Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week 45, 10-30-2016

Thoughts and QuotesAlways be able to look back and say “At least I didn’t lead no humdrum life.” 
                                                                                                Forrest Gump

I can certainly relate. I have lots to tell you. Get a cup of tea. Better go to the bathroom, too, because we might be here awhile.

Taking Care of Your Health: I'm always preaching about eating apples. When I read the Five on Friday posts for October 21, I discovered this from Lorrie of Vancouver. You will love-love-love eating apples if you make the recipes in her post. I've made the Bavarian apple torte (my recipe is similar), but now I want to make the other things she shows. 

Tips: Linda in Montreal introduced me to the most delightful young lady I've met in ages. I want you to meet her also, and I think you'll want to enter your email to sign up for future posts. She's very positive, she's fashion conscious, she's an animal lover, she's adventurous, and she's cute as a button. I give you Princess Sassy Pants and her adorable little Prince Pup. Click here and scroll down for more Halloween.

The Pepper Report: When I took Pepper in for his feline distemper shot, Dr. Hardy gave me some new ointment for the wound over his left eye. It's a tiny little tube, about the size of a chap stick, and cost $20. It has a picture of a dog, a cat, and a horse on the tube. Thankfully, I didn't need to doctor a horse, because imagine what a large tube would cost.

Dr. said that it's new and having good results. I put it on Pepper's wound for two days, and then it started to form a scab, so he scratched it off. Big red wound. I picked up a bottle of liquid bandage and stopped by the vet's office to see if I could use it on Pepper. Had I used it on myself first, I'd have known better because it burns like crazy, and my right hand would be missing now had I used it on Pepper. When I think how it hurts on my little cuts and scratches (compliments of Kid Pepper), I can only imagine how he would have reacted. But Dr. Hardy wasn't in, so Dr. Davis told me to put honey on his wound. We tried that, but same story. 

I finally decided to go to Plan B and called Friend Linda, Pepper's co-rescuer. I asked if she thought I should just have Dr. Hardy put a collar on him. She happened to have a soft vinyl one which she dropped off, and I took Pepper to the vet AGAIN.

Dr. Hardy is so patient. He cut three holes in the vinyl collar, went in back and got a regular cat collar and some gauze. He tied the funnel collar to the regular cat collar with gauze strips in three places so he couldn't get it off.

Poor Pepper

Get even time. The next morning, his bathroom looked like this.

I decided to go back to putting the new ointment on his head morning and night. I even decided to just leave the tube on the end table in the family room so I wouldn't forget. He was pretty unhappy all day, and the next morning, I got up to this. Pepper Houdini.

I sat down on the couch and thought about my next move. He came over to be petted and then rewarded me with a new scratch on my hand. I was so frustrated, I told him, "Okay, that does it.  No collar, no medicine, you're on your own. And if you don't stop scratching me, come spring, you're becoming a feral kitty again. Out you're going".

I ignored him all day, met friends for lunch, and didn't get home until after 4:00. By the time I got the mail, checked his potty box, took my shoes off, etc. I decided to have a short rest. If I sit on the couch to watch TV, Pepper comes and gets between my feet and begs for attention. I was still ignoring him, so I put my feet up and stretched out to watch Jeopardy. Pepper decided to nap on the floor at the end by my feet. 

Now here's the part you won't believe. If someone told me this story, I'm not sure I'd believe it, but it happened to me, so I know it's true. Pepper got up and went to the kitchen for a little snack. He came back and stood on his hind legs to look on the end table at my feet. I had some yarn there, a bottle of water, some anti-biotic ointment for my scratches, and his new medicine. Then he jumped up on the couch by my feet. I sat up then, and Pepper put his front paws on the arm of the couch, reached over and picked his medicine up in his mouth, and brought it to me at the other end of the couch. I took it and doctored his wound. That was Thursday, and I'm writing this Sunday night, and I have no new cuts or scratches. I could swear that he understood my threats, because he's been a model kitty from that rant until now. Time will tell. 

Tasting: My VECC friends and I went to lunch at Relics, a large upscale flea market with a tea room in the middle. It's always pleasant here, and they don't rush you out the minute you eat the last bite. I had a quiche of spinach and mushrooms and a salad with strawberry dressing.

Bev had half a chicken salad sandwich, salad, and tomato-zucchini soup, with flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

Mim had the same half sandwich, with butternut squash soup.

Carol had the quiche with squash soup and caramel-apple pie for dessert.

We're the VECC - Very Exclusive Cooking Club, and you probably wouldn't like to have lunch with us. It goes like this:

Patsy: Mim, break off a piece of the crust from my quiche and tell me what you think. It seems heavier than normal crust. 

Mim: I think it was just baked a little longer than normal. It tastes like piecrust to me.

Patsy: Maybe they used part wholewheat or gluten-free flour.

Bev: My salad dressing is a little off. 

Patsy: I think it's old and a little rancid.

Mim: Patsy, taste my soup and tell me which spices you think they used. I think I taste sage, maybe cumin.

Carol: I think it's tumeric.

Bev: I'll bet it's tumeric and sage. 

Etc. etc. etc. It's as if we're deciding whether they should get a Michelin star or maybe we're writing a cookbook and want to copy their recipes. I swear, we never just eat and talk.

Time for Others: My Halloween cards were in the mail on time. Here are some samples.

And some of Friend Joey's cards.

Some handmade cards I received.

This one is handmade by way of Hallmark. I want those shoes.

Thrifting: I'm a big fan of Susan Branch, who is an author, artist, and blogger. She lives on Martha's Vineyard in Cape Code in a 100+ year old house. She has shelves in her kitchen with Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz dishes, which I have coveted forever.  Take a peek and scroll down. Today I bought nine place settings with a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bowl, cup and saucer, plus a few extra pieces - $30. Ask and ye shall receive. See, I told you so. Now I'll be on the lookout for a teapot, creamer, and sugar bowl.

Thrifting Again: I found some cute red and white placemats at Goodwill, which you shall see next week. They're still in the garage with a few other knick-knacks. But I wanted to show you this great ceramic basket I bought for $3. Someone made it and gave it as a Christmas gift in 1997. It says so on the bottom. Perfect for serving rolls.

Tip: If you ever feel as if you'd just like to get away to a quiet place so you can figure out how the universe can be infinite or search for some other answer to an unsolvable problem, here's the place to do it. I'm linking you to Belle's post so you can see her photos and read her description. LOVE the sun dining room. Click here.

Teas: I'm having an Autumn tea. Just the VECC. I have some new recipes I want them to try. Of course, we'll analyze them. We always do.

 The invitations

The Food

Savories: Tea Sandwiches (Ham and Lettuce, Chicken Salad, Egg Salad, Carrot), Olive Spread on Wheat Crackers, Mini-Quiches

Sweets: Cookies (Snickerdoodles, Ginger Krakles, Cranberry-Pecan), Dipped Apricots, Pumpkin Cheesecake Balls, Three-Way Brownies

Since we had so much food, I decided not to make scones. I have a recipe I want to try, but like Scarlett, I'll think about that tomorrow.

The Recipes

I don't need to tell you how to make ham and lettuce or chicken salad sandwiches. I use a rotisserie chicken from the market to add some flavor and speed things along. You could even use a ready made chicken salad from the deli case. If making your own, just don't get too fancy. Chop everything finely and don't use anything too juicy (like grapes).

The two fillings I want to share came, I think, from Angela at here, but I searched all of 2016 and couldn't find them. Anyway, I'm posting them here and when you get a chance, I think you'd like Angela's blog, so take a look. The fillings are Maria's "Special" Egg Salad and Carrot Filling.


3 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine

Beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth.

Add everything but the eggs and blend well.

Fold in eggs.

Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the sandwiches; at least one hour.

Note: I grated my eggs on the large holes, and it worked perfectly.

Use white or wheat bread. Trim crusts and cut in squares, fingers, or triangles.

Add lettuce, if you wish.

Note: This filling holds up very well for cutting small sandwiches.

(Angela at, I think)

8 oz. pkg of cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Cinnamon-raisin bread

Just use a fork to blend all the ingredients.

After assembling sandwiches, cut off crusts and cut into squares, triangles, or fingers. Rounds make a nice presentation, but waste lots of bread.

Note: The fingers are chicken salad; squares are carrot 

I've been making this olive spread for years. You can put it on either bread or crackers.


6 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped stuffed olives
1 Tbs olive juice
1 Tbs milk
 dash of pepper

Mash cream cheese with a fork.

Stir in mayonnaise and blend well.

Stir in pecans and olives.

Stir in olive juice, milk, and pepper.

Cover and chill until firm.

Use on crackers, toast, or filling for tea sandwiches.


2 pkgs (15 each) phyllo shells (in the freezer and already baked)
2 Tbs finely chopped red onion
3 eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese
1-1/2 tsps flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 strips bacon, cooked and finely crumbled
Snipped chives for garnish

Heat oven to 350°.

Remove shells from package and place on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Sauté onion in a bit of butter until tender and set aside.

Combine eggs, cream, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth.

Stir in onion.

Divide bacon evenly among all cups.

Pour egg mixture into cups, filling all the way to the top. (I used a small melon baller).

Bake 11-12 minutes or until set.

Garnish with chives, if you desire.

The Brownies Three Ways are simple. Prepare a mix and bake it in a 9" X 9" baking pan. Cut off browned edges and divide into thirds. Frost with chocolate buttercream frosting which you make, or buy a can of chocolate frosting. Cut brownies into serving-size fingers and leave a third plain, chopped pecans on another third and pecan halves on the final third.

For dipped apricots, use dried apricots dipped halfway into melted white, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate chips or use a combination of two or all three.


( by way of Disneyland)

3-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

For topping: Use this ratio. You might need more.
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until everything is incorporated.

In another bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for topping.

Roll dough in 1” balls and then roll in the topping. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and flatten slightly (you can use the bottom of a glass).

Sprinkle tops with more topping if desired.

Bake 7-8 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes and then move to a rack to finish cooling.

(From Friend Joey by way of Anaheim Church)

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsps ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Sugar for rolling

Cream margarine and brown sugar.

Add molasses.

Beat in eggs.

Sift dry ingredients together and add.

Chill dough.

Heat oven to 350°.

Form dough into 1” balls and then roll in sugar.

Place 3” apart on baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

I didn't care much for this cookie, but I was outvoted. I probably would have liked it better if I had paid attention and rolled the edges in sugar.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup extra sugar

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add milk and vanilla.

Add flour and salt and mix well.

Add cranberries and pecans.

Roll into 2 logs 8” X 1-1/2”. Wrap in plastic film and put in the refrigerator. Chill two hours or until you can cut them without misshaping the round cookies.

Heat oven to 375°.

Slice 1/4“ thick. Roll edges in extra sugar, if desired.

Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes. DO NOT over bake.


2-1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
3/4 cup vanilla wafer crumbs (or more)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
6 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsps pumpkin pie spice

Melt 1/2 cup of the chips. While they’re melting, mix all but the remaining ingredients except the chips together with a hand mixer, blender, or food processor. Then add the melted chips and blend again. Mix long enough to make sure everything is thoroughly combined. If you don’t like the consistency of the mix, you can add more vanilla wafer crumbs, up to 1-1/2 cups total.

Cover the mix and place it in the refrigerator until you can form it into balls. You can put it in the freezer to speed things along.

Form dough into balls, using one teaspoon of dough, and place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Return to refrigerator.

Melt remaining white chocolate chips. Dip balls and return to baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, and then store in the refrigerator until serving time.

Time to Carve Your Pumpkin: Niece Sarah did a great job on hers. What do you think?

Sorry I didn't get to Togs this week, but it's Sunday night at 11:00 p.m., and as you can see, my assistant has already pooped out.