My Family

My Family

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Memories

Since my children are no longer young enough to go trick-or-treating, I'm feeling kind of sad today. :-( So, I thought it would be fun to go on a spooky walk down memory lane. I'm adding scary quotes from literature in between each picture... just because.

22 years ago... Baby Grant (Indian Chief) - I was stranded in NJ with no car (Rick had it at work), no money, and no store nearby, when I realized it was Grant's first Halloween! So, I improvised - an indian costume out of a paper bag and a tape cover wooden spoon for a tomahawk!)

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted; One need not be a house; The brain has corridors surpassing Material place." -Emily Dickinson

19 years ago... Grant and Michael (Worter Man, and Super Baby)

"'Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world." -William Shakespeare

17 years ago... Michael and Grant (A "Hobone" and Underdog)


"Men say that in this midnight hour,
The disembodi├Ęd have power
To wander as it liketh them,
By wizard oak and fairy stream."
-William Motherwell

16 years ago... Grant and Michael (Bat and Ghost)

"My candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open..." -Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

14 years ago... Grant, Michael, and Alex (Monster, Pirate, and cutest Dalmation puppy EVER!)

"Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." -Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven

12 years ago... Grant, Michael, Alex, and Matthew (Vampire, King Arthur, Superman, and Cookie Monster)

"Be wary then; best safety lies in fear." -Shakespeare “Hamlet”

11 years ago... Alex, Michael, and Grant (Poisonous Dart Frog, Ninja, and Monster)

"Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble." -William Shakespeare

A few more pictures of each of the boys:
GRANT:


"From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!" -Scottish saying

MICHAEL:


"Dark, dark! The horror of darkness, like a shroud, wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud." -Sophocles

ALEX:


"It is required of every man," the ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death." -Charles Dickens

MATTHEW:


"There are such beings as vampires, some of us have evidence that they exist. Even had we not the proof of our own unhappy experience, the teachings and the records of the past give proof enough for sane peoples." -Bram Stoker

And, finally, from one of my favorite horror stories: "What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted specter, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scouring!" -Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleep Hollow"

Here are some pictures of our house this year with all of our Halloween decorations...






Happy Haunting - from Little Red Riding Hood!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Great-Grandma Anderson's Apple Sauce Cake Recipe...

So, for Christmas, I've decided to make a book of my Grandma Anderson's recipes (including a bunch of family favorites from as far back as my great-grandmother - maybe even farther). To make it a really cool book, I'm going to make some of the recipes and photograph them for the book. Today, I made the first one - Apple Sauce Cake, from the kitchen of my Great-Grandma Anderson. (I feel kind of like Julie from the "Julie and Julia" movie. Except that my Grandma isn't quite Julia Child (the only difference is that she didn't cook French food! She is every bit as good of a cook! Oh, and much prettier, too!) See?

Exhibit A - Julia Child

Exhibit B - Georgina Anderson (my grandma)

And I'm most definitely NOT going to cook over 500 recipes in a year. Just one, here and there.)

So, without stalling one more second... here are the ingredients...

See that green bowl? Yep, I decided that to make this authentic, I couldn't use my mixer. I did everything by hand. Except the applesauce. I'm sure Great-Grandma made her own applesauce, too! Here is the recipe...

2 cups cake flour (I think that's just all-purpose flour - that's what I used)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon (or more)
1/2 cup raisins (my kids don't like raisins, and I had a TON of apples that needed to be used, so I peeled, cored, and diced 3 small apples to use in place of raisins)
1/2 t. vanilla (straight from Mexico, OF COURSE)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg - beaten
1 cup applesauce, slightly sweetened

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the beaten egg and vanilla. In a different bowl, add soda to the applesauce and stir until foamy (my never did go foamy. Oh well.) Add to the butter/sugar mixture. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients. Add raisins, or in our case apples, and nuts (if desired). We used chopped up candied pecans. Bake in a greased and floured 8x8 pan, at 350 degrees, for 45 minutes, or until knife stuck in the middle of cake comes out clean.

Enjoy...

Oh, man, this was soooooo good. Very moist, and just look at those chunks of apples, straight from my inlaws' tree. *Sigh*


Thursday, October 22, 2009

GRANT and ALYX

Check out this cute picture of my oldest son, Grant, with his new girlfriend, Alyx.

Aren't they adorable??!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - GREAT GRANDSONS

My grandmother's funeral... her casket was carried by all of my sons, and all of my sister's sons. Mine are the 3 in front on the right side, and the youngest one in the middle on the left. It was a touching sight - I was very proud of them. They were helped by my Uncle Chuck.



Here, the boys take off their flowers and put them on the casket to honor Grandma Evans.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October is PLUM month!

October for me means it's time for plum jam!!! My inlaws have these incredible Italian plum trees, and I love the jam that comes from that fruit. So, with the help of my sister, Kris, I just finished making 156 containers of plum freezer jam, 30 pints of cooked jam, and 30 half pints of cooked jam. Some dried plums, and a few nights ago I made a heavenly dessert - Plum Crisp.

Anyone can enjoy plum jam - you just need the recipe and some instructions, right? So I thought that I'd provide that for you. Here goes...

STEP 1 - marry this guy...

so that these two wonderful people are your inlaws, and you can pick plums from their trees...

OR...

STEP 1 - If that isn't possible, either beg me for some plums (sorry - this years are all gone), or go and buy some at the store. This is what they should look like... (sorry about the blurry pictures, darn it!)


STEP 2 - Wash either freezer jam containers, or jars and rings.

STEP 3 - You'll need the following... Light corn syrup, sugar, lemon juice, and MCP pectin (not SureJell). You'll find the recipes for either freezer jam or canned jam in the MCP box - look for the Sweet Plum recipes.


STEP 4 - Wash the plums, cut them in half, and take the pits out...



STEP 5 - put the plums in a food processor and cut up. I don't like pieces of fruit in my jam, so I blend them quite a bit.

STEP 6 - For freezer jam, combine fruit and lemon juice. Mix in the pectin - let sit for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Mix in the corn syrup, and then the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour into freezer jam containers. Let them sit on your counter for 24 hours, and then put them into the freezer. Freezer jam is my favorite kind of jam - it tastes so fresh and yummy. I really love it.

STEP 6 - For canned jam, combine fruit and lemon juice in a large pot on the stove. Stir in the pectin and turn up heat - stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the sugar (you don't need corn syrup with this kind of jam), and mix well. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a ROLLING BOIL. Once it's at the boiling stage, set a timer for 4 minutes and stir constantly.


STEP 7 - When the timer goes off, skim the foam off of the top into a container (this is one of the best parts of plum jam - combine this with cream cheese for a heavenly fruit dip!)
STEP 8 - Pour jam into jars and put lids on (make sure you've boiled the lids first and they are HOT).

STEP 9 - Put the jars into a HUGE pot and give them a "bath" - look on pectin instructions to see how long you need to boil them.

STEP 10 - ENJOY!!

The plum jam on the left is freezer jam for my son Alex's Eagle Project (yes, you can buy some!), the stuff in the middle in for ME, and the stuff on the right in the smaller jars is the jam for Christmas gifts. It is SO satisfying, after a long day canning food (long, as in 11 hours!), to see a counter full of finished jam. Oh, and this is only about a 1/3 of the jam my sister, Kris, and I made. Kris also canned whole plums in sugar water, and we both dried some plums.

We are plum tuckered out!

If you are one of my friends or neighbors - you get Plum Jam for Christmas ! YAY!!!

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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys