Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Roads

My sweet, wonderful niece Sarah is my guest blogger again today! I think you will enjoy her thoughts as much as I have…

The Roads C.S. Lewis

I love all the poems that Auntie M posts here – there is such a beauty and peacefulness about poems. Even when they include great passion or longing, still, there is a feeling about them that everything is going to be okay. There’s a peace.

Here’s a poem I love to get out every Autumn and read through. There’s something about Fall that makes me want to travel and see things like the colors in the trees and the richness of the harvest, or even the faces of my friends before the winter snows holes us up in our respective cities.

The Roads
By C. S. Lewis

I stand on the windy uplands among the hills of Down
With all the world spread out beneath, meadow and sea and town,
And ploughlands on the far-off hills that glow with friendly brown.

And ever across the rolling land to the far horizon line,
Where the blue hills border the misty west, I see the white roads twine,
The rare roads and the fair roads that call this heart of mine.

I see them dip in the valleys and vanish and rise and bend
From shadowy dell to windswept fell, and still to the West they wend,
And over the cold blue ridge at last to the great world’s uttermost end.

And the call of the roads is upon me, a desire in my spirit has grown
To wander forth in the highways, ‘twixt earth and sky alone,
And seek for the lands no foot has trod and the seas no sail has known:

For the lands to the west of the evening and east of the morning’s birth,
Where the gods unseen in their valleys green are glad at the ends of the earth
And fear no morrow to bring them sorrow, nor night to quench their mirth.

The Art of Subterfuge in Mothering

This morning as I whipped up some apple, pear, banana fruit smoothies for my children and watched them guzzle them down, I got to thinking.

Now I realize that thinking that early in the morning can often be dangerous, as my brain is not fully activated yet. But my idea seemed like such a good one- are you ready? I could hide other fruits and vegetables in their smoothies!

It was brilliant!

Just think about the vegetables that could be blended right in!  Even my pickiest eater wouldn’t be able to pick them back out again!

Think about the nutrients my kids would unknowingly consume! Frozen peas, carrots, green beans, celery… no, wait…those are too normal. What about broccoli or kohlrabi or Brussels sprouts?  I know- tomatoes!

Some mothers seem to get away with it on a regular basis.

My sister-in-law Julie cooks up a vegetable medley that she hides in almost everything. Her meatballs are so packed with vitamins they should have a warning label. “Beware: These meatballs are extremely healthy and will make you as strong as Popeye.”

My friend Cinnamon concocts a smoothie for her children that includes spinach! Yes, spinach. And they drink it?! As if any of my kids would voluntarily drink something green.

Ahh yes- that brings us to the heart of the matter. When tricking kids into eating something healthy it must be well-hidden.

How could I possibly disguise the color and smell of say, spinach. It tends to be quite green no matter what you do with it.

Believe me I know. My Mom was always trying to hide things from us. Didn’t always work though. Her most famous cooking story remains “The Legend of the Green Fish Loaf.”

She had discovered a recipe for a fish loaf using canned salmon and spinach. She decided that she would just throw the spinach in the blender with the other ingredients and hide it. We would never know it was there!

She learned that spinach cannot be disguised. It turned the entire salmon loaf green.

We rushed to the table in anticipation of supper and there IT sat.  All green and bubbly with cheese on top. I wish we would have taken pictures of our faces as we sat around the table looking at IT.

IT went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Poor Mom has never been able to forget it. (Being the good children that we are, we keep reminding her.)

No, I realize now that such thinking is quite dangerous. There is an art to subterfuge as a mother, and I definitely have a lot to learn about it!

Hey, I still have a kid who can pick out ground up onions in a meatball.  Maybe I should send him to Aunt Julie’s for awhile….

Apple Pie Filling

In my continuing effort to use up the massive amounts of apples that are accumulating on my porch, I dug out a recipe I haven’t used in years- canned apple pie filling.

I made some years ago (back when I only had 2 children and a house in the suburbs) and remembered that it yummy- just a little sweeter than I liked.

Since I was using a sweeter apple (yellow delicious) I decided to cut the sugar in half.  If I do another batch with a tart apple- like Granny Smith- I will use the full amount.

It actually went very quickly, we had a canner filled and cooking in 30 minutes. (But I did use my apple peeler
and I had 3 children assisting me.)

Apple Pie Filling

In large sauce pan combine 4-1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Stir in 10 cups of water.

Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.

Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a few drops of yellow food coloring (if desired- I left it out).

Peel, core, and cut 5-6 pounds of tart apples (about 30 depending on the size).

Pack apples into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1 inch head space.

Fill with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch head space, using the handle of a plastic spatula to help distribute the syrup. (Do not use a knife or metal object- you may nick or crack your canning jar!) You will need to move the apples around to get the thick syrup to fill in the gaps.

Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath canner 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts.

I got 7 quarts out of one batch and had enough syrup to cut up a few more apples and make a pie.

It is very important to watch the head space! The apples will cook in the canner and let out juice that needs somewhere to go.

One quart of apple pie filling is enough for an 8-9 inch pie.

Disappearing Marshmallow Bars

We seem to be on somewhat of a “disappearing” theme here on the Chocolate Lady. Perfect for the month of October!

In keeping with this theme, my sister Teresa shared this yummy recipe with us. She calls them bars- but I think you could almost call them candy!

She got the recipe from her mother-in-law who made them often for family get-togethers. Now Teresa makes them regularly to sell at the Farmer’s Market, where they are always a big hit!

She did rename them for the Farmer’s Market- calling them Chocolate-Butterscotch Bars which do more accurately describe what’s inside.

Maybe she should call them Disappearing Chocolate-Butterscotch Bars because that’s exactly what happened to my last batch. They were all gone in less than 24 hours. Wow!

Disappearing Marshmallow Bars

Melt 1/2 cup butterscotch chips and 1/4 cup of margarine or butter.

Cool and add 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon burnt sugar flavoring. Mix well.

Fold in 1 cup of mini marshmallows, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/3 cup chopped nuts (if desired).

Spread in a greased 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Do not over bake. Center will be jiggly but will firm up when cooled.

Fudge Oatmeal Bars

Fudge Nut BarsWe’re in the final stages of a huge home renovation and the last few weeks have been filled with friends and relations volunteering to help.

All these hard workers need to be feed! These bars have become a staple around here. They are fast and easy to make and feed a small army.

My sister Teresa reports that they also sell well at the local Farmer’s Market!

Fudge Nut Bars

Cream together 1 cup butter or margarine and 2 cup brown sugar.

Mix in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt.

Mix in 3 cups oatmeal.

Spread about 2/3 of batter in a greased 10 x 15 inch pan. Set aside the remaining 1/3 of batter.

Make filling by melting 2 cups of chocolate chips with 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir till smooth. You may add 1 cup of chopped nuts.

Pour over batter in the pan. Dot with clumps of remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. until lightly browned.