Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Halloween Fun

Last Friday was a great start to the weekend and Halloween! We had a very special feast at my Son's In-Laws home. I feel very fortunate because I call both my daughter and my son's In-Laws, my Friends-in Laws.

Marian put on such a festive dinner. We helped create and enjoyed such an eerie assortment of appetizers, from Eye Ball Salad, Skeleton Vegetables, to Candy Corn Pizza's, it all was great fun and delicious.

I have included the Recipe for the Vegetable Skeleton and the Eye Ball Salad, but the pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words!!

Thanks for a Howlarious Evening!!

Eyeball Salad
(makes 12 servings)

12 basil leaves
3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
12 small rounds of fresh mozzarella, cut in half
24 small green olives with pimientos, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

On a large platter, place basil leaves. Top each basil leaf with a slice of tomato, 2 rounds of cheese and 2 olive pieces. Sprinkle zest over platter. Drizzle each salad with Lemon juice and olive oil. Serve cold.

Skeleton Vegetable Tray
Cauliflower florets, Green bell peppers, Zucchini slices, Squash slices, Red bell peppers,Sugar snap peas, Slivered almonds, Pitted kalamata olives

To make a skeleton, use cauliflower florets to shape the head and hips. Use green pepper strips to make arms and legs. Alternate squash and zucchinis slices to make a spine. Use red bell pepper to make ribs. For feet and hands, use the pieces of green bell peppers with tiny strips of red bell peppers for fingers. Cut slits in sugar snap peas, and fill with almonds for the mouth. Cut olives in slices for eyes. Cut 1 olive in half lengthwise for nose.

The recipe calls for a great Ranch Dip, however I would substitute one of my all time favorite veggie dips :

Salad Burnet Dip

1 Package Cream Cheese
4TBLS Burnett Leaves, chopped fine
2TBLS Garlic Chives, chopped fine
Chopped Lettuce
1tsp salt and pepper
Bind with 1/4 C sour cream or mayo

Mix all together and chill for 24 hours.

The above recipes were taken from "Celebrate Halloween" by Phyllis Hoffman

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Carving Pumpkins

Sometimes bringing back fun from an earlier time is exceptionally special!!

Every Halloween we would carve pumpkins and roast the seeds, I love it when we have the chance to enjoy this activity again.

Can life get much better ?


We spend a long time digging out the goopy mess inside the pumpkins and picking out the seeds(Beware, in our household this action can result in a pumpkin guts food fight!).

We then clean off the separated seeds and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet.( I use olive oil) I then liberally sprinkle the seeds with good sea salt and pepper. Then roast the seeds until they are crispy.

I usually have the oven temp around 400 degrees. Keep a good eye on them (Kalee is great at this job) and turn them over and over, while sprinkling more salt on to taste.

Now that the kids are older, we sit down with a cold glass of pumpkin ale or a nice glass of wine and enjoy not only the fruits of our labor but each other's company as well.

Reliving this memory just keeps getting better and better!

Monday, October 26, 2009


October gave a party:

The leaves by hundreds came-
Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

George Cooper "October's Party"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Basil...Throughout Greece

This Country is just so amazing....I loved the contrasts between the land, the sky and the sea!

There are so many wonderful memories.... but while we still have just a bit of Basil left here in Kentucky, I thought I would share my collection of Basil Pictures from Greece.

It did seem that the small leaf Basil was the most popular!! I love the Spicy Globe Version of this Basil.It is easy to use,no cutting, just pick the small leaves off and use. It also makes a beautiful display in the garden. I love the BIG BALL this herb grows into as it matures.

It seems fitting for Basil Becky to take pictures of Basil where she roams!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Fun and the Last of the Basil.....

Wow this weekend was wonderful!! My daughter and her husband came to visit. Even though this meant 5 dogs, it was well worth it. This is my Basil Daughter( refer to an earlier blog)so since we were expecting the first frost (and we got it!),we decided to use the last surviving Basil we still had in the garden.

Friday night we fixed a feast, I have included one of our favorite recipes from the night. Saturday we went up to Indiana University. My husband and I both graduated from IU and our daughter went there one year, before bailing out to SMU. More importantly my Father was involved with Indiana University for over 25 years. Both Mom and Dad love IU, so we felt our Daughter's Husband needed to see this reverend place. We wanted to take pic's at the tree that had been planted in my Father's honor but truth be known, my Husband's fraternity had a dedication of a new wing, and he was anxious to reconnect. Actually, this suited me just fine because I got to meet up with a very special friend from college. We ended up at a wonderful restaurant. If you are ever in Bloomington this is a must visit. The Chef is the son of one of my Mom's good Friends, he was in Manhattan for a number of years and returned to his roots. Midwesterner's should be so grateful!! He uses all local slow food, it is creative and wonderful. Please check it out :

There is nothing better than Family, Good Friends and Good Food!!

Cheese Ravioli with Red Pepper Dip

olive oil cooking spray
24 whole wheat wonton wrappers
1/2 cup soft goat cheese ( we added fresh basil chopped)
1/4 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted red peppers(from water packed jar) chopped
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
2 TBSP Fresh Basil
Sea Salt and Fresh ground pepper, to taste

#1 Preheat oven to 400 Degrees
Coat a large baking sheet with Olive Oil cooking spray

#2 Arrange wonton wrappers on a flat surface. Spoon a small amount of the Goat Cheese on to
each wonton. Using a wet finger, wet edges of the wonton. Fold wonton over, making a triangle, and press edges together to seal.

#3Transfer wontons to prepared baking sheet and spray surfaces with cooking spray. Sprinkle parmesan chees over top. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until the wontons are a golden brown and toasted.

#4 Make Red Pepper Dip: In blender , combineroasted red peppers and sour cream. Puree until smooth. Transfer dip to a bowl and fold in Basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the dip on the side for dunking.

* Recipe from Robin Miller

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rachel's Bamboo!

To me , the best thing about gardening is sharing plants. I was raised in a family that did not let anyone leave a visit without sending something home with them, so my garden has helped me continue that tradition. I always have something to share, either cut flowers, starts of plants or fresh fruits. My Dad's great sister Rachel shared this Bamboo with me when I moved to Kentucky. When ever I look at it I remember her house in Columbus. Thank you Rachel, it is beautiful this year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 2

Poseidon was so great but we are ready to sail!! We met up with Father John , dinner and then we are sailing!!!

Day 2 Posidon Temple and Boarding the Clipper Ship

The sanctuary of Poseidon at Sounion is one of the most important sanctuaries in Attica. Sporadic finds point to the conclusion that the site was inhabited in the prehistoric period but there is no evidence of religious practice in such an early date. "Sounion Hiron" (sanctuary of Sounion) is first mentioned in the Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. The finds of the 7th century B.C. are numerous and proove the existence of organized cult on two points of the promontory: at the southern edge where the temenos of Poseidon was situated, and about 500 m. to the NE of it, where the sanctuary of Athena was established.
Day 2
We woke up early ready to go. After a good breakfast and a wonderful long walk around the city, we journeyed on to the Temple of Poseidon. It was a long ride in the bus and we all fought to stay awake, but it was so worth it!! After a great visit we returned to the port and boarded the Clipper Ship we were to call home for the next 7 days!!

I will post some extra pic's from today on the next post!!

Athens Day 1

We arrived early in the morning Greek Time!! It was so exciting to be in Athens. I was immediately struck by the bareness of the land, I guess I was not expecting that landscape. However, our hotel was within walking distance to the Acropolis and the center of town. We spent the rest of the day walking around and soaking in the history and lore.

That night we ate with our group at a small bistro in the Market District. At the table next to us a group of young Greek Men were celebrating. As the evening wore on they began to dance and celebrate and pulled us into the celebration. A few Ouzos later we were all dancing and having a blast! Our group was very diverse, but we all united to celebrate the wonder of a Greek Night!

It was a wonderful way to start our trip!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pineapple Sage Coolers!

I am so glad that we have not yet had a frost, I have Basil to harvest, flowers to dry, but most of all it has allowed my Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) to come to it's full beauty.

In Kentucky Pineapple Sage is a tender perennial. I have had it live through the winter but that is a rare occurrence. This year it is particularly wonderful. I love its bright red spike bloom that reach up to the Autumn sky,it is as if it is begging f0r summer to hang on just a little longer.

Tomorrow afternoon a group of my favorite garden friends are coming over for a garden harvest happy hour. We all bring wonderful Herby appetizers and drinks. I will share recipes!!

I am going to make the following Pineapple Sage Cooler. It can be jazzed up with a spirit or just enjoyed without!!

Pineapple Sage Cooler

2 1/2 c. water 2( 12 oz) cans chilled apricot nectar
3 Tbsp. Fresh Pineapple Sage leaves 1 1/3 c. orange juice
6 Tbsp. sugar 1 (12 oz) bottle ginger ale

**I have added vodka, or spirit you enjoy. It is great, but equally as good with no spirits. For this event I will offer both.

Heat water to boiling. Remove from heat; add pineapple age. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain; stir in sugar until dissolved. Refrigerate till serving time. Pour into punch bowl and add apricot nectar, orange juice and ginger ale and what ever.

Enjoy! It is wonderful.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tribute To A Faithful Friend

INDIANA 1987 TO 2009
Before we left on our Greece trip, I debated and debated about my precious friend Indiana
His health had been rapidly fading and he was losing control of his hind legs, yet every morning he would jump off our daughter's bed, follow me down the steps and loudly complain until I brought him his Fancy Feast. Using the litter box was no problem and he manage a winding staircase day in and day out, so I decided he was fine for now.
Much to my delight when we returned home early last Sunday morning, we were greeted by a familiar rough but loud meow. He purred and purred when he saw me and I carried him up to catch some sleep. All the next day he wanted to hang by my side, he sat with the dogs and gave the evil Indy stare towards any of the other cats daring to get near his Fancy Feast.
About 4:00am, I awoke from a dream that had directed me to go see Indiana. I found him near death but still purring. I wrapped him up in a warm towel and held him close. He continued to purr and hold on to me till the last breathe of his 22 years on earth.
I know Indy is now with all my other Pet Friends that have blessed my life. He had waited for me to return so he could properly say good-bye. We will miss the old boy but know he is content and out of pain!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back Home

The Star Clipper was our home for 7 glorious days sailing the Greek Isles! I have so many great stories and pictures to share, but first I have to get the Basil in from the garden! We might have our first frost on Friday. In every port I found Basil I felt right at home. I look forward to blogging about my adventure!


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