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Pike Place Market Fruits…so yummy…..Caesar the Wonder Dog in the Pumpkin Patch – he did his best to pee on each and every pumpkin!  Maybe that’s why my pumpkin muffins had a strange taste this morning!   Or maybe it was the butter that had been put in the refrigerator next to an unwrapped piece of garlic?!? 

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Deviled Eyes…..Eggs:

8 hard boiled eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dill pickle juice (from a jar of pickles)

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Red decorator icing for that special bloodshot look

6 green olives with pimentos, cut in half

Paprika

Cut eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and mash with mayonnaise, pickle juice, mustard, salt and pepper.  Refill egg whites with mixture.  Cut green olives in half, set one in middle of each egg.  Use the decorator icing to make red squiggly lines from the olive to the edge of the filling, making lines all around the egg.  Sprinkle each eye/egg with a little paprika and chill until serving time.  What do you do with a green monster?  Wait until he ripens!

One of Many to Come….

Since this is a food AND quilting blog….I’m going to try very hard to tear myself away from the kitchen long enough to put in a few quilts….this is my future grandson’s first quilt – it has little dogs on it as he will come into this world having two big “brothers”….Symon and Murphy, two of the cutest, untrained beasts you’ve ever seen!

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When I saw this cake on the cover of the October issue of Country Living, it made me want to buy the magazine….and then it made me want to make the cake.  It’s a beautiful cake to make for Halloween….double layered, orange frosting with a chocolate ganache glaze…..if nothing else, make it just to look at!  Before I made this cake, I told a friend that I was going to make it and she advised against it – said she had already tried it and that her family didn’t like it but as we talked she said the cake was okay but the frosting was too soft.  I used a different frosting than the original recipe and it worked great – it’s the only thing I changed.  (My friend was right about their frosting – I made it first and it was WAY too soft – so I scraped it all off and came up with the frosting below….much better!)  So, armed with the knowledge that I might be making a cake that no one would eat, and believe me, I was armed with nothing else…..I decided to give it a try anyway.  And I loved the results – I would definitely make this again but I will tell you that most of the children I served this to didn’t like it – (so my friend’s family was not taste-challenged!) because it’s not a traditional chocolate cake and I think that’s what they expected when they bit into it.  The adults who ate it loved it – because their pallet can appreciate the subtle “autumn” flavors….at least that’s the theory I’m going with!  There is cinnamon in the frosting and the cake itself is very rich, it almost has a fudge-like texture because it’s so moist.  Try it….I’m pretty sure you’ll like it!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, plus one yolk

Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup cream or milk

3 teaspoons cocoa

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

34/ teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

orange food coloring

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.  Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time.  Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean – about 35 minutes.  Cool layers completely before icing. 

Frosting:

In the bowl of electric mixer, blend cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy.  Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and 1/4 of the cream or milk.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  If frosting is too thick, add in more cream, until desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too thin add in more powdered sugar.  Add in food coloring until desired color is reached.  Mix well. 

Spread a generous amount of the frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake.  Chill 30 minutes and then put the glaze on.

Glaze:

Place 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate (chop into really small pieces,) 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl.  Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes.  Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly.  Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drip over the sides.  Makes 1 cup.

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DEADMAN OVER WORMS…… 

Herewith I submit my award winning recipe for Deadman Over Worms….well, I actually didn’t win any award, but I did win Emeril Live’s Halloween Contest last year….okay, so I was one of four winners….but I was definitely Emeril’s favorite – fine, so I wasn’t his favorite….but my meatloaf was….trust me on this, his exact words were:  “Folks, this is a really good recipe….BAM!”  Now I’m not making this up…..afterall, would I lie about meatloaf?  So out of all of the thousands and thousands of entries – probably millions – this was one of the winners:

 3 eggs

2/3 cup milk

2 slices French bread torn into small pieces

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cut grated carrot

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon bouquet garni

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 (16 oz.) package spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions

Butter

Topping:

1 cup tomato ketchup

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup of your favorite bottled spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add milk, bread, and oatmeal.  Stir in carrots, onions, cheese, herbs, and seasonings.  Add beef and sausage and mix well.  In a shallow baking dish, shape beef mixture into the shape of a body.  Round ball for head, (about the size of a softball) oval shape for body, mounding up for tummy.  Shape arms and place next to body (you don’t want them sticking out or they will cook too quickly.)  Shape legs and place next to each other, not apart.  Smooth meatloaf so the “seams” are not apparent. 

Make topping. 

Bake meatloaf for 45 minutes, then spoon half of the sauce over meatloaf.  Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 45 minutes or until meatloaf is cooked thoroughly. (Total baking time about 1 1/2 hours – cover with foil if it gets too brown.) While meatloaf is baking cook spaghetti noodles according to package directions.  Rinse noodles and put butter, to taste, on them; set aside.

When meatloaf is done, remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Put spaghetti noodles on a tray.  Carefully place meatloaf on top of spaghetti noodles, using two spatulas.  Don’t worry if an arm or a leg falls off – just “reattach” and cover with sauce.  Before serving place a knife in the “heart” of the  deadman …..serve with remaining sauce.

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Reality has slapped me in the face and this quilt is just not going to get done in time for halloween…..I had visions of wrapping up in this while eating my son’s halloween candy….yes, he’s too old to trick or treat but he won’t listen to me…..so while my quilt hangs forlornly on the wall – begging to be finished – I am feverishly trying to finish my nephew’s soccer quilt, my niece’s halloween quilt, the cutest Thanksgiving placemats you’ve ever seen and my daughter’s baby quilt….did I mention that she is having a baby….a boy baby?  His name will be Cash….as in Cash Machine or Cash Only or Cash or Check?  I plan to call him Max…..afterall I’m the grandma so I can do what I want.   

jenny_and_lyndsey.jpgMy daughter’s childhood friend is now also my friend – and expert blogger extrodinaire! This is Jenny on the left and my daughter Lyndsey on the right – many years ago – we made a quick trip up to Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC – had a great time even though I wrecked the car….but I digress…… This post is about Jenny, not my driving ability…..She is an amazing talent – If you don’t believe me, check out her wonderful site, www.jennyvorwaller.com and you’ll be transported – literally – to Buenos Aires where she now lives.  Jenny is an artist…jewelry designer…photographer and a wonderful writer….but more to the point, I owe her my most heartfelt thanks as she has been my resource to get my site up and running.  She has been so patient – never once calling me retarded or stupid or dumb – although she certainly had every right to!  After working with me for the last couple of weeks, I would like to nominate her to Sainthood but won’t because then she would have to be dead or at the very least sealed in concrete.  Anyway, a big thank you to Jenny for all of her help!  Now, with that being said…..I hope you’ll forgive me for any mistakes you find – they would be my mistakes, not Jenny’s!  I’m still new at this so be patient, grasshopper, I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got to work with! 

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 I saw the Halloween House that Macy’s has by Martha Stewart – it’s $70 and, if I may say so, not nearly as cute as mine!  This was a cinch to make – a basic gingerbread dough that is overcooked so it’s really hard, and then royal icing, colored with black food coloring – and used as glue to attach the candy.  The windows were made with a squeeze tube of decorator’s icing and the faces in the windows, which are hard to see, are sugared candies that I bought at a cake decorating store.  Hey….when your last name is Slaughter then halloween has to be good!

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