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November in My Garden

OK, all my gardening friends, what's happening in your garden this November?  If you live in the Northeast you may have already experienced a substantial snowfall.  Thankfully we were spared the fury of the recent storm that left millions of others in the Northeast without power.  As I write this, millions are still without power, three days later. A Dusting of Snow on October 30. 2011 November dawned with plenty of sunshine during the day, but delivered our first killing frosts of the season.  As a result, I have been setting aside a few minutes each day to get outside an pull up the remains of plants killed off by the frost. Impatience Killed by Frost My garden cleanup chores are nearly completed.  You can see from the picture we even have a good handle on the leaves in the yard.  Keeping Up with Falling Leaves Even though most of the garden is spent I still have some lettuce growing.... Lettuce is Still Growing ...and some jalapenos are still holding on.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce Every once in a while you get a craving for something.  Yes, I know you do.  I do, too.  This week I craved chicken satay.  It all started a couple of weeks ago at a dinner party  where chicken satay was served as an appetizer.  It was yummy.  Then I saw Lucinda Scala Quinn make her version of chicken satay on her show, Mad Hungry .  Well, that was all it took.  The combination of the two made me lock onto chicken satay as a must have.  I decided it would be an entree item, served with my coconut rice and steamed broccoli. The recipe I used was inspired by Tyler Florence.  Chicken tenders were on sale this week at our local grocery store and all the other ingredients were happily waiting in the refrigerator or pantry.  It was time to make chicken satay! Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce Serves 5 Chicken Satay Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders 1 cup plain yogurt 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 Tables

A One Pot Easy Meal

One Pot Sausage and Peppers Weeknights can be a challenge in getting a meal on the table.    Does your family schedule make it difficult to to coordinate meals between sports practices, dance classes, or club meetings?  A one pot meal that can be served whenever it is convenient is what you need on for those crazy hockey practice night...or parent-teacher conference night...or...well, I think you get the point.  Some nights we just need an easy, satisfying meal.   This sausage and peppers, one pot dish is a perfect solution.  It can be served on torpedo rolls with melted provolone cheese for sandwiches, or spoon it over penne pasta, or use it as a topping for your favorite pizza dough.   You can even make a double batch and keep it in your refrigerator ready to serve as hot sandwiches on night and then tossed with your favorite pasta a second night.  One Pot Sausage and Peppers Serves 6-8 The One Pot Sausage and Peppers Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds sweet Itali

Congo Bars

Congo Bars Today's recipe is a standby favorite from my childhood.  Mom made these for us on a regular basis.  We would often come home from school to a freshly baked batch of these delicious congo bars. Oh, how I loved them! Congo bars are easy to make, don't require any special equipment and keep well.  This recipe makes a large batch, about 24 large bars or 48 small ones.  That makes this a great treat for a picnic, family gathering or pot luck gathering.  Do you have a bake sale to bake for?  These bars transport well and are sure to please. Congo Bars 24 large bars or 48 small bars Congo Bar Ingredient s 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup shortening (I use unsalted butter) 2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar 3 eggs 1 cup chopped walnuts 2 cups chocolate chips Directions Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Melt the shortening/butter.  Stir in the brown sugar and allow to c

Banana Cupcakes with Maple Icing

Banana Cupcakes with Maple Icing Do you have some bananas sitting on your counter getting overly ripe?  Are you tired of banana bread?  You may want to give these banana cupcakes a try.  This recipe makes ten to twelve cupcakes, so you'll want to double it for a large group. The maple icing is more of a thick glaze than a true frosting, but it is a yummy topping for this dessert.  You won't want to skimp on the maple syrup.  Use the best all-natural maple syrup you can find.  It will make a difference in the icing's flavor.  Add some chopped walnuts for some crunch. Banana Cupcakes with Maple Icing Print This Recipe Banana Cupcake Ingredients Makes 10-12 cupcakes 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2  large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana, about 1 medium banana 1/4 cup

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies When you think of sweets as comfort foods, what comes to mind?  Do you have a favorite cookie, cake or brownie?  When you stop by your favorite bakery do you choose a complex sweet or do you stick with a basic favorite?  For me, a chocolate chip cookie speaks comfort, but for my husband and oldest son the favorite sweet is an oatmeal raisin cookie.  Today's oatmeal raisin cookie recipe is in honor of them and the fact that my son reminded me I haven't made an oatmeal raisin cookie in what seems like decades.  That's an exageration, of course, but it has been much too long since I made these cookies.  I usually make the always reliable Quaker Oats recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies, but today I wanted to try incorporating applesauce in my cookie. This recipe results in a domed, drop cookie with a cake-like texture, not a crisp, chewy oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Makes 40 cookies 123 calories per cookie Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ingre

Appreciating the Seasonal Beauty of Trees

It's this time of year, as the leave fall from the trees, that I often think about just how remarkable a tree is.  In the Northeast we are blessed with a wide variety of beautiful trees and watching them change from season to season is a favorite past time. A Fall Maple   I have my favorites.  While I prefer a maple tree to an oak, I owe my pleasant, shady deck to the canopy of a stately oak.  The oak is messier than a maple tree, dropping copious strands of its long beard over my deck and lawn in late spring.  This requires daily blowing of the deck to keep it neat and tidy.  In late summer the acorns start falling.  Luckily acorns don't hurt much when you are clunked on the head with one, but once again there are daily messes to clean up.  Now it's the leaves that fall day after day, after day, after day. I love my weeping cherry tree.  It is about 30 years old and is showing its age, but for about 4 weeks in early spring it is in its prime.  I watch... and wait..