Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is coming!!

The leaves are beginning to turn .. reds first, followed by a burst of gold, then yellow and orange. The weather is predicted to be cooler this week just in time for the John C. Campbell Folkschool's annual Fall Festival ( Over 200 crafters (really talented folks, not crappy crocheted toilet paper cover makers) will set up for Sat and Sun. Music on 2 or 3 stages, all kinds of food - from Beans & Cornbread (a mtn thing) to kettle corn (Sorry you won't be here Ginger, but I will eat some and think of you!). If the weather is nice, it will be a great day to stroll through the woodsy paths and finger the beautiful craft work... jewelry, pottery, paintings, weaving, carving ... The smells of the food will waft through the crisp air and make even fried potato ribbons appealing.

Stores and houses have begun to set out fall displays of pumpkins, mums and corn stalks. After church the kids from the Learning Center sold pots of huge mums full of blooms about to explode into a mound of color. Who could resist - the kids or the flowers ?

I'm ready for a change of season. What's not to love about fall? The colors outside our windows change daily, there's no more "yard" work to do, and it's a season of food-based holidays! What more could you ask for???
Our door is always open and the coffee pot is on.. come on up and enjoy a mountain fall.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back to the "real world"

Ahhh, the let down after vacation has hit! So, I've been staying as busy as possible... I've read 2 books (thanks, Shelly!), sewn ribbon on 5 curtain valances for Kelley (thanks for giving me your odd jobs!), tested recipes for GA Ag Dept (thanks to Marcia for keeping me "gainfully employed" for 6 years now!), crafted a birthday gift for my cousin (thanks, Carol, for being like a sister to me!) and played with modeling clay... NOW, what shall I do tomorrow?????

One of the recipes I "tested" was a "keeper" (according to Bill), so I'll share it with you. As the weather gets cooler, you'll want to try this one!

Chicken 'n Dumplins
2 cans chicken breast (or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped)
2 cans cream of chicken soup ( or one each cream of chicken and cream of celery)
1 (32-oz.) box chicken broth
4 cups water (or chicken broth, suit yourself)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (salt free)
1 stick butter (NOT margarine)
2 teaspoons Paul Prudhomme's Magic Poultry Seasoning
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 package frozen dumplings ( Mama B's Frozen Dumplings in the bread section of the freezer), open the package while frozen and gently separate the dumplings

Bring all the liquids and seasonings to a boil in a LARGE saucepot. With mixture boiling, add dumplings, one at a time so that the mixture continues to boil. GENTLY stir to separate dumplings as they tend to stick together.
Lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until dumplings are tender and done. Gently stir in cooked chicken. Stir and taste. If needed, add more chicken broth, butter and/or seasonings. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Refrigerate the leftovers; add water or chicken broth to reheat. The mixture will be a gelataneous blob when cold. Don't worry, just add water and stir over low heat until it loosens up!

I'm very sorry to have to say this, but these are BETTER than any my Mama ever made!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bon jour!

Oh! What a glorious trip! Paris part was my favorite. Too many bus rides with other American tourists on the river cruise. But, we saw things we would not have seen otherwise like the Normandy beaches, the American Cemetary, Honfleur, Giverny and Versaille. Now, I can check those off my "Bucket List".

Everyone should have a "Bucket List". Mama would have called it the "Bus List" because she always said she wasn't ready to "catch the bus" yet, there were more things she wanted to do.
Guess where I get the travel gene?? Anyway, my "Bucket List" seems to be growing. Every time we check something off, we add more! Mama was right - there is a lot to do in this old world!

Tonight, I surprised Bill with dessert crepes. Chocolate - his favorite! In Paris I bought this neat little simple wooden tool to spread the crepe batter in the pan. It makes crepes so thin you can read the newspaper through them... yummy!! You can make them, too. Even without my special spreader tool. Just pour a small amount of batter in the pan and twirl (the pan, not you!).

Dessert Crepes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients, whisking well after each addition to dissolve lumps. You can make ahead and refrigerate batter until ready to cook the crepes.

Butter a shallow pan/skillet. Place over medium heat. Pour in 1/4 cup batter and twirl!
Let crepe cook until top is almost dry. Flip over (crepe, not YOU!) and cook on second side.
Spread with jelly, jam, Nutella, chocolate spread etc.. Fold in half. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, fold again into fourths. Serve while hot! YUUUUMMMM!

Honestly, these are NOT hard to make. Just practice twirling!!