Oh, y’all. I got a wee tad excited about Halloween this year. Specifically, I got a little fixated on carving a jack-o-lantern, and imagined it would be BIG FUN for our little family. Wherein, I learned momming lessons #127,892, #127, 893, and #127,894 (for those of you scoring at home).
On a beautiful Sunday, we officially make it a family affair and headed to the local pumpkin patch. Side note for the Dallas-area born-and-raised: It’s on the graveyard of the one-and-only Penny Whistle Park. (OMG! I know! Right?) The “welcome” sign is STILL there, I really want it bad. I’m working on it. I digress. As usual.
After careful scrutiny and an in-depth selection process which centered around, “Which one do you like, Andy?” We took our bounty home. At that point, Andy was pretty much underwhelmed and was off to play “lasso!!!!” with a wooden spoon. Matt and I enjoyed ourselves.
Once it was carved and the seeds were roasted. It was both pretty(!) and yummy(!).
Not so fast there, partner.
My good lookin’ husband said the seeds were like “eating raw vegetation” (not the good kind, apparently). And, then, for the love of Pete, we watched the ding-dong jack-o-lantern decompose. Pour one out for our homie, Pumpkin #1. We hardly knew ye.
I’m nothing if not resourceful, right? Time to make lemonade out of lemons, or in this case a (non-organic) pumpkin out of a big-ass jar. Like thus:
It turned out a’ight. Not one of my better jobbies, but when Andy saw it assembled and lit, he yelled “PUNKIN’!!!!” So, mission accomplished. But kind of like when Bush was on that big ship with the banner behind him. Yeah. Like that.
STILL highly motivated and optimistic, I plan on making this for a soirée this weekend. I just hope it doesn’t go the way of Pumpkin #1.
So help me out (for next year), Easy Company. Did I just get a bad gourd or do you have some tricks or treats (groan) for keeping a jack-o-lantern “alive” for more than a day?
Posted by Laura on Sep 20, 2011 in mess hall
, tight-ass tuesdays
This one will be short and sweet (recipe included!), but may serve as a little mind-vitamin (this term fabricated by and totally stolen from “Razor” Reaugh) as to how you may add to your kitchen arsenal without breaking the bank.
For anyone who bakes or cooks regularly, a counter-top mixer can be a God send. If you use a hand mixer, you know it can get tricky or messy. But, you’d rather deal wit the headache rather than fork over $300+ for an appliance that might not get every day use – a luxury appliance – a want, not a need.
A quality, new counter-top mixers can run anywhere from $175 to $400, and sometimes you can find the better brands on sale for $200 or so. (Programming note: Next week I’ll give you month-by-month details for the best times of the year to buy things.) Here’s my suggestion though, next time you’re at a church rummage sale, garage sale, thrift store, or flea market look for a used one. If it’s missing bowls, beaters, attachments, or the power cord, haggle it down and buy it!
Once you get it home, clean it up, and look for the model number. If it’s newish, then first try the manufacturer’s site. If it’s older, try a few of these:
I have this one, a 30-year-old Sunbeam that was missing the beaters and the power cord. For only $19, I was able to get it working, and the first thing I made? Pound cake!
Some of you Good Grub Round-Up folks may know I’ve been on the rather elusive hunt for something a-kin to my mom’s pound cake recipe – thanks to my adorable mother-in-law and her awesome cache of church and community cook books, I finally found the recipe and I’m delighted to share this Depression-era treat it with you!
Do you have any part replacement sources you recommend? If so, please share them in comments or on our Facebook page.
Posted by Laura on Sep 20, 2011 in mess hall
2 sticks butter, softened*
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
AP Photo/EatingWell/Ken Burris
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour Bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour a half cup at a time. Add vanilla.
Spoon into Bundt pan, and bake for one hour, or until tester or toothpick removes clean.
* She used margarine, rather than butter.
Old-school tip for greasing a baking pan
Using a paper towel, thoroughly coat the inside of the pan with shortening. Next, add a half-cup of flour to the pan, and turn to coat evenly. Check for uncoated spots, and add shortening as necessary, and re-coat with flour. Turn the pan over the kitchen sink or garbage, and pat (wh-ump!) the bottom of the pan to remove any excess flour.