veggie and we do not need to add any additional brown sugar.

This past weekend a large box of Butternut Squash was purchased at Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow, MA.  After cutting off the skin of the veggie and steaming the chunks, it is mashed and then the yummy veggie is packed into 1- Quart Ziploc Freezer Bags.  Label and freeze.

Last year I posted the complete instructions:  Prepping Butternut Squash to Freeze

Butternut Squash Chunks
(File Photo)
It's worth the small amount of time and effort to prep and freeze this delicious vegetable.  The day before Thanksgiving Day, 2 packages are placed in my fridge to defrost.  They are reheated and find their place on our dinner table. 

An added plus is that I substitute the Butternut Squash for Pumpkin in recipes that call for Pumpkin.  Do you use this substitution?   



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

~Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp~

As we were cruisin' down the Mass Pike (I-90), suddenly I remembered that on Fridays there is a Farmers' Market at the Charlton Plaza.  That plaza is usually a good "get out and stretch" place for us when we travel to/from Boston, so stopping there was in the plans, anyway.  The market was still open - Cortland apples were the big purchase.
Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp
In September local apples are definitely a must!  I had visions of Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp!  Cortlands are very crisp at this time of year and are great apples to use when baking.  Probably the only variety of apple my mom used when she baked apple pies and made applesauce.  Thanksgiving is usually the time when I bake pies, so it's not a weekly habit.  I do like nutritious/ delicious food that takes less time and effort to prepare!  Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp fits the description with no pie crust to roll out.  I bake this often, because it's filled with apples, craisins, raisins and oats and all family members enjoy it.  Last year I posted this recipe during the beginning of October.  It's just delicious! :)

Craisin Raisin Apple Crisp

Oven Temperature: 375°F
Time: 45 - 50 Minutes

6 - 7 peeled sliced large apples
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/3 Cup + 1 Tablespoon softened Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Craisins &/or Raisins - I use both!

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray PAM in 8" x 8" glass pan.
  3. Place sliced apples in pan.
  4. Add Craisins & Raisins and mix in.
  5. Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients together in small bowl.
  6. Sprinkle over apples.
  7. Bake 45- 50 Minutes or until apples are tender.
  8. Serve warm or chilled with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  9. When cool, cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
This tasty dessert filled with fruit definitely is enjoyed any time of year!