Welcome to my world of comfort food, recipes and discussion.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween to all of you!! We love Halloween in our house. I think because we all love Fall so much. I am following the Brenda Photo Challenge and this weeks theme is "Halloween". http://brendaphotochallenge.blogspot.com/2009/10/next-challenge-and-theme-10-31-09.html
I like to bake cookies for the neighbors and for the adults to enjoy while the kids are trick or treating. We get between 100-200 kids every year. It is a fun night, I hope the weather holds up this year. It has been raining and cold the past few days. My husband bought me a wonderful present just for fun. It is a baking pan that has dividers for brownies or bars. When you are done baking and it has cooled slightly, you just lift out the divider and you have 18 perfectly cut pieces of whatever you baked. I have seen it on TV and mentioned it, so he surprised me with it.

I have used it for brownies and bars and it works wonderfully for both. It didn't do so well with a regular cake mix, it came up too much and baked over the divider and was hard to get out. I was just experimenting with it. The bars I have here are apricot bars and the recipe follows. You can use a regular 13x9 pan, I just wanted to show you my new pan.

Apricot Bars
1 and1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 and 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter(1 and 1/2 sticks)
1 and 1/2 cups apricot jam(or any flavor you like)
Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9x13 inch pan
In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, oats and brown sugar. Cut in butter until very crumbly.
Pat 2/3 crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and then spread the jam over that. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Bake for 35 minutes and cool before enjoying.
Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night. ~Steve Almond
Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!"~Dexter Kozen
I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween. ~Author Unknown
A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~Erma Bombeck
Be safe and have a wonderful weekend

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Know the difference between a cold and H1N1

Please visit my friend Kris at Hands, House, and Heart Full for more important tips and info.
Know the Difference between a Cold and H1N1 Flu Symptoms

Fever is rare with a cold.
Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases.
A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the H1N1 flu.

A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.
A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the H1N1 flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).

Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.
Severe aches and pains are common with the H1N1 flu.

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week.
Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the H1N1 flu.


Chills are uncommon with a cold.
60% of people who have the H1N1 flu experience chills.


Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.
Tiredness is moderate to severe with the H1N1 flu.


Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.
Sneezing is not common with the H1N1 flu.

Sudden Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.
The H1N1 flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.


A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.
A headache is very common with the H1N1 flu, present in 80% of flu cases.

Sore Throat

Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.
Sore throat is not commonly present with the H1N1 flu.

Chest Discomfort
Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.
Chest discomfort is often severe with the H1N1 flu.


Please stay healthy! Anne

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesdays Tips: 9 Healthier foods for kids

Please visit Kris at Hands, House, and Heart Full for more Tuesday Tips or just go visit her because she is a wonderful person. I found these tips on Lifescript.com. I think they are interesting and could be adapted to "kids" of all ages, not just little ones.
1.Mac ‘n’ cheeseThe blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese is a classic kid’s meal, but it doesn’t rank high with most nutritionists.
A one-cup serving has 380 calories, 14.3 grams fat (4 grams saturated) and a whopping 749 milligrams of sodium.
Sneaky swap: Use healthier out-of-the-box brands like Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese, which has 280 calories, 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated) and 430 milligrams sodium. It’s made with natural ingredients and organic wheat pasta.
Even better, dress it up. Swap in whole-grain pasta and throw a few veggies into the
sauce, Schmidt says.
Use veggies that blend in, such as shredded steamed carrots and diced cauliflower. If your kid won’t freak out at the sight of green, add nutrient-rich steamed broccoli, spinach, kale or peas.
2.Hot DogProcessed meats are tops on the list of dietary no-nos.
“Bologna, bacon, hot dogs and sausages are high in sodium, carcinogenic nitrates and saturated fat,” Schmidt says.
But “you don’t have to outlaw stuff,” according to Chef Ann Cooper, author of
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children (Collins Living). “Just serve something with real ingredients,” like an all-beef, natural hot dog that doesn’t have nitrites or nitrates
Sneaky swap: Shelton’s Organic Prairie, Lightlife, Applewood Farms, Healthy Choice and Diestel Turkey.
Compare a single, bunless Oscar Meyer wiener, with 147 calories and 13.6 grams of fat (5.6 grams saturated), to Organic Prairie uncured chicken dog, which has 70 calories and 4.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated) and no nitrates or nitrites.
Serve it on a whole-wheat bun with a side of veggie sticks and lunch is done
3.Grilled CheeseHot off the grill, dripping with butter and oozing with melted American cheese, this sandwich is a crowd pleaser with everyone. It’s also a calorie and fat bomb.
One grilled cheese can easily weigh in at 500+ calories, with more than half of those from fat. So how can you lighten its dietary load?
Sneaky swap: “Use naturally low-fat, low-sodium cheeses such as mozzarella,” Schmidt says.
Grill it up panini-style with mozzarella, fresh tomato and basil and a drizzle of olive oil. It’ll be the newest household hit
. Peanut Butter & JellyGrape jelly on white bread with a blob of peanut butter is a typical kid’s go-to lunch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give them many nutrients, particularly the fast-food variety. One Panera kid’s PB&J has more than 400 calories, 17 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar.Sneaky swap: Use whole-grain bread, no-sugar-added jam and all-natural peanut or almond butter. Throw in sliced bananas for extra potassium and vitamin B6, then watch your kids gobble it up.
5. Chicken NuggetsWhere do you begin with this nutritional nightmare? For starters, nuggets are a highly processed industrial assortment of chicken parts, additives, preservatives and chemical flavorings.
The original chicken McNugget contains 38 ingredients ranging from tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), dimethylpolysiloxene and other tongue twisters to partially hydrogenated corn oil (aka trans fat).
If a food doesn’t sound real, chances are it isn’t. Serve real chicken instead.
Sneaky swap: At the drive-thru, order chicken strips. Yeah, they’re breaded, fried and high in calories and preservatives, but chicken is still the main ingredient.
6.French FriesNo nutritional good comes from the French fry. Why? “Fried foods add unnecessary saturated fat and salt to kids’ diets,” Schmidt says.
But you don’t have to give up the potato. Sneaky swap: Baked sweet potato fries. They’re higher in vitamins A, B complex and C, and potassium - and a snap to make. “Slice sweet potatoes into sticks, toss in a little olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400°’F for 5-10 minutes on each side.” No time? For a quick, store-bought alternative, buy frozen baking fries. “Alexia Organic makes a delicious potato or sweet potato fry for baking,” Schmidt says.
7.PizzaSurprise! Pizza can be a healthy meal.
Just not with pepperoni or sausage. One slice of Pizza Hut’s Pepperoni Lover’s pizza has 330 calories, 18 grams of fat (7 grams saturated) and 800 milligrams sodium.Ditch the takeout. Let kids make pizza from scratch, Schmidt says. Frozen whole-wheat dough, low-sodium sauce and mozzarella provide a good base for piling on thin-sliced peppers, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, artichoke hearts and more. The possibilities are endless.
8.JuiceJuice sounds healthy, but most fall short of nutritional gold.
The problem? Even 100% fruit juices are not as filling as the actual fruit, says William H. Dietz, M.D., director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC.
“If you serve the juice equivalent of a piece of fruit, the brain doesn’t do a good job of registering these calories,” he says. That’s because an orange has bulk and is more filling.
Still, juice doesn’t have to be off limits, especially in warm weather where drinking plenty of liquids is important. But serve no more than 4 ounces a day for children under 6; 8 if they’re older, Schmidt says.
Also, give them 100% juices and dilute them with one-third to one-half water. And break out of the clear-fruit juice box every now and then.
Sneaky swap: “Apple and white grape juices are relatively low in nutrients and high in sugar compared to other juice varieties,” Schmidt says.
A good alternative is V8 V-Fusions, a fruit-vegetable blend that offers natural fruit sweetness with veggies — “a lifesaver if your kid refuses to touch the real stuff,” Schmidt says.
But “they shouldn’t be a long-term substitute. Juice – even fresh-squeezed – is a concentrated source of sugar,” she says.
God bless you all and have a great week. Anne

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Flowers from a Friend

My friend Judy at The Road to Here just celebrated her 300th post!! To help us celebrate with her, she passed on this beautiful photo. Its not an award but a gift from a friend. I wanted to post it to say thanks Judy for being my friend. Judy has the most incredible blogs, she is an artist with her camera. If you have not had the chance to visit her, I encourage you to do so. You will be so happy you did. Thanks again Judy and I look forward to several hundred more posts to brighten my day.
Love ya Anne

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Germs Live!!! Tuesday Tips

Please visit Kris at http://yesiknowwhatcausesthat.blogspot.com/2009/10/vinegar-uses-tuesdays-tips.html? for more Tuesday Tips!

Halloween is almost here and unfortunately flu season is already upon us. I found some tips and info that I thought was interesting to pass on to you:
"Worried about you or your kids picking up the H1N1 flu or other diseases at school, restrooms or the mall? There’s good reason: Viruses and bacteria run rampant on surfaces you touch every day. We blow the lid on the 8 germiest public places. Plus, get tips for outsmarting infection... " Unfortunately, going anywhere people congregate can boost your chances of getting sick, says Philip Tierno, Ph.D., author of The Secret Life of Germs (Atria) and director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University's Langone Medical Center. That’s because disease-carrying bacteria and viruses live practically everywhere — shopping malls, grocery stores, playgrounds, petting zoos, restaurants. They can survive up to two hours on shopping carts, escalator handrails, even doorknobs before they find their next victim. "
"We encounter about 60,000 types of germs every year, but if you’re healthy, there’s no need to fear going out in public,” Tierno says: Only 1-2% are potentially dangerous to people with normal immunity."
Plus, the body has an incredible ability to fight off germs. Special cells called neutrophils and lymphocytes (white blood cells) attack any microscopic invader.
1. Grocery store Germiest items: Shopping cart handles and seat buckets
Germ-free fix: Use disinfecting wipes on handlebars and seats - many stores now offer these at the entrance. And be sure to wash veggies and fruits before eating them.
1. Children’s playgrounds Germiest items: The swings, jungle gym and other equipment
Germ-free fix: Wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer after returning from playground, using the bathroom and changing diapers. (Rub hands together for 20 seconds under clean running water, the CDC advises.)
3. Public restrooms Germiest item: Sink
Germ-free fix: Avoid touching moist surfaces and wash hands thoroughly after touching sink faucets and soap dispensers. And use a paper towel to turn the water off.
4. Offices Germiest items: Telephones and desks
Germ-free fix: Once a day, wipe down your desk, phone and keyboard with anti-bacterial wipes or cleaners.
5. Restaurants Germiest items: Table surface, high chairs
Germ-free fix: Carry sanitary wipes to swipe the tabletop and high chair when you’re seated.
6. Libraries Germiest items: Countertops and surfaces
Germ-free fix: Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after thumbing through books or touching countertops.
7. Cruise ships Germiest item: Handrails
Germ-free fix: Wash hands frequently throughout the day and before touching your mouth or face, especially when smoking and eating.
8. Malls Germiest item: Escalator handles
Germ-free fix: Don’t touch them. But if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.
I took this from:
H1N1: Where Germs Hide
By Nicole McEwen, Lifescript Staff Writer
Published October 09, 2009

At the day care I worked at they would have the kids sing"Happy Birthday" song while washing there hands. They had to wash the whole time until the song was done.That was a good amount of time to get the germies off.
I hope you find this helpful. Stay healthy and enjoy the Fall. God bless you Anne

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Today's Flowers

Please visit TODAY'S FLOWERS for more beautiful flowers from beautiful people. These are all from the farmers market, they have the most beautiful fresh flowers there. I am not a good gardener so I really enjoy seeing them so fresh. <

Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Star Papers: A Discourse of Flowers


Have a great day. Anne

Monday, October 5, 2009

More bounty from the local farmers market

I have been visiting our local Farmers Market quite a bit lately. I love the fall harvest. The colors are so beautiful. I usually go with my husband and sometimes my daughter. My daughter and I have sort of a contest every year to pick the gourd with the most bumps and is well ,ugly lol.

When we got home we start cooking, homemade soup and fresh tomato sauce are among the treats we make.

It always turns out to be such a nice family day. I love to cook and I can't think of any place I would rather be than in the kitchen with my daughter cooking something delicious.
Look at those portabella mushrooms and the color in the eggplant. I love fall.

Have a great week and God bless you Anne