Monthly Archives: October 2007

Special Sister Chocolate Pie

My sister came for a visit today. That should be written in all capital letters and highlighted with stars and hearts. Since she lives two hours away, a visit is a rare thing and is treated as a “Special Occasion” .

While our daughters disappeared into the lovely miniature world of Polly Pockets, we started to catch up on what had transpired in our lives since our last talk fest.

It was a delicious time of laughter and tears, memories and anticipation. Yes, it was a very “Special Occasion” indeed. An occasion such as this demanded a very special dessert.

A rich, creamy decadent dessert that says, “You are so very special, I’m so glad you choose to drive 2 hours and spend today with me”. A dessert that I shall call “Special Sister Chocolate Pie”.

I began with a 9 inch baked pie shell, but I’m sure it would be wonderful in a graham cracker crust, or just in 6 pretty dessert bowls. Then I placed in the blender 2 cups of Nestles chocolate chips, 3 oz. of a Cadbury White Chocolate and Raspberry bar and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. I processed it until it was coarsely chopped. Then in a saucepan, I brought 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of butter to a boil and added it to the blender, processing till smooth. The last step was to pour it into the pie shell and chill till set.

We enjoyed the rich luscious raspberry chocolate slices slathered in whipped cream together as we pondered the mysteries of the universe and solved the problems of the world. A truly special dessert to honor a truly special sister on a very “Special Occasion“.

Chocolate Apples?

What is it about the cooler fall weather that gives me an intense craving for caramel apples?

One such craving hit me the other night and built in intensity all evening. I began planning my treat, salivating over the crisp apple and the gooey caramel in my mind as I waited for the children to go to bed.

Just as soon as the lights were off I rushed downstairs to prepare my masterpiece. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the fridge and discovered that the caramel was gone!

My frantic searching soon led me to the perfect apple, but what could possibly replace the caramel? Than the idea hit me…Chocolate apples! What an inspiration!

Now my mind was in overdrive! I got out the rest of the Hershey’s chocolate bar that I had nibbled on while the children were played upstairs that afternoon, put it in a bowl with just a little milk and microwaved it until it melted.

After I gently and lovingly stirred it smooth, I quickly sliced an apple into cubes and put it in the bowl.

Then with a spoon I carefully lifted the first bite of chocolate and apple to my mouth. Oh my! It was heavenly! It was like chocolate fondue on a bowl!

That’s it! I’ll call it “The Fondue Bowl”. With each delicious bite my mind was whirling with potential! Just think of the things I could add next time!

Orange slices would be divine, so would almonds or pecans, or how about marshmallows? Oh, I’ve got it! Brach’s Caramels! But wait, why dip anything? Why not eat it with a spoon? Oh my! Now that’s an inspired idea!

A Perfect Day in Autumn

An unbelievably perfect autumn day in the midwest! After a week of rain, the sun came out and we have beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures. I enjoyed a walk in the woods, with a lengthy stop on the dock of our pond to daydream a little. It’s amazing the problems that will work themselves out while you’re sitting on a dock with water lapping all around and blue skies hanging above. I was in need of a little “dock time” to relax and recharge. The leaves were swirling around above my head, catching air currents, then dropping to the pond. There the curled up leaves floated like tiny sailboats in the wind. I could hear the wind blowing, the crickets chirping, and every once in a while a fish coming up for air. Beautiful.

I took the long way home, along bridge trail. It winds its way from the pond deeper into the woods and is named because of a bridge we built that crosses the ravine (not a very creative title for a very beautiful trail.) As I rounded the last curve of the trail before the bridge, the corner of my eye caught sight of a very large bird taking off from a tree. My first thought was a great blue heron, but I was too far from the pond. I’m wondering if I spotted our elusive owl! We know she nests above the ravine near the bridge and we have caught glimpses of her in the past, and we think we have discovered her nest. We have yet to identify her, but every spotting gives us another clue!

It was a perfect way to end a perfect walk on a perfect autumn day!

How ‘Bout S’mores!

Fall has definitely arrived in the midwest! We had several families over Friday night to enjoy a hot dog roast and bonfire, just before a stretch of rainy weather moved in.

The air was cool and crisp, and the sky was clear with millions of stars, just perfect for cuddling around the fire eating black hot dogs with raw insides!

But we all know that the real reason for a hot dog roast is not the hot dogs, they are simply an excuse to start a fire so we can enjoy the real star, the s’mores!

Crispy roasted outsides, gooey marshmallow insides surrounded by sweet, creamy chocolate, now that’s the real reason to bundle up and sit around a bonfire getting smoke in your eyes!

We didn’t make regular s’mores either, this time I picked up several packages of the little Hershey’s Miniatures to use. (You know the ones with Mr. Goodbar and the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate and the Crunch bars. Yum!) My personal favorite was the Mr. Goodbar, but then I do love the crunch of nuts in the midst of my chocolate!

My Sister-in-law takes her s’mores to a whole new level. She roasts two marshmallows to perfection, then takes an entire Hershey’s bar with almonds, breaks it in half and puts the marshmallows between the halves. Oh Yeah!

Notice she skips the graham cracker altogether? Why waste calories on something you don’t enjoy?

Go for the chocolate baby! Now that’s my kind of s’more!

Cold, Soggy Mess

I’ll have to admit, the weather is certainly not conducive to bird watching. Round after round of rain have made the ground saturated and the farm yard a big muddy mess. Even our free-ranging chickens are sticking closer to the coop. Being Red Comets and Rhode Islands Reds, a few rain drops usually doesn’t bother them much. This week-long deluge is a different story.

We also have 100 Cornish-Cross broilers that are about 6 weeks old and they really don’t like the wet weather! My 10 year old son and I just spent a long half hour rounding them up, making sure they were okay and under cover for another wet night. By the way, did you know that wet chicken manure is very slippery….enough said!

My brother-in-law just loves the rainy days for watching nature, especially in the spring and the fall. He just throws on his slicker, grabs the binoculars and takes off on a very soggy nature hike. It always amazes me the things he would see that on a normal day we would miss. Things like migrating birds sitting on the ponds waiting, momma deer and the fawns quietly feeding in the underbrush, pond mammals like mink or muskrats swimming. I wonder if the gentle sound of the rain and the wind hid the sound of his approaching?

Maybe tomorrow instead of bemoaning another day of rain and the extra work it entails, I should embrace it. Maybe I should leave the warmth and dryness of the house and the mud puddles of the farm yard to venture out through the pastures, the prairie and the woodlands. Maybe then I would see a different side of a rainy day and appreciate it all the more.