Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Sherbet Punch

Halloween!!!  It's the time of year when imaginations rule.  Spooky!  Scary!  Squirmy!  Decorations are appearing along with the pumpkins! 

If your family's  Halloween Party is this week, a beverage for "children of all ages" is Orange Halloween Sherbet Punch!  It's an orange frothy beverage that contains only 2 ingredients.  Orange Sherbet & 7- Up.  (Diet 7- Up works just fine).  What could be easier?  This brew is very tasty & very colorful.  Put those 2 ingredients on your grocery list!  Remember disposable cups, too!  Now find your punch bowl & ladle!

Halloween Sherbet Punch

 For each 1 Quart of Orange Sherbet
 Use 2 Bottles 7Up - 2 Liter size bottles (refrigerated)

  1. In a large punch bowl place 1 Quart Orange Sherbet.
  2.  Pour 2 bottles 7-Up Soda in punch bowl, pouring some over Sherbet.
  3.  Stir a little to mix.  Results in frothy, softened Sherbet on top.
  4.  Ladle into cups adding some of the Sherbet.
  5. Replenish the 7UP + Orange Sherbet, as needed.
My family has enjoyed this brew for over 20 years.  Yes, raspberry & lime sherbet also make a very tasty punch in the hot summer months!


Happy Halloween!!!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Craisin/ Raisin Apple Crisp

Needs a small scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Autumn!  Apples!  October!  Cooler nights!  Wait, wait...I need to go back to apples!  This is the season when biting into a fresh juicy apple is such a treat!  Sure, I like the summer fruits like strawberries, blueberries & cantaloupe that are easily available, but an apple...oh, yum!  Not only are there many varieties, but they can be enjoyed fresh or baked in a goodie.
One goodie that my fam always enjoys is Craisin/ Raisin Apple Crisp!  This baked dessert made with fresh apples has a few Craisins & Raisins sprinkled in & and tastes so good with the oat topping.  That topping has Nutmeg & Cinnamon, too!  In the produce area of my local grocery store I see a commercially packaged dry mix to make the oat topping.  The thought passes through my mind:  "How hard is it to make an oat topping?"  Not difficult at all!  Below is my very easy recipe!  Try it, you'll see!    

If you've never tasted this yummy dessert- bake one & the aroma from your kitchen will get you hooked!  Yum!

Craisin/ Raisin Apple Crisp

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

 6 - 7 peeled sliced large apples - I use McIntosh, Cortland
       &/or Empire 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
1/4 Cup Raisins

  1.   Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2.   Spray PAM in 8" x 8" glass baking pan.
  3.   Rinse apples under cold running water & dry.
  4.  Peel & slice apples. 
  5.  Place peeled sliced apples in pan. 
  6.  Add Craisins & Raisins and mix in. 
  7.  Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients together in small bowl.
  8.  Sprinkle over apples. 
  9.  Bake 45- 50 Minutes or until apples are tender. 
  10.  Serve warm or chilled with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
  11.  When cool, cover & refrigerate any leftovers.
This weekend I baked this Apple Crisp using a combo of McIntosh & Cortland apples & it was a great treat!  We always enjoy this dessert with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  So good!


Friday, October 10, 2014

~Summit House on Mt. Holyoke~

Admiring the CT River that flows through the Pioneer Valley
from the Summit House porch
Autumn!  The season when leaves change color from green to vibrant shades of yellow, orange & red!  Before they make their way to the ground it's such a treat to stop to admire them.   It's a beautiful time of year!  This is also the time for me to save seeds from my annuals & divide/ transplant bulbs.  There are many outside tasks, but enjoying the beauty that Mother Nature is sharing with us is an added plus.

Yesterday, my DH & I drove north to Hadley, MA.  Our destination was the Summit House on top of Mt. Holyoke.  On the winding road up the mountain we drove past some hikers.  The view from the parking lot at the summit was a tease of what awaited us.  Climbing up the ramp/ then stairs, gorgeous views were in all directions!  Walking around the "wrap around" porch of the newly renovated Summit House was definitely a treat!  We live in a beautiful area of Western MA!  Looking north my hometown of Amherst & also VT was visible.  Looking south in the distance we viewed the Springfield, MA/ Hartford, CT area!

Zooming in Looking North
The Summit House has a long history.  During the second half of the 1800's it was a hotel located on the top of Mt. Holyoke.  To learn about its fascinating history, click here.

For us, yesterday was the perfect opportunity to visit!  This is Columbus Day weekend!  Our New England scenery is beautiful.  Anyone interested in visiting this wonderful location, click on the "Plan Your Visit" info here.  Before leaving home, we did call the listed phone number for updated detailed info.     

Terrain near the Summit House
with my shadow

What a great opportunity to view our CT River Valley & learn a little history!

We did Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Harvesting Zinnia Seeds

The bright redyellow, pink & orange Zinnias blossomed all summer!  So many vibrant colors!  Each seed planted grew into a very bushy plant with so many bright blossoms & buds.  Combined with the Marigolds that were planted in front of them, our side garden has been enjoyed by our neighbors, too!  Especially our next door neighbors! 

Now that Autumn is here, it's time to save the Zinnia seeds from this year's crop!  What might seem like quite a chore, really is not at all.  When the colorful Zinnia blossoms have a dried out look, snip off the flowers from the stems of the plant. 

***I harvest the seeds before we get a good hard frost here in my area of Western Mass!  That frost will end my Zinnia crop.  Our weather will change & it will get colder. 
With a gentle breeze blowing!
A tissue box that has been cut down is the perfect container for the flowers, so they can continue the drying process.  Place those dried out looking flowers in the tissue box.  My container is sitting on the sunny window sill in our Family Room.  Those seeds that were harvested are the source for some of next year's colorful gardens! 

After the blossoms are dried, pull off the outer flower petals.  Discard the remaining parts.  Each dried petal is attached to a "tear shaped" seed.  After planting that seed next year, it will grow into a Zinnia plant.  There is next year's crop!  Sweet! 

"Tear Shaped" Zinnia Seeds attached to dried petals.
(File Photo)
I remove the dried petals from the seeds - as much as I can.  Those dried seeds will be stored in sealed labelled paper envelopes.  Next spring, after the rows in our gardens have been created for the seeds, I'll place the Zinnia seeds in the ground & cover with a light coating of soil.  Then, pat the soil gently.  Every day they will need to be watered.  Before you know it there will be sprouts!  Those little green plants will need to be thinned out.  When any plants are 5"- 6" tall, they can be transplanted to other parts of the yard.  The process will start again!     

Harvesting & saving Zinnia Seeds is a yearly tradition with me.  In any given year if I find that the flowers are much smaller than the previous crop, I take the clue.  The following year I'll purchase newly commercially packaged seeds for that year's colorful gorgeous Zinnias in our yard.

Do you harvest & save seeds for the next year's crop? 
I Enjoy it!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

~Early October~

Autumn is a beautiful time of year!  Early October brings cooler weather & the scenery in our yard changes every few days.  Soon, an abundance of oak leaves will be floating downward.  That always brings on the Fall yard work.  However, it's great to enjoy the scenery!

The pot of yellow Mums brightens up our yard even on a cloudy day!

Close-up of Mums

 Our Zebra Grass has tassels every Autumn!

The Hydrangea has lavender blossoms.  All summer they have been blue.

Every yard needs at least one scarecrow!